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Sunday, August 31, 2003
9:53 PM

Just came from Caliraya. Very tired.

According to some other bloggers:

Linklater is making a sequel to Before Sunrise.

And Louise Glück is America's new poet laureate. (Actually I didn't even know that the U.S. had poet laureates.)

Meanwhile, my cousin the soldier e-mailed photos from Iraq over the weekend. Interesting stuff. I always feel weird when my cousin sends messages from Iraq. It makes it impossible to forget that it's actually happening. (I won't post any of the photos, though. You never know where these photos might end up.)
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Monday, August 25, 2003
9:56 AM
Full House.

It's the end of an era. Full House, the restaurant where my college friends and I spent many happy lunches and dinners, is no more. In its place a Spaghetti House is about to open.

Until the restaurant closed, most of the wait staff were the same staff who had brought us our piping hot meals the first time I ate at Full House almost ten years ago. I will sorely miss their boneless bangus, chicken a la kiev, chicken crepe and special embutido. Sigh ... :(
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9:50 AM

The events in Iraq have pushed Afghanistan out of the spotlight, but this article reminds us that the battle--which some people think might be a losing one--is far from over.
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Friday, August 22, 2003
2:08 PM
Medjas, medyo jazz.

I'm listening to Medjas, Noel Cabangon's new album. It has many moments of brilliance; a few very good experiments with ethnic sound; two songs that sound remarkably like James Taylor and Kenny Loggins respectively (Noel admits that both of them are huge influences); and two or three unspectacular--though not bad--numbers. The sound engineering is inconsistent: okay on some tracks, wanting on others. The sequencing of the tracks is a little strange--the best ones are towards the end of the album rather than at the beginning; but the variety of the songs makes listening to the album in its entirety a very satisfying experience.

The must-listen-to, soon-to-be-a-70s-Bistro-classic tracks, in my amateur opinion, are the jazzy songs on the album: "Samu't Saring Larawan," "Tinamaan Ako" (a song he's been playing live for quite some time already), and the rock "Tinitiis Ko." Musical creativity shines in the tracks which fuse a variety of sounds: "Kapayapaan Sa Sanlibutan" a blend of protest chant with ethnic percussion, is the best among these experiments; "Kalingain ang Mundo" has very interesting stanzas; and "Thank You, Lord," is a worthy venture into Gospel and the blues. "Stay" and "Handang Maghintay" might not be extraordinary, but I predict they're going to be future harana favorites among the sappier of Noel's fans (but aren't all his fans secretly saps?).

On the whole: I do recommend!


Next on my must-buy-CD list: Joey Ayala's new album. Will let you know when I've listened to it.
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1:00 PM
August 21.

Yesterday's Today editorial reflected beautifully on how August 21, 1983, changed Philippine history.

I, on the other hand, spent some time yesterday researching what Martial Law was like (I was too young at the time), in preparation for class.
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Thursday, August 21, 2003
2:36 AM

Twenty years ago today, Ninoy Aquino was killed.
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12:25 AM
In the news.

A lesson Boracay could learn from Bali.

A Holocaust survivor sues Bayer for the medical experiments performed on her at Auschwitz.


Also on BBC: BBC World has a television ad with Arthur C. Clarke endorsing BBC's digital program (or maybe I should say, programme). He comes onscreen and says, "Hello. This is Arthur C. Clarke. Watch Digital Online. I do." Cut to programme bumper.

So cool!
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Wednesday, August 20, 2003
11:53 PM
Hardtalk, hard questions.

Interesting interview on Hardtalk. The guest (sorry, I wasn't able to get his name) appears to be an American strategist (both of military and international affairs) of sorts. (And he's a very good guest, incidentally. Tim Sebastian can barely get a word in. For a change.)

The interview is raising, in my mind, the question that everyone has been too afraid to ask: What if the United States fails? What if they can't keep the peace in Iraq?

What if George W. Bush loses in the next election? What then?

And much as I hate to speculate on this question: Will it ever reach the point where the Americans give up and leave?
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2:15 AM
Hats off for Sergio de Mello.

Sergio de Mello is dead.

Considered by many to be one of the best in the U.N., second only to Kofi Annan himself, Sergio de Mello was a nation-builder, a warrior for human rights, a true servant of the people--of all peoples.


I grew up surrounded by a legacy of international diplomacy. Both my grandfathers and a few of my uncles were foreign servants. My father grew up surrounded by the diplomatic corps in Indonesia, Portugal and Nigeria. My mother spent her childhood in the embassies and consulates in Hawai'i, Israel, and Indonesia. They were married in London, and raised me in Hong Kong and Singapore before coming home to the Philippines.

Wherever I was, I was surrounded by artifacts of the world: our apartments were anthropological museums of various countries. Growing up, I was encouraged to explore the richness of other cultures and the abundance of other languages. Many times, I fancied myself following in my grandfathers' footsteps and joining the foreign service, drawn by the glamor of such a life, allured by the stories that my parents used to tell me about their youth. I also knew, however, the difficulties that my grandfathers' careers wrought on my parents' families, and I realized that for all my wanderlust, I also yearned for the stability of a place I could call "home." While I loved to travel, I could not imagine a life where travel was the quotidien rather than the adventure.

A few minutes ago, a CNN journalist was interviewing the U.N. spokesman in Baghdad, who himself had just managed to escape the bomb blast. The man (sorry, I forgot his name) spoke sadly and proudly of his colleagues who had been killed: passionate men and women, he said, who had loved their causes deeply, who had dedicated their lives to peace and international understanding, and who had come to Iraq for no other reason but to help the Iraqi people.

What he said resonated within me.

And I wondered why.

Perhaps, I'm thinking now, my grandfathers' legacy to me was more than just the romantic glamor of the foreign service or the curiosity about other peoples. Whether consciously or not, I think my grandfathers--both of whom fought in the war before finishing their law studies--also left me with a reminder that diplomacy and cultural understanding is the only hope for this g*dforsaken wartorn world. I never realized it until today, but I think the kernel of what both my paternal and maternal families tried to pass on to me (successfully or not) was a sensitivity to other values, a love of other languages, and a respect of other cultures, all with a steadfastness to one's own roots.

And today, I raise my hat to Sergio de Mello and to the men and women around the world who, in different ways, have dedicated their lives to international understanding. May De Mello's death help people to remember.


Update: Among the fatalities were two Filipino U.N. workers, Ranillo Buenaventura who had been in Iraq since 1997, helping run the UN’s oil-for-food program and, later, the post-war relief efforts; and Marilyn Manuel, Vieira de Mello's personal assistant.
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12:54 AM
BBC in Baghdad.

Wow, the BBC coverage of the Baghdad bombing is really good. Guests and correspondents with excellent analyses of what's happening.

My (and everybody's) question: Why the U.N. headquarters? Possibilities:

(1) The attack was done by very confused people who wrongly identified the U.N. with the U.S. coalition.

(2) The attack was primarily against the United States, and only secondarily against the United Nations.

(3) The attack was by radicals who are still griping about the U.N.'s lack of support for the Iraqi people in previous years.

(4) The attack was by radicals who want to send a message to Iraqis by taking advantage of the American inability to maintain order in Baghdad.

(5) The attack was by radicals who want to send a message to Americans by taking advantage of the latter's inability to maintain order in Baghdad.

(6) The attack was a pro-American, anti-U.N. ruse to make the U.N. more dependent on the U.S. forces (can anyone spell, "conspiracy theory"?).

In the meantime ... I wonder if W. Bush and his cronies have actually admitted to themselves--even privately--that they are in way over their heads. I wonder if they've realized their gross misestimations about Iraq ... and corollarily, about their entire foreign policy (or lack of it). And I wonder how W. Bush, in all his messianic naivete, can live with himself. I wonder if his wife still talks to him.


At any rate, according to the BBC report, Kofi Annan's statement was very emphatic that the U.N.'s mission was to establish the sovereignty and independence of the Iraqi people (a statement which, in effect, distanced the U.N. from the U.S.). Thank goodness.


Today, my esteem for the U.N. is at its highest. If I could live my life again, I would love to work for the U.N.
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12:01 AM

I'm watching the CNN report on the bomb blast outside the U.N. office in Baghdad.

Let me emphasize: I am horrified by the event. I am shocked especially that the target should be the U.N. office. It's a horrible, devastating event.

However, the Pentagon correspondent on CNN was calling it a "terrorist" attack. And much as I hate to quibble, the use of that particular label grated on my ears.

The American Heritage Dictionary at Dictionary.com defines terrorism as "the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."

If I use that definition as my guide (and I know that dictionary definitions are lame guides, but it's the only source I have right now), then it would seem that what distinguishes terrorism from other forms of violence is its unlawfulness.

But what does that mean, "unlawfulness"?

Coming from an American Pentagon reporter, the use of the word appears to imply: "The attack was unlawful according to 'our' definition of what is 'lawful.'"

But after a war, what is lawful and what is not?

To the Americans who supported the war, the attack on Baghdad was lawful.

To some Iraqis who are against the U.S. occupation, however, it was not. To them, the U.S. is an aggressor, an unlawful occupier. The law to them is not what the Americans dictate it is; in the absence of an elected government, and in the presence of a foreign occupying power, I would guess that what defines the law would be the people's will.

Now let's assume for a moment (and the truth or untruth of this will out later on) that the people behind the bombing are Iraqis who: (1) are against the American occupation, and (2) who perceive the (rightly or wrongly) the U.N. as being allies of the U.S. Assuming that, if these people thought (rightly or wrongly) that it was the Iraqi people's will to get the occupiers out of there, then would this attack actually be a case of upholding the law rather than breaking it?

I guess the question I'm really asking is: What do the Iraqi people really want? Do they want the Americans there? Do they want the Americans to leave? And why isn't anyone talking about that?

Do the Iraqi people feel that there are clear diplomatic efforts towards transferring power into their hands? Or do they feel that they are being occupied by aggressors?

And while those questions are not yet answered, is it right, in the meantime, that the journalists should call the event in Baghdad a "terrorist attack"? Mightn't "opposition attack" be a little less biased?

I guess I'm just a little put off by the over-use of the word "terrorism" in today's media. People are using it the way the word "Communism" was used during the Cold War: as a political catch-all word used to smear anyone whom one wishes to portray as an enemy.


Update: The anchors are quoting Iraqis at the scene as saying that the attack is reminiscent of the bombings during the war. Well, that's instructive. And it raises another question. If we follow the definition of "unlawfulness," what makes this attack any more unlawful than the Americans' attack on Baghdad a few months ago?
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003
9:02 PM
Why can't Juan read?

The most sickening form of corruption in government, I think, is the corruption that victimizes our children. Journalist Yvonne Chua has been investigating corruption in the Department of Education for about a decade now; four years ago, she revealed in a series of shocking articles that up to 65% of the country's textbooks funds were getting wasted on bribes.

In a more recent report, Chua had some happier news: Reforms on the national level had succeeded in ensuring that most public school students in the lower grade levels had textbooks in at least three of the three core subjects. A far cry from the situation five years ago, when the student-to-textbook ratio in grade school was six to one (six students per textbook).

The bad news is that while things may have cleaned up a little at the top, the old corrupt cows in the DECS field offices are still in their posts, munching on the same grass. Corruption may have gone down, but not by much: according to Chua's report, as much as 55 percent of a contract for books still goes to their pockets. The opening paragraphs of Chua's article gives you a pretty concrete idea of the situation:

In 2001, the school board of Quezon City bought 57,100 copies of Resty Umali's "Tayo'y Mag-awitan sa Koro." The cost: P4.1 million, at a time when the city was still suffering from a shortage of textbooks in at least 14 subjects.

The supplementary text on music was not even in the Department of Education's (DepEd) catalog of approved titles and was not listed in the annual procurement plan for the year. The purchase also violated procedures: a supplementary annual procurement plan to cover it was submitted only a day after the books were accepted.

According to the Commission on Audit (COA), the books were not used at all because the principals deemed it not suited for grade-school students.

Read the rest of Yvonne Chua's excellent piece here.
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8:11 PM

Check out the on-line version of DECODE, the Ateneo Art Gallery's digital art exhibition.

The in-gallery exhibition will run until 9th September, at the main and inner galleries.
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Monday, August 18, 2003
11:51 PM
In the subway during the blackout.

When I heard the news about the blackout in the United States, one of my first thoughts was, "I wonder what it must be like for the people who are on the subway!"

If you asked the same question, here's an answer.

(Meanwhile, another New Yorker briefly reflects: "Shut up," I kept telling myself, "this is nothing compared to what we've put people through in Iraq, have a little perspective." )
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11:28 PM

Watched League of Extraordinary Gentleman tonight. Was amazed by Sean Connery's action scenes. For more commentary, read M's excellent review of the film here.
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9:38 AM
Noel takes it well.

I wonder if anyone requests "Tatsulok" when he's at the Dome in Podium. And if he does play it, I wonder how people react.

Anyway, I just announced to M that my new favorite Buklod song is "Tatsulok," rather than "Kanlungan" ... so I can distinguish myself from Noel's McDo fans. Heheh!

Totoy bilisan mo, bilisan mo, bilisan mo ang takbo
Ilagan ang mga bombang nakatutok sa ulo mo
Totoy tumalon ka, dumapa kung kailangan
At baka tamaan pa ng mga balang ligaw

Totoy makinig ka, huwag kang magpagabi
Baka pagkamalan ka't humandusay diyan sa tabi
Totoy alam mo ba kung ano ang puno't dulo
Ng di matapos-tapos na kaguluhang ito

Hindi pula't dilaw ang tunay na magkalaban
Ang kulay at tatak ay di siyang dahilan
Hangga't mas marami ang lugmok sa kahirapan
At ang hustisya ay para lang sa mayaman
Habang may tatsulok at sila ang nasa tuktok
Hindi matatapos itong gulo

Lumilikas ang hiniga ng kayraming mga tao
At ang dating lunting bukid ngayo'y semeteryo
Totoy kumilos ka, baligtarin ang tatsulok
Katulad mong mga dukha ang ilagay mo sa tuktok

Hindi pula't dilaw ang tunay na magkalaban
Ang kulay at tatak ay di siyang dahilan
Hangga't mas marami ang lugmok sa kahirapan
At ang hustisya ay para lang sa mayaman
Habang may tatsulok at sila ang nasa tuktok
Hindi matatapos itong gulo
Habang may tatsulok at sila ang nasa tuktok
Hindi matatapos itong gulo

(link from anj)
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Sunday, August 17, 2003
10:20 AM
Catherine Storr.

When I turned nine, my classmate gave me a book for my birthday entitled The Chinese Egg by Catherine Storr. A blend of mystery and fantasy, that book became one of the most re-read books on my bookshelf. I found it amazing how she deeply she could dive into each character's thoughts. I always wanted to read more books by Catherine Storr, but I never found any.

This morning I decided to search Google for other available Storr books. I found that, except for two or three books considered classics, most of her books are out of print already. Catherine Storr passed away two years ago at the age of 87.
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Thursday, August 14, 2003
12:39 AM

M recently copied the songs from my two Eraserheads albums--Ultraelectromagneticpop and Circus--onto his iPod, so we've been listening to old Eraserheads songs a lot in his car. I must say this: Old EHeads songs make me happy. They transport me back to college, when life was simple and happiness was jamming under a tree with friends.

Sigh. I loved college, and I'm really happy I had the college experience I did.


Meanwhile ... tonight M and I attended Noel's regular Wednesday gig at 70s bistro. (It has been too long since we last visited: the order slips are actually printed now!!!)

I was happy about the gig because a lot of people requested his original songs (both from the Buklod days, as well as his newer songs), so he spent less time playing covers and more time sharing his songwriting talent. I don't mind when Noel does covers; he does them so well, after all. But lately, he's been doing many covers of younger musicians (I even heard him perform Stephen Speaks once--agh!), and although I understand that he has to do that to please to his younger fans, I find it a little jarring, because some of the songs are too young even for me. (Then again, I guess I'm just getting old!)

I was also happy to find out that Joey Ayala has a new album.

Finally, an old colleague of M's, who now works for Manila Times, was also at the gig. He's writing a story about Noel, that's due to come out among the next few Sunday issues of the Manila Times. Apparently, this guy has known Noel for many years (since the Buklod days, he told us), and so I think it's going to be a very well-informed piece. I'm looking forward to the article. And oh, he told us that Noel's response to the all-important McDonald's question will be included in the feature, so that's something to watch out for as well.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2003
6:45 PM
Have we returned to the nuclear age?

My entire childhood was dominated by the cold war.

I remember, when I was twelve, we were asked in an interscholastic workshop to write an essay about what we envisioned our life would be like twenty-five years from then.

More than one person in the group of twelve-year-olds wrote, "There won't be a world twenty-five years from now."

I was afraid of nuclear war. On some late nights, I would catch B action movies on TV, set after World War III. I was afraid of nuclear fallout, of the thought of my skin slowly disintegrating.

I watched retrospectives on TV about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I wondered if I would someday have to see that kind of suffering for real.

Then Gorbachev opened the USSR. Germany was reunified. The Communist countries in Europe disintegrated.

I grew up, went on with my life: went to college, got a degree, entered the working world.

But did I breathe my sigh of relief too soon?
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12:44 PM
The president who never was.

Al Gore said something, and he said it forcefully.
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12:40 PM
The secret ...

... to happiness.
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12:04 PM

I've spent many hours these last few months playing Neverwinter Nights and its sequel, the Shadows of Undrentide.... And it turns out that one of the two lead animators for NWN is a friend of my brother's.

Isn't that cool? :)

(I'm always a little awed when I see or hear that people I knew when [even vaguely knew when] are now so successful. Makes me wonder: What have I been doing with my life all these years? Heheh!)
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Tuesday, August 12, 2003
10:03 PM
St. Lawrence the Martyr.

Sunday was the feast day of St. Lawrence, martyred in 258 AD, during the persecution of the Christians under Emperor Valerian. According to this encyclopedia entry, in August of that year, Valerian issued an edict commanding that all bishops, priests, and deacons be immediately killed. On August 6, Pope Sixtus II was found in one of the catacombs, captured, and put to death. Within the next few days, the deacons of the Roman church were also found and executed. Lawrence was the last of the deacons to be killed.

In the short biographical note at the back of the missalette from last Sunday's Mass at our parish, the legendary version of the manner of Lawrence's death was described. He was, the story goes, bound, tied to a red-hot gridiron on burning coals, and slowly roasted to death. At one point, he is said to have cheerfully remarked to his captors, smiling, "You can turn me over now. This side of my body is cooked enough."

Now, I don't know how true the story is. But what a story, huh?

Later on, in the fourth century, Emperor Constantine later built a church over Lawrence's grave.


From Francis Mooney, I found out that yesterday was the death anniversary of John Henry Cardinal Newman.
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9:47 PM

I should really change my template already. I've used the same template for the past two years. It's a little embarrassing.

Especially since my boyfriend is a web designer.
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9:40 PM
Happy birthday,

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Monday, August 11, 2003
9:11 PM
People of the Lie.

Bought M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie at a second-hand bookstore this morning. After that, I accompanied M to a meeting, and while waiting for him, I managed to finish most of the book. (It's not a very long book.) It's a very compelling--and disturbing--work.

Behavior and worldviews that most people might euphemistically call "manipulative" or "self-absorbed," M. Scott Peck does not hesitate to call, "evil." Given the cultural ladenness of the word "evil," some people might not agree with the generalization, but whether or not one wishes to label the behavior he describes as "evil," Peck's insights into this kind of pathology--characterized by self-deceit and an almost complete absence of genuine empathy for others--are very powerful.

Perhaps the insight that disturbed me the most was his assertion that "evil" in "people of the lie" (his term for people who have this pathology) is often extremely subtle. Evil, he suggests in one chapter, is rarely found in prisons or among people with criminal records; there is more evil, he proposes, on Any Street, in Any Neighborhood, in people whom we meet in our everyday world. The case studies he describes in the book demonstrate how the most outwardly "normal" person might be an extreme case of a person of the lie.

As I read the book, I found myself pausing occasionally, inwardly searching. The tendency towards narcissism and self-deceit is always present in any person--diagnosed as pathological or not (isn't that part of what theology calls concupiscence?). What I got out of my initial reading of the book, first and foremost, was an unsettling reminder (kick in the butt is more like it) about the cardinal task of our souls and our psyches to battle that tendency.
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Sunday, August 10, 2003
3:50 PM
On headaches and dominus sui.

I think I need to see a doctor already. I'm starting to get concerned about my migraine headaches, which seem to have increasing in frequency and intensity lately. My mom suffers from occasional migraines, but my headaches were never as bad as hers ... until recently. Two weekends ago (the weekend of the "mutiny"), my headache was so bad that I threw up. These past few days, since my flu began, my head has also been pounding. Two nights ago was especially bad, I felt like my head was in a vice.

There's a history of high blood pressure in family, so I've been meaning to get my blood pressure checked, in case that's the culprit. I don't think it's likely, seeing as I inherited my mom's anemia, but you can never be too sure, can you? Unfortunately, my elder brother--who does have a history of hypertension--brought our family's blood pressure gauge with him when he moved abroad so we no longer have one in the house. I'm going to have to wait until I have time to go to a clinic.

Anyway, pray that the doctors help me find some relief.


Meanwhile ....

I've been reading some pre-19th century literature lately, and it amazes me how much pre-19th century literature focused on striving to be good, striving to be better people.

A few days ago, I was reading an account of Gerald Manley Hopkins' life, for example, and how he spent so much time struggling with his inner demons to become a better person. In the days approaching St. Ignatius' feast day, I was reading the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius I was awed, once again, by the force of his message: "Don't just strive not to sin. Strive, out of a love for Christ, to desire to SUFFER for and with Christ!" And then on television a few days ago, I was watching a National Geographic on kung fu, and the ancient wisdom of Shaolin martial arts was repeated: kung fu is not about conquering another; it is about conquering one's self.

That's something that the contemporary world almost never talks about anymore: disciplining one's self, mastering one's self, purifying one's self for the Good.

Somewhere along the road, utilitarianism came along and transformed the ideal of the Good into the ideal of Pleasure.

So that even the most disciplined of today's endeavours--physical regimens such as sports and dance--are no longer about mastering one's will; they are about winning ... or being the Best ... or looking good.

People speak a lot of being better lawyers or better athletes or better businessmen ... but only rarely of being better people.

Happier people, yes.

But rarely BETTER people.

Whereas once they were seen as the purifying fire on the path to TRUE and genuine joy, austerity is now passe, sacrifice is dismissed as unnecessary, guilt is looked at as a sign of neurosis.

Even the way religion is practised nowadays tends to allow the "ra-ra-hallelujah" part of spirituality and to overshadow the part that says, "Take up your cross and follow Me." (Not that the hallelujah part isn't important, but isn't the 'Take up your cross' part JUST as important?)

Frankly, there are times when the elevation of pleasure to the highest goal in today's consumerist society sickens a part of me, maybe because I have bought into the principle so many times.

And I think lately, a long-dormant part of my psyche has been stirring, yearning once again for the single-mindedness of the struggle--not for its own sake--but as the path towards the Good, towards genuine joy, towards our eventual complete envelopment by loving Hands.
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Friday, August 08, 2003
11:43 PM
You learn something new everyday.

I feel betrayed. I grew up being led to think that the Filipinos' People Power Revolution in 1986 was the first of its kind.

It wasn't. I just found out that Portugal did it before we did ... and now I'm beginning to wonder if there had been other similar stories as well, prior to 1986.
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11:16 PM

You are DORY!
What Finding Nemo Character are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Well, I don't know if I'm most like her, but she was my favorite character in the movie. :)
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11:07 PM
Found Nemo.

Just came from Finding Nemo. Another great film from Pixar! I remember thinking, the very first time I saw the trailer, "An entire movie underwater? I dunno ...." But the reviews and the "making-of" specials got me interested .... And now, all I can say is: If you haven't watched it, WATCH IT!

Oh, and look for Mike Wazowski in the movie. Heheheh ...!
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5:21 PM
Trouble in the Anglican Communion.

Ganns is among the latest to give his two cents' about the ongoing controversy in the Anglican Communion.

For those of you just beginning to pay attention to the issue (it hasn't exactly been making front page headlines in the Philippines), the Anglican Communion has been wrestling with issues related to homosexuality this entire year.

I've been trying to understand the issue, and this is what I've gathered so far (correct me, please, if some of my facts aren't straight) ....

The Timeline

Controversy erupted in the Anglican Communion earlier this year when a diocese in Canada allowed the blessing of same-sex unions. In reaction to that, a few Anglican and Episcopalian churches around the world, including the church in Nigeria which has the most members of all the Anglican churches--severed their ties with that Canadian diocese.

Then, in May, Rev. Jeffrey John, an openly gay priest, was appointed bishop of Reading in England. Rev. John has a male partner with whom he lives, but he maintained that their relationship had been celibate for several years. After much furor over his appointment, Rev. John eventually resigned as bishop, saying that he did not wish his appointment to cause division within the Church of England.

And now, another gay priest, Rev. Gene Robinson, has been appointed bishop of New Hampshire in the United States. The controversy now seems even graver, because if I understand the issue correctly, Rev. Robinson, unlike Rev. John, has not said that his relationship with his partner of 13 years is celibate. From what I've been reading in the news reports, the general assumption is that their relationship is not a celibate one.

Differences in Teaching

If I'm not mistaken, most churches within the Anglican Communion allow men and women, heterosexual or homosexual, married or single, to serve as priests (or bishops for that matter).

From what I understand, however, many of the churches (including the Church of England, which is considered the "mother Church" of the Anglican Communion) hold that gay clergymen must not practise homosexual acts (and hence, may have only celibate gay partnerships). I am not sure whether the church in New Hampshire has a similar directive.

With regards homosexual activity among its laity, however, the different churches appear to be split even further. In 1998, at the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops, the world's Anglican bishops voted that sex between homosexuals is "incompatible with Scripture." Nevertheless, a number of churches do not abide by the resolution, allowing and openly supporting homosexual unions. According to one article I read, it seems that the Church of England herself teaches that while its gay clergy must remain celibate, ordinary parishioners can be active homosexuals.

I'm not Anglican myself, but from what I understand, the Anglican Communion has thus far managed to remain a relatively stable worldwide communion of churches until now, doctrinal differences notwithstanding. Is this doctrinal difference, however, going to be large enough to spell a major split in the Anglican Communion?
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2:16 PM
Lovely Friday Five.

Ooh, a Friday Five about travelling. Me like!

1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?
Hong Kong.

2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling?
There are so many. Off the top of my head, though: When I was still a child, my family went to Thailand with some of our family friends. Some of us hired a van for the day to take us shopping and sightseeing around Bangkok. On one of our stops, a man boarded the van we were riding. Each person in our group thought that the man was accompanying somebody else in our group. The man rode with us for about half the day before finally going his own way. Only after he left did someone finally ask who the man was. It turned out that none of us knew him. We had been sharing our van with a complete stranger.

3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?
Continental Europe, maybe. Or Africa.

4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?
Depends. Most of the time, by car, because it allows for the most freedom; you can stop whenever you want, and take whichever route you wish. Of course, however, sometimes travelling by car is just not practical ... or possible (as when travelling from Manila to Hong Kong).

5. What's the next place on your list to visit?
Oh wow. So many places. I don't know.
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1:05 PM
Ill. And thoughts on Noel.

I was very ill yesterday. I woke up feeling the early symptoms of the flu. By lunch time, my fever was 39 degrees. I put on a sweater, took an Advil, wrapped myself up in a warm comforter, and tried to sleep. By evening, my fever had gotten even worse, and I was feeling the onset of chills, so I took two more Advil, gave myself a sponge bath, and got slept some more.

When I woke up this morning, I still had a splitting headache, but my temperature was down to 37.4 degrees. Pretty normal.

Ugh. Me no like getting sick.


Anyway. Anj's description of Noel's album launch makes me wish I were there. Maan also gave me her brief review of the album early yesterday (when I texted to tell her that I wasn't going to work), and her description of the music is making me excited to buy the album.

Meanwhile ... M (who has a blog already; yipee!!!!) shares some of his thoughts on McDonald's use of Kanlungan in their latest commercial (which I have not yet caught on TV). I understand why some Buklod fans feel bad: I guess every music lover wants their favorite musician to speak for them (and, in the case of a political musician like Noel, their ideologies). But I guess all of us music lovers have to remember that ultimately, musicians speak for themselves.

The issue of musicians making money aside .... A related gripe that some Noel fans might have, I think, is that many of the "newer" fans don't appear to be aware of his history as a musician, nor the history behind his classic (i.e., Buklod) songs. (Take, for example, the recent comparisons being made between Noel Cabangon and ... um ... Paolo Santos--who, it turns out, is also a Noel fan.) Personally, I admit it was fun--in a snobbish, elitist way--to be a Noel fan back when the only Noel fans were either Buklod fans of yore or 70s Bistro groupies. (I distinctly remember rolling my eyes a few months ago when I overheard a nineteen-year-old colegiala say, "You mean, dating kanta pa pala ang 'Kanlungan'? Akala ko, new song lang yun!") But I am happy for Noel's success, and I don't think that people should resent him because his fanbase is growing. Granted, Noel Cabangon identifies himself first and foremost as a political musician, but is it a "fault" on the musician's part if "other" people--people outside his usual "political" following--also love the music? Hey, what can we do, the guy writes good songs!

But well, if it makes "original" Noel fans feel any better, Anj overheard Noel saying, lamentingly, to RSA at a performance several weeks ago: "Hindi na nila naiintindihan ang mga dati kong kanta, 'no?" So, at the very least, he knows the difference between his political following, and his ... uh ... newer nonpolitical fanbase. ;)
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11:56 AM

To all you film-lovers out there, click here for the schedule of this year's Cinemanila.

(Thanks to wifely for sending me the link.)
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Thursday, August 07, 2003
11:41 AM

To all Filipino citizens of voting age out there:

Voters' registration is ongoing, until October 31.

Philippine residents:

Go to your local Comelec office in your City Hall or Municipal Hall and submit the following:

A. A 1x1 or 2x2 ID Picture

B. For persons aged 22 and above (at least 2 of the following):
1. Driver's License
2. NBI Clearance
3. School ID
4. Company ID
5. Passport
6. Proof of Billing (Meralco, MWSS, PLDT etc.)
7. Police Clearance
8. Postal ID

C. For persons aged 18-21
1. Birth Certificate
2. Any ID listed in B.

All IDs should indicate your present address.


Filipinos abroad: Visit the COMELEC website or read this primer for details on absentee voting.
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Wednesday, August 06, 2003
11:26 AM
Hashim Salamat.

The MILF confirmed yesterday the rumors that Hashim Salamat, its founder and chair, had passed away last month.

Mortality is such a surprise. Hashim Salamat did so much in his lifetime--dreamed so big, wreaked so much havoc. And in the end, what defeated him? A heart attack. In the end, just like everyone else, he died.

So ironic.
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11:15 AM
Father Hopkins.

There's a booksale ongoing at Powerbooks, and I bought Frederick Buechner's _Speak What We Feel_, a collection of reflections on four authors--Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mark Twain, G. K. Chesterton, and William Shakespeare--and on how each of them wrestled with their personal demons through their writing.

I have always loved Gerard Manley Hopkins' poetry. When I still imagined myself to be a literature major, I would read his poetry aloud to myself, my heart stirring on the genius of his wordplay, and soaring on the rapture of his voice. Father Hopkins could see the finger of God in all things--on the vein of his hand, on the wings of a falcon, in the beauty of all dappled things.

Buechner's book, however, introduced me to chapters in Hopkins' life that I had never imagined: his depression, his struggle with what he perceived as his own ineptitude, his despair, boredom, and desolation.

Amazing, how a man who went through so much desolation could produce poetry that was so joyful.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2003
8:59 AM
Arts students ...

...die younger.
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Monday, August 04, 2003
8:52 AM
Mars Attacks.

Okay, it's not really "attacking," but considering how close it's going to be to Earth this month, it really is something to watch.

According to the NASA article, on August 27, Mars will be the closest to Earth that it has been in 60,000 years. It has, though, also gotten pretty durn close to Earth a few times in the past few centuries; for example: in August 1924, 1845, and 1766, Mars was almost as close to Earth as it shall be this coming August 27--approximately 56 million kilometers away.

Check the morning sky these next few weeks: the bright red dot (second in brightness only to Venus) is the Red Planet herself.
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Saturday, August 02, 2003
4:18 PM
Ah, weekend.

Actually, I've been having a long weekend.

No work on Thursday, because it was our patron saint's feast day. I went to school anyway, though, because I gave a talk for a bunch of CLCers, about living a preferential option for the poor after college.

On Friday, I had lunch at my tita's beautiful place in Alaminos, Quezon.

This morning, I went with M as he did his good deed for the day. We went to the Mother of Life house in Novaliches, home base of the Notre Dame de Vie Institute in the Philippines, and M helped them out with some computer problems that they had been having. The NDV are a neat order: they undergo contemplative formation, take vows of consecration, and commit themselves to a lifetime of Carmelite spirituality, but they're aren't a religious order. Rather, they're a secular institute, the members of which continue living their lay apostolates (if they're laypersons, that is; some members are priests) and commit to witnessing their spirituality through their "worldly" work.


Happy birthday, Erik, Toni, and Anj!
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