13 03 2012

This Italian word became a global byword because of the movie Eat, Pray, Love.  In English, it means “cross over” or “Let’s cross over”.

In our lives, sometimes we just have to move forward and embrace new beginnings.  Every day, something beautiful bursts forth. But we keep holding on to the past.

The term—well, its English counterpart—is also used to refer to ghosts who supposedly do not go into the next dimensions (depending on their religion, I reckon. :P) because of unfinished business here on earth.  So they don’t “cross over” yet.

I’m at the stage where I want to pass through.  But a huge part of me just wishes a huge and important part of my past crosses over with me.

If only throwing away the baggage of pride and misplaced tenacity is also that easy, the world would have been a better place. *sigh*



18 03 2009

A short-haired chocolate brown dachshund

One of my greatest pet peeves is hearing people mispronounce this particular breed of dog’s name. The Dachshund. It’s not dash-yand! It’s not das-shund! And it’s NOT dutch-hound for crying out loud!

I’m a true-blue dog lover. I have a purebred German Shepherd Dog named Sasha. She’s 11 months old. I also have 2 adult mongrels and 1 mongrel pup. Ever since I was a kid, I have always had a dog. My father wasn’t exactly into purebreds but we’ve always had dogs of mixed breed in the house.

Last year, I was invited (they didn’t have a choice! I was always in the vet clinic!) to join a local canine club. They needed an extra pair of hands to help organize their dog show, that’s why. I was bored and I wanted to see the dogs in the city gathered in one place so I readily agreed! I prepared the program, the certificates, the awards and what-nots. Baptism of fire! And all in less than one week! I also had to be the emcee. Now, I’m a behind-the-scenes person. I hate being in the spotlight, much less talking on a microphone, with people who don’t know me. Perhaps it’s because I get the kick out of laughing at people’s mistakes when they do the thing that I was supposed to do then. Well, don’t we all have guilty pleasures? It’s easier to see other people’s mistakes, right? Come on, admit it! Get real! LOL.

But I had a mission. I wanted to let people know how Dachshund is pronounced. I asked one of the vets in the clinic where I used to hang out how he pronounces Dachshund and he told me that he didn’t use it because people would always look at him funny every time he did. So he opted to just use the more popular way of pronouncing it—which is really not doing anybody any good!

Not a single doxie was pre-registered. But I was really hoping that on the day itself, there’d be walk-in registrants. To my utter dismay, none of them came.

So I hope I can still rectify whatever errors in pronunciation we have when it comes to this cute doggies by blogging all about it. We owe it to them. Really! As I said in one of my older posts, the best way to show respect is to pronounce one’s name correctly—or in this case, its breed’s name.

dachshund — dak sund; däks-ˌhu̇nd DAHKS-hund

It is an Anglicized German word. According to Merriam-Webster, it comes from the German words: Dachs (pronounced as Daks) and Hund (pronounced as Hund, like gunned, stunned). Dachs means badger. Hund means dog.

Spread the word! If people look at you funny and you are not comfortable in being the object of such, just say Doxie!

Hail to the (New) Chief!

21 01 2009

I’m no Obama fan (if I get the time to really get down to it, I’ll prolly scribble a few lines as to why I’m not exactly jumping up and down my seat for the guy) but hey, today’s really something else.  It’s still a milestone and I’m all for equal opportunities so his victory demands a celebration.  It’s not just about him anyway.

President Elect Barack Hussein Obama took the presidential oath of office to become the 44th President of the United States of America, after pausing and stumbling on the first few words, and the first African-American to hold such position.  It brings to mind the final episode of one of my favorite TV series: The West Wing.

Pres. Obama is a celebrated speaker and writer and so people have been joyfully anticipating what he’s going to say in his inaugural address.  Credit must also go to the youngest presidential speechwriter ever, Jon Favreau who wrote his first draft of today’s speech in Starbucks  in D.C.    “Favs” is now my new fave!

Ok, this doesn’t exactly go up into the pantheon of rhetorical magnificence (I like his much longer speech in Philly after that hoopla on Rev. Wright’s outbursts) but the fact that it was delivered on that major turning point in the history of the US, and of the world, is greatness in itself.

I think I’ve used the word president far too many times.  But who cares!  It’s a day of goosebumps.

So, here goes:

Transcript of Pres. Obama’s inaugural address:

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.

They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Instant Noodles

26 03 2008

(Published in the November 2000 issue of The Engineering Logscript,  the official student publication of the UP College of Engineering)

ibinenta ka sa halagang limang piso
sabay inilubog sa marami-raming kumukulong tubig
tatlong minuto kang pakukuluan
at kapag luto na, hahanguin
saka ilalagay ang mga pampalabok
na hitik na hitik sa mga kemikal
na balang araw ay papatay sa kanila
kung may pera pa, lalagyan ka ng isang itlog
at ilang mga gulay na napulot
sa maputik na kalsada ng Divisoria

ihahain ka sa apat na anak
at aasang mapapatalino mo at mapapalusog sila
accepted ka kasi ng DOH
at may sangkap-Pinoy, sabi ng pakete
hihigupin nila ang mainit mong sabaw
na wala nang lasa sa dami ng tubig
nanamnamin nila ang hibla mo
baka nga naman may naligaw
na totoong chicken o beef
matutulog sila at magkukunwaring busog
bukas, iisipin muli kung saan kukunin
ang ipambibili sa iyo
ano’ng timpla? ano’ng rekado?
anong brand ng instant noodles?

Nissin’s, Maggi, o Lucky Me?

ibinenta tayo sa dayuhan sa halagang mamiso
na naglulubog sa ekonomiya sa kumukulong mantika
minu-minuto kapag pinakukuluan
sa suweldong hilaw at madaling hanginin
bibilugin tayo ng mga pangakong mapalabok
habang sa trabaho’y niluluto sa init at kemikal
na balang-araw ay papatay sa atin
pinararami natin ang kanilang pera at pinalalaki ang itlog
at kapag gulay na ang mga katawan
itatapon tayo sa maputik na kalsada ng Divisoria

pagkatapos, ano ang ihahain sa apat na anak?
paano tatalino at lulusog sa kitang di sapat?
i-a-accept tayo ng DOH
na may sakit-Pinoy, sabi ng x-ray
nahigop na ang baga natin,
halos wala nang natitira at tinutubig
malapit nang namnamin ng uod
ang hibla ng buhay ng bawat isa
at gawing pagkain
ng mga chicken at beef
di tayo makatulog, ni magkunwaring busog
bukas, iisipin muli kung may kukunan pa ba
ng perang ipambibili
ano’ng ipantitimpla? ano’ng irerekado?
kahit na anong brand ng instant noodles.

lucky me nga ba?

When I get the time, I’ll try to write the English translations per line, not that I think that it’s a good idea.  I fear I might not do justice to it.  

Seymour Barros-Sanchez, Meyor to most, is an advocacy filmmaker.  His brother, Sig, is another esteemed filmmaker.  They come from a family of writers and well, wizards too, I’m pretty sure. These guys make me speak in a hushed tone.  What can I say, I’m a fan! I’ll probably make a fool of myself if I’m in their presence so it’s good that I’m not.  LOL.  See?  I’m talking gibberish here!

Meyor said this poem was published in The Engineering Logscript, the UP College of Engineering’s official student publication which he headed for two years. No one kept a copy of that issue and most UP Eng’g majors couldn’t seem to come up with a regular issue of their Logscript since they’re more concerned in dealing with dynamics of rigid bodies so he decided to retype the poem in full for archiving.  I think it’s a good idea.  It’s going to be a “collectors’ item” so I didn’t want to pass up on the chance of being able to post it here. 

Thanks, Meyor for letting me do so.

Those Commonly Mispronounced Last Names

21 12 2007

Having worked as a publishing consultant for a Canadian-owned, Random House-affiliate publishing services providing company was the closest that I ever had to working for a call center.   Because we catered to mostly North American clients, we had to speak, well, at least passable American English.  Not having undergone any American accent training, I still felt that my English (and other Anglicized words)-speaking skills are somehow above average. 

I never liked trying to sound American by talking nasally.  I’d sound like someone with speech problems like some people I know.  Hehe.  So, I went into training and since I am not at all an idiot, I learned what I was supposed to learn within the period allotted for the process, far more quickly, I believe.  Our trainers were a bunch of characters.  But then again, trainees—and students for that matter—always make fun of their trainers and teachers. 

The first month was a lot of fun.  Our American department head gave us the permission to take 10-minute breaks in between 60-minute of straight serious work.  Those were on top of our lunch breaks and two 15-minute breaks.  That was pure heaven for smokers like us and for non-smokers who took the same breaks as we did to chat and talk about the “characters” in the office.  Since we were told to speak English at all times then, we did.  So breaks were a bunch of breaks indeed filled with funny anecdotes in English.  There were 9 of us in our batch.  We were supposed to be a part of the first batch of 12 but since the first three—who later became our supervisors—were taken in before the Christmas break and they needed hands on deck (not on the dick, you, you!) then, we were considered the 1 1/2 batch.  Hehe. 

So anyway, the main criterion for the beauty contest—er—for hiring us was our English speaking skills.  Our American department head conducted one on one interviews and if you pass his standards—meaning he understands the way you speak and you get to deliver the answers to his questions the way he wants to hear them—then you’re hired.  So we were super proud to have been hired into a position that promised at least a basic fee of twenty grand, well, not in dollars, but in pesos.  We were also given the chance to earn commissions.  It was a good deal!  I will keep mum about what went on after that in terms of monetary concerns because I don’t want to rouse the sleeping monsters here and there. 

The first day we went live—call potential clients—we got lost.  One of the major problems?  Pronunciation of last names.  Pronouncing places wasn’t much of a problem because somehow, I already knew how to properly most of them, like Tucson/TOO-sahn/in Arizona,  Cayce /KAY • see/ in South Carolina, Des Moines /dih-MOYN/ in Iowa, Leicester /LESS-tur/ in Massachusetts, Reading /RED-ing/ (not like READING from the base verb READ!) in Pennsylvannia and many others. 

Nope, we were not given any help in that department.  What I did was create my own pronunciation guide.  Well, it all boils down to etymology for some.  And if you really can’t pronounce it properly, it’s best to politely ask the owner of the name.  I once looked for a Miss Augusta Something only to find out that he’s a HE.  Some countries don’t go by the usual Filipino convention of names ending with (Mario) O or U for men and A (Maria) for women.  By the way, my parents names are Gregorio and Gregoria.  Talk about soulmates!  LOL. 

My research enabled me to learn some new things and to affirm those that I already knew.  I thought it would be nice to share the fruits of my research here.  How’s that?  Most of them are from Inoglo, and The Budget Fashionista.

I started with author’s names. 

Paulo Coelhopaw-LU ko-wel-YU (my own version based on the IPA guide)

Chuck Palahniukchuhk PALL-uh-nik

Ayn Randine rand

Roland Barthesroll-AH(NG) bart

J.R.R Tolkien“TOLL”-keen

Ivan Illichih-VAHN IH-lich

Jodi PicoultJOE-dee PEE-koe

Marcel Proustmar-SELL proost

Kathy ReichsKA-thee ryks

Jon Scieszkajahn SHESS-kuh

Fyodor Mikhailovich DostoevskyFYOE-dur mih-HY-loe-vich dahs-tuh-YEF-skee

J K Rowling—“rolling

Then artists:

Jan van Eyckyahn fuhn ike



Eugene Delacroixuu-ZHEHN deh-lah-krwah

Edgar DegasED-gar duh-GAH

Claude Monetkload moe-nay

Paul Gauguinpall go-GA

Jean-Auguste Ingreszhahn-o-gust angg

And what last name pronunciation guide would be complete without fashion designers?  So here’s a not-so-complete guide from The Budget Fashionista.  They’re divided into A-G, H-M, and N-Z

Giorgio Armani: Jor-ji-o Ar-ma-nee
Manolo Blahnik: Muh-no-low blah- nick
Andre Courreges: AN-Dre Courreges
Balenciaga: Bal-en-see-AH-gah
Bottega Veneta: Bo-TAY-ga Ve-NE-tah
Roberto Cavalli: RO-ber-to Ka-VA-lee
Chanel: Sha-nel
Chloé: KLO-ee
Comme des Garcons: KUM de Gar-SOHN
Christian Dior: KRE-shtaan DEE-or
Dolce and Gabbana: DOL-chay and Gab-BAH-nah
Ellen Tracy: EL-lin TRAY-see
Salvatore Ferragamo: Sal- va- tor Ferr-A-ga-mo
Gianfranco Ferre: Gee-an-fran-ko Ferr-ay
John Galliano: Gall-lee-a-no
Givenchy: Gee-von-she
Halston: Hall-stun
Hermes: Air-mez
Hugo Boss: He-you-go Bo-s
Imitation of Christ: Em-ma-ta-shun of Cry-st
Marc Jacobs: Ma-rk Jay-kob-s
Betsey Johnson: BET-see JON-sun
Calvin Klein: CAL-vin KLYIN
Donna Karan (DKNY): Don-NAH KA-ran
Michael Kors: My-kal Ko-ors
Karl Lagerfeld: Ka-ral La-ger-fell-d
Helmut Lang: Hell- Mut Lay-ng
Jeanne Lanvin: John La- vin
Ralph Lauren: LORE-in
Nanette Lepore: Na-net LA-pour
Christian Louboutin: KRI-shtaan Lu-bu-TAHN
Louis Vuitton: Lu-wee Vee-tuhhh
Catherine Malandrino: KATH-er-in Mal-an-DREE-no
Alexander McQueen: Al-ex-AHN-der Mac-KWEEN
Isaac Mizrahi: Eye-zak Miz-ra-hee
Issey Miyake: E-say Me-ya-kay
Zac Posen: Zak Poo-zen
Proenza Schouler: pro-en-za skool-er
Emilio Pucci: E-MEE-lee-o POH-chee
Tracy Reese: TRAY- cee Ree-s
Elsa Schiaparelli: EL-sa She-a-pa-REHL-lee
Anna Sui: AN-na SOO-ee
Gianni Versace: Gee-a-nee Verr-sha-chie
Diane Von Furstenberg: DY-an Von FUR-sten-berg
Vera Wang: Veer- ra Way-ng also has an audio pronunciation guide on how designers’ names and brands are pronounced.  Check it out here.  It contains the correct pronunciation guides of Balmain, Byblos, Ermenegildo Zegna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Les Copains, Yves Saint Laurent and many more.

As a largely English-speaking country, I believe that pronouncing these foreign names and last names—English and Anglicized—are not merely about sounding good or whatever but it means giving respect to people from other countries whose names are not that easy for us Filipinos to pronounce.  My name is constantly mispronounced and misspelled either and while I have gotten used to it, it still gets annoying sometimes.  So, I think learning how to pronounce these names properly is a way of giving respect to others.

Giggles and Flirtation

2 12 2007

I used to actively chat via mIRC when I started out in college.  I guess it was around the time when the now extremely popular IRC client took its babysteps too.  Then came ICQ (an oronym for I seek you) but I never really liked it for some reason.  It was around that time when I first created my Yahoomail and Eudoramail accounts.  Looking back, I can never really believe how far everything has gone.  During that time, sending SMS was limited to the rich kids.  But later on, mobile phones have become almost an extention to our body parts.  Even the families who could barely eat three square meals have at least one. 

When my father’s aide asked permission to buy a cellphone, I had a long talk with him.  I told him that while I don’t have anything to do with whatever he does with his life and his money, we definitely hope that buying a gadget that would test his priorities, would not affect his priorities.  He came here from a far-flung barrio where his father would beat him up if he couldn’t hand over a few coins to buy booze.  He came here because we need him as much as he needs us.  My father is paralyzed and because old men are the most hard-headed patients in the world, he has never recovered from his stroke.  He has become totally dependent to the not-so-young boy for even the simplest of things—from scratching his back to feeding him—to the messiest of them all, like wiping him clean after defecating, sponge-bathing him, and doing covert ops just so he could eat ice cream in the middle of the night when my mom specifically told him not to and so many other things.  My dad, even when he was in tiptop shape, has always been a handful.  That’s where I got most of my traits, I guess—his gene pool.  So anyway, we all know how it felt like when we first had our first ever mobile phone with SMS capabilities.  I kinda expected the changing of ringing tones, message alert tones, the horrendous volume, the non-stop-I’ll-trip-over-but-I-dont-care-just-so-long-as-i-can-finish-this-message thing, etc.  Because I am nocturnal, I get really hot-headed in the morning a few minutes before I sleep or when my sleep is interrupted during the day.  And because he had his message alert tone changed to some pop tune, the darn phone pumps up the volume non stop after lunch when everybody in the house is asleep for siesta, including him.  And because I’m a light sleeper–that depends actually on the kind of noise–I always get to be the one who hears the alert.  After three consecutive messages, I rush downstairs and try to find the darn phone and lo! and behold! it’s right near the landline phone in the living room.  So I looked for the owner of the loud phone.  And my, oh, my, the good boy is in deep slumber, with his mouth wide open as if waiting for manna from heaven to fall.  So there I was, fully awake after around just 3 hours of sleep after almost 36 hours of working.  In a very bad mood.  I make it a point never to do anything when I’m all angry and pissed.  And so I tried desperately to go back to sleep.  So sleep I did until around 7PM which made my head hurt real bad.  I don’t like sleeping till around that time because it always makes my head hurt like hell.  I went back to work and downed a whole pint of vanilla ice cream.  God, that was heavenly.

And so one day, I called him and asked him to sit down for another one of my attempts at diplomacy.  So I said…I understand how it is to have a new phone and to be new in the SMS arena but if could just put his phone in silent mode when he’s in Papa’s room, that would really be great.  Or he could leave his cellphone in his room so it won’t disturb anyone if he doesn’t want to change the alert tone. 

A few hours later, I heard the phone screaming mercilessly.  So I called him and asked him what’s going on.  He had the volume set to 5 so he could hear it even from Papa’s room.  Now, isn’t he wise!

So anyway, our houseboy has expanded his vocabulary, thanks to text education, to a few more English words.  He has also acted like a male dog in heat.  He has since become (and became) the boyfriend of almost all the housemaids in the subdivision and in the nearby bakery. 

Much to my mom’s utter disgust, of course.  But I try to tell her that I understand.  It’s so easy to flirt over the phone, online and even over the good old snail mail—pen pals anyone?  We all have different worlds and for people who do not have to think of anything else other than waking up and serving his bosses, I think he deserves whatever surge of lust or something like it that he’s been indulging to these days.  SO LONG AS IT DOES NOT AFFECT HIS WORK.  Well, there have been lapses but I think things have been addressed pretty clearly and I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing bad will happen.  What is a little concession like that for days of peace and order!  If it makes him happy, then it causes a chain reaction.  Happy employees are more effectively productive and that means happier employer.

So, now, let’s go back to moi.  I once had a two-year relationship with a guy I met online way back in college.  Well, make that three.  The other two were merely sinfully wonderful and memorable flings so they don’t really count as relationships but just for the sake of statistics, let’s count them in.  There’s something about exchanging naughty and teasing comments with someone who’s not physically near you that makes things a whole lot more, er, tingly. 

When the cameras were integrated into mobile phones, my then boyfriend asked me to send him “sexy” pix and he returned the favor.  Since I was in a semi-long distance relationships, the ooohs and aaaahs over texts and later phone calls sufficed.  Then with the advent of more modern tech, um, simultaneous indulgence of self-help developed cult-like support online.  Sad to say, it has degenerated the nature of flirting and harmless chatting with strangers. 

I traverse the long and winding information superhighway every day and because of that people constantly ask me what cybersex is, or if I’ve met someone online who will whisk me off poverty in the Philippines to some sugar-coated gingerbread house in the land of milk and honey or somewhere far from this Pearl of the Orient.  Well, I can explain in a very clinical and academic way what cybersex is and how it is done but in terms of chatting with someone who will eventually become a special part of my life, the answer is a resounding, eeeeeenkkkkk! 

NO.  As a single (Asian) female, I do get into those moods when I feel like I really want to be with someone.  My former landlady tells me I’m on NPO for now—medical practitioners, go figure—and for someone who had been not on NPO for a collective and straight seven or so years, it’s quite hard.  They say you don’t crave for something that you haven’t really tried.  Well, I have and so I crave.  But despite being a cosmo girl who understood Carrie’s consternation at the prospect of losing her Manolos to a “shoe-napper”, I think my quick tumble in the hay days are over.  I am not into that anymore.  Well, if the opportunity presents itself, why not?  But I have made my circle so small that even I could not turn around that easily.  So what opportunity are we talking about?  I’m not complaining, mind you.  But the thing is, I meet people online.  From work, through blogs, through wherever.  And while I am a natural tease and flirt, being asked for a cam view and for something to start a few minutes after you even say hi, is a tad too weird for me.  After a long hiatus from chatting, I tried getting into one of those chatrooms in Yahoo and jeeez, people seem to talk in one language and all they ask and talk about is sex, cams and cums!  Whatever happened to friendship and getting to know you while we flirt occasionally without really meaning anything much?  It’s just me getting all cheeky and clenched butt. 

I remember one masseuse who’s a friend of my mom.  She’s quite talkative—a trait that I really do not appreciate while getting a massage.  But when conversations turn green, even in my half-awake, half-asleep state, my ears still perk up.  So anyway, she just got widowed and so she’s been the brunt of jokes about looking for an “American” (the word is enclosed in quotation marks because sometimes we have this penchant of calling all foreigners American) husband.  She said she tried chatting but she gets uncomfy when the guy that she chats up with shows his dick right out and asks her to show her boobs or slit in return.  So she makes up excuses about not having a cam and all that jazz while she and her relatives watch while the “American” on the other side of the internet touches himself till everything limps down and the guy excused himself so he can “dry off” and “clean up” that usually means going to the bathroom or grabbing a roll of toilet paper for some. 

While I do not want to sound prissy, this simply does not turn me on.  I don’t know.  I get turned on by witty conversations that are peppered with flirtations and naughty innuendos but being other than that, I can always get into the part and just type some “motivational” lines for the other party. 

Needless to say, I’m not on a serious quest to find someone who’ll treat me like a princess and not for anything else.  When I’m 30 and I’m still not “in a relationship” as Friendster puts it, I will panic.  But only for a moment.  I think I have a healthy enough self-esteem to know that it’s not being in a relationship that matters—it’s in having fun while we can in a way that we will have fun indeed.  Perhaps, I still have unresolved personal issues to take care of and I think I will not make a good partner until I iron out whatever ugly wrinkles there are in my shirt. 

I have recently been getting proofs how big a liar my ex-boyfriend is and his audacity of continuously denying so many things even when I know what the real score is have been such huge downers lately.  Well, there’s work.  It gets me down but not emotionally so occasional online flirtations with people that I don’t really know, help big time.  Well, I’m choosy.  I don’t like wimps and younger guys.  And I have very little time.  So when I do get into that kind of mood, I’ll go for knights (or badass chicks!) in rusty armors while I wear my French maid’s costume.  Don’t get me started on how to use the feather duster!  LOL. 

But well, I miss blogging and even if I’m not making any sense, I am quite happy that I have blabbered a thought too many somehow. 

Oh, and I’m not in THAT mood right now, with over 70 web pages to revise, I don’t think I can afford to let out even a lusty sigh.  So, a piu tardi! Molto grazie! Ciao! 

On Racial Slur and Political Satire

22 10 2007

I saved talking about the Desperate Housewives until all the noise and strong surge of emotions have ebbed down partly because of procrastination and of pure laziness.

Well, like most women who have watched Oprah, I have become a fan.  Not only because I have good vibes about her but because she empowers women and encourages us to take control of our lives.  She’s the woman that I want to be.  She’s in a happy relationship even if  she’s not married.  She is suuuuuuppppperrrrr rich.  She doesn’t have so many hang-ups.  She’s true to herself and she never hesitates to own up her mistakes.  She worked her ass off to get to where she is now and have made dreams come true for so many people around the world.  She’s also like any other woman, or girl—she wants to look good, lose weight, look good, be heard, look good, talk about other people, look good—you get the picture.  So, everytime her show’s not on hiatus, I make it a point to catch every episode on TV.   I laughed and cried over so many things in her show.  It is also through Oprah that I learned about Desperate Housewives.  There was this one episode where she did a “scene” for the TV series.  Of course it wasn’t part of the storyline or of the aired episodes.  It was more like a mock episode. 

When I watched the first episode, I immediately became an avid follower of the show.  The show’s funny and it depicts the lives of women whose issues have never really been talked about much in public.  Like Bree, for instance, she is a typical OCD case.  She looks immaculate at all times, throws the best organized parties and events, aces at good manners, cleans every nook and cranny of their house, does all chores from keeping the utensils sparklingly clean to baking cakes to fixing any broken stuff in the house. Think Stepford Wives.  But deep inside is a woman who craves nothing more than a simple thank you.  She’s the broken soul behind the facade of being the perfect wife and mother in a seemingly perfect family. There’s Lynette who gave up a successful career in the corporate world to become a full-fledged high-strung, stressed-out mom of four hard-to-handle boys.  There’s Gabrielle whose oozing sex appeal has made Eva Longoria, the actress who plays the part of Gabrielle Solis, the most-searched celebrity in Google at some point.  She’s the former model who married for money but soon realized that 3-carat diamond pendants will never compensate for the absence of marital bliss.  So she turns to their young gardener, John.  Who could forget those sensual scenes with John and the episode where she had to make a quick dash from a party to mow the lawn just so John, a minor, won’t get fired.  And then, there’s Susan, a divorced mom, who acts like she’s the daughter.  She’s Lizzie Maguire, um, three decades after.  She has the penchant for making verbal and actual faux pas here and there, and attracts disaster the way honey attracts bees.  Of them all, she seems to be the poorest, the usually misinformed, the most naive and the poster girl for inferiority complex.  She trips, gets locked out of her own house naked, accidentally burns a neighbor’s house down and a whole lot more.  You get the picture. 

Then there’s Edie.  The woman that women love to hate and men love.  She’s the slutty neighbor who is into real estate.  She was originally a minor character in the series but later on went up the ladder to become one of the now five-lead cast.  And of course, who will miss Mary Alice Young.  The woman who killed herself in the first season but “lived on” to narrate the story of the people in Wisteria Lane, as if she’s just there, privy to all the secrets in the lives of the housewives who were her friends when she was still alive and who have remained loyal to her even after all the skeletons have been dragged out of the closet. 

Another controversial TV show is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Now, there’s a guy that I truly admire.  He hates George W. Bush’s guts, or should I say, butt?  He was accused of being a John Kerry buttwipe, that’s why.  LOL.  But anyway, the show is a political satire and like any other political satirist, he goes overboard about people, events, and many others but mostly on George W. Bush.  I love to laugh.  Ask my mom.  I’m a happy person, or so I tell myself everyday.  🙂  I will never forget the much-talked about televised “heated” exchange that he had with the anchors of the now defunk Crossfire.  My respect for the guy went up a million notches higher.  I have always had a soft [G-]spot for guys with ATTITUDE and those who are funny in a non-slapstick kinda way.  So The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is one of my favorite Comedy Central shows.  Well, of course, there’s South Park too.  But I got tired with seeing Kenny die at the end everytime so well, going back to Jon Stewart, he went to Crossfire, a CNN TV show with a debate format.  Just as I got tired of watching Kenny die at the end of South Park episodes, Jon Stewart went to the show when he got an invitation to be the guest for the day.  During the course of the discussion where he was criticized for ass-kissing then presidential candidate John Kerry, he told the anchors that the show was hurting the country and its people because of their “partisan hacks” and pleaded them to stop doing that.  He went on and said that claiming to be a debate show is akin to saying that pro-wrestling is an athletic competition.  Oh, and my favorite part there was when the overreacting Tucker Carlson told him that he wasn’t as funny in person as he is on his show to which Jon Stewart said, “you’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”  Whoa!  The full transcript of that episode can be found here.  I loved it when Carlson told him that he was being funny.  When he recounted his experience in Crossfire in The Daily Show, he said that he replied by saying something like, “I know.  But tomorrow, I’ll be back to being funny and your show will still blow.” See?  He rocks! Talk about balls—hard-rock balls!  Yeah baby!

Ok.  So while I have been hogging the phone and internet lines for my work and minding my own business, way before Manny Pacquiao won the boxing rematch with Barrera, two very controversial TV shows made it to the Philippines’ hitlist.  The two shows that I just talked about. 

Now, my first reaction the the scene with Teri Hatcher in it as Susan was to laugh.  It was funny and very typical of Susan.  For those who are regular viewers of the show would agree with me that the show, for all its hype, revolves around all kinds of discrimination.  If we cried foul because the Philippine med schools were mentioned, imagine how the Mexicans must have felt everytime the show goes on air!  I mean, Gabrielle and Carlos, Carlos’ mom, and even John,  depict Mexicans and Latinos, in a not-so-good light.  And of course there are those scenes that demean Japanese and Chinese.  We haven’t really heard China or Japan or Mexico react so vehemently.  But we did.  For one single line.  And we even dragged Teri Hatcher down with it.  The poor woman whose acting career is just a few inches away from the has-been house is just doing her job.  Reading her lines so as not to get “killed” in the story.  I mean, Teri Hatcher is no Shannen Douherty or any other i-dont-wanna-do-this-so-i’ll-walk-out actors.  The truth hurts and as Teodoro Agoncillo, a Filipino historian, said in his A History of Filipino People, we are the type of people who love making fun of ourselves and of other people but when we become the object of ridicule or even jokes, we go up in arms as if the whole world depended on it.  If only we can be that united and quick to action when it comes to more pressing matters that our country desperately needs.  We have showed our fangs and they saw them.  Saying unsavory things about other people’s race, age, religious affiliation or anything is unacceptable and yet we do it everyday.  I’m a Bisaya.   I am a promdi (a Tagalog contraction for “from the province”).  When I arrived in Manila in 1996, I spoke with a thick accent and I mispronounced words and even if I bagged the most coveted award in high school, I felt insecure when I got to college.  My classmates spoke very good English and wrote sooo goddarn well.  But I did not shrink and become invisible.  I frequented National Bookstore and practiced tongue twisters.  Really!  I wanted to become a better person.  And in my own little ways, I guess I have succeeded.  I may not speak the best English but when I do, you won’t even notice that I made mistakes.  Why?  Because I have become confident.  Because I practiced real hard.  And because I took ridicules as constructive criticism from people who have later on became my very close friends.  I did not graduate with honors in college.  But I left the university with my head held high knowing that I have done my best and no one can take away the things that I have learned in terms of education and in terms of real life. 

Because I am sexually emancipated, I don’t take sexual insults that bad.  I guess, I know where I stand and what the real score is.  I don’t have to prove anything to anybody.  Well, perhaps to the few people who matter, but not to the world.  But maybe, if I were a president of some country, I would feel and act differently.  The Daily Show with Jon Stewart showed a picture of former Philippine president Cory Aquino with the word “slut” written on it.  The topic was about Hilary Clinton and what would happen if she won.  I mean, she’s doing very well in her campaigns because in a country that laughs at racial slurs, and prides itself for transcending racial and cultural discriminations, a colored multi-racial man like Barack Obama whose true religious affiliation is being poked at may still not get the “Ayes” because in real life, those who claim to be free from biases and prejudices, aren’t. 

I am not a fan of Cory Aquino but when I was only four years old, I remember that I was the only one making the L sign in a strongly pro-Marcos household.  You see, my father is a fiercely loyal friend.  And he has always been with the Nacionalista Party the way democrats will always be democrats in the US and republicans will always be republicans.  In Mindanao, news of corruption and oppression did not spread overnight.  So many people never really understood that well what was going on in the “cities”.  With the split of the Nacionalista Party and the death of Ninoy Aquino, provincial members of the party became confused.  My father, upon learning of the trouble up north, decided to support Doy Laurel’s  UNIDO–the pro-Cory arm of the Nacionalista Party.  I remember going with him to rallies and wearing yellow bands and making the L sign instead of the V sign.  I was happy and young as I was, I already loved the feeling of winning despite starting as an underdog.  If there’s one good thing that came out of the Aquino administration, however, it’s Jessica Soho.  She gained popularity because of delivering news live in the middle of crossfires.  I can say that my political beliefs have been strongly influenced by my father but when I got to college, I became a little bit aware of other things after I took the MKLRP–Maikling Kurso sa Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino  and the course on MLM–not the networking scam, but the incorporation of the teachings of Marx, Lenin and Mao.  After having been disillusioned by a lot of things, I began to build my own political line of thinking based on what I have seen, heard, read and experienced.  It’s never easy.  They say that one can never be neutral.  One has to take sides but I say, that depends.  There are things that are worth my time of day and there are those that simply don’t.  I have also learned that it’s ok to be selfish every now and then.  After all that I have gone through, not so many things can surprise me that much anymore. 

Cory Aquino became a totally different person after Cardinal Sin died.  I’m not sure what happened.  I know she does not take criticism kindly.  She may not look it but she can be a little bit rash.  Remember Ka Louie Beltran?  I mean, let’s say she did not really hide under the bed.  She could have hidden behind Joker Arroyo who took all the beating for the downfall of her regime.  But does that really justify a libel suit against a journalist for such a comment?  Now, her family’s crying foul for the “slut” term.  If it were somebody else in her family, I’m sure the reaction wouldn’t have been that huge but then again, political satires are plain satires.  And as the word means, it does not pertain to the truth.  It could be an exaggeration of the truth or a complete opposite of the truth.  I agree, being called a slut, be it a joke or not, is an affront to any woman regardless of whether it is true or not.  And being included in a widely watched show stamps it for posterity. 

So here’s my take on the issues.  The Desperate Housewives slip is definitely unacceptable but I guess the apology issued, albeit not that widely broadcast as the scene, is.  I guess we should take it as a challenge the way other people have made insults their springboard to betterment.  As for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, people know better.  I mean, let’s give our viewing public more credit.  People who watch political satires know which ones are just for laughs and which ones have an iota of truth.  Besides, before we cry foul, let’s look at ourselves and ask ourselves if we haven’t done anything similar in our lives.  But then again, that’s no excuse.  The broadcast media is perhaps the most powerful and most influential and with its great power comes an even greater responsibility. 

But that’s just my opinion…