The Marocharim Experiment

Youth Suicide

   In the interest of humor, “Youth Suicide” is the name of a Wrestling Society X wrestler famed for throwing himself off 25-foot ladders and into thumbtacks and explosive ring props.  However, for this entry, I’d like to talk about a different sort of youth suicide: young people killing themselves before they reach the prime of their lives.    Awhile ago, I talked about a recent suicide by a 12-year-old girl at Cabinet Hill, Baguio City.  The latter half of this year has been rife with youth-related suicides: Mariannet Amper of Davao City, a boy who committed suicide in Iloilo under the influence of rugby, and various hangings.  Rather than of the kind of suicides consistent with the depressing lyrics of Fall Out Boy and Hoobastank, these are suicides that are of a different nature from teen “emo” phases: there seems to be a prevalence of depression among the youth today.    This article, haphazard as it may be, attempts to ground youth suicide into a framework: a social-anthropological one.  Here, I attempt to make sense of suicide from a different perspective outside of blogging commentary. *     *     * Boring sociological brouhaha    Emilé Durkheim, considered by many to be the father of sociology, was also one of the first to study suicide scientifically.  In his work Suicide, Durkheim distinguishes between four forms of suicide: Egoistic suicide: results from too little social integration, where suicide is committed because of having little in the way of social support mechanisms; Altruistic suicide:…

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Noose… Again

   I was having my morning coffee when breaking news appeared on TV: a kid committed suicide here in Baguio City, somewhere at Cabinet Hill.  I was extremely bothered: Cabinet Hill is a short walk away from my own house, and that house looked extremely familiar.  From the camera angle, it looked like the very same boarding house some of my old college friends rented a couple of years ago.  It was enough to have the hot coffee stop halfway down my gullet: if anything, yet another lucid interval yesterday had me hallucinating on the matter of a girl hanging herself, not too far from where I live.    To further corroborate and validate some lingering suspicions on the death of that girl, a friend of mine blogged about it.    Damn, I thought: what is it with kids killing themselves nowadays?  I would be extremely happy to assist an Angst-ridden emo-loser’s suicide if he or she wants to kill himself or herself with the bristly end of a toothbrush, but this is just ridiculous to the point of worry.  Back in Original TMX, one of my later entries was the suicide of 12-year-old Mariannet Amper, wher I wrote: “We can only speculate what went on in Mariannet’s mind that All Souls’ Day when she found herself in that room with her hand clutching a makeshift noose.  Maybe the poverty was too much to bear that she decided to end her misery once and for all.  Maybe she couldn’t take…

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Playing Dice

   It’s not too often I grab the brass ring.  Here I am, with an opportunity – admittedly a slim one, but an opportunity nonetheless – to leave this country.  I have staked my name and reputation in a modest research, all in the effort to get somewhere.  Lately, I realized how important that brass ring was, and how fortunate I am to cling to it: it’s a make-or-break that will either cement my career, or leave it in the proverbial pool of quicksand.    Not that I’m regretting anything, but with my less-than-satisfactory performance in six years of undergrad school, I would probably get an academic position only when pigs fly over a blue moon on the eighth day of the week on the thirteenth month of the year.  So much for a chance to teach.  As much as I tell most people that I make a bad teacher, I know that a lot of young people who would enter my classroom will learn a lot from me.  It’s all about taking a chance: like many people, I need all the chances I could get.    But I know how distant a classroom in UP is from my grasp now: I have my limits.  So last night, I decided to pass a résumé to a company looking for writers.  Another day, another gamble: I have laid my bets so many times at the roulette table of many a writing contest and, like Kenny Rogers’ gambler, I knew when to…

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   I just got reminded by my mom that if I have any plans of getting travel documents in the way of passports and visas, I have to cut my hair.  Somehow, many of my relatives are quite concerned about my hair length.  It’s paranoia by syllogism: I have long hair. I’m from UP. I used to be an activist of the street-rallying kind.    It’s not that I’m afraid of having a haircut: when I took the summer term at UP Diliman a couple of years ago, I had a haircut.  Some of my friends were very nanghihinayang that I cut my hair when it was so long, shiny, and fell in a neat cascade almost to the small of my back.  Now my hair is below shoulder-length: it’s still too long by conventional and conservative standards.    For all intents and purposes, I used to be very vainglorious when my hair was longer.  I oiled it myself on a regular basis, used handfuls of shampoo and handfuls of conditioner (not the all-in-one kind), and even went so far as to have it cellophaned once.  When pesky lice infested my hair, I took the burning sensations of Kwell, had my hair ironed, and then went to a hair spa a month later… all in the effort of ridding my locks of the parasitic vermin.    Now that I have shorter hair – and figured out the cost of my vanity – I stopped giving my hair the kind of…

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Mixed Reactions

   In the real world, I’ve been getting some mixed reactions on my recent move to my own web domain and shifting blogging platforms from BlogDrive to WordPress.  The first impression of almost every reader is the color scheme: in Original TMX, some readers threw online fits when I changed background colors from black to white.  The Christmas theme was particularly a cause for discontent among more loyal readers, so I scrapped it. In general, for its first few days, got some mixed reactions.  *     *     *    There are mixed reactions to this particular theme I chose when I shifted to WordPress: as expected, some don’t like it.  Black, as it seems, is synonymous with the general “attitude” of The Marocharim Experiment.  I have a fairly good excuse for that: I still have to learn the works of WordPress, and as soon as I can do that, I would very probably go back in black. Yet I’m quite surprised at the positive feedback I have received when it comes to color and page themes: apparently, this theme is cleaner and easier to read compared to the original.  I’ve gotten a small number of messages from a few readers who said that the original BlogDrive blog was quite hard to read owing to its high-contrast color scheme (the bulk of them saying that they get eyestrain).  Another positive feedback is that on slower connections, “New TMX” loads way faster. Another thing some people observed is…

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Tomas Dreamer

   I was watching “Wowowee” awhile ago… no wait, I watch “Wowowee” almost every day.  I suppose part of my brain has already died and got reabsorbed as testosterone because of scantily-clad Anna S. Feliciano/ASF Dancers (I have my eye on that girl who carries the Liveraide package).  Talk about the pervasive influence of popular culture.    Because Willie Revillame panders to the poor by way of giving away big bucks, the dream of big money becomes synonymous with a new dream that has reared its ugly head on the collective subconscious: to see “Papi.”  The “Willie of Fortune” contestant – usually a poor, downtrodden person who has walked the proverbial pool of quicksand that is hard time – would profess, “Matagal ko nang pangarap na makasali dito sa WOWOWEEEEEE!!!”  This may sound “elitist,” but you have got to be kidding me.    I was buying samalamig from a roadside vendor when I heard her talking to her kid:    Manang selling cold melon juice: Anong dream mo, anak?    Kid of manang selling cold melon juice: (dances “Sayaw Darling”)    Damn, I thought.  I suppose that the ambition of children have long since surrendered their innocence in favor of dreams that aim as low as height requirements for rollercoaster rides.  Back when I was a kid, all boys shared the same dream: to be an astronaut.  Girls were more noble: they all wanted to be nurses.  While we boys still try our darndest to be Captain Kirk, almost every girl who…

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   I was talking with an old batchmate of mine when the topic inevitably drifted to the matter of social action.  And so it comes with the jadedness of two guys bullshitting: him taking up law, me taking up the challenge of establishing myself as a “theorist” by the time I graduate.  In our heyday as young men in undergrad, we both shared the mantra of “down with the system.”  With someone like an Antonio Trillanes IV representing that same idea… well, it doesn’t sound so cool or so right anymore.    I’m the first to admit that my social consciousness was made and formed in the streets by virtue of a placard or a streamer.  Yup, I was an activist.  I still am, although of a different sort.  I now make qualified distinctions between “militant,” “progressive,” “Leftist,” and so on and so forth.  The reason being is that having grown up with the general movement of the Marxist idea of improving society through struggles of many different sorts, walking the walk is different from talking the talk, and walking the talk is different from talking the walk.  Walking while talking is different from talking while walking.  It’s the way things are: it took me the better part of five years to figure that out.    “Critical thinking” is more of a catchphrase to me than an actual practice: there is a difference in thinking critically and thinking in the end of criticizing.  “We denounce” is the kind of warcry…

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Pin Heads

   Ah… bowling.  It lends itself way to double-entendre: holding a ball, rolling it out of the palm of your hand, hitting pins at the end of the lane.  You grunt and groan when the ball hits either canal, and whoop when your ball hits the rack dead-on.    Olympian Lanes have been around ever since I was a kid: back in the day, it was still pretty much a wholesome family-friendly bowling alley that had a candy store in the entrance.  Back then, we gorge ourselves on cotton candy and big swirly lollipops, and leave balls sticky with damp sugar when we loft the balls around in the lanes our parents play in.    The candy store has given way to a stall that sells warm beer, but it’s still pretty much the same alley that me and the family went to when I was a kid: same balls, same pins, and it still employs pinboys.    In all honesty, I can’t bowl good: today, I bowled two 75-point games in duckpin.  During Christmas, I tag along with my uncle and my cousins to play ten-pin at the AMF Puyat lanes at Baguio Center Mall.  While I would pose a legitimate challenge in ten-pin, I suck at duckpin.  Maybe it’s a psychosomatic Freudian impulse of having two big boulders than three small grapefruits.  Is hitting the heckling pinboys a strike, a spare, a break, or a bad sprain?

Ladies and Gentlemen… Welcome to

   It’s an interesting story, for those who are interested.  A couple of months ago, I entered the Wika 2007 Blog Writing Contest and won myself a one-year free webhosting service for winning the Participants’ Choice Award.  I don’t really know why, but I won it anyway.    Today, 5 December 2007, I was about to access my BlogDrive page and poof, the BlogDrive domain expired.  I figured that The Marocharim Experiment was doomed, but I kind of forgot: I have my own web domain.  Who says my online writing days are over just because the blog-hosting domain I was loyal to for the past three years temporarily expired?  Besides, to echo Shari Cruz of, the very idea of me having my own webpage is a really good idea.    So today, I’m delivering on that really good idea.  It will take a while before I really learn how to use WordPress, but for now, my loyal readers will have to settle for a free theme I sourced from WordPress (because I can’t seem to access my FTP).  Somebody out there please help me out.    Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to