Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A parody that hits the bullseye

This movie scene has been humorously messed with numerous times! Here it is once again and this time, it provides a summary of the developments in the fight for a culture of life in my country this year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mini-bio in motion

The story behind the making of this video

The Queen of Pop

Uh...Pop Control that is. That's Hillary Clinton, whose relentless push for universal access to abortion is quite known.

She's coming to Manila once again, and though it's a mere one-day visit and it's supposed to celebrate some treaty's anniversary, how can she pass up the chance to give a boost to the RH cause here, especially when more and more Filipinos are opening their eyes to the truth and learning more of the truth about RH legislation, population control and why these are not the solution to poverty.

But don't take my word for it. Do more research on the history of "reproductive health" -- read up on the NSSM 200 (that stands for National Security Study Memorandum 200, a formerly classified then now declassified document that reveals quite a lot), and see what you'll dig up about Margaret Sanger and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

For starters, check out an article to get some insights on Clinton's Manila visit from Filipinos who are in the know when it comes to the whole reproductive health affair because for years they've been living in a country that's been immersed in the RH lifestyle -- the US.


"She has stated again and again that reproductive health must always include access to ‘safe, legal, and rare’ abortion. I hope the anti-RH people in the Philippines will show her that we Filipinos do not want this for our country, that we Filipinos are baby-loving and family-oriented people. I hope there will be a very big rally to show Hillary Clinton we don’t need her telling us Filipinos how to live our lives. The Philippines is a sovereign country and liberal laws in the U.S. have no place in our culture!"

"What is there to say? Hillary’s known for her liberal views, especially her famous words that reproductive health and reproductive rights include the right to abortion. I’m sure if she spends any time there at all, this will be one of the top items on her agenda. That’s a given."

Full story here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ring action for today

The Pacquiao-Marquez boxing match in Vegas happens in a few hours, and since I don't relish real fighting (okay, it's considered a sport, but what transpires is no cartoon or video game either, so people really do inflict pain on each other and it always ends up with real injuries), below is the kind of boxing I'd much rather go for :-)

To Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao, do your best and let your sportsmanship, humility and unparalleled skill shine once again!

Okay, I just came across another boxing clip, this time featuring Buster Keaton, whom I first heard about from my old penpal nearly 20 years ago but just never had the chance to look up till today. Hilarious! I'm sharing it here as well --

Saturday, November 12, 2011

No hands, no problem

At just about this time a week ago, I was having dinner with someone who ate with her feet. That doesn't sound like a very pleasant meal to partake in, does it? I'd surely have the same impression had I not been the one chatting over lettuce soup and (my) baked fish in olive oil with a person whom I believe is worthy of much respect beyond the common respect that each human being deserves.

Jessica Cox was born without arms, and before she reached her 28th year she had already been swimming, scuba-diving, doing taekwondo, and driving with a no-restrictions driver's license. Then in 2009 she obtained her pilot's license. Now, this is just a fraction of the activity she's been engaged in, about which you can discover more here and here. But what I really think is important about this opportunity presented to me to spend a few hours with Jessica is the way I experienced starting off trying to overlook a physical condition and eventually forgetting that it's there without even trying.

A few of us met Jessica -- a Filipino-American who was in the country on vacation -- at her hotel to do an interview. I think it was when she casually flicked on an air-conditioning switch which was around eye-level using her foot that I began to feel a strange mix of "Oh, inconsiderate me, I should've done that" and "Wow, she can do that." After that was the interview during which she related stories of growing up in the US with her parents and two siblings, doubts she had experienced and assurances she had been given over the years, the traveling she's been doing to get her motivational message across to those who could benefit from it, and basically the wonderful upbringing that her parents carried out.

It was easy to lose sight of the fact that physically she was incomplete, but boy, what grit. And yet, I sensed no overly aggressive sentiments or any kind of defensive attitude that could have been a natural outcome of being regarded as "too different for comfort" -- which is very well a possibility given most societies' lack of understanding of special conditions or exposure to differently-abled people. But Jessica was composed, well-adjusted, pleasant. By the end of the interview, though her physical condition remained, what was more pronounced to me was her character.

I was momentarily reminded of her special condition, though, after she got some postcards to autograph for us. I was surprised for a few seconds, then thought, "Oh yes..." because prior to the interview I had seen pictures of her brushing her hair, putting on contact lenses and writing with a pen -- all using her feet.

We talked a lot over dinner, and though I was initially surprised the moment she took a sip of the soup from the spoon (of course, brought to her mouth using her right foot), it became unnoticeable to me right after that. Too bad we couldn't really take our time during the meal on account of another appointment that left less than an hour for dinner.

I can't even say that it was a memorable dinner, though I will never forget it. By the time of the meal, I had already grown accustomed to her -- the whole person -- so that whatever "spectacular" thing about such an experience may have normally stayed with me, simply went to my heart. That does sound somewhat cheesy, but I think spectacular things simply go up and fade away easily, while experiences that make their way into the heart stay and are felt in some ways long after they happen.

And the autographed postcard she gave me -- I guess it's simply a reminder of the strength of the human spirit and what heights we can reach when perceived obstacles are regarded as gifts and are used as stepping stones. Since one of the photos on the postcard shows the Pope, I'll let that be a reminder that it's with faith that everything begins -- even the belief that one can write with a pen despite the absence of hands.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

If 'there be dragons'...

... brandish your sword and slay them! That would be the classic response -- if one were dealing with the kind that breathed fire and challenged lion-hearted gentlemen in pursuit of a mission.

But 'dragons' in the movie I was fortunate to watch in its advance screening pertained to nothing of the sort. Pursuit of missions, however, and the call to be lion-hearted in some way were indeed somewhere in there.

There Be Dragons, written and directed by the same man behind the acclaimed The Mission and The Killing Fields, revolves around the life of a saint who lived and died not too long ago -- the 1900s -- thereby making the situations he experienced and the circumstances he found himself in not too different from today's. I take some kind of reassurance from the fact that this "saint of the ordinary" (as St. Josemaria Escriva has come to be known) lived through contemporary music and cinematic trends, had a glimpse of the uniting effect of things such as the Olympic games, saw how nations became divided during the 20th century's two world wars, and basically saw the changing lifestyles of families and entire societies before he died in 1975. But through it all, he lived his faith and showed us the way to do it -- and he was right in the middle of the modern world, not behind some monastery's walls centuries ago.

In fact, in the movie Escriva is set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil war of the 1930s and though not really a war movie, There Be Dragons brings out a number of elements that result from man turning against fellow countryman. One scene that I find immensely striking depicts the Spanish priest and his companions after they witness the execution of another priest -- Fr. Lazaro -- by the anti-clerical Republicans. The contrast in how they respond to the scene they had just witnessed is fascinating, with everyone understandably enraged by the injustice happening around them, and everyone except Escriva calling the murderers "swines." The priest acknowledges their fury but points out things they need to hear.

"Not swines -- men, like us."

"Men?! What did Fr. Lazaro ever offer them but love?!"

"We have to pray, first pray for Fr. Lazaro and then for his murderers."

"But they're murderers, and they took pleasure in it!"

And Escriva confronts the young man, quite forcefully: "What do you want to do to them if you could, truthfully, and wouldn't you take pleasure in it?"

Faith is a gift, he tells his disheartened companions, "and God has called us to manifest it in love here on earth. Unwavering love for every child of God no matter who it is, no matter what side, no matter what circumstances."

"Even when they are wrong?" one of them asks, incredulous.

"Yes! Even if they are wrong."

Tall order? Certainly, and it is this theme of love and forgiveness -- even when circumstances make them nearly impossible -- that resonated with me. These days, when the news day after day is about shootings, bombings, insurgents killing hostages, fathers taking their children's lives, and siblings fighting over seemingly petty things, forgiveness sounds like such an alien idea. So, hearing words such as those uttered by the Spanish priest in the film was a welcome and refreshing change. And, it doesn't stop there, for the movie also shows how the power of forgiveness breaks the chains of the past.

Much as St. Josemaria is the central character, it is his friend Manolo Torres who comes out being the focus as the story unfolds, for it is around Manolo and his son, Roberto, that much of the story's crucial elements revolve (let me point out that writer and director Roland Joffe wrote the fictional father and son characters into the story). It is, after all, the journalist Roberto who sets off doing research on Escriva for a book and inadvertently makes discoveries linking the priest to his father. The synopsis actually shows partly why the tagline being used for the movie is those words attributed to Oscar Wilde -- "Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future." Okay, it's a bit unusual that I'm providing the synopsis midway through this piece, but here it is just the same:

The film tells the story of London-based investigative journalist Roberto Torres (Dougray Scott), who visits Spain to research a book about Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), the controversial founder of Opus Dei. But, Roberto hits a wall, both professionally and personally, when his most promising source—his own father, Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley) turns out to be his least cooperative one. Roberto begins to unearth his father’s toxic secrets when he learns that Manolo was not only born in the same Spanish town as Josemaría, but, that they were childhood friends and attended the same seminary. The two men take radically different paths in life, with Josemaría dedicating his life to his faith while Manolo is swept into the brutal and tumultuous Spanish Civil War. Manolo descends into a dangerous and jealous obsession when the beautiful Hungarian revolutionary Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko) doesn’t return his affections and instead gives herself to the courageous military leader, Oriol (Rodrigo Santoro).

As Roberto continues to unearth the secrets of Josemaría’s life and Manolo’s mysterious anger, their overlapping journeys are revealed with the truths and sorrows of their past choices, which compels Manolo to confront his own secret with one last opportunity of forgiveness.

Intriguing, huh? It suffices to say that the film is mighty unpredictable. Let me say, too, that parents will find in the story moving scenes that zero in on the need to forgive and ask for forgiveness not only in matters concerning social and political struggles, but in terms of their relationships within the family. As someone in the movie said, "When you forgive, you set someone free -- yourself."

A week or so after watching the premiere, I chanced upon a YouTube video that had someone involved in the movie's production saying that There Be Dragons isn't for any sole group of people, like only for believers or only for Asians. The movie is "100% about humanity" and it touched the hearts of everyone on whom the producers "tested" the film. Even director Joffe said that it's a story for "every human being" -- who feels, who thinks, who has a family, who feels angry, feels the need for revenge, who feels love, wants love or needs love. Well, is there anyone who has not felt infuriated or who does not yearn to be loved, even just a little bit? Now, after thinking more about the film, I agree that it is for everyone -- because the sentiments presented in it and the struggles that all of us wrestle with at some point in our lifetime -- are universal.

Movies have come and gone, and many have touched on similar themes. Jealousy, hate, revenge, violence. But most of them end there, with little or no elements presented as to how true redemption can be found. They're all about dragon-slaying -- the roaring, action-packed kind. But facing one's personal dragons -- challenges, whether it's envy, cowardice, isolation, a weak faith... -- and slaying them are probably what this movie will make you ponder. That, and how saints and sinners fully live their humanity as they come to terms with their past and carve out their future.

There Be Dragons will be shown from November 9-15 at SM North, Trinoma, SM Megamall, Glorietta 4, South Festival Mall, SM Southmall.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Brother, brother

"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero."

- Marc Brown

I came across this quote from this blog post at Main Squeeze

Where is the love?

Depending on what decade you were born, hearing "Where is the love?" is going to remind you of either a rap song with quite a timely reminder of the state of the world today, a tune from the 1970s, or this song from the late '90s. But neither prompted this piece that asks such a question.

About a week ago, I lost something.

I was going to wash my hands in the ladies' room so I took it off, placed it beside my bag, made a mental note to remember that it was there, hand-washed, hand-wiped, then did a few more things before heading out the door. Obviously, wearing the "finger piece" wasn't among them.

I remembered about it only when I was out of the mall already, on my way home, as I noted that something about my hand looked different.

"Where is it??" I thought, my heart sinking. Where is the love? I half-joked around, telling myself that it wasn't just any piece of jewelry but one that I tried to use as a reminder of sorts -- the reason for everything that's good in the world. The reason why we get back up again after falling into self-indulgence.

The thing that makes people put the interest of others above theirs.

The motivation for going against the grain when going with the flow would be so much easier.

The reason why we have saintly souls -- canonized or otherwise-- we celebrate and thank every year on November 1.

The reason why even though the self-sacrifice that happened on Calvary 2,000 years ago seems utterly insane, it makes sense.

And because of carelessness, the little reminder I would sometimes wear on my fingers was gone.

It wasn't that expensive, and I knew where to buy another piece. But I didn't buy another piece and I won't.

The experience later reminded me of a story one of my sisters mentioned about growing up. She said that the only time our mother would give her and our other siblings new pencils was upon being shown the little, almost completely used-up Mongol that needed replacement.

"Kaya kailangan mo talagang ingatan ang lapis mo at itatago mo hanggang ang liit-liit na. Hindi mo wawalain," she remarked.

I also thought of the instance related by an old friend who apparently knew how to take care of his things. He learned as a child not to take his toys for granted because of something his mom said while he was growing up -- something like "Ay, hindi kita ibibili ng bago kung di mo iingatan ang mga laruan mo!" (I won't buy you new ones if you don't take care of your toys!)"

If one knows that it will be easy to get a replacement -- whether it's a toy, pencil, piece of jewelry or anything else, even something of a much higher cost -- I think the tendency would be to take things for granted. Makes me wonder if it's the same when it comes to relationships... say, if people make it possible to escape the commitment involved in something that's meant to be life-long (say, marriage), would man hold on to that commitment with conviction?

One thing's for sure: even though the metal reminder on my finger is gone, it's no excuse not to engrave the word and everything it stands for in the heart.

As for getting a replacement, the lesson might be lost as soon as it's on my finger again. So, let the lesson remain. This may be an even stronger reminder of Love than a piece of metal can ever be.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tools, tube tops and the truth

Is there possibly any man in existence who has told a woman something like "When you wear that tube top and those tight shorts, I become so focused on your brilliant ideas, your intelligence" or "Seeing you in a bikini always makes me want to get into your brains and never fails to bring out the gentleman in me."

Based on what I know about men, they're quite visual. And that's all I'll say about it. Plus the fact that I appreciate the "built-in" differences between men and women, and that with the help of one another, each man and woman can eventually achieve being the best version of himself/herself.

Interested in the topic? Here's an interesting article:

Sex objects: Pictures shift men's view of women

    A drill bit burrowing into a plank of wood

    Looking at images of women's bodies activates the part of men's brains associated with using power tools. Photograph: Getty

    Men are more likely to think of women as objects if they have looked at sexy pictures of females beforehand, psychologists said yesterday.

    Researchers used brain scans to show that when straight men looked at pictures of women in bikinis, areas of the brain that normally light up in anticipation of using tools, like spanners and screwdrivers, were activated.

    Scans of some of the men found that a part of the brain associated with empathy for other people's emotions and wishes shut down after looking at the pictures.

    Full story

When photographs were more precious

An online friend pointed out sometime ago the notion of telling kids nowadays that television programming didn't always use to be a 24-hour affair. The TV signed off at night after playing the national anthem, and the screen went blank (or showed that "static image" or whatever you call it) till the programs resumed the following morning. Oh, and there was a time when we actually got up from our chair and walked to the television set if we wanted to change the channel (which during that period was one of only 5 or 6 choices).

To help kids develop an appreciation for the various tools, devices and the general lifestyle they have, it might be good to tell them about camera film as well. "We didn't take 150 shots in a span of 20 minutes; we carefully chose what to shoot before shooting, we aimed, and waited a few minutes before taking the next shot. Then we made a trip to the camera store to have the film developed and again we chose carefully before deciding which shots to have recopied to give to family and friends. We even counted our money before deciding whether to buy a 12-, 24- or 36-exposure roll of film if we knew there was going to be a party or any special occasion soon. Oh, and there was no need to charge batteries for the camera because cameras back then didn't need batteries -- they worked fine on their own."

How's that for a teachable moment with your little ones?

Old pictures can be a joy (or a laughing trip) to peruse. Thanks to the internet, I found some really old ones of famous people. Some of them are harder to recognize than others.

I wonder if the tall one was the guy underneath all that fur as Chewbacca...

Guess who. He was so familiar but I had to take a peek to finally get his name.

Not that hard to figure out, but I like the shot -- Elvis Presley with fans.

Few will probably guess who the violet-clad dude is (here with his grandmother).

Charming even as a little girl -- Audrey Hepburn.

Captured in this 1957 photo are George (14), John (16) and Paul (15). I have no idea who that other one is.

Cat looks over Marlon Brando's shoulder.

If you haven't figured out who the bespectacled lad and the violet-garbed hippie-looking guy are, maybe you can try to guess some more -- then scroll down to see if you guessed correctly :-)

* Boy wearing glasses -- George Clooney

* Hippie dude -- Eric Clapton

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Maybe he needed to get something out of his system

It looks to me like he succeeded!

Are adults there to adulterate?

I would certainly think not. But sometimes I can't help but feel that adults are responsible for corrupting that which is innocent. Who else can be held responsible for treating children as if their childhood were a stage to be skipped? A child--unless introduced to grown-up things too early--naturally tends to be child-like. Would a little girl flash a come-hither look or gyrate like a burlesque dancer if she weren't exposed to such concepts in the first place?

So, why are such things happening?

10-year-old girl poses seductively for French Vogue

Little girls gone wild: Why daughters are acting too sexy, too soon

French company blasted for marketing 'sexy' underwear for four-year-olds

I thought it would stop at that pole-dancing kit for kids several years ago that was briefly marketed online before being pulled out due to numerous protests ... or the padded bras for toddlers after that which didn't really take off. But it looks like marketers will stop at nothing if the glare of big bucks becomes too hard to resist!

As for that last item above about "kiddie lingerie," I came across something written by a mom who reacted to it. Here's an excerpt:

Instead of talking about if this is right or wrong, how horrible the sexualization and sexploitation of childhood is, how our daughters are being damaged by messages coming at them so early that their ability to be beautiful and sexy will define their worth and that their not-yet developed sexuality will be a performance for others instead of something innate….

Let’s desconstruct what this is really about, because I heard some absurd things when this was discussed:

2. “Saying that a woman wears pretty undergarments because they expect to be undressed for sex, also bad.” And “not always why I wear it… I would say it’s made to make me feel (when properly fitting, of course) feminine, sensual, attractive, etc”.

What I said, for the record, is that the ‘lingerie is gift wrapping for sex’. There are definitely women who like to wear lingerie for the sake of wearing lingerie, sex or no sex. Fancy bras and panties are a perk to being a grown woman. But I think it is safe to say that the majority of people wearing lingerie, the majority of times they wear it, is to be seductive in the boudoir and to be gazed upon. Now we have a children’s version, which makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Let’s remember, Victoria’s Secret was created by a man, to make a more comfortable and easy shopping experience for men buying items for their romantic interests. The lingerie market was created and largely exists for sex and seduction, to be gazed at while wearing garments that accentuate the adult body in a sexual manner. Wearing lingerie is about sex or feeling sexy. And none of that has to do with being a five year old.

5. “I don’t think I would have had any idea I was being sexualized, and since my parents would never have let me pose in my underwear in a public forum under any circumstances (and it never would have occurred to me to want to), I don’t think anyone else would have had the opportunity to sexualize me either.” And “If no one involved, including the children, notice it happening, then how is it happening exactly?”

That is the beast of sexualization, isn’t it? Children don’t understand that it is happening to them. How would they? That doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. If I have a pot boiling on the stove and I leave the room as it boils over, I may not see it happening, but I still have a mess to clean up. Sexualization doesn’t have to take place in public, and sexualization is not the same as sexual abuse.

6. “I think saying ‘my daughter wants to be like me and she may by any means she chooses EXCEPT the things I do because they make me feel pretty’ is…bizarre. Girls are allowed to want to be attractive.”

I think all living creatures are looking for acceptance, and a part of that comes from being found attractive. But in girlhood, that shouldn’t come from being sexy. Trying on Mommy’s dresses and make-up and painting toes is one thing – both totally normal and age appropriate, while keeping in check the focus and emphasis on “being pretty”. Trying on mini, child version of the type of lingerie Mommy would wear to seduce Daddy while away on an anniversary weekend? Not okay. Disgusting, really.

Playing with hairstyles and clips and updo’s – totally normal and age appropriate. Sitting at a photoshoot getting a Brigette Bardo bombshell updo to model lingerie made for kids? Are ya kidding me? Not. Okay.

There are some things adults do because they are adults that have no place in childhood.
It is all about allowing our children to be children, and not rushing them in sexuality and adulthood. It is about seeing the value in our girls enjoying and thriving in girlhood. If we do that, we’ll be raising a great bunch of young women.

Couldn't add anything more to that!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Shortening your travel time?

... your travel time on earth as a pilgrim, that is :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Don't you worry about the situation..."?

Well, of course worrying won't solve anything.

But first, some pictures...

What happened? Why were those people out in the streets? Why were students holding placards bearing such messages? What's with the thumbs-down sign?

It was a press conference on July 15, called by the interfaith Pro-Life Coalition. About what? Find out here

That young man and woman seated at table and who represented different youth groups had quite a lot to say. Read all about it here and here

On the 25th, something good will happen. On the same day that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III delivers his State of the Nation Address, this will also take place...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Loving the 'popcorn'

"Popcorn" was how it was called -- the crackling sound one heard when playing a vinyl record no matter how new (or newly cleaned) it was. But of course the more cleaning a record needed, the noisier it usually was.

I got a kick out of playing a video over and over through dinner tonight. My mom seemed to enjoy it, too, since the song was from the 1950s and she was quite familiar with it. That was the time of turntables and record needles -- and popcorn.

As if to really get into the yesteryear mood, I was using my small notebook to play the video -- hence, producing a "transistor radio-like" sound quality and making the whole experience more realistic.

Here's Frank Sinatra's "Young at heart" from 1954 --

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Are you afraid of the dark?

I was not aware that African-American women today experienced feelings of insecurity concerning their skin color.

I didn't know either that whatever shade of brown their complexion happened to be, mattered so much as to elicit a comment such as "You’ve gotten so dark. But don’t worry, you’re still pretty” not from a Filipino or some other race with an equally colonial outlook when it comes to physical attributes, but from a fellow African-American (or so I assume).

These were unknown to me till I came across this penned by Javacia Harris Bowser (I find her first name charming so I just had to mention it).

Her essay reminds me again of the somewhat disdainful attitude with which many Filipinos regard dark skin. Never mind that we live in the tropics where skin protection from the scorching sun is a necessity. Some women just need to have their milky white complexion whether it's bleaching soap or some whitening cream that will work the magic!

Well, ranting isn't the aim here -- just a reminder that while nobody will ever be satisfied in this life, skin color ought to be the least of one's concerns in a world where things like potable water, equitable distribution of food resources, and dignified living conditions still elude many of us.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Vintage with value

"You can call, you can text, you can post..." said Jeremiah Junior over the radio this morning as I drove to my destination, referring to the assortment of choices listeners have should they want to request a song for him to play.

Funny how the voice was so familiar, yet the things he was saying reflected a different era. Different from what? Well, different from the era in which "texting" and "posting" were unheard of. Specifically, the 1980s, when the only way to request a song -- or to get to talk to the jocks on board for anything -- was by dialing a number on the telephone. It was something I knew well.

Now, however, things are done pretty differently, and I had my taste of it a couple of years ago. I was logged on at Yahoo Messenger and I decided to add one of DWRT's jocks on my buddy list (can't even remember his name). He was online!

We chatted a bit. Then I went, "Can I request a song?" and he said to go ahead.

"Can you please play Rock the Casbah?" (It was 24k Friday then, which meant "old music" the whole day)

Some more chitchat followed...then in less than 2 minutes I could hear the familiar intro of the classic tune from The Clash! Boy, what a pleasantly strange feeling I got. It was like getting accustomed to years of hour-long driving to whatever destination I had, then adjusting to the 20-minute MRT rides and going "Huh? It's my stop already? I'm there!" when it was time to get off.

"This is cool. I get to request a song and I don't even have to make a call," I told myself.

At the same time, part of me thought, "That was too easy. Walang challenge."

After all, before all this texting, posting and online chatting became part of life, one had to do a lot more just to have a chance to hear your requested song on the radio. Well, it was nothing close to hard labor or anything of that sort, but compared to how easy it is to get things done nowadays with the aid of technology, things back then seem now like a lot of work -- and I mean that in a good way. People worked hard for what they wanted to accomplish.

Back then to get a chance to request a song, one walked over to the telephone (no cordless for us at the time), and dialed the number. I'm talking about rotary-dial phones, which is significant in terms of getting accustomed to waiting till the deed is done. One can't not develop even just a bit more patience in the course of repeated dialing on a rotary-dial phone (no "redial" options either). Also, you must remember that groupies, music freaks and other such individuals apart from you are probably trying to do the same thing at the same time, so a busy signal becomes quite familiar before you finally get to hear a ringing sound (hurray!!).

Then, when the request is finally made, it is then time to wait for the song to be played, which can take almost forever. If you plan to record the song, of course you will have set the cassette recorder prior to that and are in for a long wait, all set to press the record key. This may seem trivial now, but to any youngster who grew up during the times of "rewind/fast forward" (cassette recorder) rather than "track __" (CD player), a lot more effort was involved to get things done, even if the goal was merely to record a song and to find it in a cassette tape later on. (Also, due to all this preparation, the song finally hitting the airwaves almost always elicits a squeal of delight.)

For the present generation, sifting through one side of a cassette tape to find a particular song (instead of simply clicking on track number so-and-so on a remote for a CD player) would probably be akin to going through a card catalogue (one that involves dozens of drawers and hundreds of index cards) to find a book rather than looking it up online and having the computer do everything for them to locate the book.

So, much as I was thrilled by the novelty of getting to request a song and hear it right away -- and with nothing as much as a few strokes on a keyboard -- the fact that it was too easy made the excitement superficial (and short-lived). Still, it was a thrill. And it made me appreciate all that "work" that growing up in the'70s and '80s entailed. Okay, it may have been just repeated dialing on a rotary-dial phone, but little did I know that such a device two decades later would signify much more than "vintage." Try "challenge."

So, maybe I'll YM that jock again sometime, request another song, and get ready for a few seconds of excitement upon hearing it. I guess I can't expect much more when things come too easy.

"If life throws you lemons..." revised

Down in the dumps? No? Well, don't wait to have a bad day before checking this out:

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Beyond silver hair and walking canes

Here's a light-hearted take on commitment and day-to-day self-giving. I love it -- eyebags and all!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The brave bunch

On Friday last week, the campus of the University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman saw some action.

Supporters of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill -- a piece of legislation that proposes taxpayer-funded, State-guaranteed procurement and distribution of the "full range" of birth control supplies and services -- held a demonstration to manifest their position. But that's not really what I'm blogging about.

Sure, rallies like this are noteworthy. But even more amazing is when a small group of students swims against the current and demonstrates a stand, which, till that day, had been regarded as the unpopular one on campus.

UP has long been known for fostering an environment of activism, encouraging the habit of speaking one's mind and standing up for one's beliefs. And on Friday I was pleasantly jolted back to this reality, that voicing out one's convictions was something I would witness on campus that day. I had no idea, though, that seeing the first signs of this freedom of speech would be so exhilarating.

As I entered the campus, from afar I saw patches of red on huge acacia tree trunks; coming closer I saw red ribbons and pieces of cloth tied around the trunks, some bearing the ubiquitous "No to RH Bill" stickers. What joy! "There is hope!" was my first thought upon setting eyes on the crimson representations of opposition to an oppressive proposed law that others seem to welcome with open arms, either out of ignorance, anger at perceived control freaks, misplaced idealism, or sheer disregard for the ones to suffer from such a measure.

I also spied the stickers on street lamps, waiting sheds, jeepney stops and other structures around the academic oval. Oh, joy! Never had I associated the "No" symbol (you know, the red circle with the diagonal line to indicate something forbidden) with fun or freedom more than when I was still in the habit of watching "Ghostbusters" cartoons on Friday nights in the '80s.

After driving around campus some more -- stopping several times to take snapshots -- then talking to some folks, I headed home. What an exhilarating experience! Who knew ribbons and stickers could have such an effect?

But it didn't end there. An RH march was scheduled in the afternoon, and I knew about a planned counter-activity that would express opposition against the RH bill around the same time. Nothing big, nothing spectacular. Still, I was thrilled that there were students in my alma mater who believed so intensely in their life-affirming principles that they would work so hard to make sure these principles were demonstrated in a campus that merely went with the flow as far as RH legislation was concerned.

They came from the direction of C.P. Garcia. When they appeared -- mostly garbed in red (the chosen color) -- each was holding a bunch of red balloons. A few of them had balloons attached to a piece of manila paper bearing the "No to RH" icon (the same one with the red circle and slash).

Pretty soon the group was nearing the oval, a few meters away from the AS steps, where a crowd of 100+ RH supporters along with some curious bystanders were gathered, listening to speeches.

As they turned and casually made their way toward the ongoing program, I couldn't help but admire these young souls even more. Not even curious gazes and clapping seemed to daunt them; as they approached the group gathered at the steps and I realized they were really headed straight for the people, anxiety momentarily enveloped me. But it left me right away as soon as I saw the gutsy bunch stop, UP Against RH-marked balloons still in hand, and linger as they probably wondered how to execute the release of the balloons as swiftly as possible (placards, after all, were attached to some of them).

Well, it wasn't much of a tough choice; all they had to do was pick a spot and let go. And let go they did, amid simultaneous cheering (why the anti-human-rights-of-the-unborn dudes were cheering, I couldn't say) and chanting of "Ipasa, ipasa....RH bill...." or something. Up, up and away went the balloons, with a few getting stuck in the canopy provided by lovely branches of the huge acacia tree, and one bunch attached to a "No to RH" sign being grabbed by someone who obviously thought nothing of claiming something as his even if it didn't belong to him. Oh, well.

What a display of composure and courage this bunch exemplified. And it wasn't because they were a brash, fearless lot. They weren't; they felt uneasy, and representing the silent majority the way they did was quite the challenge. For a moment there I had visions of David vs. Goliath, all because next to the people milling about the area, either actively taking part in the ongoing program or simply hanging out disinterestedly nearby, the group seemed to me like a child full of hope and idealism beside a much bigger, washed-up, jaded, overconfident grownup. And guess who triumphed?

I'm sure the deed was regarded by some as a senseless act, but when one knows it's backed up by conviction and a sincere desire to let truth and goodness prevail, it makes perfect sense.

What makes no sense is letting the news release about an event (the RH march) see cyberspace for over 24 hours when what it describes in detail (and in the past tense) are the happenings of the event that did not happen (translation: the RH march was originally scheduled for June 25 and was cancelled due to bad weather, yet a news release describing what "happened" was on a news and events website till some of us called their attention to it). Anyway, more details about that can be found here.

(If I may add, another thing that makes no sense to me is blowing up the official count of attendees in an event to, say, 800, when photos as well as eyewitness accounts show the actual count to be 200 at the most. If RH people were more truthful about such details, they would probably sway more people to their side)

Still, while inconsistencies on the other side continue, the side of Life remains dedicated to the truth. Even if truth for one day were symbolized simply by beribboned trees...

... or a bunch of red balloons.

Read a news story about the event here

Related story here

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Paper view

This "log cabin" is a classic. I merely handed over boxes of various sizes to Petrufied and she transformed them -- with the help of transparent tape, glue, scissors and rolled up pages of an old phone book -- into this fascinating plaything. Some kiddies had some fun with it, too.

I tried my hand at crafting simple playthings out of what normally would be considered "junk," like old magazines. There are stacks of glossies at home which, though, still leafed through occasionally, would probably be better off discarded.

But it can be difficult to part with old magazines, even if many of them were acquired at huge discounts (think Booksale and Filbars). So, I got some of them and worked the scissors!

You can do the same with your kids for a few hours of creative fun. Sure, they may have their coloring books, drawing paper and jigsaw puzzles. Toys that whir, light up, beep and make all sorts of fascinating sounds may be part of the lot, too. But it's good to give them opportunities to develop their imagination by helping them see that almost anything can be transformed into play -- and playthings.

Magazines are there to be read and to learn from, but viewed a different way, they can be the stuff of paper hats, boats and even jewelry!

Fashioning some paper necklaces and bracelets for your little girls can also be turned into a teachable moment when it comes to discussing femininity, doing things at the proper time and related issues. How? Let's say a child wants to put on makeup or wear high heels just like mom and other adult women she sees. If you don't really care about the child, you'll let her do anything she wants. She may put shadow on her eyelids, demand a pair of heeled mules or don blinding bling when you go out, and you give in to her and hardly bat an eyelash. But if you genuinely care that she grow up into a fine young woman with a solid character and sound values, you'll take time to explain to her things she needs to understand -- like how certain things are done at the proper time.

While cutting up these magazine pages and linking them into a chain for a pretty necklace, you can tell her that while you have your pearls and other precious stones in your jewelry box, little girls like her can wear children's jewelry, which you're making right now. There are, after all, things to look forward to, like wearing makeup and jewelry, going out on dates, holding down a job, paying bills, getting married, raising children... (though I wouldn't call paying bills something to look forward to, but you get the picture) while for the present, being a child is what is for her to do! When the right time comes, those other things -- grown-up things -- will be part of her life as well.

So, for the moment, it's paper necklaces and bracelets she'll enjoy making and wearing, and she can even choose what part of the comics page she'll make for her jewelry!

Some tips: do assist the child if she's still too young to handle a pair of scissors properly. We don't want any cuts as a result of this crafting session! And, since little hands are still mastering those fine motor skills, some paper strips may end up being uneven and being linked together in crooked ways. That's alright! Though anything worth doing is worth doing well, I think the more important aim in this case is having fun with your little one while imparting invaluable lessons during the fun. Also, even if the jewelry pieces are far from perfect, your child won't mind if you won't. But if you praise her for her efforts and a job well done, she's sure to remember it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...