Monday, April 27, 2009
I had the pleasure of sharing the train carriage today with two rambunctious little boys (to be fair, my back was turned and I couldn't tell if they were boys or girls, but they kept talking about "labanan" that I figured it was safe to assume their being boys). They were an amusing pair because they looked at everything they could look at, and gave a completely honest commentary on what they saw.
Along EDSA, as anybody who drives along that busy highway every day can attest, flash a motley collection of billboards. So it wasn't surprising to hear an announcement like, "Marie France, nye!" (making me rack my brain to remember what billboard that was on the other side of EDSA). I do hope advertisers would think twice before deciding to put such body-focused ads where kids could see them plainly. Clearly, the most insightful of us don't buy it--why should the rest of us?
The funniest was a comment they made when the train was about to stop in Ortigas station. We were slowing down to align with the platform when one of the boys said, "Huwag ka dyan, pagpasok nila, patay ka!" (Don't stay there, when the passengers come in, you'll die!) Should this pass unnoticed? Haha! I think someone finally pointed out how rough women could be. This, after all, was the female carriage. To think it took two boys (kids are allowed in the female carriage) just a few stations to sum it up in so matter-of-fact a statement... AREN'T YOU ASHAMED, LADIES?
Television says, kids say the darnedest things. I say, kids say it like it is.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I've been looking around for a new suit, which is a bit tough because all the retail stores have either bikinis or backless one-pieces. I want a suit that I can forget about, something that doesn't need constant re-checking (if it's still in place). Plus it has to be pretty! (Another thing I'm on the lookout for is a beach cover-up. I have a few already but they get sandy quickly and there has to be a replacement. Beach trips are also for walking on the shore, so there's got to be a nice piece to cover up with.)
---WARNING: Notes on modesty ahead---
I don't mean to be a prude, but dressing for the beach is a matter of considering what you're making others put up with. If you can't look at dressing as taking care of yourself, at least think of it as taking care of other people.
Besides, isn't the beach supposed to be fun? It's really more awesome when others are looking at your face...it means they think you're somebody they can talk to and not some body they can gawk at.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Today I got a letter from my friend who is studying in France. The lucky duck spent Holy Week in Rome, Italy. (And you thought I got my geography wrong, haha!) There's nothing like travel to broaden horizons (and nothing like letters to make other people feel their own horizons are broadened as well).
I've always wanted to visit Rome because I want to eat gelato, try out my Unita 1 Italiano, and get lost (because of my Unita 1 Italiano). But seriously, I want to see the architecture, the churches and the Pope! There's nothing like being on land where the feeling of being so close to the Person Upstairs is so strong you see it by just looking out the window. To be sure, buildings and such are superficial, but we humans are typically incapable of believing, that we need all these replicas and art and architectural marvels to believe. So there they are. In her letter, my friend says of Rome: "As expected the basilicas and churches in Rome are all magnifiques! One is really able to 'touch' the faith through them."
Another interesting bit in the letter was her interaction with people of different nationalities. I suppose this is how I would have gone on with my own little supply of Italian artillery--erm, vocabulary. She shares, "I met three Italians while queuing for the washroom. With my poco Spanish, my più poco Italiano and their little English, we tried to talk to each other. More than through words, we were communicating through gestures, giggles and laughter. They were very introverted and locas! The following days, I would hear them greeting me 'ciao bella' whenever we would come across each other! It was something strange to my reserved Asian and private French sensibilities."
Isn't it so exciting! To meet new friends who call you bella (and they don't mean the Twilight heroine, if we can call Bella that)! Of course with different cultures, you learn to readjust your sensibilities (that includes expanding or detracting the size of your "personal space bubble" as needed). Also, you get to see what different upbringing other people had, and how it made them into who they are today. I was particularly fascinated with what the Spanish are like: "The Spanish girls danced rumba and flamenco. I have the impression that they are always ready to perform their dance. Someone just had to play the guitar and another to sing and clap her hands and the rest started dancing as easily, with chin up and without any trace of timidity. It's in their blood."
I really love receiving letters, especially long ones! It's like opening a book, except you know that the book is really made for you--and you learn new things, and you feel like your friend, who is miles away, is talking to you right there. Finally it makes you want to pick up a pen and write...
P.S. My friend, Nanette, is a UP teacher and French language scholar. She went to Rome to attend the UNIV 2009 congress (an event that gathers students from all over the world to share their studies/papers) apart from the obvious Holy Week pilgrimage. Like all my friends, she is awesome.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Though I must admit I am not a fan of the book-series by Alexander McCall Smith, this 1-page article about its adaptation to TV on Newsweek was pretty interesting. Here we have people bringing up Slumdog Millionaire again, and how no one can actually paint a pretty picture of a place most people assume have gone to the dogs, so to speak. But I do wonder why on earth not? Just because a country has always been on the receiving end of a charity outfit doesn't mean it enjoys no rainbows.
Here's a bit I'd like to share from the article written by Joshua Alston:
With "Slumdog," much of the conversation hinged on the fact that both screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and director Danny Boyle are British—outsiders. McCall Smith is British too, as was the late Anthony Minghella, who helped bring "Agency" to the screen and directed the pilot. But whereas "Slumdog" was accused of offering a fairy-tale solution to Indian poverty, "Agency" will almost certainly be accused of ignoring Botswana's problems altogether. Both are willful misrepresentations of the respective countries and cultures they are portraying. In fact, the absence of the typical dark-continent viewpoint was what attracted Minghella to the project. "It was a privilege to be working on a film which celebrates what we can learn from Africa, and not what we think we can teach it," Minghella said.I learned in a Filipino writing class in my first year of college that in order to write well, one must know dalamhati (great sorrow). And the justification was that, in a country like ours, there's no other thing to write about. But I'd like to point out that, among all the (trash-able) pieces I came up with for that semester, the best was a children's story whose theme was optimism and unity--and none of the boo-hoo, woe-is-me dalamhati Filipino literature was said to be all about. That story is still in my files, and it needs a great overhaul, but I like it enough to still remember it, what, 6-7 years later?
I think there's always something sunny in everything, even the drabbest of days. And as lady detective Precious Ramotswe demonstrates--and Alston writes--"In the war that is life, there's no better weapon than an unwavering sense of optimism."
Advanced Happy Easter to all!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Tune in tonight!