Friday, October 31, 2008

Grrrreat greedy guts!, for comic books, actually.

Here's a series of comic books that I discovered in my school library back in those "lib rat" days. I was particularly fond of Herge's Tintin books because I liked putting the covers together, arranging them side by side and feeling like a museum curator. Of course it took a few more years before I began to appreciate what was in the books--but that's beside the point.

Tintin is a young (very young, actually, about 16 years old) journalist who gets into these very cool adventures (but never seems to be doing any writing!). Sometimes he's simply going on a voyage with his friends, other times, he tries to solve some mysteries and crimes. But all the time, he gets into all sorts of tangles that he manages to ease out of--this character has so many things to put in his resume and/or travelogue, and he hasn't even passed his teens yet!

The other characters are all lovable also: Snowy, the smart aleck (but loyal) white dog, Captain Haddock, the alcoholic and sarcastic sailor who curses a lot (without actually using a real swear word, come to think of it), Thomson and Thompson, police officers who get everything mixed up, even themselves.

I like the books for the fun adventures, the characters and the humor (which is mostly slapstick, though sometimes it is more of satire than slapstick, like on the scene where Tintin first meets one of his friends-for-keeps, General Alcazar).

I don't have all of the comics (though to get my hands on them would be nice!), but I still do recommend them because they're fun and educational (Herge researched a lot--after getting inspired with The Cigars of the Pharaoh--or so Wiki says).

Go pick up an Adventures of Tintin for a fast-paced, humorous, and exciting read! While you're at it, here's a trivia question you might want answer: Which Tintin adventure did the phrase on my title come from? No prize...except an affirmation that you're a book geek! teehee!

Happy Weekend all!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Why I despise Birth Control" by GK Chesterton

I want to share this excerpt from G.K. Chesterton's The Well and the Shallows. More insights on that thing called "birth-prevention." His insight on the importance of children is especially worth taking note of. :-)


I hope it is not a secret arrogance to say that I do not think I am exceptionally arrogant; or if I were, my religion would prevent me from being proud of my pride. Nevertheless, for those of such a philosophy, there is a very terrible temptation to intellectual pride, in the welter of wordy and worthless philosophies that surround us today. Yet there are not many things that move me to anything like a personal contempt. I do not feel any contempt for an atheist, who is often a man limited and constrained by his own logic to a very sad simplification. I do not feel any contempt for a Bolshevist, who is a man driven to the same negative simplification by a revolt against very positive wrongs. But there is one type of person for whom I feel what I can only call contempt. And that is the popular propagandist of what he or she absurdly describes as Birth-Control.

I despise Birth-Control first because it is a weak and wobbly and cowardly word. It is also an entirely meaningless word; and is used so as to curry favour even with those who would at first recoil from its real meaning. The proceeding these quack doctors recommend does not control any birth. It only makes sure that there shall never be any birth to control. It cannot for instance, determine sex, or even make any selection in the style of the pseudo-science of Eugenics. Normal people can only act so as to produce birth; and these people can only act so as to prevent birth. But these people know perfectly well as I do that the very word Birth-Prevention would strike a chill into the public, the instant it was blazoned on headlines, or proclaimed on platforms, or scattered in advertisements like any other quack medicine. They dare not call it by its name, because its name is very bad advertising. Therefore they use a conventional and unmeaning word, which may make the quack medicine sound more innocuous.

Second, I despise Birth-Control because it is a weak and wobbly and cowardly thing. It is not even a step along the muddy road they call Eugenics; it is a flat refusal to take the first and most obvious step along the road of Eugenics. Once grant that their philosophy is right, and their course of action is obvious; and they dare not take it; they dare not even declare it. If there is no authority in things which Christendom has called moral, because their origins were mystical, then they are clearly free to ignore all the difference between animals and men; and treat men as we treat animals. They need not palter with the stale and timid compromise and convention called Birth-Control. Nobody applies it to the cat. The obvious course for Eugenists is to act towards babies as they act towards kittens. Let all the babies be born; and then let us drown those we do not like. I cannot see any objection to it; except the moral or mystical sort of objection that we advance against Birth-Prevention. And that would be real and even reasonable Eugenics; for we could then select the best, or at least the healthiest, and sacrifice what are called the unfit. By the weak compromise of Birth-Prevention, we are very probably sacrificing the fit and only producing the unfit. The births we prevent may be the births of the best and most beautiful children; those we allow, the weakest or worst. Indeed, it is probable; for the habit discourages the early parentage of young and vigorous people; and lets them put off the experience to later years, mostly from mercenary motives. Until I see a real pioneer and progressive leader coming out with a good, bold, scientific programme for drowning babies, I will not join the movement.

But there is a third reason for my contempt, much deeper and therefore more difficult to express; in which is rooted all my reasons for being anything I am or attempt to be; and above all, for being a Distributist. Perhaps the nearest to a description of it is to say this: that my contempt boils over into bad behaviour when I hear the common suggestion that a birth is avoided because people want to be "free" to go to the cinema or buy a gramophone or a loud-speaker. What makes me want to walk over such people like doormats is that they use the word "free." By every act of that sort they chain themselves to the most servile and mechanical system yet tolerated by men. The cinema is a machine for unrolling certain regular patterns called pictures; expressing the most vulgar millionaires' notion of the taste of the most vulgar millions. The gramophone is a machine for recording such tunes as certain shops and other organisations choose to sell. The wireless is better; but even that is marked by the modern mark of all three; the impotence of the receptive party. The amateur cannot challenge the actor; the householder will find it vain to go and shout into the gramophone; the mob cannot pelt the modern speaker, especially when he is a loud-speaker. It is all a central mechanism giving out to men exactly what their masters think they should have.

Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation. He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or jingling jazz tunes turned out by the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilisation, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilisation. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Think about it.

Quick post: I'm going to be unoriginal here because my head is throbbing. So here's a comment I left in this post, in reply to somebody (not the blogger, just one commenter) who posted that there's nothing wrong with the sex education classes that would begin at grade 5 and continue on all the way through high school. Teachers, I hope you're reading.


This is the lesson plan that State will implement when HB5043 is signed into law:

1. Reproductive health and sexual rights
2. Reproductive health care and services
3. Attitudes, beliefs and values on sexual development, sexual behaviour and sexual health
4. Proscription and hazards of abortion and management of post-abortion complications

5. Responsible parenthood
6. Use and application of natural and modern family planning to promote reproductive health, achieve desired family size and prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies
7. Abstinence before marriage
8. Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other STIs/STDs, prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other gynecological disorders
9. Responsible sexuality
10. Maternal, peri-natal and post-natal education, care and services


I just wonder, now that these topics will be taught to grade school students, what the implications are. Sure there is abstinence before marriage, but it's also coupled with prevention of STDs. The lessons don't jibe at all. Because if you really meant to instill in the youth the value of saving sex for marriage, you wouldn't need to teach them how to use a condom.

Also, what do they mean when they say reproductive health? Do we take the definition from the Cairo and Beijing conferences? If that's the case, then the course outline is meant to condition the mind of the youth to be open to abortion, nevermind lesson #4.

And sexual rights: maybe this needs an explicit definition as well. (Does it mean we have the right to have sex with anybody? Does the lesson plan cover why that's not a good idea? Where is the lesson on love being more than just sex? Where is the self-giving aspect of sex? Will these not be covered?)

It's easy to think that when one is well equipped with contraceptive information, and makes a decision regarding the matter, one is being responsible. But is it really what responsibility is? To take the sexual act when you want it? Will that make better people of our youth?

Put these lessons within the context of the permissiveness in the media and pop culture. Now, teens on TV are having sex also. Will the lessons then, allow them to realize how special sex is, or will it simply let them think that sex is casual, after all there are contraceptives to assure that no baby results from it.

Just some of my thoughts!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dressing well

Yung regalo, lalo na kung precious, you won't leave just lying around anywhere. And you'll make sure it's wrapped well. Kung bale wala lang sa 'yo, papabayaan mo lang kahit itapon-tapon or something. It's the same with oneself.

Thanks, sunnyday, for the wonderful analogy!

It makes sense that one should dress appropriately when one goes out--because you want people to take you seriously. Dressing well (that is, keeping secret parts, er, secret) instantly expresses how a woman regards herself and the people around her. Like a precious gift, as sunnyday says above, the body must be carefully wrapped and nicely presented.

Dressing well works two ways: 1) it helps the person wearing the clothes express who she is and how she wants to be treated, and 2) it influences the mindset of other people she meets throughout the day.

The way society treats a woman is greatly influenced by how she invites them to treat her. See those billboards along EDSA that depict women in underwear and nothing else? They're not there because men want them up there; they're up there because women allow it.

Our standards have fallen gradually every year--they inch down so slowly that hardly anyone notices. Only when one looks back to ten, twenty years ago that one notices that "we were so uptight back then." Now, modesty in clothing is equated with words like "baduy," "manang" and "losyang," when there's truly nothing wrong with it.

Here's a snippet I picked up from Modestly Yours--this one written by blogger Allison Josephs--about nudity for art's sake. I think it has a good insight on why women should be vigilant about how they present themselves in general:

Like the artists of the world, I believe that the human body is a beautiful thing. However, just because something is beautiful doesn't mean it needs to be shared with everyone. Under the guise of art, we've been led to believe that you can separate a body from a person. That you can appreciate the form itself while ignoring the essence contained within it. But body and soul are inseparable. And when a body is revealed in such a complete way, not everyone will cherish the soul that comes with it.

I hope more women realize how much they can change by just picking the right clothes from the department store.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You've got a Harvard education, but where is your heart?

That line was said by George Gulden (played by William Hurt) in the movie One True Thing. I like this movie a lot (there are great performances by Renee Zellweger [as Ellen] and Meryl Streep [as Kate])! One True Thing actually comes from a novel of the same title, written by Anna Quindlen.

This is about family--and the main character, Ellen, is torn between starting her career as a journalist and staying home to care for her mother Kate (who has cancer).

As Ellen takes after her dad (in the way that she's more analytic, calm and scholarly), spending a lot of time with her mother is quite a drastic change of pace. For one, she gets thrown into the fray of her mother's activities (cheering up a depressed friend by driving all the way to Canada, cooking up lunch for the ladies), and for another, she learns more about her parents--that they're not perfect and have faults--and it makes her the better for it.

It's the kind of story that shows how much you learn from living--sure, getting a college degree is important if you want to land a job, but it's in understanding who the people around you really are--and still loving them--that makes a big difference. It is more difficult to do, but it also brings out a lot of good in a person: there's character to be strengthened--or if you start from scratch--built.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

There's no space for "unwanted" in scientific terms

Photo by Lennart Nilsson. Source.

A biology lesson that traces the path of an egg cell from the ovary, down the fallopian tube, and into the uterus shows that females are wired to release an egg cell monthly in the hopes of becoming fertilized by a sperm cell, which would only find its way in the fallopian tube (where fertilization usually takes place) when sexual intercourse (the marital act) has been done. This means that when an egg cell is fertilized, then the ovulation (and preparations the female body made) was a success--a pregnancy, achieved!

Sometimes, scientific terms can put things into perspective quite clearly...after all, science aims to understand how nature works. (The best of science involves understanding the laws of nature and working with--and according to--these laws.) And here, science tells us that, when pregnancy happens, nature just did what it was meant to do. Pregnancy is a GOOD THING.

This is the problem I find in the mentality that contraceptives breed. One, it treats pregnancy like it's some kind of disease (the irony there is that to cure this particular "disease," a certain "medicine" is prescribed to make the body think it is already pregnant--that's what the pill does--so, is the cure for malaria some kooky prescription that will make the body think it already has malaria?).

Two, we suddenly find the term "unwanted" glued to the word "pregnancy." This is unfair to the babies who didn't do anything wrong at all. :-(

Three, because pregnancy is now deemed a "bad result," who is on the losing end? In the 60s feminist revolution, they thought contraceptives would be good for women because now they are "sexually liberated." But with all the things a woman has to insert (inject, ingest...) in her body, it's her body that takes the toll in the end. There's nothing liberating about having to take a pill everyday. Not to mention if one takes the pill to keep a relationship going. It's not beneficial to women at all.

Lastly, contraceptives don't make room for good relationships, let alone marriage, family, and responsible parenthood. They're all interrelated, one aspect determines the condition of the other. No wonder introducing contraceptives to society creates more problems than it solves.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Petition against RH Bill

Got this link through a friend, who got it from Pro-Life Philippines. Go here to sign the petition and say NO to the RH Bill.


To the Philippine Congress:

We strongly oppose the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill (HB4110) for the following reasons:

1. AS EMPLOYERS, we don't want to be compelled to provide free reproductive health care services, supplies, devices and surgical procedures (including vasectomy and ligation) to our employees, and be subjected to both imprisonment and/or a fine, for every time that we fail to comply. (Section 17 states that employers shall provide for free delivery of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers more particularly women workers. Definition of Reproductive Health and Rights Section 4, paragraph g, Section 21, Paragraph c and Section 22 on Penalties)

2. AS HEALTH CARE SERVICE PROVIDERS, we don't want to be subjected to imprisonment and/or a fine, if we fail to provide reproductive health care services such as giving information on family planning methods and providing services like ligation and vasectomy, regardless of the patient's civil status, gender, religion or age (Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Letter a, Paragraphs 1 to 5 and Section 22 on Penalties)

3. AS SPOUSES, we don't agree that our husband or wife can undergo a ligation or vasectomy without our consent or knowledge. (Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Letter a, Paragraph 2)

4. AS PARENTS, we don't agree that children from age 10 to 17 should be taught their sexual rights and the means to have a satisfying and "safe" sex life as part of their school curriculum. (Section 12 on Reproductive Health Education and Section 4 Definition of Family Planning and Productive Health, Paragraph b, c and d)

5. AS CITIZENS, we don't want to be subjected to imprisonment and/or pay a fine, for expressing an opinion against any provision of this law, if such expression of opinion is interpreted as constituting "malicious disinformation" (Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Paragraph f and Section 22 on Penalties)

6. We also oppose other provisions such as losing our parental authority over a minor child who was raped and found pregnant (Section 21, a, no.3)

7. We also don't agree to the provision which reclassifies contraceptives as essential medicines (Section 10) and appropriating limited government funds to reproductive services instead of basic services (Section 23)

Thus, we urge you to immediately stop deliberations on the bill and stop wasting taxpayers money.

The Undersigned

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oktoberfest (though not about beer)

October is the birthday month of Baby Magazine! That explains why every October, our magazine's theme is festive:

(That's SM Star Baby Winner Madielyn Jhen Tan Daughtry on the cover, taken by The Picture Company.)

The October issue is one meaty read, especially for parents who are planning for their child's birthday! We had so much fun planning, preparing, shooting and writing this issue--and one of the most memorable experiences was when we went to the house of Robert and Gia Leon to shoot the pretend-mini-preparations for their middle child Mikee's birthday. We made birthday banners, banderitas, party food trays--colorful and festive party stuff that won't put a hole on the pocket. Needless to say, all five kids--Raffie, Regina, Mikee, Mari and Marti--had a swell time with the crafts and balloons.

There's also a feature about Samahan ng mga Papetir ng Pilipinas, which I covered. Children's theater is being overlooked now that there are so many other high-tech gadgets to entertain today's kids. Puppetry is a different kind of entertainment--and it inspires creativity in so many different ways! SPP had a puppetry festival last August, and that's the first time all the Filipino puppeteers got together for one event. Let's hope for more events like this!

Of course there's the usual dose of helpful parenting stuff! Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all SM Department stores (baby section), National Bookstores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama, Virra Mall, Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.