Tag Archive | discrimination

“Race” should have been made obsolete a long time ago.

❤ ((!egad! 😳 the pretty red heart has been changed to a black one! I like my hearts red!… ottoke???!!!))

————————————————- To the post now (updated with info on 2 documentary films about the First Nations):

The conclusion is this:

Thus, given current scientific data, biological races do not exist among modern humans today, and they have never existed in the past. Given such clear scientific evidence as this and the research data of so many other biologists, anthropologists, and geneticists that demonstrate the nonexistence of biological races among humans, how can the “myth” of human races still persist?

If races do not exist as a biological reality, why do so many people still believe that they do? In fact, even though biological races do not exist, the concept of race obviously is still a reality, as is racism. These are prevalent and persistent elements of our everyday lives and generally accepted aspects of our culture.

Thus, the concept of human races is real. It is not a biological reality, however, but a cultural one. Race is not a part of our biology, but it is definitely a part of our culture. Race and racism are deeply ingrained in our history.

Excerpt from: “There Is No Such Thing as Race” by Robert Wald Sussman, here:

http://www.newsweek.com/there-no-such-thing-race-283123

heart  Here’s a similar article: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/01/racism-science-human-genomes-darwin

There’s no sense in referring to persons by the color of their skin. It’s a subtle form of discrimination at the least.

On to a related topic…

500-nations

This is an excellent huge documentary film first put out in 1995 in a series of parts. It was hosted by Kevin Costner and it is accessible in YouTube (just look for it); or simply buy the DVD. It has also come out in book form so you can try looking for it in your favorite bookstores.

If you hear somebody say that this or that civilization was the best ever, caution, because that person has not actually done research and so the rest of what he is saying could just be his opinion backed by half-truths (ergo, not the truth).

If you liked 500 Nations or if you are interested in the current events associated with the First Nations (American Indians) then you won’t regret seeing this documentary (it looks at the Lakota today; and please “share” it as well as download it if you can 🙂 THANKS!):

heart Peace heart

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heart 🙂 I made my ‘hearts’ for here 🙂

Not Likeable: Duterte and His Swear-Words

(September 20, 2021. Hello there. How are you today? I have to insert a note here, saying, that I am not “politically motivated” regarding this post. My personal sentiments here is from a person-to-person, or human-to-human, standpoint. That is, I am seeing President Duterte as a person raher than as a politician. Yepper, these are two diferent things where the Philippines (and many other countries) is concerned right now. This post may be polarizing, but I’d rather not remove it because this is true not only for me but for many Filipinos as well, especially those who have experienced the president’s heart ever since he came into the political arena decades ago. Alles gute und viel Spass! Danke!)

Once I shouted “bullshit” to a bunch of kids. That was when I was only a little more than a kid myself, my control on my emotions not as good as expected of adults, and besides my country does not cater to a culture that prevents and frowns on the public display of emotions.

It was actually at a classroom of seventeen or eighteen year-olds, I think, and they have known since they were seven what was expected of them inside the classroom: order, hushed voices if any, and avoidance of chaos MOST ESPECIALLY when a class activity is being conducted. And especially when a person of academic authority is present. They violated the standards of decorum at all counts and I wasn’t able to hold my strong dismay over their lack of respectfulness. So there was silence all at once, they knew that they deserved the strong reproach, they were strongly reminded where the class stands with respect to misbehavior, and they didn’t do it again.

As little kids until adolescents we were taught and expected to stand up and greet a visitor in unison. When a teacher was at our classroom door everything stops in the classroom because we’d all stand up as one and say together, “Good morning, Mrs. Santos.”, or something like that. If we did not know the person’s name we’d say, “Good morning, visitor.” All public primary and secondary schools in the Philippines, and even the private ones, practice this. So when I went to college I felt awkward when we weren’t allowed to do that kind of greeting anymore. I felt that it was disrespectful. But it seems that “adult” education does not expect such standard of respectfulness anymore. I slowly learned to live with the awkwardness and adapted to the non-practice. However, all teachers that I met in campus always got a “good mornig, ma’am” or a “good afternoon, sir” from me and from most of the other students, too.

That was the only time, as far as I can remember, when I spoke a swear word in public. I would remember it because I do not speak swear words at all in the hearing of another person. Not even with my family. Not even with my closest friends. I hardly think with swear words except when I am aggravated and then I can let myself deal with the issue with swear words that are commensurate to the gravity of the disturbance created in me — but all this would be silently and mentally, where only I can hear them being spoken out in my brain. I only “swear to myself”, so to speak.

The complementary set-up to my no-spoken-swearing stand is that I also do not receive swear words from anyone, and that I would take it as a grave insult if anyone swears at me. At home this is easy because nobody speaks swear words in our house. The worst that we would concede to is “gaga” or “gago”, for female or male as the case may be, and this not straight out but instead we modify it to “gagagaga” or to “ogag” to soften the impact to our own ears AND ALL THIS NEVER TO ONE ANOTHER IN THE HOUSE BUT TO SOMEBODY ELSE OF WHOM WE MAY BE ABLE TO CRITICIZE AS SIMPLY A MATTER OF OPINION DUE TO THEIR MANIFESTED ACTIONS AND NEVER DUE TO GOSSIP, AND ABSOLUTELY NEVER TOWARDS A RELATIVE. “Gaga” and “gago” may be best translated as “stupid”. There are families who speak swear words freely to each other, I have friends who use swear words freely, and I have nothing against them. I understand the context of their usage and they don’t swear at me besides. I leave them be and we stay friends. I know many persons  who hold similar opinions to mine regarding this matter. There are also many families who are like mine.

However, as it stands now I could hear myself freely speak to my close friends (BUT NOT AT HOME!) this opinion: “Dipuga! Din ka pa kakita prisidente nga parihas sini?!!” This will elicit amused chukles all around because this signals a concession on my part on behalf of a strong conviction as evidenced in the emphatic use of a ‘dirty’ swear word.

Translated into English that will amount to: F**k! Where else can you get a president like this one?!!

Or, that swear word can also be Bu*s*it!

Dipuga is a mellower variant of yudep*ta or of the shorter dep*ta.  “Yudep*ta” is the short form of “iho de p*ta”. Those who speak Spanish can see it clearly that it is the adaptation of “hijo de p*ta”, which into English is the common expletive SOB. However, not everyone prefers the length of that expletive even when the end part is modified into “gun!”. Many would ordinarily use the faster-said f**k or b**ch. English speakers know that this expletive, SOB, does not say anything about one’s mother. The expletive is not directed to mothers. The expletive is just an expression that is commensurate to the degree that an emotion is felt. It, or any similar to it (like “damn”), may even be breathed out in times of pleasant surprises.

I do not buy the disdain of the elitists in my country towards the foul mouth of our president. That’s all BS and they can all go to he*l. They can go f**k themselves. If they do not like swear words then so do I. If they have a high standard of abhorrence against swear words then so does my family. They do not even know from what standpoint they are on in their attack against the president’s manner of speaking. If the son of a pastor, and a former pastor, and a friend of a pastor can work closely with our president then I have no problem with their willingness to do so. Their participation speaks volumes about the character of the real Duterte. (If you think that these principled persons surrounding him will condone what is being accused of him (read: “illegal executions”) then there is something wrong with your basis. The head of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), Atty. Acosta, can help you be clarified with this issue. )

Those who just keep on harping (without saying anything else analytical, informative, and substantial) that the president “behave himself” are a bunch of gaga and gago. The executive branch of government has a mountain-load of urgent matters to attend to and all they recommend is that the  president soaps out his mouth. These misguided elitists have opinions and preferences that are more blind than a bat. More than being blind they are navigating at a wrong course, and in this instance a bat’s non-sight is not a matter for criticism because bats zero in perfectly towards their aims even without sight.

These elitists in my country (I’m describing those who fit in the description; it does not mean ALL  ELITISTS; I concede that there are possibly many exceptions), those who are shoot-high-up-to-the-moon-proud about their prowess in manipulating the English language, they generally know nothing about real life and real poverty and real suffering. (They’re the kind who who have the skills to write in opinion columns of newspapers.) All they know is how to keep their faces smooth and white like porcelain and how to keep their car tires mud free. And how to keep smelling like flowers and cologne the entire day. And how to keep dirt from under their fingernails. They know nothing about having to skip a meal because there simply are no means to get one. If ever they’d skip a meal it would be because they wish to subtract from the fat that’s jiggling in their overfed bodies. Being fat is not the issue here: the picture in this context that I speak of points to the indiferrence to human suffering that’s surrounding these elitists.

Today I heard the president reiterating his purpose of keeping friendly relations with all nations, and this without any exception. We are a small nation and we cannot afford to pick fights with anybody, as the president also says so. If his speeches are, again and again, painted out of context and with colors that feature only one or two hues then the richness of his thoughts are wasted. When he gives speeches (this one that I heard today is for the Philippine Air Force at Villamor Air Base) he is like a professor who is giving a lecture on contemporary governance in the Philippine context against the perspective of recent history. His speeches are extemporaneous and are sourced from his own decades-long observations and conviction as a public servant, aside from being an academician himself. His speeches are for the purpose of putting forth the real picture, the more comprehensive picture, the bigger picture, that part of our national reality that does not get talked about in the mainstream media’s just-bits-and-pieces-commercialized-segments. Of course we can hardly demand more from mainstream media. They are running a business, after all. They have to figure out how to have lots of income.

Our president, for the most part of his speeches, is actually expressing his disagreement in his own authentic way of the so-called ‘educated’ Filipino’s lack of capacity to analyze deeper and wider the implications that their dearly held colonialistic views are continuing to disregard the real issues that are right there before their eyes. There is a severe lack of venues for discussing opinions beyond the simple and safe pat labelling. It is a kind of ‘education’ that has not kept up with the global movements and is continuing on its course of mis-educating the young ones. It is in fact preventing our youth from being empowered, keeping them relatively ignorant against the present global situation. If being modernized means having citizens who are capable of thinking out things for themselves and not to simply depend on cooked-up peddled views, then my country is far from modern. However, there are ‘modern’ nations that are suffering because big range media that started out as an institution for the people have digressed from their noble profession. If you are keeping up with the news then you know what this nation is.

Peace. Stay healthy. Thanks for thinking out with me. I wish you the best in life, in whatever area you wish blessings for. May He-Who-Blesses-All bless us all in His and our own good time.

Idiots and Non-Idiots

(September 20, 2021. Hello there. How are you today? I have to insert a note here, saying, that I am not “politically motivated” regarding this post. My personal sentiments here is from a person-to-person, or human-to-human, standpoint. That is, I am seeing President Duterte as a person raher than as a politician. Yepper, these are two diferent things where the Philippines (and many other countries) is concerned right now. This post may be polarizing, but I’d rather not remove it because this is true not only for me but for many Filipinos as well, especially those who have experienced the president’s heart ever since he came into the political arena decades ago. Alles gute und viel Spass! Danke!)

(Update. 14th July 2021. Good morning, Everyone. This post is five years old. I have decided to retain it. There was an update to this two months after I put it up [please see below]. I see how strongly I have put across my feelings into the title, like a battlecry, defiant and distinct. I don’t think I should put it down for now [maybe in a few more years], even after all these years of having mellowed down from such sentiments, now having more existential things to entertain in my head and in everyday practical living—all brought about by the covid-19 pandemic. I still do feel defiant whenever I see evidences of psyche-destruction that was brought to my people because of colonization. On the other hand, that there has been an evolution going on on top of these colonialism-pain-vestiges is very likely, and not always detrimental to us as a people. I pray blessings to us all. Viel Spass!)

I get negative feelings when I hear foreign journalists criticize Duterte’s speeches — which inevitabley zero in on how he wants thugs and druglords eradicated.

Not long ago I heard a discussion in The Young Turks show and that discussion did nothing for the public’s knowledge. They just chewed on how they perceived Duterte’s platform to be ‘horrendous’ and they offered nothing by way of starting on how to get a grasp of his ‘horrendous’ ideas. With the discussion is the implication that the Philippines, which overwhelmingly voted for Duterte, is composed of people majority of whom have twisted sets of values, i. e., values that are against those held by the TYT talk show hosts who were discussing the matter on air. (Okay, actually here’s what I think: These two ignorant clowns — yes, I laughed at their opinions — who are discussing the matter are arrogantly giving out their prescription on a symptom of which they know nothing of the underlying causes. They’re definitely just plain ignoramuses shooting out stupid recommendations and all based on what they read on some newspaper or such. This is altogether pathetic jounalism.)

Just now Secular Talk has an emotionally delivered session expressing disgust at how this “planned massacre” by Duterte isn’t even ‘discussed’.

Here’s the funny part: The stance by Duterte — forcefully going after the thugs that are wreaking havoc to so many families in my country — is precisely the reason why people, including me, voted for him. But it was clear to me that he was going to do it according to what the law allows, according to the legal police procedures plus extra caution to boot and without blind emotional-laden engagements. That was clear to me and so I voted for him. So did 16 million other Filipinos. We do know how to discern behind tall-talk, as we do know how to look behind sweet-talk.

How do I know that it could be done? Davao City is the proof. That’s number 1 reason.

Number 2 reason: no powerful clans financed his campaign. He is not beholden to the oligarchs. Number 3: he won the election without having had any agent compose a public image of him. He was not ‘packaged’ to attract voters. What one sees of Durte in public is what one gets — he talks and works for the oppressed and the marginalized in society, he has no interest whatsoever in making money out of his activities, he does not show off or market his intellect, and he does not put himself above anybody else. He is far from the proverbial white-washed tomb. Anybody is welcome to inspect the skeletons in his closet.

So, since Duterte has such ‘horrendous’ ideas and Filipinos voted for him, then Filipinos agree with his ‘horrendous’ ideas. Ergo, the Philippines is a nation of (mostly) dumb and stupid people.

One has to break down the above logic or it becomes in itself a ‘horrendous’ conclusion. Why horrendous? Because the arguments espoused by the talk show hosts mentioned above, and all other ‘foreign’ venues similar to these, are all based on assumptions the foundations of which are foreign to the Filipino way of thinking or looking at things. Hence, their arguments are invalid — null and void.

Sure, such words as killing, bloodbath, etc. are in themselves universally associated with horrendous acts. However, the “killing” that is of the talk show hosts’ perspective, and most likely the viewers’/listeners’ perspectives, is not exactly what Duterte has been talking about.

It will take a shelf of dissertations to systematize Duterte’s ideas and actions, including the legitimizing of his plans by the voters. Foremost of the discussions will focus on worldviews, on historical factors, and the contemporaneous situations. So I cannot start to give them to you here, in just a handful of paragraphs.

Moreover, the moral ascendancy that America has been marketing since I don’t know when (emphasize on the ‘marketing’, ergo, the public expressions of such that do not reflect the views of those who have no avenues for expressing what’s otherwise === remember: “History is written by the victors” — tangentially related, but you know what I mean 🙂 ❤ .) is now being put to clear light as illegitimate with all the mess that is being revealed, one after another, because of the present election season and through social media. Anyway, this isn’t a gripe about America or Americans (my best friend is American! ❤ ). This is a critique on any entity that establishes itself as superior to another.

How the Ignorant Liken Duterte to Trump
How the Ignorant Liken Duterte to Trump

They don’t care about research and truth-telling. They just care about the fanfare and the sales. Pathetic.

– – – – – – – – – –

Again, on the Secular Talk segment that I was referring to above: Of course I understand why the host talks that way. He’s put himself into the situation by way of the words in the news that he’s read and also inevitably bringing along with him his own (present) context. Had he immersed himself first into the situation in the Philippines, say a minimum of 20 years, then he’d be talking differently and he would not have been this horrified about the words he’s read. Similarly, had Duterte been an American, or had the Philippines been like America, then Duterte and we would never had thought that/this way (as reflected in the news). But, well, a little learning on the part of the speaker will eventually make him see how he has been idiotic in going about this topic.

But the damage is done. Duterte has been painted with foreign colors and this imposed image doesn’t look right both objectively and subjectively (…but who is the judge of both, really??) — as many other similar ‘foreign’ opinion-givers have done. But let’s say that the Secular Talk host wasn’t giving an opinion at all, merely posing a question or opening up lines for discussion, then he/they should have said more so as not to leave the air with a picture of a horrendous Duterte and the Philippines. It’s simply unfair, it’s made from an arrogant stance of moral supremacy, and it hurts us common everyday ordinary Filipinos. You are trampling on our human rights to freely choose our leader and the way we want to solve our problems.

Leave Duterte alone. He was a prosecutor; he knows the law; he will abide by the law. If you can’t say anything qualifying about him then shut the f**k up. We know he’s not a saint. He does not live like a god. We trust the people who are working with him; they know that their responsibility is primarily to the everyday person and not to Duterte. We have risked this oncoming term with him as the head of the executive branch of the government and we are willing to cooperate with his vision of a more live-able society, albeit a ‘poor’ one compared to the highly industrialized nations. But being “highly developed” is not the priority for now (and I hope it will never be (notice the quotation marks); but this is another lengthy topic). We do not need much to be happy; we just need to be assured that our families and loved ones are safe in their locales as they go along their simple everyday lives. We do not need much of the crazy and senseless commercial products flooding our dingy streets and poisoning our traditional values. We just want a safe and and dependable society for now and then we’d be able to figure out what to do next to better our children’s and grandchildren’s, and our neighbors’ children and grandchildren’s lives.

Filipinos are not idiots. We are confused, I can say, because of the combined factors of gentleness, meekness, insane colonialism, and energy-sucking globalization. (A paper on “colonial mentality”-> “Colonial Mentality: A Review and Recommendation for Filipino American Psychology” by E. J. R. David and Sumie Okazaki, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign). Greed and misinformation have muddled our value systems relative to what should have been sustaining and uplifting for us collectively. It had been a very long journey for us, of attempts at changing for the better. We have a new chapter now. We are willing to work it out. If you have nothing qualifying to say about us, then please just save your precious breath and keep your nice mouth shut.

Peace.

🙂

I wish everyone an envigorating day. Thanks for dropping by.

Update September 17, 2016.

I will have to comment on the accusations tagged “extra-judicial killings”. This topic was not urgent in my mind because the deaths attributed to the police were not extra-judicial. Our police are not thugs — well, around the world some police are thugs but not all police are thugs and not all thugs are police — and they just do their duties. If a police officer perceives a threat to his life then by law he has to defend himself. Duterte’s war on drugs involves apprehension of drug addicts –> particularly those whose brains have been damaged by the LONG use of shabu, irredeemable brain material by all medical standards, and hence cannot perceive the boundary between life and death, between right and wrong, many are capable of raping children and killing their own family members, thus easily capable of the reckless use of a gun which CAN  KILL and which, by the laws of ethics, society must very well see that it’s either the police officer’s life or the other’s; this argument has to apply otherwise society must conclude that the police officer should rather die than the other.

As of today around 700,000 (that’s addicts and pushers) have given themselves up to the authorities. That’s 700,000 that were not killed by the police but were taken into custody. So if 700,000 surrendered then we can safely assume that there were more than a hundred who would not surrender and would fight off the authorities. The pushers who surrendered will be dealt with by law. The addicts will be rehabilitated. Those with slight addiction will be rehabilitated in the community : religious communities and organizations have volunteered to help in this. The government is putting up several rehanilitation centers all over the country – BUT since the administration started at a point when there is no more money (extra budget) to spend for this NEWLY DISCOVERD CALAMITY OF THE TRUE DRUG SCENE OF THE COUNTRY then the rehabilitation centers will take some time to be put up, although THANKFULLY several rich people have started to donate specifically for this purpose PLUS many Filipinos working abroad have also gathered funds for this purpose, like those who are working in Indonesia.

Now, the question again: Are there “extra-judicial killings”?. Answer: Yes. Next question: Does the government have to do with this? Answer: No. And how do I know? I watch the videos of interviews with the police chief and videos on the speeches and interviews of the president and the cabinet members and senators. I watch closely, I listen to what they say, I scrutinize how they answer, their facial expressions, their body language, how they interact with the journalists, how long does it take for them to answer a question, how spontaneous do they answer a particular important question, and especially if they distance themselves from the questioning. What I see is only openness. This was how I did it so that I knew that CNN was screwing Bernie Sanders (and here’s a protest at CNN‘s in Los Angeles, and you’ll get many results if you search “mainstream media bias against sanders”) even before I discovered Democracy Now! and Sane Progressive and Lee Camp of Redacted Tonight and Tim Black and Jimmy Dore and H. A. Goodman and Jordan Chariton and and …

Again, then who are responsible for these REAL extra-judicial killings? The simple and obvious answer is this: in a war on drugs the “lords” will have to dispense with their liabilities. It’s a no-brainer!

And now there’s a soap opera of a senate hearing involving a so-called witness Mr. Matobato who could not stand even a moment’s cross-examination. He’s telling lies about the president. He may have been a gun-for-hire but certainly he’s making up stories here about the president’s involvement.

For the so-called extra-judicial killings I recommend the videos on the interviews with the Chief of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), Atty. (Dr.) Acosta (<– click for a sample; she starts speaking at video-time 03:29 and this was made around July 2016; she may have had other similar interviews). She explains very well why all accusations by international media against the government regarding this matter are groundless. For the fakeness of the so-called witness, Mr. Matobato, I recommend the videos of the entire senate hearing on this (<– click for a sample; other similar videos are also available; here Senator Cayetano reads the Ombudsman’s findings in January 2016 that the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS)  does not exist, at video-time 14:30).

I would have gladly provided transcripts for the interviews done in Filipino with accompanying Elglish translations but I have no time as of now. I am urgently trying to finish a major paper regarding one of the statements in the Ten Commandments, of the Hebrew Scriptures ( = Old Testament).

Please, if you are rich and if you have a big heart, in behalf of my country I ask for your help so that the drug addicts can get their rehabilitation centers fast and those who can be saved will be given the attention that they need. President Duterte needs medicines, doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, and nurses, not to mention the food for all these surrenderees. If you can connect to a legitimate Non-Government Organization there, or a religious organization, then they will be happy of your help. Sorry, I do not know any of these and I have no recommendations. But if you can’t trust the organization then DON’T GIVE YOUR MONEY LIGHTLY. I do not actually know if it’s possible for foreign nationals to donate to my government.

The government is now also giving attention to the living conditions of the police officers and soldiers, giving them incentives and raising their salaries above the poverty level so that they will be motivated in going about their duties — this because their lives are at stake every hour, their wives may be widowed and children orphaned any time, what with the drug traffickers and dealers now out of their wits on how to survive this purge against them. As of now the illegal drugs supply to the country has been greatly reduced, about the level of at least 80% reduction, but still there are powerful people who are running desperate on how to cover up their involvement in the over-all drug business. The drug dependents are having a harder life becuase the price of shabu has gone up. If you say that all that I’m saying is fantastic then just look for yourself these information that I myself get from the first-hand sources, the videos that I referred to above being just 2 instances.

If indeed a certain police officer has killed an innocent person then he will be investigated, this is no big matter as it is an SOP, and it does not need the intervention of the UN. If the UN wants to investigate then it should be on where the illegal drug trade originates especially on shabu, from which countries, and who are involved in this. The use of shabu in the US is becoming higher than that of cocaine, so heads-up, UN. If you want to solve the world’s problems then go ahead, do it. Duterte is solving the country’s problems and he has results now. Don’t mess up with his job because he has 700,000 surrenderees to take care of and it’s urgent, plus eradicating the thugs who are using the southern islands as base (and thankfully Indonesia and Malaysia are helping solve this matter).

The government is exploring a railway project that would more efficiently connect the Mindanao areas to each other and to the rest of the country, and I myself am very happy with this because I can soon conveniently visit my friends there anytime I want. The areas of agriculture, public health, and social work are very busy with changes in their paradigms. People are more hopeful because many potentials may now be tapped due to the increasing empowerment of the common person. Hopefully the system of education will finally be geared towards our particular way of looking at things, contextual-existential and at the same time retaining the legacies of our historical learnings from the medieval Spanish-European influence and newly-industrialized-late-1800’s-US-supremacy. We are a democratic nation, after all.

What’s important here is to note that we are not a society of guns. We do not have a culture of wanting to have guns or finding the need of owning guns. Some have licences to own guns but they are only a very small fraction of the population, they do not flaunt this, even children of the family mostly do not know of this, they keep such things secret and well-kept. I do not know about requirements for being allowed to own guns. Such a topic never interested me or any of my many circles of friends. A friend of mine had an air-gun when he was a teen-ager but that was only an episode in his life when he was interested enough in it to buy pellets for it, to practice shooting at plastic canisters at an empty lot beside their house. He hasn’t since used it again; no sense in spending for silly pellets. Some know how to make real guns and they do not have to get a licence to own one, yet still they keep this out of the public’s eye and their neighbors’ knowledge.

We do not have a culture of “taking the law into our own hands” and we do not suspect each other of keeping guns beneath our pillows. A household that owns a gun is a highly unusual and “different” household. If any so-called vigilante does take part in these so-called extra-judicial killings, then a moneyed person who has invested into the illegal drug business must have hired him. Any ordinary Filipino who has no business with this issue will never take it into his or her head to go around taking down criminals — unless he or she is already brain-damaged by drugs! We ordinary and common everyday Filipinos understand what the tall-talk or hyperbole that we hear from the president means: it is for the purpose of scaring criminals and are not supposed to be taken literally. He means to tell them that if they don’t straighten up then the full force of the law will swiftly take care of them. This is the best way that the president can for now efficiently address the culture of impunity among the supposedly trustworthy public officials. If ordinary thugs understand that the president is capable of running after the powerful thugs, then they themselves don’t stand a chance against the law now. (Here’s an amateur video made by young students way back in October 2015 explaining this situation in very simple terms.)

We voted for a government that is of the people and by the people and for the people, and that’s how it is trying to perform its job now. So, please, UN and all other hecklers, investigate factually before you fire your guns because you do not know what you are doing by being rash, judgmental, reckless, irresponsible, and shamefully unprofessionally careless.

May God bless us all. Peace. Thanks for dropping by. Stay healthy 🙂

Please help me check if this quote is really the Buddha’s. Thanx!!

My Journey to Non-Nationality


When I first came to Fangorn I didn’t know what kind of folks Fangornians are. Though I could have consulted the web or the prints still there simply was no time to even think about doing so. At that time I had to function like a crazed morph, having to sprout extra limbs and cerebral lobes. I had to prepare for the take off yet my feet was at a work place that screamed for organization. I’ve been alone on the road plodding for decades already and I’ve built a facade so camouflaged that my family and so-called friends couldn’t see how my internal gauges have been showing erratic fluctuations.

I even told an elder that I just came from shingles and he thought I was telling him that I’m single. If it wasn’t for my semi-‘conservative’ friend Netz I could have gone vegetable over those viral remnants of childhood chicken pox. The presence of persons such as Netz in my life make me think twice about labelling either my own self or other people.

Whether a person is from my gene pool or not the laws of biology and psychology are the same.

When I first came to Fangorn I was not so wistful of my different gene pool nor was I apprehensive of faces that I used to see only on screen. I was actually busy trying to figure out how the heck could I stay standing on the pavement without my brains freezing out before the coziness of the bus comes. I was preoccupied trying to figure out if the room lighting’s luminousity is up to my system’s survival threshold. I was foraging for sources of nourishment, the ones that would make my stomach aware that I have already put some into it.

Later, after having seen for myself that I could survive here, my brain started to grow out calmer dendrites. I started reflecting outside the context of immediate survival. I explored new turf.

I looked at the Fangornians. I couldn’t see much. That was a culture shock that I had seen coming. Even until today I still couldn’t see of them as much as I wanted to although a few have already welcomed me into their homes. I looked at the Flip-Flops. I saw more than I expected. I looked at the Zirconians as well as my fellow Zaps. Then I looked at the entire pulsating planet.

Ipensive contemplative reflective meditative thoughtful arrived at the conclusion that it is greed that has to do with all our woes. But when I talked about this to my classmate Moira he said that he thinks greed isn’t inherent in us humans, but that it’s a function of the environment. We’ve been brought up, he told me, to be greedy.

I still have to take the time to reflect on that. I have to look at original-sin side by side with tabula-rasa, too. I honestly don’t know from which angle to approach the topic with new eyes. I may have to go back to Moira, to pick up where we left it off because we had ran out of walking space.

In this picture are my new friends JDG, RK, and TCD.

Since two years ago when JDG heard me call a colleague “manong” (older brother) he told me that he, too, was my manong. So I started to call him that using the equivalent word in his mother speech, orabeoni. We started to relate to each other more freely than before but calling him manong didn’t take our friendship into a quantum leap, to that manong level. So I think next time I see him it would be more appopriate to substitute “sunbaenim” (respected senior) for orabeoni. I sense old and newly erected fences, all invisible to me, around which I should maneuver and in which in the end I’d possibly be left with a bye-bye to a friendship that could have been really great.

Shikataganai. East Zapians are of a machismo worldview and even fellow Zapians can’t do anything about that, lowering the gaze and clipping the arms by their sides upon meeting the so-called strong ones. But it is the East Zapians who taught me to reflect on loyalty and steadfastness, on endurance and single-mindedness. On appreciating the fullness of silence. Just as Treebeard said I shoudn’t be hasty at my conclusions.

Again, on the picture are RK and TCD, who are Zirconians. When I first came to Fangorn and was just learning to walk on snow, mustering the fear of my feet being singed through the soles of my shoes, I had thought of how to get out of the thinking that Zirconians, collectively, are responsible for the many woes of the Flip-Flops and of the pulsating planet. The peaceable consequence that I reached at was that whoever was responsible for the mess should be the one to clean it up. Whoever tipped the balance must do something to restore it.

thoughtful CNI needed to see at least one Zirconian who was exactly doing this, innocently and with integrity, without even being aware that there are Flips who think the way I do. Honestly I am vaguely aware that there are many Flips out there who echo my sentiments but that they are faceless to me. I do not personally know of one, and thought trains like these are, well, what can I say, camouflaged among thick forest undergrowths.

Not long after I met CN, a huge Zirconian with clear shining eyes. He and his friends have an ongoing program for ending world hunger. It’s a blatantly naive and gigantic ambition. It’s hopelessly lovable. He has tried to describe how the church could be functioning in our present context.

Like RK he has tried to talk in terms that would welcome anyone who’s eager to participate. Many would call it a post-modern paradigm, similar to several, both named and yet obscure, that are groping in the unchartered multiple-contexts we now find ourselves bewildered in.clear brilliant eyes

Now I know that I shouldn’t take Zirconians as a “people”, a generalized collective, but as “persons”, one individual at a time. There are Zirconians who, like RK and CN, are neither threatened nor limited by labeling.

Back home there was a Fangornian with whom I’d started to befriend. Of the extremely short time I spent with her I was able to ask her of whom did she thought we women should be modelling ourselves after. Her answer was startling to me then: after no-one. It is only now that I’m starting to understand her. It is only now that I’m starting to she what she meant when she said that first and foremost it is my own individuality that I must be looking out for.

As per the conversation I had with Moira, about greed, I tried to put it into a logical diagram and see what I can come up with:

Venn 1 & 2_greedy, people

Without bothering with defining the Universal Set, these four Venn diagrams show the possible relationships between all people and all greedy entities. My musings led me nearer to the idea pictured by Figure 4. Moira’s counter-arguments tend towards Figure 1, although not as how things are but rather as a starting point, when conditioning is taken out of the picture. Moira seemed to be telling me that humans do not have greediness as a necessary attribute, although he did say that he’d be needing all the evidences that he can get his hands on before being sure of this.

Venn 3 & 4_greedy, peopleFor me I just based my conclusion (Moira did tease me, that I have “concluded” already) on the historical events. Empires rising and falling. Countries getting richer and poorer. Parents in a frenzy about giving the A-class education to their children. Young professionals eager to show off the brands of their possessions. I have wanted to look into the machinery that fuels the global dynamics and if I start at the grass roots, at the level of an individual’s needs and wants, then I would pinpoint to the human’s propensity to get hold onto and retain something, incorporate it into the personal space. Of course some can readily recognize when the level of this “acquisition process” is becoming toxic and so it is readily called off. Bastante. This situation may be pictured by either Figure 2 or 3, above. Not everyone is helpless against greediness.

Still there’s something about my Venn diagrams that bother me. I’d like to replace “people”, a faceless mass, with “persons” — attributing now the sense of responsibility to individuals. Yet either way something still doesn’t quite fit. I feel like I’m figuring things out by ossifying phenomena with labels. It’s the same dynamics as when I talk of Fangonians, Zirconians, Zaps, and Flips as groups. Not all Zirconians are alike and I have yet to find a Flip who resonates in my frequency. Perhaps I never will. TCDTCD, a Zirconian whose personaliy I would zig-zag away from back home (chatty, readily friendly, flashy smile) surprisingly has become the first Zirconian I can relate to with ease, without being conscious of the cerebral gap. Because of him, CN, and RK, I now have little use of the label “Zircon”.

I had a Rilkan penfriend for eight years. I’m looking for her whereabouts now and I’m sure she does think of me sometimes. But, alas, we both cannot be found among the social media websites. I had a Shtoi dormmate. Her brother became my student and so we three have become friends. I will search for her home address among my files so that when I go to their country I will be able to visit them, as she invited me to. Now I have Moira a Milesian, and Benga a Huzz. We call ourselves “the three idiots” after that hilarious but enlightening Indian movie. There’s Peth the Fangornian lady back home, happily married to a fellow Flip of whom I am more at awe than friendly.

These non-Flips became friends because we related with expressions that connected persons, not peoples. We did not pre-define each other. We didn’t bring labels into our relationships. We simply faced each other, talked openly, and became one human being to another human being.

I had thought that it is only the word “race” that we should be doing away with. Now there’s national-classification as well. A wo/man’s context does not ‘define’ her/him. Honesty, trust, and thankfulness speak in a language that have nothing to do with culture, nationality, or genes.

Benga & Moira

Benga & Moira

Many Zirconians will continue to be jerks. Many Flips will continue to be clueless. Many Zaps will continue to be mesmerized by anything Zirconian or Deltan. Many Fangornians will remain cold and rude. This, however, is not the only lens with which to view humanity. Any human can equally be a jerk, clueless, impressionable, cold, or rude.

For purposes of conversations Moira and I could still use the Venn diagrams but now it has become clearer to me how all persons are configured by the tracks that they had to run on. Each landmark we pass by morphs us. Had I not found myself abruptly shoved into Fangorn I wouldn’t have started to trust a Zirconian for a long time yet. I relate to TCD as TCD, as himself, and not as someone with a Zircon-labeling.

Now I’m happier.

The Term “Cruel” and Its Derivatives in “Tarzan of the Apes”

(Update July 30, 2021. At last, I got it looking better. I did not want to delete the original post, still shown beneath, right below the paper’s now edited CONCLUSION. Yepper, I sure did edit the featured paper! You can download a PDF copy of it here. So, it is an edited work, not the original one, but I think my professor would have seen it as an improvement. I submitted it to my university here in Philippines in 2019, but I haven’t heard anything regarding it ever since. So, rather than let it just die out, I’m giving it out to the world, for anyone who might have good use for it. You may simply use the blog post’s permalink as the web-source, https://sacadalang.com/2014/06/12/cruel-in-tarzan-of-the-apes/

Thanks. Cheers and blessings!!

Here now is the CONCLUSION, from my paper’s page 16:

CONCLUSION (of the paper, “Tracing Cruelty in Tarzan of the Apes” by Mona Lisa Siacor). Edited July 30, 2021.

Cruel and its derivatives are used in describing all characters or their actions in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel Tarzan of the Apes. They are used to state that Tarzan has no cruelty inherent in him. They are used in describing objects that are inanimate, or most of the time even when no concurrent action is present to qualify as cruel. The Whites, especially the Porter group, see the jungle as threatening the most, attributing cruelty to it even when there is no concurrent action. However, where actions are concurrent to the usage, the Porter group is more responsible for cruelty than any other character group in the novel. In most these instances it is one of them who is being cruel to another of their member, by the use of words. Significantly, almost all of the cruel terms are not essential at all in building up the meaning of the phrase where the term is found, within the novel’s narrative.

Using many cruel or violence related terms to describe the jungle and its inhabitants contradicts Tarzan’s perception that his jungle home is peaceful (Burroughs, 1914  217; ch. 17). Tarzan excuses the jungle’s violence as a way of life, as a matter of survival. Usually he kills dispassionately, but sometimes for pleasure (Burroughs, 1914  117,118; ch. 10). D’ Arnot lauds Tarzan’s survival. He tells him, “it is mind, and not muscle, that makes the human animal greater than the mighty beasts of your jungle… Otherwise, …how long would you have lasted in the savage wilderness?” (Burroughs, 1914  324: ch. 25). All jungle inhabitants are Tarzan’s enemies except his ape tribe and Tantor (Burroughs, 1914  103; ch. 9). This is reflected in the many times cruel is directed from the jungle inhabitants to Tarzan. The jungle is peaceful for Tarzan and he is “lord” of himself and of his world, as Burroughs puts it (“Tarzan Theme”), because with his “mind” and physical prowess he is able to subdue threats against him. Only Tantor is not afraid of him (Burroughs, 1914  48, 59; ch. 4, 5).

Outside the jungle the facility of the word is important. Civilization uses words the way Tarzan uses his mind and his strength to subdue threats. In civilization, the “greatest” are those with the best minds such as the novel’s characters Prof. Porter and the Claytons, who are intelligent and are good with words (Burroughs, 1914  9, 83, 194; ch. 1, 7, 16 ). Prof. Porter and Cecil Clayton are the only characters in the novel who inflict cruelty using words. In the preliminaries, John Clayton (Tarzan’s father, Lord Greystoke) as well had earlier dismissed the ship Fuwalda’s captain with “you are something of an ass” (Burroughs, 1914  18; ch. 1).

The jungle “beasts” are man’s enemies, says D’ Arnot (Burroughs, 1914  324: ch. 25). In the face of this, civilized man’s recourse is to subdue the jungle in the eyes of civilization by using words, which is the case with the novel Tarzan of the Apes. Albeit in reality, the jungle and its inhabitants are impervious to words. In Tarzan of the Apes, it is only in words that the jungle is cruel to civilized man—though this assertion itself is false even within the novel, based on the findings above. This may be seen, therefore, as a case of demonizing an imaginary enemy through propaganda. But since Burroughs’ aim was simply to sell a story, in which he was indeed very successful, then looking into propaganda as a matter of popular consumption, so to say, is another consideration.

(Here now was the original blog post: )

🙂 Hi!

I made a term paper in class and when the professor handed it back with a heart-warming grade I asked him if it was okay to share it online. He said yes! So here it is. Why? Because I spent energy on it and now that I got a grade for it I felt bad that its use ends up just there. I made it to pass, yes, but it was only me and my teacher who got to read it, so, what the heck. Better let it out and be done with it. I hope you can appreciate the way I made it, at how crazily easy and difficult it is at the same time.

Tarzan of the Apes in All Story 1912

The cover of the magazine that let out the first Tarzan story into the world, in 1912. The picture was copied from: http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Tarzan

I had to edit the format before uploading because the tables musn’t be cut at the wrong places. It has lots of tables. So that’s the difficult part. Attention has to be given to the descriptions that accompany each table that appears, one after the other. Attention has to be given to the placements of elements inside the tables, within rows and columns alike. Otherwise, it’s all just a bunch of jumbled gibberish. Honestly, I really found myself laughing at my work for a long time 😀

The easy part, eh?, was that since I couldn’t come up with how to say things nicely after months of reading about Tarzan and his world both in and outside the book I decided instead to find a pattern within the product itself, the finished sold-like-hotcake novel that turned Edgar Rice Burroughs into an instant sensation. The idea came to me while I was noticing that many words alluding to cruelty keep appearing one after the other as I turn the pages. It became a sort of a game to me, wanting to find out if I could distill something out of the prolific appearances of such nasty words in such an innocent-sounding story. Yosh! I was on my way. I felt that it was the cleanest way I could do the requirement without getting bogged down in the arguments for or against this and that, not the least being what kind of guy and gal Tarzan and Jane are. The arguments touch on psychology, history, sociology, literary criticism (which I don’t know much on!)… the works.

Papers are among the craziest things in the world. That’s a personal opinion 🙂 and you can argue ’til you’re blue with me all I’ll give out is an I-don’t-know-anything chuckle.

So do I like Tarzan? I used to, but not anymore. However, both that question and that answer may first have to be verified as to which particular Tarzan is being asked of and which particular Tarzan did I like. Anyway, the Tarzan of the apes is a caricature of a wish that originated from a context that won’t get a vote from me. That Tarzan’s outside-the-book world was a time when discrimination was a respected norm.

Needless to say I learned much from and through my readings on Tarzan, many of which were not used in this paper. However, those are the more important ones. 🙂 My teacher’s parting comment was that the presentation was nicely put up but I should have written more on the conclusion. I agreed with him, too, but at that time I was already fed up with so much thinking about Tarzan, day in and out, that I was simply relieved to have wrapped up fast and get the load off my hands 😛

Thank you, Mr. Garfitt.

Jesus came to banish fear.

jesus of wigan  Though I haven’t gone through the entire book yet, the few parts that I have read so far are making good sense to me. For one, I can see that it’s obviously made out of love, that it’s a true labor of love, and it deserves much respect and consideration. Thank you, Francis Garfitt, for writing this fascinating and refreshing book about a living man and a living story that was calcified within just a few pages two thousand years ago.

I have always gone by the thought that if truth is in God, that if ‘truth’ is an embodiment of God, then there’s no way of disproving Him nor that our insistence on “defending” Him will add to that truthfulness. In pursuing my personal studies on that distant world of two thousand years ago when Jesus of Nazareth shook his world, I would like to listen to this particular voice that projects Jesus’ story’s context through a personal conviction using the platform of the contemporary world. ‘Evangelism’, after all, is not limited to the mainstream’s definition of it, if the reader sees it as that. A storyteller is by all means entitled to any artful way of delivering an old story with full relevance. We, those of us who want to keep on telling a story that has been stamped ‘unchangeable’, may just have to take the courage to step out of the silenced crowd and speak in a way that will make the story enabling again even to those who have been rendered numb by the challenges of everyday survival — the way that Jesus of Nazareth did. That’s love.  Jesus of Wigan

What I especially find refreshing among the narratives is the inclusion of the scientific perspective in order to bring about a multi-perspective handling of whatever scene is featured. In this book science is integrated as a tool for looking at what is. The outcome resonates with the Hebrew worldview where things are dealt with integrally, like for example that a human being is not allocated into body-&-soul parts. So far I can see it doesn’t pretend to know everything yet it’s a humbling book. It will make one look at things differently, make one recall the time when one realized that things are not what they are as seen on the surface. It will encourage you to love. It will confirm your simplest reasons for wishing for happiness.

(Note: Today is May 19, 2016. This was written 2 years ago. I need to update it soon. I just got to find the time. Get the book if you can. Jesus of Wigan by Francis Garfitt. You will like it even if you’re not interested in the religious side of it. ❤

Update: May 20, 2016. I edited the original script and added a few words. Still, that is not the ‘update’ that I meant. It will then look like a review of the book.)

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

🙂

  • 🙂 I have your book today, in paper. I don’t know when I can finish it considering that I’m not supposed to do anything else besides looking for certain things in books for a year at least, but actually I’m now on John’s first baptism. I’m liking John and I can easily connect him with that John in the desert, both with passions of that intensity. But how I wish I knew more of European economy/history so that I could get more laughs out of your quirky statements — I mean, I had my first big laugh at page (though unnumbered) 3 of Introduction and I anticipate that there are lots like it in this your thickish book. Though I think I just go open some more of your book for reasons other than greed for knowledge, otherwise things will just not get right with me. One has to be ready for the things that you say in here 🙂 . What made me confident enough to get a copy was that a few days ago I finally had a gut feeling of what evil is. The subject of evil isn’t an attractive material for me and so I haven’t read up on the academic discussions on it, nor am I interested in the macabre in popular media. But recently, in a flash, I realized that I understood that evil is the attempt to choke/snuff out/strangle life, to negate life. Something happened to me and I felt like I was going to be annihilated, something is trying to deny my essence, and if I let it be I would end up a living dead, a nothing — and so it dawned on me that this, then, is what evil is. I decided to find a way to stay alive despite the presence of this thing that would callously wipe me off from existence if I let it. So I thought that a retelling of Jesus’ story like the way you’re doing is worth looking into, with the horrors of modern metropolitan living, and they shouldn’t disturb me as much anymore due to my newly found knowledge (haha looks like this leads me further into my “knowledge-of-good-and-evil” musings…). I’m wary like this because I’m not familiar with big city living, and the little that I’ve experienced of it I didn’t really like… but I do like the way you explain the will to power … I agree with what you say in there … and I can’t help wanting to catch your words at each right-hand page because they look like they might fall off any time — this was the first big laugh, actually 🙂 THANK YOU for your great effort in this book. May many people come to read it.

     

  • Dear Sacadalang,

    thank you so much for the comment and for buying a copy of my book. I’m glad you are liking John. He is based on a guy that I met whilst doing some voluntary work. He was working as an ‘enlightened witness’ with other ex-prisoners and this idea of a ‘witness of the light’ kept bringing me back to him whenever I tried to visualise John the Baptist. I was genuinely humbled to meet him. I only met him once, but maybe that is how life is.

    I think that your gut feeling of what evil is, is important. George Macdonald wrote of the shadow inside us all in his book Phantastes, a fairy story for adults. In it he wrote that the affirmation of evil is the negation of all else. So take care of yourself, negation is anti-hope, the anti-social anti-value that builds on feelings of isolation, then anger, then destruction… either of self or others. In the same way that the key to madness is personal to each of us, so is the path to oneness. I love your blogs, their enthusiasm and infectious joy. I don’t know all the films and TV shows you mention, but what I enjoy is learning why you enjoy them. So keep it up, we are all part of the pattern.

    It took me 7 years to write the book, and I always felt that if it touched one person then that was worth it, that whatever I was doing meant something more than just another writer with another book. Sometimes I felt like giving it up as a bad job, and even now I’m not happy with it, I can see the flaws, particularly in grammar. So thank you once again for taking the time to read it.

    kind regards

    Fran

     

  • Dear Fran,
    thank you for replying, for the reply, for Phantastes, for John, and for the encouragement — yep, I have a good idea now about the self-destruction and the wanting-to-quit parts, thanks to my experiences — ach, the grammar, well, grammar does not rule so to say … all I know is that I’m reading a genuine specimen of contemporary British English and for me that’s good enough 🙂
    -wishing-you-a-nice-week-
    ang sacada lang

     

    ❤ ——————- ❤

    ( 4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy with a difference 8 Aug 2013  /  By Viv M)
    I found this book shocking at times and unlike any other “religious” book I’ve ever read. It is an imaginative modern interpretation of the gospel story. I enjoyed the references to Wigan, and there is plenty of humour. It’s a retelling of history with complex twists.
    ❤ ——————- ❤
    4.0 out of 5 stars Are you on the path? 4 Aug 2013  /  By Mark S If you are trying to find a path to faith this book will help. The authors take on the New Testament and the disciples of Jesus provide some great reflective moments for the reader, which disciple are you? The author’s link to modern day diseases, such as the craving for power and certainty, provide an interesting view of the New Testament story and highlight how shallow our modern day lives have become. Our constant desire for instant gratification and oneupmanship are clearly exposed in this insightful work.

    A great read and it really challenged my thoughts. This book has really helped me to think more clearly about what Jesus was really trying to achieve. I don’t agree with all of the authors views but the thought provoking nature helped me to further understand the Bible itself. Well done a great first book.

     

 

Scandal: a girl enrolls in Sungkyunkwan

In this light historical drama that I watched a year ago I found myself asking, “So where is the scandal?” Ah, that a mere girl has infiltrated the hallowed halls of Sungkyunkwan is the scandal, hence the title Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

Let’s say I didn’t know that there’s a real Sungkyunkwan University, that I watched this series without knowing beforehand who the actresses/actors in it are, that I was just curious about a centuries ago campus life when school buildings were of wood, foot-walks to classrooms were paved with stone, attendance in the cafeteria was checked, and the dorm looked like the traditional countryside house, what could I say after watching it?

Sungkyunkwan S _ep20_ professor takes the blame for the scandal

Prof. Jung Yak-yong takes the blame for the scandal, humbles himself before the king.

Produced in 2010, this is set during King Jeongjo’s reign (Yi San, 28 October 1752 – 18 August 1800, the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, r. 1776-1800), when his character in the drama is shown to be already using painkillers and is talking of how limited his time is and so he must speed things up. He secretly visits the campus to watch ball games and is at one time the arbiter of a campus crime investigation that he turned into an examination item.

The meat of this drama is in the dialogues. I was not disappointed in my quest at taking a peek at what elite Confucian students might have been looking into because they do recite here small snippets from the books. Taking note of the dialogues and putting them in a post here will have to be done at another time, though. Like with Tree with Deep Roots here’s another way to get introduced into the high regard for the Chinese classics, which form the basics of a Confucian scholarship.What makes the series interesting for me is the way the students and their mentors/elders make moves one after and against the other around the problems they have to contend with, making it seem like a chess game of wits with integrity at stake. When parts start to drag, like in the romantic scenes, I just fast-forward.

There are many characters here, which is usual. I can speak about the four main characters only for now, and on what makes them interesting for me. They each are from different spheres of their society, from different political influences, making their friendship an object of admiration even by the king. Although the drama moves around their involvement with each other the story starts long before they were born, in the strife between political opponents that got the present king’s father killed.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal _ep20 _King Yi San & Kim Yoon Hee

The king does not disappoint as the scholars’ father.

1.) Kim Yoon Hee sacrifices much for the sake of her family. She takes care of them, being the eldest child of a fatherless household that has a chronically sick younger son. This in itself is not unusual then and now, but what is unusual is her way of doing it: she transcribes books (a bit like “print on demand” type of job) for a bookseller. She has made good use of this skill and talent she has — unconventional for a girl during her time because it was only the men who can get a high level of literacy such as hers, so the bookseller knows her only as Kim Yoon Shik since she comes to the shop attired as a man using her brother’s name. She had a good start at the classics as a little girl when her father, who was a professor at Sungkyunkwan, was still alive. After she enters Sungkyunkwan in guise her schoolmates nickname her Daemul, meaning “big shot”. Sungkyunkwan, being the elite learning institution of Joseon, is exclusive to males and the uncovering of her successful entry comprise the scandal. She is the key, however, as the child of a former Sungkyunkwan professor who was highly trusted by the king, in locating a controversial document that several political bigwigs tried to destroy ten years ago.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal _Ep20 _4 friends, lull before the final storm

Lull before the final storm: four drunk scholars celebrating a coup.

2.) Lee Seon Jun is the child of the Left Minister who is also the leader of the kingdom’s strongest political faction. Hence he is an “untouchable” to the extent that the school’s chancellor is always on tiptoe in looking out for his welfare. He is as upright as can be, a perfect replica of his father in conduct and demeanor, which is consistently emotionless. He struggles with his attraction to his roommate whom he sincerely believes to be a man. Thus, he undergoes an existential struggle concerning an issue that is anathema to the principles he lives by: conservative Confucianism. He, an upright leader-to-be of the kingdom, becomes introduced into a world that is outside the scope of his upbringing and the contemporary norms — and this not only with regards to sexuality but also with the overall worldview, giving him opportunities for applying into deeds the principles written by scholars of long ago, those he had learned in books, on how to live a worthy life. A friend nicknames him Garang, meaning an ideal husband material. He represents the awkwardly fumbling bridge between erudition and the authentic human.

Gul-oh & Yeorim, best friends _Sungkyunkwan Scandal

The Crazy Horse and the Playboy, hidden talents, latent abilities, opposites, best friends.

3.) Moon Jae Shin is the surviving younger son of the Justice Minister. His older brother was a radical supporter on issues regarding the common people — he and Kim Yoon Hee’s father were killed while performing a secret royal order, the transport of a document that was written by the former king wherein stated is his remorse over the death penalty he gave to his own son the Crown Prince Sado, the present king’s father. Moon Jae Shin’s nickname is Gul-oh (also Geol-oh), the crazy horse. He disregards conventions practiced by Sungkyunkwan scholars and his teachers have “failed” him from graduating three times already, though no-one berates him, not even his father. He comes and goes to his dorm room at will, which he occupies by himself, and it’s not unusual for him to reek of alcohol, be unkempt, and be absent from or asleep in class. However, like his older brother he is an excellent writer, and has read all the books in the library. He leads a double life, being a masked vigilante at some nights who drops off from the rooftops to the main roads below seemingly subversive red notes. By these notes the king has ascertained that he’s a Sungkyunkwan scholar and thus wants to protect him from the powers that suspect him of knowing about the former king’s secret document, the recovery of which threatens the current strongest political faction’s hold on power.

Yeorim, Garang, Gul-oh

Yeorim, Garang, Gul-oh, and a ghost. Ep.8

4.) Gu Yong Ha is the son of a rich merchant. They can afford vacation trips to China, is always very fashionably dressed, has a dorm room all to himself that is lavishly decorated — whereas the others have to share up to three persons each, ones that are almost bare of furniture. He is very popular among the gisaeng (the female entertainers) and is nicknamed Yeorim, the playboy. Being not of the yangban (nobleman class), his father bought their status, thus making Yeorim acceptable to Sungkyunkwan and their family respectable. Having a traditionally merchant family has made Yeorim wise in the ways of the streets, making him “at home” not only among the aristocracy but also in the shops. Their wealth makes Yeorim a valuable ally among the leaders-to-be in his school but isn’t a strong enough buffer against political ignominy, thus his bought status is a well guarded secret. Yeorim is the tactician among the Jalgeum Quartet — which is the name given by the gisaengs to this group of four friends, meaning that to the girls they’re four exciting/thrilling young men. It is Yeorim who consistently puts two and two together, enabling him to anticipate happenings and so is never at a loss at any situation. Yeorim is the one who can be depended on to get things done. His shallow-playboy image is a mask that covers an introspective personality. He’s actually a cynic and only their teacher has discerned his propensity at distancing himself from disadvantageous situations. Using their individual means, he and Geol-oh are the most mobile of the four friends, having the confidence and the capicity to roam anywhere they want — Geol-oh using his martial arts prowess and Yeorim using his family’s resources that includes a private army.

Gul-oh _night smile

a rare relaxed Gul-oh smile but, alas, in the shadows 🙂

My favorite characters in the drama all in all are, briefly:

❤ Gul-oh – he uses academics as an end to something else, and is emotionally engaged in his aim, which basically is upholding the common folk – a value rubbed off on him by his brother
❤ Yeorim – he speaks out, knows his way through situations, operates with certainty while being unafraid of well-calculated risks
❤ Sun Dol, Lee Seon-jun’s personal servant – he’s so unguarded, so sincere in what he does that he doesn’t let conventions check the way he expresses himself: he teases, scolds, nags and hugs his young master
❤ the king (Yi San) – resists political pressures for the sake of the populace; he listens to the opinions of young scholars, trusts them, and gives generous appreciation where due
❤ the two professors – they have integrity and deserve the respect given to them
❤ the school principal/chancellor – always torn between being upright, dealing with the parents, and being on the good side of the powers-that-be — in his funny way manages this beautifully
❤ the school’s staff, including the children who run errands and ring the bell – they are the main keepers of order in campus, cleaning, cooking, and assisting the teachers

Garang at a loss. Gul-oh acts weird.

Garang puzzled, with obnoxious Gul-oh insisting to sleep next to him, replacing Daemul at the center spot.

Daemul and Garang, the romantic pair, are fine in their own way but they’re not the reason why I’ve counted this drama as a favorite 🙂 One’s always too nice and the other’s always too goody-two-shoes, what Yeorim might call “boring” if not for the events that arise because of them. But the way each of the four responded to their unusual friendship is engaging for me, and the dynamics makes the drama worth watching again. Children who have disappointments with regards to their fathers might find this drama interesting despite its obvious commercial attractions — the young men’s relationships with their prominent fathers are given attention in this drama. Considering that the unkempt Garang and the well-groomed Yeorim have been buddies for a decade now, and that the “cheat” Daemul bonds with the irreproachable Garang, the yin-yang concept is seen here. Daemul, who is not interested in the attractive Yeorim, was first found out by the indifferent Gul-oh who is “allergic” to girls — he hiccups when he gets close to one. Garang is also the opposite to Gul-oh, in temperament and in political orientations. Similar to Garang, Yeorim also once had to deal with his strong fascination over another male, Gul-oh, but which does not bother him now. Gul-oh is the most physically capable of the 4 but has to be “saved” by them several times. One thing that I appreciate in this drama: thankfully there’s no fighting among the 3 guys over Daemul 🙂

…that’s all for now… ciao 🙂 (all captures in this post zoom in when clicked on)




Chuno, and those who live only for the day

Good afternoon 🙂 The sun is setting, a golden world ❤

This post is from a scene of the 2010 South Korean fusion sageuk The Slave Hunters ( 추노推奴 Chuno)Chuno _ slave hunters   (1) It was a year ago when I first watched it.  I have no summary here, but I can direct you to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Slave_Hunters  if you wish to read one. All pictures here are captures from the drama. A sageuk is a S. Korean historical drama. Fusion because it has contemporary elements, those that are non-traditional to a sageuk such as stylized costumes and background music that does not belong to the period. The period of this drama is the Joseon Dynasty, in the early 1600’s. Aside from the traditional music featured here, which are lovely, there are also pop and rock sound tracks. Chuno _ slave hunters   (2)One of them, Stigma (Yim Jae Bum), will have its own post here one of these days. It embodies what for me the theme of the drama is, which is a chasing after something that cannot be had, in this lifetime at least.

The slave hunters are just that, they hunt for run-away household-slaves. They are mercenary-like in that they can be hired by anyone, or that they can claim rewards from owners whose slaves they have caught. They have a low status in society and are loathed by the slaves especially. They are not an organized body and hence there is competition among the different chuno gangs. They live by brawn mostly, and brains for some like the group in this drama, which consists of three friends who are among the best in the trade:

Chuno _Choi chamgun (1) Chuno _Choi chamgun (2)1.) Mr. Choi, nicknamed General Choi, or Choi chamgun, the oldest in the group and hence the older-brother-in-authority for the two younger ones;

Chuno _Daegil (0) Chuno _Daegil (1)2.) Daegil, about 6 years younger than Choi chamgun, is the originator of the group and has the most know-how on their trade;

Chuno _Wangson (0) Chuno _Wangson (1)3.) Wangson, the ladies’ man and the youngest of these three, lived formerly as what one would call a scoundrel; it was because he pick-pocketed Choi chamgun that the three first met, in a scuffle;

This scene here involves a newcomer to the group, Seolhwa. Chuno _Seolhwa (0) Chuno _Seolhwa (1)She’s only 17, about half the age of Choi chamgun, and maybe about 10 years younger than Daegil. She calls the three men her orabeoni, meaning older brother. Seolhwa was sold into slavery when she was 6 because her family was starving. (At another time I will relate this with Won Bin’s movie Ahjussi, where his character Cha Tae-shik has a small friend Somi who got into contact with children who were abandoned in a similar way by their parents. This is a modern-day setting movie.) Seolhwa was resold into prostitution in her early teens and is first seen in the drama as belonging to a traveling group of entertainers that goes around Joseon. She is a valuable asset to its owner, a nasty woman who has a retinue of private thugs. Chuno _ slave hunters   (3)One particular evening Seolhwa, apparently deciding to abandon her way of living, slipped through her guards and thus managed to come across the three chuno. From then on she has successfully attached herself to their gang. Hence, she has become an unofficial member, taken in by the “older brothers” out of their sense of responsibility for one in such a helpless and danger-full situation. She is a smart aleck but also surprisingly smart. Despite the three’s initial refusal to take her in she eventually gains their genuine acceptance.

In this scene the companions are momentarily at a walking-rest pace in the middle of their pursuit of a run-away military-baracks-slave, one whose price is a whooping 500 monetary units and so would be quite a catch to the struggling gang. The dialogue is mostly between Seolhwa and Daegil, who are walking ahead of the other two. Choi chamgun is at the rear, by reason of having the unspoken responsibility of watching his group’s back. Besides, he’s the quiet type. He doesn’t speak in this scene. Seolhwa has chosen to attach herself to Daegil. Wangson was supposedly, by an unspoken rule, be the one in charge of her (has something to do with age-related ranking within the group). But since Wangson is the playful playboy of the group and Seolhwa’s status normally elicits sexual innuendos from men then both continually clash. Daegil, therefore, seemingly grudgingly looks after her now. But the truth is that behind Daegil’s rough facade he’s the most sensitive of the three men, something which, I suspect, Seolhwa instinctively sensed since it was him who actually effected her rescue from her madame-owner and her thugs that night she ran away. The clothes she wears now is the one she ran away on — clothing was expensive, so it’s either they splurge for her or they steal for her or she just goes on with the only set she owns.

In the conversation Seolhwa reveals that she lives only for the day. For one so young it’s such a grave statement, as if she has seen so much already and is now resigned to just embracing what can be had right in front of one’s eyes and not so much as hope for more or for a better situation in the morrow. Wangson and Choi chamgun more or less have this same attitude to life, whereas Daegil thinks differently — but more on this at a later post ❤

It is just a simple conversation but one that I appreciate for its timelessness. For such situations as Seolhwa’s and the slave hunters dreaming of an abundant life is a luxury. Many would deem it an impossibility. I was a bit taken aback by the matter-of-fact way Seolhwa talks about it — this is how her persona is presented in the drama, as someone who has tasted the gruesomeness of life and yet manages not to let it show. Daegil, on the other hand, broods over and nurtures his pains. I’m happy to share with you here a tiny part of the entire story, and in pictures, too (a million thanks to the makers of Chuno). The gallery zooms in when clicked on.

❤ that’s it for this scene … the one that follows is a series of pursuits again, where Seolhwa will surprise Daegil with two more things, that she can ride a horse just as well as they can and that she can be sharp about discerning situations ❤ Seolhwa is basically for comic relief, because the drama is simply awash of heartaches plus it has many instances of sword fight violence — I watched it because my Korean classmate recommended it to me after learning that the plight of the lowest of classes in the old Korean society interests me, by the reason that I have found out that its mechanics greatly helps me understand the everywhere contemporary wo/man, and of course at the same time contemporary Korea/Japan.

The situations of the Chuno characters are, in one word, depressing. But Seolhwa in her role as the silly youngster in fact carries the light that would have been Daegil’s redemption from his perennial angst. Chuno can be spoken of as Daegil’s story but more can be seen within it after just a little more digging behind Daegil’s glaring presence. It is Daegil’s angst that provides the drive for the main plot but Daegil owns only one face of this angst — because it can be seen in the adjacent/parallel subplots as well. Almost everyone here is trapped by circumstances and are striving for some sort of restitution. There are no obvious answers at the ending, so it’s far from the happily-ever-after formula.

This journey with Daegil, this main body of the drama that is within this tiny period of fictional history, is much more value-full for me than any ending the writers would have come up with. Many are upset by the tragic ending and are only compensated by the hope that Daegil’s sacrifice has provided — he dies so that a future government, one that is redemptive, will have a fighting chance to emerge — at least this is the obvious conclusion to the story. For me I look at the entire story, which is the collection of the stories of the characters that I met here, as one of a perennial refrain in human life not so unlike that of Daegil’s at-times-pointless angst.  I was able to meet people whose faces can be replaced by any of us who are of similar dilemmas and aspirations, of waiting for, of giving loyalty to, of trusting, of risking, of giving beyond capacity, of just getting by, of going on despite everything … there is so much packed within this tiny bundle of a story … I am at awe of how its writers accomplished such a tapestry ❤ My only regret is that I do not understand the mother tongue that is the medium for all the conversations, otherwise I could have gained much more than what I can glean from the English translations so generously provided by many people including the one running with the captures above.

Seolhwa is among my favorite characters anywhere. There’s another girl character here that shines as well — a slave named Chobok and is also a favorite of mine. It’s her face, along with that of the young girl whom Daegil has saved, who are featured at the very end of the drama as they watch the sunrise together and is thus a closure to the story. It is a parallelism to the official soundtrack’s Stigma last lyrics “When will the morning come?”. As for Seolhwa, I envy her capacity for springing back to life, for her resilience, her matter-of-fact acceptance of what cannot be changed, and her insistence in ploughing through hopelessness just to get to the other end. Her status as among the society’s dregs does not weigh her spirits down. The drama makes it appear like she’s a potential romantic interest for Daegil, which helps bring in the profits, but is actually something that is obviously impossible to materialize right from the start. This aspect of the relationship between Daegil and Seolhwa, the being there yet not there, is such a delicate layering of interactions that I am very impressed at how the two artists, Mr. Jang Hyuk and Ms. Kim Ha-Eun, have successfully put it across clearly.

Somi and her ahjussi

Somi shows to her ahjussi ( = “uncle”) her nail art because he’s asking her what she’s saving her money for, as he quickly waters his cactus before the two eat a meal with her favorite sausages. A warning, though: this movie has lots (really) of violence and therefore must not be shown to children and the like. But the friendship between Somi and her ahjussi is as lovely as can be, even more touching than that of Alexandria and Roy in The Fall.

Please do not be misled by my appreciation for the drama, interpreting it as a recommendation for just anyone to watch it — it’s because it has lots of violence and I would really caution one to be prepared for this aspect in case (you) decide to take a look at it. It’s not for the “innocent” because it can leave scars to the unprepared psyche. That is, I would not recommend it simply for light-hearted entertainment’s sake.

I recall one scene where Seolhwa was utterly irresponsible, where she sold the gang’s horses and spent the money on drinks — yeah, the lot 😀 but Daegil did the unexpected, by collecting her home without the slightest fuss — and as of now the only way I can talk about that scene is to relate it again with Somi, the little girl in Ahjussi 🙂 . . . ’til next time then 🙂 ciao ciao

The Parable of the Good Taxi Driver

Hello everyone 🙂 happy Sunday. I’d like to share with you a very powerful but not-so-nice story. It’s an updated version of The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Okay, if that name puts you off then consider that I didn’t mention it at all and just take the story by its given name as posted. It doesn’t change the potency of what it has to say. The title, whatever it’s called, won’t even matter after you’ve read it all. Because after you’ve done so what will remain with you are the pictures that the story bring out and cause to be echoed and re-echoed in your memory bank.

Its setting is the present England. That means everything is different from the original Jesus of Nazareth the Teacher’s setting. Unless you indeed believe that the Jewish worldview two thousand years ago, if such a thing can be called so, is a bit similar to the present-day rich-Western-nation worldview, if such a thing can also be called so. Let me emphasize at least one basic thing here: that Jesus of Nazareth the Teacher did not speak English and so that follows that he did not think in the same manner that so-called native English speakers do. For the non-native English speakers I have nothing to say. You might want to study the language the original parable was written in, in order to find out for yourself.

One way of checking if you’ve indeed understood the essence of that good parable, the one that’s in Luke 10:29-37 only, is to compare if the feelings you got after reading that is similar to the feelings you get after reading this post that I’m pointing you to. If not then that means you haven’t understood The Parable of the Good Samaritan all this time that you have been calling yourself a Christian.

At this juncture I wash my hands of the matter. Read it at your own risk, most especially if you worship the Bible or that version of the Bible that your exalted circle has legitimized.

If you have no idea at all what The Parable of the Good Samaritan is, I apologize for my long-windedness. Please, I highly recommend the story that I’ve been trying to introduce here, the one that you can access by clicking on the link “View original” below. If after you’ve read that you’ve become curious enough as to ask for the remote origins of the core idea of the story then you will find lots of information on it on the web. Searching for “the parable of the good samaritan” will suffice for a start. But please don’t be confused by the diversity of opinions on it. If you’re really interested in knowing more about it then you’ll find along the way that somehow you are able to discern which explanation makes sense. If you have gone that far then I suspect that, somehow, the story has taken root in you and that, somehow, you have become more courageous than you were before. What’s more, you’ll discover that the story will keep on increasing in value for you… Peace… I wish you the best.

Many many thanks, Mr. Francis Garfitt (Fran) for your work, and for sharing.

Dear everyone, I wish you a happy reading, through that link in pink, way down below, beneath the first parts of the original post that you can see here. Ciao 🙂

Adam’s Song (Awit ng Mortal)

“Awit ng Mortal” is a Pilipino song, by Joey Ayala. Awit means song, and so the title can be translated as Song of the Mortal One, or Song of the Mortals. I render it as Adam’s Song because the story of Adam in Genesis is profoundly of one who came from dust and who is returning to dust. “Adam” is strictly not a proper name but is actually a generic term for “one [who is] from dust/ground/earth [= adamah]”. I thought of Adam since I felt that the title emphasizes mortality being a prominent description of humanity.

I especially like the song, both the melody and the lyrics. I want to try translate it into English so that I can share its thought to those who can’t understand our national language. Doing it word for word, or line for line, is rather difficult, awkward, so I kind of tried to get hold of my gut understanding of the statements. (Mr. Joey Ayala, sir, in case you come across this, I hope I did okay. Peace.) Here goes:

Ano ang sukat ng halaga ng isang buhay?
Kayamanan ba o di kaya ang pangalan?
Ano ang titimbang sa husto o kulang
Ng katuparan ng adhikain at paninindigan?
May gantimpala bang dapat pang asahan
Upang kumilos nang tama’t makatuwiran?

What dictates a person’s worth? Is it possessions? Is it reputation?

Against what should an endeavor be weighed? Against which should conviction be gauged? Must there be expected rewards for all good deeds?

Saglit lamang ang ating buhay,
Tilamsik sa dakilang apoy.
Ang bukas na nais mong makita
Ngayumpama’y simulan mo na.

Our lives are just ticks in time, flicks in that great flame; commence today the tomorrow that is your dream.

Ang bawa’t tibok ng iyong puso
Minsan lamang madarama.
Ito ang kumpas ng ating awit
Na sadyang may hangganan.

Each heartbeat happens only once. This beat is the rhythm of the song that is us; that which has an end to it.

May gantimpala bang dapat pang asahan
Upang kumilos nang tama’t makatuwiran?

Must there be expected rewards for all good deeds?

Kat’wan at isipa’y kukupas,
Sa lupa’y yayakap din.
Subali’t ang bunga ng iyong pamana’y
Higit pa sa pinagmulan.

We age, we falter, we’ll succumb to the earth; however, your legacy, in its fruition, will wax beyond you and where you have come from.

Saglit lamang ang ating buhay,
Tilamsik sa dakilang apoy.
Ang bukas na nais mong makita
Ngayumpama’y simulan mo na.

Our lives are just ticks in time, flicks in that great flame; commence today the tomorrow that is your dream.

hello there 🙂 Today is April 22, 2014 and I’m putting a link to this song’s melody that was uploaded by somebody on YouTube. The vocals is by Ms. Bayang Barrios, herself an accomplished music artist. Joey Ayala’s group that performed the song is called Joey Ayala at ang Bagong Lumad [“Joey Ayala and the new native”, for my lack of a better translation … or could also be “alter native”, which is a variant of “alter-native” and which speaks of the band’s genre, alternative music, and which also speaks of the band’s music’s message(s) to its audience. Moreover, I found a site of Ms. Bayang Barrios where you can read some interesting stuff about her:  http://www.bayangbarrios.com/bayang/bayang4.htm .

Here now is the meditative song of above …  Awit Ng Mortal.  Both links lead to the same page.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mpOSZI-1ePI

or similarly:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpOSZI-1ePI

thanks again! ciao 🙂