Sunday, July 28, 2013

This Rain Quote

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Oh, the pain.
The pain.
It always rains.
In my soul.

- John Green

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Of Letters F's and P's

The end of the PHILIPPINES?

One of the current bones of contention in the cultural and political aspect of our country is the urge of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino to replace the country's name from Philippines or Pilipinas to Filipinas.

If "Philippines" is a vestige of continuing American imperialism, then logically "Filipinas" is a symbol of Spanish colonialism. Truth be told in the first place that it was a Spanish conqueror who named our islands as "Filipinas" in honor for their king.

For me, with so many fuss surrounding this issue, the three names - Philippines, Filipinas, and Pilipinas - are as valid as anyone's opinion. We just have to use them in the proper context - Philippines in English; Filipinas in Spanish; Pilipinas in our own.

By still using "Pilipinas" and not "Filipinas" in our local parlance, we indiginized the original Spanish name by writing and uttering it in the comfort of our native tongue, that is by using P instead of F - a letter that did not exist in our original alphabet and does not exist so much in our present manner of speaking.

We adopted "Pilipinas" from the original spelling because we wanted an identity that is uniquely our own - a sign that though we cannot deny a colonial past, we still embrace an independent present. Nothing has to be changed at all - nothing really in the stamps, documents, universities.

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As a conclusion, I stick to this rule:

Say PHILIPPINES in the international usage. Say FILIPINAS if you are in the Spanish world. Say PILIPINAS when you are speaking in the native tongue.

And by stating that rule, I may just declare: Longlive Philippines! Viva Filipinas! Mabuhay Pilipinas!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happiness is...

In order to be truly happy, one doesn't need everything in the world. Appreciating simple things around and noticing the positive side of life is what makes life truly happy despite its flaws. This I realize in a typical day of my rigors in school. As a teacher, I find meaning of happiness this way...

Happiness is... the gentle flame that burns
The water in the pot boiling as it turns;

Happiness is... the sprinkling frost on hair
Upon a foggy and chilly air;

Happiness is... the perfect beating
Of national anthem as everyone sing;

Happiness is... the chorus of greeting
That children say in the morning;

Happiness is... helping a kid read a line
And fighting sleep at the same time;

Happiness is... a board work of numbers
But realizing the delight of the learners;

Happiness is... the buzzer when it rings
And the sound of putting away things;

Happiness is... a neat pile of stick brooms 
Before cleaners go to their own homes;
Happiness is... the sweet song of flower
That cold zephyr blows through the hill;

Happiness is... a pair of warm knee socks
Knitted with the soft thread of twilight;

And happiness is... simply coming to terms
With life's odds and burns.

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What about your own happiness, too?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

And Jo In Sung is Back!

Caught between deceit and love, which will you follow?

This is the story of the new drama series entitled THAT WINTER THE WIND BLOWS. I don't have enough leisure time to follow the show that has started though, but as from the initial views that I had, I think it will be a hit as it unfolds more. 

What I like more of the show is the come back of Jo In Sung who I admire first in his sensational role in MEMORIES OF BALI. He physically looks older, but I guess it did nothing with his acting prowess that is better matured here.

Jo In Sung plays the role of a bad boy who wanders a meaningless life and was involved in a dirty game with a gambling lord. As a desperate attempt in order to pay his debts, he was left without an option but to pretend as the long lost brother of a heiress whom he will later fall in love with.

Set during the winter season as the title puts it neatly, I have this feeling that it will be all summer in every nook and cranny as the story goes on that beautiful conflict between deceit and love.

Catch the show on ABSCBN primetime!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Grass of Imelda Marcos

When somebody mentions General Santos City, the visual imagery that comes in my mind is that of wide plains of yellow creeping plants. 

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These weeds are locally called "imelda grass" and "yellow creepers". It has small leaves, yellow petals, and spiny nuts. In college, I remember avoiding them on the way to the university for its sharp thorns especially during summer season when they thrive most. 

Ican also be found in some parts of the world, notably in arid and hot places. A legend says that the plant was pegged from Imelda Marcos who bought and thought it would thrive best in the once barren area of General Santos City for its warm climate.

Aside form the tuna, why not make this peculiar golden plant a symbol of the city? I have never seen them in any place around the region.

Friday, July 12, 2013

An Autism Novel Worth Reading

How much has our society developed in terms of awareness and acceptance of autism?

The fiction novel entitled HOUSE RULES written by Jodi Picoult is about the struggles of a differently able person and of selfless people around who embraced Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning developmental disorder often included in the autism spectrum.

Such is the condition of Jacob Hunt who lives with his mother Emma and brother Theo. He resists changes in routine, a typical characteristic hard to deal for persons with autism and often causes tantrums and aggressions. He is also obsessed with forensic investigations, a bee in the bonnet that later brought him into a conflict.

Jess Ogilvy is a college student whose field involves children with autism. She worked for Jacob as a social skills therapist and the two later formed a genuine friendship. When she was killed, initial evidences like fingerprints led to Jacob pointing him as the murderer. A case went to trial. The prosecutor, having little awareness, misconceived the symptoms of condition of Jacob like little eye contact as signs of guilt.

At the peak of the story, Jacob confesses to having been involved in the case by moving the body of his tutor and setting the scene anew to lead the investigation to a different direction. A form of satisfaction to his innate obsession on crime scenes aside, Jacob realizes that it was a part fault of his brother Theo.

Personally, having had encounters as a SpEd teacher handling children with autism, I could relate so much to the characteristics of Jacob like hand flapping, picky eating, literal understanding, unusual fears, etc. I've had a student before who, like Jacob, exhibit jargoning, a language mostly picked from movies used by children with autism when they are at loss for words to express.

My heart honestly goes to the genuine presentation of the character of Emma for her struggle in raising a child with autism and a single working parent at that. It was a mother's compassion and strength that she could selflessly exchange her own life for the person she calls her family.

The novel is also a very timely enlightenment. It showed the bare bones of what really the persons with autism and their families experience in reality. The misunderstanding and discrimination brought by the condition of Jacob are still very true of today's attitude of the society toward persons with autism. And these all has to come an end.

However, while the author obviously made an extensive and careful study in order to understand the special condition and make Jacob a realistic character, it turned out that her attempt to expound the world peculiar to the condition sounded too much of a lecture rather than an implicit conversation between the writer and the reader.

As much as the author also wanted to give a background on each manifestation of the symptom for readers who might not understand the pieces of the disorder, she almost attributed all the manifestations to the extreme, crafting a character in double emphasis - too not typical of the too not typical persons with autism.

As a whole, this novel will surely touch the hearts of parents, siblings, teachers and therapists of children with autism. It particularly showed the impact of autism in the family life and the effort of people around to stand above the situation. 

I encourage not only the people acquainted to the special community, but also the general populace to read this wonderful novel. We need more hands in spreading the autism awareness and acceptance of them as special pieces of our diverse society.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Late Movie Review for Up

Better late than never? Think again.

I watched the fresh release of the movie entitled UP three years ago. I was in Davao City that time, spending a weekend from my training in special education. Even if I really loved the movie that I wanted to pen a review, blogging wasn't a slice of my life that time yet.

What brought me into putting this movie review three years after is that I happened to watch it last Sunday on the idiot box. As I have always said, I'm not a movie buff. It was chance that the movie was featured and I was having my usual weekend online check, so I thought of writing this.

The movie was inspired from the creative geniuses behind the animated movies and it was not the usual spinning of the yarn. While the movie was all fantastical, it conveyed depths of human life. I laughed out loud. I cried a bucket. I thought in pensive.

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The movie tells the story of an old man named Carl, whose beloved better half Ellie has passed away. His frustration is that he was not able to fulfill taking his wife to visit her dream destination in South America. Willing to fix this broken dream whole, he fills his house full of helium balloons and deploys them out of his chimney, tearing his house from its foundation and bringing it southwards. 

However, on his way to his destination, he finds out that a young explorer named Russell slipped on board in an attempt to help him, as such win his boy scout “Assisting the Elderly” badge. Together, the two form a rough relationship as each of them reach their respective goals.

As a movie civilian, it was effective. There was never a scene that didn't excite or affect my strings. The animation was wizardly. The scenes were amazing in its own way in fantasy as it would in its own right in reality. And the music was also superb. It added life effectively to the movie, like making sad scenes sadder.

However, the movie was somewhat "bipolar" if this term is appropriate for what I mean.  At the prelude of the movie, one would relate to real emotions - the joys and sorrows of humanity. Then, one would be taken to the adventurous imaginations - the possibilities and weirdness of fantasy. In the end, the movie seemed depressive and manic in the swing of the story teller's mood.

Moreover, I would just suggest a parental guidance on underage viewers because of some violence and ferocity incorporated in the conflict of the movie plot. These must be usual elements for conflict development, but for a cartoon movie with children as huge market, just enough might be too much.

As a whole, I like UP more. It may have some downs but it is effective. It really gave me glimpses of both worlds of young and old, of reality and fantasy, of happiness and sorrow. And perhaps its greatest impact in me is the lesson it tells that: Life must always go on. 

With 10 as the highest, a brownie 9 for UP!