Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can you guess what this is?

This blog was about three months old when I did my first translation of a well-known opus into Filipino. Much to my surprise, it earned a lot of praises that my friend Batjay even made a recording and had another close friend, blogger awardee Toni blogging about it

Guess what? I did another one. But before I post it, I intended to put a link of Toni's efforts here to show my appreciation for her kind words about my post. I was looking for the entry she did and since I did not want to bother her by asking her to dig into her files, I tried to find the entry myself using google. Lo and behold, I found out that it has been plagiarized by a certain Candy as early as 2007. You'll find it here. I already posted a comment on the entry asking her to take it off her blog as it is not only illegal as it is immoral. Hopefully, she will accede to my request.

Anyway, here is my second translation. This is a villanelle I tried keeping the form while being true to the color and tone of the poem. Just like my first attempt, this is being posted in its early stages. I'm sure there will be some more revisions as I find more apt words just like the one I did with the Desiderata. Can you tell me what the original poem is and who wrote it? There is no prize if you get it correctly. Not even bragging rights, hehe.

Huwag kang susuko sa pagdating ng takipsilim

Huwag kang susuko sa pagdating ng takipsilim
Dapat dumakdak at mag-alab ang tumanda sa dapithapon
Magalit ka, magalit sa pagsapit ng dilim

Kahit pa ang matatalino’y tanggap ang kulimlim
Dahil ang kanilang salita’y di nagdulot ng ingay sa maghapon
Hindi sila sumusuko sa pagdating ng takipsilim.

Ang huli sa matitino’y kumakaway at nagbibilin
Umaasang kanilang ginawa’y parating iaahon
Magagalit sila, magagalit sa pagsapit ng dilim.

Mga naligaw ng landas na nagbunyi sa kanilang awitin
Huli na nang malamang buhay nila’y kanilang itinapon
Hindi sila sumusuko sa pagdating ng takipsilim

Ang mga maselan, sa kamataya’y kinakapos man ang paningin
Bulag na mga mata’y nagliliyab tulad ng isang bulalakaw sa nayon
Magagalit sila, magagalit sa pagsapit ng dilim.

At ikaw ama, duon sa mataas at malungkot na bangin
Sumumpa, basbasan mo ng luha aking panalangin ngayon
Huwag kang susuko sa pagdating ng takipsilim
Magalit ka, magalit, sa pagsapit ng dilim

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My friend Glennis

Since I began taking interest in poetry and learning how to write it, I have befriended a lot of poets around the globe. One of them is Canadian poetGlenda Hobbs, who has always been very gracious to give kind comments and useful feedback to my poetry everytime I posted something in our group. For one reason or another, I call her Glennis and never got the habit of calling her Glenda. She has several books to her name and together with her husband, Harry who has published two novels under his belt, make the rounds of Canada for poetry readings and promoting their books. Her poetry is usually about her hometown Flin Flon, Manitoba, her family and ancestors, and her cats. It was also through her that my poem "Mr. Right" was included in "Idiots of the World: Think", an anthology of short stories and poems compiled by Sable Bennett in 2002.

I first met her and her husband in person when I was invited by our common friend Arlene. It was then that I realized I can pull it off as a poet. hehe It was also then that I met several other friends who flew in from the States to meet with us. These were Tom Spencer and his wife Kathy from Indiana, Molly Critchlow from Washington, Karli Shanklin and her hubby Alfredo, who is a FilAm from nearby Seattle. Since we were all there, Arlene figured it would have been cool for us to give a poetry reading in Steveston so she made all the preparations prior to our arrival. On the eve of the reading, we were singing songs after dinner and enjoying the view at the balcony. Harry's memory is amazing. He knows practically all the lyrics of all the songs we sang while I labored over the chords figuring it out on my folk guitar.

The reading was a success. People did actually come to listen. After the reading, our gracious host thought it would be cool for me and my wife to experience an off season thanksgiving party. Everybody tossed in. If my memory serves me right, Karli brought a dozen pies, Molly brought cranberry sauce, Kathy mashed potatoes and brusselsprouts while Arlene cooked a huge turkey in the oven while Nitz cooked the rice. Those were such happy times I shall remember the rest of my life. Anyway, I digressed.

I was invited again to come to Canada twice and everytime, Glennis and Harry would be there to welcome me even if that meant they would have to fly in from Manitoba and stay in a hotel for some days. Just the same, we would all be together in Arlene's house until the wee hours of the morning. Such a sweet friend, here's something she has written coming out from one of those soirees. Glenda's poem

Monday, September 15, 2008

Having to see Tagaytay twice

Last Saturday, I was invited to give a class to grade schoolers in Lemery, Batangas. The school is a small one but it is very promising with my ninong Moie and Ninang Melba at the helm. It turns out that it was their family fun day and lots of fun was had indeed. What I want with a small school is that it seems like the people are more dedicated to teaching. None of those office politics you see in big, established institutions.

My day started very early as Lemery is some two hours away from Alabang. I left the house at around 4:30 am and was picked up by my ninong's nephew who was a former student of mine. We then proceeded to pick up a dog trainer and his belgian milinois Sid, who was as gentle as a lamb.

As we were still experiencing the tail end of typhoon Marce, we were accompanied by rain and the road was very slippery. But that did not deter the driver from speeding onto traffic which made me step on an invisible brake a couple of times. The road to Lemery, as I expected was foggy.

The children were adorable. They used the paint without any inhibitions. There was a stage mother who was instructing her kid. "Not too much water, sweetheart." I just managed a smile and let the child be on her own element.

When the class was finished, we were served a nice lunch and were on our way back home.

The following day, I was on the road again, this time with my siblings and my nephew who was to ask the parents of his girlfriend for her hand in marriage. Tagalogs call this event "pamanhikan". As was customary, we brought food with us. We brought several "relyenong bangus" and "kare-kare" which will be cooked entirely at the girlfriend's house as it might spoil on the way. When we arrived at the place, it turns out the family was preparing food themselves. We were about to have an actual feast!

I was a little worried that there might be some demands from the family as relatives are present, too. It turned out that the father was a swell guy who, like my siblings and I, loves to read. We were offered several Discovery magazines, Reader's Digest to while away the time while the food was being prepared. My eldest sister was able to borrow about seven books! But I digressed. After lunch, we all sat down to discuss the purpose of our visit. The father did not object. As a matter of fact, he just gave his blessings and left it to the couple to decide on their own. He only wished that the wedding be done in their place, for my nephew and his family to be there on the eve of the wedding "not to work or anything but to socialize with his family and relatives" which was very cool, and not too many ninongs and ninangs.

Everything went smoothly as planned. It all went well that surely, something must go awry and it did. My car lost its brakes! The good thing is that we were already in Marikina. If that happened in hilly Sta. Rosa or the SLEX, we were goners for sure! I immediately took the car to the mechanic to have it checked and we were on our way.

Just to make sure, I took the car for a thorough check-up this afternoon. The verdict, the brake pads are gone. I also had to have my caliper overhauled. Hopefully, I've seen the last of the car's problems.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Malapot na Tubig

I read a very chilling news story this morning about a young 32 year old mother who forced her children, aged 4, 3 and 2, to drink a bottle of liquid toilet bowl cleaner and having herself drink the same out of desperation due to extreme poverty, midnight of Monday in Magdalena, Laguna. This made me shiver in fright because I know that there are people in dire straits everywhere in the country and that this story can be repeated over and over again. A person with an empty stomach cannot think logically. The pangs of hunger coupled with sleepless nights is a deadly combination which can lead to depression with catastrophic effects.

What is frightening is that in a land where there are people who live in extreme poverty like ours, crime and other related activities can and will take place. The young mother, depressed and hungry could have opted to steal, join a bunch of thugs and sow terror, or resort to drug peddling like the others who have broken the law just to gain leverage in life. However, she did not choose to. Instead, she decided to end it all, depriving her kids of a life, which she was certain would have been lived in misery anyway. Whose heart would not bleed for a parent, who out of desperation, will decide to kill the little angels whom she has carried for nine months, fed, bathed and cared for lovingly in her arms? Who would not be sympathetic to a life full of misery that one would force her children to death and commit suicide herself?

In another story a justice of the appellate court has been dismissed by the Supreme Court due to grave misconduct while some of his peers were either suspended or reprimanded as a result of the battle for management control of Meralco by the Lopezes and the GSIS. Allegedly, there is a Php10M - Php50M bribe being discussed. This is nothing compared to the ZTE broadband deal which seems to have died a natural death. And to think how magnanimous in proportion the powers that be are quarelling over in that event in our history. Then I get to thinking, yes, there are people who have been numb to the sorry plight of our countrymen. They have been numbed by greed and power. We must remember that a great deal of our misfortune is brought about by corruption, an ill which our leaders seem to have perfected. A malaise which they have been afflicted with making them lose their conscience much so for the lone witness of the ZTE deal Lozada advise them to "moderate the greed."

We must face it. We are living in a country where majority of the populace is clinging to a knife for dear life. A hungry man will not care whether he goes to hell or not. How much beating can they take? There will come a time when these rich, powerful, unconscionable, sordid men and women will not have a fence too high to protect them, there will not be enough bullets for their guns to kill the multitude of people wanting to merely get a whiff of the comforts they cherish, there will not be enough cordon sanitaire to fend off thieves wanting some cash from their deep pockets and not enough armor to shield them from a hungry mob. Edwin Markham says it best in his Man with the Hoe when in the last stanza he says:

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings--
With those who shaped him to the thing he is--
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
After the silence of the centuries?

Sometime in 2005, I wrote a tagalog poem entitled Malapot na Tubig which appeared in the first chapbook produced by Pinoy Poets and in an American ezine produced by Filipino expats called Our Own Voice. Never did I know that I would be reading the same story in real life. I am republishing it here and it goes like this:

Malapot Na Tubig
Ni Rolly delos Santos

Ipikit mo ang iyong mga mata anak.
Humimlay ka sa matigas na sahig.
Pawiin mo ang mga bantulot,
Pabayaan mong liparin
mga agam-agam sa himpapawid.
Kukumutan kita ng telang manipis,
mabigyan man lamang ng konting lunas
pangangatal ng iyong mga ngipin.
Sasabayan ko ng yakap na mahigpit
nang ika'y makatulog nang ubod himbing.
Sana'y iyong patawarin
Amang hungkag at nagdarahop
Pinalaki ang iyong hubad na isipang
Walang natutunan dahil sa karalitaan.
Ininom nating malapot na tubig
tanging lunas upang mapatid ang gutom natin.
Bukas, kung sakali mang ito'y dumating
Sa langit na ang ating gising

© Rolly delos Santos

Monday, September 08, 2008

Another year older

It's officially over. I am now a year older. The only thing about being born during the last quarter of the year is that it seems like you've been just as old anyway. People count your age at the coming of the year. It is the years they find the difference to without minding the months, right. So, come January, I will already be a year older again.

This year was spent without a bang. I decided to just stay home with my family, waiting for my cellphone to ring and reply to well-wishers. There is a natural high celebrating it quietly. My loving wife who had to go on overtime yesterday went to the market very early in the morning, cooked lunch that consisted of beef kaldereta, a stewed beef which to me is like the Indian bhiryani, especially that she uses coconut milk to thicken the sauce, and, of course, pancit bihon, thin noodles cooked in soy sauce, chicken bits, assorted veggies, for long life. How simple can that get? Yet, we had a feast.

For dinner, it was my turn to cook. I cooked some seafood pasta and I think it went well, too. Although I haven't exactly perfected the recipe as it seem to be wanting of something, we had a good dinner.

Actually, the splurging was done last Friday. Hubby and wife, Ollie and Kathy are also celebrating their birthdays this month and decided we should all go to Wensha Spa. Now, if you haven't been there yet, I think it would be a good idea to treat yourself and your wife/partner for once. It's with all the amenities of a spa like jacuzzi, steam and sauna baths, a one-hour massage and an eat-all-you-can feature - all available for an eight-hour stay.

I arrived at the place around eight and my friends were already eating. I started with rice, chicken and vegetables. The penne pesto (well, it seemed like it was pesto) didn't seem delectable as it looked too dry. After that, we splurged on shabu-shabu. We had all those meat and fish ball thingies, thin white noodles, vegetables and whatever we can throw on the broth.

We chatted awhile then decided to part with the ladies and take a shower. Us guys went to the steam bath where we stayed about twenty minutes. We also tried the sauna bath but I was right in front of the huge furnace and couldn't stand it. Then off we went for a massage. We were lucky to be given a room exactly for the three of us. After the massage, we went out again in our robes, (it was very comfortable) and met the ladies to eat some more. We went home around 1:30 am. And we have not touched a single alcohol! That's another new in our long list of agenda everytime we went out. That was fun. We sure will be doing it again. See you there soon!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Buwan ng Wika

Lubos na naiiba ang nakaraang Biyernes sa aming paaralan. Sa unang pagkakataon, naisipan ng administrasyon na ipagdiwang ang buwan ng wika sa naiibang paraan. Nuong mga taong nakalipas, naalala ko pa na talagang nagmimistulang piyesta ang huling araw ng pagdiriwang at ang bawat silid aralan na napalalamutian ng mga banderitas, ay napupuno ng kung anu-anong pagkaing pilipino. Mayruon pang nagdadala ng isang buong lechon, umaapaw na pansit, manok, kaldereta, at kung anu-ano pa. Subalit tulad ng pagdiriwang namin ng pasko, sumusobra ang handang pagkain sa bawat silid at ito ay kadalasang nasisira lamang o itinatapon matapos maipamigay ang sobra. Alangang namang pilit naming kainin at ubusin ang natira hanggang sa kami ay maimpatso, hindi ba? Kaya naman unti-unti namin itong pinalitan ng kung ano pa ang makapagbibigay tingkad sa pagseselebra ng wikang pambansa. Kaya nga, nuong Biyernes, naisipan nilang gawin itong isang mala-costume party kung saan ang bawat isa ay kinailangang pumasok ng paaralan sa kasuotang tunay na pilipino. Isama na rito ang iba't-ibang palabas at pagtutunggali katulad ng G. Lakan at Bb. Lakambini, sabayang pagbigkas at ang eksebisyon ng iba't-ibang pagdiriwang na ginaganap sa bansa tulad ng Ati-atihan, Sinulog, Dinagyang, Pintados atbp, kung saan naglaban laban ang mga piling grupo ng ikatlo at ikapat na lebel ng hayskul. Ang grupo ng aking bunso na nagpakita ng Kadayawan ang nagwagi ng unang gantimpala.

Ang sarap ding pagmasdan ng bawat isa sa kani-kanyang suot. Mayruong dumating na nakadamit muslim at napakamakulay ng kanilang kasuotan. May mga dumating na nakasuot panabong, ngunit walang dalang manok, (marahil ay kinain na), may dumating na naka katipunero (tulad ni Mr. Elloso na kumpletos rekados pati na ang suksukan ng baril at sumbalilo), may dumating na Ifugao, sabay na pakita ng "Php10.00 bawat litrato", may ilang Don Santiago delos Santos, Kabesang Tales at kung sinu-sino pa. Mistulang kamangha-mangha ay ang aming bagong Presidente na dumating na naka gwardiya-sibil na ayon sa aking mga kaibigan ay tunay na kasuotan nuong unang panahon. Ang ganda ng kanyang helmet na suut-suot. DAhil ako ay hindi masyadong mapangahas sa mga ganitong bagay, minabuti ko na lang na mag-barong. Ang biro ko nuon sa kanila ay mag-aamerikana ako. Hindi ba't sila Jose Rizal naman ay nakaganitong kasuotan? Nang sinabi nilang hindi daw pwede, sabi ko naman ay huwag silang mag-alala't ako nama'y naka-bahag sa ilalim, tulad ng mga kapatid natin sa Benguet at Baguio. Ano nga kaya't ginawa ko ito. Ang ganda ng pagtanggap dun sa isang pinuno na dumating ng naka-bahag nuon sa huling SONA ni GMA, hindi ba?

Tunay na napakaganda ng ating kultura. Sayang nga lamang at tayo ay lubusan nang naimpluwensiyahan ng mga banyaga, lalo pa't ginawa nila tayong mamimili imbis na maging taga-gawa. Tsinelas na lang, kailangan pang iangkat natin mula sa Brazil upang tayo ay magmukhang kagalang-galang sa ibang tao. Ilan sa ating mga kababayan ang gumagasta ng malaki upang sila ay pumuti at tumangos ang ilong? Bakit kailangang magkulay mais ang buhok ng ilan sa atin na kung tingnan ko naman ay hindi naman bagay sa ating kayumangging kulay? Para sa akin kasi, nakakahihiya ang magpumilit maging isang hindi naman tunay na ikaw.