The Rainy Day

27 12 2009

THE day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And for some reason, this captures my feelings today… amidst all the excitement… I am sad.

I tried cleaning up my phone’s inbox today and August 13, 2009 stared back at me—Papa’s third day in the ICU. I read every single message that followed… sent and received. It had me sending detailed updates to my sister in the US, complete with Papa’s lab results, latest vital stats and the last doctor’s orders. It also had generic messages that I sent to my other brothers and sister, and to my Papa’s siblings and relatives. It was like reliving each moment. And just like that, tears flowed like there’s no tomorrow.

Needless to say, I wasn’t able to finish what I was supposed to do, I wanted to keep them. Maybe I’m just masochistic that way but I wanted to hold on to the messages.

I think I’ll go to bed…





in retrospect…

17 12 2009

I haven’t blogged any for months. Perhaps I should have. It might’ve eased some of the stress that I have had to bear. But offline real life has gotten the better of me. So just to keep you up to date—we moved, my dad died, I fell in and out of love, we moved again. One of these days, I’ll give details. For now, this will be just another placeholder. 😉

Oh, and did I mention that I got hooked on Mafia Wars on Facebook? Seriously! Jeeez.

xoxo





A Grateful Nation

23 01 2009

“Please accept this flag on behalf of a grateful nation.”

I love Las Vegas, the TV series.  I hope they’ll have another run.  It’s a long shot but hey, a lot of things happen in Vegas.  I believe it deserves a million seasons to cover all the colorful things that happen in that very eventful golden land.  The Bold and the Beautiful has been there since time immemorial, so why shouldn’t Las Vegas be eternally airing? Yeah, yeah, it’s a soap but ya know what I mean.

Anyway, I was watching one of the episodes of Las Vegas where Det. Luis Perez dies in Iraq and the gang attends his memorial service.  With Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door playing in the background, the scene was very heavy.  He was in Iraq for just a week and off he went knockin’ on heaven’s door! Ok, so when the camera panned to focus the men in uniform fold the flag, the whole scene got heavier.  One of them handed it to his mother and uttered those words, I shed a tear (I know it comes as no surprise, I am silly, I cry at the movies and while watching even a not-so-tearjerker, so bite me! But this one’s really worth the tearduct exercise.).

I wonder how, in real life, a grieving widow or a girlfriend or the mother and father, the friends, or the young orphans in the US who has/have lost a childhood sweetheart or son or brother or sister or friend or parent feel upon hearing that line.  I’m sure it’s just as painful no matter how big the gratitude of the nation is. Watching a memorial service is always moving, and more so if it’s for soldiers who have honorably fought for peace (ironic, I know!) and freedom, and while it is very heartwarming to hear such big words, it makes me wonder if it was all worth it.  If this war’s worth it.

But regardless of everything, wherever we are in the world, it’s sad.  It’s really sad.  Yeah, my eyes are still wet.





Jumping to Conclusions

8 01 2009

I wonder why people jump to conclusions far too quickly.  I first read about the melee at a golf course in Antipolo that the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform Nasser Pangandaman figured in from a tabloid.  Yep, I read the tabloids because I like my news unsanitized.  There’s something about this kind of journalism that pumps my blood.  But that’s another story.

So, I read, well, more of scanned, the story.  I wasn’t particularly interested in people fighting in some fancy place when there are lots of more interesting stories to read about, like Hayden Kho’s  homemade porn story for one–err–well, yeah, and a lot more.  Indeed the news about a DAR bigwig’s son who happens to be a mayor of a town in Mindanao accused of mauling someone in a clubhouse was a tad too distracting–not the kind of distraction that one would most likely appreciate on a holiday where everything is splashed with a frenzy of eating, catching up and lazing away.

Where was I? Oh, the messy golf fight.  And I thought they only do those messy ones in clubs not entirely related to golf.  Oh well.  So, I scanned the story.  And I figured, yeah, the Pangandamans did it.  Why?  They’re powerful.  They had bodyguards.  They had guns.  They did it.  They’re Muslims after all.

Then I see Mr. Delfin dela Paz sporting a seemingly rehearsed agonized look on TV every newsflash or two.  I cringe.  There’s something about this guy and with what he has been saying that simply don’t add up.

Then I see another glimpse of Sec. Pangandaman and his son.  Glimpse.  Because they didn’t really stay that long in front of the cameras.  Something about them made me want to know the three sides of the story: that of the Dela Pazes, that of the Pangandamans, and the truth.

So I read Bambee dela Paz’s heartwrenching blog entry.

The mayor of Masiu City, Lanao del Sur talks with my dad. Things get heated up. Voices were raised. But never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine that someone would pull out a punch.  Apparently not [sic]. He attacks my father. His flightmates, maybe 2 or 3 of them, rush to his aid and beat up my father. My 56-year-old father. My younger brother and I could not just watch. We rushed to break the fight. My younger brother pleads to the mayor to please stop it. To not hurt my dad. To just stop. His words still ring through my head…”Sorry na po, sorry na po…tama na…tama na po…” With his hands in front of his chest in a praying position. PLEADING. The mayor socks him in the face. My brother defended himself. My dad is still on the ground getting clobbered. My brother is the same way. I try to stop the fight, but all I can do is stop one person. There were 4 or 5 of them attacking now.

Pretty telenovelaisc huh.  It sounds very persuasive.  So true.  So real.

There’s something about too much drama that puts me off, really.

Now, the other side of the story. As the writer of the blog entry said,

I am posting the incident that happened at the south course of Valley Golf and Country Club that fateful day of December 26, 2008 between the families of Pangandaman and dela Paz. But this is not Delfin’s and his children’s side; I am retelling the details of the incident here on behalf of the Pangandamans.

Not a first-hand account.  Not really reliable but it provided a significant piece of the puzzle.

And now the so-called recap from the so-called independent investigators of the case.

Look, I’m guilty of jumping into conclusions because the Pangandamans are moneyed, in power and Muslims.  I have always been quick to object when people tend to generalize Muslims as evil, bad and ill-mannered.  I come from a place where they live peacefully as traders.  In grade school, I was friends with kids who taught me languages that amused my parents at home.  We may have drifted apart because we lost contact through the years but I have none in my memory lane that can support the idea that they are not good people.  I have learned to respect those who are different from I am. But whether we admit it or not, we have been marred by society’s prejudice.  And so every now and then, I unconsciously succumb to the same prejudiced thinking. I don’t want to justify it but we are not entirely blameworthy.  The exploits of the Abu Sayyaf, the September 11 bombings in the US and all others are not really helping, are they?  But trust me, it’s not something that I am proud of and every time I can, I try to work on it because deep inside me I know that they do not have the monopoly of being bad.

Having said that, I believe we have just judged the Pangandamans right away because of that.  I’m sure no one would admit so.  I would.  I’m sure in one of those unguarded moments, most of us have either uttered or thought of something about them being guilty because they are Muslims.  Because Muslims can be really fierce–as if non-Muslims don’t get ferocious and reckless in the heat of the moment as well.

I’m not saying that they are not guilty.  But knowing that they have guns, small ones and big ones, and the fact that they practically outnumbered the dela Pazes, I can only surmise that the restraint that they summoned at that time is way beyond commendable.  I mean, let’s face it.  If they wanted to hurt the dela Pazes, they could have done more damage than what has been reported.  And if they wanted to hurt the dela Pazes, why did Hussein, Nasser Pangandaman Sr.’s other son suffer serious injuries as well? They were obviously with their so-called goons.  So why didn’t they let them do the dirty work?  I was moved at the fact that he got involved in the scuffle when the older dela Paz poked his brother with an umbrella.

Come to think of it, the 14-year-old dela Paz hit Hussein with a driver.  If it were in defense, it wouldn’t have fractured the latter’s hand.  And this Bambee girl who has become an overnight sensation because of her tearjerker of a blog entry, didn’t she figure in the fight as well?  Yeah, she defended her dad but how come they never asked the people around them for help?  Or just pull her dad out with all her might?  Or shield him with her own body?  Come on, the normal first move for someone’s companion who has been allegedly mauled is to try to stop the fight, scream or even go between the assailant and the loved one.  Something simply does not add up.  And her story, albeit really poignant the first time you read it, has far too many holes in it.

I am annoyed at how the ages of the older dela Paz and his son are seemingly used to portray them as the underdog.  A 14-year old kid with a good swing is not entirely incapable of doing any damage.  We’ve heard of 8 year olds and 11 year olds who go on shooting frenzy and kill many of their friends in school in cold blood.  I have 8 nephews and nieces.  I know what kids younger than 14 can do.  My mom’s 71.  She still kicks my ass in a lot of things.  My dad, at 74, in his paralyzed condition can still make me feel bad about a million and one things.  And 5-10 years ago, he was still a “terror” in some ways.

But really, what did the golf course’s security people and management do?  I’m sure they didn’t expect such a ruckus to ensue but hey, in this day and age, anything can happen, like wives in their housedresses who storm in with knives from the other side of the fence, for instance.

It’s so easy to say that the Pangandamans have the moral ascendancy because they are public figures.  The same way we look disapprovingly at celebrities who do not smile at their fans after a long day of film shoot, or get annoyed at paparazzi.  The same way we look disapprovingly at clergymen who show some weaker human sides.  Just because they have certain labels and positions in public does not mean they have lost their humanity.  Of course hurting other people is bad, whether one is a public figure or not.  All I’m saying is, nobody’s perfect and as much as we want everybody to be close to perfection, there are certain reactions and stimuli that we simply can’t control all the time.

I want to know the truth.  I may lean towards the Pangandamans now but I still want to know what really happened.  And when the dust clears, I want to see the right thing done.

Yeah, I got hooked on this sappy melodrama as well.  And no, it doesn’t really affect me directly.  However, the idea that every now and then I jump into conclusions because of my own biases or whatnots bothers me a whole lot.  It tells me of the kind of influence my surroundings has on me.  And looking at it from a different angle, it really doesn’t look too nice.





Books, Conspiracy Theories and Cynics

19 06 2008

I always encourage my nephews and nieces and any kid that I get to talk to to read. I am pretty sure it’s the only sure route to a million and one destination. I have always been a voracious reader. There’s something about a book that makes me really happy. I’m talking about the good old book that feels really good to the hands. While I read electronic versions of Harry Potter and controversial pieces, there’s something really romantic about the hardcover books, or even the paperbacks. So where am I leading? Conspiracy theories that’s what. Reading far too many of them has somehow made me really cynical about life. Well, in some respects, I think it has also awakened the realist in me but let’s go back to conspiracy theories, assassinations, doubles, espionage, charades, staged events and whatchamacallits.

Still vague, huh?

Well, I’ve been following the Ces Drilon and company drama ever since it was just whispered in some small circles here and there. And with the media coverage that it’s been getting (hello! That’s Ces Drilon!), I couldn’t help but watch the events unfold. I must admit, I never really doubted its authenticity when it first rolled but I got really turned off by the unabashed politicking that squeezed the life out of the story. I was breathless when Angelo Valderama, the assistant camera guy, was released although I thought it was weird that they had to make people believe that it was him who was huddled in that car with the lady vice governor when it wasn’t him. The swagger of the two Isnajis was a major flipper. Their involvement, notwithstanding the fact that their proximity made it their game, really got me thinking about a lot of things. And then when Ces and Jimmy Encarnacion, her cameraman, were released with Jimmy wearing a Love ko Si Mayor pink shirt, I got all the more cut. Of all the shirts that he could have been made to borrow!

And now the rumor mills are at it again. People say it was a farce. That it was staged! Are we that low now?

And is Loren Legarda that big a negotiator for her to add the Drilon and Company kidnapping incident to her list of feats? Not to mention she did this last in the comforts of her office in Luzon? Well, she did have a few people down south to do the legwork for her. But still!

Look, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody. I’m sure you couldn’t fake grief. I feel for their families. Going through something like that is never a breeze. One thing’s for sure. Drilon said so herself. There’s something about the place where they were held captive that drives people to do what they do. The government really has to do something about it. On top of graft and corruption, rice crisis, inflation, gas madness and whatever the hell else.

Let this be a reminder to everyone of us.  Nothing is worth risking our lives for.  Nothing.  And definitely nothing is worth risking other people’s lives for.





Sick Speak

19 06 2008

I wanted to smother him with a pillow. My fingers were itching to grab one and push him down with it until he breathes no more. His anguished and most of the time angry screams have fueled that murderous rage in me.

But I couldn’t.

He, in his condition, managed to get drunk and hurled expletives my way because I had the nerve to throw away what was left of the local rhum.  He went on to say that I studied in UP only to achieve nothing in life.  He said I do not have greatness, something that UP people are thought to achieve as they go head on with the world.  And in my sleepless state with one client backing out on me when the bills are piling up, I gripped the corners of the bed mattress opposite his angrily.  I kept telling myself that it was the alcohol and the illness talking but he got to me.  In that very instance, I wished he would die an instantaneous death.  But there were no thunderbolts and he was still morosely glaring at me albeit in silence now.  So I pictured grabbing the pillow that reeked of dried urine so I could kill him with it.

But I didn’t.  I couldn’t.

Regardless of how frustrated I was or how extremely helpless I felt, I couldn’t bear to kill him. What was there to lose? It’s not like he still earns a living. He doesn’t feed me. He is no fun anymore. He can’t even be a great soundboard. And no he no longer gives his solid opinion on things. But I can’t. Couldn’t.  Wouldn’t.

Because despite everything, he’s still my father. He may not be a perfect dad there is and his shortcomings pretty much eat up all the good things that he etched in his life’s record book, he still biologically makes up a huge part of me, and well, politically, socially, emotionally and spiritually too, I suppose.

My father suffered from a major cerebrovascular accident three years ago. We lowly lifeforms call it a stroke. It paralyzed the right side of his body and severely affected his speech. I know of a lot of people who got over something like this. There are others who even taught their functioning body parts to do most of the job. Some practically rose from the ashes to become newer and better versions of themselves.

But not my Pa, my sweetpeas. Nah-uh.

Like most men, my father took this turning point of his life lying down, literally. If three years ago he cursed at his Creator, the world, everybody else and whoever was in the room, or cried and lamented at how this new chapter of his lifebook took a turn, I would have understood. But he didn’t. He took it with an eerily complete submission that those who know him pre-stroke would swear that it is an absolute 180-degree pivot. I wasn’t surprised though.  Delayed reaction, it may seem, but I can’t help but suspect that this is just an act of a scheming con artist because a year or so ago,  the old Pa seems to have resurfaced sans the mobility and the paralysis-free physique—the result was an  irreverent sick old man whose angst came in completely asshole proportions. The old cunning bastard is back—screaming and kicking, if only humanly possible for him.  Manipulative as hell, an emotional blackmailer extraordinaire. It’s hard to explain but despite all these, there’s something about Pa’s ways that still makes him difficult to unlove, to me at least.

Years before D-Day, he became somebody different. You see, my father used to be the typical macho, brusque, rugged, sly, shrewd, man-of-the-streets kind of guy. He’s the rebel without a cause poster boy. Well, it’s never always a case of “without a cause.” He comes from rather extremely complicated family not that it’s fair to blame it all on the family all the time but for lack of something better to justify it with, let’s just take that. Also, his childhood was a textbook case for shrinks.

I’m only human and while I don’t want to use it as an excuse, there are simply things that sometimes I don’t get to take the wheel of. I get pissed off when he screams in seemingly perfectly scheduled unholy hours past midnight. I get that murderous urge when he calls on residents of hell to take him out of his misery and whatever else unthinkable. But at the end of the day, he’s still my father. He played a huge part in my childhood, some of it really bad but some were actually happy moments and quite preparatory for when I had to face the real world (like, right now?). As I always tell my nephew every time we have one of those aunt-to-nephew heart to heart talks that only those who have an awesome aunt-to-nephew closeness like we have can ever have, one can only blame his/her parents for whatever rough-ups he/she has had in his/her lifetime for so long. Despite all the Freudian analyses about how our parents are the root of all evil (and then some) in our lives, I believe we have that thinking and discerning capacity that eventually lets us decide which route to take as we get a bit older.

So my father isn’t the model dad.  I’m no model daughter either.  I do love Papa not only because there’s so much about me that I can only thank him for but because not everything about him is his undoing and if I take it all out in him, my children, if I ever get to have my own kids somehow, might do the same to me and I don’t want that Not that one or the other matters because in this life, regardless of the kind of relationship that we have, he’s another human being and no matter how awful some people might have been in their lifetime, no one deserves to be disrespected.

I guess I can only pray.  For acceptance, for strength, for faith.  For my Ma to be stronger.  For her to live longer because I sure can’t face this alone.  It’s one of those moments when being unmarried is a curse—gives me no excuse to opt out.  I don’t go to church anymore for reasons that I have yet to precisely point a stubby finger on, but I do talk to God, and bless him, I believe he knows where I’m at where he’s concerned.  I guess in times like this, it helps to have something to cling on to.  Something.  Someone.





Not A Political Statement

22 03 2008

“Love is a human experience, not a political statement.”

Wow!  In this day and age, such profound words from an amazing and gorgeous young lady are a breath of fresh air.  There’s hope for this planet after all! 

Anne Hathaway IS something else.  She’s the recipient of this year’s HRC Ally for Equality Hero award.