Friday, February 25, 2011

Be careful what you wish for

No wonder Bongbong Marcos had the guts to try and twist history; young people are clueless about the 1986 People Power revolution:

Jaywalking EDSA by Ed Lingao for PCIJ

“Yung EDSA ‘86 ba, kailan naganap?”

“Hindi ko po talaga alam, sir.”


"Kay Marcos ako; kasi yun yung kailangan natin. Kasi yung mga Pilipino kulang pa din sa discipline. Kung ibabalik yung kamay na bakal, magkakaroon tayong lahat ng disiplina; uunlad tayo."

"Mas gusto mong may kamay na bakal?"

"Yung lang po."

"Naranasan mo na ba yon?"

"Hindi pa."

If you are one of the clueless, consider:

or mag-migrate kayo sa Libya.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I stumbled on this on-site wedding video on my Tumblr dashboard and it's... a hipster wedding! LOL!

But seriously, this is way, way too beautiful. I love the rustic and spontaneous, seemingly random, quality of the video and wedding. I can feel their love all the way to here.

Mabuhay ang bagong kasal! (And no, I don't know them, lol.)

Wedding Preview: Noah and Rachael 8.14.10
from Ben Potter & Drew Barefoot on Vimeo.


Yesterday, I tweeted about how curious I got about The New Yorker's piece on Scientology, enough to check if it has infiltrated the Philippines.

As it turned out, there have been attempts to do so, with David Pomeranz as its ambassador. (There was a time when he seemed to have been here for so long with no concerts or an album to promote; I thought it was charming. Now we know the motive.) In a smart move, which I'm glad did not take off (because again, there was a hidden agenda), Scientologists proselytized under the guise of an anti-drug movement.

The Scientology - Philippines website has not been updated in years, so I'm not sure how unsuccessful or successful its efforts have been.

* * * *

The New Yorker piece, written by Lawrence Wright, is 27 pages and nearly 25,000-word long: it took me close to an hour to read it, and that was without distractions. It centers on director Paul Haggis's (Million Dollar Baby, Crash) decision to resign from the Church, where he has been in the top hierarchy of believers.

It's a fascinating read in that Scientology is a religious movement that has managed to attract the likes of Tom Cruise and John Travolta despite this:

Fifteen hundred Scientologists crowded into the courthouse, trying to block access to the documents. The church, which considers it sacrilegious for the uninitiated to read its confidential scriptures, got a restraining order, but the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the material and printed a summary. Suddenly, the secrets that had stunned Paul Haggis in a locked room were public knowledge.

“A major cause of mankind’s problems began 75 million years ago,” the Times wrote, when the planet Earth, then called Teegeeack, was part of a confederation of ninety planets under the leadership of a despotic ruler named Xenu. “Then, as now, the materials state, the chief problem was overpopulation.” Xenu decided “to take radical measures.” The documents explained that surplus beings were transported to volcanoes on Earth. “The documents state that H-bombs far more powerful than any in existence today were dropped on these volcanoes, destroying the people but freeing their spirits—called thetans—which attached themselves to one another in clusters.” Those spirits were “trapped in a compound of frozen alcohol and glycol,” then “implanted” with “the seed of aberrant behavior.” The Times account concluded, “When people die, these clusters attach to other humans and keep perpetuating themselves.”

* * * *

In Lawrence's interview with National Public Radio after the publication of the article, he mentioned that it took him 10 months to write the article. Also, The New Yorker's fact-checking department sent the church an astounding 971 queries for verification.

That kicks ass.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The golden mean

I am surprisingly Zen (translation: deadma) about the Senate hearings on military corruption. I mean, I sympathize with Heidi Mendoza and would want nothing short of finding all of the accused rotting in jail, but I am justnotangry. (Examples of angry here.) My blood pressure is stable and normal; there's no vein deliriously pulsating on my forehead; I am calmly typing on my keyboard. Not even Merceditas Gutierrez's swipe at Leila de Lima got to the monastic calmness that is my nerves.

I thought this particular New Year's resolutionnot sweating the small stuffwould be my most difficult but it's a state I've found myself easily transitioning into. I've heard, read and been on the receptive end of (some) bad news the past month and I've found myself mulling over the information before tweeting, blogging, fuming or worrying:

  • Is the bad news confirmed, final or imagined?
  • Can I do something about it?
  • Does it affect me personally? Is it unique to me?
  • If I act, will it add to the noise or will it add value?
  • Nasa cast ka ba ng Black Swan? Kasi kung wala ka rin lang sa isang Oscar-nominated film, deadma na!
* * * *

On the other hand, too much Zen, or deadma, and you get apathy. That is a no-no. You will never win Miss Universe if you are apathetic. Or if you are gay. 

*Is the bad news confirmed, final or imagined? 
Can I do something about it?*

In philosophy, and I quote Manong Wikipedia, "the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency." (Medyo stating the obvious din itong mga philosophers na ito, eh no? Ang dali siguro maging Philo major. Chos!) And there's a particular branch of philosophy that aims to achieve that golden mean between passion and apathy: Stoicism. 

... the Stoics sought freedom from all passions (apatheia). It meant eradicating the emotional response to external events—the things we cannot control. For the Stoics, it was the optimum rational response to the world, for we cannot control things that are caused by the will of others or by Nature, we can only control our own will. This did not mean a loss of all feeling, or total disengagement from the world. The Stoic who performs correct judgments and actions as part of the world order experiences contentment and good feelings.

So there. Don't sweat the small stuff! 

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Gives way

I had dinner with five mommies earlier. (I was the only guy and singleton in the group.) I love them and I have great fondness for them because they are around the same age when my own mother had me, or was raising me.

I learned a lot of things from the dinner. And seriously, it's always important to get other people's perspective. As I previously blogged, I personally think it's the next best thing you can have next to actual experience.

I was particularly amused by how one mother was aghast to find her daughter, a sophomore college student, sleeping next to her boyfriend in her bedroom after several hours of studying. (It was more like a nap actually.) The mother didn't find them in a comprising position; they really were just sleeping, but she hyperventilated at the sight. All mothers were in agreement that the daughter should have avoided the situation, while I am still processing what exactly is wrong with that, lol.

Another mother raised the social networking issue, how privacy is sacrificed for the sake of vanity and ego by kids (actually, not just kids) who freely upload and share photos and videos, up-to-the-minute status messages, and personal information online. I agree with herand truly, it's an issue I am still dealing with myselfbut at the same time, I wonder if our concern is exactly the type that young ones would label as prudish thinking. (On a side note, I remember an article I read on the Internet on how future political candidates will eventually have to run their smear campaigns based on information extracted from their opponents' respective online accounts, most of which would've been activated when they were still children/adolescents. That's just four or five presidential elections away. Imagine that.)

Eventually, they all asked me if I ever plan on having kids of my own. They were gracious enough to agree with my misgivings: how hard it is, how expensive it is, how I'd rather spend the money for myself.

"You undergo a self-transformation," one countered, as she described how one hug from your kid makes all hardships worth it. "You forget about yourself; someone else matters more than you. The selfishness gives way."

I thought that's a really meaningful life, one that's devoid of selfishness.

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