Monthly Archives: March 2007

mad world: i find it kind of funny, i find it kind of sad

Part 1: Confusion

It was sometime past 10 AM Wednesday, I think, when I spotted the online news update reporting an ongoing hostage drama in Lawton, Manila involving a busful of kids from Parola, Tondo, who were on their way to a field trip. The hostage-takers, the report said, were two thieves being chased by the police who in desperation boarded the bus and set off a hostage situation.

I immediately went over to our Admin Officer, who’s from Tondo, to tell her about it.

Ms. Bets, malapit ka ba dito sa Parola, Tondo? Kasi may mga bata daw na–“

“Ay oo, alam mo yang mga kabataan dyan, sila yung mga humihiga sa kalsada tapos hoholdapin ka pag hinintuan mo.”

(Pause)

“O-kaay… hindi kasi may nang-hostage daw nung isang bus ng mga batang papunta sa field trip, mga holdaper daw na tumatakbo sa pulis.”

After that was cleared up we went on to theorize about the situation. I was thinking, if you’re going to do a hostage-taking you could certainly do better than choose kids from Tondo, who may even be hardier than you are. Good luck na lang sa’yo. But then, these were daycare age kids. Ms. Betty said that they’re still young and innocent to put up a fight with the hostage-takers, but their older brothers are probably already roaming the streets in search of the hostage-takers’ families. It would have been easy, she said, to identify who are the criminals operating out of Lawton. Lintik lang ang walang ganti. I thought that with all the media coverage focused on the bus itself the more interesting drama is happening outside.

Part 2: Movie Treatments

Gtalk chat with a friend about the situation:

Me: kung pelikula to, the kids would end up overpowering the criminals

Him: kung pelikula to, darating si steven seagal at gagawing pretzel yung dalawa… 😀

Me: kung action. kung romantic comedy, magkakadevelopan yung isang holdaper saka yung teacher nung kids

Him: kung horror comedy, si chucky yung isang bata…kung horror talaga, si mahal yung isang bata… at magkakatuluyan sila nung isang holdaper…

Me: kung horror/suspense, magmumulto yung bus and will start acting weirdly. pero since election period, pwede ring may dadating na kandidato para makipag negotiate sa holdaper

Him: tapos raratratin nila ng bala. cool!

Part 3: Weirder and Weirder

We sneaked to watch some of the drama in the TV in our boss’ room, and heard Jun Ducat’s voice preaching about dirty politics. We looked at each other in confusion. Who the heck is Jun Ducat? As it turns out, Jun Ducat is the owner of the daycare center in Tondo AND was the hostage-taker. He told the kids that they’re going on a field trip, piled them onto the bus, drove to Manila City Hall, parked, sent the driver out on some errand, let a couple of accomplices in, and through a karatula posted on the bus windows, declared a hostage situation. He has a couple of grenades and some guns. His demand: guaranteed education for the 145 kids attending his daycare center. He claimed to have land titles that he could award to the kids in the bus. “Sagot ko na ang pabahay,” he said. Huh. Dominique said he couldn’t stop laughing.

As the afternoon went on it became clear that all Jun Ducat wanted was a huge soapbox to air his grievances about poverty, corruption, dirty politics, and what-have-you. And boy, did he get it. The whole world, it seemed, covered the drama. Sen. Bong Revilla came into the picture to do the negotiations (I actually had to ask people, wait, he’s a senator? Oh yeah, the father is retired. Stupid. I’ve lost track of the actors in the Senate). Caffeine Sparks pointed to Redblue thoughts’ analysis of the powerful symbolism evoked by Ducat’s choice to park the bus in front of the monument of Andres Bonifacio, and I am amazed. That was the image the world was looking at all day.kid225.jpg

In the meantime, kids were playfully peeking out the bus windows and feasting on the food that Ducat thoughtfully (?) brought along. One of them, according to ederic, pointedly asked Ducat in the middle of his radio address, “Anong oras ka matatapos?” Go kid.

Part 4: Resolution?

Dinner with clients in our boss’ house that night. One of the guests arrived late, and reported that the hostage drama had ended.

“What happened? How did it end?”

“I didn’t really catch the whole report, I just saw a bit of it on TV. Bong Revilla was there, and Chavit.”

“Chavit? Chavit who?” (sino pa kaya)

“Chavit Singson. He was the one holding the grenade.”

“Oh.”

It’s days like this that convince a lot people to migrate.

(Photo from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com)

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season 3, episode 19

Meredith is seated studying for an important surgical procedure. Derek comes up behind her, just stops short of nuzzling her hair.

 

Meredith: You’re hovering.

Derek: I’m breathing you in.

It’s all a matter of perspective. I love it 🙂

and then there were 37

It’s official: 37 candidates vying for 12 senatorial slots this coming May 14.

Genuine Opposition

  1. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III
  2. Alan Peter Cayetano
  3. Anna Dominique “Nikki” Coseteng
  4. Francis “Chiz” Escudero
  5. Panfilo Lason
  6. Loren Legarda
  7. John Henry Osmeña
  8. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
  9. Sonia Roco
  10. Antonio Trillanes IV
  11. Manuel Villar

Team Unity

  1. Edgardo Angara
  2. Joker Arroyo
  3. Michael Defensor
  4. Jamalul Kiram
  5. Vicente Magsaysay
  6. Cesar Montano
  7. Teresa Aquino-Oreta
  8. Prospero Pichay Jr.
  9. Ralph Recto
  10. Luis “Chavit” Singson
  11. Vicente Sotto III
  12. Juan Miguel Zubiri

Other Candidates:

  1. Martin Bautista
  2. Felix Cantal
  3. Melchor Chavez
  4. Ruben Enciso
  5. Antonio Anthony Estrella
  6. Richard Gomez
  7. Gregorio Honasan
  8. Oliver Lozano
  9. Eduardo Orpilla
  10. Francis Pangilinan
  11. Zosimo Jesus Paredes II
  12. Adrian Sison
  13. Victor Wood
  14. Joselito “Peter” Cayetano

Everyone, do your research now. Make sure that the names you put in that ballot really deserve to be there. Our cynicism and general feeling of despair might allow us to think otherwise, but our votes do matter, if only for the simple reason that we won’t allow them to NOT matter.

Some links to start you off, though I’m sure there are some more out there:

http://www.inquirer.net/specialfeatures/eleksyon2007/

http://philippineelections2007.wordpress.com/

http://www.bagongbotante.com/index.html

It’s going to be tough choosing my bets, and I’m not even guaranteeing right now that I can fill up the twelve slots, but as I’ve said before, it won’t be for lack of trying.

it’s like they’re asking for the backlash

It’s one of things you just know are going to turn out badly.

As part of her statement reacting to the SWS survey reporting an all-time high of hunger incidence, the President advised the hungry “to spend on the basics first before the luxuries so our children will have enough to eat.”

Yeah, that ought to do it.

twelve

“Blank on ballot help chances of lousy bets – poll advocate”

may14_1.gif I have to admit I never saw it that way before, but of course, it makes perfect sense.

“Elections are based on rank, not on a fixed number,” NAMFREL’s Guillermo Luz said. “By abstaining, you’re making it easier for other people to enter the Magic 12.”

Of course, a lot of people are going around self-righteously proclaiming that a) they’ll fill up only x number slots in the ballot because the senatorial choices are pathetic, b) they’ll leave all the ballot slots blank as a protest on the sorry state of Philippine politics, c) they won’t vote at all as a protest on the sorry state of Philippine politics, or even d) they didn’t register at all as a protest on the sorry state of Philippine politics (but those last ones I think are just apathetic).

I’ve always gone the “a” route myself, and I’ve been chewing the heads off of those people who didn’t even bother to register – it’s your right, how could you not even care, don’t you know that bad leaders are elected by good people who don’t vote, yada-yada-yada – but now I realize that due sympathy should also be accorded to those people who are intending to exercise their right to vote and exercise it intelligently, but cannot for the life of them choose 12 fully deserving candidates. People like, well, me. And maybe you.

There are more or less 80 candidates for the 12 senatorial slots, according to this list at least, enough to fill the ballot 6 times over, but how much do we really know about these candidates? Are we even making an effort to find out? What are the bases of our choices?

Mika forwarded me this file (senatoriables-2007.doc) listing the profiles of the 24 candidates from the Genuine Opposition and Team Unity slates. It’s not a comprehensive list of course, and I know that you can’t always take it at face value even if a candidate proclaims that he’s pushing for this and that advocacy or have voted for this and that law, but it’s a start. I’m not naïve enough to assume that I will be able to confidently fill up the 12 slots in my ballot with the most deserving candidates, but I’m definitely going to try.

 

image from http://www.bagongbotante.com

100,000 lang pala e

I was expecting a lot of things from the movie “300,” but I wasn’t expecting it to be funny. I was expecting the grand visuals, the epic story, the heroic characters, and yes, over-developed pectorals, but I wasn’t expecting it to be funny. Those Spartans have mastered the art of trash talking to the grandest degree. If it had been a battle of arrogance they would have handily won with nary a single casualty, never mind Xerxes’ delusions of divinity. “Nobody’s allowed to die tonight!” “Kneel before you? You see I’m going to have a problem with that. The whole morning spent killing your men has cramped my knees” “We might as well have sent our women to fight, judging from what I’ve seen so far.” He he, kulang na lang sabihing “Wala ka sa lolo ko!”

I guess that kind of treatment was just right, because if they’ve taken themselves seriously they would have looked, well, ridiculous. This way, it’s like, we’re going to get killed anyway, might as well have fun doing it. A friend of mine told me that was really the style in the Frank Miller graphic novel, which of course really intrigued me. I wonder where can I borrow one 🙂

However, the overly-stylized treatment did not really sit well with David Wenham and Rodrigo Santoro, both of which were quite unrecognizable from how they looked in the movies I remember them from, The Lord of the Rings and Love, Actually. Rodrigo Santoro, especially. I was like, sya yun?? His Xerxes was hilarious. I thought he was just a decoy lyp-synching his lines and the real Xerxes, who would turn out to be James Earl Jones, was hidden somewhere behind. Of course, believing himself to be immortal, Xerxes would see no need for a decoy, and would boldly show himself within spear range of his enemies. Too bad Leonidas missed. As for Faramir, este, David Wenham, let’s just say that he finally had his Aragornic speech in this movie, and I half expected him to declare “For Frodo!” instead of “To Victory” towards the end.

In the movie Letters from Iwo Jima, a friend of mine told me that she kept reminding herself that things won’t turn out better for the Japanese, that they lost the war, that the characters she had been in growing sympathy for would very likely die. In 300, everybody knows they’re going to die, and there’s really no sympathy about it, there’s more like glee. I mean, Leonidas would have felt cheated somehow if he’d emerged from that battle alive. He would have done his damnedest to make sure that he died, only asking for eternal glory in return. But of course.

And I don’t agree with those who are complaining that there are too many slow mos in the film. I think that the slash-thrust-parry-occasional-kick fighting style of the Spartans can be developed into an aerobics work-out, complete with shield para may weight training pa, o diba. Calling gym instructors out there, you can offer a “Spartan’s Delight” gym class and maybe, just maybe, I’ll sign up. Depends. If the instructor has muscles like Gerard Butler’s, ha ha. (Actually, the muscles had me a bit bothered. Why the overly-sculpted torso and then smooth thighs?)

300-poster.jpg

 

one of their fighting strategies – may I tulak lang ng kalaban over the cliff. which of course begs the question, aren’t there other persian forces who could have come up behind them and pushed them as well?

apparently, everyone flies

This Cebu Pacific P1 seat sale madness is seriously stressing me out. Barely have I taken the plunge and bought Bohol tickets for Holy Week break (even if I’m not sure I can secure a leave for the whole week) when this promo comes along, which resulted in many frantic mouse clickings at the online booking facility trying out flights to various destinations, occasionally punctuated by gasps at the cheap rates.

Securing a June 9-12 flight was the target of my fervent hopes. I first learned of the promo Thursday last week, when Mika, who was playing around the Cebu Pacific website, came up to me and said, in hushed conspiratorial tones, that if you book a flight to Kuala Lumpur for June 22-25 the calculations will just give you a P1 fare ++. I checked it out, and true enough, yay it did. We were actually stuck for a couple of minutes wondering if there was some fluke in the system (and if there was, could we take advantage of it? Mwahaha. Joke lang, baka ilaglag kami sa eroplano), when further investigation revealed that yes, all is legal and above board, and the airline has just launched a new promo offering P1 fare to all domestic and international flights for travel June to December, yada-yada, BUT you only have until March 8 to book. Hence triggering the frantic mouse clickings and occasional gasps.

I spent the next three or four days texting and messaging possible travel buddies, and wavering among various destinations and weighing multiple factors – will I be able to get a leave for June 11? Would I have enough funds for the Bohol trip if I buy these tickets (yes, but barely)? Is it more advisable to risk the cheaper P2,500 local flight than go for the international one, in case I won’t be able to make the trip? And once we get there (wherever that was), what would be the itinerary (yes, we were worrying about that already. The trip would have to be worth the risk, you see). And what about that new camera we’re supposed to get before the Bohol trip? Don, who can be too OC and process-oriented for his own good (for my own good actually, he he), took me through the whole list of considerations.

In a matter of days we were able to “book” flights to Cagayan de Oro (end destination Camiguin), Kuala Lumpur (end destination wherever), and Dumaguete (end destination Siquijor and Apo Island), and as fate would have it, once we’ve decided on a flight we would discover that there were no more P1 seats available. The damn price changes in a matter of hours, even minutes!! Sabi ko na nga ba dapat fast thinking dito. The fact that I don’t have a credit card (have stubbornly refused to get one out of fear that I’d absolutely ruin my life with it) didn’t help matters. It would have been sooo easy to just click, go ahead and book the flights before my OC and process-oriented boyfriend knew what hit him. Of course, it would have been my fault, at sagot ko yung risk kung hindi kami matuloy, he he.

From the initial excitement, indecision, and despair, I have now settled into acceptance and resignation. There is still the Bohol trip, after all, not to mention the summer company outing (na sana hindi sa Bohol!) to look forward to. And what is the big idea asking us to decide and shell out money on something that’s not until many many months from now, just because it’s on sale? It’s an evil, evil, brilliant ploy, and I was so along for the ride.