the gapanese invasion is nigh!

"pinakamaganda ka nga sa buong kapuluan, pero latina na naman ang magwawagi ng korona at sash sa miss world! racism ba ito? lupasay!"

Thursday, July 31, 2008

a comparative analysis of edmund spenser’s sonnet # 15 and ben jonson’s song: to celia using thematological approach

The Literatures of the English Renaissance and the Seventeenth-Century Period of the Sons of Ben
Historical Context:
The world during the fifteenth century was a witness to a numerous burst of new discoveries and colonization in what was known as the New World. Columbus of Genoa made his maiden voyage of his discovery for Spain in 1492. After four years, the English citizen Cabot reached the North American shoreline. Later still, Amerigo Vespucci got in touch with South America. Open enterprise with Asian Empires like China, India and Persia took roots. The men and women of Europe were throwing away antique rules and experimenting on new things, discrediting long-standing beliefs and concepts in science, philosophy, politics and religion. Around 1530, Copernicus proclaimed his belief of a heliocentric cosmos, whereas Earth is only one of the planets orbiting the sun. Galileo awed the general populace with his discoveries like the telescope. Gunpowder seized its place as a replacement of bow and arrow, and sword and shield. The invention of printing by Germany’s Johann Gutenberg broke fresh grounds for a faster spread of new learning. Ignited by political discontent, the Protestant Reformation swept through Europe at-large, spawning recurrent battles between and religious persecution on European countries whose leaders carried contrasting convictions.
From 1485 to 1625, English life underwent dramatic changes. The feudal systems vanished and overseas commerce transfigured England into a rich, power-wielding nation. The English navy became ranked among the planet’s most formidable military forces and, via exploration and colonization, especially after it vanquished the Spanish Armada, Britain progressed into an enormous, swiftly expanding empire. Also during this period, English religiosity suffered a major facelift. Reluctant to concede to the Pope’s verdict not to permit him to divorce his wife, King Henry VIII sheared the country’s binding tie with the Roman Catholic Church and founded the Church of England, declaring himself the forerunner of the church.
The period that followed (1625-1660) still saw the world in an earnest unrest, foretelling changes that were being borne out of rubble. The victory of the modern scientific atmosphere in the seventeenth century is symbolized by the founding of Royal Society during the period. Various colonies and schools including Harvard University in 1636 were founded. In Japan, all Europeans were expelled in an effort to shut itself from the west. China’s Ming Dynasty culminated in 1644 and in France, many in writing was published, from Corneile’s Le Cid to Descartes’ Principia Philosophicae to Moliere’s The Flying Doctor.
The Seventeenth-Century England, much like the period preceding it, experienced terrible political and religious upheaval. Shortly after assuming the throne in 1625, Charles I struggled for power against the Parliament, whose members fiercely resisted his efforts to weaken Parliament authority. Charles initiated invariable suppression of Puritans. This controversy gave birth to a civil war that commenced in 1642 and suffered temporary monarchial meltdown in 1649. A Puritan Parliament member, Oliver Cromwell, ruled England for nine years before his death in 1658, passing on the leadership to his son Richard, who was rather ineffective, so the monarchy was restored in 1660.
Literary Movements
English Literature of 1484-1625 came in full flower when a cultural movement known as the Renaissance (14th –century Italy-originating revival of Classical Greco-Roman-inspired literary, artistic and intellectual blossoming) swept through the European continent, jumping its way across the channel into England. As a response to Renaissance, Queen Elizabeth I extended active support to education, science, the arts and the humanities. Her encouragement helped to crystallize tremendous number of scholarship and literary activity. With influences from the classical works of ancient Rome and Greece, writers harnessed new literary heights and generated some of the most sterling works Britain has ever produced.
On the other hand, the writers from the period 1625-1660 can be delineated vitally into two divisions: the metaphysical poets and the Sons of Ben. A group comprising John Donne and many of his protégés, the metaphysical poets are renowned for their intellectual verse injected with complicated, intricate, and striking similarities. In opposition, the Sons of Ben, led by the influence Ben Jonson, are popular for their delicate, clever, and elegant poetry. Nevertheless, John Milton, perhaps the most important writer of the period, did not suit either of these divisions. Drawing upon array of literary traditions, Milton composed a plethora of different kinds of masterpieces.
Writers’ Techniques:
The most significant progress of the English Renaissance belonged to the genres of poetry and drama. Shying away from the epics of the Medieval Ages, poets invented a new poetic form, the lyric. Lyrics are short, tightly structured poems in which the speaker wholly centers on conveying his or her thoughts or emotions. Frequently during this period, lyrics were composed in sonnet form, and they often dealt with the subject of love. Sonnets were frequently written in patterns and were quite teeming with vibrant, musical language. Written in meticulously crafted verse, these dramas dig into complex themes and characters, often delving into human nature’s significant insights.
Among the metaphysical poets, the conceit, a specifically striking kind of metaphor, was a famous literary device. Inflamed by ancient Greco-Roman masterpieces, The Sons of Ben depended on classical poetic forms and often used allusions in their works. Milton, meanwhile, made vast utility of metaphors and allusions alike.
Edmund Spenser: The Poet’s Poet
Edmund Spenser (1552-1599), the “poet’s poet,” is among Elizabethan times’ greatest poetic geniuses, alongside Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. An imaginative innovator of versed forms, he introduced the Spenserian stanza and the Spenserian sonnet, which powerfully smoldered the poets in his following.
The Faerie Queene, a lengthy romance-epic allegory based on the story of a 12-day celebration in the Queen of the Fairyland’s (Elizabeth I) honor, built Spencer’s dignity as the leading poet among his contemporaries. Commemorative of his wife Elizabeth Boyle, his sonnet sequence Amoretti (meaning “little cupid” or “little love of poems”) is unique in the English Renaissance for alluding to Spenser’s beloved.
Ben Jonson: The Literary Dictator
Ben Jonson (1572-1637), hailed as the literary dictator of the bright circle of dramatists at Saint James’ court, was a poet, dramatist, critic, and a song writer. He was the original English dramatist to publish his play. As an astute lyricist, he was superbly admired by his readers.
A limitlessly energetic and heavily courageous large man whose life story is the perfect tale of rags to riches, Jonson was the prime rival in drama and lyric of his friends William Shakespeare and Jonson Donne. From being a brick layer, he rose to become a classical scholar, an excellent prose stylist, an arbiter of “taste,” and a skillful translator. However, he lived a turbulent life: he was hauled behind bars one time for working on a slanderous and seditious play, almost executed for slaying a fellow actor, and suspected of plotting to kill King James I.
A number of the most brilliant and finest young courtly writers hovered around Jonson and tagged themselves the “Sons” or “Tribe or Ben,” among whom were Robert Herrick and John Suckling. Jonson’s first-hand influence extended beyond these poets to the close of the Seventeenth Century, into the Eighteenth, and in fact, is still making waves nowadays.
A Comparative Analysis of Edmund Spenser’s Sonnet # 15 And Ben Jonson’s Song: To Celia Using Thematological Approach
Below is one of Renaissance-trained Spenser’s many notable sonnets juxtaposed with quasi-poet laureate Jonson’s song for a comparative study:
Sonnet # 15
Edmund Spenser (ca. 1552-1599)
Ye tadefull merchants, that with weary toyle
Do seeke most pretious things to make your gain,
And both the Indias of their treasure spoile,
What needeth you to seek so farre in vaine?
For loe my love doth in her selfe containe
All this world’s riches that may farre be found.
If saphyres, loe her eies be saphyres plaine:
If rubies, loe her lips be rubies found:
If pearles, her teeth be pearles both pure and round.
If yvorie, her forehead yvorie weene;
If gold, her locks are finest gold on ground;
If silver, her faire hands and silvery sheene.
But that which fairest is, but few behold:
Her mind adorned with verteus manifold.

Song: To Celia
Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine
But might I Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honoring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe
And sent it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself, but thee.

Edmund Spenser’s Sonnet # 15 and Ben Jonson Song: To Celia both imparts the idea that one can find genuine treasure in one’s love. Reasons and textual proofs from the two poems being compared are as follows:
Genuine treasure is not about literal and material wealth, or is an end product of pursuit and the eventual possession of material wealth. Material treasure will soon vanish although one exhausts all his efforts to find and keep it, rendering the travails futile. The first four lines in Spenser’s sonnet mock the pointless (because impermanently rewarding) attempt of merchants to explore the vast richness of the historically-chronicled uncharted Indias: the El Dorado-fabled South American continent of the West and the Indian subcontinent of the East. Deluded that their precious spoils (oxymoronic pun intended) would last them a lifetime, these merchant struggled fierily to seek and hoard them, whereas these would sooner or later vanish in one regretful way or another. Meanwhile, the wine and the Classical Roman chief god Jove’s nectar sup referred to in Jonson’s song’s fourth and seventh lines are well-covered material treasures that, after being sipped empty from a kiss-laced cup and causing temporal ecstasy on the taker’s part, would vaporized as soon as he got over from his hangover, which lasted no more than a day. Wine’s availability is out of the question, but Jove’s nectar sup is one mythical fantasy that is as fictional and as scarce as alchemy’s philosopher’s stone, meaning seeking for it is to no avail. These manifestations of material wealth in the two poems are, ironically, enormously immaterial to the pursuit of the true happiness, and toiling to find and keep these forms of treasure is an exercise in futility.
Non-material treasure such as that epitomized by one’s love is forever, which is to say that the hard work of finding and keeping the love one is largely compensated by the everlasting happiness and gratification brought about by the experience of loving (and being loved in return). The remaining lines of the Spenser’s sonnet (lines 5-14)—a wonderful unrestrained outpouring of Spenser’s innermost passion for the beloved addressee—literally likened the bodily parts of the love to gems of fantastic fabulousness: eyes like sapphires, lips like rubies, teeth like pearls, forehead like ivory, trees like gold, and of silver fairness. More than the analogous comparison, the physical loveliness described by the persona was gloriously capped with many-splendored virtues deep-seated in the love one’s mind. As long as the beloved lived and after she succumbed to earthly death, the beloved’s beauty would persist, because ephemeral as her life was, permanent was the impact her beauty created, a condition which prompted the poet to immortalize her in his rhapsodic sonnet. She was his love already, and becoming his love justified the better state of finding her than finding volatile treasure because she was joy—eliciting summum bonum—the greatest thing in the world. Similarly, the outburst of feeling of love in Jonson’s sonnet pointed to that permanent and satisfactory happiness originating from the beloved Celia: her eyes (line 1) and kiss (line 3) that were equal in proportion to a divine drink (line 8), and the requited symbolic love (line 9-16), all of which non-material treasure enriched the persona’s attitude toward his feelings, so much so that he would not trade his love experience for anything considerably less when juxtaposed to that summum bonum. The real treasure, the returned love which emanated bigger joy than drinks, transcended overtime.
Between material and non-material treasure, the latter is the real treasure since the overwhelming love experience cannot be substituted to artificial happiness offered by volatile riches. Both the poems imply the higher quality of the non-material treasure than material treasure. One may source out all the wealth-envy of the world, but even as he is separated from it in death, it can fade away faster than a blink of an eye. The fruit of all labors throughout a whole worldly passing may disintegrated instantly, and how worse can you label that experience but vain and unrewarding? Bringing the material treasure to the next higher level, godly drink or earthly drink of heavenly magnitude, it is no less futile and non-motivating than keeping jewelry or money, but all the same no more fulfilling than that which can be gotten when non-material treasure like love experienced is concerned.
Love in its truest form, coming from lover or the beloved, is never superficial even as for the life of either, he or she dies and lays forgotten (every so often). The fullness of their love has achieved a footing, be the time as long as their mortality will allow or as brief as a minute; the experience is a non-material treasure that cannot pass for the most prized possession in the universe. The permanence of this richness of lovers’ passion seeks it way to literary pieces or better yet, in human memoirs. Real wealth lends them life.
The poems under study intend to ascertain the truisms of material vs. non-material treasure, symbol vs. non-symbol, and permanence vs. impermanence. Of course, human experience such as love subjected in the lyrics is more significant than material objects with neither life nor emotion.
Thematological Conclusion:
The English Renaissance and the Seventeenth Century period of the Sons of Ben generated what are considered the most splendid love-themed lyric poems of all time. The historical context in which these poems’ writers lived proved that their tumultuous eras became years of world charting, colonization, socio-political and cultural upheavals, rebirth and reformation because the humanity at-large tried hard to discover the truth was the challenge of conventional notions regarding beauty, symbol, faith, permanence, science, philosophy and justice as attested by the literature produced during those inchoate times, the two poems included. While the theme of love in literature is universal one because love is what all good literatures expound, these themes was especially explored during the English Renaissance and the period immediately succeeding it, because the bastion of Western civilization was being reborn, and the rest of the planet was rapidly becoming the exotic place in which to chance upon and uphold the cause of happiness—be it truth, beauty, goodness, or love—that had been elusive to human beings all along.

Babusci, Roger, et al. Prentice Hall Literature: The English Experience. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliff, 1989.

Garcia, J. Niel C. “Philippine Gay Literature.” In Filipiniana Reader. Edited by Legasto, Priscelina, P. Quezon City: OASIS, University of the Philippines Open University, 1998.

Hitchcock, Alfred M., Composition and Rhetoric. New York: Henry Hold and Co., 1925.

Ilas, Sara C., et al. A Subtreasury of World Literature. Quezon City: Phoenix Press, 1985.

Pensacola Christian College. Backgrounds to World Literature. Pensacola, Florida: Pensacola Christian College, 1992.

__________.Masterpieces from World Literature. Pensacola, Florida: Pensacola Christian College, 1992.

Ribo, Lourdes M., et al. Language in Literature 3: Anglo-American Synthesis. Quezon City: Vibal Publishing House, 1998.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

peggling mode

Indeed, playing the computer game Peggle is an experience not to be missed. At first, there seems to be nothing special with the game that’s just like an upgraded version of the Pinball of my childhood. However, the lively background music, the vivid graphics of the two-dimensional design, and the simplicity of the goal of firing a ball to clear all pegs for the next level are the game’s major attractions. What’s more, when all the orange pegs are hit before all the balls are used up, drum rolls signal the slow descent of the ball into any of the 10,000-to-100,000-point holes and the classical “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven, a rainbow and fireworks burst in the air. The whole spectacle boosted my morale to improve in the succeeding levels within the Nature theme, wherein I got to play as an ancient Egyptian cat, a unicorn and a squirrel. Because the game is so much like Pinball, one does not have to be an expert to play Peggle because one only needs to aim at a strategic direction in order to hit as many pegs as possible, maximizing fired balls’ efficiency in the process. Top the entire effort with the climactic plunge of the ball and there’s no wonder why Peggle can be so addictive!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

regurgitations at direk's birthday party

A month has passed since I last saw my gay friends in Guadalupe, so it was a pleasant surprise that despite the hectic schedule of Joni (whose directorial debut was being screened in the landmark Isetann Recto), he agreed to have me visit him and his partner Edwin. I teased him that because of his independent movie’s extended run, an online breaking news should read, “Hugot smashes film records, eclipses Batman sequel,” to which he reacted with a boisterous laughter because in fact, his movie fared better than The Dark Knight owing to Isetann’s many gay patrons and resident gigolos.
Disembarking where the seductive billboard of Joem Bascon was earning all sorts of tantalized ogles, I was stunned when big drops of rain started to pelt my skin. My natural impulse was to scamper, but reaching Joni’s place entailed climbing the dingy footbridge, passing by the broad-chested siopao boy, and running against the human flow coming from the evening mass. Arriving at the Mones compound dripping more like a water-sprung Sadako than a convincing Judy Ann Santos, I bemoaned the price of daring to get wet if only to be hailed most beautiful.
Then, the redeeming value: a call interrupted the reunited gays’ chikahan, and it was an invitation to a birthday party. Direk’s. The prospect of seeing Direk again made my heart perform a jumping jack. Who he is (was?) in my life deserves a separate discussion altogether, so let me go on instead with the details of the celebration.
While still in the cab, Joni, Jobben, Michael and I had to humor ourselves in order to while away the travel time replete with intermittent downpour, street hawkers of all (as in all!) sorts and unwitting male sex objects. Direk’s house is located in the fringe of the metropolis, so coming from the center of civilization, we had a grand time recalling Pinoy films that were long buried under the oppressive heap of oblivion. I mentioned that Kokak had been recently cited by critic Butch Francisco as among the most maligned Pinoy films along with Huwag Mong Buhayin ang Bangkay and Nights of Serafina. Someone recited the filmography of Tina Paner, including Tamis ng Unang Halik and Pepay Pamaypay, in which Tina’s character can elongate her neck ala Loch Ness monster. Michael contributed the transmogrified allusion to the 1989 coup de etat, Tora-Tora! Bang-Bang! However, everyone was overthrown when Joni made a sign language of what seemed like manual crushing of an ice block and uttered the rhetorical question of the Sheryl Cruz-starrer Paano na sa Mundo ni Janet?
The labyrinthine passages of Direk’s borderline village finally ended and I found myself in his place the second time around. Only a few of Direk’s friends were there; we missed Sir Bing Lao by a hairbreadth because he and his companion left ten minutes before. Someone other than Direk acted as host and offered the new arrivals with pizza, fried chicken and pancit, which Direk prepared himself. It looked like that someone was Direk’s partner and judging from his dusky, Atom Araullo-deadringing features, I knew that the contest is so over. While I quietly munched on my garden variety, the partner was demonstrating to Joni how Miss USA slipped again in the recent Miss Universe staging. Since I don’t want to sound like a smartass to the partner, I kept to myself my analysis that the fall was symbolic of the crumbling of the bully superpower. Only when the topic had shifted to Miss Mexico’s answer about women’s balanced lives as ultimate fulfillment did I comment that the reply cost her the crown. Direk said that feminists won’t agree with the also-ran’s answer, which I corroborated by claiming that women’s ultimate fulfillment is mastery over men.
Joni’s lamentation over failing to meet Sir Bing yet again shifted the topic to Serbis, which Direk’s graduate professor wrote. I was teased for having appeared in the movie, earning Joni’s remark that my acting was “pang-Cannes” (Pangga’s “international extra” comment pales compared) so I grew purple in the face. Direk said something to the effect that he read about Serbis in my blog, which flushed me all the more because whoa, he actually visits my blogsite! That made my night.
So they drank while I acted as the resident GRO, we ate (pizza, that is) and sang merrily because it would take another year before Direk would celebrate his birthday again. Direk was seated next to me and, while other friends surrounded us, it’s as if Manuel Arguilla’s isolated world in “Midsummer” was recreated right there and there. Everything would have turned out fine, with Direk sitting beside me and the lovely night seemed long and still, except for the anti-climactic vomiting of Direk’s cat. It threw up, most noticeably, the pancit that’s Direk’s culinary pride. The noodle shreds stank, what with other disgusting things that the feline regurgitated, but it was a relief there were no rodent tails. It became the signal of our group’s departure.
In the highway, another bravura performance jolted us from drowsiness: a small cat lost its basic faculties by crossing the road amidst speeding vehicles. We tried to shoo it back into the sidestreet, which its instinct thankfully picked up. Joni was quick to formulate a philosophical question for the rest of the group to ponder: which cat was the better actress, Direk’s drunken cat or the daredevil cat? My friends fell exhausted once inside the cab, the dawn sky still showed no signs of letting up, but within its ribcage, my heart seemed to bask under the golden sunshine.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

to the little one in olongapo

The soft sunshine that had broken
Through the web-stained windows
Marked this return to life.
Phenomenal it was
To watch the eyes
Glisten with tears
Like the moment never transpired
In a hundred years.
The faceless enemy seemed
To swim back
To consciousness
Armed with neither crown nor lantern,
Voiced yet veiled.
Tonight, the blue moon soared
To toss another star
Unbraiding the clouds
As the meteor crawled
God’s head-bound.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

a hero beyond perfection

Whenever the term “hero” comes to mind, anybody will likely rave about an extraordinary person’s qualities. Essentially, this is what a hero is about: something beyond the ordinary. Average persons may be good, smart, concerned for people close to them; heroes, meanwhile, are steps ahead of the average in that they are virtuous, brilliant, ready to render self-sacrifice for others: family, the entire nation, even future generations. These positive aspects of heroes somewhat cause their own ruin because whether they intended it or not, these qualities are so magnified that they eventually obscure the human angles of a hero. It should be remembered that originally, heroes were hybrid beings who were more human-like than godly. That should figure in heroic portrayals so that heroes will not become so purged of their humanity as to turn them into gods. In other words, the likes of Andres Bonifacio and Jose Rizal should be depicted in history and related articles as some real persons who happened to possess qualities that elevate them from the common man. If, for example, Bonifacio gets mentioned as a highly literate man without giving so much as a passing note on his impoverished beginnings, it may be lost on the countless Filipino generations that his very poverty motivated him to go self-sufficient, making him devour books to teach himself. That, then, should inspire people from the lower class to struggle to learn because poverty did not hinder someone of their own in becoming a revered hero. If, for another example, Rizal is discovered to have nurtured a superiority complex despite the given fact that he was a proven genius, will that automatically affect the ideal way Filipinos look up to Rizal as national hero? At first, it is possible that Filipinos may get disenchanted that the national hero is in no way perfect, but on deeper realization, it is but human to become imperfect. That, then, should inspire Filipinos to try still to emulate Rizal in the best manner they can, because the national hero is just like the rest of us and we can be geniuses and pacifists and altruistic despite our imperfect selves.
It is in this light that one of the characters in O. Henry’s “The Last Leaf” should be seen: a hero short of perfection. This hero, Old Behrman, is not the stereotypical hero I know to be a master of most things, if not everything. In fact, the story reveals that he “was a failure in art,” always attempting to make brush strokes of his masterpiece but never really getting down to start anything. This attitude of his is understandable, given that any artist would project that what s/he has in mind is a glowing obra maestra, but so long as s/he does not start the thing, it remains the most perfect piece to ever come out of the humankind’s genius. If this piece gets started, it will prove to be flawed and it is just probably an act of putting closure that anything gets actually done. Leonardo da Vinci may have his Mona Lisa, Shakespeare his dramas, Brocka his films, but doesn’t it occur to us that the artists themselves may have not considered their works luminous at all? Hence Old Behrman’s manifestations of frustrations: he “drank gin to excess” and “had painted nothing now and then a daub in the line of commerce or advertising.” His personal demons attack him to prevent him from starting his masterpiece, whatever it is that he carries in mind. The fact that he battles it out against an internal conflict is a reminder that an artist of whatever caliber is still a human, after all. He is not a god who can churn out his flawless personal interpretations of truth and beauty. He is more like a hero who attempts to recreate truth and beauty in ways ordinary people would have not imagined, whether these truths and beauties are in the forms of art or of justice and liberation. Had Old Behrman not died of pneumonia, he would have been overwhelmed to realize the great extent to which his little artwork of an ivy leaf elevated itself to the level of a masterpiece. He would have been so proud of himself for creating a big impact in somebody’s fragile life in the form of a tiny, tenacious leaf painted onto the window of someone whose death depended on the last falling ivy leaf. However, he died in the process of performing his last attempt at art, another positive aspect of Old Behrman’s heroism for its inherent ideal of self-sacrifice. Then again, it should not be lost on the readers that this same hero is that “fierce little old man, who scoffed terribly at softness in anyone, and who regarded himself as especial mastiff-in-waiting,” someone just too human to ground him for people’s practical emulation. It is therefore very possible that despite ourselves, we can be our own heroes.
Of late, movies like Kung Fu Panda and Hancock showed unorthodox heroes with their glaring flaws. These heroes are very much in the vein of Old Behrman: they are not too perfect for people to abandon altogether the idea of imitating them. They are imperfect yet their imperfection did not stop them from rising toward extraordinariness. It only shows that we can also go beyond our flaws in order to transform into the best that we can be. Our scars, literal or figurative, will give us the character of our own unique heroism.

Friday, July 25, 2008

higanti ng mga api: isang postkolonyal na pagsusuri sa nobelang etsa-puwera ni jun cruz reyes

Ang pamagat na “Etsa-Puwera” ng nobela ni Juan Cruz Reyes ay isang nararapat na terminong maigagawad para sa anumang bagay na ang halaga ay minamaliit, ipinagwawalang-bahala o tinatanggal, halimbawa ay ang kasaysayan na siyang sentrong tinatalakay ng may akda, sa isang pamamaraang taliwas sa nakagisnan natin sa mga teksbuk at iba pang batayang libro. Hindi ito ang kasaysayang nakasanayang nababasa sa mga aklat: samakatuwid, ang mga winalang-bahalang kabahagi nito ay hindi pamilyar sa atin kahit pa sabihing ito ang ating pagkakakilanlan. Sa paggamit ng salitang ito ay nilagom ng may-akda ang temang pinalinaw-pinaigting pa ang kahulugan sa pagtalakay sa kasaysayang dili-iba’t atin kaya nga makakapa natin sa ating sarili ang ating angking pagiging etsa-puwera ng sosyedad—ang ating panlipunang kahalagan na hindi lubusang tinapunan ng pansin gawa ng pagmaniobra ng malalakas at maiimpluwensya.
Ang konseptong “etsa-puwera” ay nag-uugat sa pagkakaroon at pananatili ng pagkakabahaging panlipunan simula nang lumitaw sa daigdig ang sibilisasyon at sistemang pulitikal. Ayon sa teoryang Darwinian kung saan “nabubuhay ang pinakamainam (survival of the fittest),” naghahari ang pinakamalalakas, samantalang napaiilalim ang mga mahihina. Sa paglikwad ng panahon ay pinairal ng lipunan ang batayan ng totoo, mabuti at maganda (the true, the good, and the beautiful), at dahil lamang may mas kakintalan ang panukat na ito sa mga kabilang sa mas nakaaangat ang antas sa social strata, naisasantabi at sa malas ay ‘di-naisasalang-alang ang posibilidad na ang etsa-puwera man sa lipunan ay may angkin ding katotohanan, kabutihan at kagandahan. Ito ang masasalamin sa akda: ang kasaysayan ng naisantabi-sa-lipunang lahi ni Ebong ay punumpuno rin ng kalinangan at pagkakakilanlan, at hindi kinakailangang ito ay maisalaysay sa dominanteng perspektibong kolonyal para mabansagang interesante sa kanyang kagandahan.
Sa nobela ay naging prominenteng etsa-puwera ang mga ninuno ni Rebo, ang tagapagsalaysay na inanak ng mga tauhang pangunahing gumalaw sa kanyang akdang sariling kasaysayan. Etsa-puwera sila dahil may kasaysayan silang ubrang ipabatid sa lipunan, lamang ay hindi sila ang mga tipong nagiging imortal sa mga batayang aklat sa araling panlipunan. Sa umpisa pa lang ay may magic realism nang ginagamit upang palabasing nag-ugat ang lahi ni Ebong sa hayop na usa (ang lola niya sa talampakan, si Oysang, ay isang usang nagkatawang-tao upang mapangasawa ng katutubong taga-Cordillera, si Carayyo). Walang lugar sa kasaysayan ang mga kababalaghang ganito, dahil mas tinuturingan ang mga “paktwal” na pangyayari upang permanenteng maisatitik. Lalo namang hindi maisasama ang mga katulad nina Carrayyo at Rosa dahil lamang sa pagiging primitibong tagabundok nila, o ni Sion na anak sa labas, o ni Ando dahil pipi na siya ay inakala pang espiya ng mga kano. Sa pagdaan ng pagsasalaysay ay tinalakay ang mga makabayang henerasyon ni Teban, Dune at Ruben, ngunit sa kolonyal na pananaw, sila ay walang-iba kundi mga rebelde sa lipunan, samakatuwid ay walang puwang upang dakilain sa mga pahina ng kasaysayan. Basta ba hindi katanggap-tanggap sa mga batayang kolonyal, gaya ng lider ng kultong si Dune na tahasang kinalaban ang naghaharing Kristiyanismo at pamahalaang Kastila, hindi nararapat bigyang-saysay. Sa ganitong kaso ay ‘di-kataka-takang etsa-puwera rin ang kanilang kasaysayan, dahil ito ay madalang naisasaimprenta, at dahil na rin ang ating nakasanayang konsepto ng kasaysayan ay nakalahad sa perspektibong kolonyal at Kanluranin. Sa sariling diyalogo nga ni Rebo, “...ang mga lalaki sa lahi namin, panay hindi kasali sa itinatala. Kaya hindi tinatandaan sa lipunan. Nasa lahi namin iyon, mga taong hindi pang-history, kasi laging nasa laylayan o tagiliran lang ang poder (Kabanata 1, pahina 2, talata 2).” Mahalaga sa nobela ang mga ninuno at ang kanilang kasaysayan at matatagpuan sa wakas sa isang akdang lumihis sa ibang akdang kumbensyonal upang maisalaysay ang angkin at katutubong kasaysayan—kasaysayang nagmistulang dayuhan dahil inetsa-puwera lamang ng mga dominanteng kapangyarihan.
Ang konsepto ng etsa-puwera sa mga akdang “Orientalism” at “Can the Subaltern Speak?” nina Edward Said at Gaytri Spivak, ayon sa pagkakasunod, ay mabibigyang kahulugan bilang pagsasantabi ng halaga ng mga bagay, mula sa tao, kanyang opinyon, kanyang katauhan at iba pa. Sa pasimula ni Said sa “Orientalism,” tinalakay niya kung paanong ang mga Europeo at Amerikano sa kumakatawang pampanitikan at pangkultura, mga disiplinang pang-akademiko, at persepsyong pampubliko ay nagpapalago ng pagkiling laban sa mga di-Kanluraning mga tao, na tinuturingang “Oriental Others.” Sa kabilang dako, punto naman ni Spivak na ang “Subaltern” o taong humahawak ng mas-nakakababang puwesto sa lipunan ay hindi makapagsasalita ng anuman, agapan man siya o hindi ng mga intelektwal na may mabubuting intesyon.
Nalilikha ang “oriental,” “subaltern,” o simpleng etsa-puwera dahil sa maling persepsyong sa unibersal na batayang “ang totoo, mabuti at maganda”, perpektong nilalarawan nito ang mga Kanluranin at angat sa lipunan, at hindi kailanman ang mga oryental at mga api-apihan sa lipunan. Basta hindi kasapi sa dominanteng kapangyarihan ng lipunan, kahit pa may pansariling kakayahan, kalinangan, kariktan, interes, moral at iba pa, hindi pa rin maikukonsiderang ispesyal sa lipunan. Para bagang ang etsa-puwera ay isang plorerang may alindog na kaakit-akit at may bulaklak na humahalimuyak, ngunit sa kadahilanang hindi naman magbubunga ito ng radikal na pagbabago o malaking konsekwensya sa mundo, bakit ito bibigyang-pansin?
Maraming salik na nagtatalaban para likhain at pagtibayin ang kahulugan ng konseptong etsa-puwera. Isa rito ang imperyalistikong pamamayagpang ng Kanluran hanggang sa ngayon. Dahil ang Kanluran ang nakapangingibabaw, ito ang nagdidikta kung anu-ano ang mga bagay na katanggap-tanggap sa lipunan, at ang mga bagay na ito ay bagay na galing sa kanila, mula sa imbesyon, konsepto, teknolohiya at iba pa. Isa pang salik ay ang proseso ng pagbabago na mabilis sa Kanluran at mabagal sa Silangan. Minamaniobra ng Kanluran ang usad-pagong na pagbabago sa Silangan dahil ayaw ng unang maging kakompetensya pa nito ang Silangan. Malaking salik din ang edukasyon sa pagkakaroon ng etsa-puwera. Halimbawa, Ang mga batayang aklat sa Araling Panlipunan ay nakasalig sa kolonyal na perspektibo kaya ang mga dinarakila sa mga pahina nito ay ang kabutihan ng mga Kanluranin at sinisikil ang makaating pananaw. Sa manipulasyong ito ng kolonyal na mga kaisipan, isinasantabi ang marapat sana ay pinapahalagahan dahil ito ang tanging masasabing kaangkinan. Resulta nito, mas niyayakap pa ang estrangherong kultura kaysa ang mabuti namang sariling kalinangan.
Ang pagsasakasaysayang postkolonyal na ginawa sa nobela ay ang pagsasalaysay ni Ebong sa nakaraan ng kanyang mga ninuno, mula kina Oysang hanggang sa kanyang amang si Ruben. Kaiba sa kumbensyunal na salaysay pangkasaysayan ang ginawa ni Ebong: inumpisahan niya ito sa pinagmulan ng kaniyang lahi na mula pa sa Cordillera pati na ang kapaligirang inikutan ng inisyal niyang paglalahad, mga katutubong malayong mabilang sa mga katanggap-tanggap sa lipunan. Nagpatuloy ang kasaysayan sa mga pangyayari noong panahon ng mga Kastila, Amerikano, Hapon hanggang sa unang bahagi ng pagkakaroon ng kalayaan, ngunit sa perspektibong nakasalig sa katutubong pananaw. Mas minahalaga ang pagkukuwentong magpapakita ng tunay na ginawa ng mga Pilipino noong mga panahong nakasama sa kasaysayan, ngunit piniling ibaon sa limot sa mga modernong mananalaysay dahil nakikita nilang mas akmang sa kolonyal na pananaw ihatag ang sariling kasaysayan. Ang pamamaraan ng pagsasalaysay niya ay isang radikal na pag-iwas sa nakagawian nang pagkukwento sa kasaysayan, na malamang kaysa hindi ay sa perspektibong nagbigay-luwalhati sa mga Kanluraning mananakop sa halip na sa perspektibong magpapakita ng damdaming makabayan. Isinalaysay niya ang lahi niyang mula sa ‘di-kumbensyonal o ‘di-katanggap-tanggap sa lipunan: lahing usa, katutubong taga-bundok, asawa ng kung sinu-sino, mga gerilya sa panahon ng mga Kastila, Amerikano at Hapones, rebelde ng lipunan. Sa kanyang pananaw ay nagpakita lamang ng pagkakakilanlang Pilipino ang mga ito, ngunit sa interpretasyon ng iba, mga etsa-puwera sila ng lipunan. Maidagdag pa, postkolonyal ang pagsasakasaysayan ni Ebong dahil ang mga Pilipinong ipinagtatayo ng mga monumento, naiimprenta sa mga perang papel, at dinarakila sa mga aklat-pangkasaysayan ay idinamay sa pagsasalaysay niya ngunit sa konsiderasyong hindi kinakailangang bayaning-bayani kundi taung-tao upang mas maging kauri at kakilala ng mga mambabasa. Ang Pangulong Emilio Aguinaldo ay pamilyar sa atin bilang tagapagtanggol ng bagong-tatag na Republika nang paglipat-lipatin nila ito mula Malolos, Bulacan hanggang Palanan, Isabela, ngunit para sa tauhang si Teban, tumatakas-umaatras lamang umano ang heneral sa mga digmaan at mga Amerikanong kalabang gusto silang hulihin. Bakit nga ba naman kailangang magbahag ng buntot ang isang bayaning inaasahang magiging tagapanguna sa paglusob sa mga kaaway? Sa punto-de-bista ni Teban, hindi nagpapakalalaki si Aguinaldo at may implikasyon ito sa atin na siya ay hindi naman matuturingang tunay na bayani. Ang heneral namang si Goyong o Gregorio del Pilar ay hindi lamang pala pulos depensa ng Republika o pagbuo ng mga kasulatan ang ginagawa, manapa ay tao rin pala itong may panahon sa pag-ibig sa katauhan ni Jocelynang Baliuag. “Masyadong maraming excess energy,” patungkol ni Teban sa nakapapagod na among si Goyong, “Karamihan pala (sa mga liham) ay para sa mga tagahanga ni Goyong (Kab. 8, pahina 127).” Maituring na postkolonyal ang hinabing kasaysayan ni Ebong dahil kakikitaan ito ng pagkukuwentong nagpapahiwatig ng kaangkinang tunay na katutubo at katanggap-tanggap na Pilipino. Kalaunan ay nalikha ng tagapagsalaysay ang isang kasaysayang Pilipinong matagal nang hinahanap-hanap ngunit ngayon lamang natagpuan dahil sa pagiging hirati natin sa mga paglalahad ng kasaysayan na nasusulat upang dakilain pang lalo ang kolonyal na kapangyarihan o gawing dayuhan ang sarili nating kasaysayan. Sa malas, ang kasaysayang nalikha ay gumahis sa tanikalang kolonyal na nananatili sa pag-alipin sa ating kaisipan at nagpalaya sa ating kakayanang kilalanin ang ating sarili bilang nakapag-iisang lipi.
Ang konsepto ng bayang binubuo ng nobela ay ‘di-mapasusubaliang katutubo dahil sa kabila ng mga nagdatingang mananakop, ang bayan ay napanatiling Pilipinung-Pilipino. Kung kakapain at susuriin ang tekstura at kulay ng lipunang pinag-isipan sa akda, wala ni bahid ng pagkakakilanlan ayon sa pansariling pananaw. Halimbawa, si Dune ay itinuturing na Papang Kayumanggi sa kanyang lipunan; siya ang tagapamagitan ng mga miyembro ng kanyang pinangungunahang kulto sa kanilang paniniwala sa Diyos. Dahil siya ay pangunahin ding tagapagtaguyod ng kalayaan sa mga mapaniil na Kastila; kasama siya sa isang pambansang rebolusyong gustong magkamit ng pagbabago kung mapapatalsik ang mga dayuhan. Miyembro siya ng kilusang naging daan ng paglupig sa mga mananakop, at nang dumating ang mga Amerikano, inayawan niya ang ang implikasyong sa mga napatalsik ay mayroon pumalit upang sa mga ito ay muling mapailalim ang bayan. Maaaring pinugutan siya ng ulo ng mga Kano, ngunit noong buhay pa siya, malaking bahagi ang naiambag niya sa mga pababago sa lipunan sa pamamagitan ng pamumuno ng kilusang kasaling nagpawagi sa Rebolusyong Pilipino. Hindi matatawaran ang kontribusyong ito ng buhay-makabayan ni Dune ay positibo ang epekto sa mga mamamayan dahil nagresulta ito sa pagsilang ng kalayaan mula sa mga mananakop na Kastila. Ang buhay-makabayan ni Dune ay gumanyak pa sa ibang Pilipinong ipagtanggol sa anumang pamamaraan ag kalayaan mula sa mga dayuhan. Sa pangkalahatan, nabuo ang konseptong sariling atin o postkolonyal: malinaw sa atin ngayon na ang inetsa-puwera sa lipunan, ang mga taong tunay na marapat mailagay upang dakilain sa mga pahina ng kasaysayan, ay makapagdudulot ng pagbabago sa bayang iginuhit sa nobela bilang isang bayang kilala natin, ating-atin at karapat-dapat nating angkinin.
Ang etsa-puwera ay etsa-puwera lamang ayon sa tumitingin, lalo na kung babatayin sa perspektibong kolonyal, ngunit kung itutuwid lamang ang kasaysayan sa pamamagitan ng obhetibong pananaw, may pagkakaiba-iba ngunit hindi kinakailangang may nakapangingibabaw ni may maisasantabi.

Monday, July 21, 2008

letter to a young student

My dear student,
Lovely. Refined. Diligent. Bright. I can rattle off more adjectives to describe you, my dear student, but I must say that rolling this description into one will embody the promising young lady that’s you. Imagine how great a living antithesis you are to the world, or to life for that matter, all grown exhausted struggling to find a place in the sun.
And so, I am most grateful of this opportune time, not because I can be an embalmer, toss the world (or life) into a coffin and seal it away, the wicked and brutal predator that it is. Why do I thank the advent of this moment, then? It’s because I come across someone like you, whose talents are so brimming, it’s almost a sin to repress (or to pass you unnoticed).
While we may reluctantly admit that we are already hopelessly late to probe the skies for stars from our standpoint in the wasteland, the past generations have done this ahead of us and few seemed to have triumphed, but why shouldn’t we? Hence, go on, Shereen; whatever it is that you have for a goal (and I believed, it all boils down to the assertion of identity), dream with a vision. You are so promising that you are inclined to endure frustrated attempts by the world/life to harm you or your ambition.
Taking God as your compass, you let your spirit soar high. Be undaunted; it takes a crazy shot of courage to try to reach out to the heavens instead of the lowly roof. It is easy to dismiss as simplistic and narcissistic performing such a grand design for your self advancement; thus, as you entertain the time of your life, become an inspiration to the world. Rise and shine.
Give the world or life the awesome favor of embellishing it with your personal touch. Chase your dream and, in effect, show the person that you are. In the process, you discover that the line in Desiderata that avers “Despite the sham and all its drudgeries, it is a beautiful world” lends some truth, after all.

Sincerely yours,
Little Gapanese

Sunday, July 20, 2008

reading michel foucault's discipline and punish

Discipline and punishment have gone a long way from the ancient ritual of brutal direction of assault on the human body. Making a public spectacle out of it makes discipline and punishment more horrifying. Why not, when the dehumanizing act may well condition the viewing crowd in such a way that they might feel nothing of the cathartic emotions of pity (for the criminal) and fear (for their own possible brutalization) and, worse, perversely enjoy the carnage unfolding before their very eyes. The psychological effect of such a terrible consequence for social deviation was far more reaching because both the erring victim and the watchers got dehumanized as well as the latter are considerable participants to a crime against humanity, notwithstanding if the suffering human deserved his punishment or if the punishment was part or already the means of behavior-corrective measure.
Gone were the days of criminals being torn asunder by oppositely pulling horses or other such vicious castigations on the fellow human. The human justice system has found a way to turn the disciplinary technique into the seemingly innocuous penal colony where criminals are subjected to the same proportions of brutality. It is not hard to tell that the same elements of punishment exist: power is still wielded, and the bars are engineered in such a way that one can easily be seen by the panopticon, the all-seeing icon which replaced the public spectators. Most importantly, the psychological inculcation of the oppression has made the power invisible in such a way that even if the wardens are not present anymore, the convicts can hardly tell because they are the ones being gazed and even as they stare in return, at what vantage point can the wardens be seen? The case is disempowering, and it is safe to say the invisible power of the oppressor has rendered the criminals into becoming the panopticon themselves: the convicts feel they are permanently observed and examined, in effect imbibing a behavior that is normalized and reformatory.

Friday, July 18, 2008

iving life to the fullest

100 by Chris Martinez is about a woman whose life is about to end in three months because of the dreaded cancer disease. Within those remaining 100 days of earthly life, she embarks on a mission to do all she has to before she dies, from eating the food her figure consciousness deprives her of, to closing the chapter of an illicit relationship.
I gathered that 100 is among the most likeable of the final entries in Cinemalaya 2008 and rightly so because I myself immensely liked it for both content and form. Regarding content, I love the idea of maximizing one’s life because life on earth is really fleeting—it is wise to spend days qualitatively while still alive. This is what Joyce (Mylene Dizon) does before her illness terminates her life: she travels to Hong Kong, China and other places (even France’s Eiffel Tower, in in order to marvel such sights in actuality; eats crispy pata, chocolate, ice cream, cake, and other food that will shorten one’s life if consumed in excessive proportions; even ends her adulterous affair with a married man (TJ Trinidad) just so she won’t die being a participant to the husband’s unfairness to his wife. It is just ironic that she affords to engage in these listed tasks only when she has an impossibly short time to do so, but it is better late than never. Many people do not have the opportunity to do these in their lifetime, so while she may, she fulfills her list in order to optimize her three-month stint on earth. As for form, the film is commendable for its crisp pace and youthful take, a reflection of the film’s theme of cramming everything possible within the brief time. The many light moments that sometimes make one cry or laugh are perhaps the commentary of the film about life: that life is basically about happiness and sadness and other emotions of lesser magnitude in between.
I learned from the film the refreshed, age-old truth about living life to the fullest. Indeed, life can be a flash of an eye, so why not perform the things that can cause fulfillment? A lifetime is not enough to do the very best things one can avail of, but surely fleeting time should not be a hindrance to doing so. However short, life can permit humans to find life’s meaning in their unique worldview. It remains on the humans whether or not to pursue life’s definition within such a fast earthly journey.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

live but don't leave

Rumors catch a rolling fire that you will be transferring to another school in Bulacan soonest, and the flames’ rapid tongue has at once licked my appalled auditory channels. Very bad, this star-crossed campus loses another beauty titleholder (and a phenomenal looker at that) in the fast-growing tradition of premature farewell walk of the likes of 1998 Mr. University 2nd runner-up Joselito Mones + (rest in undisturbed peace), 1999 Ms. University Roma Rey de Leon (rest at home until your good-for-one-semester dismissal comes to pass) and her 2nd princess, crowned 1999 Ms. Intramural Jacqueline Bayabos (rest yourself from constant school-hoping)
No contest: I completely succumb to the harsh fact that in Malolos alone, three excellent universities—Bulacan State, Centro Escolar and Regina Carmeli—can be your prospect second college terminals. The strongest point that can probably make you uninterruptedly finish your Accountancy degree here is that it is the region’s highest hurdler in the CPA examination of late. What else? Okay, CBAA is already accredited as a second-level bastion of learning by CHED, aside from its recent elevation as a corporate college.
Withstanding every advertisement I might use to compel you not to walk away, you (?) will have or must have designed beforehand a stand that makes a strong difference. If you are decided to study Basic Accounting the CEU way, you are taken to it. If you have programmed your mind to conduct rough Account estimates through the BSU approach, then fine. If you have brewed intensions of learning Accounting proper in some other school, well, the fatal (adj. of or related to fate) decision lies wholly in your (?) hands.
Really, you are the sole master of your ship. You are valued offspring of this generation that strive for carefree independence and unsuppressed resoluteness. Even so, I in behalf of your potential minions out here in the University would like to let you know how ultimately unhappy I will be to see you relentlessly search for yourself in some foreign institution grounds. Though this probable intent of transferring may not be yours, I must go on.
By the way, I miss you like insane, unknowing heartbreaker.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


The sound screamed in Jeff’s head like a recurrent knell in Camiling’s ancient belfry. He must have plugged everything in his ears—from cotton rolls to I-pod earphones—just so he’d muffle the ringing, yet the reverberation persisted, mocking him with what seemed like slow, diabolic laughter. He actually pleaded for it to stop, but in every breathed word the sound cackled even more. He ran out of cocaine and had to subsist on half a case of Red Horse if only to calm his frenzied self.
“Slutfucker! Leave me in silence!” Jeff cussed, squeezing his ears with his palms. The echo played on, sounding a spine-tingling Ha-Ha-Ha in the distant space.
Old folk in the barrio told him it was un-uni. Whether or not this primitive wisdom was infiltrated by the modern explanation of an echo sounding many hours too late, he had no idea. In his youth, he and his cousins would play tag by the sunset-lit meadow till whacks of broomsticks sent them home whining, and deep in the night he would be roused by noises of their own laughter when he and his cousins raced and tumbled down the twilight field strewn with withered fireflowers and yellowed leaves. It petrified his heart to hear their own shrieks such that he’d call on to his readily awakened yaya, who scolded him for staying out late in the dying day, when all the spirits would begin to roam the earth and to toy with whatever humans left—in their case, the delayed sound of their voices.
“Serves you right,” his aged nanny blurted out in her disrupted sleep. “Next time, barok, stay out later, till ghouls rise out of their graves and snatch you.” Jeff heard running kids breaking into boisterous laughter that sounded disturbingly familiar. The heartiness of the chuckles was actually his and his cousins’, but he wondered who the midnight children were, much more their parents who allowed such listless playing in so unholy an hour. Un-uni, the elderly wagged their tongue. Un-uni in time of Walkman and MTV; now, un-uni still, in time of I-pods and MP3s.
He would have reached for the abortion scissors lying next to the corpse of the woman whose womb he pulled a fetus out of. The pair lay there, glimmering in blood and faint bulb light, waiting for him to do a van Gogh and be finally freed from hearing all sorts of eerie echoes emanating from their backyard of a meadow which, according to hearsays, became an execution site during the Japanese invasion. Postwar, his maternal grandparents reluctantly homesteaded near the killing field because of its fearsome reputation, and even as his mother inherited the house, she would not deign live in it, choosing to educate Jeff in the jungle of Manila despite the scarier disposition of city beasts. Meanwhile, an older Jeff found the house just perfect for his angst-driven trips, from taking home his conquest-for-the-moment to this—putting up a makeshift abortion clinic where he could operate on the women he impregnated. A few of the wild women he had one-night stand with and some of his girlfriends got knocked up, earning him the notorious title “sharpshooter,” but he was not humored by his good-for-nothing barkada’s jests. He knew he had to escape this imminent trap, and the ancestral house in Camiling provided an answer. Now, he has been so accustomed at pulling fetuses out of his women that he could shoot the jelly-like mass of lifeless little humans right into the liquid-filled bottle containers a couple of feet away. The jars did not stay long in the cabinet next to the operating implements; on an ungodly hour, he would trek to bury the fetuses in the moonless meadow where half a century ago, bloodied and bayoneted bodies provided a gruesome landscape in the ill-reputed area.
Jeff’s latest girl was anything but regular. If his former flames and flings were women one can find in Malate discos losing themselves in tequilas till the wee hours of the morning, this one learned well (or so Jeff thought) from the convent school adjacent to the upscale university he attended. Prior to this girl, he courted party animals for one week, tops, and got them to bed in predictably less time. But this girl made his gym-sculpted body and star-material looks less important than what was inside his beautiful package. In short, the girl was a challenge for someone like Jeff who frequently accessed everything using face value.
“Go serious now with this girl,” Jeff’s mother would coax him. He grew so lost in concentration he stopped pumping iron altogether. All of 23 and he has a mother who still hounded on like his conscience. If his mother were his conscience, the least he expected was to have one that wore dramatic black dresses with matching theatrical makeup and jewelry a few karats’ shy of Imelda’s. He imagined his past women turning into this motherly fashion, and he had the urge to ride his F-150 and squash all his mother’s and women’s clones on the way to his hometown in Tarlac, where he could be king without the benefit of stupid advisers.
“You can’t even tell that to your husband,” Jeff wiped off his sweat that made his upper torso glisten like a sun-kissed tropical paradise.
“Your father is a one-woman man,” the matron was about to let out her litany of histrionics until Jeff’s retort silenced her forever.
“Your husband is a multi-timing faggot who probably will not think twice about sucking the cock of his own son,” Jeff’s volcanic anger erupted, more as he got reminded of his father swishing merrily with two gorgeous hunks outside a gay hub in Orosa-Nakpil. He felt like crucifying them all—his fucking father, his fucking mother and all the fucking whores he had bedded all these years. “All of you, you’re pathetically alike,” were his parting words before speeding off and regaining his cool upon fetching his virginal catch somewhere in posh Gateway. His ad misericordiam, despite his macho self, so touched the girl that she promised him company. He drove his girl all the way to Camiling, where she—an animal caged by the circumstances of his beguiling captor—could not help any more but yield to Jeff’s demands. He succeeded in getting her laid, and found that the girl was just like the rest of them—she’s a whore, yes; only different.
And seeming to prove she was somewhat unlike his past women, she was now a cadaver in the makeshift clinic unlike his liberal women who danced in bars till kingdom come just two weeks after abortion. Like the convent-bred girl that she was, his latest vigorously objected to his killing the offshoot of his sharpshooting skill. But that was when she and her unborn baby were still very much connected to this world. Now, he managed to kill two with just one bird.
“No, Jeff, not our innocent child,” he remembered the girl pleading as she and Jeff waited for the North-bound MRT, the sun sinking in the dust-sprinkled distance. The chain of Makati skyscrapers looked like purplish elephants instead of white, but Jeff’s feeling was trains and beers and hills away from being fine.
“I am not prepared to traipse down the aisle with a bride swelling at the belly,” Jeff scowled, positive that the girl would give in if she saw him lose his cool. “Besides, what are you gonna feed your baby with? Insults of social hypocrites?” Together they disembarked in Kamuning, where they ransomed the repaired car which he rammed against his father’s parked Starex a couple of days ago, accidentally discovering within it a delirious gigolo being sucked by Jeff’s very father. The quibbling continued, but no amount of words could dissuade the man running the show, and off they went again to Camiling, where they’d perform just a little operation.
But she’s now dead, and in the room that used to reek of pleasured moans or scandalous screams from intoxicated women being operated sans anesthesia, his yells tried to surpass the magnitude of the sound emanating from the meadow. The combination of cocaine and booze must have finally made a hallucinatory impact in his system, since he got distracted upon seeing a shadow standing by the sprawled carcass of his girl. A blink and the silhouette vanished. Hardly clear-headed, he motioned to clean up his mess—it was such a pain to peer at the anguished face of the dead woman whose child he just bottled up. The antique clock bonged twice; he still has an hour to cover up his crime.
Armed with a shovel he headed for the benighted meadow, his heartbeat racing even after loads of liquor and drugs already washed his nerves. The firetrees of his youth swayed with the chilly wind, resembling guffawing witches who ladled their concoction left and right. The eyes of the murky heavens grew blind as he commenced to dig a shallow grave for two of his latest kills.
He was already flattening the soil amid the shape-shifting shadows when the unexpected jolted the shit out of him: the echoing Ha-Ha-Ha started to rent the quiet atmosphere. “The substances are taking effect,” he convinced himself, but the sound became clearer and clearer for every passing heartbeat. Not Ha-Ha-Ha but Uha-Uha-Uha actually assailed his ears. The infantile yelping that seemed to originate from below grew in unison that soon rendered him bawling his lungs out and squirming on the ground. Even though he tried, he could not close his terrified eyes nor move his helpless body when thirteen spots around him heaved underneath and little arms thrust out of the black earth. The un-uni inevitably drowned his screeching and thirteen crying fetuses, all bloated, dark and decomposing littlest humans, were suddenly upon him.
originally appeared in

Friday, July 11, 2008

game on girls

“Game on Girls” takes note of the emerging presence of girls in the gaming world, commenting that the male-dominated industry is currently giving way to an increasingly narrowing gender gap. It is true that women had previously been judged against, with sexist assumptions that women are too softcore to “shoot guns, do sports, or experience fast-paced action.” Now that the gaming industry taps the female market by producing, distributing and selling girl-friendly games, there seems to be the changing gender dynamics. However, I see that with the largely unexploited market among women, the gaming industry capitalists only found potential moneymaking means through these games, primarily. I think that these male-dominated industries place gender sensitivity secondarily, if at all, since it is possible that as a matter of power play, these men will never allow women to overthrow them, let alone challenge them, even if just in the games. This is implied in the article section wherein males are chosen over females as gaming industry employees by virtue of the males’ “passion for games.” This is disagreeable because passion is not gender-restricted. The pointed out differences of girl gamers from boy gamers only intensify sexism even in a world that’s supposed to be enjoyable. That gender discrimination only takes the fun out of the gaming.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

food for littlegapanese' thought

I am bigoted (Jel’s word of the day) against certain (although nutritious) food, which partly explains my slim body built. That shall dismiss your theory that I adore Judy Ann Santos so much that I didn’t even spare her endorsed Fitrum with L-Carnitine and achieved a “Wow na Wow” figure in the end. I might have a voracious appetite (what planetary gay can devour adobo, pork sinigang or tinola and a casserole full of rice in a single sitting?), but offer me food laced with tausi, guava fruit or banana heart and I will run hollering at the opposite direction. Like a conceited Latina beauconera, I am also sure to turn my nose against beef tapa as tough as leather, frogs (that have since stopped croaking), or meals cooked in coconut milk. Pangga knows I have to stop mentioning the rest of my gastrointestinal abomination lest I lose my craving altogether.
Meanwhile, I have a strange fascination for street food, notwithstanding warnings from healthcare friends that I might catch polysyllabic diseases for indulging in consumables exposed to virulent microorganisms and the toxic gases of the metropolis. Not that I have a death wish or don’t care about what caring friends say, but I want to sustain my oneness with the masses by eating what they eat. Hence, popular culture colors my sojourns at barbecue stands where university-bred elites buy “six pieces ng pork isaw,” fishball-chickenball-kikiam carts, makeshift stalls peddling calamares, mekekekwek or egg balls, sago-gulaman, goto-lugaw, siomai, among other exotic offerings from ingenious Filipino small and medium enterprises. These places thrive, too, with materials for writing, such as this Wow-a-cart I and my academic colleagues recently visited to gorge chicken entrails in. Our wise Supremo from the Business Administration department recounted to us that the owner won the kiosk from the carnivalesque noontime show Wowowee. Spotting a small child placidly asleep underneath, next to the frying area, wisecracking Edwin asked, “kasama ba sa napanalunan ‘yung tulugan ng bata?”
Another goldmine is this Guadalupe siopao stall whose nightshift attendant is a moreno, broad-chested boy direct from the fiction pages of Valentino, Coverboy or some other parlor-read gay magazines. Last time I and Mama Joni stopped by, Sexy Attendant asked in a provocative baritone, “Sir, ano po’ng kakainin n’yo?” Joni replied, “Hong Kong-style noodles!” while I merely pointed at the luscious siopao filled to bursting with meat (hopefully not cat’s) in his front, to which SA reacted, “ako po ang gusto n’yong kainin?!?” Or the tisoy-manned shawarma joint in UP which I blogged about recently. Hmm, featuring yet another foodstuff very soon (i.e. the beverage joint attended by two cuties near Ruel’s place) might confirm RR’s observation that I’m turning into a Doreen Fernandez or Nora Daza of the gay sort.
My makamasa appetite has likewise brought me to this hole-in-the-wall bulalohan within the axis of my residence. If some pamintas think that this bulalohan is a gay wordplay for a place for m2m action, sorry guys. It is really a joint offering tongue-scorching bulalo soup and spicy sisig at—don’t look now—P20 only. Rice is at P6, so it is not a wonder that the tiny place is a blockbuster among the drivers, parloristas, construs, salesclerks, students, etc. round-the-clock. The escalating inflation rate has somehow affected this favorite enterprise, for a month ago the owner decided to add P5 to the original price of the bulalo and the sisig in order to make up for the rising marketing expenses. It proved fatal, because the next two weeks saw the dramatic decline in customers savoring both the oily brew and the fiery sisig. Food rates have since retroceded, with the glassy-eyed manang explaining that the management will have to bear the economic burden if only to get by. I could see that their survival is their low-class customers’ survival as well, so I’m happy that I’ll still be seeing commoners, even families who eat there together because the lowly bulalohan is aware of what customers’ budget can afford. Without even knowing the meaning of corporate social responsibility, let alone hear it, the bulalohan is conscious about looking after its kind. I’m convinced anew that heroism lies in the masses.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

ang postkolonyal na sultanato ng sulu

Sa isang kaligiran kung saan ang isang teritoryo ay nasa ilalim ng pananakop ng isang mas malakas na bansa, mahirap palitawin na ang kolonyang ito ay maituturing na nakapagsasarili sa anumang paraan o porma. Lagi na, makikita sa mga aspeto ng istrukturang panlipunan mula kultura, kalakalan, relihiyon, pulitika at iba pa ang patunay na may kontaminasyon ng kolonisasyon sa isang lugar, na siyang nagpapawalang-bisa ng pagkabansa. Kinakailangang may matagumpay na paraan ng pagtuligsa ang isang bansa upang matawag na malaya mula sa mananakop nito.
Ang postkolonyal na pagbasa sa kasaysayan ng sona ng Sulu bilang sinapupunan ng komersiyo sa Timog-Silangang Asya ang makapagsasabing narating nito ang isang estado kung saan nabuo nito ang isang mala-bansang komunidad-pandagat sa gitna ng pananalasa ng pananakop ng Espanya sa Pilipinas na kinabibilangan ng sultanato bilang probinsiya. Kabalintunaan man na kung kailan unti-unti nang nagigising ang kamalayang makabansa ng mga katutubo, saka pa naman bumagsak ang sistema ng awtonomiya ng Sulu sa kamay ng mga Kastila ilang dekada lamang bago sumiklab ang Himagsikan ng 1896. Gayunpaman, maipagmamalaki ng lalawigan ang pamamayagpag nito bilang nakapag-iisang teritoryo sa bisa ng kalayaan nito bilang komunidad pandagat.
Anu-ano ba ang mga salik na magpapatotoo ng awtonomiyang ito ng Sulu? Una, pangmalawakan ang malayang kalakalang nakapangyayari sa estado, isang kondisyong tumulong upang mapatibay ng sultanato ang kanyang sarili sa aspetong ekonomiko. May matatag na komersiyo at pamumuhunan sa lalawigan kaugnay ang mga merkado sa Asya at Europa. Dahil sa pagbuhos ng mga suplay at demand para sa produktong Ingles, Tsino, Kastila at Indian, tumaas ang produksyon at tumindi ang pangangailangan para sa mga alipin. Dulot ng masiglang ekonomiyang ito, lumakas ang kapangyarihang materyal ng aristokrasiya kaya nga tumibay ang pundasyong panlipunan at pampulitika ng Sulu.
Sa pagbabagong ekonomiko, pulitikal, at panlipunan ng sultanato, naging posible sa mga mamamayan ang magkaroon ng monopolyo sa mga gamit pandigma hindi lamang para sa interes pangkomersyo bagkus ay upang sila mismo ang makapanakop at mapanatiling malaya ang Sulu mula sa mga karibal at mananakop. Mahalagang may materyal silang kapangyarihan sa porma ng pinansiya at mga alipin upang manatiling buhay ang estado. Sa kalagayang ito ng Sulu, hindi kataka-takang maigting din ang kagustuhan ng mga dayuhang mananakop na mapabagsak ito para makapagsolo silang mga Europeo sa sistema ng kalakalan sa karagatang rehiyon ng Timog-Silangang Asya.
Napaguho man ng mga Kastila ang komersiyo sa Sulu na siyang naging daan ng paglaho ng awtonomiya nito, hindi matatawaran na ang matagalang pamamayani ng kalayaan nito ay isang siwang sa mapanlahat na kasaysayan ng Kanluran bilang mananakop ng Silangan. Patunay ang komunidad-pandagat ng Sulu na pangunahin ang mga mamamayan nito sa paglikha ng kanilang sariling kasaysayan sa halip na binuo sa kanila ng mga dayuhan mananakop. Sa pagpapakitang may mala-bansang teritoryo sa katimugang bahagi ng Pilipinas sa panahong sakop na ng mga Kastila ang halos buong kapuluan, nagbibigay ito ng sariwang pagbasa hindi lamang sa kasaysayan kundi sa ating mga sarili bilang minsang kolonyal na lipi. Sa bisa ng pagkabansa ng Sulu gawa ng kanyang kaunlarang ekonomiko, pulitikal at panlipunan sa loob ng tatlong dantaon ng pangongolonya ng Espanya sa natitirang ahagi ng Pilipinas, pinapabulaanan nito ang kahinaan natin laban sa mga mananakop dahil sa katunayan, makapag-iisa tayo, makabubuo na sariling pagkakakilanlan at makagagawa ng sariling pagpapaunlad sa lipunan.

Monday, July 07, 2008

phallic overtures

Overheard while looking for the brown-eyed, chubby tisoy attendantwho prepares my exotic, mouth-watering shawarma rice in UP:
Manang with a helmet, to tapsilog attendant: “Miss, ito na ba ‘yung longganisa? Ang liit naman!”
Another tapsilog attendant, after a male customer approached her: “Pa-follow-up ng footlong ni Kuya…”
Sidewalk vendor, adjusting his plied fruit: “Walang bumibili ng banana ko, a.” (yes, you read it right: in English!)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

berserk over uaap

When I met Marc Nelson in the Arrneow, oops, Ateneo during a Christmas party, I confessed that I was terribly uncoordinated. He said something to the effect that one doesn’t have to engage in sports to become fit, but I was so distracted by his swoon-worthy physique that his words floated in the air like a Greek god’s summon on a mere mortal. That’s the closest I can get to sports: I will endure the Olympics, SEA Games and the like only as a spectator of men’s swimming and men’s diving.
That’s why the opening of the 71st season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines wasn’t a matter of great consequence to me, notwithstanding the deluge of testosterone in the much-ballyhooed basketball event. If only for the cheering competition I will watch it, what with the expected fantastic performance of the University of the Philippines Pep Squad. However, the idea of sitting through the so-called men’s soap opera doesn’t appeal much to me.
I couldn’t help glancing at this weekend’s games, though, when Jel had to inspire herself in reviewing for the midterm examinations by cheering for the De La Salle University Green Archers. We were content at viewing the unfolding court drama between my school’s varsity players and National University’s on the muted television, when the familiar face of Manny Pacquaio loomed onscreen. Jel and I looked at each other, broken only by a text message to her that said, “Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny Manny…”
After the miraculous win of the UP Maroons, the epic battle between Jel’s schoolmates and the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles ushered in. Camera shots around the Araneta Coliseum showed enthusiasts in predominantly green and blue in support of the Taft-based and the Katipunan-homing teams, respectively. I concentrated in reading my student’s Global Society handouts, and when I got on the part wherein Marie Antoinette’s royal family was guillotined by the French, the first three quarters already flew by like a breeze.
It was on the final quarter that I discovered Jel’s motive for hoping a La Sallian win: the possibility of the professor’s postponing the midterms should the Green Archers shoot down the Blue Eagles. Given the complexity of the lessons on the birth of the modern international society, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Era, the Industrial Revolution, the World Wars and the Cold War, I understood her point. Nonetheless, the universe has other things in its mystical scheme: the DLSU basketeers already trailed many points behind during the last two minutes and the moment Jel returned from the teasing of her senator father, the feverish chant “Go! Ateneo!” already subsided.
My student felt so devastated about her school’s loss that upon stepping on a green Care Bear, she picked up the cute and cuddly toy and angrily hurled it among the neat pile of other innocent stuffed animals.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

the narcissus at mrt

In this jungle of a city
Your clones abound but here you are,
Blossoming in the midst
Of rocky wreck
Stranded in the primetime rush
Of the raging MRT
As rapid as my racing mind
Just to be near your gym built torso
Whether or not you’re bound for the end of the world
The balance of my magnetic card will let me follow
I will stay with you lest you run away
Or be whisked away by some other fairy
Frenzied by your dazzling beauty
As you come aboard
Your sturdy arms, not the handrails
I’ll hold on to
And as the train shuttles forth
My gaze will take off
Your bodyhugging shirt
I will be Echo,
You entire being I’ll rhapsodize
But tell me:
Does the reflection in the glass window
Sharpen the sadness in your eyes?
originally posted in

Friday, July 04, 2008

ang narsiso sa mrt

Sa gubat ng lungsod na ito,
Naglipana ang mga kawangis mo at heto ka,
Namumukadkad sa pusod
Ng mga guho,
Nakatunghay sa pag-agos
Ng rumaragasang MRT
Na singtulin ng takbo ng aking isip
Upang mapalapit sa katawan mong nililok ng gym
Destinasyon mo ma’y dulo ng daigdig na ito
Sapat ang balanse ng magnetic card ko
Babantayan nang hindi matakasan
O ako’y mapaglalangan ng ibang diwatang
Nahuhumaling sa iyong kagandahan
Sa paglulan mo
Matipuno mong bisig at hindi handrails
Ang kakapitan ko
Sabay sa daloy ng tren
Huhubarin ng tingin ang baro mong
Body hugging
Alunignig akong sasamba sa’yo
Mula bumbunan hanggang mga paa
Ngunit ang repleksyon ba sa salaming bintana
Ang nagpapasidhi ng lungkot sa iyong mga mata?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

globalization of local politics

Politics, by tradition, has been underpinned in national political networks. State governments have the final accountability for sustaining the security and economic well-being of their nationals and the safeguarding of human rights and of the environment inside their territory. With environmental fluctuations, an increasingly integral world economy as well as related worldwide trends, political activity intensifies from the local to the global stage.
Within the system of globalization, politics can occur beyond the state via networks of political integration like the European Union and via interstate organizations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. Political activity can likewise go beyond national borders via global movements and non-governmental organizations. Meanwhile, civil society groups go global through establishing alliances with groups in other states, utilizing worldwide communication networks, and acting with international groups and other agents directly instead of lobbying via their national governments.
However, far from the abovementioned globalizing trend, the state is still significant and grassroots-level political actors and agents should still explore opportunities within the nation-state matrix, so globalization process should not be oversimplified. It must be remembered that the state exists because it is an important organizing concept that permits people to collect their resources for the common good and to move against common threats, from natural disasters to foreign invaders. Furthermore, the state has the final say on law. State power is also intensifying because of the increasing richness from energy markets as well as of the setback of globalization.
Also, the cultural struggle of the nation-state to crystallize its identity is offering a manner by which to construct and affirm the state’s domination over a group of people consolidated by a unifying language, culture, or ethnic characteristic. There may be an idealization of national unity, but this also results in intrinsic diversity and conflicts. In fact, identities among nations are slippery, changing even from one minute to the next. Filipinos, for example, may refer to themselves as Filipinos at one point, or refer to their regional affiliation next, or to the city or province or town they belong to on yet another time, depending on what the cultural transaction’s topic is. This struggle notwithstanding, it is hard to think of a nation being contained to just a single state or a state confined to just one nation. Thus, the molding of this cultural community hardly coincides with a political identity, posing a problem regarding the historicization of political questions in line with the historical direction of state construction.
As it is, the notion of the nation-state is already being challenged by enormous worldwide risks like pollution, pandemics, climate adjustments and terrorism. These phenomena, after all, disregard state sovereignty and hence, require cooperation of a global scale. Since the basic nation-state concept is fluid, this paves the way to the agreement that all national citizens are only individuals who are members of a global neighborhood.
To address this issue, policymakers should be able to think more comprehensively. For starters, the concept of the nation-state must be restudied, since this is taught as the fundamental unit of international relations. Apart from the discussion of balance of power, international relations must introduce ethics in international affairs such as moral philosophy, human rights and the role of non-government agents in order to create a basic shift in attitude from localization to globalization. Positive self-interest may be local, but further interests must be made more universal, as in the principles like the Universal Declarationh of Human Rights.
Contemporary political issues with a global scope get a microcosmic treatment in terms of state formation issues, so in introducing administrative adjustments like decentralization of power via distribution of executive and legislative government power, the reforms must significantly run along with the context of globalization. While countries are different from one another, institutional trends should reflect similar illustrations of changes throughout the globe. Globalization should not be seen as entirely engendering the liberal state’s crumbling of power altogether. The aftermath of globalization, in truth, is far more complicated. Portions of the liberal state like the executive branch and major departments may gain power while privatization and liberalization, among other policies promoting business economic globalization may possibly weaken the legislative branch with their result of eliminating regulations.
Studies on globalization deem the state in general, and so it is argued that the state remains the same or has turned weaker depending on whether economic globalization has exerted an autonomizing effect in intensifying executive power and enervating the legislative power. Globalization brings about transformations within the state, which are foundational, deeper and more influential although highly specialized and partial.
Markets require tiny governments to grow, economic globalization is related to weakened states and global markets suffice democracy. The point is already the complex redistribution of power within the state and no longer whether the state assailed by global powers get influenced or altogether weakened. Democracy then is decreasing in value across the globe because of the systemic globalization trend.
The social pattern the notion of democracy has been modeled for is the nation-state, after democratic rights have been taken away from aristocratic rulers. While independent nations have mutually associated since their rise, globalization only lately produces a qualitative modification in such international network of exchange of people, goods, services, capital, information, among others. As the pattern became more dense, the international exchange outweighed the autonomy of nation-states and involved all nation-states in a gradual manner. The global society is formed as driven by the globalizing economy with deep repercussions in the political as well as other segments. In effect, the collaboration of institutions and regimes turn so complicated that the network decisions vastly determine the political action of all national governments.
Nonetheless, it is noteworthy to stress the national basis of political agents, since governments remain dependent on their national electorate that impact significantly on their motion. The perspective on global issues and behavior on the international stage is generally molded by an executive viewpoint. The insights on national democratic routines are limited while global needs are put forth in justifying their behavior. Hence, the diplomatic solution then is under a global negotiation wherein national votes are given consideration. It must be remembered that globalization has modified the role of the nation-state of late because democratic regulations have become refracted on the national level whereas more decisions are legislated on a global level.
While globalization has bedeviled democracy because it helped in weakening democratic regulations, it has fortified the significant insight to the hierarchical capability of nation-states to recover from present issues democratically. If nation-states put procedural competence to higher levels of governments, democratic institutions must be created and executed to ensure that the will of the few may not necessarily win over that of the common good of the majority.
In the context of globalization, prospects of democracy and democratic arrangements may come in the form of a democratic world government. Most citizens might probably support a model like that of the United Nations, with a world parliament and the UN General Assembly forming the bicameral global legislative. The judiciary might be composed of the international courts. The executive departments may come from the existing organizations like the International Labor Organization for work, World Trade Organization for economics, Food and Agriculture Organization for its obvious concern, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for culture, education and science, and so on. The actions of this world government may be determined based on the provisions of an international organization’s constitution, such as that of the European Union. When the world legislative considers an issue globally relevant but beyond the solving capacity of national and regional governments, the world government takes care of it. Its first tasks might include peace and disarmament, ecological preservation and regulation on global basic commodities and transnational corporations.
Against this overwhelming international stage, citizens might feel victimized and desperate. Nonetheless, opportunities for concrete action may be had, defined under the comprehensive principle of localization. Citizens should not be compelled to subjugate themselves to the impositions of transnational corporations but fortify instead the local economy. The weakness of the nation-state might emerge as a chance for civil society toward self-organization in generating ideas, infrastructures and projects. Small scale projects within the local society should not be undermined in offering fruitful, democratic, and creative response to global situations. Therefore, more citizens should see both local and global as interacting within a real democratic setting.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

too late champacas bloom for summertime

Too late champacas bloom for summertime;
Enfeebling rain has poured itself on earth.
Redundant churchbell mourns in every chime;
Its sound is made monotonous by dirt.
Yet waxing moon emits a gloomy light
At this pale image of San Roque’s bounds;
Known landscape of Gapan from sides to height
Is sprawled with burdened rice that gilds the grounds.
Just when will my discomfort disappear?
Oblivious of my days, I’m going mad.
So far away you are, so distant, dear,
Embittering the worst despair I’ve had.
Persistent grief kills fast my weary frame;
Hour after hour, I summon your sweet name.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

time zone

You browse through the TV channels with impatient fingers
And witness the entire earth on fire
Whereas, upon peering from behind the blinds,
You notice raindrops being shed by the sky.
“We live in a different time zone,”
Your lovely voice breaks in earnest.
I wrap my arms around you and
Feel your body freeze, as in protest.
No, these hand will not find themselves groping
For the pillar of salt
But frittering away in the keyboard, plodding through
Queer trains of thought
And these lips will always miss the kiss
Except on the pizza, fries, and glass of Coke.
This is my desire, you see:
To suspend the deadline looming before our eyes
And just stay wise with you for the rest of our crazy lives.
Despair at how I come face to face with eternity
And yet, a gulf of time and space makes me endure
This torture by you, my enemy.
Hell, yes, we really got to drag on—
We live, indeed, in different time zones.