Brownpau has a question about the tsunami coverage; another blogger has a comment. I personally have been watching CNN in the U.S., on which I've seen what I considered to be a mix of good reporting and bad reporting.
Two decades ago, Carol Ann Duffy wrote this:
In his darkroom he is finally alone
with spools of suffering set out in ordered rows.
The only light is red and softly glows,
as though this were a church and he
a priest preparing to intone a Mass.
Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass.
He has a job to do. Solutions slop in trays
beneath his hands which did not tremble then
though seem to now. Rural England. Home again
to ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel,
to fields which don't explode beneath the feet
of running children in a nightmare heat.
Something is happening. A stranger's features
faintly start to twist before his eyes
a half-formed ghost. He remembers the cries
of this man's wife, how he sought approval
without words to do what someone must
and how blood stained into foreign dust.
A hundred agonies in black-and-white
from which his editor will pick out five or six
for Sunday's supplement. The reader's eyeballs prick
with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers.
From the aeroplane he stares impassively at where
he earns his living and they do not care.
A timely reminder, especially this year, with everything in the news:
The Work of Christmas.
When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and the princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flocks, Then the work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among brothers, To make music in the heart.
- Howard Thurman
My December 25th was different from previous years, and especially meaningful, with celebrations with family and extended family whom I haven't seen in very long. More kwento to follow about what I've been doing the past couple of weeks.
(Spending Yuletide so far away from home, however, also reminds me that really, nobody celebrates Christmas the way Filipinos in the Philippines do. Haha!)
I hope you are all having a blessed and meaningful Christmas season.
I watched The Debut--the Fil-Am teenage film that my brother was raving about earlier this year--on DVD today.
I must say, I'm really glad that there's a film like that for my younger brother and other Filipino teenagers like him growing up in the U.S., a film that tells their story in a country where they're trying so hard to understand what that story is. In the past year, my brother's interest in learning more about his roots, about Filipino history and about Philippine-American history has grown by leaps and bounds, and I wonder if the film might have played a part in that.
There was a special feature on the disc entitled "The Little Film That Could," which showed how this little indie film made it, really against all odds, getting screened in theaters for 350,000 people across the U.S., and taking off when so few people believed it would. Very inspiring.
Fil-Ams should buy the DVD for their teenage children or brothers or sisters. Go, buy it now!
Pinoy talaga ako; can't take 9-degree (celsius) weather: I'm finding it too cold to step outside, so I've spent most of the last 72 hours in my room enjoying the warmth of the heater. I'm here on the other side of the world, visiting my family. In my absence FPJ has died (but you know all about this already), and people have wondered what the Philippines would have been like had Loren or Noli been the next president.
Mass on Sunday was nice. The Gospel reading was about St. John the Baptist, and there was an anointing of the sick rite for the congregation. That was pretty moving.
This weekend and next week will be spent driving around with my family. I fly back home right after the New Year.
Meanwhile, Mike sent me this article, and we both breathed a sigh of relief that we are a "connectivity-compatible" couple.
Okay, mental game, everyone: How many miles do you think it is from Manila to California?
This was the question M and I debated over lunch.
My answer: approximately 16,000 miles. My reasoning? I know that the United States is about 3000 miles across, and that it spans 3 time zones. Therefore, each time zone is approximately 1000 miles. Since California and Manila have a time difference of 16 hours, then California must be about 16,000 miles away from Manila.
M's answer: approximately 8000 miles. His reasoning? He knows that a plane travels at around 500 miles per hour. The plane ride from Manila to California takes around 16 hours. 16 x 500 = 8,000. Therefore, California must be around 8,000 miles away from Manila.
So who was right?
Well, we were both off, but M was closer. According to this chart, Los Angeles is 11,740 miles away from Manila.
My mistake was that I failed to account for the fact that the width of a time zone varies depending on whether you're measuring near the poles or near the equator. By a fluke, my guess that a time zone is about 1000 miles wide was correct, but this is true only around the equator.
(Yes, my boyfriend and I actually have conversations like these. Heheh!)
Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, so I'm featuring a prayer attributed to him, which is one of my favorite prayers of all time:
O Jesu ego amo Te
Nec amo Te ut salves me
Aut quia non amantes Te
Aeterno punis igene.
Tu, Tu mi Jesu totum me
Amplexus es in cruce,
Tulisti clavos, lanceam
Sudores et algores
Et mortem et haec propter me
Et pro me peccatore.
Cur igitur non amem Te
Mi Jesu amantissime,
Non ne aeternum damnes me
Nec ut in caelo salves me
Nec praemii ullius spe.
Sed sicut Tu amasti me
Sic amo et amabo Te,
Solum quia Rex meus es
Et solum quia Deus es.
Here's my favorite English translation:
It is not Your promised heaven
That moves me, Lord, to love You.
It is not the fear of hell
That forces me to fear You.
What moves me, Lord, is You, Lord,
Fixed to a Cross and mocked;
What moves me is Your wounded body,
The insults and Your death.
What moves me really is Your Love, so that
Were there no heaven, I would love you still,
Were there no hell, I would fear you still.
For me to love you, You need nothing to give,
For even if I did not hope as indeed I hope,
even so I would love You as indeed I love.
My God, I love thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
nor yet because who love thee not
are lost eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me
upon the cross embrace;
for me didst bear the nails and spear,
and manifold disgrace.
And griefs and torments numberless
and sweat of agony;
even death itself -- and all for one
Who was thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ
should I not love thee well?
not for the hope of winning heaven,
or of escaping hell.
not with the hope of gaining aught,
nor seeking a reward,
but as thyself has lovèd me,
O ever-loving Lord!
Even so I love thee, and will love
and in thy praise will sing,
solely because thou art my God,
and my eternal king.
O GOD, I love thee, I love thee-
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails, and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake;
not to be out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.
At ito naman ang salin sa Tagalog ni Albert Alejo, S.J., na pinamagatang "Pagkabighani" at inilapat sa musika ni Manoling Francisco, S.J.:
Hindi sa langit mong pangako sa akin,
ako naaaakit na Kita'y mahalin,
at hindi sa apoy, kahit anong lagim,
ako mapipilit nginig Kang sambahin.
Naaakit ako nang Ika'y mamalas,
nakapako sa krus hinahamak-hamak.
Naaakit ng 'Yong katawang may sugat
at ng tinaggap Mong kamataya't libak.
Naaakit ako ng 'Yong pag-ibig.
Kaya't mahal kita, kahit walang langit,
kahit walang apoy sa 'Yo'y manginginig.
H'wag nang mag-abala upang ibigin Ka.
Pagka't kung pag-asa'y bula lamang pala,
walang mababago: mahal pa rin Kita.
Panginoon, hanggang kailan kami magdurusa
Panginoon, kailan sisikat umaga ng paglaya
Panginoon, dumating Ka na
Kupkupin kami sa 'Yong awa
Kupkupin kami sa 'Yong awa
Narito na ang Pasko ng paglaya
Bayan magalak sa mabuting balita
Tumingala at pawiin ang luha
Narito na ang pinangakong tala
Iniluwal ang Sanggol ni Maria
Sa Kanyang sabsabang payak at aba
Ating haranahin, alayan ng saya
Narito na ang Tagapagpalaya
"Hesus" tinawag Siya, hinirang ng Ama
Narito na ang Pasko ng paglaya
Bayang kinumutan ng mga tanikala
Ang ligalig ng gabi ngayon ay payapa
Narito na ang Sanggol na Mesiyas
Narito na ang Pasko ng paglaya