28 May 2010

Merry Saga Dawa Duchen!

The great hermit Asita, whose austerities were pleasing to the Gods, heard of the birth of him who was to save mankind from the torment of rebirth. In his thirst for the true law, he came to the palace of King Suddhodana and gravely approached the women's quarters. His years and his learning lent him great dignity.

The king showed him the courtesies that custom prescribed and addressed him in a seemly manner:

"Happy, indeed, am I! Truly, this child of mine will enjoy distinguished favor, for the venerable Asita has come purposely to see me. Command me. What must I do? I am your disciple, your servant."

The hermit, his eyes shining with the light of joy, gravely spoke these words:

"This has happened to you, O noble, generous and hospitable king, because you love duty and because you are ever kind to those who are wise and to those who are full of years. This has happened to you because your ancestors, though rich in land and rich in gold, were above all rich in virtue. Know the reason for my coming, O king, and rejoice. In the air I heard a divine voice speaking and it said: 'A son has been born to the king of the Sakyas, a son who will have the true knowledge.' I heard these words, and I came, and my eyes shall now behold the glory of the Sakyas."

Overwhelmed with joy, the king went to fetch the child. Taking him from his nurse's breast, he showed him to the aged Asita.

The hermit noticed that the king's son bore the marks of omnipotence. His gaze hovered over the child, and presently his lashes were wet with tears. Then he sighed and turned his eyes to the sky.

The king saw that Asita was weeping, and he began to fear for his son. He questioned the old man:

"You say, O venerable roan, that my son's body differs little from that of a God. You say that his birth was a wondrous thing, that in the future his glory will be supreme, yet you look at him with eyes that are filled with tears. Is his life, then, to be a fragile thing? Was he born only to bring me sorrow? Must this new branch wither before it has burst into flower? Speak, O saintly man, speak quickly; you know the great love a father bears his son."

"Be not distressed, O king," replied the hermit.

"What I have told you is true: this child will know great glory. If I weep, it is for myself. My life draws to a close and he is born, he who will destroy the evil of rebirth. He will surrender sovereign power, he will master his passions, he will understand truth, and error will disappear in the world before the light of his knowledge, even as night flees before the spears of the sun. From the sea of evil, from the stinging spray of sickness, from the surge and swell of old age, from the angry waves of death, from these will he rescue the suffering world, and together they will sail away in the great ship of knowledge. He will know where it takes its rise, that swift, wonderful, beneficent river, the river of duty; he will reveal its course, and those who are tortured by thirst will come and drink of its waters. To those tormented by sorrow, to those enslaved by the senses, to those wandering in the forest of existences like travellers who have lost their way, he will point out the road to salvation. To those burning with the fire of passion, he will be the cloud that brings refreshing rain; armed with the true law, he will go to the prison of desires where all creatures languish, and he will break down the evil gates. For he who will have perfect understanding will set the world free. Therefore do not grieve, O king. He alone is to be pitied who will not hear the voice of your son, and that is why I weep, I who, in spite of my austerities, in spite of my meditations, will never know his message and his law. Yes, even he is to be pitied who ascends to the loftiest gardens of the sky.

The Life of Buddha, by A. Ferdinand Herold, tr. by Paul C Blum [1922].

26 May 2010

The Revolution Among Us

Jejemon busting is a form of fascism which is why all the powers of old have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre of the jejemon. The true revolutionary spirit is alive in the lone jejemon who disregards all rules of the social order in favor of his own expression -- using orthography in new and curious ways, disregarding historical precedent for the meaningless, inefficient use of typography in favor of simpler direct speech, at times, and artistic, meaningful inefficient use of typography, at other times.

Even the CBCP only has limited, conditional neutrality towards its "private use" as a "passing fad."

DepEd declares all-out-war vs Jejemon

CHR, CBCP see no problem with jejemon

24 May 2010

From F Sionil Jose to Noynoy

Open letter reprinted from the PhilStar:

Dear Noynoy,

You are now swamped with suggestions and advice, but just the same, I hope you’ll have time to read what this octogenarian has to say.

You were not my choice in the last election but since our people have spoken, we must now support you and pray that you prevail. But first, I must remind you of the stern reality that your drumbeaters ignore: you have no noble legacy from your forbears. It is now your arduous job to create one yourself in the six years that you will be the single most powerful Filipino. Six years is too short a time — the experience in our part of the world is that it takes at least one generation — 25 years — for a sick nation to recover and prosper. But you can begin that happy process of healing.

Bear in mind that the past weighs heavily on all of us because of the many contradictions in it that we have not resolved, whose resolutions would strengthen us as a nation. This past is now your burden, too. Let us start with the fact that your grandfather collaborated with the Japanese. Your father was deeply aware of this, its stigma, its possibilities. He did not leave any legacy because he did not become president. He was a brilliant and courageous politician. He was an enterprising journalist; he had friends in journalism who can attest to his effulgent vision, who did not profit from his friendship, among them Nestor Mata, Gregorio Brillantes — you may consult them. I cannot say I did not profit — he bought many books from my shop and when he was in Marcos’s prison, your mother brought books from my shop to him.

Forgive me for giving you this unsolicited advice. First, beware of hubris; you are surrounded by panderers who will tell you what is nice to hear. You need to be humble always and heed your conscience. When Caesar was paraded in ancient Rome before the cheering multitudes, there was always a man chanting behind him: “Remember, you are mortal.”

I say to you, remember, the poor — some of them in your own hacienda — will be your ultimate judge.

From your comfortable and privileged cocoon, you know so little of our country and people. Seek the help of the best — and the best do not normally want to work in government and neither will they approach you. You have to seek them.

Be the revolutionary your father wanted to be and don’t be scared or wary of the word “revolution.” It need not be always bloody. EDSA I was not. Your father wanted to destroy the most formidable obstacle to our progress — the Oligarchy to which you and your family belong. To succeed, you have to betray your class. If you cannot smash the oligarchy, at least strive to have their wealth develop this country, that they bring back the billions they stashed abroad. You cannot do this in six years, but you can begin.

Prosecute the crooks. It is difficult, thankless and even dangerous to do this. Your mother did not do it — she did not jail Imelda who was the partner in that conjugal dictatorship that plundered this nation. Watch her children — they were much too young to have participated in that looting but they are heirs to the billions which their parents stashed abroad. Now the Marcoses are on the high road to power, gloating, snickering at our credulity and despicable amnesia.

You know the biggest crooks in and out of government, those powerful smugglers, thieves, tax cheats — all you really need is guts to clobber them. Your father had lots of it — I hope he passed on to you most of it.

And most of all, now that you have the muscle to do it, go after your father’s killers. Blood and duty compel you to do so. Cory was only his wife — you are the anointed and only son. Your regime will be measured by how you resolve this most blatant crime that robbed us of a true leader.

And, finally, your mother. We loved her — she united us in ousting an abominable dictator. But she, too, did not leave a shining legacy for her presidency was a disaster. She announced a revolutionary government but did nothing revolutionary. She promised land reform but did not do it. And most grievous of all — she transformed the EDSA I revolution into a restoration of the oligarchy.

She became president only because her husband was murdered and you became president elect only because your mother died. Still, you are your father’s son and may you now — for the good of this country and people — scale the heights he and your mother never reached.

I am 85 and how I despair over how three generations of our leaders failed! Before I go, please let me see this unhappy country begin to be a much better place than the garbage dump our leaders and people have made it. You can be this long awaited messiah but only if you are brave enough and wise enough to redeem your father’s aborted promise.

Hopefully yours,

F. Sionil Jose

20 May 2010

Movie Review: Sex, the Annabel Chong Story

Grace Quek, known as Annabel Chong, held a "world record" if you can call it that, having sex with 251 men during the period of 10 hours. This documentary is her story.

I would like to tell you that as a former sex revolutionary, I was curious to know more about Annabel's story. I remember watching her appearance on Jerry Springer during its late night re-broadcast with the boys. I'd like to report at this point that within 20 minutes of the beginning of the documentary, I was nauseous and felt like vomiting. Contrary to what Grace said in the documentary, the "behind the scenes" (no pun intended) of the World's Biggest Gang Bang showed that after 10 men, Grace had the experience of being raped by the next 241 men. Regardless of what she said or screamed during the sex, her face and body betrayed it. She was re-enacting literally, rape.

I had no doubt that this was the case with my own experience and my extensive personal relationships with others that had suffered from sexual abuse as children and teenagers. The movie was largely Grace attempting to characterize the pain she was choosing to inflict on her self as revolutionary, and so forth. It was like Jiang Qing and the Siren Bang 四人帮. Where the Rasberry Reich played with the slogan "The Revolution is My Boyfriend", Grace's revolutionary slogan, as tragic as it could be said, was more like "My Boyfriends Are the Revolution".

Perhaps Molière had it right, "Presque tous les hommes meurent de leurs remèdes, et non pas de leurs maladies." [More men die from their remedies than from their diseases.] (Le Malade Imaginaire (1673), Act III, sc. iii)

I would advise caution in watching this especially if you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

12 May 2010

Kris Aquino's Promotion

Lady GaGa curtsies to HM Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Show (Yeah I know, this really has nothing to do with this post, but I thought its such a cool picture, di ba?)


I say: Here, here! let's have Kris open a new embassy for the Philippines in the Gabonese Republic. Strategically located on the African West/Atlantic coast. She can help Philippine trade, commerce and friendship internationally. I picked this picture, because, you see... I think all of us feel like James Yap --- trapped.

11 May 2010

When Jinggoy Will Rule the Philippines

The next heir-apparent?

Using a little bit of algebra, I have discovered that Jinggoy is likely to become President in 2015 (or during the regular election of 2016) if the current trend persists:

x1 = 1961, y1 = 39 (Diosdado Macapagal, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo)
x2 = 1986, y2 = 24 (Corazon Aquino, Benigno Aquino III)
x3 = 1998, y3 = ? (Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada)

I firstdiscovered the slope (m), using the slope formula:

m = (y2 - y1) / (x2 - x1)

m = (24 - 39) / (1986 - 1961)

m = (-15) / (25)

m = -3/5 = -.6

Now, I used the point-slope formula to discover y3, Jinggoy Estrada's algebraically determined appointed time to be president:

y - y1 = m (x - x1)

y - 39 = -.6 * (1998 - 1961)

y - 39 = -.6 * (37)

y - 39 = -22.2

y = 17 (rounded to the nearest whole year)

June, 1998 + 17 yrs = 2015

So what does this really tell us about the Philippine electorate? First, if Noynoy is to really transform the political process, he will have to arrest the progression of the trend his election has started. He will have to be the last child of a president to become president. He may even need to become the last President who serves as the head of government.

Comprehensive electoral reform is necessary. A proportionately-elected Congress by party (or even some kind of district-based proportionate representation), single member district Senate seats, and perhaps, just perhaps, a parliamentary form of government. On the executive side: the strengthening of the bureaucratic state and rationalizing of government projects and services, elimination of pork barrel spending, and so on.

I know the algebra looks like Imelda mysticism, and yes, it is. But, the truth is, if Jinggoy will next rule the Philippines in 2016, then he is simply following the trend that Noynoy's election has started and if you think this mathematical exercise seems crazy, what would that say about us if Jinggoy were actually elected the next President in 2016?

10 May 2010

Election Day Prayer

Holy Mother, who intervenes in human matters when called upon: I cry to you from afar and beseech you to enter into the hearts of those of us who will vote today in the election and our other neighbors that we choose leaders who may serve the nation with love and integrity.

09 May 2010

Movie Review: Make the Yuletide Gay

I'm not really not a fan of the coming out genre and, well, the spoof movies like Another Gay Movie just stop being funny at some point. However, this would be one exception. In fact, this is a really great date movie or one you can watch every year around the holiday season.

Gunn is Mr. Gay Pride at his college with his boyfriend and cadre of gay friends. But then he goes back to the Midwest of the US to spend the holidays with his well intentioned parents (one from Wisconsin the other from Minnesota). They have no idea he's gay. So he is not Mr. Gay Pride at home. That is fine until his mom tries to set him up with his ex-girlfriend from high school and then his boyfriend shows up unannounced.

It's very sweet and funny without making anyone a two dimensional caricature like Another Gay Movie and similar movies sometimes turn into. Each character has some depth. It also doesn't go overboard with the physical intimacy aspects of the movie -- where it can become slapstick or just porn.

This gets a two thumbs up.

01 May 2010

The Preacher and The Slave

Merry Labor Day!

Workingmen of all countries, unite
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When the world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we'll sing this refrain:

You will eat, bye and bye,
When you've learned how to cook and how to fry;
Chop some wood, 'twill do you good
Then you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye