Monday, December 29, 2008

The ‘Thrust’ of Viole(n)t Mugs


As this blog reach its age of one and a half years (on January 3), I am compelled to look back at its contents and observe the form it has come to assume. There is no definite way, upon seeing them, to describe the overall nature of this site. It has dealt with my personal experiences both as a person and a student; the different events that has happened in the Philippines; personal beliefs; reviews; etc.
And upon giving it a seal (nyek!) as a form of tribute, I decided, at the coming of this New Year, to put on it the events external to myself. Diaries are supposed to take care of the more personal ones (emo moments, etc.). Of course, there’s no way I could say that I would not talk about politiks or perhaps existentialism anymore. Suffice it to say that this blog, as I see it now, is a way of knowing how well I have dealt with and experienced the ‘world’ outside myself.
Let us greet the new year with hopeful hearts!
Kahit na medyo malabo ‘tong intro kong entry para sa 2009 eh ok na rin, hehe.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Year-End II: Resolve(s)

As I do not want to have another year that will be filled with those freakish events characteristic of this concluding year, I decided to map out a rough sketch of plans in which to pattern my activities for the coming year.
I would, first and foremost, make genuine and improve past relations with people, be it in the academic, romantic, or familial aspects. The past years of disregard of them have definitely caught me finally and it is on a firm resolve that I would want to be more open to them (with reasonable limits of course) and cherish whatever connections have been established before. Even if a number of people have totally lost their faith in me, there is in every human being innumerable opportunities to make their proverbial about-faces and turn into what they think is good for them and the people around them. Choice would of course play a crucial role in this part.
As to my long-standing academics, I would definitely want to have what Gauss called work that is about criticism. Well, I am definitely far away from what he accomplished but from that principle I would want to pattern the future of my thesis. The research is exciting and the works are sure to be enjoying. If the number of publications that we already have during the stretch of my undergraduate years is still not enough to satisfy the scientific aspect of my being, then I’m bound to finally satiate it with my thesis. (I am yet to face an admission to my parents about the status of the completion of my degree.) Next to this is of course is to get some real nice job this 2009.
Writing has always been a big part of my life. And I don’t think I will be able to get away from it. And so along with this physics career which I am still building is this parallel life in writing that I want to hone and nourish.
And I’ve realized just now that music is still a vital part of my existence.
It is a valve in which I could free myself of all those abstract thoughts and freely express them in those finger movements, chords, and notes. And so as form of reparation for a seeming long-lost passion, I intend to build again my skills on the guitar. Yeah, after a long, long period of side trips on the bass guitar and drums, guitar still stands as one of the prime characters in music for me. Gotta build up again those calluses, woo!
And…er…money-wise…ahem. Well, I’d definitely want to straighten out my finance state (if ever there is one) and finally apply those things lectured by Sir Valdeavilla.
I believe I have found finally the finest course of things for me personally
when I finally obtained what I call NewFoundLife. It is a defining event which happened at the last days of this month in which I truly achieved awareness of what I truly want for myself. It in I realized that I spent a number of years just playing roles and wearing masquerades of some sort to cushion myself from the things I thought I could not handle. I intend to keep this NewFoundLife in its place. It is a ten-year campaign that begins now.
And looking back, this year has been a year of smoke and alcohol. Almost every month featured a session where they dominated. I intend to cut down my nicotine intake. Dear doesn’t want it anyway. On alcohol, it is already settled I think. I’d never involve myself ever again into alcohol excesses. There is a multitude of advantages of being sober than wasting one’s self for whatever reasons.
But then again, the future is a hazy part of our lives. All resolves and resolutions would only be achieved if we take every proper step towards them. Hard-thought decisions will now be necessary.
Let us welcome this year with brave hearts.

Year-End I: A Retrospect

I’ll always remember this year as one of the most colorful of all that I’ve lived through so far – colorful in that sense that it was decorated, if not marred, by a variety of events that I only experienced for the first time.

First of all, I have finally broke away from the religious denomination which I felt have alwa
ys suppressed most of the things that I could have done in the past. The break was nothing really serious; it was but a simple misunderstanding on whom to ask permission for a certain public performance. Nevertheless, I saw it as an opportunity not for a youthful rebellion of some sort, but for a chance to really stand up for what I believe is better for me, regardless of the means that it would require. (Although, strange enough, I was somehow invited as a speaker for a youth gathering on the same month. I would admit that being in the company of kids does give me a good and uplifting feeling.)
It was immediately followed by two secular performances, as they’d like to call it, and I wa
s more than glad to have at least expressed what I truly feel for this art that is music.
I was also fed ‘historically’, thanks to my Partner in Crime who was more than glad to have me in that trip to Corregidor. It was supposedly a trip in celebration of a personal anniversary which at least turned out quite fulfilling and enjoyable. (Recall the Asano Cement we took home as souvenir! Hehe.)
Feb Fair presented itself too as memorable. One,
for having RockEd in UPLB which became the instrument to the awakening of my senses about social issues. And second, I made some genuine confessions about my (biological) family to an intimate which proved to be so relieving to me.
February was also unforgettable for it was the first time that I was able to attend a rally (the rally was prior to that big prayer rally in Makati). So
mehow culture-shocked, it nevertheless gave me a direct insight as to how radical individuals live up with their ideals and beliefs.
It was the high-times of the NBN
-ZTE Broadband Deal Issue and it was really good to have Jun Lozada at school, discussing the ins-and-outs of his stand in the issue. Although there have been quite a number of sssooo unrelated issues asked to him, the gathering proved to be helpful in sharing the youth the necessary role of scrutinizing the issues involving the government and its form of leadership.
And I entered my blog in an essay contest! A bit co
nfident of the outcome initially (akala mo ha! haha), the results have been good enough indeed for the winners were all deserving. The best part of it all of course is having a formal awarding ceremony in SM Mall of Asia, getting freebies, and meeting the other contestants.
Summer of 2008 was fulfilling for I had my on-the-job
training in an international institute – IRRI. Although the place is not new to me, my stay there for almost two months gave me considerable opportunities to know more about the then hot rice crisis in the country (from which I was able to compose insightful entries here in my blog) I would admit that at some points in time during my stay there, I felt like giving up. But my experience gave me another pack of confidence to face new things, especially concerning jobs. Gaining new friends is of course one of the bonuses there – Yi, Karlos, Sarah, those students from Massachusetts, among other.
Our org’s annual UPCAT Review pushed through this year at least, although it has always been my headache to think of the fate of this org and
how I am virtually helpless in trying to gather those shrapnel-of-members. I would not want to discuss the issue of leadership here and my strengths and weaknesses of being an appointed leader. I express my intent here now that we would do the best that we can to sort things out for this org that I personally came to love and respect.
Seminar-wise, I’d been an active attendee of a number of relevant seminars in school. There was the lecture on Aguinaldo, seminar on money and hunger, among others.
I also managed to have two of my essays cited as good (hehe). One is for the prestigious World Bank Essay Competition 2008 which was adjudged as One of the Best 200 Entries passed for the competition. Second is the cool chance of winning in a (pro
motional) essay writing contest by Insights Café, hehe. Thanks to Kitty for this chance of getting some hard cash and freebies. Cheers! I so love writing!
As for the travels, I was not able to go b
eyond the neighboring provinces but it was fulfilling to see some of the places nearby (semi-obscure parts of Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite, hehe).
And how will I miss that chance of doing a journal article about Amorsolo, hehe. Partner in Crime superb!
And before the end of the school vacation, we won the Best Poster Award for the First
UPLB College of Arts and Science Student-Faculty Conference which was of course really cool.
Most of what was said so far seemed to be pleasant. The more elaborate decorations of the year came in the forms of the commencement of my diary-keeping, my brush with existentialism, accomplishing ProjectKitty, my troubles with women (f-ck pransis, f-ck pransis talaga, luku ka!), financial setbacks, the (clumsy) lost of my wallet, and finally having my NewFoundLife.


You, chance reader, do share in this blog how your 2008 has been. Broke the mug’s entry (put some comments, that is) and let the people know about it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk IX – Christmas Crack

[The “NAVIDAD Talk” Series was conceived in my desire to expound on the obvious un-Christian origins of the occasion we call Christmas. And as days passed and my readings on this topic of Christmas origins came to a conclusion, I in turn concluded that I would not waste any page of my treasured blog on the quite obvious verdict on this issue (read ‘all but lie’). I would defend myself here and now to any possible detractor/s in the future. I have done the task of looking into religious issues such as this one in order to free myself even more from the beliefs that were once inculcated (or should I say forced?) to me during my childhood and have come to make me critical. It is not simply because I have grown tired and critical of the religious denomination to which I have been previously affiliated. And I find now more comfort in knowing that I have gained considerable liberty in scrutinizing things that seemed before sssooo untouchable. Do enjoy anyway this entry I made on the last days the summer of 2008 that is somewhat connected to Christmas: “A Filipino Carol”.]
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And so I would now venture to discuss at least shortly on the things that Christmas has done and is still doing in the lives of many of us, Filipinos.
Indeed Christmas is one of the most awaited days of the year; both by the young and old, poor and rich. This is the period when the have-nots are able to justify their actions of seeking help from those who have – perhaps some small things such as money (what a small thing!) to be spent for the noche buena or some food to be eaten on the Christmas Eve. It is, sadly, on the same note that the rich waits for this season. Most obvious amongst those politicians, they (the rich) take this chance to make pa-pogi or pa-ganda with the people by giving out free food in the form of rice and canned goods, sometimes money and scholarships. What a nice concealment indeed! In this (seeming) time of giving and receiving, not most of us would take offense in these charity gimmicks of those who aim for something high…well, something as high as a national position in the government. (How I wish there would a competition for the most attractive Christmas greeting printed on tarpaulins by those politicians.)
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Seeing now how Filipinos devote themselves to the attending of the Simbang Gabi, I have become disappointed on the way we unite for certain things. There is essentially nothing wrong in completing the masses to be entitled to a wish. It’s just that I would want this very same unity and devotion directed to something more lofty (if I may be allowed to use the term) and noble – maybe demanding those public officials to stop publicly quarreling amongst themselves about the forthcoming National Elections and instead focus on rendering genuine service to the Filipinos such as…finally getting the real story behind the Fertilizer Fund Scam and the ZTE-NBN Broadband Deal Issue; resolving the Euro Generals issue, the CARP issue; and at least come up with a more reasonable national budget for the next year. There are a lot more to say about these things but let it stop at that.
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From this, I could actually disagree with a leader of a certain group advocating alternative education when she said that getting the people together does not work for the Filipinos anymore. Perhaps individually or in small groups that opinion will still hold true. She later said in her talk that doing what we are currently doing (our jobs for example) to the best that we can contribute much already in making a difference in country. Well, yes, she’s right…maybe.
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But how do you feel when you see hundreds of people flocking into churches? Isn’t that a spectacle to see? Now recall the People Power that we had. Didn’t they result in comparably good things for us? My point here is that we could translate that unity in the physical sense to make some real change in the society. Now that sounds quite passé, right? But I do not mean sets of noisy and chaotic rallies again. Think about it. Prayer rallies. Those walks by the farmers…
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There seem to be an evolving form of unity amongst the Filipinos. We are aware of the debilitating conditions in the country. We just really need to pool those disappointments and sentiments and form them into actions that will DIRECTLY affect our lives. Just like the spectacle of simbang gabi and gift giving during Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk VI – Mar's Mura: 'Pamunuang Puta'



There is a war of words going on right now in YouTube.com, particularly on the site containing the video of Philippine Senator Mar Roxas making that now-famous cursing on that rally in Makati. But I quitted reading them because for at least half of the comments posted there, it is evident that the reactions are split into two – the one side hailing his act and the other loathing it.

“Freedom is a state of mind”. It is the closest thought that I could say about what Roxas did. Of course, he has all the freedom to speak of the deteriorating state of the government in the country. While he has the seeming sensitive position of being a senator, it does not exclude him from being a free Filipino – free to speak of what he sees in the society; of his sentiments and views on the plight of his fellows. His place in the senate makes his words even more reliable as he spoke about the things going on right inside that one hell of a government, about that ‘bitch’ that has haunted the Philippine archipelago (ever since that fake president assumed the office, as others would say).

And I fairly like the word. No, perhaps even Tagalog term ‘puta’. There is so much whoring in the country now (particularly in its leadership) that it will take a hard time for those whores and pimps alike to conceal its consequences. Perhaps only the deities of the major religions in the country know what (or how much) has been given to those toy congressmen just to kill the impeachment complaints and to push the amendments of the Constitution. Perhaps they (deities) too know how the fertilizer funds were actually allocated to those toy politician comrades. Not to mention the other ‘seedy’ dealings and activities of these leaders. Actually the description ‘toys’ is really insufficient. Whores, MGA PUTA, really are the fitting terms for these (unfortunately) elected government officials.

We are projected now as a nation who is a master of ‘gamitan’, ‘bayaran’, ‘kampihan’, ‘suhulan’, ‘patayan’ among other. And there is one great pride that I could feel on knowing someone, someone as influential (if I may use the word) as Mar Roxas, to speak against the whore-pimp government, thereby distancing himself from that dirty office and making himself one with those who struggle for justice and their rights which were taken away, abused by that government. If he has any underlying motives in doing that controversial act of cursing in front of thousands of people, it will go against him in the future, unless that act, as he attests now, is really a genuine sentiment of his and the people who attended the really…and perhaps the Filipinos in general.

I, for one, do not want other leaders to do the same thing. For me it is enough that much of Mar’s character and personality is put at stake in this present struggle to put an end in the moves to build a leadership composed of those power-hungry individuals who care not in the least about the poor state of the Philippines and its citizens. I personally hope that the people themselves get involved in the fight, in voicing and uncovering every dirty deeds of this regime (and it seems to me that it is already a fitting description).

We have been in the passive state for a long time now that it is only expedient to rise now to defeat the beasts occupying the public offices. I wish that some time in the future, we would see this fateful December 2008 as a period when we he Filipinos started to take actions explicitly which began in that speech made by Mar Roxas in Makati.

NAVIDAD Talk V – Coming this 2009!

Friday, December 12, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk IV – Of X’s and Devils

I really think that this one should be made as short and clear as possible. It’s just that I cannot help but explain the events that led me to this.
Doing personal studies (I call them that) has been my hobby. I enjoy more doing things that are outside the bounds of the academe – no time frames, no grading systems. All are at my own pace. And so weeks earlier I decided to delve in this Christmas thingie and attempted to learn a thing or to about this most-celebrated occasion of the Christian world (I hope it’s not an exaggeration, hehe).

And now to my story…

A long time ago (when I used to sit on the pews of that rickety church in our city every SINGLE Sunday) I chanced upon that sermon about Christmas. Yeah, it’s been the preacher’s style to time his topic on special occasions. Now there was one point he made about Christmas. He said that the Devil (hmm, haha) is always on the lookout, diving onto any chance of getting rid of that Savior Christ. The term Xmas, he said, was actually the Devil’s work because he made it a point to replace the ‘Christ’ part with something that would deliberately erase the trace of Christ in Christmas, who is the ultimate reason for the occasion. Well, good enough…until now…The use of X was actually seen in early Greek versions of the New Testament, where X or the Greek letter Chi pertained to the first letter of the word Christ. And according to that oh-so-good Oxford English Dictionary, it has been used as an abbreviation for Christ as early as the mid-16th century.

(Perhaps it would be debatable; knowing that I have actually obtained the info from the net. But at least there must be references for these online materials, which would be most likely printed or published materials.)

As for me, it was a lesson learned: “Never believe a thing unless there are sufficient evidences for it.” (Thanks Prof. Acuña for your book).

Well…I never believed what that preacher said anyway.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk III – UPLB CAS Stuff

Just attended the first-ever UPLB College of Arts and Science Student-Faculty Research Conference here in Los Baños and it was quite fun and enjoying (you know, getting to know the people from the college – the faculty members [w.t.v.e.r.] and the students [ahem, whew] ).
The mixture of the topics wasn’t that good (confusing in fact, for me) but nevertheless offered sssooo interesting topics that really kept me hooked up. There’s that talk about food safety, large classes and theater which occupied the first half of the day. Later there were the talks from my own instructors and former classmates. The best of course for me, was the one given by our seminar teacher, Dr. Marvin Albao about a certain application of Kinetic Monte Carlo Method.
Aside from having good times with other ‘coursemates’ (actually classmates in most subjects), the event was made even memorable when we actually won the Best Poster Award (u.g.), woo! Cheers! Sir Marvs; bow tayo dyan!
[Special thanks to Renz for bringing along his high-tech cam for the pictures!]

*I could provide a copy of the book of abstracts just like the other files I often offer free here on my blog or perhaps I might as well upload them in 4shared.com with corresponding access/security passes

NAVIDAD Talk II – Manny Makes a Monument

Despite a number of domestic problems that introduced themselves at the start of the month, I’d nevertheless remember this early December with a proud thought. Perhaps almost all the Filipinos feel this way as Manny “demolished” (yeah, I like this word that they often used in news articles) the Golden Boy.
There is no point in recycling the news in paper and on the internet and tell again how Pacman cemented his place in boxing history. Suffice it to say that despite having entered the ring as an underdog, he reversed the hasty conclusions of the people (including Filipinos in fact) to show that all things ultimately depended on the events inside the ring…live.
Although no more than an avid watcher of boxing matches, I was really surprised to note how much de la Hoya has advantage over Pacquiao. He was really tall! And whenever he stretched his hands, it was like it could pierce through a wall – long-reaching indeed. But who would have thought that that the Golden Boy would end up with a semi-massacred face? Manny has proven himself enough. He is a genuine boxing icon.
I could still recall the excitement over the small crowd that has gathered around a small colored TV in that obscure kopra store house at the back of our public market. (Yeah, I did watch from there as I wait for my tarpaulin to be printed and add to that the nicotine break). They were cursing whenever Manny lands a hard punch on Oscar’ body or face. And they were clapping their hands at each end of the round. You could feel their desire for Manny to win this branded mismatch...And they got what they want… (and their money from winning bets, I could see that.)
On a personal note, I learned one solid thing about Manny’s fights. He was keen on saying that applying all, and I mean all, the things he learned from the trainings to the ring fights is instrumental in winning. Well perhaps it is. I mean no glorious things are achieved by mediocre preparations. Hard preparations are needed to achieve lofty ends.
As usual, his glory is claimed by the Filipinos and so I congratulate our race for this. At least in the field of sports, we can actually see that we are still capable of uniting ourselves. We’ll see how his influence would affect the society in years to come.

Congratulations Manny! Mabuhay ka!

*image taken from a video clip from YouTube.com

Friday, December 5, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk I

[The first of the series of entries I decided to run here about the celebration they call Christmas.]

I would like to start this thing off with one of the IDs of a local TV station which goes something like this: “We may not have snow here in the Philippines, but we have the longest Christmas…” Just where did this tradition[?] (loud Christmas medleys heard as early as September; early Christmas sales; etc.) originate, I really don’t have any idea.

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Although I have become quite hostile to the idea of what they loosely call Christmas, I could still recall that it was once a big part of my childhood. Having been raised in a Catholic-Baptist mix of a family, it was a central activity for us.
Never will I forget the time I spent playing at the foot of lola’s* old Christmas Tree, decorated with colorful shiny balls, small fruit replicas, baskets of flowers, reindeers, snowman, and other seeming lucky objects. The design enhanced by the Christmas lights of different colors, I would play with the decorations, making stories and then act them out using those objects. Tito Roy also used to have gifts prepared for his inaanak**. I just don’t understand why I always feel so sad whenever I see blinking lights and lights with accompanying sounds…does this have anything to do with my past? Tss. Whatever.

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Being the one who initiates the decorating of the house, I was somewhat compelled to do it still this year despite my resolve not to partake in any aspect of the celebration. Well, I put up the ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’ but mother finished the task using wall designs of flowers and those shiny stuff usually used to decorate Christmas trees.

*grandmother
**godchildren

© 2008 Francis Emralino . Lantern (Parol) picture taken in downtown Lucena City, 2007.