Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Real Trending Topic

I don't care if #SONA2010, #Pnoy or #Aquino were trending worldwide when President Noynoy Aquino delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the public last July 26, 2010. No one cares, really. It is a waste of web space used on this negligible topic. The SONA itself is monumental, but to write about how everyone in the world is tweeting about it is just plain pathetic. I bet this is another ego-boosting ploy of local writers to feel proud again that anything Filipino is being talked about internationally. Trending topics often change in just a snap. They don't last for weeks. It is really not big of a deal. It's like saying, "Oh my God I'm so proud to be Filipino since President Aquino's SONA is in the Top 10 list of Twitter's trending topics." Really? Are we serious? We just love it when we're talked about globally. When a person makes a name for himself internationally we do what it takes to dig up information to see if he has Filipino blood in him, even if it's just 1/16 or less. These smart writers then add Filipino-(insert real nationality) before his name. Dude, he is American. He isn't Filipino-American, there's no such thing. We don't write it that way in application forms that ask us what our nationality is. We love to cling on issues that cover self-admiration. We try our very best to attach ourselves to them because subconsciously we know we are a weak country of unappreciated people. If we knew we could stand on our own feet, wouldn't we even feel obligated to force ourselves to be known to the rest of the world? Too much insecurities here.

I remember in the recent May elections how pertinent keywords connected to the event like #halalan were monitored just so they can witness the fall of #JustinBieber, which is 1st on the list. Sheesh.

Grow up. Get real.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

When Hope Is Not Enough

Today's headline from The Philippine Star reads, "Noy: Let's Give RP Hope." Let me remind everyone that US President Barack Obama embodied Hope when he ran for the highest political position. That's what the voters saw, and that's why he is their choice. The radiance in him reached out to more, including myself, believing that he could turn things around once George W. Bush's reign is over. Maybe add the fact that during the campaign most of the attention was focused on him possibly becoming the first African-American president helped his case. Simply put, his aura was powerful enough to convince the American people that he is the rightful person to lead their nation.

I've always said that President Noynoy Aquino is similar to Obama in the only sense that he had nothing to offer the public but Hope. Unlike Obama, it wasn't the color of his skin which propelled him to victory, but the deaths of his parents (who are overrated by the way, just like their only son). The ones who voted for this man wanted to see Hope in the oath-taking ceremony because apparently they are too lazy to do their part for their country. What happens after the first year of presidency, when the window of Hope is now smaller than what it used to be in the campaign period? He can't keep letting people "believe" since time will run out, and before he knows it, it's 2016. Hope can't design a realistic plan in times of disasters. Hope can't construct more efficient means of public transportation. Hope can't architect a corrupt-free government. Hope can't drain out all the water in flood-prone areas. Hope can't even stop people from cutting in lines. It can't give us much really. So why should our president give the Philippines Hope? Oh that's right. People are too stupid to think for themselves. They believe Hope is enough to give them that feel-good feeling. He thinks it's enough to quiet the followers and critics alike for the meantime, something to buy him more time for that window that's closing in.

What we need to hear are actual concrete plans to find a solution to pressing problems. If other aspiring senatorial and presidential candidates, who ironically lost, all had something to offer on the table, I can't understand how he can not formulate his own. They had a clear vision if they were to win. They were ready. The president, on the other hand, had Hope by his side. He probably hoped that the influential strength of his parents won't die out. He probably hoped that the correlation of corruption and poverty is convincing enough. Right now, a big part of America is unsatisfied with their president. I'm afraid our very own will end up like him soon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Lazy (Or Stupid) Birthday To You!

Are people getting lazier or stupider? This is the question I ask now that over the course of time I have noticed one change in the continuing evolution of our language. It's not looking good.

Forget the happy birthdays. Apparently, the trend these days is shortening and manipulating it the best possible way one can. By far the most common one is HBD, short for Happy BirthDay. People have all the time to post longer messages on their friend's wall but can't even get this one right? I have a problem with this simply because it's supposed to be a meaningful greeting. HBD appears to let him know that you are too lazy or stupid to greet him the proper way and you just want to get it over with. It seems to have lost its significance in making an effort to brighten up someone's day. It also adds burden to make him think what the hell does "HBD" mean. I have no idea how many times I've seen this all over cyberspace. Maybe it's just me who has a problem with this. Maybe at this point you've come to realize this too.

I'm just throwing this up there. I apologize if you happen to read this and feel a connection. It's either you're too lazy to type out the entire phrase or too stupid to tell the effect it has on the other person. I'm also heavily considering the my last theory which is you're just trying to be pa-cute and trying to standout which is personally both lazy and stupid. Take your pick.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Eyes Wide Shut

Filipinos possess the most scrutinizing eyes one can ever see. They give these powerful looks to anyone in their line of sight. The eyes have mastered this art to the extent of being able to see beyond what a regular person cannot. Don't think for one second it's a good thing, because it is not.

We give so much attention to the lives of other people that we have failed to respect diversity amongst ourselves. Everyone is different. Let me make that clear. I don't see the point of openly and vocally criticizing a heftier woman of her choice in fashion normally seen in skinny girls. Last time I checked, there is no governing body that legally monitors such actions. I can't even remember how many times I've heard rude comments such as, "Ano ba yan, sexy mo ate para magsuot niyan ha." They're not expressed directly, and not always the precise words are used, but one gets the point. She is, just as anyone, entitled to walk around in a mall with her favorite wardrobe. As long as she feels good, I see no point in making a big deal out of it. Shut the hell up, woman.

It's this kind of attitude that eventually brought me to the thinking that maybe it's one of the reasons why Filipinos are generally shy. We care so much of what people may think, and we know that for a fact. Of course we do. We're just like them. Not everyone's aware that we fail at doing something crazy sometimes. All for the reason we're just too damn afraid of what others will say about it knowing that we treat others exactly the same way. A guy wearing sunglasses drives his Honda with a roaring engine and loud music and the only thing anyone can come up with is a pathetic, "Wow pogi mo para dyan ah." I don't really get it (By the way, that's not coming from my own personal experience). Now this girl who is dying to wear this outfit will most probably leave it inside her closet to rot for eternity as well.

The world, including the Philippines, is rapidly moving at a pace too fast for us. Times and people are changing. As the number grows, so too are the assortment of interests that can be seen all over the place. It's only mandatory to eliminate unacceptable practices which don't coincide with the evolving society in front of us. And that's how I think we can put our keen eyes to good use.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Ego To Go Please

I'm not sure what it's called, when Filipinos laugh the way someone speaks funny English. Mind we, someone who is Filipino too. From the looks of it, it's going to be a relatively shorter entry because I'm at the peak of my emotions wondering how our stupidity came to be. In short, I'm mad... No, wrathful.

Showtime and Wowowee each has hosts of the many local variety shows whose highly-paid hosts need to invest in a two-year course on social etiquette. But let me give a brief background: It's a fact that our nation is marginalized. There are the ones sitting on top of the food pyramid, the ones a tad below the big guns, the ones lucky enough not to be on the bottom, the ones staring eye-level with the base of that strata. These celebrities, of whom many has looked at them as idols, belong to the upper class of the society. As expected, people "below" them, so to speak, see them as the intellectuals. It's sad, but that's how our system works. I don't even know who is wrong between the ill-advised believers and the supposedly examples. As a result, whatever these people on TV say and do are unfortunately seen by many as the right thing. Remember, they do not know any better so what choice do they have. Going back, these hosts shouldn't make fun of the way game contestants answer questions. First of all, we live in a country in which the first and foremost language is Tagalog, not English. We are blessed to be a nation of people who understand and speak the language many consider as the international language, but that's about it. We are too insecure about our ego that we are afraid of anybody looking down on us. We therefore place so much emphasis on displaying an attitude of never backing down on anyone. It's pride I say. Secondly, the people being made fun of are not even aware that it's not the way they say certain words that are wrong, it's the entire system which blinds us to the truth. It should be known that with this gift of the Western education comes a responsibility to sustain and promote our culture.

No one laughs when winners of Miss Universe coming from Hispanic countries answer tough questions in their native accent yet in English. IT IS BECAUSE IT IS NOTHING BUT ACCEPTABLE! They have great respect for where they come from that they don't feel like they need to force anything anymore further while we say we're proud to be Filipinos and stuff when by example we show the opposite. People, let's get our acts straight, please. Don't we also mock other Asian nations by imitating the tone and accent of their voice? Its embarrassing really, more than anything. I can't understand how we can get away with this.

I'm calling out Mariel Rodriguez and Vice Ganda who are just some of the many high profile entertainers who should begin changing their ways. I apologize if it turned out to be a longer entry as I have expected. I guess that happens when the words do come from the heart. It's frustrating and tiring to realize these things, and not be able to share it to those concerned. I think I finally figured out what it's called and it could easily be summed up in this whole entry.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Forever 21 Lesson

I was in the first and only Forever 21 store yesterday as an escort to my mom who was there to exchange an item. Normally, a job like this is a challenge because it requires patience in being able to withstand standing for a long period of time (although the stint this time around was shorter than usual). It also tests my competence to scout for a strategic spot to be on my feet without getting in the way of weaving shoppers. Anyone who's in my situation understands that the time it takes to successfully complete these tasks is inversely proportional to the time I have in enjoying the best part in doing this.

The seemingly newest flagship women's clothing store hasn't ran out of female customers since opening day. Even that, it's hard to keep track of the number of women in just one particular section of the store. It's so spacious inside that it can get its own zip code. No one's complaining. Forever 21 loves the high volume of traffic. I dig it. I'm an unsatisfied greedy little kid asking for more juicy lollipops in a candy store overflowing with goodies. No one can blame me. I'm rendered helpless, vulnerable and unarmed. I swear it's like a park where guys bring their dogs to hoping to catch a lady or two with the help of their canine companion. Only now, there's no tree-swaying and dog-panting; and no one is definitely trying to "catch" anything, or anyone. Of course not. I didn't come in there with a mission objective in hand. At that moment, I find my head turning 180 degrees panning from left to right, then back again. This goes on for about a couple of minutes which seems like an eternity with all the alluring women coming at me (I repeat, it's coming AT me, not ON me) from all directions.

The delight of seeing beautiful women about to wear equally beautiful clothes makes me appreciate the refinement in them. In a way, it tells me they know what they want, and that they can pull of a pricey dress like that. Aggressiveness. Confidence. Sexy. It may not be enough of a criterion, but it's one thing. To some extent, the charm is everlasting to the eyes of the man who was only there by accident, by chance. Maybe it happens everyday to people like me, that certain things happen which immortalize themselves subconsciously. Maybe that one girl in the line headed for the counter will forever remind me that some things are really worth remembering. I don't know. Now if I had only picked out a good spot way faster and held my ground quicker, I would have probably learned more. Who knows?

Yes, who knows? And wait, forever? Again, maybe. Just 5 seconds in and I'm not so sure already.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stumble And Fall

It's not the prettiest title, but Razorlight's 2004 single works for me.

A few months ago I stumbled upon (no pun intended) StumbleUpon, which is a really awesome website which allows users to frequently visit and share certain webpages that are of interest to them. After joining, it asks to select all the categories they like and then with just a click of button, it automatically directs users to sites based on the "interests" that they have chosen. So if I selected "gadgets", the system generates recommended sites immediately.

Over time I discovered new websites which I didn't think even existed. It brought me information which I never thought was there all along. I have to admit that clicking that one button is habit-forming. It feels like it caught me in a web of addictive... Well, websites. I'm currently browsing through websites that fall under "activism" since I've always thought I have that inner fire for advocacy in me. Here are some of the pages I was lucky enough to run across:

  1. Christmas Resistance. It's a movement against gift-giving during the holiday season. Find out why!
  2. Ten Things You Need to Know to Live on the Streets. The title of the news article says it all. It may come in handy, who knows.
  3. Three myths about world hunger. Oh please enlighten us.
  4. Replate. Instead of throwing left-over food, place it on top of garbage cans for others who have nothing to eat. Sounds crazy? Read the FAQ to find out more.
  5. 10 Revolutionary Acts of Courage by Ordinary People. The list includes Rosa Parks and burning one's self. Powerful stuff right here.
  6. RateMyCop. I've heard of RateMyProfessors, but this is even better. A certain Maurice Mosley from the Decatur Police Department in Illinois received a comment from one Kim007 that says he is a "Smart, Caring and Super Sexy. Wish I could catch him off duty."

Now I can't decide which one's better- StumbleUpon itself or the long list of entertaining sites I come across. This made me realize how the internet is easily a huge space which loads up new facts and some fiction. Just when I thought I've seen it all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Not Just A Pretty Face

Inventors discover new ways to make people's lives way easier. From a hypothetical idea inside their homes to finally a precise representation of that scheme, it is almost too fascinating how anyone could still think of more designs and gimmicks to improve the way we do things.

The main reason why these innovators even bother to create such products is because there just are not enough of them. We need them. There were no mobile phones back then, but we needed it. Now that we have it, companies search for more ways to further maximize its potentials in a sense that it was now a challenge to work on what else is out there for the iPhones and the Blackberries. On the other hand, Friendster was great for a while; but the emerging users found particular functions in Facebook which extremely appealed to their tastes.

Facebook provided us the freedom to write comments on almost anything we see on our screen. A bestfriend updates his status- boom, comment! An ex is now "single"- boom, comment! We always have something to say about almost anything we see in there. It just annoys me how one simple post could receive 30 something "feedbacks" (as Facebook calls it) when in reality, are only composed of two people writing one post after the other. It upsets other people who may have "liked" or wrote a single comment because it essentially fills their notifications with stuff they're not interested in. This is why Facebook introduced the ability to chat with other Facebook users who are online in an environment similar to instant messaging clients we are familiar with. This provided a way for two people to interact privately without distracting others.

Why wait for him to comment back on our own comment when we could have done it in a time-saving manner via this:

Next time, like the inventors themselves, make our lives easier as well by taking advantage of what the generous guys over at the Facebook team did for us. It is supposedly there for a reason.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Tight Situation For The Vagina

Just to what extent does the general population of the 21st century women want to be recognized as on par with their male counterparts? It is not a question whether they want it or not, but someone's gotta draw a glaring line and say, "Hey, we've agreed to these terms so stop whining, shut your mouth and move on."

The world gets excited when we hear a news reporter begins a piece with, "The first woman to ever jump of a cliff..." or something like that. It's a UFO sighting, a Bigfoot encounter or snowfall in the Philippines. No, not really. I'm exaggerating too much. Case in point, it's a rare occurrence. I don't see or hear any feminism-centered social groups reacting now. This is the part where it gets tricky. If they really want their rights to be identified, I propose that they should bitch out on everyone. Equality, huh? Then quit pointing out that they are women, or that they have become the first whatever. If there's already a first, may it be someone with a penis or a vagina, leave it at that. Please, please, completely erase the subcategory of being "The First Woman."

Since when can women demand silently that a gentleman should give up his seat for her? Hey, they fought for their rights to be marked with a social stamp of approval for hundreds of years, so might as well transfer that sexy ball of energy to standing up throughout the ride than making a huge fuss out of it. By huge, I mean texting all your girlfriends how this man was undeniably cute, but unfortunately rude. Even being a gentleman, or chivalry, is not expected at all times. It branches out to so many degrees. I hate it when women, with oozing confidence, declare to the whole world as part of their rebuttal that men SHOULD be gentlemen. Should? Really? Says who? Of course chivalry's dead. Our grandmothers and their grandmothers and even their grandmothers argued their way to receiving this kind of reception centuries running now.

It's really confusing for a guy like me. Seriously. It's true what they say about what women want. We just can't quite figure out what it is exactly. One moment they love this, the next they love that. Stick to something, because it drives us crazy and it even makes it so hard to give them what they want.

So I am finally drawing this very thick line. No grey areas, just a purely black and white situation. Those make ups you carry around with you, they are not always for your faces, try making up your mind too. Otherwise, whine, dine and bitch out.


Jollibee is as much of a staple part of the Philippine culture as the steamed rice is. Every kid belonging to my generation must have grown up to its menu of juicy burgers and cripsy fries. I can't even begin to describe the sensational taste of the spaghetti and syrupy texture of its ice creams. For a 3 year old back then, a face-to-face encounter, including an equivalent high-five with the enormous mascot, is already eternal happiness. However, memories of that innocence tries to coat what I am afraid I recently realized. I can't even believe it took me this long to figure out the fabrication of what we, as "primed patrons" of the fastfood chain, believed to be the best thing in the world.

I can't deny the fact that it is a fastfood restaurant. The certainty of it is seen meters away with several parallel lines leading up to ringing counters and jingling coins. Absent are the bowtie-wearing servers prepared to take customer orders. The place, in terms of my perception of its sanitation, would be ranked far from a respectable score in a survey. The prices of food items are perfect for the regular student with an average amount of allowance, or baon. The equation of adding up all these elements of a typical Jollibee branch came to a stop when their so-called "special sauce" was introduce to the general public.

Now it makes sense. I don't know if they are just too dumb or simply have no desire to clean up greasy corners the management does not think we notice at all. But the thing is, we do notice. I know I do. Don't even get me started with using rewashable plastic cups over and over again as opposed to utilizing disposable ones. So how does the disinct condiment made particularly for their line of hamburgers come into play? They trick customers into believing this is how a burger should be made. A true burger needs our mouth to savor all the richness of the beef. For all I know they could be taking the meat patty out, and leaving just the bun and dressing behind and still we wouldn't notice. It's just addictive. Now all the unpleasant elements are cancelled out by this deceit to our gusto.

Two decades later today, everytime I step into a doorway guarded by an inanimate six-foot waving bee, I remember how it's all different this time around. I feel like each brightly-lit picture of the burgers, spaghetti, fries and ice cream on the overhead menu is artificial in its deepest essence. The innocence that tried so much to protect us from envisioning this moment is now irreversibly gone.