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


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?