Sunday, November 13, 2005

Taking the Bait

20' X 30" oil - taking the bait Posted by Picasa

As I promised my commenters in my previous post, here is the product of my ten-day vacation. This painting was commissioned by a friend who is bound to come home this December. I just hope she gets to like it. It's a painting of a fisherman being helped by four other peoople as the swordfish he caught is quite heavy. How do you like the colors? Do you see all the people in it? Please click on the picture to make it bigger.

Will they ever see eye to eye?

Batjay wrote about a news article that appeared in the Washington Post about the state of Kansas bringing back the teaching Intelligent design in schools to clash head on with Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection

One of the interesting questions man has been trying to answer is where and how we started. Not that scholars of both religion and science had not tried to explain our origin. On the contrary, there are more than three hundred ways by which church scholars explain the existence of a Master Creator, viz., God. You'll find more arguments here. And we all know about Darwin's theory of evolution. And of course, you've heard about the "Monkey trial" where John Scopes was tried for teaching the theory of evolution, that brought the clash between the traditionalists and the modernists.

This brings to mind what the role of education is in terms of explaining man's origin. I will have to qualify my response to this question. If a school is nonsectarian, meaning, it does not adhere or is restricted to any one religion, then, the least that it can do is to open the learners to the various explanations and let its students make their own opinion based on the merits of the arguments. After all, this is the taison d'etre of schools. To teach the students how to think.

Now comes the question about a parent deciding to send his/her child to a sectarian school, i.e., a Catholic one, to which I was brought up and to which I am now employed. Should a parent send his/her child/ren to a Catholic school, then, that only goes to show that said parent is ready to embrace the teachings of the Catholic faith presumably because that is what the parent believes in. To send a child to a sectarian school only because it is reputedly a good school for academics but not embracing its faith brings a lot of problems to the child. This can bring about confusion to a child's young mind as what he/she is being taught in school may be in direct conflict with the beliefs of his/her family. What complicates it more is when there are teachers who are not members of the faith.

In fairness to my school, we have non-Catholics and we respect their ways as long as they don't interfere with ours and that they do not proselytize. And we do teach philosophy where the arguments for the existence of God is discussed side by side with the teachings of science and natural selection.

At any rate, religion or the Bible is not a science book and although attempts have been made to reconcile it, the word in operation here is faith. A person's faith, if grounded on a strong foundation, cannot be swayed to denounce it. As for me, I believe in the existence of God and no one can shake away my belief.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Never been busier

I thought I would have a blast last week. We were given more than a week of respite from school work. A term break if you would. No classes from Oct. 27 till Nov. 6. It would have been a week of endless computer time of email, blogging and blog-hopping till the wee hours of the morning. I thought that would have given me ample time to catch-up with online and real time friends I have made since I started blogging and beyond. Au contraire, I hardly touched the computer! What I did not foresee was that my two boys would be on vacation, too. And they took over the computer like there was no tomorrow. Just when one guy was about to finish, the other guy was all set to jump-in.

What's a dad like me to do when something like this happens? The next best thing is to just bum around. Take over the remote of the tv, what else? No, that is not a victory for I have always taken control of that remote ever since. Well, except during prime time when I have to give in to my mother-in-law so she can watch her tele-novela seryes. I have to give in to that or she and my wife will give me hell. My daughters, on the other hand, have taken dominance over the tv upstairs.

However, I have not been idle. I was painting! Yup. I commissioned my brushes to work again. Bought canvass last Saturday, took out my brushes and started on a new project! I have not been using oil for almost eight years so I figured this is the appropriate time to get re-acquainted with it.

My only problem with oil is that it's messier than acrylic. Besides there's that turpentine smell. Not very pleasant at all. And it seemingly permeates all throughout the house. This is the reason why I shifted to acrylic. Besides, working on a project like this occupies too much space. There's always that feeling that someone would trip over and ruin the piece. If only I could have my own studio.

My only consolation was that it piqued my eldest daughter's interest. Just enough for her to try it out. What I would do was mix up the color, tell her which part of the canvass that color was going to and give the brush to her to apply it on. While it took a little longer than when i was doing it alone, there's that bonding feeling we have not had for some time since she got to college. We always did a lot of things together before. Like we would be singing songs, huddle in front of the tv. We don't do that anymore. At least, this time, I felt we were very close again. Besides, she began to see the patterns in my work. And she learned how to clean the palette and my brushes!

So, you see, I have been busy all week. By the time my two sons took off with their cousins for a three-day vacation at Subic, I was already mesmerized by my painting that I couldn't touch the computer anymore. So please, don't feel bad if I have not been writing you, been visiting your blog or answering the comments in my previous entry.

Its almost finished now! Since I'm going back to work in a few hours, the project will have to wait till I come home in the evening. In the meantime, I have to take a bath and go to school with my kids.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Halloween Special

I have always been the odd ball in many groups. For example, I never go to cemeteries on November 1. I have not visited my father's grave on that date. You see, when he died, we were caught by surprise and was not prepared for anything like that. So, we had to come up with the best solution as to where to put him to rest fast. It was his nephews and then surviving brother that rescued us by offering my grandmother's grave where two or three from the clan are also interred. This is in La Loma cemetery. Have you been there during All Soul's day? The place is just teeming with people. You don't even have to walk. You just stand and the multitude will get you to your destination. So, no, I don't go to cemeteries to commemorate the dead. I find it impractical. Besides I have had a lifetime full of cemeteries when I was younger.

My family used to live near the cemetery. It was in a town in Malabon called Tugatog. Actually, we lived beside the border. Separated only by a small stream, to our right was the Caloocan cemetery which extends to Malabon. If my kids have malls to go to during summers, I had the whole cemetery to play in. Morbid as it may sound, that was where I used to chill-out. I was very good at hopping from one tomb to another. There were the single ones, the doubles, triples which I hopped from one place to another. I knew it like the palm of my hand, so to speak. There were also the mausoleums mostly owned by Chinese families and the apartments and the ubiquitious aratiles treee. We flew kites there, hide from our parents, stole kisses from girls (that was rather cute as I was still about ten years old... I wonder if I can do that now). This was also the place where my friends used slingshots to fight war with the boys from neighboring Caloocan notably the gangs at the Sangandaan market. This was the not-so-fun part because Sangandaan was between my house and La Consolacion School where i spent my whole elementary schooling. Believe me, having enemies in a place where you always have to pass is not easy. What made this worse was that this was the middle sixties when having gangs and being a tough guy were hip. So I had been stopped several times by these hoodlooms to check if I was part of the gang they throw stones at every Saturday morning.

Anyway, being halloween and all, I recall my childhood with fondness. Living near two cemeteries, Nov. 1 was always a special treat for a young kid like me. Watching people was always fun. What was so special to me were the boy scouts. Not only did I envy their brown uniforms, the knee high socks, the neckerchief, the carabao that held it in place, the patches sewn on their uniforms but mostly the camaraderie they shared with one another. They had this huge tent where they camped in during the season which began on Oct 30 and ended up to NOv. 2. You see, during those days, the boy scouts assist the visitors. You would see them in pairs, roaming the cemetery waiting to be summoned for help. The most important thing they did was finding lost children which they handed over to camp. To my young mind, that was very productive.

My interest in the Boy scouts was further enhanced when I got to see the graves of the fallen scouts at the entrance of the La Loma cemetery. I was amazed at the huge scout sign that signifies their resting place. I told myself, someday I shall become a boy scout. And i did! NO, I never got to stay in cemeteries but I had experienced lots of camping trips, earned badges that saw me rising to become a Maginoo scout which at the time was the second to the highest rank one can achieve as a scout, under the tutelage of Mr. Guinto, our scoutmaster. A Maginoo scout is second to being a Rizal Scout. It was at this time that I learned how to cook, fend out for myself, pitch a tent, fold my clothes neatly, own a hunting knife and even ride horses in Baguio. Through scouting, I gained other friends, even scouts from another country in one of those jamborees. I was disappointed when my dad didn't allow me to join the international jamboree which was held in Japan but it turned out to be a blessing because the camp was visited by a storm.

At any rate, dreaming about scouting and actually becoming one gave me one realization. That i can be what I want to be if I only worked for it. This have always been my philosophy ever since. I wanted to become a painter and so I enrolled in Fine Arts and am now working on my latest painting. I dreamt of becoming a poet and so I joined several writing groups and am now learning how to write poems. Now, why I haven't dreamt of becoming a millionaire someday is beyond me, but I didn't.


I attended another EB with the Manila chapter of the Blogkadahan group. Our lone Japan chapter member Sachiko arrived and of course, we had to meet her. So we met her at Dusit where she and husband Michio were billeted, had a sumptuous dinner at Recipes and came back to Dusit for some music and drink at the San Miguel bar where Sabor Latino was playing. It was an awesome night of fun and merriment. And I got to hear samba playing once again. The percussionist-band leader was awesome! I can't wait till the next EB.