Useless disclaimer: the entry that follows is satire. – Marocharim The foot of space that exists between me and my computer monitor is made completely out of politics. The screen radiates politics: I am compelled to read news websites all day to keep myself abreast of really important issues. My very soul exudes politics: I have no living calling other than to be a shepherd to the ignorant, apolitical flock. My genius is underappreciated by petulant, passive, observers of no consequence to the grand scheme of the political and the social. The truth is I’m not either, but the difference between the shepherd and the sheep is that I (shepherd) do the thinking for the animal (sheep). I blog about it and you don’t. So shut up, listen, and learn. You need my commentary: think of it as guidance. You come here seeking information, and my blog is the gate of Enlightenment. Purge yourself of the propaganda of the powerful. Think. Since you can’t, I’ll do all your thinking for you. Here, where issues matter. I am compelled, every hour of every day, to make sense of the issues of the day. Yet at the end of the day, don’t opinions matter more than the facts?
Over at Barrio Siete, the claim is that when you create a blog you should resist the urge of using the letter “V.” Now I have no problems at all with the good people of the Barrio – I am, after all, a reader – but I just realized how much fun I can have creating a blog entry chock-full of words that start with the letter “V.” Not that I’m trying to strike the ire of Reyna Elena, but I think it will make a fairly good practice session to populate one entry with words that begin with the letter V. It’s fun to play with words and form. I just thought it would be so much fun… even if this entry wouldn’t make sense in the end. Lulz. 🙂
Okay, the big news – slow news day, after all – was that Manny Pangilinan apparently read from a plagiarized speech in front of the graduating class of the Ateneo. Having nothing better to do, I tried to revise as much as I can from MVP’s speech – that apparently took weeks to prepare – in about an hour of outlining and typing. Here goes nothing! BTW: this is all just for the sake of practice. I mean no harm, and I don’t intend to do harm, revising – or attempting to revise – Mr. Pangilinan’s speech. Some bits and pieces thrown in, though. * * * Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat. I want to thank Father Benjamin Nebres and the Ateneo community for the honor of this doctorate. My congratulations also go to our Law School, for having 7 out of the 11-10 topnotchers in the recent Bar exams! Father Nebres, Father Magadia, trustees, faculty and staff, parents and siblings, graduates of 2010, many congratulations. Thank you so much for this gift of fellowship with the sesquicentennial class. You’ve earned your diploma from a great learning institution, and you have every right to be proud. I have wracked my mind and heart with what I should say today. It took me around an hour to ask someone to write this speech for me – and an hour for him to write about it – as I told him the story of my own graduation day 44 years ago.
Ito ang nakita ko sa Intramuros. Ang rebulto ng dating hari ng Espanya – si Señor Felipe II – at ang mag-inang nagpapahinga sa lilim nito. Hindi sa duyan, hindi sa kama, at hindi sa upuan, kundi sa karton na inilatag lamang sa plaza. Hindi sila humingi ng abuloy o limos sa amin; kuntento na lamang sila na may lugar na pwede silang magpahinga, sa isang lugar na malayo sa mainit na sinag ng araw sa Maynila. Napaisip ako kung bakit dito sila nagbakasakaling magpahinga. Tahimik ang Maynila sa Linggo; walang trapik, walang tao. Kung gusto nila ng lilim, maaari naman siguro sa lilim ng mga puno o di kaya’y sa pintuan ng mga bangko. Kung gusto nila ng limos, maaari silang humingi ng abuloy sa mga tao sa mga kapihan at kainan. Siguro, gaya ng marami dito sa Maynila, pagod lang sila. Pagod siguro ang ale sa kakabenta ng kendi at sigarilyo, o pagdidilihensya sa mga motorista. Ngunit bakit dito? Bakit pa sa paanan ng hari ng isang kaharian na, minsan sa kasaysayan, naging amo ng ating bansa?
On one cold evening As another year passes Here’s to the future. Twenty-o-nine sucked The next year should be better; If not, vendetta.
I sometimes wonder if I ever did make good on the promise I made to you some years back: I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Back then, I dreamed of that day when I’ll hold your hand when we walk that aisle, and the preacher proclaims us husband and wife. That will never happen, now that the man in my dream isn’t me. You’ve just been engaged, I heard. Letting you go long ago, I guess, has come full circle. I’m sure he’s everything I was supposed to be, or you expected me to be, but owing to my stubbornness, I wasn’t. I never did become your perfect guy, even if you were the 100% perfect girl for me. We met at the same crossroads every now and then, and somehow there was always those feelings of highs and lows. “What could have been?” “What if it were us?” It never really happened. It was just my dream, perhaps even yours. I guess right now, I guess we were never meant for each other after all.
Err… I am unusually bored. Almost every living room, office, or study table in the Philippines has a print of the “Desiderata.” I never understood why, but prints and posters of Max Ehrmann’s famous points are almost always found along family calendars, faux-Japanese paper scrolls of “Footprints in the Sand,” and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The problem with poetry, as some critics point out, is that people cannot connect with it; that it’s solely the domain of the learned, the educated, and those who are (or consider themselves as) inclined to the literary. To me, it’s a simple issue of language. The meaning of a poem can be comprehended easily if it is written in a form that people can understand. To kill off boredom, I’m going to translate/transcribe this poem in sticky caps.
He watched him as he stared into the canvas. The hand, numbed by absinthe, dipped the brush into those blotches of sharp yellow on the palette. He didn’t know what was going on in his mind, but he saw how much his brother suffered from his art. Theo believed in his brother’s vision, even if Vincent was perennially broke and always on edge. He kept going to the bank to fill his account. From that deposit, Vincent bought his alcohol (which gave him vision) and his painting materials (which gave him his living). It wasn’t Vincent who drew the sunflowers or the starry, starry night. Rather, it was his hand and his eyes. No one would bother understanding Vincent except Theo. Some people saw Vincent as a visionary artist forsaken by his own creativity. Still others saw him as a nuisance to society who had one too many glasses of liquor, or took too long of a sniff of the paint and the varnish.
The glance is a snapshot of the world. In a split second, you can’t observe anything, but everything becomes engrained in your memory. Moving cars, the occasional passer-by in the wee hours of the morning. Or how darkness falls. How the faint traces of a sunset give way to complete darkness. How alleys and roads are lit with the soft glow of street lamps. It’s bad synecdoche: the beginning and the end, the past and the present, moving from one place to another. The moment cannot be captured.