Tuesday, November 12, 2013

5 concrete things to make you less self-centered

Photo by Juliana Coutinho

A friend once ranted to me that there’s nothing else to see in EDSA but billboards that feed people with vanity. You can turn heads with your white skin, slim figure, or cool clothes. Every man will fall for your straight and silky hair. Smell like this actress or that model, and hopefully you’ll channel them too.

All this vanity in the media makes people self-centered, which is not healthy. (Some people will argue that Filipinos are all vain to begin with, but whether or not that is so, I say people can always teach themselves to be less self-centered.)

Now, why do we need to be less self-centered? Because it leads to genuine happiness. When you forget your own needs in the process of serving your family or friends; when you let nothing faze you because you know it’s not all up to you; when you understand that you are never “the best” all by your own merits—then you leave no room for puffing yourself up like a peacock only to discover later on that marvelous feathers don’t stay marvelous for long.

So—how to achieve this? I’ve drawn up a list of five concrete things that can help in the Self-Centeredness Detox Department. I’m sure there are more such ways, but if you don’t know where to begin, this list should be a good starting point. Hope it helps!

1.       Take responsibility for someone or something at home. Whether it’s your little sister or the electricity bill, when you assume the responsibility for someone or something at home, you learn not to take things for granted. You realize that your home is a nice place to return to everyday because somebody—whether it’s your mom, the boarding house lady, or the house helper—makes sure it’s clean and orderly, its utilities are functioning, there is food in the ref, and everyone is safe. When you contribute little but important things in the home, you grow more appreciative of them. You also never forget that you couldn’t possibly have accomplished anything in your professional life if you didn’t have the help of those who keep your home in running order.

2.       Take public transport. Commuting by private car does pose its own challenges, but they’re nothing like the things you encounter when commuting by public transport. Lining up, squeezing in, taking on the heat, the dust, the smoke, throwing oneself at a passing jeep/bus (a desperate measure, but never suicidal), bearing with drivers that don’t respect pedestrian rights, and navigating non-existent sidewalks help one to understand the sufferings of everyday commuters.

And when you see those things through your own experience, you realize that the difficulties you encounter are not something unique to you: thousands of people immerse in them everyday—and get this: without losing their temper! When you learn to embrace the difficulties of commuting with a sporting attitude and a smile, then you’d have learned to forget yourself a little more.

3.       Visit the poor or the sick. And you thought you had problems! Visiting the poor or the sick gives one a practical lesson on the human spirit. Now is the time to stop viewing the poor as a “burden” to society. When you visit them and ask them about their daily life, you see that they aren’t very different from you at all: they’re also busy eking out a living, cleaning their homes, raising their kids, bringing them to school, figuring out ways to stretch the week’s budget and to feed the family. They work so hard (and their life is so hard), but they still seem happy; they take care of the little kids (even the ones who aren’t theirs) and the elderly with much love.

The sick, on the other hand, have a different kind of struggle. They help one realize that health is truly a gift, but more importantly that having lost one’s good health does not lessen one’s humanity. The sick still need to be loved, still want to be able to do things, and still yearn for the company of their family and friends like the rest of us.

When you meet these kinds of people and see how wonderfully they carry on despite the difficulties, you realize that there are so many things to be thankful for, that inner strength and hope are truly amazing, and that it is not by any merit of your own that you are so blessed.

4.       Raise funds for a cause you believe in. This is pretty obvious. When you raise funds, you go out of your comfort zone to ask people for help. And when it’s for a cause you believe in (as opposed to personal fundraising) somehow, you feel bolder, because you know that it’s not for you at all. At the start it looks daunting, but as you go along, you remember more people to ask, old friends, colleagues… and it turns out that they are generous.

Success in fundraising is not all up to you; it may be requiring you to reach out, but it’s the others who have to respond. In other words, in the grand scheme of raising funds, you’re just an instrument that helps move people into action. When you achieve a fundraising goal, you realize it’s because many have responded with a generous yes, and not because you sweated blood for it.

5.       Teach. They don’t say teaching is a vocation for nothing. Sure, teaching may involve having a roomful of kids hanging on to your every word. But a true teacher does not bask in authority. Instead she serves each student and makes an effort to deliver the lesson such that every one of her students learns it. A teacher’s achievements lie in her students’ success.

Come to think of it, you don’t even need to be a licensed teacher. Teach your friends, your friends’ children, your cousins, officemates… anybody! You can teach anything, from origami to crochet, literary criticism, poetry, performance, languages, sciences, math—anything you’re good at, anything with value, anything that helps a person grow. Bottom line: the rule you must live by is service. When you can put your efforts, talents, and expertise in helping others, then you not only grow in selflessness, but also you help make the world better than you found it—which is what life is about, after all.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

You're invited!

I attended the Better Together talk given by Jason and Crystalina Evert last night. What a great pair they make--and more importantly, what a great message they share! I will be writing about what I learned in the talk soon, but as it is a mere 7 minutes before work starts here, this is going to be a quick post.

I invite you to attend this talk, Worth Waiting For, on Saturday, September 7, 2013, 6-9 pm at the University of Makati (see poster above). This talk is for parents, and a good way to learn about their very crucial role in sex education. Here are short descriptions of what to expect. I hope you come! It's going to be really worth it!

Romance without Regret
Today’s teens experience greater temptations than ever before. In the midst of this cultural assault against innocence and virtue, young people need convincing reasons to practice the virtue of chastity. Some think that "chastity" simply means "not having sex." But that's mere abstinence: what you can't do and can't have. Chastity is more than that, it is about what you can do and have—right now: a lifestyle that brings freedom, respect, peace, and romance without regret.

By addressing the issues that teens struggle with most, such as sexual pressure, pornography, modesty, and starting over, Jason and Crystalina offer encouragement for teens to maintain their purity or begin again if they’ve made mistakes in the past.

What can save the marriages of tomorrow? In an age in which the media tell young people that they cannot—and need not—control themselves sexually, Romance without Regret offers a refreshing, challenging, and entertaining message to students from junior high school on up. Get the male and female perspectives on living chastely, as you listen to their life changing message.

Raising Pure Teens
How is a parent to compete with MTV, sexting, Abercrombie and Fitch, Internet porn, and all the other influences that allure teenagers away from a pure life? In this seminar Jason offers communication techniques, resources, statistics, and a wealth of information to assist parents in their task as the primary sex educators of their children.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Like checking your hat at the door?

If you're a doctor, you don't stop being one after removing your white coat. That's why in emergency situations in airplanes, or at church, people can ask, "Is there a doctor here?" and there's always someone to volunteer.

If you're a celebrity, you don't stop being one after the cameras or the stage lights go off. People will still recognize you in public, and, if they're bold enough, they approach and ask for a photo. You can be angry about it, but most of the time you'll just smile and let them get what they want.

In the same way, if you really want to live your faith in all integrity, if you are Catholic, for instance, you don't stop being one wherever you are. Whether you're a doctor, a politician, a journalist, a celebrity chef, a vegetarian humanitarian, a mad scientist, or a rock star mathematician, if integrity means anything to you, then you know that having a certain job is no license for not living in the way you should as a man/woman of faith.

That's why I get really puzzled when I encounter screams of "Separation of Church and State!" to mean that in matters of the State or secular affairs, your faith has no right to interfere. Okay, so by that logic, you must not live in full integrity. A doctor on vacation who, in midflight, comes upon a fellow passenger suffering from a heart attack must then be able to say, "I'm no doctor today." A celebrity should be able to shop at the supermarket in peace because he can shed his fame at the baggage counter.

What it REALLY means
That key phrase "Separation of Church and State" actually refers to amity: both institutions have a purpose and they must be allowed to carry out this purpose in peace. So while the State takes care of the welfare of individuals, the Church takes care of their souls, according to her teachings. In which case, the State allows the Church to carry out her apostolate, and the Church lets the State take the helm at pursuing the common good. 

Common good
The pursuit of this common good takes into consideration the entire person: not merely that the individual is a man or a woman, old or young, whatever. It's about creating an environment that allows persons to grow fully and holistically, and not misleading them into a false sense of power, and not favoring the rights of one sector over the other. The State can make anything legal, but it has to be something that will benefit all the people, and not just a chosen few. And for that to be possible, it has to be something inherently good.

You've probably guessed that the issue that got me to write about this involves the RH Law. Because, boo hoo, you Church people are such bullies that you meddle in State affairs, that's why we never get this super essential law up and running to help save the poor from their overproducing selves. 

First of all, the Church speaks her mind because it is her duty to do so--she takes care of souls, okay? You can ignore them bishops if you want, but that doesn't change the truth of which they speak. Besides, they can't run for office anyway, so why are you all so scared? Are you afraid more people will finally understand that what they are teaching is actually the better solution? (Living the virtue of chastity before and after the wedding, protecting the family, upholding marriage, and learning to love selflessly!)

Secondly, where's the common good in a law that stomps on the basic rights to life, religious freedom, and free speech of an affected few? I thought common good meant the good of all. People are so touchy about their freedom of expression, and here's a law that suppresses that. How come no one is crying foul?

Thirdly, the people who make the law, if they actually try to live unity in their life--that is, not checking the teachings of their faith at the door--may actually help everyone by really looking into what will make this a better country, and not proposing lazy solutions. 
  • You want maternal health? Train more midwives, provide better facilities, and make maternal care accessible. 
  • You want fewer teen pregnancies? Get teens to dream big, trust that they have what it takes to get there, and don't assume they will be useless kids who'll just get knocked up and therefore need condoms. 
  • You want to protect women from abusive husbands? Address problems on alcohol and drug abuse, encourage spouses to communicate, and don't give men an excuse to say "you won't get pregnant anyway because you're on the pill." 
  • You want to remove "hopeless" people who wander aimlessly on the streets? Train them for a livelihood, teach them to fish!
In fact, there are so many better solutions to all the problems the RH thing is trying to solve. And, if you want to live integrity in your life and help others to do the same, you'll think of these ways and you'll see how good they turn out to be. In the end, it's not about outspoken bishops meddling in secular affairs, but rather about making it possible for each and everyone of us to live in a way that affirms our dignity, in a way that will lead us to true happiness, because we get to be whole, and we get to be truly free. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Health Rights

Okay, in the last post I talked about the rights of the unborn. The people who are for RH accuse those who are against it of caring too much about people you can't see that the health and the rights of the people you can see are forgotten.

I am all for maternal health, but I do not agree that maternal health means access to contraception. Read the small print in any oral contraceptive advertisement and you'll see how unhealthy it is. I also do not agree that contraception is the solution to bring down the maternal mortality rate. I mean, since when has pregnancy prevention become the solution to maternal mortality? As if pregnancy is a disease.

And anyway, women's health is already covered in the Magna Carta of Women, which is already a law.

SEC. 17. Women’s Right to Health. – (a) Comprehensive Health Services. – The State shall, at all times, provide for a comprehensive, culturesensitive, and gender-responsive health services and programs covering all stages of a woman’s life cycle and which addresses the major causes of women’s mortality and morbidity: Provided, That in the provision for comprehensive health services, due respect shall be accorded to women’s religious convictions, the rights of the spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions, and the demands of responsible parenthood, and the right of women to protection from hazardous drugs, devices, interventions, and substances.

Access to the following services shall be ensured:

(1) Maternal care to include pre-and post-natal services to address pregnancy and infant health and nutrition;

(2) Promotion of breastfeeding;

(3) Responsible, ethical, legal, safe, and effective methods of family planning;

(4) Family and State collaboration in youth sexuality education and health services without prejudice to the primary right and duty of parents to educate their children;

(5) Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and AIDS;

(6) Prevention and management of reproductive tract cancers like breast and cervical cancers, and other gynecological conditions and disorders;

(7) Prevention of abortion and management of pregnancy-related complications;

(8) In cases of violence against women and children, women and children victims and survivors shall be provided with comprehensive health services that include psychosocial, therapeutic, medical, and legal interventions and assistance towards healing, recovery, and empowerment;

(9) Prevention and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction pursuant to ethical norms and medicals standards;

(10) Care of the elderly women beyond their child-bearing years; and

(11) Management, treatment, and intervention of mental health problems of woman and girls.

In fact, why is everybody so rabid about the RH thing getting the thumbs up when a lot of what most people say they like about it (maternal health, sex education) are already State implemented and recognized through this Magna Carta? Actually, the only thing in there that's not already a law is the PhP13.7B government funding that the DOH is requesting for it. Don't believe that they have no money; they already have USAID funding even more contraceptive programs nationwide as we speak. (PhP7.96B, to be exact.)

Another difference between this Magna Carta and the RH is the word "ethical" (Sec. 17.3). RH doesn't include that word, and that paves the way towards another method of family planning that everyone is ignoring as of this moment.

So there you go. More on maternal health when I find time. Ciao for now!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Picky picky

If you say a new person with unique DNA is not alive at fertilization,
then explain why this whole development process starts off at that point.
I'm glad this article came out in PDI last Sunday. After the July 9 oral arguments at the SC, you'd think it would be clearer to the public why the RH Law is unconstitutional. But no, the media is picky, and it decides not to report a lot of things.

So we gotta give The Philippine Daily Inquirer some credit here: Good job for publishing Mr. Chet Espino's op ed piece. :-) Here's something from that article:

Justice Roberto Abad: The Constitution, Section 12 Article 2, states that the state shall equally protect the life of the mother and the unborn from conception. This right to life belongs to the unborn, not the mother or the father. Did I exist when I was still in the egg as an egg alone?

Noche: Not yet, your honor.

Abad: But when the egg, when the ovum, is fertilized, is that the beginning of me?

Noche: Yes, your honor. That’s the beginning of you. The unique “you” that exists already at that point. The unique Justice Abad … not a justice yet then.

Abad: In 1987 before this (RH Law) somewhat changed the concept of conception, how did those who drafted the Constitution understand the meaning of conception?

Noche: Life begins at fertilization. It was only recently that that was redefined.

Abad: So in other words, all of us started as zygotes … and then developed into a human being. Conception means beginning, isn’t it? But it needs to be sustained to life by attaching itself to the uterus. And it’s not the business of my parents… It’s my right. If they violated my right, I would not have been born. As Justice Carpio says on this issue, if they believe that this law violates the right to life from the time of conception, that’s how we will decide it … on our understanding of when life begins.


Okay, so why does the beginning of life matter in this whole RH shebang anyway? Because the State has the duty to protect the rights of ALL its citizens, and that includes the tiny citizen that was just fertilized. Don't play blind--new life is new life whether or not you see it, or acknowledge its existence. The pill and the IUD are abortifacients because part of the mechanism of the former (and all of the latter's) is to make the uterus too hostile for a fertilized ovum to implant, forcing the body to abort it.

In other words, the State fails to protect its citizens' rights if it chooses to subsidize abortifacients. In the name of the "rights" of the few, with this RH Law, the State will choose to violate a universal right. Picky?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No to lazy solutions

Last week, a news story on MMDA’s plans of making number coding affect private vehicles twice a week got a lot of people all riled up. As soon as I read it, I passed it on to some of my friends, who all had the same reaction: 1) cursed MMDA, 2) wished the MMDA targeted the jeeps and buses instead, and 3) cursed the said jeeps and buses. Basically, the common sentiment was, “We have more public transpo vehicles wreaking havoc in our roads and highways; perhaps if we pare them down, the heavy traffic dilemma will be resolved.”

The problem with this solution (and the solution proposed by the MMDA) is that heavy traffic cannot be properly solved by just cutting down on the number of vehicles that go out everyday. The reason those vehicles go out at all is that the people need to get to work and back. Everyday. If you cut down on the private vehicles, those who can afford maintaining them will just buy another car to solve the problem. If you cut down on the public transportation, those who use public transport will find they can’t go to work at all (unless they walk, ride bike, or become bullies).

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a rant or two about jeeps and buses—I won’t deny that their drivers seem not to have learned the basics of traffic rules. But don’t forget that no matter how many complaints arise about the ruthless skilled driving of these jeep and bus drivers, you can’t overlook the fact that these guys actually help the majority of the urban population get to where they have to be everyday. As a commuter, I already find it difficult to hop on a ride every morning—and I can’t help thinking how much worse this could be if indeed they cut down on the number of rides available. The reason there are so many public vehicles around is that there is a great demand for them. And I know this by experience.

The solutions presented just barely scratch the surface of the problem. I’m no expert on this and I cannot draw up a solution for the MMDA. But I think that making number coding affect vehicles twice a week will only see desired results in two weeks, then it’s back to heavy traffic again. People are persistent like that.

Here's an old story:
THE WIND and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

If the ultimate aim of the number coding scheme is to get people who drive/ride private cars to take public transportation on some days, and hence lessen the daily congestion on the roads, the solution does not lie in forcing them to do it. Do you know why people would rather take a car than take public transpo? Because it's not pleasant to take public transpo! One has to shrink in the jeep, surf in the bus, play American football in the MRT. Then there's the danger of being pick-pocketed/held up/knifed/killed/road-killed.

The way, then, to get people to leave their cars at home is to makeover the whole public transport system. Make it easy and safe to get from one point of the city to the other. When that happens, word will get around, and once more people see how easy and safe--and cheap!--it could be to take the jeep-bus-train routes, more cars will be left at home--even when it's "not coding."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How to be kind in a cramped jeepney

Various jeeps in the metropolis. Special thanks to Richard.

The perils of the daily commute include numerous instances of losing one's cool. The jeepney, for instance, is minefield of occasions that test one's mettle--from getting on to hopping off. First, you have to be patient with the driver, who thinks he can smoke his way to heaven just because the vehicle is open air. Then, there are fellow passengers to contend with, ones who don't care whether or not you step on their feet while trying to squirm your way to the seat they left vacant for you, right behind the smoke-belching driver.

Well, to help make commuting more bearable, you have to keep a happy disposition, and if you stick by these Rules of Kindness, you can help others stay happy as well.

1. Be small. A jeepney is admittedly not one of the most spacious modes of transportation around. And it's even worse when it's rush hour and everyone tries to squeeze in, never mind that people.can't.breathe.anymore. So one good way to help others is to shrink--that is, try to take as little space as possible. Put your bag in your lap, push back both feet away from the center of the aisle, keep those elbows in, and sit straight. When you take up little space, that person who thought he would have to be "sabit" might actually find himself a seat.

2. Let people coming in find a seat nearer the entrance. The jeepney is filling up, and one bad habit passengers have is to squeeze themselves as close to the entrance/exit side as possible. Okay, so everyone wants to be able to hop off as soon as they get to their stop, but think about that poor last passenger whose balance is tried as he makes his way to that empty space near the driver the moment the jeep starts accelerating to Full Speed Ahead. It's actually dangerous--just like trying to fasten your seat belt in a carnival ride after the ride has started moving--but nobody seems to care because perhaps nobody has slipped and fallen to oblivion before. Must we wait for an accident to happen before being a little more charitable?

3. Let people getting off exit with grace (and without harassment). You can practically say that a jeepney is the one place in which men and women sit hip to hip and thigh to thigh without any malice. The harassment I'm talking about here is the doom-cloud feeling that people won't let you off at this stop because they are so eager to get on even when there is no breathing space seat available inside.

There are those chaotic jeepney loading zones that don't have the word "pila" in their vocabulary, and so the mob that welcomes the newly-arrived jeepney practically pushes back in those people trying to get out. Once, when I was getting off at Eastwood, the mob tumbled right into the jeepney and one lady decided she would like to sit on my lap all the way to Cubao before I cried, "Bababa ako!!!"

Common sense dictates that nothing can occupy a space already occupied, so having a little patience in waiting for occupant to vacate coveted wormhole is an act of kindness.

4. Assist the driver and fellow passengers by being willing to help pass the payment/change to and fro. No one has extendable arms, so kindly pass the money and nobody gets hurt. Feigning sleep... for what? You don't want to get your hands dirty by touching loose change? How did you pay for your own ride again?

5. Help the "para" whisperers be heard. Jeepney drivers are a curious type of Homo sapiens sapiens. They have incredible voices that can call you from one block away. They have keen eyesight that can spot a potential passenger 200-500 meters away. They have impressive math skills that can keep track of calculations for change demanded by harried passengers who have no coins. In fact, they can calculate and drive at the same time. But one thing they are not good at is to hear pleas of "Para!" over the loud hip hop music to which they all seem to prefer going deaf. When somebody has said "para" twice already with no apparent results, it's time for you to intervene and echo the "para" too.

6. Refrain from any outward show of temper. All right, you may be the victim. Fine, justice dictates you've got the upper hand. But that's no excuse to mutter under your breath, make loud tutting sounds, or shoot the evil eye at anyone. Just remember this: in a cramped jeepney, everyone is not comfortable, everyone just wants to go home, and everyone is tired. Don't be the sore one who loses cool. It won't facilitate anything anyway.

7. Pay up! You see those signs in some jeepneys that go "God knows HUDAS not pay" and think they're funny, but in a cramped jeep, there are people who really just "forget" about paying up. Just this morning, the jeep driver called after somebody who got off at Eastwood when he said he was getting off at Cubao. Nope, he didn't pay! All the driver could do was holler [insert unkind words here]. Dude, you may not have taken anything, but not paying for a service you availed of is injustice, plain and simple. To be blunt, it's called stealing. And as the funny sign reminds us, even if nobody noticed, "God knows."


So, there you have it! Can you think of other ways to be kind in a cramped jeepney? I'd love to hear them :-)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How not to vote

Art by Aaron Felizmenio.
I just came across this interesting article in Tapat, an online news publication (soon to be print tabloid). It talks about how to be a good voter by describing the bad habits of a bad voter ("bobotante").

Here's one that must be reiterated:

3. “Di ko kilala mga kandidato. Bahala na sa makikita ko sa balota.”
Napakaraming mga web pages tulad nito na nagpapakilala sa mga kandidato. Pag bibili ka ng cellphone, nag-re-research ka pa ng sandamukal at nagtatanong-tanong ka kung ano ang okey na bilhin. Naghahanap ka pa kung san ka makakamura. Andami mong oras na naka-log in sa Facebook pero yung pagbasa man lang ng profile at list ng mga kandidato online, di mo magawa. Tapos rereklamo ka ng kung sino-sino ang nananalo.

It's true that before we go vote, we have to do our homework! It sucks that it seems many are more willing to do enough (or too much) homework on a gadget that they want to buy, but think so little of the candidate they will vote. Remember, this is they guy who will represent YOU in the next few years of your life as citizen.

I like this one too:

6. “Di na ko boboto, wala rin naman magbabago.”Ok lang yan, pero huwag ka ring masyadong mag-reklamo. Dahil ang di mo pagboto, katulad na rin ‘yan ng pagsuporta mo sa taong ayaw mong manalo. Ang di mo pagboto, ay hindi direktang pagboto sa kandidatong di mo gusto.

Your non-vote is an indirect vote cast for the person you do not wish to put in office. When you vote and your candidate doesn't win, well, at least that gives you the right to say "I didn't vote for that guy" when his term turns out to be an epic fail. 

But seriously, if there is a candidate you deem worthy of the position, don't hesitate to cast your vote for him or her. More than a right, voting is a RESPONSIBILITY. It's the role you fulfill to help chart the course of the country. I use a nautical idiom purposefully: because in seafaring terms, err just one degree off course and your direction completely changes in time. Before you know it, your ship does not find port and you are lost.

So, study... and vote wisely.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A few truths to think about

I suppose it's high time I explain why I do not like contraception, and I fear I have no more excuses to leave it for another day (weekend, month, year) given the fact that I am currently stuck in my room for the next few days/weeks. Also, I am trying very hard not to scratch this chicken pox, and typing gives me a reason to keep my fingers busy doing something else.

Enough with the intro. Here, a few truths I've been mulling over for the past few days. Pramis, they're connected to contraception.

TRUTH #1. We are responsible for our actions at all times. You'd be shocked and scandalized if you see someone leave a post in the middle of the train tracks with the intention of preventing the train from reaching its destination (nevermind if people die in the process). If somebody bombed a bridge, the city would arrest him for killing people he never intended would be there and for destroying a key part of commerce and whatnot.

So why is it considered "smart" to insert an intrauterine device with the intention of stopping a fertilized egg (100% individual human being) from implanting in the womb? What makes it different? It's not wrong because you don't actually see any dead bodies? Any gradeschool kid can tell you when life begins--that "it's only tissue" is a useful lie that fake feminists tell in order make contraception and abortion acceptable.

Say what you want but it doesn't change the truth that you don't know if you are killing anybody by using contraception methods that are abortifacients at the same time (the pill, IUD, emergency contraception). It's like the "rustling in the bushes" idea: should you shoot if you don't know it's a person? Obviously, no.

TRUTH #2. We are responsible for taking care of Mother Nature and the Earth. Though we have the ability to discover things and to make use of science to achieve our goals, we are also responsible for the health of the world around us.

I don't understand how this concept is so clear when it comes to cutting down pine trees in Baguio or clubbing baby seals in the northern lands. Heck, we even prefer natural products for our bathing and beautifying to preserve nature and keep our bodies "chemical free"! But why is it that when it comes to not just polluting but also perverting the body, suddenly nobody sees green? That's exactly what contraception is: pollution and perversion. For it to work, it has to upset the woman's natural body processes. Contraception means taking something that is right and good (the reproductive cycle) and twisting it to serve your own ends. And speaking of selfish ends...

TRUTH #3. Contraception has a selfish end. From childhood, we are taught to be selfless. If we listened back then, we know that sharing is good, doing service for others is good, etc. Of course, it's also good for us to leave nice things for ourselves--though never at the expense of others. So why does contraception go against all that? Contraception fosters an inclination to choose the self over other people.

Again, I know that contraception is not abortion. But contraception teaches a person to be closed to the possibility that a new human being is formed as a consequence of sex. In the end, it's just you enjoying what you can do with your body and intentionally erasing some undesired natural effect. (Note: it's not a side effect.)

I'm not saying family planning is bad. By all means, married couples should definitely plan their family. But they should be selfless enough to plan it in a way that is open to surprises. Don't they say "life is full of surprises"? If married couples are not open to life, what happens when a surprise (despite all the contraceptive methods they use) still comes their way? This is how people begin to accept abortion.

TRUTH #4. A true feminist appreciates the female ability to bear a child. I admire the earlier feminists; the ones who went against the norms of society that women can't vote, study, or speak their mind. I thank them for what they did, for without them I would probably not be writing now. The later feminists, however, seem to have gotten the ideals all wrong! They want to be equal to men; particularly, they want to be like men who can have sex anytime and with anyone they want without being "punished with a baby." This is a snowball of lies that just keeps getting bigger! (If you don't believe me, figure out--with study--why the women's liberation movement in the 1960's is closely tied to, er, the birth of the widespread use of birth control. Particular question to ask: What did these women think they were liberated from?)

First of all, women can never be equal to men because they are not men. (Before any violent reactions, I say men can never be equal to women either.) Women and men are complementary, that means they can work together as a team and balance each other out. They can both have PhDs, carry 500lbs, be good at styling hair or whatever. The point is, no matter what their individual skills are, they are not the same and that is a good thing.

Secondly, men are not exempt from having responsibility for a baby. They can run away, I suppose, but that just means they've owned up to not being man enough. :-P

Thirdly, a baby is not a punishment, but a gift. Not every sexual act leads to a baby. For lack of a better word, it's a miracle, which is best explained by Dr. Manhattan in this scene in Watchmen:

from Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Call it a fertilized egg, zygote, embryo, or fetus--it's still a new person with the 46 chromosomes and complete DNA of a homo sapiens sapiens. But, more importantly, as the excerpt emphasizes, that baby is a unique human being--only one in all the world. And this unique person asks for only one little thing from moms and dads at this point in life: that he (or she) be allowed to live. And how can he live? By the very beautiful process called the complete 9 months of pregnancy that only women can do. Don't hate it, ladies--be proud of it! 

TRUTH #5. Chastity rocks--and it leads to real happiness. So it's true that many people are having their babies before they get married. Everybody's doing it blah blah blah--forget it. It's still not the way to go. If everybody shoplifted at 7-Eleven, does it make stealing all right? While there are happy endings to those premarital baby stories, you can't ignore the fact that for most of them, it doesn't turn out quite so fine in the end. :-(

The problem with contraception is that it makes premarital sex "ok as long as you don't get knocked up"--which practically gives people license to do whatever they want, provided.... Plant this philosophy in the heart of every young person and you create a society of Anything Goes As Long As You're OK, You're Healthy, You Don't Hurt Anybody, And... oops, now there's a contradiction.

A philosophy of "doing whatever you want" is--and will always be--incompatible with "watching out for the good of others." You can never become selfless when the philosophy of your heart is hedonism: achieving only your own happiness, your own pleasures, you you you you. Where does the self end and others begin? No where.

That's why chastity rocks! Chastity is a recipe for true love. Why? It teaches a person to care for the well being and happiness of another person. It teaches self mastery and self sacrifice, and in the end rewards people with a happy marriage, happy kids, and happy families! Because you learn not to think of yourself, you are more likely to work harder on a marriage than someone who would just give up and run away from problems because "it hurts." Remember, marriage is not easy--and it will hurt at some point. It's not Cinderella fitting a glass slipper and then wearing beautiful gowns for the rest of her life; it's Mr. and Mrs Weasley putting all seven kids through school with a single income and lots of creativity! I mean, between Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy, who lives in a happier home?

What's the point of it all? Don't believe what you see on popular TV, idealized magazines, mainstream media. If you really want to understand, read books, documents, articles. Scrutinize both sides of the issue. Study hard and really strive to put your ability to reason to work unearthing the truth, the honest-to-goodness truth, the truth that you might not want to hear because it means you'll have to give up some things and "complicate" your life.

If you study real hard, you'll understand that contraception only masquerades as prudence or forethought, but it's actually the start of a series of lies based on the belief that you can do whatever you want without having to respect how nature works, and without worrying about how it will affect (worse, harm) others. You can't have rewards without responsibility--because you have to consider how your rewards affect those around you, society, the world culture, and the environment.

You can take all this as just some ramblings of a girl riding out her chicken pox, or you can go study it well and see for yourself. If you can't seem to pick out the truth from the lies, remember that in most cases the truth is the simplest solution. That's why the people who live in the truth are always happy.