Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Invisible Rainbow

Saw helping hands today.



The sky was clearer this morning.. a perfect time for relief operations to start and survivors to start measuring up how much they have left. I went with a friend to volunteer at a relief operation at Ateneo. I don't know anyone else coming at the relief operations of my school so between a choice of not helping and helping I chose helping. Anyway it will benefit someone regardless of what school one participated. All the time I was imagining what is going on in UP and some other schools. I wanted to have a clearer vision of how many people chose to help and how much they are able to donate.

The highways were really dusty as the eroded soil hardened under the sun. It looked like a scene from the Wild West when the wind blows. You could see the mud marks on walls and post-submerged abandoned cars. Garbage were naturally left hanging on the walls, the stores beside the roads are either closed or cleaning up, and the concrete plant pots were at odd places. This is reality right before my eyes after three days. Now it's not that hard to imagine for me the damages of this typhoon.

First we went to the hypermarket to buy groceries. The sardines and noodles shelves were almost empty and I wanted to take a picture of it if it wasn't too naive. Such a rare sight. Long lines were at the counter, carts and baskets were filled to the brim and I can only imagine the profits made by supermarkets for that. Everybody else seemed panic buying, or whatever it is called, relief-goods-shopping, after the storm. I was glad to see that some people are able to put away a part of their time and money to answer a call.

Then when we arrived at the gymnasium of Ateneo and there were a bunch of students who took the boxes out of the car. The next thing I knew my friend and I were at the rice area, and we started putting rice inside plastics together with the rest of the volunteers. It was a bit back-breaking and it hurts when I knelt on the grains. Next we tried sorting out clothes, which was the dirtiest job because we opened boxes of clothes that smelled like strong mothballs. Hard to breathe, but we were able to finish the job there. There were mountains of clothes! How exciting. I imagined jumping on top of it but yuck the smell would cling on me. Haha. Then, on the toiletries, we were asked to count how many packs are inside the box and put a tape on each of them. After three hours of doing those, we got really tired. But I'm glad I participated instead of just bumming at home finishing my paper. Before we left there were 2,500 volunteers that time in ADMU. How about the rest of the Philippines?

Now, schools all over NCR and Region IV don't have classes until Friday. That's a long stretch of vacation and I personally don't want it. I want a long semestral break, but this extension is a way to give time for others to recover. I hope we all recover. Lots of things have been down due to the flood, such as businesses whose goods are damaged, and of course people who may have been starting to rebuild their lives from scratch. But I believe there is hope.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Offense Mechanism

Can't stop the rain. So there's only one thing to do.
Picture from: 22.media.tumblr.com



I always want to run away from reality when I'm commuting it's raining and there's no ride. Sometimes I want to escape not the location, but the time, as I was doing a 16-paged final and praying for the sembreak. In Cavite, the Internet Cafe was my safe place where I "runaway" to escape the toxicity at home. In Rizal it was anywhere and not going home early. Last year in Laguna it was at Ristretto a coffee shop where my dormmates hang out and pretend we don't have exams the next day. And when I return home I always feel better, and the people around me feel better too because the ill-feeling has passed.

Now hundreds of Filipinos are affected by the typhoon Ondoy and they have no house to come home to. Many people and animals alike are killed by the flood, families have destroyed homes, damaged possessions, even missing members, and other realities that we wouldn't blame anyone if they wanted to escape from, or wish they could turn back time, or question why it has to be them, or blame themselves, or point fingers at the government, or any other feeling of regret or waste. After seeing the pictures and hearing the stories of my friends, I don't even know how to react. But if I should know one thing from past events, when this type of hard reality strikes, escaping could really work to our disadvantage. Without the survival instinct increasingly required to respond to what's happening, one may slip and lose more important things, taking other people with them.

I was relieved at the story of my friend who lives in Marikina and they were able to let go of their house and take pictures of their living room after it was completely submerged, and their family was well intact. It impressed me so much at how their presence of mind really pulled them through, how her mom destroyed the windows and how a single ladder saved them. I haven't imagined myself in the situation, but knowing that it's not the end of the world after the plywood walls have wrinkled, the floor is thick with mud, the appliances floated around and school books have been washed away, it makes me think that maybe I won't lose my wits afterwards.

I hope that at least the spiritual and emotional recovery would come soonest to those who are affected by Ondoy.. Here's "let's-pick-each-other-up" news story. Our Prof urged us to read and share it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What's Personal becomes Social

In a public position, do you think only of yourself?



Yesterday I came in General Sociology class late, and the reporter is in front ready to read a batch of quiz questions. When I sat down, my left and right seatmates quickly placed a sheet of paper in my armchair in unison. Half of me wants to note how thoughtful they are, and half of me wants to laugh harder because they already kindly think of me as a.. *gulp* PARASITE! :))

When I hear the word corruption, I used to have an image of Erap Estrada embezzling millions from taxpayers through jueteng or cronyism because corruption is such a secret issue. Nobody knows for sure if what we/they do is legitimate or not. The pork-barrel issue, the red tape, etc.. we do not know if they are actually means of corruption or development. But I learned a lot when we reported about that in Philippine Contemporary Issues. Different countries have different laws and ideas of what corruption is, but the bottom line is that corruption betrays public interest for private gain. An example is bribery. When you want to, say, get a driver's license, you'll always find someone outside (in an LTO officer get-up, even) who's ready to give the documents to you without ever falling in line, but it comes with a certain price. Even though it looks simple or a part of the culture, that is corruption.

Mr. Prof pointed out that some corrupt countries have good economies because they reinvest the corrupted money on infrastructures or businesses in their country. While in our case, corrupt politicians buy properties and secure bank accounts outside the Philippines using the taxpayer's money, taking the capital OUT of the country, benefiting nobody else but themselves. Clear picture? Well, it shouldn't be.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nearsightedness

Lately lots of things have been neglected.



These past few days I haven't been able to have FUN because the semester is almost over and every Professor is giving all they got. Today I skipped my first class because I needed to study for another subject's oral exam. Oral exams do not work for me. I have a hard time explaining myself verbally because it is a factor that I have to appear like I know what I'm saying. And especially because I know I'm talking to someone who clearly knows what the topic is about and perhaps is waiting for me to look like I'm bluffing (dramaturgy). I didn't even use what we learned from class, only stock knowledge from other sociology classes. In short, I may have screwed it up. -_-

Since this morning I've been depressed/annoyed/emo because of the black hole people surrounding me. I skipped other things, as I was supposed to tour at a blockmate's dorm after classes to see if I could live there. And the day didn't work out right as well because of that shitty oral exams. The only happy point of the day was that we watched "The Science of Sex Appeal" in our Gender and Sexuality class. Quite amusing to know that what we actually find attractive can be attributed to what we want our offspring to be. Example, we are naturally turned-on by the smell of someone whose DNA possesses an immunity from a sickness that we do not have. So most likely our offspring becomes at least more superior, health-wise. Etcetera.

Before I went home I made an impulsive decision to have a haircut since it is one of my picker-uppers and because my hair is starting to look like an untrimmed plant shooting strands in all directions, if you know what I mean. So here I am (learned just a while ago) with a stacked bob. I guess I'll pass making my hair long until next year. I feel better now. :]

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's (not supposed to be) Complicated

Too much focus on the red dot.


It doesn't take a genius to know that imperfect people produce imperfect relationships. That's why it frustrates me sometimes when related individuals expect too much of each other because I don't believe we were made to be criticized constantly. Once friends or partners expect you to bend over backwards to please them, it's wiser to walk away and come back once their delusions are already gone...

:)


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good Morning!

Looking forward to this every single day.



Last year at the dorm when I wake up, I take something cold out of the communal ref, reheat it, serve it to myself, eat with the plate on my lap and wash the dishes afterwards. Or if I have the time, grab my jacket to buy something from the outside and take it back to eat with my dormmates. And if I don't, skip the meal and head straight to class where I can buy food on the way and eat in the classroom.

But now I don't have to, because I'm living at home. How glorious it is to climb down the stairs and see that someone actually thought I might be hungry. The most important meal of the day indeed, and the first sign of "humanness" the everyday drone of life. =D

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Little less of a Metalmouth

At last, no more slicing before eating. :]]


Today we went to the dentist to finally remove my braces. I've been aching to have em taken off since last, last week but due to my busy schedule I wasn't able to go. And now I was! Yeay. The dentist put a crown on my other teeth because she pulled one off so that the rest can have ample space to show themselves. Throughout this brace's batch, I've had three teeth uprooted. THREE... I went through anesthesia needles and painkillers. Sometimes I think that the dentist is overdoing it, that she isn't following the laws of nature, but of course I'm not the one with the diploma and years of experience. I felt my teeth with my tongue and it was so new, so smooth without the metal cubes and wires and when I checked it out in the mirror -- first time in three years -- they looked great..! I didn't know that. Thank you Ms. Dentist. :]

We have to wait for a few hours as she was ordering (or making?) my retainers because my teeth still had an overjet, a slanted overbite, and the former is used to correct the latter. So Mom and I went to the salon to have our nails done first. We came back and it was Helloooo retainers. This isn't my first time. Grade 4 I had braces too, removed by Grade 6. Then retainers during 2nd year high school. But I didn't wear em a lot. My dentist noticed and I'm back to braces by 3rd year. And now 2nd year college, removed and back to retainers. OKAY THAT'S BASICALLY my dental history. Never will I neglect my retainers this time. I don't want to repeat the process.. *beams*

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Local Throne

One wise voter just isn't enough.


Our Philippine Institutions prof told us before that she hated our classroom interior, which is like a wooden mini-auditorium, with a thick platform and a meter of distance from our chairs because according to her it looks very authoritarian. "When you go inside this room, why do you not go and sit on the teacher's chair?" she thought aloud, "Because even though you may not be conscious of it, you know that this chair is a sign of my authority over you." True. That would be much-ado-about-nothing for a some people. But in sociology, this perspective can be called Symbolic Interactionism. It's no wonder why we have a word called Seat of Power.

Well, in the same class, and in the same context, we discussed the most powerful local Seat of Power that would be given next year, which is the presidency over the Philippines. Election time brings us face-to-face with our previous decisions and the problems that have remained unaddressed and could possibly be solved (or not) by the next administration. So far, I haven't found a candidate that is 100% deserving of the position (some has self-interest and passivity written all over them. e.g., Erap). Each of them have their flaws, of course. But none of them can still prove that they will use their power to govern properly. Sometimes I even think that the next-best President is somewhere behind the eyes of the media.

Even though the next President may be a representative for change as Obama was in the US, and safe to say, Aquino in the local setting, still, whoever the "agent of change" is, he or she would still need to go through a very traditional system during the campaign period and election. There is a huge possibility of cheating and violence as we have repeatedly observed before. The Agents of Change would have to follow the same old failing system, and this could probably eat them up and make em succumb into repeating the cycle of politicking all over again. On a hopeful note, if ever they remain steadfast to their visions, let's hope their visions are clear and correct. We need a political revival.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Post-Anticipation

Friday is my next big day



Finally....... This is the day I've been waiting for, the day that the debate is done and over with. If you ask me what happened, well it went fine. I don't know if well. The opposition has a lot of issues we could point out. They mentioned the issues about the poor and accessibility of hospitals, but they failed to give solutions other than the government increasing budget. How exactly will they increase the budget? But their words were sensational.

Our group has had a lot of points to answer from our classmates since really, privatization is critique-able in this setting. My groupmates were able to answer and rebut (I'm the first speaker so I got no chance), but I don't know if we were convincing or persuasive enough. I'm glad our Prof also made points on the other group since nobody else seems to question. Perhaps one way of looking at it is once you mention "for the poor" it's already correct. Nevertheless, I think we did a good job, content-wise because we have proposals and policies and not merely ideologies. It's done and over with. Everybody did their best and I'm honestly glad.

When the class finished I treated my friends to Sylvanas. HAHA. What, sounds cheap? Yes it is, relatively. Haha. I haven't treated anyone big time since my birthday with dormmates last March. And I guess I'm too relieved about this debate that I volunteered. Thinking back, because I have a bit of an ambitious streak, I want to be the Best Speaker in the debate. It would be the greatest incentive and the guarantee that all these sleepless nights and putting away other academic stuff is worth it. But whoever wins and doesn't, I don't really mind.

Dad's home. He, Mom and Ral went to some mall but I wasn't able to follow due to my late dismissal time. When I arrived home, he ordered pizza since he noticed that my hair was a mess. HAHA. Oh no. Well I'm glad he's here. It's been a while. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Parents @ FB

"So this is what she's been up to." :)



Lots of kids don't want to add their parents in Facebook. I know, because it's weird and there's a lot of information flowing all over the social networking site (hereby called SNS). Pictures during parties, the type of quizzes you take, your posts or statuses, the games you waste your time on (AHA!! moment for parents), etc. I thought I would never have to worry about that since Mom has a distaste for such SNS fad and I know my Dad would never ever ever have one unless some fan creates one for him. So imagine my amusement when I saw Mom's name on my friend requests and she hasn't mentioned she'd create one. :D I've long told her to open a blogsite but she said she didn't have the time. Hope that would follow.

I think it's okay. Didn't hesitate to click Accept. I know I wouldn't get too conscious of what I put in there because she's my mom.. Perhaps she's known me from jerkhood. I also hope she updates it even though I'm almost sure she wouldn't (hey, anything could happen). Maybe it's also a step for her to know what I've been doing and my weird habit of face-in-the-monitor-every-night world.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Biggest L in the VMAs

*Do you understand body language?*
Pic from http://beat.bodoglife.com


A loser is someone who didn't win in a competition.
A Loser is someone who's "lost it".

Losers sour-graping and ranting about their fate are some of the stuff that I never dreamed of hearing. Most of the time I just nod my head to get it over with or attempt to correct them. But most of the time too, they just wouldn't listen to anybody except another Loser on their side. When they start criticizing the winning team (or person) and elevate the quality of theirs or their bets, I just don't see the point, especially when the results are out already. Sure, it can be a point to explore the results and analyze and perhaps put some action on it to really challenge the system. But mere destructive opinions should be dealt with personally, and a lot more maturely.

The act of Kanye West rushing over to the stage to express his opinions, while Taylor Swift was delivering her speech, is an act of a Loser. And yes, I'm labeling him. Did he think his prestige and his seemingly "heroic" act of saving the face of Beyonce were enough to change the results from a million voters and make his bet win? I don't think so. In fact, he only made a fool out of himself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Issues

We didn't win by the way. Err, does it matter?


I wasn't supposed to enjoy this weekend. I was supposed to stay at home, stay late finishing a report, a group paper, a debate script and be out complaining about it. I've done a little bit of everything. Started the Powerpoint, researched for the paper and outlined my speech. And at the same time I was able to go out, to go on an impromptu-DVD-watching-suddenly-turns-sleepover and watch the UAAP Cheerdance Competition after. Now I really have no time except tomorrow after make-up class (day of the debate), to finish the report and paper.

I REALLY HOPE WE WOULD WIN THE DEBATE! Our motion is pro-privatization of public hospitals, and in general, it is a UP ideology to stay out of privatization because it would promote capitalism, which according to Marx alienates workers. Also they say that it is the government's task to subsidize our health concerns, and to make it attainable and accessible to the poor. Hmm... Question is, Are they successful in doing so? >:)

It is a common belief (I don't know if a truth) that privatization would benefit capitalists only. Yet according economic theories, privatization would basically lead to efficiency and lessen the burdens in the government's hands. It doesn't always happen and there are a lot of examples of deteriorating privatized entities. Privatization isn't a panacea to our problem of poverty. But it does have merits that improve our way of life.. And that's exactly what I should be convincing the class about. There may be a lot of points from the class, and I'll be speechless, or anything else. But... If I want to be a lawyer I really should practice debating.

Good night. Today is a good one. I hope it's a sign that tomorrow's going to be a good one too. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

An Empty House

Why I like Christmas.



DISTANT is a word to describe my current relationship with the people in the house, my Mom and Ral. When I go home from school early and sleep, they don't wake me up to eat dinner with them. When I go home late, they already ate ahead. We don't really bond at home since I'm mostly preoccupied with my laptop monitor, and they with theirs, or the television. When I wake up they're gone already. If I hang out by my Mom's room, she'd shoo me away by 9pm because she'll be resting already because both of them are "in high school" (means they ain't no vampire).

I really miss my Dad too. It's been weeks since I last saw him. I don't think I'll ever get used to the idea that we see each other less than seven days a month and that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to go to my hometown because of academic work or plain complaints of "It's too time-consuming". I've already forgotten how we used to be when I was 13, when I see him and my Kuya every single day and every dinner was like a full meal, holistically.

Now when we do go home, sometimes we don't spend quality time anyway. My brothers would be out at computer shops all day, relishing the times when they could beat each other at Dota or SF. Mom and Dad would be distant sometimes too. Other times they'd just watch DVD or talk while eating meals. My brothers don't like the idea of going out on weekends too primarily because they have a village-life. They got playmates in the hood and they'd rather spend time with the neighbors than stroll around some mall. Dad's favorite places would be MOA, S&R, Blue Wave and anything from Diosdado highway to Roxas Boulevard. I tried to interest him to go someplace else like Trinoma or Eastwood but he feels they're just too far from his side of Manila. Oookay. So we stay home. It's fine, since staying at home is something that certain circumstances limited us from doing. The togetherness is a reality that many take for granted.

Well tonight I'm downstairs and Mom is upstairs watching TV, and Ral I don't know, maybe he's playing with his PSP. I'm with my computer as usual. I've just gone back after a year in Laguna and still it feels like I'm in a stranger's house, worse than a dormitory from a land faraway. Few hours from now, they're going to sleep. And tomorrow morning, maybe I'll find myself eating breakfast on my own or they've already gone home without a word.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

College Vampire

Coffee or milk has no effect on me. Just. Willpower.



Staying up all night until the morning is a college thing. I cannot imagine myself sleeping at 9pm without much willpower already. My nights are filled with keyboard-tapping and net-surfing, which I admit has already become an addiction. I go online for nothing, to amuse myself, to blog (like this), and saving the real academic work until late.

So far the implications of these negligence aren't very visible in my grades. After all, I still finish papers, reports and readings on time. I may be a procrastinator, but I'm definitely not a crammer. -Thank you paranoia- But this newly-acquired vampire gene is damaging my health. Right now my eyes hurt, and at class this afternoon I slept 1/4 the time without much consideration of who is speaking in front. But I really have no sleep because of academic work.

Alas, the Internet is already part of my life. These "traumas", I know, will yield its full effects when I grow older. Perhaps I'll look like an old hag with eyebags and bony fingers by the time I'm 50. YIKES. Now THAT is scary. Maybe the whole current generation's appearance will be much like that in a few years *chuckles*.




Pro-privatization debate (research+speech), Wika at Kilusan group paper that's going nowhere (research+writing), report-making about Corruption (research+powerpoint making) UAAP Cheerdance Competition (9am-7pm, eats up my whole Sunday), two group meetings and two make-up classes all in the weekend. Wish me an immense amount of luck.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Librarinth


Feels like something's going to jump out of nowhere




Every Wednesday or Friday I make it a point that I visit the Main library, specifically in the Social Science area to read a book of whatever is related to my current subjects. See, my course is more of the information-gathering stuff.. current events and issues. It sounds a lot like political science, with societal theories from dead white men. And statistics [next sem] (;_;). I really wish Sociology could be more of an application and structured like the sciences or math. That's why there was a desire to shift to Psychology because it was science and art all at the same time. Can't believe I'm saying this, but I really do miss Chemistry and Biology. All five of us, my coursemate-pals, had the desire to shift simply because we weren't feeling Sociology that much. ..But I'm not going anywhere anymore.

Anyway, even though that act of visiting the library has academic purposes, I still find it enjoyable. I love the antiquity (fancier word for rottenness?) of the books and the wooden tables and seats. Sometimes when I'm lost somewhere between the shelves it made me wonder if a ghost would transfigure in front of me and take me to another place. (like Fushigi Yuugi) Then again, UP wasn't existing long enough to possibly have one, or those ghost stories for that matter that bombarded my Catholic-school elementary days. The atmosphere just makes me wish I could read all the other books so I could be this social science braniac and finally get me somewhere someday. If only it was that easy to get rich.

Tried to look for a book about privatization because I have a debate on Monday (Wish me luck. I hope I don't get too agitated and eat my words). Found one at the last minute, but as I started to take down notes I fell asleep.. (You'll always see people sleeping in the library.) Soon the 30 minutes was up, left to eat with Tere.

I'm not used to using the OPAC not because I don't know how. The hunting-for-the-book part is the best. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

RYO = Rip-your-own





This weekend, I bought white shorts that I could use to school. It's just an average one, nothing special. And for some reason I got inspired to grab the cutter on my drawer and rip the bottom seams. Hard work, but preferable to release some angst. Unusual and risky too (no bloodshed anyway!). I'm pleased with the results even though it's just a minor detail. I'm yet to try it on denim cloths.. maybe jeans? But I guess I'll be using something more heavy-duty than cutter. Like what, a saw? XD

***

Today my Philippine Institutions class (soc114) released the papers we passed, and believe me it was a thick one. Lots of students wanted to drop the course already because the prof is rumored to be a low-grade giver and at the same time a punisher in the form of overloaded schoolwork. Boy do I agree! But I saw my grades and I fared pretty well. So far the papers I'm passing never reaches 2. The lowest I think is 1.75, but it moves along the continuum so it's not that high also.