Wednesday, February 17, 2010


"And above all things, never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning."
--- Isaac Asimov

In the silence of my heart
I listen to You Lord.
In the emptiness of my mind
I submit to Your will.

There is no subtlety in which I can hide
There is no reticence into which I can sink.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Clipped Wings

Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keeps the law, happy is he. - Proverbs 29:18

One realizes that there are just a few paths left when anger takes over. I prayed to God for a resolution to my quandary with my passport, and all signs point out that instead of taking an ill-timed and hurried vacation, I'd rather go back to work.

Mind you, this was not an easy decision and I still feel I need the time off to go back home. But as I have learned the past few months, patience is a virtue I must still embrace. I have to get back to where I started, when the limitations to this place were all mental and my estrangement from the Philippines is merely a mental construct.

I must keep that vision in focus, lest again I fall prey to my weakness and fade away. I forgot that lesson last year, and paid for it dearly.

Of course I could still do it. The problem is, life goes by so quickly back at home they may have more need of me than I of them. I guess, they too, have their own thinking to do.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

All Set for Overdrive

Nobody gonna take my head
I got speed inside my brain
Nobody gonna steal my head
Now that I'm on the road again
Oooh I'm in heaven again
I've got everything
Like a moving ground an open road
and everything

I love it and I need it
I seed it
Eight cylinders all mine
Alright hold on tight
I'm a highway star
--- Deep Purple, "Highway Star"

Yeah! Slot in the tape/CD/USB/iPod to the car stereo system and rev up the engine. My secret desire today is to drive a semi into the office of our government relations people and mow them down in one swift run-over. And if it isn't enough, back up a little and catch up on the stragglers.

I can't help it. I'm yearning to put my spirits on overdrive, and they're cramping my style. Seriously, they really are, but to give them the benefit, things aren't much in their control. On the other hand, most of them are doing so little to change the way they work.

Still, one learning I can pick up from here is that we often demand too much from others as opposed to giving ourselves a break when we fail. If we put the pedal to the metal, then we must do it for ourselves too.

Of course, the sneaky-dark feeling keeps on creeping up once and again. It's the fourth day of passport watch, and if I have to take the fifth I might seriously go "Jeremy" on these fellows. Yes, grasshoppers, run around and beg for your lives!

Scrunch, crunch.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Coming Home

And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! - 2 Samuel 18:33

I wish I were writing of happier times now as I am making plans for coming home.

I haven’t been in the Philippines for twenty months – longer than usual for me, but not so much as for others who have made a life here in Saudi Arabia.

There was so much drama going on in my life the past two weeks – from the fateful decision to turn my back on my company, to the amazing opportunity made available by one of my former bosses, up to the time I accepted the job offer. That would have ended it, except that I couldn’t travel back to the Philippines because of formalities in processing my documents.

It’s been a week since that day that my life had been stopped and started – a few more dramas like not having funds available from the bank, the tension of waiting --- and waiting. I had packed Saturday evening since my flight was scheduled at 1:10 Monday morning. I could hardly sleep – anticipating, with half ruefulness, that the drama was about to end.

But another moment for drama came --- I received a text from our mutual friend Charlie that Kuya Josue was being revived at the hospital. The gravity of the news hadn’t sunk in yet --- he was being revived as he had already flatlined.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Well, this post must come in one way or another.

To our Lord in Heaven, I would like to say thank you for another day in this life. Another cycle has been completed, another year has been hurdled. Of course, it's just any ordinary day.

The world isn't any more special because I was born this day so many years ago. It was another day just like the others that we let pass through our lives.

Because we do. Sometimes, events awaken us and bother us to try and take stock of our existence. For some, it is observing the tides of history as they swirl back and forth and around the important figures in the life of our nation. For others, it is through the fortunes being made, about to be made, and soon to be lost in the world of commerce.

For others it is human achievement in the field of cooperation, in competition, and sometimes with both.

For most it is tragedy, whether direct and personal, or experiences lived vicariously in the lives of others.

My life, in perspective, is no more than the sum of experiences that come to bear on this moment, this reality. It can only be special because others make it so.

My mind tells me, intellectually, that some part of existence has made sense, that I should be glad that I am living the life that I am living now, that I am much more fortunate. I must have wasted more opportunities that life has made available for me than what has been available to others. And yet I am still here.

I am not dead. I am not ended. This life is not without purpose because today, and the past few months, have been personal lows. And yet, yes, I have to fight back my own tears welling up in me, of shame that I have not made the most of what I have been given, and of immense gratitiude that I have been given so much.

I celebrate the living that I have gone through and that others make me feel special and purposeful, even though at times it doesn't feel that way.

There were universes of regret that I went through when former President Aquino passed away. I smile at the people who belittle her contributions to the world stage; at the same time I squirm every time someone utters her name like a benediction.

This generation, my generation, must never forget what the first Edsa made possible --- that we are capable of coming together, inspiring one another, forgetting our self-serving agenda. That was the seed Cory Aquino planted. She tried her best to keep it going during her administration, but in the end, good intentions, and the desire to uproot or destroy the vestiges of dictatorship, are never enough.

The dream was there, but we woke up to something else. And for most, it was that the dream was betrayed, with epic fails at the Presidential Commission for Good Government, the flawed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, numerous rightist coups, and the worst - that the mechanisms for oppression remained, only that new people were in the saddle.

For me, it was that the dream was fragile, and that like most people who had just broken out of jail, the prisoners savored freedom too much but did not want to take responsibility, or did not have the tools to do so.

I cried for Cory because I cried for that part of our nation's spirit that has been betrayed so many times, that, like a battered child, it knows no more than to batter back. But all that child needs is acceptance, and inspiration to believe. When we lifted the veil of mourning, that was the spirit waiting for another chance.

I hope this time Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas do something different. My cynicism derides my hope, but I can keep dreaming. So far, the "realists" have embraced the two-faced nature of Manny Villar, or the stolid business-as-usual stance of Gilbert Teodoro. Hmmm, yes, there are some attractions, but there isn't enough deodorant to go around to mask the stench of of decay and corruption.

All around the world, people have forgotten that it was we who made the banner of "people power" soar high. That many of the icons who rose during that period - Lech Walesa, Albert Fujimori, Vaclav Havel, Mikhail Gorbachev - have fallen short should remind us ideals do have a price, and to transform people it is not ideology, but integrity, that ensures success.

Harvey Dent in "The Dark Knight" says it so well- "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

We have witnessed how things went topsy-turvy when the so-called moral guardians found themselves eating crow when their Anointed One, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, just didn't turn out any more kosher than Erap - in fact, she was much more manipulative and Machiavellian than anyone expected. It was masterful and deliberate, the symmetry of her destruction has some appeal.


When will we ever learn that the flow of history is against us, and without our own personal contribution, that tide will never be stanched.

I saw a Facebook post from one of my friends showing a YouTube video of "Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo" by Yano which was filmed 15, 16 years back.

The generation that was ranting for change is the generation that is coming into leadership now. And that's us.

So what have we done so far?

Are we just mere witnesses? What happened to the optimism of "Yes We Can!" or the supposed sea change that was about to come? What now? Have we gotten too lazy, too jaded, to ever see that the light lit in the windy darkness, must now, more than ever, be protected against the forces of that darkness?

Where is the moral outrage now?

Just to put this world into its natural perspective.

And I still think my personal problems outweigh the world's.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

It Isn't As Bad As You Think It Is

An Arabic proverb goes like this: "When what you want doesn't happen, learn to want what does."

I just finished the last post when I realized I should have ended it with this turn of phrase. Things won't turn around quickly, but at least you won't be as miserable while you're digging yourself out of that frickin' hole.

Breaking The Faith

Stopping updates to a blog is like rending a valued relationship to shreds --- it takes forever to get the tattered pieces back together, but you have to.

Because it feels good that I can be myself in this space, but don't have to be overindulgent.

You got me, Constant Reader (whoever you may be). I broke the faith, destroyed the covenant that binds the writer to his audience. I stopped writing. I lost my voice.

In much the same way I broke the tiny threads that bound this blog together, I pretty much fried 2009 - no great scientific discovery there - and let so many of the gains that I made during my stay here in Saudi Arabia ALMOST slip away.

Strangely enough, I find that most of what I did was necessary. Not correct, mind you, not correct at all, but we're not in the business of being prissy and perfect.

Long ago I already threw away a life of predictability and happiness for a life of meaning. Anyone can fault me, can reproach me for making that choice, and can smile in smug self-satisfaction over this and that material success or recognition they have accomplished.

People, you can do it. I know you want to. Say, "I told you so."

However, to quote one of my favorite existentialists, Mr. William Martin Joel, "You may be right, I may be crazy - But it just might be a lunatic your're looking for."

Face it, you need me. I may be all down and all that, but my karma is good, baby! I'm plugged into the purpose of my universe, and, to continue Mr. Joel's famous quote, "Turn out the light, don't try to save me..."

If it turns out bourgeois mediocrity is where most of us are headed, well, pardon me if I'm not rushing to be in line. I may be slow to the goal, but I'll appreciate all the more for savoring the sweets of the other side.

But enough of that. I almost closed down this blog - I even came up with a post, "Coming Home." Yes sir, I almost did that, but it just wasn't meant to be.

This land has a claim on me for a little while longer.

So, until then, I'll be seeing you around.