Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lino Brocka

When I left the Philippines, Lino Brocka was the leading director of the country. A few weeks ago, I was able to watch the movie Oropronobis. Thinking about it now, the movie was filmed after the Marcos downfall. The film criticized the Philippine government after martial law. I suppose it was because everyone expected that it was Marcos and Marcos alone who was holding the Philippines back. The truth of the matter is that everyone in the PHilippines has a hand in the situation. It was not one dictator alone.

As for Brocka, he died in a car accident. Car accident? After watching Oropronobis, I am thinking of a conspiracy. Put simply, the movie Oropronobis is such a nasty critique of the government that I can imagine a scoundrel ordering Lino's death. Sadly, that can be the way things happen in the Philippines. All it takes is the will.

I have scoured the internet for Oropronobis, but there are no copies of the movie. It should be required viewing for teen-agers and high school students.


Over the last two weeks, I have gone back to the kitchen with a vengeance. About 1990 to 1995, I was a cooking fiend. I could cook a decent meal with the BBQ sauce on the side and the oven behind me. In fact, I did a Ph.D. on BBQing tri-tip loin. But when my oven went bust, I had to change my life style. I started in on eating spaghettie, bread and other non-oven related foods.

The recent decision to change my eating habits has led to my new activity of cooking. I realized that if I wanted to live to 80 years old, I needed to change the eating habits of Chinese food, red meats, etc, etc. I began to slowly cook with the bok-choy as my first topic. I realized that sautéing the vegetable was pretty easy.

Next, we tried some Indian food. I cooked a chicken curry. Unfortunately, the curry looked good, but I did not have the right mix of curry. So what happened was a good looking curry but tasteless. Back to the drawing board I think.

Today, it was fried chicken. To be truthful though, it started out as chicken BBQ. It's just that I made a mistake of not heating the pan enough. Instead of searing the chicken, I just dried it out. Next time, I will pay more attention.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Commentators without Blogs

I was going to leave this in Ron Silliman's blog, but did not. I figure, I should hold to my rule. Never discuss anything with people unless they have shown intelligence. Otherwise, you just get mired in shit.


I just went through the comments section looking for blogs so that I can gain an understanding of the demons which plague the posters here.

To be blunt, you all suck. For all the pomposity and grandiosity of the comments, I would have expected rational and tight-knit blogs which discussed things that you hold important and dear. Instead, I am faced with emptiness. The emptiness that resonates in the hollowness of your non-existent blogs. It says so much about the posters, doesn't it?

How can I expect to take you all seriously when I can not even find any interesting material any of you has posted in your blogs?

It is easy to dismiss Filipinos who are bitching and moaning about the injustices of the American system or government. it is easy to tell them to go home. Why don't you read the blogs to understand the logic?

But I'll throw the glove at all of you. You write a blog to examine America and how your poetry matters in this world. Then, leave me a note in my blog after you have filled one year's worth of self-examination and introspection. Maybe then there can be some discussion.

Besides Ron Silliman and Eileen and maybe one or two, no one has really written publicly about their thoughts and their logic. Pure disappointment.

Respectfully yours, Tatang.

Studying Caucasians

Bwahahahha. My response for this post.

On Lilac...She said: "IF, this poet desires to continue on in the vicious and ridiculous world of poetry, she had better thicken her skin." I always had difficulty with irony and sarcasm. Which one was Lilac using?

Was Lilac being ironic in her whole demand to be taken off Ron's list? Was she being sarcastic in stating that Ron was being insensitive and naive about Muslims? Because, you know, I have met Muslims. Muslim-Filipinos. They are very different from Lilac. The Muslims I have met are nicer.

I have recently taken to studying white people or caucasians as some would call them. They are a perplexing lot. They seem to have these irrational sexuality and personal issues which get resolved through world dominance and colonization. The amazing part to me is that they are often not very educated about the history of their own country. Even more so, they often take no responsibility for the actions of the American government.

Please continue the bull session as you Americans call it. It is very educational for a colonized mind like me.

Can't We All Get Along?

As part of diversity training, I watched a movie in which 2 latinos, 2 asians, 2 blacks and 2 caucasians discussed race. What impressed me the most was that the caucasians were truly ignorant of the problems that minorities face. And I have come to believe that most caucasians really are ignorant. Until the day they decide that there is something wrong with American society, their eyes will remain closed. For those who wish to research this further, I suggest Ron Takaki as a starting point. Then look at colonization of Philippines, Cuba, Vietnam, Southeast Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

And of course we come to this thread which is nowhere near any flamewar I have seen in the newsgroups of alt.tasteless or soc.culture.filipino. If we all remember the Toastmaster credo "Your opinion is yours and yours alone," we can all get along like Rodney King.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Work and Evaluations

The past year has been going by too quickly. You must have seen the change in the things that I write. I don't complain as much as I used to complain. I am not as negative as before. The change in work place from the photofinishing store to the law firm has certainly contributed to it. However, I should note that interestingly enough, some people are not happy at the law firm. As to why they are not happy, I will elaborate on later.

Suffice it to say that my evaluation for the year was given to me. And for the first time, I was satisfied. Apparently, for the office, if you get a meets expectation, you are already doing well. I was also told that my name was getting known and getting attention from management as someone who gets things done. I am at the very least ecstatic about some sort of recognition for me. I work hard at the law firm researching and writing and supporting the principals. It's good to know that I am appreciated.

Which of course brings me to two weeks ago when my supervisor and the most senior person in the group went on vacation. I was thrust into the forefront of things. I had hoped for a quiet week, but it was not to be. Certain lawsuits had to be accelerated and said lawsuits were then handed to me.

I did not mind the work, but the fact that it was something not in my area was of concern at first. But after some research in google, I managed to figure out things. And once more, I managed to cope and address the issues. More importantly, I was able to ask my fellow group mates to support and address the other issues which were of primary concern for the management.

As a prize for the way I managed and coped, I bought myself the La Cie d2 DVD burner, which at this very moment is burning away in the computer alcove. I finally managed to figure out how to create DVDs and companion material.

The voyage continues. I now have different goals than when I was an undergraduate or graduate student. Actually, the goal is still the same. To be happy and have the capacity to enjoy life. I have an interesting workplace and I am in the process of trying to get a teaching position somewhere else. I think that would be a good one.

Clueless Poets

In my previous incarnation as dictator of soc.culture.filipino, I lamented the fact that eventually, white people took over the newsgroup with the tacit approval of the Filipinos. I believe it was some sort of lack of knowledge. The Filipinos in the newsgroup did not understand that there were a limited number of locations in which Filipinos could write, and discuss things. That the point of the newsgroup was to invite other Filipinos to contribute and write and show the world what they thought.

Eventually, the newsgroup transformed from a place where Filipinos could write about their experiences and history into a place where Caucasian husbands of Filipinas could congregate to "learn" about the Philippines. All this with the tacit approval of the Filipinos there. I can not blame the Filipinos now as I did then. I now realize that they were colonized. Not knowing the extent of colonization extended into their mind and personality, they allowed a second time of victimization. This time around, they allowed others to take a place where they could congregate and write and share about their experiences.

I always made it a point to never reply to a white person in soc.culture.Filipino. My logic was that if I wanted to speak to an intelligent, rational and sensible white person, I could find one in Berkeley. And contrary to belief, Berkeley is not all liberal whitewash.

And so we come to the point of this elaboration. Ron Silliman who is phenomenal for his ability to comprehend and understand poetry of various disciplines wrote a review of Barbara Pulmano Reyes' second book Poeta en San Francisco. Refer to the March 6, 2006 entry and the comments that follow for this point.

The wife noted that there was a discussion / flame war going on about the comments in the blog. I could scarcely believe my ears that the participants of said flamewar were Nick Carbo, Eileen Tabios and Leny Strobel. Why these are the luminaries of American literature. What could possibly make them descend from their heavenly seats?

And so it was that I learned that they were fighting the good fight. They were trying to explain to white people, I should add, CLUELESS WHITE PEOPLE, that the Unites States' history is not one of honky-dory all good and niceness. It seemed to me like it was Sisyphus once more giving the rock his attention. For in this world, there is nothing more difficult to change than a person who does not know that they need to change. I should warn the world that if you have a brain, you might want to reduce your brain activity to half. That way, you will not jump into the fray against the CLUELESS POETS.

It is sad to say that Eileen deleted her entries. The SO said that she was posting in three languages, and one of them was Ilocano. I am sure that with the use of two languages, the CLUELESS POETS were already seething. And who can blame them? Most Americans are unable to understand English yet alone a second language. Hell, you can barely expect them to correctly spell the name of a second language. Bwhahaha.

In diversity training, I watched a video in which a white person took 48 hours of intense 9 on 1 attention before he could figure out that there was a problem about race. In my experience, they are totally CLUELESS unless they decide that they need to learn. And so, the fight goes on.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Freedom In America

As I prepare my papers for naturalization, I am forced to reflect upon how America conducts itself in the current political situation with Iraq. I can only shake my head at the blunders and mistakes that are made by this administration. I am appalled by the lack of intelligence and common sense. And yes, I am worried that maybe I might not be allowed to be naturalized because of what I write. But, is not the true test of being American the ability to write about stuff when there is pressure for you to remain silent?

The current New Yorker issue of Feb 27, 2006 has an article on the stupid and idiotic decision by the Bush cabinet to exempt Taliban captives from the rules of the Geneva convention. Any piss poor schmoe at the liquor store knows this is bullshit. But, the bush administration uses "legal logic" created by John Yoo to substantiate its policy.

And to think, I wanted to be like John Yoo. I figured, here's an intelligent Asian guy who can be a role model. But as I learn about what he has done, I basically marvel at his ability to burn the bill of rights for humans. Forget American constitution, this guy is burning the declaration of the rights for man. Amazing…

Anyway, as I listen to Tuhan's voice, "It’s not the politics you should be concerned about. Are you making money." Cortisol is indeed coursing through my veins right now. And I smile and say that I choose to be happy. But I point my finger at the idiocy of the current administration.

Part of me feels frustrated. The other part just wants to look at the stocks.



At work, the two senior lawyers are on vacation. However, the senior partners decided that certain issues are to be elevated and closed. I thought of it as a challenge. A way of thinking in fact. A change in my thinking. Someone said "How can you be so calm?" The mind is the key. I am stressed, but you do your best. You keep timetables. You request and request again.

I breathe and breathe again. I do my training and I balance. This is the key. Their needs are just as important as mine.

I also pulled in the other group members. This has certainly made it easier on me. They also get valuable training in how to do their job on the stress factor of high. Most joke about the supervisor being on vacation . They joke that this was a conspiracy and that they planned it. I don't believe it. I believe that this is just the plan.

I achieved team leadership skills by pulling cross-functional members into a cohesive project team by virtual internet. No meeting. Wow.

Did I mention that these issues were only given this Monday? Yup, we're doing well. Pat on the back. For this I deserve a prize. Maybe those hiking boots.