:: the rowster ::

I'm a teacher in a third-world country, but believe it or not, I'm among the 14.4% richest people on earth!

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Friday, May 30, 2003
7:43 PM
Since when were the weapons not the issue???

The undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, John Bolton, said, "There has been a lot of misunderstanding as to exactly what it was we expected to find and when we expected to find it." The weapons weren't the issue, Bolton clarified. Rather, it was "the intellectual capacity in Iraq to recreate systems of weapons of mass destruction."

The weapons weren't the issue? My a$$!

Doesn't all this lying make you sick? And they actually managed to dupe half the world into believing the WMD were the issue?

No one ought to ask any longer why other countries don't trust them ... Sigh ....
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Wednesday, May 28, 2003
5:25 PM
Dinner in the Dark.

An interesting twist to pre-sex in the city. Well, hey, it was a good try.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2003
2:07 AM
Curtains fall on Les Miserables.

After 6,680 shows, the Broadway version of Les Miserables has ended. Sob! Am I glad I watched it on my last trip to the U.S. That is one beautiful musical.

I thought this was a nice touch. :)
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12:29 AM
Inquirer editorial.

Just read yesterday's Inquirer editorial, and I liked these excerpts:

"Casting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's state visit in the best possible light, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer noted two weeks ago that it was only the third such visit under the second Bush administration....

"The reason the honor has become rare, however, is ideological. This White House is driven by its evangelical faith in American superiority and military prowess; it does not have the patience for the ecumenical give and take of diplomacy....

"We believe this explains the diplomatic misfortunes of the second Bush administration in large part. In 1990, the first Bush forged the largest military coalition since World War II. In 2003, the second Bush could only muster a handful of coalition partners."
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12:22 AM
The Cure for George W. Bush.

You know what Bush needs to do? He needs to personally talk to a freedom fighter/terrorist (one person's freedom fighter is another person's terrorist, right?). Or even a former freedom fighter/terrorist. Maybe a former kadre from the Communist Party of the Philippines, or a Palestinian youth who has chosen the armed struggle. Or a member of the MILF.

Just so that the next time he is tempted to brand all "terrorists" as killers, he remembers that every single "terrorist" has a story to tell, has a face. And while, yes, terrorism is wrong, there are real stories, real pains, real hurts on both sides of the fence.

I'm not defending terrorist acts. I'm just saying that Bush's language reeks of naivete and prejudice, and it's a little sickening.
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12:14 AM
An observation.

Sometimes, Bush sounds like a girl bully on a kindergarten playground. If you don't choose his side, he calls you names. If you do choose his side, he praises you and calls you a great leader (as if we care what he thinks).

Argh! Somebody, please, save the world from Dubya Bush!

Meanwhile ... I must qualify my last post. After praising her speech, I still have to say, I am very concerned by what increased "engagement with the United States" actually means. Shet.

But well ... I don't want to think about that right now....
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Monday, May 19, 2003
11:53 PM
GMA at the White House.

So I was flipping through the channels after Oprah, and Bush was on TV, talking about the Philippines. He and GMA are on both BBC and CNN right now, giving press statements. They've just concluded talks at the White House.

Bush just said that he is going to consider GMA's invitation to visit the Philippines. Yeah, Bush should get out of the U.S. more often and see how the rest of the world lives.

Frankly, GMA's speech is much better than Bush's. (She's talking right now.) Bush just gave more of the usual, and his statement was pre-written. GMA's is extemporaneous, and she's actually saying something of substance: explaining to everyone how the war on terror is inextricable from the war against poverty.

Okay ... so they're answering questions being fielded by reporters now, and Gloria's answers are much more intelligent than Dubya's. Dubya, as usual, is in rah-rah-rah mode: "Let's get them before they get us!" (that was a direct quote). I swear, Dubya's downfall will be his oversimplification of the LEGITIMATE concerns of many radical groups in the world. It just irritates me to no end.

Sigh .... She's not my favorite person in the world, but I have to say it: Go, Gloria!

Update: Hahahah! In response to a question from a reporter, Bush said something about how the war on terror was a war against killers who cannot be talked to, who need to be brought to justice, who cannot be confronted diplomatically, and his usual rhetoric. Right after that, Gloria emphasized (in the sarcastic voice that today, for a change, I am lovin') that the war on terror--at least in South-east Asia--is rooted in the problem of poverty, and that the war on terror must therefore be a comprehensive war that addresses its causes, such as poverty and socio-economic ills.
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11:46 PM

Oprah's talking about spanking in today's episode.

From what I can gather, spanking is a HUGE no-no in the U.S. I find that very interesting, considering that I come from a culture where spanking is accepted as a legitimate form of discipline.

I personally was not spanked, and don't plan to spank my kids when I have kids. (Let me repeat that, lest this post be misunderstood: I don't plan to spank my own kids in the future.) But while I personally wouldn't choose spanking as a form of discipline, I don't think that every single kid who was spanked will turn out to be a maladjusted, aggressive person. As a matter of fact, many of the most well-adjusted people I know WERE spanked as kids, and in fact appreciated that form of discipline.

So this is what I think: A parent should NEVER spank a kid out of frustration or anger. S/He should NEVER hit a kid when s/he has lost his/her temper. And finally, I DON'T think that a parent should ARBITRARILY spank her/his child. If at all a parent SHOULD make the choice to spank his/her kids (and I personally wouldn't), the parent should first make sure that s/he is calm and in control of his/her own temper. Secondly, the spanking should be a pre-agreed upon consequence for SPECIFIC and GRAVE behavior. For example, a family may set a rule, for example, that spanking is the corresponding punishment for lying. And so, if the child lies, s/he knows that the consequence s/he will have to face is spanking.


Two stories.

First story: One of my Chinese teachers told me this a story about a child whose father would cane her as punishment for misbehaving. (Caning is a commonly accepted method of discipline in many Chinese cultures.) One day, the father was in his chair reading the newspaper, when the girl came up to her father and presented, with both hands, the cane. "Why are you giving this to me, daughter?" he asked. She replied, "Father, I did something wrong today," and she proceeded to explain what her act of misbehavior was. "I am here to take my punishment. Please cane me."

Second story: This next one is an old Chinese folktale. There was a young boy whose mother would cane him whenever he did something wrong. The story goes that the boy would never cry, because he recognized the mistake he made and nobly accepted the consequence of his actions. One day, however, when his mother caned him, he burst into tears. His mother was surprised. "You've never cried before when I caned you; why are you crying now?" And the boy, through his sobs and tears, told his mother, "You used to cane me with strength. Today, however, your whipping was quite weak. I am crying because it is a sign that you are getting old."


Interesting, how different cultures can be from one another, 'no?
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11:01 PM
Boston Public.

I can't remember the last Boston Public episode I watched without shedding a tear.
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6:22 PM
RPG Quiz.

How heavily are you into RPGs?
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5:13 PM
Kiss, type, and tell.

This is right up Ordo's scholarly alley: a few cases of how blogging blurs the line between the public and the private, and the consequences that bloggers don't always anticipate. From New York Times.
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Thursday, May 15, 2003
5:48 PM
Mighty Ducks.

I've watched the movie before, but I had no idea that the Mighty Ducks were a really hockey team ... that is, until I heard a sports report on CNN reporting a Mighty Ducks win.

So, was the movie based on a true story? Was the team created because of the movie? Or do the two have nothing to do with each other?

And the most important question ...

Do the fans actually quack during games???
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3:30 PM

I hate rats. I can tolerate most other house pests: insects, even cockroaches. But rats are simply disgusting. And right now there's one in my bathroom. (Okay, maybe it's just a mouse, not a rat; but still: disgusting.)

So now I'm going through a dilemma. I already took a shower this morning, but I was planning to take another one before heading to school because it's so hot and I feel icky and sweaty. But I DO NOT want to enter my bathroom. I already begged Emilie (our housekeeper) to please put some fly paper on the floor of my bathroom and she's already done it, but still ... I am not going to risk an encounter with that rodent.

So ... here are my options. I could take a shower in my mom's or my brother's room ... but I'd still have to go to my bathroom to get my shampoo (there isn't a bottle of shampoo in either one of their bathrooms). Or I could take a shower without shampooing my hair. Or I could simply not take a shower at all and head off to school. (Taking a shower in my own bathroom is not an option.)

Sigh ... decisions, decisions ....
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1:17 AM
Last week's Friday Five

1. Would you consider yourself an organized person? Why or why not?
My mind is much more organized than my physical space. In some things--such as activities, events, school notes, tracking my finances--yes, I can be very organized. But in other things--especially spatial things, such as my room In other things (especially spatial things, such as my room, or my workspace--"clutter" is my middle name.

2. Do you keep some type of planner, organizer, calendar, etc. with you, and do you use it regularly?
Yes, yes.

3. Would you say that your desk is organized right now?
No. Can't even use my desk at home because there's so much piled on it--hahah!

4. Do you alphabetize CDs, books, and DVDs, or does it not matter?
About once a year, I go on some crazy spring-cleaning spree and organize some major collection in my house (such as my books or my CD collection). Within a month, all sign of organization is gone.

5. What's the hardest thing you've ever had to organize?
My desk! Or rather ... my desk is quite easy to organize, but it's the hardest thing to keep organized!
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Tuesday, May 13, 2003
5:49 PM
What kind of girlfriend am I?

You're Perfect ^^
-Perfect- You're the perfect girlfriend. Which
means you're rare or that you cheated :P You're
the kind of chick that can hang out with your
boyfriend's friends and be silly. You don't
care about presents or about going to fancy
placed. Hell, just hang out. You're just happy
being around your boyfriend.

What Kind of Girlfriend Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Mwahahahaha! I wonder if M would agree with this.
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10:19 AM
The Dark Ages.

Mr. [Franklin] Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham and head of a global missions agency, Samaritan's Purse, said last year that Islam was "a very evil and wicked religion." Mr. [Jerry] Vines described Muhammad as "a demon-possessed pedophile"....

Mr. [Jerry] Falwell, reached by telephone, said that he regretted saying in a "60 Minutes" interview last year that he had concluded after reading books on Islam that "Muhammad was a terrorist."

And it took others this long to say anything? Gosh ....
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9:50 AM
Digitizing books.

I didn't know that
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12:57 AM
Weapons of Mass Destruction.

While the U.S. are still searching for Iraq's WMDs, they've decided to make a few of their own.
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12:33 AM
Music and Star Trek.

Having M's relatives over gave M and I a chance to actually go out. To Makati. On a Saturday night. (I know. I couldn't believe it myself.)

Last Saturday, we took M's cousin (balikbayan from the U.S.) out to Kid Creole (Greenbelt 3) where we met up with some of M's friends. And boy, were we blown away. Wally Gonzalez, the legendary guitarist of the Juan de la Cruz Band, has been playing there these past few months and the band he plays with now is amazing!!! M was beside himself with excitement as the band played Led Zep, the Allman Brothers, and the Doors classics. I, not being the musical genius that my boyfriend is, couldn't recognize all the songs (I could probably name one out of every four that M named; he was naming each of them within the first measure!!), but I was enthralled by every single member of the band, and I couldn't decide which band member's playing to keep my eyes on because they were all so incredible.

So I don't think that will be the last time we'll be visiting Kid Creole. Yes, believe it or not, you might actually bump into M and me gimmicking. In Makati. On a Saturday night. Hey, stranger things have happened ....


Meanwhile ... who knew that learning Klingon would someday get you a job?
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Monday, May 12, 2003
11:51 PM
Ninth Day.

Yesterday, the ninth day (they started counting on the first day of the wake, which was Saturday), M and his dad released M's mom's ashes up at Lake Caliraya. It was an exceptionally beautiful ceremony; as M said afterwards: emotionally draining but also emotionally releasing. More than a hundred fifty people showed up, most in shorts and beachwear, a testament to M's parents' camping, outdoor lifestyle.

People arrived at around three p.m.; at four, the Mass started. Fr. Robert Reyes (the running priest, who also happens to be Tita V's high school classmate) celebrated the Mass and gave a beautiful homily about how M's mom was a perfect Good Shepherd to everyone there--her family, her friends, the windsurfing community. After Communion, a number of people came up to deliver exceptionally beautiful eulogies--powerful and moving, describing how she was always full of life, full of love, and gave so unselfishly of herself to everyone.

For the final song, the "Caliraya kids" (a bunch of people around my age who, like M, had grown up going to Caliraya every weekend) sang Graham Nash's "Wounded Bird," one of her favorite songs, and a song she often sang to M when he was a child.

Then, M and his dad planted a tree in his mom's memory.

Finally, as we neared sunset, the ceremony for committing the ashes began. M and his dad, together with Fr. Reyes, got into a speed boat and went out into the lake. The relatives and some of the family's close friends (including myself) followed in four bancas, in formation behind the speed boat. Three windsurfers got on their rigs and also went into the water, weaving in and out among the boats as the formation made their way out into the lake. Meanwhile, the rest of the guests watched solemnly from the shore, holding lit candles and flowers.

As the boat formation approached the center of the lake, the friends and family members in the bancas dropped floating candles, roses, chrysanthemums, and flower petals into the water. As the sun was setting, M and his dad released the ashes into the lake as the windsurfers made circles around their speedboat. It was an incredibly moving ceremony, just the way that M's mom would've liked it: her ashes being released into a lake she loved, surrounded by people she loved, against the backdrop of the setting sun.

Finally, we all headed back to shore, where many of the family's camping friends had prepared a feast of scrumptious food: ribs, pita, dumplings, barbecue ... with overflowing wine and beer. One of the family's very good friends used to be DJ when he was younger; he had prepared a CD with M's mom's favorite songs from the 70s, and that was the music that was playing while everyone ate and talked. In a way, the food feast and the music, too, were perfect tributes to her. She was acknowledged as one of the best cooks among her friends, and eating well at her funeral was a perfect way to honor her legendary dishes. When she was a college student, she was a folk singer in one of Baguio's night spots, and even in Caliraya, she and M spent many moonlit nights jamming on their guitars in their trailer; so the music, too, was exceptionally meaningful.

M's mom's funeral was as much a celebration of life as it was a mourning over death. She was such a happy person, and so it was no surprise that her funeral should turn out to be happy as much as it was sad.

The funeral ended at around nine p.m., and I left the funeral feeling--as I'm sure many did--somewhat healed and a little more at peace.
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Friday, May 09, 2003
12:14 PM

M's mom, one of the most amazing women I've ever met, passed away in an accident last Friday afternoon, and I really have no words to describe what I've been feeling and thinking these past few days.

This song has been playing in my head:

(Psalm 27, Paulo Tirol)

One thing I ask:
To dwell in the house of the Lord all my days,
To gaze on His goodness
And walk in His ways.

He will shelter me;
He will be my strength.
In the triumph that He brings me
I can hold my head high.

In His house I shall lift up my voice.
I will sing, I will praise the Lord.



Thanks for everything, Tita Vangie.
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Friday, May 02, 2003
12:43 PM

Sign seen on a lamp post near U.P. Diliman:

"Review classes for UPCAT and ACET! Join now! Registration on Going."

(boldface mine)

Uhhh ... okay ....
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10:49 AM
Bush vs. Bush.

Today is a day I wish I had a DSL connection, just so I could watch the Bush vs. Bush debate.
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Thursday, May 01, 2003
12:08 PM
What $67 million can buy you.

So if you had $67 million, what would you buy (now that the Philippines is no longer for sale).

Well, one option is to do as the U.S. government does and buy data on hundreds of millions Latin Americans.

Land of the free ....
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11:54 AM
Dante's Levels of Hell Test

Didn't make it to Purgatory. I'm in Limbo. :(

You are one of the lucky ones! Because of your virtue and beliefs, you have escaped eternal punishment. You are sent to the First Level of Hell - Limbo!

Charon ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the brink of grief's abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test
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11:19 AM
Labor Day.

Labor Day today. In the Philippines it's a reminder of the thread of socialism in our political tradition, and our workers' centuries-long struggle (since the early years of the Spanish regime) for fair labor practices.


Today is also the anniversary of the Battle of Manila Bay, which depending on whom you ask, was either one the U.S.' most glorious victories against Spain, or just another event in a whole string of events by which the United States duped the Philippines into allowing itself to be occupied by them. How did the U.S. dupe the Filipinos, you ask? By letting the Filipino believe, at first, that they were helping the revolutionaries fight for their liberation from Spain ... only to sign a treaty with Spain behind the Pinoys' backs buying the Philippines for $25 million. (Did I say "duped"? How about lied, conned, deceived ...?) Here's an excerpt from a page from the U.S. Library of Congress no less:

"Dewey hoped to avoid further hostilities at Manila. To this end he engaged in shadowy negotiations with a new Spanish governor in Manila and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the city. An agreement was reached whereby there would be a brief engagement between the Spanish and American forces followed immediately by surrender of the city, after which the Americans were to prevent Aguinaldo's troops from entering Manila. General Merritt was suspicious of this deal, but on 13 August, after the American troops moved through a line of defenses north of Manila, the Spanish garrison surrendered to Dewey. The guerrillas were denied access, and the American troops occupied the city. Continuing American failure to recognize the Aguinaldo government fostered increasing distrust."

Here is it described in a nutshell on another website:

"Although the Filipinos initially appreciated the U.S. role in helping evict their Spanish rulers, tensions mounted as it became clear that our interest there had less to do with protecting democracy than it did with territorial expansion. Even before the peace treaty was signed, U.S. troops fired on a group of Filipinos and started the Philippine-American War, a vicious and ugly chapter in U.S. history that lasted until 1914. Openly racist views of the Filipinos underscored public debate and policy. The actual death toll will never be known, but estimates of the number of civilians that perished from famine, disease, and other war-related causes range from 200,000 to 600,000. In March 1906 an estimated 600 Muslim Filipinos - men, women, and children - were massacred over a four-day period under troops commanded by General Leonard Wood, who later became the Philippine governor general. "

As you can see ... history makes my blood boil. Even more painful, since I've been reading the popular songs of the 1890s, songs of revolution, struggle, hope, and martyrdom. It was the revolutionaries, most of all, whose faces the U.S. government slapped when it secretly signed the Treaty of Paris.


Speaking of the U.S.'s less-than-stellar record of underhandedly occupying other nations ... doesn't anyone remember why the U.S. wanted to--or rather, why the U.S. said it wanted to--attack Iraq? Jake Tapper of Salon laments Bush's changing rhetoric on the war: "Before the war, the Bush administration said the weapons existed and we would find them. Now, it's saying maybe we won't find them after all -- and the rest of the world smells a rat."> Here are the first two paragraphs of the article:

In his NBC interview last Thursday, President Bush set off critics by citing what appeared to be a new standard of proof for Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.

No longer was the U.S. necessarily on the hunt for the actual weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, the president said. Rather, the investigation of suspect sites in Iraq by coalition forces would prove that Saddam Hussein "had a weapons of mass destruction program." The same day as the interview, at an Abrams Army Tank plant in Lima, Ohio, Bush noted that "whether he destroyed them, moved them or hid them, we're going to find out the truth."

So, Pres. Bush. If it emerges that Saddam did destroy whatever weapons of mass destruction he had way before the war began ... are you going to admit to the world that you and your buddies just made a monumental mistake??? (I won't even start on the possibility that you guys were just talking through your noses the whole time.)


Sigh ... just another day in the post-colonial Third World ....
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