Hi! I’m Mona Lisa. Welcome.

If you already know what a “sacada” (contractual workers in a plantation) and a “fractal” are, then I want to say immediately that I am neither a sacada nor a mathematics expert. This blog is not about the plight of the field laborers in the sugar industry nor about the wonderful world of fractional dimensions.

On my blog’s name:

  • A sacada, in my home island Negros in the Philippines at least, is a seasonal laborer in the sugarcane fields. The sacada came to exist when centuries ago the world powers engaged in a race to produce sugar in bulk. The sacada is among the least privileged in my society, and hence in the world.

To give us a better idea of the suffering of the sacada, may I direct you to the following links. The first two are articles, and the third is a book.

(1.)  This one is a news article:  https://www.bulatlat.com/2017/03/29/sacadas-journey-freedom-exploitation/

(2.)  This one is a 2017 article in the website of the Philippine government’s Department of Agrarian Reform:  https://www.dar.gov.ph/articles/news/100513

(3.)  This one is a book, copyrighted in 1993 by The Regents of the University of California:

  • Lang means only or just.  Hence, Sacada Lang = only a seasonal laborer in the sugarcane fields, or, just a sacada.
  • sa = tocada = each;   sa cada lang = to each only, or, intended for individuals.
  • saca = to ascenddalang = to wander aimlessly.
  • because life is a fractal … eherm … one thing I’m sure: a fractal has a fractional dimension. (Please read what I wrote about it HERE). It requires mathematical jargon to be able to say more than that about it (sorry, “fractional dimension” is already jargon, but there’s no other way to say it… peace…), jargon that I’ve said goodbye to while I was about to enter its threshold. The mathematician who introduced me to it has, magnificently, become a psychologist (More about this, and fractals, too, in an unforeseen future post 🙂 )
  • That belonged to another lifetime of mine. But, thankfully, I’ve retained my fascination of fractals, or the visual depiction of it, to be more specific. In lieu of words, therefore, I give you illustrations. Viel Spaß!
romanesco broccoli / cauliflower
life is a fractal

A New Bridge Between the Geometry of Fractals and the Dynamics of Partial Synchronization

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On why I chose these names.

Because I grew up in Negros Occidental, then I cannot detach myself from the reality of the sacada. Though I am not personally acquainted with one, nor with anybody whose family owns a sugar plantation, I have enjoyed the prosperity and suffered the proverty of a city (Bacolod City) that both progressed as well as oppressed so many families and individuals because of the presence of the sugar industries for many decades now. I decry the plight of the sacada without having to advocate any ideology nor be part of an organization that identifies itself as its voice. Like them, I am also a common person, an everyday person, whose livelihood is subject to the whims of that bigger organization holding the purse strings, without which we’d find it difficult to provide food for our families. So that sometimes we are pressured to kowtow to the system or perform some little system dance so that our dependents don’t go destitute.

To “saca” or to rise up is our collective hope as humanity. We aspire to better our lot, to rise to the higher levels of perception and risk-taking, so that we may understand more what being a human is, so that we are able to grasp the essence of happiness with integrity, so that we are able to appreciate better our short stay here on earth as thriving entities.

For many of us, including myself, it takes a while, many times a long time, before we are sure of our way, before we stop wandring around wondering if we’re on the right track. We “dalang,” gadalang, losing our way many times in our lives.

I believe that our individual lives is a microcosm of the larger out there, even of the universe itslef. Justice transcends the size of entities and the scope of time. So does thriving and struggling and stress and unfairness. So does belongingness and tenacity and cooperation and adaptation. The most basic of matter (we know of the string, so far) is as grandiose as the biggest we suspect of out there, systems of galaxies expanding in multiverses.

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H O D G E P O D G E.

Welcome to my personal venue for attempts at expressing intuitive introspections ** … a place for concretizing glimpses of reality … reflexive loops here and there to mark passages … a little beacon in consonance to all lights emanating from Earth …  

My worldview is of the Orient but I grew up believing that only of the West’s matters (really). Of course this isn’t true at all and I’m thankful that I’ve lived long enough to discover it. It was not my parents’ nor my grandparents’ nor my teachers’ fault. It’s just how it was. It’s an area we Filipinos have a blind spot on. It’s just how world events went. It’s historical, global. Life. Reality. Shikataganai.

As a child I remember being mesmerized by a bunch of television seriesCombat, Hawaii Five-O, Starsky and Hutch, Six-Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman, Tarzan, Batman and Robin, Sesame Street, others I can’t recall, and that very moving movie Lost in the Desert. They all helped my ear get attuned to a language that many in the world today still work hard at learning. I’m thankful that I’ve lived long enough to realize that I have been taking this skill, the capability to communicate using a foreign language, for granted.On the other hand, as children we were forbidden to read Tagalog komiks, forbidden to watch Tagalog programs or dramas, much less those in my mother tongue, Hiligaynon. I can read English texts better than Pilipino ones (Pilipino or Filipino is the formalized structure of Tagalog, but for common usage they’re basically equivalent. However, if asked what the national language is, the answer is Filipino). My Hiligaynon reading skills was, and is, even worse. It’s maddening to realize that I have never been encouraged to love my mother tongue — which, I think, is the primary manifestation of a worldview. Thankfully it’s not too late for me and the likes of me. One day I’m gonna write something totally in Hiligaynon and I would put my heart into it. One day I’m gonna come home.

Though, come to think of it, perhaps I already have come home. Now that I have started to look at myself I have also begun to look at the “other”. Perhaps the jumble of ideas coming into this blog is a manifestation of my random grappling for road signs as I explore this home. It’s true that I can start to look at the forest now that I have distanced myself from the trees. Isn’t it that though Earth is home the universe, too, is home? (When in the future another universe is discovered then logically this universe we are in will get to have a proper name, too.) Though the Visayas is my home, the global community, too, is home to me. And all wo/men are the same. Man’s heart is not affected by time and space. Man is just man. He has always been man. He will remain as man. Any man can be good or bad, selfish or generous, happy or sad, regardless of where he is, or when.

I believe that one day everything will turn out okay. There will be a new earth. But it won’t be something like what we can imagine. It won’t be something that man can do.     It will be totally new, and it will be wonderful.I have hope to be in that new earth one day. By that time everyone present will feel at home.     There will be no alienation anymore — no separation from another, the “other” will not exist anymore. No quarrels. No discrimination. No competition. No fear. No ‘distort’-full urgency for survival…

2Feb2015 UPDATE:  In view of the atrocities rocking global Islam now, I would like to remind you, dear reader, that these madmen who are besmirching Islam are condemned by all who uphold life, REGARDLESS OF FAITH AND NATIONALITY. They claim they are Muslim yet they inflict the most violent acts against peacefully living Muslims without reason at all. I have Muslim cousins and I pray for their utter safety against the lies of these madmen. I would like to add that my best friend is an American, a most beloved person to me. [This is to say that labelling of whatever manner doesn’t make sense. My post, here, says something on “nationality”.] With these said, I bid you enjoy my blog. I love you all.

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 (The following note was added on 30.Aug.2013.) 

** Good morning to you. Thanks for reading this far. My posts cannot be classified into a single type. I had no concrete plan when I started this blog. I only wanted to learn how to blog. It took me a while to figure out the basic ins and outs of it. That’s the reason why I had no posts after that first attempt in 2012. This blog is just a sort of a scrapbook or a quasi-diary. I’m taking a free hand with what I could put in here provided I never claim as mine what isn’t. I’m very thankful to everyone whose visual creations appear all over my blog. Please just let me know if you’d prefer them removed. I’m sorry that I was too lazy to mark where I got them. Thanks for your generosity!

My primary aim is self-expression in the hopes that another soul benefits from what I could come up with. The fact that I have here some on South Korean Dramas and Movies is that they have helped me a lot in getting on and I’m happy that I discovered them. I’m not an expert on the cinema, and not even a regular customer. I was familiar with American-generated films only — not seen too many nor addicted to them, but now not as interested in them anymore. However, hopefully I’ll get the chance soon to dig for distinguished old or independent Filipino films, with the aim of understanding my kababayan (fellow countryman) better.

May the God of the wonderful creation bless your heart.I wish you the life that your soul hungers for. I wish you love and health. Mabuhay po sila at maraming salamat po!  

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


6 thoughts on “About

  1. Dear Mona Lisa,

    I let myself drifted to your blog from the other one called “PERSPECTIVES -so to live fully-” at withmonalisa, and found this one so compelling that I have become your latest follower by subscribing to your blog entitled “sacada lang: sa cada lang . saca . dalang . life is a fractal.”. You have indeed achieved a great deal in your “mixture of thoughts on this and that … [and your] trying to understand the way Wolfhart Pannenberg talks about reality, is at the beginning of digging up theological discussions that have to do with the Sinaitic stipulation to honor one’s parents, and simply wishes “to go home and plant camote.”

    Wishing you a productive week doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most!

    May you find the rest of 2021 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking and composing whatever posts that take your intellectual fancy or show off your spiritual flight with flair!

    Congratulations to you on successfully changing one of your WordPress settings so that you only need to manually approve the very first comment of a commenter, and subsequent comments are automatically approved. May you also succeed in doing the same for this blog, if you so wish.

    As mentioned yesterday, I have just published a new post combining poetry, visual art and science in an innovative way.

    Please come and let me know what you make of my latest foray at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2021/08/25/snowflakes-tell-me-why-you-are/

    Thank you in anticipation.

    Yours sincerely,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear SoundEagle,
      thank you so much for your kind and generous comments, and for the many Likes!
      Again, I say, I will most certainly find this new post on snowflakes delightful.
      I send you all good wishes.
      Sincerely yours,
      Mona Lisa

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “My worldview is of the Orient but I grew up believing that only of the West’s matters (really). Of course this isn’t true at all and I’m thankful that I’ve lived long enough to discover it. It was not my parents’ nor my grandparents’ nor my teachers’ fault. It’s just how it was. It’s an area we Filipinos have a blind spot on. It’s just how world events went. It’s historical, global. Life. Reality.”

    Amazing to think that this would be my own experience by simply changing “Orient” to “West” and “we Filipinos” to “we Americans”. I only really discovered “Asia” by watching films on Netflix. Prior to that of course I knew of the countries, and various histories focused mainly on wars or political upheavals. But when I began to watch films made in various Asians countries, I saw the popular depiction of people, their interactions, their day-to-day lives. Films like Departures (Japan), Castaway on the Moon (Korea), Aftershock (China) are important to me in letting me see these people as idealized in film.

    I came to this post and discovered it after watching a random episode of Gyebaek and searching Google for reviews on it. So I was led to your review and your thoughts on viewing the show. Reading that I become curious as to other content, and then came here.

    To me your writing / thinking seems not unlike my own, it could have been from a person I grew up with here. I would have thought that it would seem somehow different being that we were children of distant cultures and people. I was a bit saddened reading that you also watched mostly American shows as a child, batman and robin, etc.. as it indicates a cultural compression that I didn’t realize existed.

    But Thank You for these many posts and the chance to learn your thoughts and experiences.
    – John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John, thanks for the nice feedback, the visit, the appreciation.

      I’m sure there are many who feel the way you/we/I do and I’m glad my scrapbook-blog is of aid in looking at such things.

      Sure there would be differences. But since I’m not an expert on this I can just surmise. It’s like this: the way I would express things wouldn’t sound much different from what you’re used to if I’m using English. But there would be lots that I wouldn’t be able to adequately express in English should I had started off expressing in my mother tongue. This observation was recently confirmed further when an acquaintance from Shanghai and I started talking of “The Return of the Condor Heroes” and she commented that she finds the title’s English translation funny. She said that it isn’t really wrong, only that the original makes one think of “something that’s beautiful”. I urged her to tell me how she thinks it should have been translated, or at least mention phrases towards it, so that I can put them together and have a picture similar to what she meant. We were on a 20-minute bus ride and yet she decided that she couldn’t do it within that span of time, that it’s too difficult. I just sensed from her reaction that she doesn’t want to attempt the translation haphazardly lest she says something wrong. So I let her be.

      Within the vastness of Asia one would always be encountering ways that’s strange to what one’s used to. Even in the Philippines, although I imagine I’d basically feel at home anywhere I’d go among the islands, still I need to be care-full because there might be differences that I am not aware of in the way things are done, even with something as mundane as cooking and serving rice.

      I’m swamped with stuff so I have to leave off screen programs for a while. The most recent I saw was Jet Li’s 2006 “Fearless”. I appreciate how they dealt with the competitions, both with O’Brien and Tanaka. This is Huo Yuanjia’s story which, as you describe films such as these, is “idealized”. I may not be able to watch more for a long while and so I’m glad I saw this one.

      John, thanks again, and take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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