Friday, December 19, 2008

Closet Talks

I've been thinking about closets recently and it's not just because Kiks and I are thinking of looking for one that can accommodate clothes and knick-knacks accumulated for years.

A question that nagged me a couple of days back was: can a relationship between an out gay man and a closeted one work? My opinion is that, yes it might for a while but there will come a point where the matter will have to get resolved: should the closeted person come out or the out gay guy comes back in the closet?

Basically, I think that for an out gay guy, going back to the closet is a very hard thing to do. It's too constricting, it's dark, it's messy and it's a place you'll never want to come back to once you've experienced being in the open. After the personal liberation of coming out, to be guarded once again with how you act, how you speak and the freedom of saying that "he's hot" to anyone without apologies is surely a gut-wrenching decision.

But of course, coming out is a decision that must not be forced. Else, instead of that sweet feeling of finally being able to do so, it becomes a bitter source of resentment and self-loathing.

Thoughts about closets once again came up after I finally watched Milk.

Indeed it was about the life of Harvey Milk. But it was the message of what he did while he lived that struck me more powerfully: gays must come out.

His advocacy to promote the rights of gays and protect the gains of the gay movement was both acts for out gay men to rally and an encouragement for closeted guys to come out. He thus worked for policies that could set the condition for those in the closet to be able to come out without shame and fear of any form of retribution.

Like any movement for change, it has ups and downs. But perseverance is hinged on and can lead to hope. For at the end, anyone who has been in an oppressed condition will want for a better one.

Every pride march, every rally for a gay cause and every time that someone speaks and acts for gay rights is a message to those in the closet that says, yes it can be done. Moreover, it must be done for, cliché as it may sound; it is in being and doing things together that give us the resolve to push forward.

Now I know I sound agitated.

Still the films let me look back to the times I spent inside the comfort of a closet that is actually a prison. We always say that experience is the best teacher and closets are not built to allow one to live and learn from the nooks and crannies of the gay life.

And yeah, if I have to live the gay life with someone like James Franco, I'll smash that closet into pieces.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ayokong magmura, pero …

Namputcha naman!

http://www.tribune.net.ph/commentary/20081215com1.html

Nang mabasa ko ito, hindi ko napigilan ang mainis. Hindi lang ito simpleng gimik. Walang kahihiyang panloloko na ito.

Sa mga susunod na buwan eh nanganganib na mawalan ng trabaho ang libo-libong mga OFWs. Ang balita nga, mahigit 1,000 pa ang mapapauwi mula sa Taiwan ngayong buwang ito. Sa Macau ay may 500 na ang natanggal sa trabaho sa construction sector at may mahigit pang 12,000 na migrante ng iba't ibang lahi na nagta-trabaho sa casino ang hindi na raw ire-renew ang kontrata. Meron pang 500 sa property sector naman sa UAE ang nawalan na ng trabaho.

Kung sa kada 100 mapapa-uwing OFW ay magpapa- photo-op si Gloria, sana ay tamaan na sya ng kidlat sa pagiging sinungaling.

***

Namputcha naman ulit!

http://www.facebook.com/inbox/?ref=mb#/group.php?gid=42044632270

Ilang linggo ko na ring nababasa ang hinggil sa isyu na ito: ang pagkakait ng tenure ng Sociology Department ng College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) ng UP Diliman kay Prop. Sarah Raymundo.

Ni ha ni ho ay walang sinabi ang puno ng departamento kung bakit. Basta na lamang sinabihan si Prop. Raymundo na hindi na nya kailangang magturo simula noong Nobyembre 6 at matatanggal na sya sa unibersidad pagkatapos ng kanyang kontrata sa Marso. Sampung taon ng nagtuturo si Sarah sa UP at naabot na nya ang mga rekisito para maging tenured faculty – may MA, magandang ebalwasyon ng kapwa-guro at estudyante, at may mga na-publish na sa mga kinikilalang journals.

Dahil wala namang iba pang maibigay na rason, simple lamang ang pagsusuri ng mga kapwa-guro, kaibigan at kasama ni Sarah: aktibista kasi sya.

Malayang kaisipan sa malayang pamantasan. Diba? Diba?!

Sa personal na antas, kilala ko na si Sarah noong estudyante pa lang sya. CNS sya at LFS ako. Kabatak, kaibigan at kasama. Bakla sya kung baklaan ang usapan pero hindi rin sya umuurong sa seryosong mga talakayan.

Ano na ba ang nangyayari sa UP Diliman?

***

Pagkatapos ng aking mga rants, Pride naman.








Wagi sya. Yun lang. Sa susunod na Pride March ulit …

(Salamat kay Kiks sa pagpapahiram ng larawan)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pride against prejudice

A couple of things inspired me to write this. First was Lyka's post on the movie Milk. Second was the coming first Pride March in Hong Kong this Saturday. Third was because a friend of mine urged me to write about Pride.

But at the end, it is because I am gay.

Pride is a deadly sin and so they said. But if you've taken beatings once too many, it is liberating.

When I think of Pride, I think of celebration. I haven't been in a Pride March for it was only in Hong Kong did I come out. But anybody who's seen Queer as Folk or just knows how to browse the internet will have seen the rainbow of colors decorating floats and marchers in all the Pride events in the world.

When I think of Pride, I think of men and women – homosexuals and heterosexuals – who, in their own ways, have strived to make this world a place where gays need not live in fear. Of groups like Progay Philippines who have endeavored to make homosexuality a matter that should not only be discussed in hushed whispers or within the walls of the academe. Of the likes of Jonjon whose case has shown that reasons abound for such marches.

When I think of Pride, I think not only of individual pride on who I am, how I turned out to be and how I will still be. Beyond this is the collective pride in the community whose struggles have seen highs and lows but still standing. There may be differences in opinions and various debates even among us but still, the common cause against discrimination and prejudices and destroying the myths on homosexuality remains.

Lyka asked how far have we gone since the time of Harvey Milk? If I may dare add, how far are we willing to go?

I know that you cannot live on hope alone. But without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you and you gotta give them hope. – Harvey Milk

The Pride March may only be for one day and, in fact, for only two hours. But the pride and hope that it gives may last for a lifetime.

***

On a different but related note, tomorrow is the International Human Rights Day. Allow me to share this video of the human rights situation in the Philippines. Nothing that I may say can equal the message that the images here evoke.



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Emote lang

Lately, I've been feeling restless. I feel like I'm drifting.

It's not about work. I still love what I'm doing and it is not that stressful. If truth be told, the pressure of the past month was not as great as before.

It ain't about romance as well because I've already made peace with my decision months ago to not dwell on it for the rest of the year. After a couple of bumps, I have moved on and I've no plans of stopping.

Maybe it is because I haven't been home for the past 18 months. Though I am used to being away, this is the longest period that I haven't taken a home leave since I arrived in Hong Kong nine years ago and I think the longing is getting into me.

Some may say that HK is not like on the other side of the world. Still it is not easy to just pack a bag and go home for a while. Also, I'll definitely need more than a weekend to satisfy this craving to be with my family and just be in the Philippines.

Oh well, in a couple of months, I'll be taking that leave. I've lasted this long and I can take four months more. If this is indeed what is making me restless and feeling adrift, then I guess I will know soon.

But if it is not, that's another matter.

***

A friend of mine suggested that it may just be sex. This one can easily be tested.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pakistan week

Tinatamad akong magsulat. Kaya eto na lang muna ang mga litrato ng aking limang araw sa Lahore, Pakistan.

Ang ecumenical centre kung saan kami tumira, nag-workshop, nag-bible study at kumain ng masasarap na Pakistani … food.



Ang Lahore Museum na isa sa pinakamalaki at pinakamatanda sa buong mundo. In fairness naman eh talagang malaki sya at matatanda na ang makikita dun. Including the guard.



Ang rickshaw na syang mode of transpo sa kanila. Bukod sa laksa-laksang motorbikes.



Isa sa mga mosque. Halos 99% ng kanilang populasyon eh Muslim. Kaya nagpaka-butch ako.





Hindi ko kilala ang unggoy na ito. Entertainer sya sa kalye. Nagandahan siguro sa akin kaya tumalon sa bintana ng van.




Eto ang aming sinakyan nang minsang gumala kami. Ayoko sanang sumakay for an obvious reason.




Marami pang nangyari at marami pa akong nakita. Iba't iba ang mga balitang lumalabas about Pakistan at most of them give a scary impression of the place. This trip made me look at the country and its people in a different light.

Also, I'll never look at a Pakistani guy the same way again. Wagi! (Sorry walang picture kasi baka bigla akong ma-bembang kapag bigla ko na lang silang piniktyuran)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bayard who?

I came across his character in the movie "Boycott" but I never really became aware of the man until I saw Brother Outsider.

When one hears of the civil rights movement in the United States, the name Martin Luther King comes to mind. But lurking in the background – in fact, way before King became a symbol of the Black American's struggle for their rights – was Bayard Rustin. A gay activist.

Admittedly, I am not that familiar with the history of the civil rights movement aside from the Montgomery bus boycott, the Ku Klux Klan and the deplorable practice of lynching.

To know the life of Bayard Rustin is to admire his guts for standing up to a system and period where it was a curse to be black and an abomination to be gay. But he did live the life he knew in his heart was right.

I may not agree with his pacifist principles but considering the historical period he lived in, how he stood by what he believed in is admirable at the very least. Despite the repression he faced mainly from the state and at some point from his colleagues – due to his sexuality and color – he just pushed on and on.

"The proof that one truly believes is in action." So true.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Of mixed signs and signals

One of the stuff we hate but cannot avoid.

It is really frustrating to say the least. Is it really hard to say what you mean, mean what you say, do what you mean and mean what you do?

If consciously done, mixed signals are downright mean, scheming and manipulative. If done inadvertently, they bespeak of indecision.

In the 10 fabulous things with being gay (I forgot the exact title), they said that gay guys know what they want thus we go out of our way to really specify who we are and what we are looking for: rice queen, potato queen, chubs, bears, top, bottom, versa, etc.

While it does sometimes make things simpler, I can't help but think that it somehow also diminishes that certain kind of pleasure in discovering what else is out there and how one thinks about it in relation to his own self. Isn't self-awareness a continuing process?

But on the other hand, not knowing takes one back to the nerve-wracking, head-splitting world of mixed signals.

Catch -22. Damn if you do. Damn if you don't.

Oh well, maybe there really is no way of avoiding mixed signals. Maybe it just boils down to learning the trick of identifying the primary signals from the secondary ones and the imagined signals from real ones.

Though up to now, I'm still trying to grapple the meaning of this sign:

But this one is totally different:

It's kinda blurred but it says: "Shirts and Shoes Required. Bras and Panties, Optional". Fairly straightforward if one can wrap his mind on the fact that I found these in a restaurant. Effectively stopped me from entering.

At least this sign knows what it wants:

If only it can say it properly. (Sigh!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hooked

On books.

Yeah, I've rediscovered the joy of reading books. Not that I stopped reading. But in this age of computers, internet, ebooks and audiobooks, I did miss the feeling of flipping pages instead of clicking buttons.

There is a certain kind of relaxation that reading an actual book can give. And once you turn that last page of a really good one, heaven.

The other week, I did a spending spree at a book sale and took home a couple of titles. I'm almost done with the third book and this got me hooked again on Dune.

For many sci-fi followers, Frank Herbert's Dune series is like one of THE books to read. Through Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune, Herbert created a new universe and spawned the saga of the Atreides, Harkonnens, Bene Gesserits, the Spacing Guild, the Fremen and a host of other memorable characters.

After his death, Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson wrote more Dune novels that were basically background stories that set the stage for Dune – the trilogy Prelude to Dune and the Legends of Dune, also a trilogy.

There are some who even philosophize passages in the book that, when one thinks about it, do have some truth or at the very least, some points to ponder especially on the workings of religion and the impacts of ecology to human.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

This is probably the most-quoted line of Dune. Called the Litany of Fear, I am not really sure if saying it over and over again can indeed make one face its fear. But it is somehow a comforting perspective on the topic.

I am a Dune addict. Like most Dune characters are with melange.

After Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune – said to be the climax – I'm not sure what else will be there to write about it. But as it is fiction, it can really go on forever depending on the author's imagination.

Where will it lead to?

Paul Muad' Dib did say that to know the future is to be trapped by it. And who would want to?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nagpaparamdam

Sabado. Oktubre beinte-singko. Magba-blog ako.

***

Naisip ko na may mass recruitment ang Dead Daddies' Society noong nakaraang linggo. Ilang kaibigan at kakilala ko rin ang namatayan ng mga tatay.

Yung isa, biglang nakadama ng pagakahilo at panghihina mga isang oras bago nya nabalitaan na namatay na tatay nya. Natandaan ko tuloy ang naramdaman kong pagkabalisa noong araw din na namatay ang tatay ko.

Premonition? Ewan kung may siyentipikong paliwanag dito. Baka naman masagot ng Fringe (ang bagong TV series na kinahuhumalingan ko) ang tanong na ito.

***

Sa huling post ko, nangako ako na babalik sa blogging. May mga pagkakataon din talagang mahirap tumupad sa pangako.

Tulad na lang ng pangako ni Angelo kay Yna sa Pangako Sa'Yo. It took eight DVDs with six volumes each and each volume has about five 30-min episodes bago natupad ang pangako nya. Nakakangalay ang mag fast forward. In the end, si Yna pala ang tunay na Buenavista at si Angelo ay anak ni Diego na hindi rin naman pala Buenavista.

Still, gwapo nga si Jericho.

Sabi ni Oracle, "one cannot see beyond the choices he fully understands". Pero one cannot also have full understanding of the choices he makes until the process takes its course.

Hindi ko alam ang relasyon nito kay Yna at Angelo. Naisip ko lang.

***

Sabi ng isang kaibigan ko sa akin dati: "if you had a wife, she'd be your mistress".

Ito ay matapos ang ilang beses na hindi ko nagawang paunlakan ang paanyaya nyang magkape o kumain sa labas. Maraming kailangang gawing trabaho.

Buti na lang, bakla ako.

***

Andaming sumusulpot na mga isyu at hindi ko sya mai-blog. Saka na lang siguro.

***

May mga tao ba talagang manhid?

May hinihintay ako.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The longest-running-whatever of my entire gay life

Alright, since I've spilled the beans on the fictional rejection, I might as well run through the whole gauntlet and talk about real ones. It can be exorcism at its best and masochism at its worst.

I think there can be two general types of rejection.

The first is the one that just comes naturally even without the other guy saying it. It is a matter of interpreting the signals from the other guy that can come in various forms, and degrees of obviousness. The more complicated and can drive you insane are of course the mixed signals. But as time passes, they usually sort themselves out.

I've been in this spot a couple of times. It's frustrating and leaves you with the feeling that you're hanging upside down and anytime, any day, you're gonna get the axe. It's like you are on trial for the crime of falling first.

But the axe never falls and what you are given is a suspended sentence until you get off the hook completely.

The second one is the in-your-face rejection that many of us try to avoid as much as possible. At the very least, it is an awkward situation for both parties but it also kinda shows their maturity.

Yes, I've also been in this spot. This time I'm not kidding though there was less drama than what I imagined in the last post. And no, it was not Kiel. It was with a common friend of ours.

This guy was not the usual guy I go for. I knew him by reputation even before I saw him larger than life. Believe me, he is large (height-wise, at least).

When I saw him at last, I played it real cool. I treated him like a usual guest though my insides were tied in knots. No, I'm not gonna say why I liked him that time because I'm sure he's reading this right now and I like to think that he's squirming in his seat at this moment.

Anyway, it was an on-and-off thing for he was not based in Hong Kong. But it was the longest-running-whatever of my entire gay life. Started in 2001 and ended in 2005.

But now we are friends. It's funny how I used to be all fidgety when he's around and afraid to even just message him online for I didn't know what to really say to him. Now, we even make fun of those happy days.

I guess if you look at love and relationship as something that you should work for, then its value depends on how much effort you put on it. In the face of rejection, how it is dealt with it depends on how hard you work to get the elusive mutuality of feelings. The more you put, the deeper it goes. The deeper it goes, the longer it is for acceptance to come and for moving on to start.

Maybe it's why breaking up is harder. At the end of it, isn't a breakup just another form of rejection?

Here is the thing: after the rejections, I did recover in a jiffy and in only one or two cases did I break down once or twice. Still, I got to recover. And thinking about it, even maybe too quickly.

Now I wonder, have I not loved that deeply?

This was supposed to be posted yesterday but I was not sure if I should. It started as a dare and it ended as … well, like I said above, an exorcism.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Moving On (again)

Binasted ako ni Kiel.

Kahit malayo, sumubok ako. Nagpahayag ako ng damdamin sa kanya. Kung paanong ang unang atraksyon ay lumalim sa madalas na pag-uusap, kwentuhan, palitan ng opinyon at mga biruan. Syempre may halong sexual undertones pa minsan.

Marahil ay hindi talaga kami para sa isa't isa. Hindi nagtutugma ang aming kalagayan para sa isa sanang magandang pagsasamahan. Masakit man ay kailangan ko yung tanggapin. Wala naman akong magagawa. O mas tama sigurong sabihin na sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon eh wala akong magagawa.

Ilang beses ko na ring sinabi, ilang beses ko na ring ginawa pero uulitin ko pa rin: I have to move on.

Fine. That was such a crappy opening.

I'm just desperate to post something on this blog that I thought of this drama story. There's no truth in the above scenes.

Well, I did have a crush on Kiel like I've had crushes with other bloggers. Technically, nobody among them rejected me because technically I did not court anyone. So technically, again, I am not moving on.

To be more precise, I am actually stuck when it comes to guys and romance.

So the past two weeks that I did not blog was not because of Kiel or other guys. The simple fact was that I just got too busy with too many things happening at the same time or, at least, one after another.

So what have I been up to lately since I last posted an entry? Definitely not courting Kiel. To rundown:

Helped in the Bethune House fundraising program. Watched ITALY (I swear I did! I couldn't say no to a free premiere night ticket). Tried hard to dance in the general assembly of LIKHA Migrants Cultural Organization. Celebrated the completion of my extra challenge by watching the first few episodes of Heroes (S3), Grey's Anatomy (S5), House MD (S5), Brothers and Sisters (S3), Knight Rider (S1), One Tree Hill (S6) and A Very Special Love. Saved Prison Break (S4) and some more movies for the lean months to come.

Called the government crazy with its mandatory psych test for OFWs. Called the government crazier with the minimum age requirement of 30 for domestic workers. Called the government craziest for its sellout of OFWs agenda in the coming GFMD. Called GMA words my mom would never teach me for plainly being evil.

Had some drinks with straight friends. Had even more drinks with gay friends. And oh yeah, went to Disneyland and had a fantastic gay day.


I could have blogged about any these. Maybe I could have even thrown in stuff on the financial crisis, US elections and the milk from China scandal.

But I did not for there was just too much going on around here.

I know I've been neglectful of this blog and blogging in general. I feel guilty for not following up on blogs I regularly read. I feel embarrassed that I've never taken any part yet in the snowballing all-pink-bloggers-unite initiative to establish the Rainbow Bloggers of the Philippines.

I feel impotent for not having the drive to even flirt.

The coming few weeks shall basically be the same if not even busier. But I will try to regain my blogging momentum, be more active in the RBP and start hitting on guys again. Even if …

Binasted ako ni Kiel.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Of habits, porn and the bitch on my bed

By this time tomorrow, I would have completed the month-long extra challenge Kiks and I set. His challenge was this one and mine was: No watching of "looted" movies and/or TV series. No reading of ebooks or listening to audiobooks.

Compared to what Kiks set out for himself, mine is mundane. But with the first four episodes of Prison Break Season 4, the first episode of House MD Season 4, the men's diving and men's gymnastics finals of the Beijing Olympics, and a host of movies already on my hard disk and just a click away, to resist watching is almost painful.

Habits, by nature, are very hard to break. Especially when one is faced by various pressures from almost all sides, the temptation to slide into an old, convenient and comfortable habit becomes an extra, extra challenge.

I am not planning to have a movie marathon anytime soon. For now, it is enough for me to at least let down my guard and give in to the prospect of being a couch potato for two hours at most in any given day.

One month is not enough to make me say that I've broken the habit. But at least, it does tell me that I can.

I just wonder when I can be ready to say the same thing with smoking, drinking coffee, and getting cold feet in front of a really, REALLY cute guy.

***

To help a friend of a friend, I answered his survey.

If you also wish to do so, just go to this link: http://com.cityu.edu.hk/netporn/

If you have more time and want to help more, he also asked if you can post the link in your blog/s.

This is purely voluntary. No free porn as giveaways.

So if you can, lend a hand. Give to the "porn". (Kidding, it's a serious academic study.)

***

I slept with a bitch last night. Here she is.

Banci. Our vegetarian dog.

Before you get any nasty ideas about what we did, I just let her sleep on my bed last night. The fur was a bit distracting but at least she did not snore.

I did wake up with some scratches.

***

Yesterday, I decided to let it/him go for a while. Another habit I am trying to break.

Today, I am having withdrawal symptoms.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Senti with UP

Two things recently reminded me of my UP days. The first made me think of my university while the second made me think of myself.

First was the UP Pep Squad bagging the championship for the cheerdance competition for this UAAP season. I think during my time (not so long ago, I swear), there wasn't even such a category in the UAAP. Or maybe there was but I never again attended any UAAP game after I completed the required units on Physical Education. So maybe it was just something I missed out.

Notwithstanding my indifference to the UAAP, I am still not exempted from sentimental school loyalty. Though I did not jump with joy on the news of the squad's victory, there was that spark of elation when I heard of it from my current and ex-Isko friends. Pride can really be contagious.

The second event was the 31st anniversary of the League of Filipino Students (LFS). With Multiply contacts who are members and then also belonging to the e-group of former members, there was no escape from reading the activities conducted for the celebration and the photos that went along with them.

I always think back of my LFS days in UP with fondness.

When I stepped inside their tambayan to become a member, I never thought that I'd stay on. Except for the rally I joined in when I was in third year highschool back in the province, I was a greenhorn when it came to politics and activism. Still, I had my share of keeping abreast with current events and social issues and the LFS and its reputation piqued my interest.

From then on, I plunged into student activism.

I never missed out on the discussions ranging from issues of the day to the natdem principles. I went to rallies and had my share of squaring off with police and paid thugs. I joined the room-to-room campaigns and also had my sleepless nights during USC elections.

Then there were the times when we went to other sectors to know of their concerns and learn from them. We spent weekends with urban poor communities, peasant areas, and with workers in their picketlines. In strike areas such as the Nestle-Magnolia one in Cubao, I learned to sleep on sidewalks with my reliable malong but more importantly, I got insights on the capitalist-worker relationship.

Call me romantic, sentimental or idealist, but it was in my time as a student activist that I got to appreciate the Iskolar ng Bayan tag. One of the lines that struck me most during that time went something like this:

Ang paaralan ng isang tunay na mag-aaral ay ang lipunang kanyang ginagalawan. Ang kanyang guro ay ang mamamayan. At ang kanyang pagsusulit ay ang pagsasagawa ng mapagpalayang pagkilos.

The UAAP and a number of tatak-peyups events – Oblation Run, UP Fair, Lantern Parade, Maskipaps, Live A.I.D.S., - make me melancholic of my alma mater.

As for the years I spent with LFS, well it never really ended.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Still, with regrets

My dad will die tomorrow.

If only I had this thought three years ago, I would have flown home in a heartbeat. Maybe not that fast but fast enough to at least be with him before he took his last breath.

I still remember that fateful day.

My father had been in a hospital for about a week. The night before, I spoke to my mom and asked her of his condition and she said that he still felt weak.

I woke up the next day gearing for a full-day meeting. Somehow, I felt a little bit down and I told myself it was just due to worrying about my dad. Even my colleagues thought so as well.

Later on, I began to feel cold. Cold enough to facilitate a session in the meeting fully-wrapped in a huge colored scarf.

I called my mom again and she informed that my dad's siblings were all there. I figured that there was not really anything weird with that for it had always been the case that whenever he called for his brothers and sisters, they always came to him.

The meeting ended at around 8:00 pm. I tried to reach my mom again but she did not answer my call. I went back to the office and logged on to my YM but no one among my own siblings was online.

The agonizing minutes, hours, passed. I was quiet or rather, too quiet even for my own taste. I thought that I should go home and rest but somehow, I remained in the office surfing the web, playing online games and just waiting for any news back home.

At 11:00 pm, the call came. It was my eldest brother in Dubai who informed me that my mom went out of the hospital to look for a priest.

This is it, I thought so.

I did not know what to feel. I just went numb. Though I managed to inform my friends what was happening, I could not bring myself to get emotional and all. I thought it ungrateful and unfair of me not to even shed a tear now that he is dying.

And then it happened. At 12:05 am, my Dad died.

I did not go to sleep anymore. I made calls after calls – to Philippines, Dubai and to Qatar where my two other siblings were – informing them what happened and planning how we were to go about with the funeral. Maybe I was compensating for my stubborn tears that refused to fall. Or for my disregard of the gut-feel that something bad was going to happen.

Or maybe just for the fact that I was not there. I was too late.

Of course I know that my experience of being absent when a loved one died was not unique. Countless more overseas Filipinos had suffered the same. But knowing so does not lessen the regret and sometimes even the guilt.

Eventually I did cry. At the third day of the wake, the dam just broke and I couldn't help myself but cling to my mom. She was the strongest of all of us. Maybe, caring for my dad in health and in sickness had somewhat prepared her for the inevitable.

I still miss my Dad. It will not really go away.

Even if I could have foreseen his death.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Search for Ms. Charity – HK!

Etchos lang ang title. Here is the real story:

They say charity starts at home but it can also go TO a home. Especially to those without one.

Bethune House Migrant Women's Refuge is a temporary shelter for domestic helpers in distress. It is a charitable institution that not only houses but provides a home for those who have no place to stay while they have ongoing cases in HK.

You see, migrants who have filed cases against their employers are not allowed to work for the duration of their case. Length of case resolution varies from three months for simple labor matters to years for the more complicated ones such as rape and physical abuse.

So the obvious question is: how can one survive while the justice system takes its time to decide?

Back in the 80's, the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) has already noticed such a problem when they saw DHs with terminated contracts sleeping in parks or under footbridges and flyovers. Thus they created the Alternative Shelter Scheme – which, for a painfully obvious reason, took the acronym ASHES instead - wherein individual friends of the Mission take in and host homeless DHs for a particular period of time.

But it came to a point wherein those in need could not be accommodated by MFMW friends anymore. There were just too many of them compared to the number and capacity of those people willing to open their homes to strangers. Thus the Bethune House was born in 1986.

Currently, Bethune House has 50 residents though there are only 20 beds. As one of its volunteers said, you can't put them away when they knock on your gates lugging their striped bags and other belongings.

While its main service is giving food and a roof, Bethune House also does paralegal assistance to its residents. There are also volunteers who give seminars and trainings from basic Cantonese to cooking.

Though Bethune House is in HK, it doesn't mean that it is drowning in funds. Charity for the migrants is not that popular for the biggie foundations here. So Bethune House has to approach churches, women's organizations, migrant's groups and kind-hearted individuals for its sustained operations. It ain't a stroll in the park to raise about HK$12,000 for food alone in a month.

Thus, the above invitation to celebrate its anniversary together with an auction for charity. To be auctioned off are paintings like Kik's portrait that takes cubism as inspiration or my own face painted as abstract art. Kidding! Some Filipino HK-based artists have contributed their works for the auction while others are still being wooed to do so.

Ok, so this post is not really a story but an appeal for support to the shelter - attendance, donations, spreading this invitation, contributing an item for auction like your grandma's false teeth, or any other thing you can think of.

The real stories are in the shelter and its residents. Stories of travails, happiness and yes, even inspiration.

If you want to hear the stories, join the HK-wide Search for Ms. Charity on September 20. And yeah, it's tax-deductible and tax-free.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Once Upon a Time …

I need to come up for air. I've been too ensconced in magical worlds for the past few days that if I don't stop now, I'm pretty sure that I'll be doing incantations soon, transport myself to Kelewan to be with the Tsuranis (their name sounds oh so gay) or at the very least be a priestess of the White.

Yep, I'm rereading some of Raymond Feists' collection from Magician: Apprentice to the Conclave of Shadows series. How cool can it be to be named Talon of the Silver Hawk? If I am to have a fantasy gay name I'll be …

****

It was a really sad story.

Len was a woman in her 30s and lived in a village south of Manila. The place was one of those lands developed for the lower to middle middle-class families or those who can somehow afford a couple of thousands monthly payment for their house and lot.

Anyway, Len lived with her husband and four sons. I forgot the actual job of her husband but I'm pretty sure it was something that gave them just enough for food on the table and public schooling for the kids.

Why do I think so? Because in times when I went home, I noticed that their house has remained unpainted, no steel gate has been erected, and one time, she had to borrow money from me through my mom. And yeah, I learned that her husband was planning to take a shot at overseas work.

The other week, Len died. She was pregnant with twin girls and from my mom's story; she died without even reaching the operating table….

*****

Even Morpheus spent his whole life looking for THE ONE.

And I want to lay my head down on you
Because you're the only solid thing in this room

*****

Somehow in the next few days, I'm really going to finish a proper blog post.

There've been a lot of things going on around here lately and whenever I start blogging, something comes up and thoughts just fly away to neverland.

Still, thinking about it, I have the tendency to start something and then let it go because it gets too complicated, becomes scarier, or I just generally lose interest with it. Though such a tendency does not manifest all the time especially with the real important stuff, it still is disturbing.

My activist colleagues always say that not everything can be had with mere agitation. Once the excitement wears off, once the grand dreams built start to crumble … basically, once the unaccounted for factors are finally recognized, then the first-time high either comes crushing down or descends to a more rational level.

Ok, I think I'm drifting off again …

*****

… and I lived happily ever after.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Three-One

I just wanna say I’m happy. No contextualization, no rationalization, no intellectual masturbation.

Today I start my 31st year. Just now, I have come to realize that it’s easier to do a make-believe eulogy post than a real birthday writeup. Anyway, I don’t really want to start this day writing long posts.

I just came from a bar with friends who met August 28 with me – Kiks, Steve, Dan, Rye, Enan, Ryan, Jethro, Liz, Val, Abby, Loven, Ricci and a host of other gay guys I don’t know and who don’t know me but I don’t really care. It was a gay bar anyway. So thanks guys!

It was my first time to greet my birthday in a bar. Honestly. The nearest that I came to having it was when my former colleagues back in 2001, I think, took me to a straight bar days after my birthday and got me so drunk that I was even able to take six shots of my birthday shooters. Also, this was my first time to have a birthday with gays other than Kiks.

I’m tempted to stand by my previous press release that I’m turning 29. I did that just so I can tell these 20-something gay guys na “papunta pa lang kayo, pabalik na ako".

But then, that won't be completely true. I've never believed in having things the way it used to be. There's only the prospect of turning 32, 33, 34 and so on until finally someone can read my eulogy and really cry.


So how is it to be 31? It feels the same when I turned 30. Just another year gayer maybe.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fragments of an afternoon

Hot.

Went inside a bookshop. Stopped at the entrance for a while and looked. A nod and a hint of smile. Hot.

Browsed through the racks of books. Not really wanting to buy anything. Took some off the shelf in random and read the jackets: James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci and oh, a Harry Potter in paperback. Biography of god knows who, an autobiography of one the devil only cares.

Another look. A few seconds more and then …. A meeting to preside and a seminar to give.

Went back. Stopped at the entrance for a while and looked. Another nod, another smile. Hot.

Walked straight to the sci-fi/fantasy section. Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Peter Hamilton. Started to read Trudi Canavan’s Age of Five series. No money to buy. Glimpses from time to time. Hot.

Another look. A few seconds more. A nod. A smile.

Walked out.

Jack. Off.

Hot.

Lessons for the day:

  1. Knowledge is power, visit your nearest bookstore
  2. Dymocks Booksellers: Where it's easy to find, hard to find bookings!

Monday, August 18, 2008

In the larger scheme …

In the larger scheme of things, 0.30 centavos out of 200 is no big deal. Such an amount can hardly be missed.

In the larger scheme of things, 150 from P10,000 is also not that much. Of course it is not an amount that one can just leave lying on the floor. It's already equivalent to one meal at Jollibee or a couple kilos of rice.

But still in the larger scheme of things, it hardly matters.

In the larger scheme of things, the 0.15% documentary stamp tax on remittances may not even be noticeable. Probably that was why it did not get attention until it was implemented.

In the larger scheme of things, remittance charges are also small. Here in Hong Kong, it ranges from HK$20 to HK$30. But in other countries like those in the Middle East, it gets higher as the remittance increases.

In the larger scheme of things, at least according to GMA, the EVAT is necessary for her so-called brand of progress. For an OFW who sends 10k, for example, for the basic needs of the family, that is P1,200 that goes EVAT.

Considering the economic conditions back home, it is safe to say that families of Filipinos abroad are probably the bulk of the population who still have purchasing capacity. Thus, the evident drive of businesses to expand to the OFW market.

In the larger scheme of things, if we believe La Gloria, it again does not matter for everyone shall benefit in the end.

In July last year, the first Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) was convened in Belgium. Some of its most telling conclusions include:

  1. That remittances to developing countries are one of the largest sources of external finance for developing countries, and can represent a large share of GDP for some of them. The World Bank estimates that recorded remittances to developing countries (i.e., excluding informal flows) reached $206 billion in 2006, almost two-thirds of foreign direct investment ($325 billion), and almost twice as large as official aid ($104 billion) received by these countries. Remittances are also considered to be more stable and evenly spread than other financial flows such as ODA or FDI, and are also considered to be countercyclical.
  2. That remittances cannot be appropriated by governments, but their positive impact on development can be increased through options, incentives and tools designed and implemented by governments in partnership with other relevant actors.

This year the second GFMD will be in Manila. While it reeks of motherhood statements on “rights”, the DST, EVAT and remittance charges are serious indicators of what the GFMD is really gearing for. And with the Philippines as host, it means commodification of migrants and intensified labor export.

Not much different with other goods for trade. Only migrants can be traded again and again as long as we are good.

But then again, in the larger scheme of things...Oh, wait. There's probably nothing larger than this scheme.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What's with the hibernation

I am trying to resolve this serious problem of mine:It’s one of my many weaknesses. I get easily distracted especially when I cannot find my way with something I’m working on. I make a turn, I get lost and then focus be damned.

It comes in the form of movies. I swore last Saturday to layoff flicks for a while and so far I’m succeeding. The likes of Eternal Summer, Testosterone (Antonio Sabato, Jr. playing gay?), Love of Siam, Bilog and Oro, Plata, Mata are comfortably stored on my hard disk unwatched.

It comes in the form of books. I recently acquired audio books of the Twilight series that many people have been raging about and other books like the Man Booker Prize Winner in 2002, Life of Pi. So far I haven’t started on either.

It comes in the form of computer games. Not the ones kids play for they all sound Greek to one as ancient as I am. I’m speaking more of Hearts, Free Cell, Literati and Bookworm.

It also comes in the form of blogging. (Evil laugh in the background). Thus the recent neglect of this blog or visiting most of the blogs I usually read.

So no, I am not sick. I am not gone. I am just trying to see how far I can go before I give in to temptations … er, distractions.

Since I'm posting this now and I watched Hellboy 2 this morning,I obviously lasted only a week. Pathetic.

(PS: I did not include men and friends. They are not distractions. They are life support systems.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

"At Work"

At the risk of reinforcing the wrong impression on my sex life - given the 'smear' campaign by Gibo and Kiks - my ass is a little bit sore.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been sitting hours after hours in front of the PC stringing words that should sound professional, broad, and appealing for those who hold the purse. Honestly, I feel like I did a mediocre job of it. Anyway, I did my best and it should be freakin’ good enough at least for now.

In between bouts of inspiration for what I was writing and staring blankly at the screen, I had sex. Kidding! I watched movies after movies.

The line-up: Boy Culture, Phoenix, Coffee Date, Hancock and The Seeker. Oh, I also re-watched episodes of my four fave TV shows. This may give you an idea of how frequent the ‘in between work’ moments have been.

(To digress a wee bit, my weird work ethics include working while dialogues of something I’ve watched before play in the background.)

Anyway, it was a good thing that my movie marathon ranged from entertaining to quite good ones that raise questions we usually ask and topics that we usually talk about. The former describes the sci-fi/fantasy flicks while the latter are on the gay-themed ones.

Boy Culture asks about: A. sex, B. love, C. relationship – the three favorite themes for many of us. All the permutations of the drama and fun of gay romance come from mixing one with the other/s. A plus or minus B plus or minus C can equal one-night stands, fuck buddies, open relationships, platonic relationships, platonic and lustful relationships, virtual, long-distance, etc.

We add and subtract as we play the field hoping to finally get that explosive equation. Sometimes we do.

Phoenix, meanwhile, deals with betrayal and how broken one can be if he experiences that breakdown of trust. The film has some dragging moments wherein you feel like you’re just waiting for the two betrayed guys to just jump into bed and devour each other. (Which they did eventually.)

Finally it just says that one can deal with a relationship betrayal in two ways: either be burned by it and get miserable or look at it as a time to learn and realize that he’s not worth it and someone better will come along.

Coffee Date is a bit different. We are used to topics of gays asserting to live as one. But this film put a twist: what happens when a straight guy finds himself defending his sexuality tooth and nails. Interestingly, the very same stereotypes about gays are the same stereotypes this straight guy has to face to prove he’s a hetero.

While it is funny, it also shows how the macho culture impacts males – gay or straight. A little off-tangent is the homophobic brother turning out to be gay and transforming overnight from this macho I’ll-barf-if-you-say-gay into an in-your-face homo who wears a tight pink shirt, speaks in high-pitched voice, and sees every guy who looks at him as a potential trick. It just doesn’t work that way.

Anyway, for this week so far, the activist in me is a tad disturbed and distracted while the gay in me is quite contended.

God, if only I can string these two into a cohesive proposal that can make money, the sore ass will be much more worth it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fantastic Four

Hindi ito movie review. Tag lang ni myk2ts.


Instructions:
What you are supposed to do...and please don't spoil the fun...
Click copy/paste, type in your answers and tag four people in your lists!
Don't forget to change my answers to the questions with that of your own

OoOoO

(A) Four places I go over and over: bahay, opis, bahay, opis
(B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: ate, director ng opis, pinsang makulit, opismeyts
(C) Four of my favorite places to eat? kolorum na nepali resto, satay king, jollibee, bahay
(D) Four places you'd rather be? pinas, RP, perlas ng silangan, las islas Filipinas
(E) Four people I think will respond: Kiks, Lyka, Gibo, Red (Pag hindi kayo sumagot, maglimutan na tayo.)
(F) Four TV shows I could watch over and over: Grey's Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Heroes

Hoy Kiks, Lyka, Gibo and Red .. sumagot kayo! Apat dapat, dapat apat. chos!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mummify The Mummy!

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was one hell of a killer movie. It could literally bore you to death.

The plot was thin and the acting was mediocre. There were lots of one-liners that were delivered as if just really reading from a script and came out more as disjointed dialogues. While the effects were pretty decent, the sheer mediocrity of it all didn't really make me riveted to what was unfolding before the big screen.

The story was simple ... and is not worth retelling. Whoever said that simplicity is beauty haven't really seen this film.

Though Brendan Fraser was still an eye-candy, my friends and I watched the film because of Jet Li. We are big fans of kung-fu and we were expecting fight scenes reminiscent of his Wong Fei-Hung stunts. Add Michelle Yeoh to the mix and it doubled our excitement.

But darn it, their presence did not lift the film even an inch from the quagmire it was in.

Aside from the fight with assassins stupid enough to try and kill him without stealth and the sword fight between Li and Yeoh, there was not much martial arts done.

Jet Li's magical mastery of elements could have been interesting to see in a fantastic showcase of elemental powers like in the cartoons Avatar: The Last Airbender. But after a few fire and ice, I didn't also get to see much of it.

All in all, we've had better mornings. I could not stop thinking that the past hours could have been spent in more fruitful work such as oversleeping.

I may have to watch The Warlords again just to redeem Jet Li's reputation before my eyes.

At the end of it, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor should have applied to itself its basic theme: better leave something horrible buried for thousands of years - undisturbed, untouched, unwatched.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Karerista

Marami akong kinarir nang nakaraang linggo.

Nangarir ako ng pagiging tibak.

Buong linggo halos na hindi namin tinantanan ang isyu ng pag-suspinde ng levy. Eh kasi naman, kabuhayan ng mga DHs ang nakataya dahil kung hindi kasama ang ongoing contracts sa suspension, tiyak na magiging sunod-sunod ang termination dahil gugustuhin ng employer na ma-exempt na sa pagbabayad ngayon pa lang.

August 1 ang proposal na magsimula ang suspension. Para na kaming maiihi kung ano ang magiging pinal na desisyon.

At syempre, kasabay pa ito ng SONA na kabit sa bituka ng mga Pinoy sa labas ng bansa. Ayoko nang magpahaba sa kung ano ang tingin ko sa SONA. Marami na akong nai-post tungkol kay Gloria.

Kaya noong Linggo, dalawang magkasunod na rally ang naganap. Sa gitna ng kainitan ng araw eh nag-martsa kami papuntang konsulado at nag-programa ng maigsi. Tapos, bumalik para hintayin ang mga migrante ng iba pang lahi para naman pumunta sa Central Government Office ng Hong Kong.


Nangarir din ako ng pelikula.

Pinanood ko ang The Dark Knight pero saka na ang review. Basta nag-enjoy ako sa kanya. Ayoko munang pag-isipan kung bakit.

Sa gitna ng muni-muni sa mga kailangang sulatin eh kinarir ko rin ang mga pelikula ni John Lloyd at Bea. Mga mushy pero disente naman. Pinatos ko rin pala ang My Best Friend’s Girlfriend ni Richard at Marian. Marami pa akong kinulimbat na pelikulang Pilipino kasama na ang Dear Heart at PS I Love You ni Sharon at Gabby pero hindi ko pa pinapanood.

Halos puro love story pala ang pinanood ko. Pelikula lang talaga ang love life ko.

In between, may iba pa akong mga kinarir.

Nangarir ako ng librong nabasa ko na. Kinarir ko rin ang aming aso na si Banci. Pinatulog ko sya sa kama ko pero, I swear, wala kaming ginawang masama. Kinarir ko rin ang pag-setup at pag-operationalize ng bagong computer dahil sumusuko na ang 3-year old laptop ko. Kinarir ko ang pagle-layout. Kinarir ko rin ang gym.

Kinarir ko rin pala ang pagtawag sa nanay ko. Miss ko na sya.

Kaya Gibo, hindi pa ako magsasara ng blog.

Naging busy lang sa aking karir.

PS. Tingin ko ay walang sense ang sinulat kong ito. Pero ang alam ko, may sense naman para sa akin ang mga kinarir ko kahit paano.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bending over

To live life without compromise.

Beneath the comedy and punchlines of Legally Blonde the Musical and The Curiosity of Chance is the question of how far one should compromise ones self to be accepted in a particular social setup.

Everyone who has a gay bone in his body knows the story of Elle Woods. So there is no need to repeat how Elle was dumped by Warner, how she went to Harvard law School to get him back, how she met Emmet, how she tried to remake herself to be the typical law student, and how she came back – all pink, all blonde, all smiles – with a vengeance ... Ooops.

The musical version did not depart from the story line. Only gayer.

Meanwhile, The Curiosity of Chance, tells about the story of Chance Marquis and how he asserted who he really is among schoolmates, colleagues and his family. He was trashed, bullied, and even made to feel unaccepted by his own dad.

Still in the end he made his mark.

Elle Woods and Chance Marquis showed how a sore thumb could turn into a beacon.

As the theme of the two as I perceive it hits me, I have to remind myself that it’s a musical and a movie. Anything is possible. Even to be THAT blonde or THAT flamboyant.

To live a life with no compromise is good on a shirt. But we are basically social beings and bound by our social relations and societal norms. Thus we often find ourselves either conforming or conceeding. How many times have we found ourselves in a compromising position? Not THAT kind of compromising position.

But what Elle and Chance did also show is that compromises have limits. It is not worth it to compromise what defines ones self for the sake of acceptance or sometimes even love. Neither will be lasting. Neither will be true.

I myself have made numerous compromises. There are even ocassions when I do conform if the situation calls for it.

Still, there are matters that I , for the life of me, cannot presently imagine compromising. The politics I uphold, the choices I have made and views on a number of social practices. There were times I did waver and put all of these into question. To continue to hold on to them is a lifetime question.

However, if he is the one who will talk me into something I am not really willing to do, I am not sure how far I can take it until I bend over.

Then I may not be able to sing: “See, dreams really do come true, you never have to compromise. Omigod!”

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kumusta naman Je?

Nearly everyone who have been there mark it as memorable.

It's that time of our life when we start spending more time away than at home, when going out means hanging out with barkadas doing nothing but talk, when hormones start to rage and you start noticing the opposite - and the same - sex.

Of course what I'm talking about is: High School! Those sweet, fun, dramatic, rowdy and sentimental four years.

This is us when we were in our first year that I found in the photo section of our yahoogroup. You can laugh. I did.


It's been years since I last saw most of these guys and gals. I saw some of them on a wedding and a funeral - the former my brother's, the latter my father's.

Most of us were together for the whole high school years as part of the Laboratory School of the Pablo Borbon Memorial Institute of Technology for there were only around 80 of us divided into two sections. PBMIT is now Batangas State University but it shall always be PBMIT for me.

I have lost the detailed memories of my HS life. I do remember the Saturdays that we still go to school just so we can see each other, go to church on Sundays but actually just stay outside and talk at the same time as the priest, do academic stuff together, do extra-curricular activities, and, unobserved, do extra extra-curricular activities.

Soon, I'll get to relive these memories again. Some of my HS buddies are cooking up a reunion of sorts in the next few months.

It'll be interesting to see how we have fared for the past 14 years. I know that many of them are now married and have kids. About 25% of our class are abroad. And more than true to the tradition of one in 10 is gay, I think that four of us out of 20 guys are homos. Ok, it's just my speculation.

I'm excited to meet them all again. I wonder if I should be all out and proud on the reunion?

For sure, they don't have any HS memory of that sort about me.

******

(Another picture of us I found in the e-group's baul... hahaha)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

V is for

Victory.

Not yet full but still a success. Just a while ago, the Hong Kong government has announced the suspension of the HK$9,600 levy it collects from employers of foreign domestic workers. After two years, the decision shall again be reviewed.

Though it is not the same as abolition, the two-year suspension is still a cause for celebration.

In broad strokes, the levy was implemented in 2003 by the HK government supposedly to finance efforts to retrain local workers for domestic work to face the unemployment issue of HK that time.

The levy was introduced at the same time as the monthly salary of foreign maids was cut by HK$400. It doesn't take a mathematician to see that the total amount cut from the wage of FDWs for a two-year contract is exactly the same amount as the levy. Thus, it has always been the position of FDW groups that the levy is an indirect taxation to them.

For years, FDW groups have campaigned for its abolition. Rightly so for their experience has also shown that as long as the levy is in place, their wage is also held hostage. Despite HK's economic boom, FDWs have only received mere pittance for a wage hike.

Early last week, the monthly wage of FDWs was increased by HK$100. At first glance, it may look like another victory. But if one can see that it is actually only HK$4 per day or 25 cents per hour, one shall be bound to agree with FDWs who say that it is too little.

Besides, the cumulative wage hikes for the past four years are not even enough to recover the amount slashed in 2003 and 1999. FDW wage now stands at HK$3580 per month. Nine years ago, it was HK$3860.

Developments like these are what reaffirm my belief in the movement and the people's militant collective action. They are not merely slogans nor dreams nor merely a 13-year old agitation borne by the idealism and impetuousness of the youth.

They may be small in the larger scheme of things - given the whole gamut of other issues that migrant workers have to confront - but considering the situation, any victory, however small, is a step forward.

V may take long in coming. When it comes, it fuels the people for more.


UPDATE:

Darn it. It seems like this government is still dilly-dallying as to the details of the suspension.

While it appears that the suspension is in the offing (by September), it is still isn't clear when in September, what to do about the unused HK$4.4 BILLION fund collected, and whether it will only apply to new contracts and to existing ones.

When it comes to cutting the wage, the HK government has a one-track mind. When it comes to giving relief to migrants ... mas makunat pa sa dilang makunat.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

From Jollibee to ...

Pigged out at Jollibee; harassed an innocent-looking crew; took postcard-perfect pictures; walked at Central's footbridges like tourists; smoked like there was no tomorrow; talked about tuition fee increase, rice crisis, call centers, and men; passed around a cup of coffee from McCafe; wondered about the past, present and future; practiced the famed "peripheral vision"; thought how choi sam can be worn; slept; worked; ate caldereta; drank the winningest coffee; read the Virgo part of Gay Astrology; ... "at bakit ka may hickey?"

But that is another story.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Banci (ban-chi)

Sya si Banci. Ang aming collective aso.

Ilang buwan pa lang sya nang ibigay sa amin ng isang Intsik na may mareklamong kapitbahay. Hindi ko alam ang breed nya pero who cares. Obviously she doesn’t.

Malambing sya. Nang minsang mawala kami ng lampas isang linggo sa bahay at naiwan sya sa ibang kamay, sumabog ihi nya pagkakita nya sa amin.

Hindi sya mahilig sa kanin. Yan ang kaibahan ko sa kanya. Matakaw sya sa dog food. Yan ang kaibahan nya sa akin.

Nang ibinigay sya sa amin, maraming habilin ang huling may-ari sa kanya:
  1. Huwag pakainin ng buto ng manok. Busugin sa gulay at prutas.
  2. Paliguan minsan isang linggo at putulan ng kuko minsan isang buwan.
  3. Bigyan ng gamot para sa puso at para sa tapeworm. Wag kalimutang dalhin sa beterinaryo.
  4. Gamitan ng dog shampoo at dog powder.
  5. Gupitan ng buhok laluna kapag summer.
  6. May kasama syang kulungan pero wag nyo syang ikukulong.
Parang last will and testament.

Ibinigay din nya sa amin ang bag na ito:

Ito ang gamit namin para maisakay sya sa bus, MTR at taxi. Dinadala namin sya sa beach, sa office at sa rally. Ang bakla-bakla ko pag bitbit ko sya dito.

Maraming batas dito patungkol sa mga alaga. Kailangan mo pa ngang palagyan ng chip na nakalagay ang detalye nya at kung sino ang may-ari. Andami ding mga grupo ng lokal na pangunahin eh animal welfare ang programa.

Pansin ng isa kong kaibigan na ex-Hong Kong, mas pinahahalagahan daw ang aso dito kesa sa tao. Naalala ko tuloy yung isang kliyente na syang unang nagpaiyak sa akin. Yung kumakain kasama ng aso. Pag tumae ang aso, kailangan nya munang linisin bago sya bumalik sa pagkain.

Meron din akong nakitang aso na nakasuot ng winter clothes na galing Burberry at worth HK$2,000 daw ang isa.

May punto nga siguro ang kaibigan ko.

*****

Kanina eh sumama ako sa rally dahil pagbobotohan sa Legislative Council ang proposed Race Discrimination Bill. Sobrang walang-kwenta ang proposal na kahit sa papel pa lang eh wala ka ng makikitang tunay na proteksyon laluna sa mga DH na syang pinakarami kung usapin ng ibang lahi sa HK.

May punto nga siguro ang kaibigan ko.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Still for M


We've been informed that M was again taken to the hospital recently. If you wish to give help, please see Kik's blog for details.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Last R

When it comes to men and romance, I am no expert. In fact, I am such a greenhorn that my romance for 20+ years was with my work, my loot and my books.

I am usually boisterous and sometimes even loud. But when a guy I really like is around, I tend to be shy and unsure. I am a classic ligaw-tingin, palipad-hangin. Until someone else gets the guy.

For the past 12 months though, I dared to break the pattern. Not only once but thrice.

Exactly a year ago, I met B at a wrong place and definitely at a wrong time. Still we attempted to build something. For the next three months, I was contented to chat, text and talk to him over the phone.

I met him again when I went back to the Philippines for some work in October. At the end of my 10-day stay, we found ourselves ending it. It started when I failed to show up in a show he invited me to watch with him. But work had to come first and it went downhill from there.

Though I tried to reestablish communication, he refused to answer. So I moved on.

In February, another one came along. But it was so short-lived – in fact it didn’t even really take off – that I think two sentences are enough to end this story.

Then April came with A. It was something unexpected. It was unreal yet it did not feel to be so. It was with so little hope but I didn’t care. It was just there, it happened.

For a couple of months, everything was great. I was happy and again contented. Happy with the way things were going and contented to wait. Still, it ended.

I don’t want to say I failed. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as failure in romance. Only experiences gained and lessons learned. Because at the end of it, I still get to smile at what had been. Albeit, with a twinge of regret sometimes.

But now I am closed for repair.

I am not broken. Rather, I am chipped and scratched.

Yeah, I do still ogle guys – both in the virtual and real world. I said I’ll be closed, not blind. But right now, I shall take a rest from the serious stuff. Things have gotten way out of hand that I almost lost my grasp of what my objective condition is and its limitations are.

I am retreating to the comforts of my old flames. There’s work to be done now. There are tons more waiting to be planned out and executed.

There are stacks of films that I have to watch. Books to finish reading, books to start reading, books to reread and books to watch out for.

It’s a tactical retreat until I regain my balance.

How long the repair will take, I am not sure. Good thing hearts have a lifetime warranty.