Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Article on the New Energy Future Essay Contest

Finally found an article in American Chronicle about the awarding ceremony of the essay contest where I recently joined. I would agree that Sec. Almendra’s message was thought-provoking. Also, I now have names for the faces of the winners I met there. Been lucky indeed to be among them, seeing the fields of studies they are pursuing. You can read the article, chance reader, by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Force of the Harry Potter Series: A Conclusion

Finally, after sharing some thoughts about the Harry Potters series and three of its memorable characters, I would like to conclude by quoting a few lines not from the HP series but from the book ‘Sandman: A Book of Dreams. This is from the story written by Robert Rodi entitled ‘An Extra Smidgen of Eternity’.

One of the characters said:
“Stories are important…stories are hope. They take you out of yourself for a bit, and when you dropped back in, you’re different – you’re stronger, you’ve seen more, you’ve felt more. Stories are like spiritual currencies.”

This is entirely true for me after reading the Harry Potter stories. Other than the plots which completely overwhelmed me, I also got the feeling of being in whole new world because of the interconnected people and details weaved almost all throughout the series. The series was never short of insights about life. I can only say that its detractors are really missing a literary treasure of this age.

As of now, there is nothing to be done except to reread the books, go over the six film adaptations again, and wait for the first part of HP7.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Three Unforgivable Characters: Tom Marvolo Riddle

He is literally unforgivable.

But despite all the evil that he has exhibited in the Harry Potter series, one cannot help but admire the ways through which he obtained his stature as an evil genius.

It is a pity to note that his past somehow contributed to what he became later in life. A loveless union. A bitter life in an orphanage. The lack of people who could have shown him love and affection. If only Dumbledore discovered him much earlier. But then, if that happened there would be no archenemy for Harry Potter.

Prefect. Headboy. One of the best students Hogwarts ever had. A great Legilimens. An accomplished Occlumens. A Parselmouth. He was not a descendant of Slytherin for nothing.

And since he was intended as the antagonist of the series, I can only proceed to discuss what he has done (and what he has not done) that led to his downfall: his lack of trust to his own followers; his lack of initiative to understand that magic that first defeated him; his arrogance. And from what I observed, his extreme obsession not to conquer death but to escape it. His use of the Horcruxes and not of the Hallows (as Harry pointed out to Dumbledore in the last book) shows only that he is a coward on the inside. Perhaps he got the idea of death as a weakness in thinking that her mother was not a witch since she died when he was born. And he refused to reflect on these things and proceed to overcome this corrupted view of death. Through what? Through attempting to rule the Wizard and the Muggle Worlds.

What good did he bring to the series? Well, through him, some of the characters were able to discover more of their potential characters and used them during those tumultuous times of the Second Wizarding War. Also, courage and bravery sprouted like mushrooms among the characters. Remember Neville. And Percy’s reformation. Tonk’s insistence to join the battle. Molly’s driving force to fight. Little Colin. Many were killed in the end, but we saw that their deaths were not in vain.

I would admit that it is quite hard to write something about an enemy. Anyway, I shall wrap up my Harry Potter blog entry series soon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Election Election!

We are to experience again one of the liveliest activities o
f the Filipinos, the election. Although it is only on the barangay level, it disturbs me to note the features that also characterize the national election campaigns.

There’s the usual kamag-anak, kumpare thing, where one reminds the voter of his or her connection to the person’s relatives. Since they are somehow related, it would not hurt to vote the candidato.

There’s also those pompous campaigns made all over the barangay: processions of vehicles with blaring horns and decorated with balloons of different colors. And oh, there are the children, programmed to chant the names of their bets. The noisier, the better chances of wining.

And there are the ever-present slogans about ‘pagbabago’ and ‘pag-asa’ plastered on every bare wall in the barangay, all of which lack the same thing: a concrete platform of what the candidates envision for their barangays and how they shall make them a reality.

It is sad that there is still that blurred dividing line between the Filipino’s concept of power and public service. The barangay election is a chance for us to vote for the people that are really capable of honing their leadership capabilities. We should not waste our votes to place into position those who would obviously use them for their own good.

So basically it’s the same with the national elections. We should be critical in choosing our future leaders. Let us hope that tomorrow’s event would be a peaceful one.

Sa Mga Nag-aasal Barbaro

Minsan ko lang ito gagawin. Minsan ko lang ilalabas ang ganitong asar at inis sa mga taong may pagka-barbaro pa rin talaga ang mga ugali.

Matagal ko nang pinapalampas ang mga jeepney drivers (partikular sa mga biyaheng San Pablo, Laguna – Calamba, Laguna) na buong tapang na naninigarilyo kahit na may mga buntis o bata silang mga sakay. Natitiis ko pang ‘wag silang sigawan sa pag-iisip na kaya pa nilang ‘tong tigilan.

Matagal ko na ring pinapalampas ang mga counter helpers at mga salesladies na parang laging dala-dala ang problema ng buong mundo at napagtripang ibuos ang mga ito sa mga potensyal na customer. Natitiis ko pang ‘wag silang sigawan sa pag-iisip na baka naman may personal lang silang mga problema at ‘di maiwasang maiparamdam ito sa ekspresyon ng kanilang mga mukha.

Natitiis ko pa rin kahit papano ang mga ‘di na halos malinis na mga pampublikong palikuran na halos masuka ka na sa pag-ihi (at pagkatapos ay kailangan mo pang magbayad ng limang piso) sa pag-iisip na baka wala lang budget talaga para sa patuloy na pag-me-maintain sa mga ‘to.

Marami, marami pa. Kung iisipin mo ang mga ito nang buong maghapon ay baka mabuwang ka lang.

Pero ang isa sa talagang hindi ko na napalampas ay ang nangyari kamakailan sa isang ATM machine. Pumila naman ako nang maayos. Tahimik na naghihintay ng pagkakataon sa ATM. Pero para basta ka na lang i–bypass ng isang bigutilyong mamang may kotse dahil sira ang kabilang ATM na parang hindi ka nag-e-exist ay para sa ‘kin ay kalabisan na. At sinundan pa ng isang babae, na sa istura naman talaga ay ‘yung may-kaya rin, na nagpakeme pang naiilang na sumingit rin. Ito, ito talaga ang hindi ko na mapapalampas.

May mga bank accounts sila, so most likely may mga trabaho ang mga ito, may mga pinag-aralan kahit papano. Pero sa pinakita nilang ito ay parang naligaw sila at inakala nilang nasa gubat pa rin sila at nag-ooperate pa rin sila sa prinsipyo ng ‘survival of the fittest’. Oo nga at BS lang ang tinapos ko at may simpleng trabaho, pero sa pagkakataon na ‘yun ay nagmuka silang mga hayop sa paningin ko, kahit pa may PhD sila.

Medyo nagsisisi rin ako at hindi ko na napigilan ang sarili at nagpahayag ng profanity sa kanila; parang ibinaba ko pa ang lebel ko sa kanila. Pero sa mga darating na pagkakataon at may mga makasalamuha pa akong takas sa gubat ay hindi ako magdadalawang isip na sabihing nasa sibilisasyon na sila.

Hindi ako perpekto, may mga kakulangang panlipunan rin ako, pero sa partikular na pagkakataon na ‘yon, alam ko sa sarili ko na nakasaksi ako ng isang pakikitungong hindi pang-tao.

(Ayos na ‘ko. Nasabi ko na ‘to. Balik English na uli ang Viole(n)t Mugs. Whew.)

Moving On…

As time pass by, I realize more and more that one would get hurt less if he or she would just accept some realities that they would never be able to twist or change to their favor.

Finding some relics of the past relives particular memories that were either happy or sad. But knowing that it would do me no good to dwell on those memories (who wants to get hurt again and again anyway?), it is better to have them shelved away, if not thrown away. Personally, I find it good to know that life gives us a mix of its spices. We get to experience bliss and feel down when things are not going well. We cannot always have all the things for ourselves.

The apex of existence is the present and future where there are still many things to be expected.

Past will always be that: past.

(Forgive me again for some random thoughts.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Winning Moment

It would be a lie if I were not to say that this recently conclud
ed activity was a winning moment for me. Although I never hoped to win in this essay writing contest (indeed I did not win the first place), to be able to write something comprehensive and have it recognized is already a prize for me.

* the glass trophy (or should this be called a plaque?); find the misspelled word

* the center stage!

* waiting for the appetizer

* a group of singers serenading the attendees

This essay contest I am pertaining to is entitled “The Search for Energy Youth Leaders” with the theme of The Role of the Youth in Tackling the Challenges of the New Energy Future. It was sponsored by several energy agencies and other industry and academic partners.

Reading through my submitted essay again, I still see that my proposed solution is still a simple one. It might because of this simplicity that I was given the consolation prize, which was not in the original list of prizes. We were speculating that my essay got a high grade from Shell, and being one of the major sponsors, was given the liberty to put me in the list of winners.

* Pransisem, haggard and nervous

* the emcees – one resembled Celdran, the other, a beautiful lady

* fellow participants

* new friends from TUP, TUP, UP Diliman, and PUP

The guest of honor was Energy Secretary Jose Almendras. A part of his speech gave emphasis to the importance of considering fresh ideas from the youth and he said that the essay contest was a good venue for it. This view is of course within the context of energy situation in the country. He has a catching voice and I remember spending more time listening to his voice and observing the way he spoke.

My one regret in the event was that I was not able to see much of the place, at least on the ground floor of the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. It seems to me now that it was a tight-scheduled activity and the hall was immediately cleaned up after the awarding.

Also, I was not able to enjoy the company of my co-participants because I had to coordinate with some of the organizers in order to secure the cash prize that comes with the citation. It happened before that I missed receiving an incentive for a published work which gave me a nightmare since I needed money at that time.

The place, the food, the activity: all thumbs up.

Three Unforgivable Characters: Albus Dumbledore

Order of Merlin First Class. Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards. Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.


The name itself, in the Harry Potter world, exudes greatness.

Perhaps from a literary point of view, he serves as the “wise, old man”, (a concept which I learned from our Humanities I class in UPLB) who guided Harry throughout his stay at Hogwarts and laid the way for him to fully claim the title “The Boy Who Lived”.

But within the Harry Potter series, he goes beyond such mere stereotyping. I personally like the way he constructed his statements. He may be saying something fierce but he could deliver it smoothly. But at certain times he gave allowances for his emotions to show, like when the Dementors attacked Harry during a Quidditch game (in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

Perhaps ultimately, after reading through the whole series, two things emerge as the ones which make Dumbledore a magnificent character for me.

The first one concerns power. It was gradually revealed in the book that he was in fact destined for greatness. But through a series of unfortunate events that happened within his immediate family, his ascent was forestalled and later somehow corrupted through his association with the great wizard Grindelwald. I don’t think he has fully divulged his regret (and subsequent self-reformations, if I can call them that) for having a skewed perspective on power. But he has left the reader a quote which somehow gives us an idea of how he handled power since his sister’s death and his defeat of Grindelwald:

It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.
(from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

He even advised Harry (in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) on the concept of tyranny which situated his view on Voldermort’s desire for power.

The second was the way he chose to defeat Voldemort. Of course he was not the one who finally killed him. But he opted to go down the basics, so to speak, and sought first a firmer understanding of Voldemort’s past – Tom Riddle’s past. And this he passed on to Harry. He could have been there at the end of the series were it not for a single slip when, while searching for Horcruxes, was overwhelmed by discovering one Deathly Hallow. He died eventually but not before laying-out to Harry Potter the itinerary towards achieving the knowledge (or should I say wisdom?) and skills needed to defeat the Dark Lord. This was not immediately picked up by Harry and his best friends but they later understood Dumbledore for withholding some facts and truths from Harry. It is still fitting to describe him as omniscient and omnipresent as he is still felt up to the last book. Giving Ron the Deluminator and Hermione the book ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ was an act not only wise but also strategic as this further guided them towards what they initially thought of as an independent task of finding and destroying the Horcruxes.

It is particularly difficult to squeeze in a small entry everything about him. The purpose of this anyway is to share my thoughts on how I see him. Nothing would beat being able to read the books and the things about him.