Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Have You Got Style?

(In which the anatomy of my “writing style” lacks an organ.)


Brand this post insignificant or desperate. But be aware, however, that it is of great importance to writer wannabes like me.

A friend gave me Paulo Coelho’s latest novel, “The Winner Stands Alone” as a birthday present in the hopes that I will enjoy it as much as I did with “Veronika Decides To Die” and “Eleven Minutes”. Oh actually, I have only read an approximate of forty pages in the latter. (It still counts, right?) But when I read the first leaves of the world-famous writer’s latest work, I felt that it has lost the ”Coelho factor” that I’ve known and I’ve loved.

I told a new friend about it – as well as my sudden desire to collect books.


“I said ‘The Winner Stands Alone’ sounds different from his other novels. And after running an internet search, I found out that I am not the only one who thinks like that. Maybe part of it is because he got a different translator.”

“Is that a factor?”

“Of course it is.”

“You know what? You just don’t understand the writer. Why don’t you just read it again?”

“I understand it.”

“You don’t!”

I was taken aback. As most of you might have guessed, it is freaking hard to keep one’s cool in times like this.

“Look. I am not trying to insult Coelho or anything. I am just saying that there is something strange with this novel because I used the other works that I’ve read as benchmarks.”

“Ah. Okay.”

He called again just when I finished posting my comment on a former co-teacher’s blog.

“I found her.”


“A former co-teacher... and her blog.”


“I think she’s such an amazing wordsmith.”

“Why don’t you read her blogs? You might get something useful to help you.”

“I am actually doing it. Hmmm… I know. But of course I want to develop my own style.”

“Style? You know what you lack?” he asked in a manner that made the inquiry sound like “You know what your problem is?”

Again, I was taken aback.


“I don’t feel the heart of the writer.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your writings are very simple. They’re just like you’re delivering news.”

Was that supposed to be taken as a compliment since I didn’t study to be a news writer yet I write like one? Perhaps. But when you’re trying to write personal essays on mostly personal matters and sound like a news anchor, that’s more than an insult. For a self-proclaimed writer bereft of a heart is equivalent to a struggling artist without any artistic endowment.

“But that’s my style.”

“Really? Well, I read all of your blog posts and they’re all the same. Go ahead. Ask me any question to see if I really did. I don’t feel any heart. Like the one about your anger toward your sister? It’s just mere ranting.”

Thank goodness we have to leave the office by then. Because if Chance is mischievous enough to give me a little bit more time, I don’t know what damage I and my big mouth have caused.

This is not the first time I received that kind of comment – it’s actually the second. The first was from my high school best friend. So far, those were the only “spoken” comments that I have received regarding the mediocrity of my works.

Before I become a writer in my own, personal and highly unprofessional criteria which are only made on the sole basis that my ability to write is beyond the sheer definition of penmanship, I was a reader. And like any other readers, I have my preferences. In the same manner that my college classmates disliked Leon Ma. Guillermo’s “sadistic” style of writing “The First Filipino” as he chose to use highfalutin words like “incarceration” for “jail”, I have a really low tolerance for unabridged Shakespeare and Chaucer.

My unuttered question however, was regarding the definition of the “writer’s heart” since it is somewhat manifested as something relative. If it cannot be felt by a certain reader or readers, then it defines the writer as incompetent. Or it is just another issue of the complexity of the difference in human preferences. Take your pick.

When I was in high school, one of my co-artists told me:

“Look at our paintings. They are very distinct from each other. Flor has her floral, neon and wavy effect on her subject and color combination. Most of the males use Angono-inspired imaginative figurism with a modern twist. Jaypee uses extreme color contrast. Bernz has adopted our teacher’s style while Charles is more of an abstract artist. And you use relatively light colors with a wide array of gradual color developments. I can’t believe we have made our own artistic signatures this way. We can readily point out who did which even if our works are unsigned.”

I chose not to reason out that this is a personal blog containing personal essays and that I don’t always need to write as if I am sending Ate Charo a letter. Besides, we all have our own ways of doing things. Some people appreciate you and feel your heart even at the simplest manifestation of your thoughts. Some know you well enough to identify you in a matter of a palette of colors and a prose or a verse.

As for him, perhaps he just didn’t understand the writer. I suggest he reads again.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Struggles, Patience, Humanity and Sisterhood

(In which everyone has their own version of my narrative.)

“It’s six thirty. Wake up.”

I slowly woke up and my eyes wandered around an alien room. Oh yes. I have spent the night in my sister’s dormitory. I remembered how I struggled to get out of Recto to meet my younger sister. I rose from the bed and felt my body ache. I didn’t sleep well.

“Let’s eat our breakfast and go home. Mother must be very worried.”

“Yes. Perhaps they ran out of battery and there isn’t any electricity so they couldn’t reply to our messages. I wonder how they are.”

“Do you think we can get something to take us home?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t had a clearer view of what this typhoon has done. But I do hope we can get home. Anyway, did they give forecast regarding this?”

“Of course not. They will be releasing news today saying that there has been a strong typhoon yesterday.”

I chuckled. “Asa ka pa sa PAG-ASA.” Translation at this point is futile.

I finished my food and got ready.

“We’re leaving now. Thank you very much.” I bade the dormitory owner goodbye.

We rode a jeepney to Cubao and headed to the LRT station. We saw a lot of people on the streets.

“They must be the ones who didn’t make it home last night.”

When we get to the Santolan station, our eyes widened because of the disastrous picture before us – mud, uprooted trees and plants; vehicles of all sorts stuck on the street and barefooted people walking. My sister told me to start walking to Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall. I looked at her, bewildered. That was too distant for me. I suggested something else.

“It’s better than going to Ortigas through MRT. It’ll be impossible to pass Floodway,” she said with a tone that is both apologetic and overbearing. Then, with a serious face, she said, “Because you see, it’s Flood way. And we’re avoiding flood.” Our serious faces burst into a loud laugh.

We walked. And no matter how much we tried to be careful, we didn’t save our legs from being abstract artworks made of thick mud. I am carrying the heavier bag which contains my sandals and rubber shoes and jacket. She’s carrying my school bag.

We held on to each other especially in times of battling a more slippery and muddy road. I tried to keep my gasps low. She might have noticed and said “Don’t get sick now. I can’t carry you home.”

As we get farther and farther, our slippers become so heavy with mud that we have to wash our feet in ochre water. The only water we see is ochre anyway.

“It’s still mud.” I chortled. “We wash our feet to eliminate mud in mud-filled water. How miserable.”

The feeling of being pathetic augments my fatigue. But my sister has her uniquely cute way of lightening things up.

“Ate, do you enjoy this one-of-a-kind trip with me?”

I smirked and shook my head. Ah. I almost forgot that the longest time I’ve been spending with my sister nowadays is when we share the same bed when we sleep every Saturday at home. We ceased shopping and eating together. We don’t even laugh together more often. However, I don’t find this “make-up bonding time” quite enjoyable. Yet my sister has another punch line to deliver.

“Look. The mud is so thick and creamy it looks like chocolate. If it’s real chocolate, I’ll dive into it.”

“But it’s not chocolate.”

“Aw come on! Don’t be too serious! Just think it’s chocolate so you’ll be happy.” And she hummed a tune while smiling.

We reached the mall and saw a truck full of people passing a can of biscuits to one another and a couple of men taking their pictures. We turned right and saw an ochre river flowing among houses and trees and shops. We saw people clinging on to each other while holding their belongings tightly on top of their heads.

“Wait. I need my medicine.” She unzipped my schoolbag and got a fur pouch. From it I got my inhaler and gave myself some “air”.

“Ate, don’t get sick.” She slid the strap of my schoolbag off her right shoulder and handed it to me. “This is lighter. Give me that.” As we were switching bags, she told me, in a manner that sounded like an encouragement and an order at the same time “You can do it, ha?”

I saw danger. My sister saw a challenge. In her, I saw hope.

We started off our fateful journey on a knee-high flood. The surface felt hot but cold to the feet. As we approach Karangalan, my heart broke at the sight of houses and cars – the former half deluged and the latter completely submerged in water. After an hour, the water started to rise up to my shoulders. We saw traffic enforcer agents wearing life vests and ordering people.
“There is a strong current approaching! Hold on to the rope to your left!”

I looked at the river in front of us and saw people holding tightly to the rope to keep themselves from being carried by the strong water current. A man in his forties, who have been walking with us for an hour, told me to hold on to his shoulder. A pregnant woman, who has also been our companion, sought protection from my sister.

As we approach the deadly road, the current seemed to grow stronger and stronger. People were walking toward us from the other side, making my grips to the rope weaker. We needed to step up to somewhere safer. I held on to the man’s shoulder. He told me to hold on to the rope as I climb. But my left hand is holding the bag on my head and my right hand is gripping his shoulders. I tried to get nearer to the rope but the flow is too strong to battle. When I got a better distance from the rope, I reached it with my right hand. As I did so, someone stepped down from the gutter to catch the rope and the water suddenly flowed towards me. I lost balance and felt the cold, dirty water wash my face. I didn’t know what to do with my hands and feet as the flood started to overwhelm me. I heard people yelling. “Get her! Get her!” the next thing I know was I was embracing my bag with my left hand while my right is gripping the rope.

“What happened? Are you okay?”

I just smiled. And we continued walking. For hours, we walked against high and low water level, held on, talked and laughed with strangers. Some people noticed that my sister has been carrying the heavy bag with the same patience and strength that she had at the start of our journey and comfortably told me to help her.

But she refused. She always refused. At times, she will even insist of carrying my bag for me when she noticed that I am having a hard time, which makes me feel less than an older sister. And she has always been a troublesome imp to me. But now, I seemed to be more of a burden to her.

We reached Junction Cainta and had to walk until Brookside to finally see land. The dry ground under my feet felt queer. Now I understand how sailors feel. When we are finally aboard a jeepney to Binangonan, I felt relieved. However, it feels strange that the area of Taytay is relatively dry compared to Cainta and we have to apologize to people who sit beside us again and again because we were soaking.

When we got to our house, everything was messed up. But it’s definitely better than the ones we saw hours ago. Our parents went downstairs at the sound of our voices.

“We’re home.”

"Heaven is twice heaven only to those who have tasted hell.”
- Angela Manalang-Gloria

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Artistic and Human

(In which I dare to expose my tendencies.)
As I was aboard a Binangonan-bound jeepney one evening, I saw a really handsome young man get in. With his aura and physique, I guess he’s no older than nineteen. As he sat himself on the ruggedly cushioned seats, he held his phone so delicately I swear he’ll be the first victim if there was a snatcher present among us. Not only that, his vanity oozes out of him like lava in an angry volcano as he sways his head in his very own godly manner. And when the swaying doesn’t get the lovely strands of hair off his lovely face, he will sweep them off with his dainty fingers so fair and soft-looking I think he doesn’t know how rags feel. What makes him more stunning was the way he carries his red and black rain jacket over a white tank top that matches his knee-length khaki pants well. And do I need to mention he’s got really beautiful eyes and lips?
I remembered Teacher Kaye’s analysis of the tremendous and incredible reception of fans for Stephenie Meyer’s series-turned-movie. She told me that Meyer presented Edward as someone god-like and perfect and that people do not want to have someone like him by their side but that they actually want to be him. And she has a point. Look. Wouldn’t it be nice to look awesome and know that people secretly admire you even if they don’t tell? Isn’t it such a blessing to be given a face that can. . . (attempting not to copy from the Greeks) turn heads? Isn’t it perfect to know people are giving you furtive glances and hearts are rejoicing at the mere sight of you?
Then here comes another scenario.
Yesterday, I was browsing the map of Radiusim to look who’s around. Then I saw a profile so unbelievably adorable I almost made her picture my wallpaper. I even showed her face to a couple or three people from the office as if bragging about my latest discovery. And I also told a chat mate about the “discovery” which made me appear questionable.
Me: I found someone cute
Him: Where?
Me: Here. She’s really pretty. She looks like an anime character!
Him: You like girls?
Me: No. I am just an artist who knows how to appreciate beauty – both masculine and feminine. That’s all.
Him: … Really?
Me: I’m not bi.
Him: Peace.
Me: Here. Look.
(I sent him the profile URL.)
Him: She’s cute.
Me: See? I told you.
(Moments of silence.)
Him: Is she online?
Me: I guess so.
Him: I can’t send her a message
Me: I just did.
Him: You did? What did you say?
Me: I told her she’s pretty.
Him: Wow. Anyway, I can’t send her a message. It says “You can’t send Enosh a message because of her privacy settings.” So how can you?
Me: Perhaps she only allowed women to message her? I don't know. You’re interested in her, eh?
Him: No. I am just appreciating the beauty that God has given her.
And this chat mate of mine didn’t go online today. I don’t know why. And now I don’t know if Kaye’s analysis is still applicable. But hey! I would readily accept the chance to look like her!
Remembering his gender-bending question, I was reminded of a situation. Jen, one of the most, if not the most liberal student I had, once told me in a discussion which I don’t know the start of, that “According to the book I’ve read, all people have bisexual tendencies. It’s the social standards that hinder us from becoming an outward bisexual.”
How profound!

P.S You might want a proof so here it is. Too bad I don’t have the guy’s.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Moment of Pure Innocence

(In which irony is all over the place and multiplication seemed to be more than a fundamental mathematical operation.)

My best buddy (BF) and her brother Revo, have been my constant mates in doing routinary things every Saturday after school – strolling around the mall, eating almost the same food at almost the same spots, walk to the FX terminal and talking and laughing about random things.

I have been used to hearing them talk about mangas. It’s an alternative topic for my best friend’s glorifying speech about Gil Ofarim, on which I prefer the former. Okay, he is hot. But you don’t want to see BF feigning to faint from extreme elation at the sound of his name. Think about high school girls swooning over a campus crush. . . You got it.

But last night, I got myself involved. We were talking about mangas – hentai mangas. Much as I don’t want to disappoint you, I need to make it clear as early as now that I didn’t initiate the conversation. And no, I am not being defensive.

As we were patiently waiting in line for the vehicle that will lend comfortable seats for our aching backs, we exchanged titles of ecchi and hentai mangas as well as the sites where thy can be found. Honestly, I was surprised that they know so much. Talking about senseis eh? The flow of the conversation doesn’t even have the slightest touch of guilt or shame despite the occasional, surprised, suspicious looks we get from passers-by and people in line ahead or behind us at the sound of sentences like:

“Almost all mangas are sex-oriented. I usually feel strange when I stumble upon one that isn’t.”

“I get tired of reading hentai mangas after a long time, as if they don’t affect me as much as the first.”

“It’s so ironic that she still has sex with him in the convent.”

“It reminds me of one episode of Grey’s Anatomy where the Asian doctor has to deal with a pervert patient.”

As members of this present society, we know that the discussion about sex is a taboo (which reminds me of how straightforward one user of Radiusim puts in his status: Missin’ damn SEX! And used it for several days) Whatever. But that time was so guilt free we don’t care. Besides, the conversation took off not for the purpose of shaming ourselves in public but for the sake of fun and active interchange of ideas and opinions. Believe me.

As we get ourselves nearer to the start of the line, Revo expressed his sudden discovery of a brilliant thought.

“You know? I have decided. . . After careful thinking and considering. . . That I don’t want to get married.”

Our gaze darted from the distant buildings to Revo’s East Asian face crowned with a messy, highlighted hair styled in the F4 fashion.

His sister’s face went blank. “What?”

“Yes. Look. Marriage will suck the life out of me and I don’t want that. I don’t want to be burdened with stubborn kids and a nagging wife.”

I was supposed to say “You don’t want to have a wife. Yeah. You never had a girlfriend, right?” But instead I said “What are you going to do then?”

“I will just have to multiply,” he said with a big, meaningful smile.

“Multiply. You mean you are going to raise as many skirts as you can, impregnate women and abandon them?”

“No. When I feel the heat, I’ll just go to H Spas.”

Heat, huh?” his sister chuckled.

“Or perhaps you can try the Unicorn.” I suggested. I still don’t get his meaning of multiply though.

“Nah. I heard the Unicorn isn’t that recommendable anymore. And besides why would you spend so much in H Spa and Unicorn when you can get some from See You and the Solace College?” BF asserted with a rising-and-falling accent like that of Kris Aquno.

Revo beamed. “Whoa! See You!”

“I heard it has a lot of really beautiful attractions.” I said, with an internal crack! and ouch! in the background.

“You betcha, my dear friend. If you have enough cash, you can get the best.”

“I doubt if they’re safe though.”

“Why do girls do that?” Revo asked with an innocence so weird I want to laugh and say “Duh?!”

“For tuition fees and other expenses,” I answered.

“Ooh! Money really makes the world go round.” He thought intently then suddenly raised his head. Another manifestation of the discovery of a brilliant thought.

“That’s why I really have to be rich.”

It was BF’s reminder that put an end to our discussion. “Hey guys. Let’s stop this. Someone from See You might hear us.”

I sighed and looked back at the line of vans waiting to be filled with passengers. As I was resting my back on the railings, I saw a slim girl wearing a beige sleeveless dress that emphasizes her curves so perfectly well. I motioned BF to come closer and whispered “She’s so slim. I’m envious.”

She took a quick look at her. “Yeah - “

She stopped, moved her head a little bit sideward to get a better look of the girl’s face and suddenly turned her back. She motioned us to huddle.

“That girl was my classmate in high school.”


“From what I know, she’s from See You.”

My jaw dropped.

As usual, Revo’s lost in space and asked in a rather late timing. “What’s the matter?”

I grabbed him by the arm and explained. “That girl was your sister’s classmate and she’s from See You.”

“What? You think she heard?”

“Guess. Hint: she’s just two feet behind us.”

“Aw!” the worried look on his face lasted for five seconds and the happy-go-lucky expression reemerged. “Anyway, let’s forget it.”


The barker called out for passengers. We walked straight to the van and didn’t look elsewhere.

Friday, September 18, 2009


(In which a poem is psychologically saving me.)

I have a friend who’s dear to me and I, together with our other friends, have always been proud of her. Last year, she called us for a sudden meeting, and as expected, she’s terribly late. But she can always get away with her pretty face. She apologized for messing our schedules and told us that the next time we’ll meet might take some ages cause she’s been hired as a cabin crew. We cheered for her and wished her the best of luck.

Recently, she’s been posting really awesome pictures of places she’s been to and stuff on Facebook. And my best friend was so inspired she already looked for sites where she could apply for the same position and looked forward to losing weight to qualify. I smile whenever she tells me about this. If I can only be real.

Yeah. Who doesn’t want to be a cabin crew and earn a thousand dollars per month and travel? I do too. But I am leaving the wish behind since I am vertically unqualified which makes me feel terribly sad about it. I have done my best, I believe, to compensate for the things I lack and I have learned to be satisfactorily competitive. But then again, there are things that just can’t be. I don’t hate them. I just… envy. I know it’s another sin – no matter which comes first in the hierarchy but… I just can’t help it. I even hid my friend’s posts from my Facebook wall to keep myself from sulking.

My future, unlike theirs, seems to be so unplanned and pathetic I can die anytime. And then I remember a poem we learned in high school.

Be The Best Of Whatever You Are

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley - But be
The best little scrub by the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.
If you can't be a bush - be a bit of the grass,
Some highway happier make;
If you can't be a muskie, then just be a bass-
But the liveliest bass in the lake.
We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew.
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do.
And the task we must do is the near.
If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail.
If you can't be the sun, be a star.
It isn't by size that you win or you fail-
Be the best of whatever you are!

© Douglas Malloch

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kanye West gone offensive; Beyonce Rescues Stunned Taylor Swift

(In which I wonder how celebrities can act so foolishly insensitive.)


Okay. They’re humans too. But they, more than any other people, should know how to behave properly because it’s their actions that are watched on national and international television.

I caught a glimpse of the news about Taylor Swift and Kanye West on Balitanghali on QTV 11 before I got out of the house to work. I wasn’t able to wait until they air the news since we all know that they put the most controversial ones at the final part of the program; otherwise, I’ll be late.

When I started my class with Esmeralda, she refused to use our grammar book. Instead, she gave me this hesitant and bothered look and uttered “Help me.”

I stopped and looked at her. She continued.

“I need an English news.”

“Is that for your homework?”

“Yes. I have news. But I don’t understand it. ”

She showed me a document with a lengthy news on it. It was interesting though – something about a 92 year-old female singer whose songs hit No. 1 in Britain. However, it’s lengthy. So I suggested something shorter, but juicer.

I gave her the overview of the news (after I introduced the celebrities involved since she doesn’t have even the slightest clue about any one of them) and she got excited. She cannot have her laptop connected to the internet so we used my phone class room. There I had her read the story I found on Yahoo! News. (For the news, click here.)

After I explained to her the contents of the news, she sighed and, with her eyebrows crossed, shouted “Crazy man!”


I love Taylor Swift's video that gave her the Best Female Video award. (For the music video of "You Belong With Me" on this blog. click here) Well, I don’t know much about the other nominees’ entries but I believe Taylor deserves the award.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Hard To Be Me

(In which my sympathy goes to all the leaders of the world.)

Recently, I am in the midst of a terrible financial crisis – so terrible that it is starting to affect my appetite and ability to weigh things. Not only that. Just thinking of how I’ll survive this week and keep my body and soul together until the next payday gives my entire system a “shutting down” alert.

I know that I am completely accountable for all my actions and decisions whatever they are and however absurd or crazy they mat be. I take ownership and responsibility of all of them. But since yesterday, I have been brooding about the manner in which my plans were executed. And at times, it’s my plans that I question. Whenever I think of my plans, I question myself – together with all that is in me – my actions, my plans, my decisions, my choices.

And then all the questions that people and family ask which I tried to ignore pop out: Did I choose the wrong course and major? Did I choose the wrong job? Was my decision to take my Graduate Studies impractical? If everything is just a matter of time, when is the “proper” time to do it? How long should I wait? How early should I act?

I stopped thinking; my forehead still rests on my palms. I just knew I stopped thinking. For a moment, my mind seemed to freeze. Still looking down, I saw my unfinished lessons plan on literature, my statistical table with unfilled columns and rows and my notes on psychology scattered. I searched for my wallet to buy food and caught a glimpse of a receipt – and the due date for my tuition fees – in my bag. I unfastened the button of my wallet open and weakened at the sight of what proves how miserable I am. I was about to sigh when my phone beeped. I reached for my phone to read the fresh message.

“I am going out to meet her today. I’ll just send you a message later. Take care.”

I finally let out a loud sigh. Or was it a scream?

Friday, September 11, 2009

정말 감사합니다*

(In which I thank you for a comment well said.)

If your intention is to inflict pain on me through that insult, you have done it oh so successfully. You see, please do not use your fatigue and stress as excuses for your insensitivity because I also have my own issues on stress and fatigue. What you meant by what you’ve said has gone against my composure a great deal and your “explanation” and “sorry” are too lame to be accepted. No, that doesn’t mean I am no longer demanding a real explanation from you. Look, there must be something more than the fact that you don’t care about how I’ll feel. Or is there?

So for the meantime, you can cuddle your pillow and sleep comfortably. You deserve compliments for being able to do that right after this.

*Thank you very much.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ignorance, Knowledge and Danger

(In which I am experiencing the irony of learning and growing.)

In one of my reflection papers in my Literature class, I have written how overwhelmed I was because of the newfound knowledge I am acquiring. It seems that the more I learn, the more I realize that I am stupid. The more I know, the more I have to learn. Sigh. How can I put it so that I wouldn’t appear like I am trying to pose a mystery?

Okay. Literature is such a vast subject – so vast that limiting it seems to be impossible since it works with language – Linguistics – which works with so much more sciences. As I learned how to read literature, I also feel the need to know to write it – and of course, to teach it. Every now and then, I feel bombarded with so many tasks required for mastery. If in case you are in any shade of doubt, I am telling you that I know I have to undergo all these. However, it just came to me as, should I call it, an eye opener? That learning makes you realize that there are so much more to learn. Perhaps it is the most important feature of knowledge – the knowledge that you are ignorant.

But the good thing is, I know where my ignorance comes from. In school, it comes from the lack of awareness of the importance of a subject matter. In life, it’s comes from the fear of accepting things as they are - the lack of acceptance of reality. At times, I’d rather be ignorant and fake innocence than face facts. How intense the danger ignorance causes me in real life! As you can see, I know it. I am aware of my ignorance. But knowledge doesn’t seem enough.

I also know that I am getting pointless. So let’s end it here.

Currently Rereading:
"The Birth of Venus" by Sarah Dunant

Monday, September 7, 2009

I’m a Monster! Rraaarrr!!

(In which my sister’s insensitivity strikes again.)

I am a student of the Graduate School in the University of the Red Warriors – and quite a responsible one, modesty aside. I do my homework, submit papers on time and participate in discussions. I do my best to fulfill my responsibilities even if it will cause me less time to sleep and another battle to survive a day in the office. But you see, I was able to do my tasks – without having a computer of my own.

Sometimes, no, I always feel guilty whenever I have to do all my reflection papers and statistical computations on my office computer after and sometimes, during class when I was supposed to be teaching. I know it’s unfair. I sometimes get to work two hours earlier than my schedule to have more time to do my school works. I feel like I’m getting paid for teaching for several hours and taking advantage of the office equipments in completing my requirements for the sake of earning units in my Graduate studies.

Last week, I was so bombarded with papers and due dates that every day seemed to be an impossible day. Imagine having to calculate F tests and T tests in statistics using dummy data for a mock research while sneaking some food into your mouth and checking on your clock to see if it’s time to call the next student. Or discreetly typing some sentences on your reflection paper while the student is reading a story. Now that’s multitasking. I just love the thought that my bosses aren’t reading this post.

So I feel so pathetic that I can’t believe I have almost made it to the first semester of my Graduate studies without the aid of a personal computer listed in my Statement of Assets. That’s why I asked my sister who owns a notebook computer because of her benevolent boyfriend’s generosity. At this point, I would like to thank my MP4 player/flash drive for letting me down just when I need its service the most.

But I have the temporary access to my sister’s computer and I started writing the rest of the historical and contextual background of our research in psychology, browsing some newspaper articles and similar researches hours after arriving from school on a late Saturday evening, when she started asking me questions about the recent death of our latest puppy. You read it right baby. Two dead dogs in just one year. I can’t believe we’re that bad pet owners. But you have to believe me, we loved our pets so much and we took care of them to the best of our capacity. I just don’t know how and why things like that happened the same way as my sister does since she doesn’t stay in the house.

I answered her first batch of questions coolly and went back to my research. I thought I have given her a satisfactory report on how the poor thing died as well as enough hints that I need to pay attention to what I am doing that constant disturbance is the last welcome thing. However, she began asking me questions, one after another. I felt so exasperated that I was giving loud sighs before I start each sentence after a pause. It’s the kind of sigh that says “I don’t know why I have to explain this to you. Can I do it some other time because as you can see, I’m busy?”

Go ahead. Tell me I’m mean. But can you blame me when I lose patience because of a person who is so insensitive that she doesn’t see that I need to do an important thing? That she has all the time in the world to ask me those tear-jerking questions before I start writing yet chose to ask them in the wrong time?

She noticed my annoyance and started to get annoyed as well.

“Why are you sighing so loudly? I am just asking!”

“Yeah, you are. But didn’t I tell you what happened already? It seems like you’re trying to blame – ”

Ewan ko sa ‘yo. Monster!” and she mumbles words that sounded to me as if they are words of protest and Lord knows what else. But it wasn’t surprising. She’s the kind of person who acts this way in this situation when she snaps readily at anyone who dared to disturb her in her busy moments.

I sighed, this time louder, but internally. ”Yes, I’m a monster. And you are a tech savvy princess who talks to me as if I don’t know how to use a computer when you don’t know how to attach a file to an e-mail and write your resumé.”

As you might have guessed, I was so upset that I ended up writing this post instead of finishing my research background.

Once upon a time, there was a conversation...

(In which the discovery of the song reminds me of a musical and tearful night.)

Can you sing for me?

What should I sing?

Anything. I want to hear your voice.

Thank you.
And you? Can you sing for me?

To Heaven
By: 조 성모.
괜찮은거니 어떻게 지내는거야 나 없다고또 울고 그러진
않니 매일 꿈속에 찾아와 재잘대던 너 요즘은 왜 보이질

않는거니 혹시 무슨 일이라도 생겼니 내게 올 수 없을

만큼 더 멀리 갔니 니가 없이도 나 잘 지내 보여 괜히

너 심술나서 장난친거지 비라도 내리면 구름뒤에 숨어서
니가 울고 있는건 아닌지

걱정만 하는 내게 제발 이러지마 볼 수 없다고 쉽게
널 잊을수 있는 내가 아닌걸 잘 알잖아
혹시 니가 없어 힘이 들까봐 니가 아닌 다른 사랑
만날 수 있게 너의 자릴 비워둔 것이라면 그 자린

To Heaven
By: Jo Seong Mo

Are you alright? How are you these days?
You aren’t crying because I’m not there, are you?
You used to come in my dreams every night
But why can’t I see you these days?

Did something happen?
Did you go far away so that you can’t come to me?
Are you mad because I try to look like I’m fine without you?
So you are just playing a joke on me as well?

When it is raining, are you hiding behind a cloud and crying?
All I do is worry about you, please don’t do this to me
You know how I can’t easily forget you just because I can’t see you

In case I was having a hard time without you
I kept your place empty so that I can find a new love
But all I can fill in that place is despair

Don’t be sorry; even if you are far way
Your image from before is stilled filled up inside of me
It won’t take that long until we meet in that place where there’s no goodbye
Until than, just wait for me a little longer

translation by: eebyul (also credit:
Thank you..

If there is anything I should be thankful for having bittersweet memories, it is the reminder that once, a melody was sung for me. If it is in anticipation of the future that seems so impossible to triumph over, I am still grateful that we had the past. And I believed him when he said his name means a road to heaven. I still do.