Thursday, July 31, 2008

Spinning Hypocrisies

Doha Development Round talks collapse

After seven years of moving forward and then back-tracking, what began as a sense of euphoria now just ended us as an obscenity ended quickly in the night. Or, if you prefer less melodrama, so many high hopes have been defeated by the realities of world trade.

The Doha declaration said rather boldly:
International trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty. We recognize the need for all our peoples to benefit from the increased opportunities and welfare gains that the multilateral trading system generates. The majority of WTO Members are developing countries. We seek to place their needs and interests at the heart of the Work Programme adopted in this Declaration.
Stripped of all its drama, essentially what has happened is that all this rush for "free trade" fails to admit that trade isn't really free. Not while there's a stamp on our products that says "Made in ..."

These talks, at least for this so-called Development Round, have been going on for seven years, and every now and then something-or-other brings up a "challenge" to the viability of these talks. The melodrama about "last chances" is dragging out even longer than your average soap opera. The biggest joke on all of these talks that even as multilateralism has been represented through the 153-member World Trade Organization, countries are racing to ink bilateral trade agreements that either negate or render the WTO useless.

The truth is, business and trade still spin some hypocrisies, whether in the guise of free trade or smaller government. " Despite all the platitudes, no one has gone far enough.

As long as the spirit of nationalism and "people's welfare" take precedence, there will be no such thing as free --- and therefore no such thing as fair --- trade. The European Union, the U.S. and Canada have basically made life harder for foreign famrmers to complete by granting hefty subsidies --- billions of dollars' (or euros') worth. Likewise, the standards for the entry of foreign food products, the insistence on a archaic intellectual property system, and some other non-tariff barriers have all made it impossible for imports to survive in their marketplace.

It's the same old neocolonial line --- open your countries so we can sell to you, but let's take a raincheck on whether you can sell to us. They would rather protect the welfare of a few millions of their own famers than allow the rest of the farmers of the world have better lives. So it comes at no surprise that developed countries keep on pushing to accelerate the reduction of tariffs for manufactured goods while doing little (or nothing) in removing subsidies on farm products or allowing the freedom of movement of natural persons.

Subsidies have made the export of farm products from the developed to the developing countries an exercise in dumping, and the only chip that developing countries have --- cheap labor --- is continually disregarded. There is no reason why well-trained lawyers, doctors, engineers, and other professionals shouldn't find work anywhere in the world so long as they are competent to do the work. And this doesn't mind finding a veteran banker frying donuts at a supermarket after getting his immigrant visa, or encountering a seasoned health professional hauling vegetables from the truck to the local green grocer.

These talks are all hot air to perpetuate the system of domination of the old order. Free trade and minimal government are grand maxims, but its barrels must be able to point to the right way. It is no wonder that the emerging economies of the world --- Brazil, India, China, the African states and the Tigers of Southeast Asia --- have done ther best to sandbag the progress of tariff reduction. Because in doing so, they protect their own producers and industrialists (most likely their own local hegemonists and oligarchs) squeeze out maximum profits.

Where does that leave the ordinary consumer? In dire straits indeed.

The language of the Declaration would lead one to believe that there is a new hope for the world - especially since the talks came at the heels of the disruptions in Seattle and what's more, the fateful events of 9/11. It's all a grand notion --- the altruism of rich countries helping poor countries to grow. But in the running of affairs, be it in business or government, would reveal that there is no such thing. As mentioned by one columnist:

No one wants to be completely unilateral; if they did, we wouldn’t need these talks at all. What kind of altruist expects something in return?
So what use language then? Ah, there's the rub --- it ensures negotiators and diplomats are firmly ensconced in their lofty positions, that lobbyists will continue to curry favor, that the barons of business and the leaders of government keep on doing their waltz. Meantime, it's business as usual at the top.

As for the rest of the bottom of the pyramid, we warm up to the platitudes (alas for hope) while our stomachs remain empty.

Cool Goings-On

Great movie spoof - ripping off everybody like Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson (mainly), Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor and to some degree, Arnold Schwarzenegger/Danny de Vito.

And if you don't even know Baron and Steve from their NBA reps, Steve does a really goofy Michael Jackson impersonation.

Wonder how the real movie would turn out.

(Edit: Looks like the verdict on the real movie starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly shows that satire, at least in its intentions, is always way cooler than the real thing.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Insult to Injury

Los Angeles bans new fast food joints in poor areas

Now that ain't right.

Obese people have the right to kill themselves - if such a thing can be countenanced - just to enjoy food. What else can we have in this cruel, unforgiving, lonely (sniff! sniff!) world?

Take away the health care, take away the dole, squeeze people out of the job market, kick them out of their low-paying jobs, charge more taxes . . . but don't away their right to eat what they want, when they want, however they want.

Or - if they really care - the government can subsidize healthier groceries and stores. But take away the right to eat all that greasy food? Hell, no!

We want our burgers!
We want our fries!
We want our milkshakes!
We want our pies!

We want our pizzas!
We want our beer!
We want our chicken wings!
More fat? No fear!

Playing the Real

My friend has actually convinced one of her acquaintances to read my blog so that the latter can have an idea who I am. And yes, it's an attempt to set the two of us up.

As I write this, I've actually been suckering myself into coming up with a killer blog post --- coming up with draft titles such as "Elemental" or pulling out some of the (pig) Latin I had managed to scrounge up during all of these years of reading, or - better yet - of mastering the art of the Internet search engine.

Oh yes, I wanted to impress. In this day and age where "metrosexual" has become the vogue term instead of "faggy" some form of intellectual wattage does count. Or at least until such arts of mental prestidigitation have opened the door for men to wangle their way into women's hearts (read: lying!) and thus seal the deal. Then a guy can throw all culture and the high principles, settle into a routine of fast moves and near date-rapes, and if he stays charming until this point, scores, literally, before moving on and leaving the poor girl in emotional shambles and self-loathing.

(You see, I've done this before!)

(No, it was done to me!)

(Another double-take: now you're pulling everybody's leg)

(Smug feeling - at least it keeps them reading! LOL!)

But I've been in this relationship business as a player or a bystander too long that it's nearly impossible to quantify or qualify what gets people into a relationship and what keeps them there. (Or in HR terms, to attract, retain, and motivate, hehe. Ugh!)

One school of thought says that all form of intellect is flushed down the toilet when the paragon of a girl's dreams makes his appearance --- whether you are a fan of Vin Diesel, Marilyn Manson (on the edge), David Duchovny, Edward Norton (semi-geeky), Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt (pretty boys), or Sean Connery (old guys, father figure). Or whatever combo you can come up with, from Brandon Routh to Benicio del Toro or George Clooney. Even, God forbid, Keanu Reeves!

The other school of thought says that sweeping the girl off her feet is all well and good, but it won't do much if you don't have much fuel in the tank to keep her engaged -- whether it's sex, good times, or most importantly, MONEY, or some combination of two or all.

Still another school of thought says that there's a science to all of this, so there are rules and principles and all kinds of self-motivational regalia. Better yet to call this science more of a business so that all these "experts" can fleece our money from us.

Finally, those among us who are still believers say that it won't work until Destiny or Providence (take your pick) --- simply the Hand of God for most --- gets involved.

Or take the nihilist view and you can say love doesn't matter, we are just driven by animal instinct. Propagate until we die.

Me? Honestly I don't know. While I don't have a plethora of opportunities, much less choices, there's one thing I do know --- I can't fake it.

I can't fake being geeky or perverse or sentimental or kooky or child-like or profound or absent-minded or creative or lazy or inconsistent.

I can't fake being fickle in my infatuations, but I can't fake being loyal or true when I do fall in love. Every line and every scar of those times --- yes, I keep them in my heart still. I am free of them, but they do leave their marks . . .

I can't fake treating a girl-for-rent the same way I would a "potential" girl of my dreams, not because they are of the same quality, but because it isn't me to treat a woman in a cavalier fashion. Yet there's another side to this --- I could, just like that, be as cruel as I can be kind.

Call it programming. Call it whatever.

Oh, yes I'm impossible. But that's how I play, even if this whole love thing isn't a game. I'm down on the canvas, struggling against the ten-count, and still I try to get up. If it's worth it, taking a beating can't be all that bad.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Randomize My Hits

I am taking this meme from my friend Nikki’s blog. Something I haven't done lately - which is to jack some other person's ideas.

In high school, I never thought about joining a band or forming a band, but later on when I found out I could write saccharine stuff (find one example in the blog - here) I had some aspirations to form a vocal group.

(Deep sigh)

This seemed fun, so I hope you would follow along...

1. Go here.
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2. Go here.
The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3. Go here.
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Go here.
The first ten links you end up in (minus the .coms) are your 10 song titles.

Here are my results:

Name of Band: 1927 Grand Prix Season

Album Title: An Adventure in Forgiveness

Album Cover: Click here.

Song Titles:

Il Manifesto
Absis Minas
Massachusetts Conservation - the title is not so exact, so I pulled out the sense of the site.
Screaming Bloody Mess
Meyer Web
VHPA Museum
HPR Online
Default Milk

And since I had to re-click because I got the same link twice:

Il Manifesto (reprise)

The band name isn't so hot, but I have to say the album title is pretty cool, as is the album cover. The titles of the songs are a bit anti-establishment, especially "Il Manifesto" and "Screaming Bloody Mess" while the rest are rather unconventional as well. "Default Milk" is particularly amusing.

Hmmm... this album seems to be as eccentric as I am, hehe.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Shenanigans

OFW groups nix Pichay's appointment to OWWA

Aba'y bastusan na talaga, ha.

As usual, the kapalmuks in the Arroyo administration are playing up the usual shenanigans --- appointing Prospero Primo (Prospero Segundo, or Cong. Prospero Nograles, is now comfortably ensconced as the Speaker of the House) to either the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

If in Subic, he could supervise State, ehem, First-Gentleman-sponsored smuggling much more efficiently than it is being done now.

If in OWWA, he could make sure the Administration could siphon off funds like it did in the run-up to the 2004 elections, when PhilHealth forcibly took over the medical contributions of the overseas Filipino workers, with no one the wiser.

This is fatiguing. Coupled with the fact that the moral crusaders have gotten on their high horse about contraception, it is hard to keep the faith that something will happen for the country.

Want to say more, but the brain cells are fried...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Something in the Offing

CNN reviews "The Dark Knight"

Here's the deal: if I get my passport in time I will trot over to Bahrain to do this. BIG IF - if the guys at the Philippine Embassy get my replacement passport shipped back from Manila soon enough, and if our own guys here get my multiple exit/re-entry visa in time as well.

One could wish.

A toast for Heath Ledger, this was his movie, if the previous review and Entertainment Weekly's review are the standards to go by.

Hoping for a big-screen viewing because the spoilsports here really don't appreciate comics-made-into-movies. Sometimes I really wonder why I just don't point a taser into my brain.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Once, If Only

The summers of 1986, 1987, and 1988 were among the most beautiful times of my life, and just like how the fictional author Gordie Lachance tells it in the movie "Stand By Me" (also released during this period), we somehow never recover the innocence and the vitality of our lives just as things were coming to us.

For the geeks out there --- these were the years of Dragonlance, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and multiple re-runs of "Transformers the Movie" while covering up a group viewing of porn. "Highlander" rocked the big screen, and New Wave was gradually being overtaken by Stock Aiken Waterman. Michael Jackson stopped thrilling, and even as "Bad" sold, it was, but for a few cuts, really bad. It was "Miami Vice" and "The Equalizer," "MacGyver" and "Airwolf."

. . . We called them "soirees," or simply, sanctioned meetings of boys and girls who otherwise wouldn't have met. It was hard being smart - and fat - in high school. Teenagers could be so unkind, though never meaning to be. On the other hand, it was so easy being caught up in puppy-love, of spending hours on the phone, composing letters and daydreaming.

School was never a burden, it was actually an escape from the drudgery of home --- but home was always a safe place, where no dark shadows of foreboding would wait. Life was always looking forward to tomorrow though with the hope that today would never end.

They were different times --- and though my life had its brief "renaissance of innocence" from 1993 through 1995, it was never quite the same. I wonder where they are, the girls of my yesteryear, and if ever thought about that obviously-too-big wallflower, and wonder if their memories were ever kind.

In Your Wildest Dreams
(Justin Hayward/The Moody Blues)

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn't tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the worlds are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we Knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you
Think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
And when the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

In your wildest dreams
In your wildest dreams

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zero-ing In

Arenas in Manila

Just a shout-out for the good press Gilbert Arenas gave to the Philippines and the Filipinos. I found some bits condescending, but shoot, what does Gil know, he spent his whole life in the States not worrying about some Third World country.

Glad someone says something good and true about what we have already known for a long time.


But so sorry, Agent Zero, I still won't cheer for you - you are a good opponent to play against, but I never liked your game (even on NBA 2K8, where your stats are ridiculously padded.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nocturnal Emissions

I have to open my trap on this one, even though belatedly. And no, for all those salacious-minded people out there, this isn't one of those sell-out sex revelations to push my blog hits over the top (the horror! What will my mother say? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! As if she even reads stuff from the Internet, she even can't start up a PC. But still.).

In March, I was making a decision on moving out from my erstwhile apartment. It was time --- I stayed in a good place, made friends with a God-fearing family, established some form of stability in my life ---but for some reason something about the whole arrangement was holding me back. I didn't know what it was. And yeah, the fact that I was a slob had a lot to do with it --- I didn't even have any new furniture and I had gotten rid of my TV set and DVD player. I wanted a change --- but the flat I was living in wasn't the one to accommodate it.

My first choice was my officemate's old flat --- he was starting a family of his own and he was leaving his room behind. His flatmates were fellows who were closer to me in interests --- heck, I spent more than enough time in that flat, including the Christmas and New Year holidays, and I sometimes on their (often) seedy couch. The two fellows who would be my flatmates would be a great complement to me.

I thought to myself, with a little re-tiling, a little insect spray, and a change of the bathroom fixtures, ta-da! I would have myself a brand new hang-out. And since the flat was for families, it was a sure babe magnet. Yup, I could use a few more babes in my life. Hmmm, one would actually be enough.

This flat, however, was in a significantly older (read: decaying) building, and despite the fact that I would save money on my monthly rent, I would be putting up a lot of money just to get things fixed.

I was still wavering between moving to this flat before my friend asked me to join him in a family flat in a building right beside this old (ummm, decaying, for effect, natch!) building. I had reservations about joining my buddy, who by all accounts, is an excellent sparring-partner and altogether good guy. He was, however, somewhat of a flake when it came to domestic matters and to handling other things as well. Staying with him and his soon-to-be-wife may not exactly be the best medicine for my nerves. Or to my wallet.

Anyhow, we checked out this flat and I found it exceeded my expectations --- including price. We were thinking of subdividing the living room so that we can accommodate my friend's old classmate who was coming to Saudi Arabia, but I did some further thinking, and said, let's not share with anybody else --- let's keep all of this space to ourselves! That meant, of course, that I was going to pay more rent than in my old flat.

But the place was new, had two bathrooms, a spacious kitchen, a balcony (unusable during the sandstorm period, but otherwise, an asset). So I ponied up the money, bought new furniture, and settled in. It was as good a place as I could think of to relax ---so much so that I almost spent my entire April in it.

Fast forward to my return back from vacation. I had gotten back on track, and though my AC unit got busted (it will get changed in the next two weeks, Insha'allah), I am comfortable.

One day we received a call from our buddies next door. He was steaming mad, I kid you not - over the state of affairs in their flat.

What happened was something out of a gross-out movie.

Our buddy woke up to slush scattered all over the hallway outside his bedroom door. The slush was a mix of green, brown, and yellowish goo. There was a dank odor everywhere. As he made his way to semi-dry areas on their carpet, he opened the bathroom door and found the source of the epidemic --- their toilet overflowed!

Let's pan the camera and focus on all the dribble coming out of the bowl, mixed in with sand, some compressed sewage, and other scree that was regurgitated by their septic pipes. There is a distinct squish of the rubber slippers as the soles make contact with the various solids. Imagine if there is a slight gurgle - a bass note that waxes in a crescendo to a reedy tenor quack. It's a mouthwash express, only the goo being cleaned came out the wrong way...

Now here's the kicker - our other buddy just comes home after a long night's work from the factory where he is currently on night shift. He comes just in time to see his flatmate seething over the morass --- at wit's end and almost close to pulling his hair out --- a virtual Mad Hatter about to snap at anyone and anything, especially the building super.

The other fellow is at a loss. They inspect all the damage and try to contain what they can. But like the proverbial horror movie where the worst is yet to come, and what we have just witnessed is one long horrible foreshadowing, they make their way to his bedroom (cue in the sinister music) and voila!

Goo was seeping out of the cracks in the ceiling. It paid no heed to value or cleanliness, it was not selective in its reach. It was the Mississippi and the Missouri flooding Iowa and the Corn Belt states. It was the cyclone that rocked Myanmar. It was the worst monsoon rains in years that hit Bangladesh. And aptly, this happened just as Typhoon Frank was about to rake the Philippines.

Shit was literally dripping from the ceiling. Okay, think the blood dripping all over when Mickey Rourke bangs Lisa Bonet in "Angel Heart" (side note: hugely entertaining, at that time). Um, let's go a bit further. It was almost as bad as the blood that flooded out the hotel corridors in "The Shining." You get what I mean.

The humor in all of this, after the three of them (yes, they found a third to occupy their vacant berth) had sorted out everything, ripped off their carpets, did their laundry, and getting the building super and his cohorts to stopper up the leaks and mop up the water (short of taking them hostage at gunpoint), here's the thing.

Solids were left behind everywhere. And the carpets were rolled up shawarmas with feces as filling. And here's what the super said, "Hindi namin trabahong linisin yan" (It's not our job to clean up that mess).

Here's another fun fact and perhaps the clincher - had I moved there, the dripping ceiling would have been in my room.

There are small kindnesses and there are kindnesses that make you wonder whether God just swung the bat for you and made that grand slam in the ninth. Or that buzzer-beater that breaks up a tied score. Or a hole-in-one. Or whatever. The Hand of God was definitely involved.

I'm glad I didn't move there. In fact, since this event happened I haven't even visited that flat. In time maybe I'll get to do it, God willing.

I just can't get the image of the drippings from the ceiling out of my head. It tops the gross-out factor of whatever happened in "Alien." Brrrr!!! --- it still gives me the shivers. To that, I just have to grin, thank the stars for my luck, and hold back the guffaws imagining my friends' jaws literally dropping and eyes popping at the deluge surrounding them.

Pasensya na, mga parekoy! Trabaho ko naman ang apihin kayo eh!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Planting New Flags

Villars take over storied Laurel house on Shaw Blvd -

Well, so here it is. The Villars have formalized their intentions for the Presidency --- inheriting even the symbols of the old Nacionalista Party.

I really have no major opinion about the good Senator --- who seems to have taken more time posturing than passing bills --- but him as presidential stock? Hmmm, he has to grow on me a little.

The political landscape is clearing as the terminal date of 2010 nears. Mar Roxas, once the administration lapdog in pushing Value-Added Tax, is now, under the guise of pragmatism and the public interest, ripping the Palace over VAT on petroleum products. He, too, is a new flag-bearer, though not falling too far from the tree. Roxas would do his grandfather and namesake, the founder of the original turncoat party (the Liberals), very proud.

On the side, Legarda and de Castro, members of the media (a most popular career track for aspiring politicians, apart from entertainment), are barely masking their interest in the presidential plum, and would be willing to welcome anybody who would make them queen (or king). A good ad: In the Running - for Philippine President. Searching for political patrons. Aspiring kingmakers and queenmakers welcome. Non-billionaires need not apply.

Still, we must not forget the original flag-planter - our dear President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who with every new Cabinet and Commission appointment, is laying wreaths --- expensive ones at that ---at the grave of genuine Philippine democracy.

All the black flags are still flapping in the wind. To quote some famous words: "How many flags of death must she plant, before the living rise and put her to grief?"

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

We Ain't No Racists Hee-ah, Foo'!

Something off the Freakonomics blog.

Which is a way of saying that sounding black dumbs you down. Word!

Back home, Arreneo (Ateneo) accents used to be the ticket to getting hired, though these days with all the accent training of people in call centers, one can't say that sounding sosy would guarantee you're talking with the real deal. That's the price of our continuing hypocrisy.

(Side note: My way of speaking was one of those shibboleths back in those days --- almost everyone thought I came from Ateneo though most of my schooling was in La Salle and then on to the State University).

Anyhow, sounding black means you're down with the 4-1-1, working on your skillz 24/7 but dayumn those skillz won't get you nowhere, brotha.

Yeah that sounds sick and facetious.

Asian boy just ain't got that soul.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Mid-Year Status Report

A long way from my last milepost, so this has to sort of make up for a lot of things I wish I could have said earlier.

In "On Writing," Stephen King's personal memoir of the writing craft, the author professes a distaste for the informal essay --- pieces with topics "What Did I Do Last Summer?" "What Would It Be Like to Have Hitler as a Classmate?" and some other inanities to which people immediately relate. But well, here it is, an informal essay ---

"What if I had decided to write about the lost months of 2008 in my blog?"

March, 2nd half: I finally moved apartments! At the start of the year, I was thinking of improving my physical environment --- I liked my previous flat and even more, I respected my flatmate and leaseholder, but it just wasn't the place for me. I had no public space, and I didn't have enough furniture. In retrospect, maybe I should have invested the money in my old flat and stayed there. But there it was: I needed a change to shake things up.

The new flat is smaller than the old one, though it is in a more strategic area of town and in a somewhat newer building. It costs a little less than the older place, but since there are only two of us sharing the bills, I am paying for a little more.

I had commissioned my own room from the living room space, bought a new bedroom set, a sofa set (without center or side tables though), a dining room set, and for the kitchen - a water heater and a microwave oven. Did I need to spend all this money? Maybe not --- but in the meantime I found the move comforting. I needed to do something for myself again.

April: The less said about this month, the better.

This was one of the worst months of my life. Not so much for me, but I hurt a lot of people and fell below the expectations of others. Because it was all on me. Sure, circumstances and people put me in the hole into which I dropped myself, but in the end, it was all about me.

I'm still healing from this experience. It was one of the reasons I went on vacation earlier than I had planned.

People around me remain a blessing. There is hope for this crazy world yet. And for me too.

May: Vacation time, for the most part.

One of the signs that tell me my life needs another change is that the sameness of my life makes the precious memories of the past seem all the more precious, as if these gems of my life's journey will never be replicated, and that I would be doomed to live this life on this last string.

I don't, couldn't, wouldn't believe this to be true. But I have been dealt this hand - I've gambled some, lost some, still winning for now but wasted so many chances. That's how it is with these things. Even so, all I can do is be the supplicant, down on my knees while my hands are busy grasping at the last flickers of starlight...

But there are no disappointments, no regrets on this vacation. I expected little and got back a lot. I pulled myself together, got myself back into the game. So goes my Year of No Expectations.

So here we are in June and July and I'm back to work, doing again what I do best. I hope I don't get derailed again, but that happens when the engineer needs a healthy shot of Prozac. Or two, maybe.

Just a checklist:

Economic Gains - Fairly good, but not the best.
Personal Growth - Slid back a huge lot, the consequences of which put me in a bind --- there is wisdom somewhere in all this muck, but I have to shovel my way out much harder.
Relationship Front - Still here, hoping. I already had my Big Fix the last few months, but since it ended in a blah-like nada uncertain disappointment, I hope for a little help over here.
Professional Front - The sharp edge has been blunted. Ah, well. It won't be like that forever.

I'm a bit behind in points, but I have stockpiled a lot of assets to make a big splash later in the year, which I should, at least to even the balance.

Mid-year Score: C

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Last Rays

The Last Rays, originally uploaded by Spocker.


Tired of weaving dreams too loose for me to wear
Tired of watching clouds repeat their dance on air
Tired of getting tired of doing what's required
Is life a mere routine in the greater scheme of things

Through with taking roads someone else designed
Through with chasing stars that soon forget to shine
Through with going through one more day - what's new
Does my life still mean a thing in the greater scheme of things

I think I'll follow the voice that calls within
Dance to the silent song it sings
I hope to find my place
So my life can fall in place
I know in time I'll find my place
In the greater scheme of things

Each must go his way, but how can I decide
Which path I should take, who will be my guide
I need some kind of star to lead me somewhere far
To find a higher dream in the greater scheme of things

The road before me bends, I don't know what I'll find
Will I meet a friend or ghosts I left behind
Should I even be surprised that You're with me in disguise
For it's Your hand I have seen in the greater scheme of things

* * *

For Yours is the voice in my deepest dreams
You are the heart, the very heart
Of the greater scheme of things

* * *

Why don't we follow the voice that calls within
Dance to the silent song it sings
One day we'll find our place
For all things fall in place
For all things have a place
In the greater scheme of things.

(Shot at Boracay June 2008 --- the song captures some of my mood and it's very singable as well.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pigain Muna ang Pagka-Senti

Tapos na ang bakasyon, tapos na marahil ang maliligayang araw dahil tambak na naman ang trabaho. Tigil muna ang pagiging tamad at batugan. Paganahin mo ang utak mo at kung hindi pupulutin ka sa kangkungan.

Ewan ko ba, siguro dapat kabahan ako dahil ang daming gagawin. Pero hindi. Ikaw pa rin ang naiisip ko.

Ang tanga ko.

Hindi naman siguro totoong pag-ibig ito, dahil wala naman talagang namagitan sa ating dalawa. Higit na makulay pa ang aking mga pantasya, mas hitik pa sa kakiligan ang mga guni-guni ko. Kung saan tayo mamamasyal sa Pilipinas dahil malaya tayong mamasyal at hindi tulad sa Saudi. Kung ano ang iyong suot at kung paanong hahaplusin ng hangin ang iyong buhok, kung ano ang simoy ng hangin dala ang halimuyak ng lupang binasa ng ulan. Kung anong salamangkang dulot ng mga katagang galing sa aking labi. Kung paano tayo aanurin ng damdamin patungo sa ligayang abot ang langit.

Nag-iilusyon talaga ako.

Karapat-dapat lang siguro nung tayo'y magkahiwalay dito na hindi tayo nagkita sa Pilipinas at mali o patay ang binigay mo sa aking numero ng cellphone mo. Tulad ng sinabi ko sa iyo noon, hindi na baleng hindi mo ako iisipin. Hayaan mo na lang akong mangarap.

Sa ilang sandaling tagpo doon sa Pilipinas siguro mayroon na akong natagpuang karapat-dapat para sa akin. Hindi ko alam, at napakaaga pang umasa kung wala naman talaga.

Hindi naman siguro masamang isipin ka at sariwain ang mga sandaling ipinagkaloob sa akin ng Diyos. Sa ngayon, nagpapasalamat pa rin ako sa Kanya na minsa'y nag-krus ang ating mga landas at nabigyan ang kulay ang aking mundo kahit sandali.

Hindi rin naman sagabal sa buhay ko ang mga alaalang ito. 'Yun nga lang, hindi sapat ang inspirasyong ito para sa mga susunod na araw. Kaya ngayon, kailangang pigain ko muna ang nalalabing pagkasenti. Ang sabi nga nila, hindi maaaring dagdagan ng laman ang basong umaapaw na ang tubig.

Sa ngayon, bubuhayin ko ang damdamin ko para makatulog ako ng mahimbing.

Para bukas, nawa'y may bagong inspirasyong dumating.

Para bukas, kung may magtanong sa akin kung aalahanin pa kita, puwede kong saguting diretso at walang kaabog-abog: Hindi na.


Our Angel

Snickery, originally uploaded by Spocker.

There's this ancient smile
That lights up the lines of his face.
It's a smile without meaning
(Or perhaps, layers of meanings within meanings)
A smile that defies the ages.

The hope that flows from him
Is clear and refreshing with innocence.
It's hope that knows no darkness
(Or maybe, seeks light beyond the corner)
A faith firm and unshaken.

The world unfolds before him
And tomorrow for him does not exist
Today is his moment, and as it goes past
He follows with the joy of the now.

Then time will awaken
And spread before him her sighs
Then the forever that he holds within
Will cease and break into pieces.

There's this boy whose life is God's giving
And life could never be more sweet.
It's the boy who cries affection
(Or maybe, spreads love like he spreads his wings)
And suddenly, my life is complete.

(For my nephew Jeremiah Angelo -- I wasn't there when he was born, and I won't be there on his birthday in August. If it's hard on me, I can't imagine what it is like for his father.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Isang Pamulat

Sa simula ay nilikha ng Diyos ang mundo
at sinugo niya ang tao upang magsilbing tagapag-kalinga
nang mapanatili ang kagandahan ng kanyang nilikha.

Subali't sa paglipas ng panahon . . . nakalimot ang tao.
Pinabayaan niya ang lupa,
ang kanyang kapwa,
at ang kanyang sarili.

Nalunod siya sa pagkilos ng isang mundong masikip at nagmamadali.
Inabala niya ang kanyang sarili sa kamunduhan.
Nalasing siya sa pangako ng tagumpay
At 'di niya napansin ang kanyang paligid . . .
na mayroong hindi maganda
na may taong hindi makahabol
na may mga taong hindi masaya
na may mga taong hindi malaya . . .
May takot,
at nangungulila.

Sa harap ng kahirapan at pagkukulang
Sapat na ba ang mangakong may liwanag sa isang mundong sakop ng dilim?
Sapat na ba ang sumigaw kung walang nakikinig?
Handa ba tayong imulat ang ating mga mata sa katotohanang
mayroong ngang nangungulila
at naghahanap ng liwanag . . .
Na may mga taong nag-iisa, natatakot, nalulungkot
at naghahanap ng unawa
sa isang mundong madaling makalimot?

Tumigil ka nang sandali . . .
Huwag ka munang magmadali at makipagsiksikan.
Masdan mo ang mga mukhang nasa iyong paligid
At baka mapansin mo . . . na marunong din silang tumawa
at kumanta
at makiramay.
Marunong din silang magtanong
at kumilos. . .
Na baka kailangan lang nila
ay isang gabay,
isang liwanag, na magpakita sa kanila
na sila at maaaring magbigay-liwanag din
hanggang sa ito'y kumalat at dumami

. . .at mawala ang dilim sa mundo.

(An old piece circa 1995, c/o my buddy Robert with some verses from me -- I don't remember which --- for the Peer Counselors of La Salle Lipa High School. In keeping with the recent tragedies in the Philippines and China...sadness wells up in my heart.)