Blood and Balls

The word for it is schadenfreude.

As much as I despise the President, I do wish her the best of luck after last week’s stomach upset episode.  Apparently, GMA had some indigestion following a meal of bilo-bilo (sticky rice balls) and dinuguan (blood stew).  I wonder if she had that upset stomach following that “borjer” episode, but that’s just me.

I know all about upset stomachs myself, and I kind of sympathize with her on this one.  After all, Sec. Cerge Remonde – consistent with his public image as a stooge – also suffered from an upset stomach.  This was following the wake of Sec. Leandro Mendoza’s mother.  I can’t blame them, but I follow a simple rule during funerals: stick with the biscuits.

Like I said, the word is schadenfreude; what I find amusing about all of this is that there is some sort of obsession with Presidential shitting (I’m sorry, but I just had to say it).  While more than one person would decry that the President is full of shit, we’re the only country I know that would cover even executive toilet behavior.  In-depth analysis, so to speak; if my memory serves me right, The Media also covered Erap’s colonoscopy.  Erap wouldn’t be Erap without the orange wristband, the barong, the leather slippers, and the rectal polyps.

Schadenfreude has a lot to do with my own preferences towards dinuguan; I don’t eat bilo-bilo. Back in Baguio, the prejudiced bigot in me would head off to one of the many eateries at the Slaughter Compound right by Magsaysay Road, and eat in full view of the Iglesia ni Cristo church right across the street.  I just don’t know another place in Baguio that serves better dinuguan, and the counters and seats are just positioned in such a way that you’d face INC anyway.

At the very least, whatever the President was served succeeded in giving her the kind of upset stomach many could only dream of.  Although I have to give it up to the Prez: she has great taste in food.

I don’t want to know what kind of diarrhea she expelled.

Marocharim Meets Mar Roxas

Allow me to indulge in some self-promotion, ego massage, and to a certain extent, ass-kissing.

Last night, with an invitation from Mr. Carlo Ople, a few bloggers (myself included) had a casual dinner meeting with Senator Mar Roxas, more commonly known as “Mister Palengke.”  Now before you start to accuse me (again) of being a “sellout,” this is not an endorsement for Mar Roxas in 2010.  After all, I just may be crazy enough to run for the Presidency myself.  By then, I’ll be 25 and people will take me seriously.

The shindig was held at Annabel’s Tomas Morato where, over french fries, crackers, and a fantabulous dinner (for free… and hey, it was Annabel’s), the following bloggers and myself met with Sen. Roxas:

Mr. Gagelonia writes a cool summary of the meeting at his entry at Filipino Voices, so please do check it out there.  It was also the launch of VirtualRally.net, which is a virtual form of EDSA where you can speak your mind about issues like VAT.

I’m not a very political blogger (and if that was a lie, let lightning strike me), and I sort of got confused with all that had to do with my question about E-VAT.  My theory is that a lot of politicians can answer a VAT question unfazed.  So I decided to ask the Senator a “cute” question (as Ma’am Noemi puts it)…

Sir, you watched The Dark Knight, right?  Who would you want to have dinner with: Joker, Two-Face, or Batman?

Now let me just say that this is not a profound philosophical question, I just wanted to know his answer…

I’d really like to talk to Two-Face and ask… “What happened to you?”

I leave you to make up your minds about it.

Anyway, here’s a picture of me and the Senator… I told you this was a shameless post!

Again, I’m not photogenic.  My camera phone sucks.  I had a fever.  I was chewing on gum.  And I don’t use glutathione.

I must say that I’m very impressed with the Senator’s geniality and attention to detail, although I was waiting for that one phrase when we discussed VAT: “taxation without representation.”  Didn’t happen, but oh well.  Another impression was that he was very articulate, and had a keen attention to detail (the guy takes down notes).

Is Mar Roxas Presidential timber?  Let’s wait and see.  How about Marocharim?  He’s dictator material.  Do you actually want to see my face in posters at EDSA?

*     *     *

Side notes: I am suffering from flu.  Note to self: no more tequila shots on fever.

Virtual Inanity: Marocharim Goes To WordCamp

Last night I frantically packed up my laptop and headed off to some wi-fi hotspot – I could care less where – to download iTunes. Ever the ignoramus when it comes to personal gadgetry (you’re talking to a guy who doesn’t know how to use unlimited texting), I forgot that for an iPod to work, it has to be synced in a suitable program (i.e., iTunes). Now I can listen to the guilty pleasures of the Dixie Chicks and Utada Hikaru.

Uh… whatever. I don’t know what “Itsuka darekato mata koi ni ochitemo” means, either.

Since I got the feeling that I’m stuck here, I decided to register for WordCamp Philippines, sponsored by MindanaoBloggers. I think that much about a blogger is defined by how much he or she knows about a blogging platform. While much about WordPress can be self-taught (hey, that’s how I survived almost one year of Marocharim.com), I think I need to know more about this platform before I can give you cool themes in black-and-red. More than that, WordCamp gives me a great opportunity to meet with other bloggers with similar interests in blogging, writing, and politics.

Heck, it gives me a much, much needed break from the humdrum of making a living.

WordCamp Philippines is sponsored by the good people of:

WordCamp Philippines

Crispin Beltran

The only time I met Rep. Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran was three years ago at UP Diliman, when he was a speaker at a University-wide student leader’s conference.  There I was: the idealistic, militant, vocal, arrogant, aloof, metaphor-spewing young student leader.  And then there was Ka Bel: in his twilight years, he was the first to offer his hand to me for a friendly handshake, complimenting me on a question that I can no longer recall.

Today, I have grown – I hope for the better – in terms of what I stand for, and how fight for what I stand for.  And then there was Ka Bel, who has just passed away today, at 75 years young.

To call this a “fitting tribute” to the memory and legacy of Crispin Beltran is to aim for the stars.  I only met Ka Bel once, back in the days where I found myself aligned with the militant street parliamentarians, of which he was the truest example.  Over the years, I found myself moving away from the streets and putting down my banners and streamers in favor of a crusade I can live with, on my own terms.

Yet even with that divergence, I believe that any young activist today should learn their lessons well from someone like Crispin Beltran.  There are many things that I will definitely disagree with, but I will definitely not oppose any argument made that Ka Bel is an activist, a street parliamentarian of the truest sense.  Ka Bel stood up for his beliefs so much so that he went to prison for what he believed in and what he stood for.

For everything that a politically-minded and politically-aware person will say about Crispin Beltran, I think we can agree on one thing: he is a man of principle.  Some will whine, moan, and bitch out on a pat with a truncheon or a half-hour in jail.  Not someone like Ka Bel, who has seen it all, went through it all, and still had his ideals intact at the end of it all.

The activists have their heroes: Rolando Olalia, Lean Alejandro, Eman Lacaba, and today, Crispin Beltran.  Personally, I think that the only thing fitting about this short tribute to Ka Bel is this: unlike three years ago, I have done so first.

Blood Runs Cold

I was reading the papers (online, of course) this morning when I found myself seething.  My blood boiled so much that I can’t afford to flash a smile to workmates, to the nice lady at the canteen, or even think happy thoughts.  “Moved” would not be a good word to articulate exactly what I felt when I read about the massacres at Cabuyao and Calamba.  These are not crimes driven by anything at all.  Personally, I think even the Devil himself will stop short of lining up innocent lives, just to riddle them with bullets.

To be honest, I am not afraid of guns.  I am afraid of things that force a man to take up a gun and shoot without mercy.

And we can’t help but ask, “Why?”  The dead, in their final breaths, may have already taken with them the very reasons for their demise.  The murderers, with their complete lack of moral fiber, may begrudge us the very reasons for their inexcusable act of slaughter.  “Why” is not a question you ask in the event of a murder.  You don’t ask murderers questions.

I am reminded of the sickening, unreasonable death of a young man named Cris Mendez.  There was no reason for him to die, maybe except that the sorry, pathetic excuses for human beings who held that paddle the moment he died deserve every drop of guilt that drown their consciences at this very moment.  That they deserve the “prejudiced” opinions leveled against them.  That they should suffer a fate similar to Cris Mendez, only that there is a perfectly legitimate reason for every UP student, UP alumnus, and sympathizer to take a burning two-by-four wrapped in heavy chains, and to flog each and every one of them down to the last inch of their sad, miserable breaths.

Yet guns are a different story.  Just what kind of sick, miserable torture does anyone have in mind for those who murdered those bank personnel at Cabuyao, for those who shot that family – and the children – at Calamba?  Should we build a gallows, should we fashion nooses out of rusty old barbed wire, should we hang them by their necks while we let loose a million red ants on their bodies before we annihilate them with a grenade stuck straight up their rectums?  Even that’s not good enough.

Eighteen people – ten from Cabuyao, eight from Calamba – are dead.  Even the sickest, most disgusting act of torture that employs a rusty nailcutter, a used toothpick, and the lid of a freshly-opened can of sardines will not bring their lives back.

It is that which these murderers should be most fearful of: not only have they denied their victims their lives, they have duped us all of justice.

Which is why “twistedness” is the order of the day, why I seek vendetta.  Why today I read “justice” to be nothing more than a synonym for “retribution,” a synonym for “revenge.”  And if you are one of those people who are “not affected,” if again you bank on your apathy, you – unlike the victims, unlike the murderers – deserve to die.

But then again, like almost everyone else, there is nothing I can do.  Which makes it all the more frustrating.  Which makes it all the more irritating.  Which makes it all the more insulting…

Which makes it all the more disgusting.

Disgust.  Now that’s the word I’m looking for.

X-List: Five Things I Do to Contribute to the Decay of Filipino Society

First things first: I do not consider myself a “political blogger.”  I am not in the same league as Manolo Quezon, The Philippine Experience, Dean Jorge Bocobo, Nick, or any of my fellow contributors to FilipinoVoices (yes, that includes the Professional Commenter Known As Benign0 – I got that from Mr. Quezon).

Now that my definition-of-situation has been conveniently “categorized” by many bloggers as a “political commentator” – which, by the way, I am not – I am forced to reflect upon the ramifications of being one.  Because I don’t blog anonymously, I would be ever-so-prone to passing critiques by the anonymous and sanctimonious that I am a “hypocrite.”  After all, who am I to judge the proverbial dumi of This Government, when I turn a blind eye into my own, uh, lapses in judgment?  My own law-breaking?

In the effort to come clean, to be accountable, and to be transparent (which are curse words in the milieu of This Government, IMO), I have decided to enumerate a five things I do to contribute to the overall decay of the Philippines (in contrast to that guy who wrote a book on x-number of things you can do to help your country).  And no, I’m not going to make some lame, over-the-top explanations and excuses for my own errors.

*     *     *

1.  I don’t honor the Flag of the Philippines.

My lame excuse would be that the Flag is a mere symbol of high-minded, yet low-achieving, ideals of pseudo-independent post-colonial imperialism.  Yes, I do not revere the Flag as much as a high school student with a bad haircut from COQC.  Heck, elementary school kids are far more… patriotic, than I am.  At around 7:00 AM, I have just conveniently finished off a plate of breakfast at the office pantry waiting for my nightshifter to leave.  There are times that the police officers at Camp Crame, QC Police Station 10, or any other government office at the immediate line-of-sight of any train cab of the MRT raise their Flags early.  And yes, I am inside the MRT.  There is no way I could stand still, much less put my hand on my left breast, with that crowding.

2.  I jaywalk.

The lamest excuse that I would think of actually comes from back in my college days: I refuse to be constrained by the fascism of symbols and language that serve to restrict my realization of my full potentials (Gilles Deleuze’s A Thousand Plateaus, completely bastardized).  Jaywalking is the easiest, most convenient way for me to get to the office when I am running dangerously late for work.  The way I see it, Julia Vargas and San Miguel Avenue are most convenient for jaywalking.

3.  I don’t dispose of my cigarette butts properly.

Something as simple as looking for an ashtray or a trash can is something I ignore in the simple-minded act of throwing my cigarette butts.  A lame excuse would be that I still contribute to the economy, and even go so far as to pay more than my own fair share of taxes, by purchasing cigarettes from multinational corporations who evade taxation.  Yet I figure out that the toxic substances found in a single cigarette butt are concentrated enough to poison an entire family when the water from storm drains are eventually purified.  Besides, I also contribute to the clogging of the streets by “disposing of” my cigarette butts in storm drains.

4.  I do not support the local economy by buying foreign-made goods.

Lame excuse: products in the Philippines are surpressed by cheap imports that are not taxed enough, and Filipino products are in a losing effort against foreign goods because of a bad economic policy.  Of course, I didn’t figure that out when I dressed in a pair of Converse high-tops, a Levi’s 501, a Giordano T-shirt, pocketed my Marlboro Lights cigarettes, used my Sony Ericsson phone, and listened to the music of Rob Zombie.  Even my underwear is foreign (Puma socks, Tommy Hilfiger undergarments).  On occasion, I drink cold coolers at UCC Vienna Café (Japanese) and Gloria Jean’s Coffees (American).  The only things “Filipino” on me right now are a P15 blowtorch I bought from the sari-sari store and a couple of hundred pesos.  You can even question the allegiance of former President Manuel Roxas, but I leave that to the historians.

5.  The single vote for Victor Wood (among others) in our precinct at the 2007 national elections was mine.

One of my lame excuses would be that I don’t believe that elections constitute a basis for democracy in the Philippines (it doesn’t: more on that when I feel like it).  Because I only had four Senators in mind when I was voting in 2007, I decided to fill in the gaps on my ballot with people I know do not stand a chance of winning.  Voting for Victor Wood was NOT an exercise in “protest,” I just didn’t want to “waste my vote” contributing to politicians I do not particularly like, like Prospero Pichay, Koko Pimentel, Richard Gomez, and Vic Sotto.  The only senatoriables on my mind were Francis Escudero, Gringo Honasan (so sue me), Joker Arroyo (there goes a vote), and Martin Bautista (a vote I do not regret making).  The rest of my Senate line-up included Felix Cantal, Oliver Lozano, Ruben Enciso, and I even threw in the names of Nikki Coseteng and Cesar Montano for good measure.  And then there’s Victor Wood: I wouldn’t mind Madam Auring seated in the Senate gallery.

*     *     *

So there you have it: five things I do and I have done to contribute to the decay of Filipino society.  So as I lecture on and on about what “should be changed,” you must all be very well aware that all this rambling comes from a 22-year-old unpatriotic,
jaywalking, littering, foreign-supporting informal campaign manager of Victor Wood 2010.

So yes, Ms. Korina Sanchez, Mr. Luis Teodoro, Mr. Tim Yap, and Ms. Malu Fernandez: blogging is credible.

Sorry 'Bout Your Damn Luck*

Go ahead, sue me for what I’m going to say: I do not respect Brian Gorrell.  Sorry ’bout your damn luck, pal.

So what, you ask?  What did Brian Gorrell ever do to me anyway?  It’s not like he stole cash I do not have, or that he destroyed my reputation.

What really irritated me is when he “spoke to us” (by “us” I mean the attendees at iBlog 4, and by “us” I mean “me”) through a special video presentation.  I have no problems with Brian Gorrell personally.  Before, I didn’t care – and to be honest, I still don’t care – if Brian Gorrell is the most famous and the most read blogger in the Philippines today.  What I do have a problem is that Brian Gorrell started blogging two months ago.  Which brings me to a reality check: I started blogging a little over three and a half years ago.

And Brian Gorrell has the audacity to give me ex cathedra straight-from-the-pulpit on-my-father’s-lap advice on blogging?  Give me an effin’ break!

I have some friends who say that as a blogger, I don’t get the respect I “rightfully” deserve.  Short answer: I don’t need it.  I air my dirty laundry out in public every once in a while, but I don’t make a small name and reputation out of telling juicy bits about myself.  For one, I don’t have juicy bits to tell people about anyway.  For two, I have better things to attend to than to lambaste people in my not-famous not-so-popular blog.  Like post absurd entries about cabbages.  Or talk about important (or as I deem them so) issues.  At least, I have yet to descend into “eventology,” whatever that is.

This is why I have an extremely grudging respect for someone like Malu Fernandez.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t want to share a cup of coffee with Ms. Fernandez anytime soon.  A: I don’t drink coffee.  B: I don’t agree with her on a lot of things, and the OFW “scandal” is the least of them.  C: She supports lesser evils no matter who’s in power, which makes her evil by virtue of a syllogism.  Yet I have to respect Ms. Fernandez for being open and honest, and for being responsible enough to take the shat when it was coming to her.

Brian Gorrell?  Sorry about his damn luck, but I simply do not care.  The same goes for the lot of new bloggers out there who think they can pull off a “Brian Gorrell” by airing dirty laundry and neurotic emo on their Multiply sites (I just have a strange dislike for Multiply, I don’t know if it’s just me).  I mean, why should I?  Big friggin deal.  Everyone gets cheated on at one point in their lives.  Everyone has that unfortunate love affair.

To quote a favorite saying by a friend of mine, “The world doesn’t revolve around YOU.”  Sorry ’bout your damn luck, but your problems are like anuses.  Everyone has one.

If you can get away with endless posts about your ex and your personal issues, I don’t see why you cannot get away with at least ONE post about the ills plaguing you as a member of society.  Never mind that you write anonymously, never mind that you don’t take the time to construct a proper sentence.  I mean, what is so difficult about taking the time to write a potentially world-changing entry?

So here’s to the Brian Gorrell’s of the blogosphere:

Sorry ’bout your damn luck.

* – This is the title of James Storm’s theme music in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, which was lifted off Shooter Jennings’ “Electric Rodeo”

OLPC

   Back in high school, the class named “Computer” was more of an exercise in operating an overpowered cash register: at the turn of the new millennium, we were still running Windows 3.11 and learning the basic commands at MS-DOS.  In time, my school improved its computer structures and now has its own website.

   I advocate the general idea of “cyber-education:” the thing is, it is important to situate any kind of development into the proper frame of context.  In my view, what kept the Department of Education from implementing “Cyber-Ed” was not the inherent corruption in the National Broadband Network deal, but that the timing of such a priority was questionable.  At the time, it didn’t make sense to wire schools into broadband when there is a shortage of classrooms chronic enough that some classes are held under trees.

   Last night, I was watching a BBC World documentary on One Laptop Per Child, and it seems that the people of Africa are doing a better job at “cyber-education” than we are.  It makes perfect sense: free laptops.  I like the XO Laptop: while you won’t catch me blogging with one, or that no self-respecting high school DoTA player would even touch one, it is purpose-built to serve the purposes of cyber-education.

   If you asked me, the Philippine government would do well in recruiting the services of OLPC: this isn’t about laptops, this is about education.

Hot Cars

   The Lamborghini Countach is not exactly my favorite: it looks like something off one’s wildest imaginations watching a Bee Gees music video.  Like the Saleen S7 and the Lotus Elise, it’s best left on the walls of a teenager’s room.

   The talk of the papers today are “hot” cars: smuggled European sportscars owned by everyone from congressmen to Willie Revillame.  I don’t know how true these rumors are, but I don’t understand why any level-headed man would drive a Ferrari on any given road in the Philippines.  You just can’t: we just have too many potholes in our roads, and traffic is too heavy.  It doesn’t make sense to drive a multi-million peso performance sportscar in the Philippines, unless you have passes to the Batangas Racing Circuit or if you can drive it around full-speed at Subic Bay’s nice roads.

   Of course, you don’t have to be sensible to drive a performance sportscar.  For example, a friend of mine has a boss who drives around in a BMW Z3 Roadster convertible.  While the Z3 is not my favorite BMW (it looks too much like a Mazda Miata from a certain angle), it is the car James Bond drove in Goldeneye.  So basically, you overcompensate by telling yourself that you’re in the same league as Pierce Brosnan.

   There are sensibilities in driving rally cars as road cars, like the Subaru Impreza, the Mitsubishi Pajero, or a Mitsubishi Lancer from the Evolution series.  Rally cars are meant for endurance: they have better fuel economy than a LeMans vehicle, like the ones made by Audi and Porsche.  The problem with some people driving rally cars as road cars is that they trick it out not for road use, but for rally racing.  It’s not uncommon to see a Mitsubishi Lancer with big foglamps and bull-bars, as if they just came from the Dakar Rally, lost miserably, and took a complimentary car wash.

   Don’t blame me: I subscribe to the common assumption that if you have a nice car, you’re overcompensating for other… inadequacies.