Monday, August 25, 2008

Message to the Filipino (Hero) Athletes of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Dear Athletes,

You are already winners for me, like many of us here in country believe. To be able to participate in such a huge event, under the eyes of many nations, is truly remarkable enough. I am aware that you have undergone many tournaments, long hours of trainings and practices, just to make your best shot in Beijing and wow us here.

Who would dare say that you weren’t prepared? I can only say that the other athletes have undergone far more rigorous preparations and thus surpassed what you have shown there. My two thumb ups are not enough to convey my message of appreciation to what you did. Despite you number, it is a statement in itself that we have the capabilities to face even the toughest ones from around the globe.

I send my words of disappointment to “those” who are suppose to give you support, and I mean genuine support, and let them swallow the shame that is now creeping into our people; a thinking that maybe we are not really doing good in the sports circle. They are the ones who should perform the necessary trainings among themselves – trainings which will aim for the construction of a clean-slated organization or organizations that is/are more than willing to devote time and energy for you athletes. Let us do away with the officials that have political inclinations. (Ggggrrr.) We need genuine leaders who would cater to your needs and ultimately, to your aspirations.

As you go back, let the warm greeting of our fellow Filipinos envelope you guys and serve as prize for the feats you have shown to us.

Mabuhay kayong mga Pilipinong Atleta!

Your fan,


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Short Note on Ninoy

I am currently surrounded by a multitude of work: a bunch of unfinished designs on an applied physics course, an impending practical exam on self-defense, online jobs, writing contests, among others. But then I could not help but give in to this urge to mention this day that marks an important event in my history, in our history as a nation - the assassination of Ninoy Aquino.

There is no need to discuss again every page of our old history books about that event. I know that we all know what happened (assuming of course that we all STILL have a sense of history). Ninoy was a public official at a young age; did a number of jobs - correspondent, negotiator, etcetra; became a senator; opposed the form of leadership of Marcos; was exiled; and was assassinated (read murdered) while held by the military. The event gave birth to our revered event now called EDSA Revolution.

It has been 25 years since his death but I know that the ideals he was fighting for then did not go with him to the grave. One just have to look around to see the noise of the people out in the streets, demanding for equal rights, fair pricing of commodities, truth from the ruling individuals in the government, the list is endless but essentially, the shouts then are still heard today.

But then as to what he said - that the Fili
pino is worth dying for - I am a bit reluctant to admit this but I am starting to let go of my belief in such words. Walang problema sa iba na alam ang nangyayari sa bansa; sa kahirapang nararanasan nito ngayon. Pero sa mas nakakarami na walang pakialam? It seems it is not worth it to exert effort for a country whose people are not even grateful in what their fellows are doing to save the country (at least) from the things that are causing its sufferings. I personally applaud those public officials who are consciously trying to make things a lot better in their respective offices. But it is just quite frustrating to realize that we don't all have that thinking - that we should at least do something, however small, to make Pilipinas still worth keeping.

It would be a hard task to expound on how enormous Ninoy's influence had on the Filipino's thinking during his time and even up to now. I don't see him as a mere legend but instead as a conscious man who has found evil in the time and place he found himself in and bravely fought it despite the obvious possibility of death for him. Yes, I think the word hero would least approximate the description of him.

I just hope that you, reader would be able to take a short time today and reflect upon your place in our history, how you stand and where are you headed for as a Filipino. And hopefully through that, we should get a hold of ourselves and proceed with our lives thinking more of the welfare of our country than anything else.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

La Peste: A Review

[I would admit that my interest in Albert Camus (pronounced as ka’mû) is rooted in the fact that he is always associated with a certain philosophical movement in which I am currently delving. Nevertheless, his talent as a writer can be seen in the way his works are acclaimed both in the philosophical and literary circles. Here I would attempt to give a look back at one of his widely read work and give some personal insights into its impact.]

The novel is set in the ‘ugly’ town of Oran (in the year ‘194-’) where a plague has ravaged through almost nine months. We are told of the ‘unusual events’ through the words of a certain ‘narrator’ that have made it a point to assume the role of an impartial observer. Here the story revolved around a number of characters in the town: Dr. Bernard Rieux, Tarrou, Grand, Cottard, Rambert, Father Paneloux, among other.

The story I believe is encompassing as it tried its best to take into account the varied reactions, and the subsequent feelings of the inhabitants toward this plague that has come to them. At the start, the city and its people are described to us – its attitude towards life and its activities. In realizing that a plague has indeed penetrated the seeming ordinariness of their lives, we’ve come to know the listlessness that enveloped them.

Some merit should really be placed in the way Camus has put in the words of the narrator the description of the ‘abstraction’ that sadly conquered the hearts of those who are trapped in the town when the gates
of Oran was finally closed to the rest of the world. Here a person who was abruptly forced to be separated from his or her loved one/s naturally fell into regret at not giving importance to the times when they were still together. Now the desperate attempts to break all the imposed rules that secured this separation was seen. And it was in this period of desperations that they began to actually forget the very reasons of those efforts for reconciliations. Thus, the abstractions.

The story proceeded and we see now the change the plague has made in the people, how they came to know despair and the reality of the impartial hand of death the plague is putting on the shoulders of Oran’s citizens.

Perhaps there will be just two parts of the story that I would like to expound on: 1) that of the case of Father Paneloux and 2) Tarrou.

In the character of Father Paneloux we see a clash between belief and reality. At the commencement of the plague, he has professed the plague’s coming as devoted to those who have came to ignore, more so forget, God; that the pestilence is a reminder of the wrath of God for those who are dark in the hearts. But what a change did we see in the priest when he saw for himself the slow death of a child – an innocent child – in the hands of the plague! From hereon we saw his devotion to help Dr. Riuex in their work and fight the plague. In this confrontation with a seeming paradox, it was obvious that he is left with only two choices: to lose his faith or fight it. At the end of the chapter devoted to Father Paneloux, we saw his refusal to let go of his faith to God but instead fought against the physical plague and…gladly died of something that has conquered his line of breathing.

It is in a somewhat same light that I would like to discuss Tarrou, whose diary the narrator has relied on some of the parts he included in his chronicle. He has come to despise murder at an early age and decided to battle against. He believed that the order we observe in society is imposed only by the death-sentence. And so, as he said, in fighting against this order, he was
fighting against murder. (Curiously enough, it was noted that there was no country in Europe in which he did not join such fights.)

But then he realized something, a realization that has come to him even before the plague of Oran came.

It was that all of us have the plague already within us.

And as we go along our lives, unbeknownst to us, we have killed another person or caused the death of someone else. Only in trying to minimize the ‘lapses’ that we achieve something we all aspire for, a concept that we could roughly translate as “peace”. Ironically, it was this very thing that Tarrou experienced prior to his passing away – trying all his best to minimize the lapses wherein the plague could attack and claim him. He put up a good fight, as Dr. Riuex observed. And as I see it, the events that happened before he died showed the he is still human, despite the seeming contradictory
beliefs (relative to the ones accepted by the society) that he has adopted through his whole life.

I’ve just reread the book. And in going through the lines again, it only reinforced the reality of the presence of contradictions; I daresay paradoxes, which abound in our existence. It may only serve to remind us that there is no denying that we only design what we become; that we do the choices for ourselves. In plague or in times of peace, we must not let the world outside control our inside lives. In essence, we battle the things that are against our own good; and it may be rewarding to note the he who charts his own course gets to know, as a form of prize, his essence.
[NGA PALA: The narrator is in fact one of the characters who have made numerous appearances in the story.]
Camus, Albert. The Plague. Translated from French by Stuart Gilbert. Penguin Books, 1972. ISBN 0-14-00-14721
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Thursday, August 7, 2008

<-(S I C K A N D I L L )->

I think I have already said that I would keep the entries as limited as possible to things that involve the country and its activities. But perhaps all of it is starting to get lost now in the haze of headache and cold feelings...literally.
I mean no one really likes getting sick. But it’s me right now: right down sick. (And so now I think I have absolved myself now for missing the Philippine current events…Hay, ‘di na natuloy ‘yung entry ko about sa SONA ni due time makakabawi rin ako mga pinagsasabi n’ya etc..)

[Day One]
It all started last Saturday, after we have cleared away a part of the open lawn at Gawad Kalinga San Pablo (GK-San Pablo) as part of a community service. We have finished around two o’clock in the afternoon (we started the weekly activities at 8) after a futile search for the lost cellphone of one of the members of our team.
Then a torrent of text messages about a certain fraternity finals. Yeah, I was willing to proceed but instead bravely excused myself. I did not use the excuse that I was feeling bad but instead said something about preparedness and pseudo-philosophies. Three o’clock onwards all was…
Kierkegaard reading, Kierkegaard reading.
Thanks to lola for a bowl of lugaw. (Sorry I intentionally did not eat the tokwa…weird taste kas
i eh!)

[Day Two]
Well, I can say that I was quite feeling well on this gloomy Sunday since I was able to go out and buy myself some oatmeals (been dying to eat some for the past two weeks.) Thankfully, I was able to study for the rest of the afternoon and have another away pusa ulet with my sister late in the afternoon. Later, I enjoyed listening to oh-so-interesting topics on RockEd Radio at NU.
Here’s the bomb:
Around 10, I began feeling really really really really cold. Since lola left with me her thermometer, I opted to use it. Andun na rin naman. To my horror, my temperature was actually shooting now to 39 degrees Celsius and all I am feeling was that bad cold feeling (whatta!). I hurried downstairs to fetch some water and hastily make myself some coffee (thanks to the second-hand thermos!)…take note…with really really shaky hands.

From here ‘til the next day it is quite hard to describe what happened: that same set of bad feelings – severe chilling, delirium-related visions (i.e. molecules forming right in front of me), and a downpour of (unusual) dreams and hopes I gladly not remember forever.





[Day Six]
It’s actually Day Six now and still these bad feelings are lingering. No thanks to these swollen lymph nodes that have made their posts again! And so I have to take in again those loathsome concoctions of amoxicillin, paracetamol, phenylpropanolamine, chlorphenamine maleate, among other.
My whole point on this lousy entry is this: You don’t want to get sick in the middle of a pile of activities tagged with a deadline. Hope everything will go well next week.

Just recalled a line from one of the songs of Taking Back Sunday:



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