August 2007

We’ve become a nation too easily slighted, unfortunately by views na minsan totoo din naman. I feel sorry for malu fernandez for not knowing better. But it seems she has taken her humble pie even if she chokes on it. One thing I deplore is the call for a public apology when in fact what the “mob” was clamoring for was a public humiliation. And for some, even that didn’t seem enough. In one blog the author even recounted how her family (husband and children) dug into their meal with “more zest upon hearing about Fernandez’s more subdued apology and resignation.” Then adds, “I didn’t realize, until tonight, that my family’s been asking for this as much as I’ve been.” I find it sad that children get involved in such displays of (misplaced) anger and hate.

If we can summon outrage over a “socialite’s” snobbish behavior, then how come we keep silent about matters that hound our country even more —like corruption, the extra judicial killings, the declining state of education, unemployment, poverty— the very factors that contribute to the growing number of OFWs. If only that outrage could be channeled into making our public officials more accountable, I’m certain it would move our country forward by leaps and bounds.


The first time an angel heard the devil’s laughter, he was dumbfounded. That happened at a feast in a crowded room, where the devil’s laughter, which is terribly contagious, spread from one person to another. The angel clearly understood that such laughter was directed against God and against the dignity of his works. He knew that he must react swiftly somehow, but felt weak and defenseless. Unable to come up with anything of his own, he aped his adversary. Opening his mouth, he emitted broken, spasmodic sounds in the higher reaches of his vocal range, but giving them an opposite meaning: whereas the devil’s laughter denoted the absurdity of things, the angel on the contrary meant to rejoice over how well ordered, wisely conceived, good and meaningful everything here below was.

Thus the angel and the devil faced each other and, mouths wide open, emitted nearly the same sounds, but each one’s noise expressed the absolute opposite of the other’s. And seeing the angel laugh, the devil laughed all the more, all the harder, and all the more blatantly, because the laughing angel was infinitely comical.

Laughable laughter is disastrous. Even so, the angels have gained something from it. They have tricked us with a semantic imposture. Their imitation of laughter and (the devil’s) original laughter are both called by the same name. Nowadays we don’t even realize that the same external display serves two absolutely opposed internal attitudes. There are two laughters, and we have no word to tell one from the other.

from Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

I am, of course, rooting for the devil here. Heehee. I remember reading this book while waiting for some documents at the Securities and Exchange Commission some years ago. Conjuring the scene where the devil and the angel faced each other trying to out-laugh the other, in my mind, was so funny I laughed out loud —to the surprise of the people sitting beside me at that time. I could only gesture at the book but they weren’t interested in that, they simply considered me a nut.

Today this reminds me of Kronk in the animated movie, The Emperor’s New Groove. When faced with a dilemma, Kronk’s shoulder angel and shoulder devil appears and —this being a GP movie— the angel’s advice triumphs. But not without making the angel seem ridiculous, trite, and ultimately boring— first.

I don’t think anyone would readily admit it, but aren’t we really drawn more to the devil? Ok, not meaning to scare anyone (including myself), so think Gary Larson’s The Far Side and its humorous depiction of Hell, Satan, the nerds in Hell…makes so much better copy di ba? Or Neil Gaiman’s Season of Mists where Lucifer simply abdicates his reign over Hell. He was simply tired of it all, Lucifer tells Dream. He does quit and decides to be a beach bum. In a later story of The Sandman where this story is intricately weaved (The Sandman is a comic book series), Lucifer has become a nightclub pianist— “…the only good nightclub pianist I’ve ever heard.”, says one character. He won’t play the song, “Memories”, though. A song which Lucifer finds “entirely devoid of interest. The melody is trite, while the awkward paraphrases of lesser Eliot poems in the lyrics are grating in the extreme.” How’s that for a reply to a song request?

I’m starting to stray big time, but I do think you get my drift. (But do read The Sandman series, it’s one hell of an experience.)

Today I decided not to pick a fight with someone, and this decision has left a very bad taste in my mouth. This time it seems keeping my cool and letting diplomacy rule the day was going against my better judgment. Alas, the deed is done. And I have committed to a compromise. I hate it.

The first time I saw the latest San Miguel beer commercial with Jet Li in it, I told myself I gotta have a beer. A San Mig Pale Pilsen beer. Luckily the next day I met with an old friend, who warned me in advance that due to a presentation he had to finish, he couldn’t drink during our little occasion. Well, I had work to finish later that night too but of course I insisted. Syempre bigay pugay kay Jet Li. So I accomplished that but ended up with a headache when I got home (maybe because I downed just one bottle).

Too bad Jet Li says, “Gweyt beer.” in the end which kinda ruins it for me. But I’m still a fan.

are people who refuse to say goodbye.

If only getting rid of troublesome people were as easy as deleting them from your phone directory, or contacts from YM or Gmail.

If only our memory was simply a list where we could choose which ones to remove completely. (pero may option pa rin to “recover” ala recycle bin, just in case.)

You know this scene: life is happening at its normal pace and then suddenly it slows down as all your senses simply focus on one particular thing, or event, or person—then zooms right back to reality.

On my way to meet my friend at the Edsa Shangri-la, I was navigating the unfamiliar lobby in search for the hotel phone when from out of nowhere I see Quentin Tarantino, a huge guy (I’m a small person) in black shirt and denims. For a second, I am out of the Matrix as time goes into slow motion as I watch him walk past me, and in the next second I am walking again, quite dumbfounded and starstruck. In that slow second my mouth must have hung open.

It wasn’t really my intention to blog about it until I read Conrad de Quiros’ Kewl column today. I have to agree that it’s film makers like Tarantino that make people want to make their own (short) film or even just dream of making one.

I particularly like the part where de Quiros said,

I myself think Tarantino has more lessons to impart to aspiring moviemakers than that, though the other lessons are more subtle.

Chief of them is something people who have become really good at what they do will always tell you: It takes hard work to make things look easy. It takes a lot of effort to make something look natural. The trick in art lies in hiding the hard work and the effort, or else it is neither art nor artifice, but that doesn’t mean the work or effort isn’t there.

I would like to dare say that I can relate and understand what de Quiros said completely. But I am too shy to explain further. And I don’t want to risk na magbuhat ng sariling bangko. I’m simply glad that I can always count on de Quiros to put into words what people lack the guts —or the intelligence or the talent— to say. To me, that makes him infinitely the kewl-est.