Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rules of the road--for pedestrians

Sure you know stop, look and listen. But these days you have to be extra careful because even cars don't follow rules of the road. In The Great Gatsby, one of the minor characters (Jordan) says she hates people who drive carelessly, but is not a careful driver herself. (Actually if you take to heart the "lessons" from Fitzgerald's novel, you'll probably go about believing the world is full of bad drivers, which may actually be a life-saving assumption, but it isn't very charitable, is it?)

So, here are some of the extra things that methinks should be added to Pedestrian Road Safety 101:

1. Wait a second or two after the light changes before crossing the street (this, of course, after stop look and listen). I was crossing the street a few weeks back when a taxi ran the red light. If I wasn't alert enough, or if I crossed the street too quickly, it could've made roadkill of me! And this was in Batangas Street, not a highway.
2. Earphones and the streets do not jibe. You need to hear everything. (For the record, I don't commute with earphones, but I see a lot of "plugged" people get honked at. And once I saw a runner wired to his iPod sprint across the street without even looking if there's a car coming!) I know earphones are probably there to help you beat the boredom, but they're so good at making you forget where you are.
3. Wear white or bright colors. At sea, people need to wear brights so if they accidentally fall overboard, they will be easier to spot and rescue. On the road, people in white or bright colors are easier to see as they cross the street.
4. Look at signal lights of cars. They're there to let other motorists know if and where they're turning; it's good for you, as a pedestrian, to make sure you can already cross safely. Some traffic lights don't apply to cars turning left or right at intersections.
5. If there is an overpass or underpass, take it, no matter how "out of the way" it is. That's why they are there. And the same rule applies when it comes to pedestrian lanes. The point is, you have to cross where motorists expect you to cross. You have to be predictable!

Lastly, as in the photo above, remember that only the Beatles could cross the street without having to keep these pedestrian road safety rules in mind. If you aren't one of them, better to simply stay alert!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let there be...

I want to see this movie! It's set in the Spanish Civil War, and the lead is a Spanish soldier, Manolo, who falls in love with a Hungarian revolutionary, Ildiko, who loves this militia leader, Oriol... (Oh hey, isn't Oriol that guy from 300? haha!)

Okay, I really want to see this because it gives a peep into the early life of St. Josemaria Escriva, who, in the story, happens to be the friend of this said Spanish soldier. The genre is historical fiction, and Writing Class will tell you that historical fiction is based on real events or real people but the specific scenes, some characters, their words and actions are mostly imagined to make a story fit for a novel or a movie.

Despite its being fiction, the film seems to keep the soul of St. Josemaria's character intact, as well as that of the war itself. I hope they show it here!

The director, Roland Joffe, an English movie director, shares how he started working on the film in the movie's production blog:

“When I was first approached about doing a film about Josemaria Escriva I had, to be honest, grave doubts whether I was up for it in terms of my knowledge of religion. Religion is an immensely rich and extraordinary experience. I considered for quite a long time about whether I could bring something new to that experience, but I thought that probably I couldn’t. Then I had dinner with one of the producers, who gave me a DVD of Josemaria. Later that night, I sat down to compose a letter of, ‘thanks so much, it’s been very nice meeting you and I really admire what you want to do, but I don’t think it’s for me.’

"Instead, I put the DVD in and Josemaria was on it talking to a group of people in Chile or maybe Argentina. They were in a big tent of people, all these rapt faces looking at him. I saw a very likeable man, a man just like you and me, someone you might sit next to on a bus. Obviously a man who loved people—he had a real warmth that caught my eye. Then a young girl in the back of the audience put her hand up and said. ‘Excuse me father, but I have a question.’ He says, ‘Yes, what’s your question?’ She says, ‘Well, I would like to convert.’ Josemaria smiles and says, ‘Well of course. Please do.’ And she said, ‘The problem is, my parents are Jewish and they would be very upset.’ And Josemaria, said, without a pause. ‘The love of my life is Jewish.’ Then he said, ‘Oh, my dear, my dear, honoring your parents is very important to the Lord. He doesn’t want you to do anything that would upset your parents. If he is in your heart, he is in your heart. Welcome him there. And pray that one day they will support you in your desire.’

"I thought, ‘Actually, this is wonderful. This has got such respect and such love, for her parents, and for her and for her experience.’ I was so struck by it that I paused in writing my letter and thought, ‘I wouldn’t mind seeing that in a film.’ So I sat down and I wrote a scene where an older man who worked for Josemaria’s father is dying and Josemaria comes to him as a priest. He discovers on the death bed that this man is actually Jewish as he expresses doubts about his faith. It is a very, very touching moment. And they pray together.

"After I wrote the scene, I knew I had to write the rest! Now I was curious--how did the man get to that position and what did it mean? Particularly, I began to think about the period, when Spain was falling apart. This was their civil war. When you think about it, the only war America has known on its own territory is what? The Civil War! And, though it happened a hundred odd years ago, it is still etched, fixed in the American mind. Ask any American about it and they will have images of it, because it was so destructive. And that happened in Spain; in fact it happened in Spain over a number of years. The war created such a rich background for the story. Then I really wanted to write it and thought, ‘You know I could have a go at this!’”


Teehee! I always like reading about how people eventually change heart. :-)