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Monday, August 27, 2007


There is a saying that goes something like this: "You cannot go back to the same river for neither you nor the river will be the same." This is what I learned yesterday. I was on my way to my mother's house to visit my siblings and my grandson (son of my niece) who was celebrating his birthday yesterday.

The house was home to me from 1971 till I moved out in 1985 when I got married. Since then, I have come to visit my sick mom and everytime, I discover something new. Several, no, make that many, houses have been built and the places I used to frequent with friends are now gone. I have spent many years of learning in that place. Some were good but some were bad lessons I would rather forget. I have many experiences shared with friends who, like those frequented places, are now gone. Either they have moved out like me to some unknown land, or unfortunately, have passed away.

Yesterday, I was driving when I saw a familiar face sitting by a store. I stopped and called out his name. He did recognize me. What puzzled me was his manner of speaking. It was garbled. He said he has retired. Hmm, he is only a few years my senior and I still have a good ten years from retirement. He could not have retired because he has reached that age that he has to. It just dawned on me that he must have fallen ill. Probably a stroke or something. And to think it feels just like yesterday when we would drink, play mahh jongg till the wee hours of the morning, play basketball, watch concerts, etc. He was once one of the village toughies who drove his own vehicle, wore fancy clothes, and much to my envy, was popular with the girls.

Then it dawned on me. Most of the guys who we felt were toughies and who, we youngsters looked up to, are either retired now or are dead. It feels like time has caught up with them. Time does have a way of equalizing things. While I hate to sound judgmental, the only reason I can think of to make sense of all these is that they have seen their heyday at a very early age and as a result, did not see it relevant to study hard and take care of themselves. They have not learned that nothing in this life is permanent. That nothing is immune to change and that if we did not worry about the future, the future will not be good to us. There is a very good ad on cable that says something like, "be good to the geek for someday, he will be your employer."

I don't want to sound preachy but I would like to address my younger readers. You may be laughing at someone now for he looks like a nerd, or that he dresses up lousy, or that he/she may seem to be a square for he/she does not go out with you to join parties till the break of dawn. But if you do not watch it, he/she may be a lot better off than you are in the future. Don't wait for things to happen. Let things happen for you. Take it from me. I learned about this the hard way and probably too late.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

His Favorite Mounds

The recent typhoons that sent students home in floody waters and made them stay home from Wednesday to Friday is not all that bad - at least to me. Well, for one thing, staying in bed for more hours than usual is most welcome. And being able to watch tv at anytime I wanted - perfect! But even then, I knew I had to be productive. So, what could I do better than pick up my brush and my oils and paint. I have been meaning to this painting for a long time although time wouldn't allow me. So I did! I finished this last Saturday and all it needs now is my signature. I will have to wait for the paint to dry. This is entitled "His Favorite Mounds". Hope you like it.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thoughtful Blogger Award

Isn't it ironic that officials of the DepEd just don't seem to learn their lesson from past mistakes. Yes, the government agency who takes care of everything that pertains to education, ergo, learning! Just exactly a week ago, I was ranting about the DepEd's late decision to call-off classes because they keep on relying on our weather bureau's forecast about typhoons. Well, they're at it again. This time even worse as the suspension came at around 9:30 when all the students have already started classes. Naturally, the sudden suspension wreaked havoc as everybody dashed home only to be met by flooded streets in Manila and Makati. As a result, a huge traffic jam ensued which extended from Alabang all the way to Zobel-Roxas. That is my only reference for that is the route I take. Listening to the radio, I learned that this is so in other areas, too. Needless to say that I was a victim myself.

But I shall not rant any further. A blogger, whose ideas and opinions I have learned to respect, has awarded me this:

You may be wondering what this is about. Well, it is given to:

For those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for all of those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping others bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.

Well, I don't believe I had been much help with other blogger's design as I am not that equipped when it comes to computers but I do try to answer every comment that comes my way. And yes, I do try to make my visitors feel at home and consider how the commenter would feel before I post a response. Not for anything else but that is probably due to my Filipino nature. I consider my blog as my home in cyberspace and so I treat my commenters as guests in my real world. So far, except for one or two really nasty comments I received that prompted me to activate the "comment moderation", I have been getting really friendly people in my blog. Thanks to them, a good discussion sometimes follow which enriches my knowledge of the world and reality in general.

I think I am obliged to pass the award on. The problem is I don't bloghop as much as I used to. At any rate, there are bloggers who do respond to their commenters. These are:

Ipanema not because I am just reciprocating for having given passing me the award but because she truly deserves it.
The Ca T
Amateur Misanthrope

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

No classes!

We were already on our way to school when the Undersecretary of the DepEd went on air to announce that she is suspending classes due to inclement weather. Well, it was about time! We had to traverse floody streets, no thanks to the "competent" engineers of the city and other officials of the government who had months and months of dry spell to check out sewerages and canals to get ready for the rainy season that happens every year!

Anyway, while listening to the radio, the announcer was interviewing the mayor of Quezon City, to the point of urging him to declare no classes as most of the streets are now flooded. To his dismay, the mayor won't budge from his stance, in spite of the fact that most mayors have already suspended schools in their municipalities, using his simple logic that there is no typhoon yet and that this is just rain which happens every year anyway. When the announcer hung up, he was lambasting the mayor saying "Wala kayong maaasahan kay mayor!" (You won't expect anything from the mayor!)

I feel the mayor's logic is flawed. Yes, this is just rain and the typhoon is several miles away but the downpour is heavy since yesterday causing the streets to be flooded which may later on prove hazardous to commuters. How many times have hundreds of commuters been stranded on the streets simply due to flooded areas and because classes were suspended late? The good mayor would not even suspend classes for elementary school children? Maybe the fact that most of his constituents have to ride public vehicles, walk a long way, traverse a flooded area where manholes might have remained open did not figure in his equation. How come? Well, maybe he has his chauffered-driven car being escorted by two motorcycle cops so that he doesn't have to be bothered by a congested traffic for starters.

What is one day of school compared to the safety of school children? Why gamble? This also got me to thinking what causes the DepEd to announce a suspension late? Why leave this to the discretion of the school authorities? What do they fear by making an early announcement? That they would look like fools if the weather improves later? Why couldn't they make "safety first" a policy before anything else?

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Any bright ideas, anyone?

To my relief, Friday was declared a holiday by PGMA for whatever reason I do not need to know. It would have been a perfect day had the administration in my school did not ask the teachers to report for work just the same. Oh well, what can I do, right? Otherwise, I could have started on a new painting project I have been meaning to do, bloghop, write, and more importantly, I could have done a medical procedure where I collect my urine for 24 hours for a microalbumin test and sent it to the lab Saturday... but no, I have to go to school.

The good thing is I got to read something from Bertrand Russell a man who was very popular in the 70's. Our HS philosophy teacher, my friend, Mr. Cicero Cortel, (why do I find the name too apt?) shared to me Mr. Russell's Philosophy for Laymen which appears in Unpopular Essays.

In this article, Russell claims that civilized man has always been confronted by two main problems. These are: acquiring the knowledge and the skill required to produce tools and weapons and to encourage Nature in the production of useful animals and plants and how best to utilize our command over the forces of nature. This includes such burning issues as democracy versus dictatorship, capitalism versus socialism, international government versus international anarchy, free speculation versus authoritarian dogma. The first problem is relatively easy as we have learned to deal with it through the acquisition of skill. Science and Technology, more or less, have given us temporary solutions to our problems. We have learned to train, what Russell calls "narrow specialists".

However, things are not what they seem to be:
It will be found that increase of skill has not, of itself, insured any increase of human happiness or wellbeing. When men first learnt to cultivate the soil, they used their knowledge to establish a cruel cult of human sacrifice. The men who first tamed the horse employed him to pillage and enslave peaceable populations. When, in the infancy of the industrial revolution, men discovered how to make cotton goods by machinery, the results were horrible: Jefferson's movement for the emancipation of slaves in America, which had been on the point of success, was killed dead; child labor in England was developed to a point of appalling cruelty; and ruthless imperialism in Africa was stimulated in the hope that black men could be induced to clothe themselves in cotton goods.

Russell's article reminded me of a very nice novel by Daniel Quinn entitled
Ishmael which was given to me by my friend, Arlene's son, Stephe Tate, while we were browsing the books at National Bookstore when he came here for a visit. The novel is about a man who is educated in the ways of the world, an unorthodox view, I might add, by a gorilla, who communicates with him through mental telepathy. Here we see how the world is divided into "takers" (civilized men) and "leavers" (primitive men). I would suggest if you haven't read this novel to read it. It's quite nice.

Going back to Russell, I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, we, as a race, might have taken a wrong turn somewhere and is now employing a wrong system both politically and economically. We have seen the collapse of Marxism and the Berlin wall. We continue to experiemce the pitfalls of capitalism. We have seen how too much money has turned teen agers like NIcole Ritchie and friend Paris HIlton has turned into wrecks. Well, at least, they are in a society which somehow do not condone their unruly behavior. They will have to serve time in the slammer if only for a short period of time. How many powerful men and women have escaped the hands of the law in a country that is run by corrupt men and women?

We have seen how much basketball stars, playing and doing their thing earn millions of pesos while the unfortunate has to scour the depths of rich man's trash just to find food to put in their mouths. If only we have learned to level the playing field. Maybe it is high time for a new world order. We can probably re-invent the wheel, what i think is the device that brouhgt about the industrial revolution,which in turn, true to its fashion, set the "wheels" in motion for capitalism to take over, and start anew. What it is and how escapes me now and I fear will continue to escape me till my death. But somehow, I feel there is a need for a change in paradigm as our attempts for a peaceful, happy world remains elusive until now.


Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
Posted by Hello
Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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