Thursday, December 29, 2011

blessed 2011

What a 2011 this has been! I don't even know how to start squeezing in here all that happened. Should I start at the time when I was evicted from the boarding house I stayed in for 3 years because a housemate who had been there for just a year assaulted me in my room but the landlord took his side and when I tried to complain to local authorities (i.e. barangay tanod), they all ganged up against me instead? Maybe I did incense my housemate with my swearing, but did that warrant his attack? Right outside my room he made repeated threats and I couldn't just dismiss them so I called the supposedly emergency hotline 117 for protection, but it was a tragedy in itself because no police came. Not even after a second call. Maybe I didn't sound real enough as I was frantically telling her my emergency? Or maybe because 117 is simply a joke? Long story short, tanods came and I instantly became a victim of their miserable lack of professionalism and reason. While at the barangay hall, they made malicious references to my gender and uttered remarks that showed their prejudice against me. Fortunately though, the lady councilor I requested exercised fairness and dutifully questioned the landlord about her threats to sequestrate my belongings if I failed to pay my dues which she blatantly and proudly overstated. The lady official also walked me to the boarding house and stayed until I had walked out with all of my possessions.

As if 11 was an inscribed symbol of downfall, this year was a melange of other unfortunate events. The first salvo happened in October as I was leaving for Malaysia. The immigration officer asked standard questions which I believe I convincingly answered, but for some reason he requested that I talk to another officer for re-evaluation - a gesture so ominous I instantly started conditioning myself that that trip was never going to happen. It was so Clark 2010 all over again! That day I was leaving for my first trip abroad which coincided with the time when airports had intensified security measures against drug mules coming in and out of the country. After going past the immigration and having no previous air travels, I naively asked an immigration officer where the boarding area was. But instead of becoming my guide, he turned into a snoopy guy who thought my reason for going to Malaysia wasn't for real. Did he think I was some drug trafficker posing as a tourist who would actually swallow cocaine capsules for money? An hour later, I was on my way back to Manila on the same bus I took to Clark. But I had to be in Malaysia, so that night my boss booked another ticket and what a lucky night it was because hours later I was exchanging ear to ear smiles with Malaysian immigration officers at the world's fourth best airport. Back to one of the world's worst, my colleague was past the immigration and the ground crew were making last calls for our flight. Meanwhile, I was standing in front of a reasonable-looking officer as he was thoroughly studying my papers. I still think that the limited time had a major role why I got to fly. If it hadn't been because I only had 10 minutes left to make it to the plane, the immigration officer wouldn't have asked questions fast and my spontaneous responses wouldn't have gotten more obvious to him. So yes, I barely had the time to put my shoes back on after X-ray and I literally sprinted my way to the plane.

I had a blast in Malaysia. The people in Langkawi were so welcoming and the weather was perfect for enjoying the awesome sights. But the cloudless sky and warm weather were in utter contrast with the situation back home. Within just a week, Luzon was battered by three typhoons that caused massive floods in many areas. The gusty winds of typhoon Pedring were so strong they tore off roofs and billboards and brought down trees and electric posts. Power was out for days and there was no way to get through to anyone for first-hand information. Days later, typhoon Quiel made landfall and brought rains that inundated low-lying barangays. The news showed the expanse of flood and all the terrifying stories with it. My mom told me she and my dad had to evacuate to the neighbor's house because they didn't think ours, being old and shaky, could hold through the raging flood. From where they were they could see all sorts of things being washed away in the deluge - houses, animals, logs, etc. When I was a kid and there was flood, I saw how scared my mom would get. It hurt me a lot seeing her shake and cry because our house might not be able to withstand the strong current. So I couldn't imagine how terrified she was to experience it all over again knowing how much more decrepit our house had gotten over the years. She honestly thought she would have nowhere to go home to. Amazingly, despite another typhoon that came later that week and some parts of the roof that snapped off, our house is still standing. So are my parents and million others who are in the middle of this perennial problem.

2011 was also the year I lost a confidante, friend, and "mother." I met Mother Malu in 2005 when we were just starting to teach at a Korean language center. I could tell that she didn't like me at first but I was young, confident, and I couldn't care less about an old diabetic lady or what she thought of me. But the culture of mentoring and togetherness among the teachers put us all closer to one another. Our years together were eventually defined by eating and drinking cups of coffee at the same table, sharing our foibles and exploits with each other, having get-togethers particularly during payday. Some consider age a bad word, but mother was one of those who would just laugh it off especially when we would jokingly remind her about it. At 60, she was much older than everybody else at school but she was so cool one could spend hours talking to her about anything and everything. In fact, she could have a 5-year old student and a 50-year old tutee and both classes would be equally animated and productive. She was so passionate about teaching and her wisdom was something that I had the privilege to learn from. I remember when once she invited me over to her place to teach me the ropes of marketing which she used to do for a living. She showed me samples of their projects and told me about those glorious days when she was at the top of her craft and the unfortunate circumstances that eventually led to losing much of what she had. Maybe I wasn't able to tell her about it, but more than the lessons in marketing, I learned a greater deal from her amazing adventures and enduring faith and I truly miss that summer afternoon when she opened her life to me and allowed me to be part of it. Now, her memories are all I have. After a year, I still pine for the days we would bicker over our differences in teaching styles but later make up, for those mornings and afternoons we would try to stop her from drinking too much coffee. I still long for the time I could hear her speak for everybody the way only she could. And I wish I could tell her now that her nudging me into nourishing my faith wasn't a waste of her time.

This entry could be viewed as a typical litany of complaints about the unfairness of life specially if I also mention my laptop that conked out. On the contrary, I intend this as a testament to the faithfulness of that Big Guy up there. In the middle of all the chaos and struggles, He sent His angels to help me through. Angels who took the forms of my boyfriend and bestfriend whose love empowers me, of that lady councilor who responded to my helplessness, of my boss and a colleague who came to my rescue when I needed a shelter and resources to pay off my dues, of my dear friends who were "online" beyond Facebook, and of all those smiles I learned to appreciate. I can't disregard those instances when someone was providentially there for me, for my family. That immigration officer who allowed me to board could have been that same guy who offloaded the woman standing in line behind me. Three typhoons in a row could have easily wrecked our house, but it remains standing. This was the most challenging year thus far, but despite the myriad of humbling experiences that came along, I have never felt so blessed. A friend summed it up in a text he sent me - "If your problem is as big as a ship, don't forget that your blessings are as wide as the ocean!"

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 12/29/2011 04:09:00 PM 0 comments

Monday, March 21, 2011

has the sun set on japan?

How can I not write about the tragedy in Japan when every time I turn on the TV or go online, I see overwhelming images of destitute situations that are close to home? Although I was just six years old when a strong earthquake hit Luzon including my hometown, I could already understand the indelible magnitude of the destruction from the huge cracks on the walls of our house and from the footages of leveled buildings and mangled roads in places kilometers away. But that seems minuscule now compared to what happened to our brothers and sisters in Japan. The indescribable might of nature was in full display as it rocked Northern Japan and triggered a monstrous tsunami that ravaged Sendai. The aftermath revealed a gruesome vista of wrecked houses and structures and dilapidated cars and boats stacked atop each other like toys. Thousands have perished and more are still within danger zones. Yet in the middle of it all, inspiring stories of self-sacrifice, discipline, and extraordinary courage abound. Think of those fifty unselfish workers at the nuclear facility in Fukushima who, even as I write this, choose to put their lives on the line to avert an impending nuclear meltdown. Did you hear about those Japanese men who let their Filipina wives and children evacuate, but opted to stay because their jobs needed them? What about those pupils who quietly settled for a most simple graduation ceremony in a classroom? Those students who went around giving away food despite having so little? They, and those countless others, who remain collected and proclaim faith instead of hopelessness are indeed unsung heroes.

This is certainly just another challenging chapter in Japan’s rich history. As pages turn, more drama will unfold. But as sure as the sun continues to rise on it, there’s no question that this nation will be able to bounce back.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 3/21/2011 10:04:00 AM 0 comments

Thursday, December 30, 2010

from ten to eleven

Two days to go and we will be ushered into another year - 365 days of mutuality and discord, individual existence, yet all entwined parts of this grand scheme of life. To the impoverished, 2011 could be just another time of struggle, albeit with hope that they, too, may feel the “progress” that every administration boasts about. To mercenary politicians, it will surely be another fiscal year to look forward to. To students, it may mean a step closer to the commencement of real-world life. To some local producers, more reels of hyped movies and shows with lousy visual effects and cliché storylines. To me, this coming year is definitely a guess. Will I get to teach another celebrity? Will I travel abroad again? Will I hear more interesting stories from students? Will I buy another gadget? Whatever happens though, the blessing of positive possibilities will remain and I will wake up every day to thank the Lord for it.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 12/30/2010 10:54:00 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

starry starry politics

Recently, the Comelec issued a memorandum ordering personalities to resign or take a leave before they endorse politicians. Many of these personalities reacted dramatically (as they are good at it) saying that singing, dancing, and acting are their "bread and butter". That's so much bread and butter! And what about the masses whose vulnerability to get amused at tawdry appearances they exploit? I mean, these performers have done so much flop acts already, and so they must spare the masses their cheap shots! And if they have a little sense of responsibility, they should stop saturating the airwaves with their mountebankery!

But that is just a speck in this cosmos of third world politics. Many actors and actresses who cajole us into voting are also principal suspects to an impending crime - tax evasion. As many TV, movie, and radio stars turn into blackholes, the Bureau of Internal Revenue warned them of dying (so to speak) should they refuse to declare their assets and pay just taxes. But if this bureau is determined, why gaze only at the stars when politicians are more predisposed to defying the law? Given our current system, prosecuting them may take some light years to happen though.

And what about those pro bono endorsers? I'm not a lawyer, but I'm not stupid either. I think the intention of the law is to give equity to media control in relation to campaigning. The Omnibus Election Code sets airtime limits on different electoral positions. So, once personalities have expressed support over certain candidates, they are automatically associated with those candidates and whether they chant or sing or rap or do nothing, their mere appearance on TV is, in effect, campaining. Freedom of speech? Sure. But it is devoid of any ethical standards to abuse freedom in the name of personal or familial gains.

Let's all be a part of these historic elections. But before that, you are so crass if you vote without looking into the character, achievements, and political stance of your candidate. And you are also irresponsible not to encourage others to do the same.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 2/17/2010 10:07:00 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

politics 101

Yesterday, I watched some politicos talk. But I wasn't impressed. Maybe because whenever a politician opens his mouth I have this reflex to protect my reality from being distorted by his gobbledygook.

Many politicians intoxicate voters by bragging about their "achievements" so that when tipsy, as many Filipinos already are for decades, they irrationally vote for inexperienced actors or help extend the terms of mercenary officials. And so when these flagrant parasites get yet another chance to suck out from the taxpayers' money, they unabashedly publicize themselves through colossal banners on a pretense of thoughtful greetings to graduates and exam passers. As if they care that only 3 out of 10 high school students actually get to go to college and board passers can't find decent jobs. And yet these shape-shifters know when and how to polish their image because their political evolution had taught them how to be bogus agents of change.

Other politicians capitalize on their appellation. If they are the opposition, they present themselves as every good thing that the administration is not. If that doesn't work, they dichotomize the political arena further, take the safe side, then paint messianic images for sure outpour of support. They distance themselves by lambasting their colleagues as if the latter haven't done anything good at all. But they, too, don't walk their talk. They oppugn plans but they cannot offer alternatives. They orchestrate a charade where they all compete for the lead role. But when their stratagem fails, they resort to being pictographic. Can you understand why the waiting sheds' pillars in your city form the initials of your governor or congressman? Why engraved on the walkways are the first letters of your mayor's first and last names? Can you understand why they have to embed their names on projects we paid for? Do you know why they are willing to spend a fortune on political ads just to get elected to an office that pays little salary?

Months from now, we are going to vest power. Is it going to be in someone who exploits the failures of others to gain credibility? Someone who has good intentions but may not be good enough for the position he prays for? Someone who promises the stars? Someone whose idea of leadership is his leadership? Someone who may plan to simulate the past regime? Someone whose credibility is impugned for his alleged offenses? Someone whose visions are not so clear? Let's not be deceived by political shenanigans and fallacies. Let's take our time to choose because a mistake done in a day will be six years of nightmare.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 1/12/2010 05:02:00 PM 0 comments

Monday, September 28, 2009

first flood

I wish I had a camera last Saturday so I could record how the floodwater brought by tropical storm Ondoy paralyzed transportation and commerce, how much it devastated houses and other structures, let alone the pain and trauma it brought to many people.

What was thought by everybody as an ordinary weather disturbance the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced the night before that would bring sporadic rains and eventually, traffic jams, caused a ravaging deluge instead. It brought gusty winds and poured in just hours an overwhelming amount of rain that entire Metro Manila should be receiving in a month! Experts said that at 450 mm rainfall in such a short time, Ondoy was far worse than Katrina. Dams and rivers swelled and inundated low lying areas which meant virtually all of the metro. And so for the first time, I had to forget that floodwater is murky and gross, a brew of all bacteria and harmful Monera known to man...just to get home.

Walking home after buying some groceries, I noticed that the cars on the street connected to the national road were going the opposite direction. I thought it was just some sort of re-routing to ease the heavy traffic but when I reached the intersection, all I could see was water with everything from cabinets, branches of trees, garbage in it. Many people were on their cellphones obviously informing and asking help from families and friends while others in huddles were trying to figure out how to cross. Some stayed under the entrance canopies of shops because the heavy downpour was nonstop. One guy found a floating fridge and held on to it as he hand-paddled his way to the other side. Every minute, people in total disbelief would arrive. I overheard an old woman say it was the first time that their barangay got flooded. She said that it had such a high elevation. So, what the heck? I gave the same reason to my colleague when she called the school earlier because she got stuck in their village near mine. I instructed her to take that route thinking that it was too high for water to accumulate. I was wrong.

After an hour, a rescue boat from the Philippine Coast Guard arrived to help. Everybody cheered! But it could only accommodate a few people at a time. I wanted to wait for the water to subside but it was getting dark. As I stood in the middle of rain for hours, I could sense a potpourri of worry, confusion, shock, and feeling of helplessness. It is however, in such difficulties that the goodness of the human spirit comes forth and the resilience of the Filipinos is seen. Some able-looking men set up a rope that people could hold on to as they negotiated the flood. Others stayed in the water to guide everybody else where to go. Those who could swim helped some residents salvage and relocate their belongings. I was moved to hear how an old woman thanked a middle-aged guy for carrying her merchandise to safety. Then they shook hands.

But the inconvenience and discomfort I experienced that day is puny compared with the dire conditions and heartbreaking stories of thousands from Marikina, Pasig, Quezon City, Rizal, and Pampanga. On TV, I saw a haunting footage of people on water lilies and garbage floating on a raging river. Then they just disappeared when they hit a bridge. There was an eerie video of two siblings hugging each other who were unearthed a day after the flood. A woman was frantic as she described how her son heroically rescued pets and other people including a baby but failed to save himself. There was a man rescued from the roof of his house on his birthday. He was trapped there for two days without food and water. A guy was crying as he was asking for forgiveness and support from his parents-in-law because he tried but wasn't able to save his wife and baby from drowning. A teenage girl appealed on national television for help because her four siblings and parents were still missing. There were old and sick folks asking for medicine and clothes. And yet there are more. I have no idea what new poignant and horrible stories I will see as I turn on the TV again. The only thing I'm sure about is that, many aren't just watching. Help is continuously pouring in. Even ordinary citizens are chipping in whatever they have to give food and clothes, even shelter. A family opened their building to give refuge to fifty families whose houses were totally wrecked. The day after the flood, I went to the grocery store and a woman was busy dumping canned goods, noodles, toiletries, bottled water into her cart. I thought she was "panic-buying." But at the counter, I heard her ask her maid if she thought those were enough for five families. Inside, I smiled. How kindhearted of her and of those other individuals who quietly help. As I write this, even the international community is doing something. The US Embassy, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, Singapore, France, and other countries and organizations including the United Nations have all sent assistance for the victims.

The physical and emotional pain that this tragedy brought upon these so many people is more real to me because I was there when it happened. But I hope those suffering find solace in compassionate gestures and in their faith in a bright future just like the couple who was asked what they would do now that they have lost everything. They said, "We're alive!"

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 9/28/2009 03:15:00 PM 0 comments

Saturday, July 18, 2009

childhood stories: the recipe

My mom finished a degree in a university but typical of many country folks, she had lots of superstitious beliefs. For example, she wouldn't let us sweep dirt out when it was past six in the evening. The explanation: it would mean tossing blessings out of the house. So whenever she tidied the kitchen after dinner, she would whisk everything into a corner until morning. Not seeing any rational basis to it, I would often ignore this custom and get rid of every morsel of dirt that would go under the broom. Things would go a little crazy, messy, and scanty but I actually thought we were still much better off than most families. There's one superstition, though, that had always tickled my sense of reason.

Back in elementary, my classmates and I had to compete in a jingle contest. I was the team leader so, much was expected of me. On the day of the competition, my mom prepared two hard-boiled eggs, a hotdog, fried rice, and a glass of milk. I ate just one of the eggs but my mom said I had to eat both. Inquisitive as a kid, I asked why it had to be two. She explained that the hotdog meant 1 and two eggs were two zeros that, side by side, all form 100 for a perfect score. And the fried rice? In case everything else wouldn't work. Funny and illogical as I thought it was, it actually worked! We shouted the loudest, jumped the highest, and smiled the widest all the way to the top spot. We performed really amazingly at that time. Could it have been a simple coincidence? I had heard stories like that of a woman's passing a board exam because she wore the same shirt that her mom was in during her own exam and a guy winning the lotto twice because he bet in the same outlet. But they were not enough to make me believe such rituals really worked. On the other hand, I couldn't dismiss the possibility because my mom's "lucky recipe" worked over and over.

Before I graduated from elementary and high school, my classmates and I had to take two assessment exams called the National Elementary Achievement Test (NEAT) and the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT) respectively. For those two exams, I had the "right" ratio of eggs and hotdogs and a glass of milk at breakfast. I topped both tests. But NSAT was more rewarding because it added three more medals on my neck on graduation day for getting the highest scores in English, Science, and Filipino. Then there was winning a regional news writing contest which was my ticket to the historic Manila Hotel. Just hours after arriving from Manila, I took the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT) and passed.

What I really loved about those achievements was that, my mom never credited them to her "lucky recipe." She would always tell me that they were the fruits of rightfully using my knowledge to my advantage. I think what she really meant was, she was proud of me. And if there's any "recipe" that really helped me become the best, it was the combination of her and dad's unchanging love and prayers for me and my siblings.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 7/18/2009 02:55:00 PM 0 comments

Friday, July 17, 2009

if you are smart, where is my load?

I was so angry yesterday I could chew nails. No, I didn't see my boyfriend kissing another guy because I don't have one. I loaded 50-peso credit into my phone then used 20 in a call three days earlier. But then when I tried to send a text message to a friend, I couldn't because my load was all gone! I hadn't called nor texted before yesterday so where in the GLOBE did my load go? How did it just disappear under the bright SUN? Sucked. That's right. My load got sucked. So did the load of the other millions of cellphone users. If it was the first time, it would have been so easy to shrug my shoulders but it wasn't. Whenever I buy load, I have this reflex to consume it fast or a SMART monster is going to take it away. The problem is, sometimes there is just no way to use it before it expires. I mean, calling and texting are not the only things I do. I can't understand why I pay for something but I can't keep it for as long as I want. But I'm glad that Senator Enrile who was a victim of "disappearing load" himself had figured out who these monsters are and prompted the Senate to inquire into this unfair forfeiture policy by telecommunications companies. He said, “Punish, if necessary people responsible for this dastardly game of robbing people of their money.” Last year, the telcos earned a gross revenue of P147 billion. Now, we are smart enough to know that some of it was the load we lost.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 7/17/2009 03:11:00 PM 0 comments

Saturday, June 20, 2009

childhood stories: the catch

Whenever I think of my childhood, I am transported back to the lush forests, meandering clear river, mysterious lake, muddy rice paddies, rolling mountains and hills, and foggy mornings in my village. My friends and I would climb every mango, santol, wild cherry, guava, and tamarind tree with small pouches of salt in our pockets because we would munch the fruits right atop the trees where we picked them. After eating to our hearts' content we would playfully swing from one branch to another like Tarzan minus the howling. Sometimes we would race our way down so I would go home with cuts and splinters all over my legs which meant a two-minute sermon and a mild slap or two on the butt from my mom. At that time there wasn't a single park in our village and I think our parents somehow understood that we had no choice but just enjoy the available "playground" that nature gave us. So, my brother and I would spend summer by scouring forests and mountains for spiders. Towing my wooden toycar that my dad made me, we would slowly walk through thick and tall blades of grass trying to spot webs until we get to the the most exotic and ferocious spider which my brother would keep in compartmentalized matchboxes. Yeah we weren't yet aware of animal rights then. The trick was not to feed the arthropods so they would be ready to devour their challengers during matches two days later. I have to say our spiders often won because they were probably the kings and queens of the spidey world and our playmates' were just the house-spider subjects. I can't remember receiving any cash prize but winning such spider games carried social prestige and in our simple Mario Brothers-free life, nothing compared to being tagged as "the keeper of the strongest spider."

Summer was also harvest time. My father wouldn't require us to help but I remember enjoying picking up the left-over rice stalks that the harvesters failed to take to the shredder. I would patiently gather and stack them then ask my dad to pay me. But every so often, I would get another bottle of coke and sandwich instead and I would be extremely happy. Believe me, it was like receiving a five-hundred-peso bill today. A day later, it's time to dry the rice - on the road because thanks to our leaders, we didn't have any decent dryer. I never told my dad but I would always worry whenever he had to do that because there were some folks who had been hit by passing cars while tossing and stirring their produce. On the other hand, I loved it when we had to scoop the rice back into the sacks partly because I wanted to show my friends that we had a lot of it. I mean, it's all we had so might as well be proud of it. But one of my proudest moments as a kid was when I came back one day from the lake where I used to fish.

My neighbor who was an old folk would go fishing and talk to my mom how much she caught. She sometimes shared with us some mouth-watering dishes she made from her catch and I just admired her for it. So, I asked her to teach me how to make my own fishing rod and take me with her to the lake where she fished. At 11, I was like the very young Harry Potter under the tutelage of Dumbledore with a fishing rod for a wand. Since then, every weekend, I would run to her Hogwarts-inspired house and ask if she was going to go fishing. If yes, we would schlep on levees and join other old folks from other villages in taking advantage of the riches of the lake nestled in the middle of hundreds of hectares of muddy and leech-infested rice paddies. The experience of being surrounded by a lot older people while growing up - hearing their stories, ideas, wit, and antics - must have been the reason I was precocious. My mom would sometimes shush me because I always had something to say about the things she and my dad or whoever came to the house were talking about. One Sunday afternoon, we went fishing again and somehow I had a hunch that something big was going to happen. True enough, after around an hour and some fishes to my name, I realized my buoy was starting to disappear towards the middle of the lake - fast! Usually it was hard to notice the subtle movements because of the wild ripples created by the breeze but at that time I knew something huge was on my hook because even the rod in front of me was starting to move! I immediately grabbed and pulled the stick but I could hardly haul it. Something was pulling it at the other end sloshing the water. I was frantically shouting for help while trying to hold my fishing rod. One of my "fishingmates" immediately came to my rescue and helped me yank an eighteen-inch African catfish into "safety". My hands were shaking and I was still shouting while I was putting the unyielding fish into my bag. Everybody was laughing at me because of the way I desperately hollered for help. On our way home, my mentor complimented me because she said that for years of fishing in that lake, she had never caught anything that size. Upon reaching our village, I was mobbed like a homecoming hero while parading the street. My mom and dad were very proud and I was so thrilled I felt sort of very special because I did something great and my prize was the best, biggest slice at dinner!

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 6/20/2009 03:30:00 PM 0 comments

Friday, June 12, 2009


With the virtually melodramatic ads by some known personalities and ordinary people on the boob tube, you would think they are harbingers of good news. And by good news they mean that Filipinos are about to reach some kind of a finish line in our quest for excellent leadership and corruption-free bureaucracy. At least at first blush. These are sham movements in true form that advocate "change" in favor of some politicians eyeing higher positions. They appeal to our thirst for reforms by associating their image with our cause. In that way, we identify with them and support them by voting for the candidate they tacitly endorse. Such propaganda is not very different to how advertisements work. They are premised on swaying public perception through emotion rather than reason. Have you ever wondered why whitening products sell like hotcakes in the Philippines? Because cosmetics companies tell us white is right. It is the way to go. You are unattractive if you aren't on the bandwagon. So, you end up buying their products that guarantee you a spot in the world of melanin-haters. In the same way that politicians come up with ingenious electoral campaigns in the guise of love of country. They create a bandwagon of "nationalists" of which they are the leaders we can count on. Or count in at the time we cast our votes.

The elections are barely a year from today. I wouldn't be surprised to see more footages of politicians serious-talking with a comedian or comedienne, or maybe running across EDSA in slow motion to save a kid from...say, a cat, or perhaps giving relief supplies to residents of...Makati, or desperately mud-slinging their opponents, or resorting to marital help which sometimes doesn't work. These are cheap shots. What aren't are debates where candidates lay their cards and go through the dynamics of argumentation. It's a way where people can clearly discern conscientious candidates from the nefarious, qualified candidates from overrated ones, visionaries from illusionists. The series of US Presidential debates in 2008 were a great display of how democracy empowers people to make sound choices because they get to know their options. Obama, Clinton, Biden, McCain, Edwards, Richardson, Kucinich, and Dodd were courageous enough to address tough issues through nationally-televised debates. Why don't we have those here? If candidates have the caliber and patriotic intents, why of their own volition not get into it?

Just like the proverbial false prophets, political trickery takes different forms. But we should know better now. Are we going to vote for a candidate just because he sponsored a concert and gave us free shirts? Are we going to support a candidate just because he is an eloquent speaker? Are we going to favor a candidate whose pictures and initials are in every corner of our city? Are we going to retain a candidate in power just because he did "fine" during his term? We may have different criteria for choosing but my goodness our country cannot afford to have another posse of parasites!

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 6/12/2009 03:24:00 PM 0 comments

Sunday, May 24, 2009

can't do idioms for toffee?

Did you get a load of idioms lately? Well, they are in every nook and cranny. They may get on your nerves but for someone who speaks English like you, idioms come in handy in getting messages across. First, because they cut short what you mean. You say you had to do the dishes and the laundry so you stood your friend up so you had to make it up to him, instead of saying that you had to wash the dishes and the laundry so you didn't meet your friend on purpose so you had to compensate for the inconvenience. Idioms help us do away with lengthy explanations. Isn't it easier to say that after speaking with your friend for ten minutes with regard to a person who attempted to break into your house you hung up than saying that you pushed the "end" button of your phone? "I gave my old stuff to someone else for free" can simply be "I gave away my old stuff." If you say you tried on the shirt, you don't have to say that you wore the shirt to see if it would fit. However, the problem with idioms is that if you can't make out the meaning, it may not be helpful to break them down and judge by analyzing each component. For example, you call someone down not because you want him to descend but because you want to scold him for maybe telling you to get off at the wrong stop. If you put away the groceries, do you throw them out into the garbage bin? If calling back someone is a sign of courtesy, is talking back to anyone praiseworthy? Since carry on means continue doing something, does it follow that wait on means continue waiting? Talking out is negotiating so talking into is bickering? Sometimes it's hard to come by good explanations from friends so if you aren't sure, look them up in the dictionary.

On the other hand, we use idiomatic expressions because we want to be indirect in talking about situations. Say, your neighbor runs over your cat and now it's about to bite the dust but you are keeping your fingers crossed that it will be back on it's feet soon because you know that to take it to the vet may mean breaking the bank. So you hold your horses as you don't want to burn your fingers. Initially, your neighbor doesn't admit to his fault which is a red tag to a bull. The bull being you. Later that day though, he has a change of heart and he decides to take care of the expenses. You think of calling the dogs off and just bury the hatchet. Imagine you are working in a company in the red. Your boss has to make heads roll because the company can't keep up with the global financial crisis. You are not a person who has deep pockets and you are worried how to make both ends meet. You think about the times your boss repetitively called you a diamond in the rough and you just needed to learn the ropes more to follow in his footsteps. But the now that the company is on the rocks and the die is cast, your days in the sun are gone and you're back to square one! You want to cry your eyes out but it's useless so you come to grips with the situation by looking for another job, come what may. You don't want to get stuck at home and just be a couch potato.

Also, sky is the limit in using idiomatic expressions. There are idioms for almost any situation. After breaking up with your significant other because he says he loves you but he doesn't put his money where his mouth is, you feel blue like you are going nuts. You bite your tongue but your friends notice that you are off color and they just can't turn a blind eye to that. A friend gives you a piece of her mind then you suddenly see light at the end of the tunnel and realize that you need to move on. And part of it is painting the town red and becoming a social butterfly. So you and your friends, dressed to kill, go to a bar where every Tom, Dick, and Harry is worth feasting your eyes on. You let your hair down and dance like there's no tomorrow. In the blink of an eye you become the life and soul of the party.

You can also see idiomatic expressions in the news. While Miss California is the apple of other people's eye, to some her name is mud for calling a spade a spade on gay marriage. But despite being a hot potato, she still manages to be as cool as a cucumber. Joan Rivers on the other hand was at loggerheads with Annie Duke during The Celebrity Apprentice calling the poker player "a despicable human being" and "a Nazi." The elder Rivers blew a fuse and all hell broke loose when her daughter Melissa was booted out following her team's (in which Duke was a member) loss in the task to create a four-page spread for Sports Illustrated. Meanwhile, the number of A H1N1 infections is rising. The Philippines with six confirmed cases is now in the same boat as other Asian countries. But the government pours oil to troubled water saying that if push comes to shove, the Department of Health is prepared and sure that we can weather the storm.

Using idioms though may not always be appropriate or necessary. Always consider your audience or the person you are talking to. If you think they will understand your point better by using simple terms or explaining the situation, do so. For example, "Shut up!" may work better than "Cease talking!" After all, we use a language not only to impress but to express.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 5/24/2009 10:23:00 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


where were you, mr congressman?

In the middle of the hullabaloo of the Pacquiao-Hatton fight are at least 45 lawmakers who left the House without quorum and scurried to Vegas just to see the match. It's not against any laws or ethical dictums to spend their own (as their speaker claimed) money to watch a much anticipated bout but to absent themselves from important sessions is an entirely different story. Who cares if they are members of the Pacquiao Team or just boxing zealots jumping up and down at every throw of jab and hook? They were not elected part-time representatives. They were voted for to do their job to the very last minute of their work day and week. And if they can't do just that, why in the face of Hatton stay?

his anthem, my anathema

Did Martin Nievera think he was competing with Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta of American Idol so he had to please Simon Cowell by singing the National Anthem with a different arrangement? Or was he thinking of upstaging Tom Jones so he belted towards the end? In an interview on 24 Oras on May 4, Nievera explained that he was chosen by Pacquiao to sing the anthem and so he did. He owned it. But isn't it crassness to think that just because he was favored over the other (singer who could have sung it correctly, not to mention better) meant he had the liberty to sing it in any way he or anybody else wanted? National Historical Institute Chairman Ambeth Ocampo said that the national anthem is "not open to free interpretation" and should only be performed in conformity with the arrangement of Julian Felipe, the composer. Violators are required by the law to issue public apology or to pay a fine of at least 5k or to be imprisoned for at most a year. But the "concert king" is adamant that he didn't violate any rules. He pointed out that he just wanted to show to the entire cosmos that he is a proud Pinoy. Nice try!

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 5/05/2009 02:50:00 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

take it from susan

So you were one of those skeptics who frowned as Susan Boyle walked into the stage because she looked like a witness to the birth of agriculture, but seconds later you turned into a witness yourself because a star has fallen. Or been born. Or been noticed. Well, I would be a phony if I told you I didn't have goosebumps when she started singing. She sang with such class and authenticity Jealousy and I Want You singer Paris Hilton would find her just to have voice training. But look at her, she's 47 and yet her singing voice stays to impress Simon Cowell. There are videos showing her in a family gathering decades ago where she sang as beautifully as she did on BGT stage. I wonder if Whitney Houston has any plans to pay her a visit. But if the other queen of England, Elton John, decides to sing a duet with her, I'm sure it's going to be a hoopla and Careless Whispers singer George Michael will be there shouting and cheering. So, Susan Boyle is the new British idol? That's right. In her latest pictures, she is sporting a new hairstyle, a Burberry-style scarf, and a matching leather jacket for a change. And why not? This self-confessed kiss-virgin lady who lived in a social blackhole with her cat for years deserves some pampering and updating to match her star status. She Dreamed A Dream and now that it came true, why shouldn't she live it? On a more serious note, Boyle is now an inspiration to gazillions of tubers because she epitomizes the saying, "You sing fine as a kid and everybody is very happy. You sing well when you're old and you feel great." In other words, no one is too old to enjoy new things.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 4/22/2009 06:28:00 PM 2 comments

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

my real age

Whenever my students asked me how old I was I’d always take two or three years off before I answered 24 or 23. There were those who readily believed and those who would frown and I knew what it meant. I have heard such a question countless times. It varied into “When were you born, teacher?” “How old were you in 2000?” or rather came as a direct question “What’s your real age?” Some students were so snoopy that if I denied my age they’d go around asking all other teachers what it really was and sometimes, it would get up my nose.

But now I realized that it’s all wrong to lie. Why should I deny the years as I age? Where will I subtract? The wonderful years I spent with my family and friends? My exciting years in high school? The year I graduated from the university? The days my mom was beside me while I was sick? The years that I’ve been working? I realized that my age bespeaks the many beautiful, hard, adventurous, boring, blessed years I’ve been through that made me into who I am now. Had I not gone through those years, I wouldn’t have been fully aware of how much my family loves me, what I can and can’t do, who my friends are, and oh, how mad yet wonderful and blessed this life is!

I think one of the reasons people hate talking about their age is that they don’t want to look back on those hard times in their lives which hurt their feelings and left obvious marks on their faces. But what about the wisdom that comes with each passing day and year? Time embed in us stories of childhood, lovelife, acquaintances, enemies, dreams, frustrations, misconducts, offenses, triumphs, and failures because these are powerful elements in making sound judgment and prudent decisions for ourselves and for other people. Life is a game field and age is the trophy that should be waved higher and thanked about more. So, age less x years doesn’t really yield a grateful and truthful answer. I’m 29.

Copyright © 2009 by DenniSinned2. All rights reserved.

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posted by dennisinned2 at 4/15/2009 06:14:00 PM 0 comments