And All You Men are Slime

I’m not small and defenseless, quite the opposite actually, and I’m not easily shaken either. I don’t mind leaving myself vulnerable to the elements and I have no problem with being alone. But there are times when I’m forced to reconsider. It’s never far from home though; oddly enough, I usually feel safer in places far from what I call home.

That said, I am so sick of ASSHOLES FLASHING ME THEIR DICKS ON THE RARE OCCASIONS THAT I DECIDE TO COMMUTE. Today was the third time. I was on my way home and already walking down my block, when a gunmetal colored sedan (I did not catch the plate, should make a note of this next time) stopped just a few meters ahead of me. From where I was, I saw the window roll down. Usually I’m not alarmed because I live in an area where people easily get lost, so times like these are usually just people asking for directions.

But today, no one was lost. Instead, as I walked by the car, I see the driver looking out and leaning towards the open window. Jacking it.

What the fuck? Why? What do you have to gain? And where on earth does it come from that you can wield this shit over women and think you can get away with it and STILL DEMAND RESPECT when you are a sick excuse for humanity and a waste of life. It’s traumatic, disrespectful, disFUCKINGgusting and beyond all thought processes capable of justifying it. I do not understand. Catcalls are one thing, but what the fuck is that?
Continue reading “And All You Men are Slime”

Without Naming Names

Facebook says Joseph Pascual took this picture

If there’s any tableau you can capture me in that can represent my life forever and ever, it would probably be this:
Standing, coffee in hand, dress, stockings, no shoes.

I’m always just about to leave, but preoccupied with the most mundane things. Usually it’s my shoes. Just as I’m about to head out, I can’t find my shoes. Then I’m out the door and it’s my keys or my phone that are missing. My ETA has become substantially later ever since I started having to wear glasses.

So this morning, there I am, me and my sister, tableau. She’s there with her tea and I tell her, “So Blabla might actually be dating Blablabla for real now. I saw it on blablablablabla, she was wearing his blablablabla. And blablablablabla which are shoes, not sandals. What the hell is that.”

“That’s so hurtful.”

I pause to let that sink in, because I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I’d given it other descriptions like stupid or lame or unready, but never the right word to describe how I actually felt, instead of what i thought about it, and about him, and about him and it in the context of this bullshit cycle known as blablablablablaaaaaaaaaahhhh.

But it’s not like I have any other choice. I have to have faith in the matter that things are going to turn out okay, regardless of how I feel right now. I know the title of my blog contradicts this whole idea of setting my feelings aside and just keeping my eye on the prize–a concept I have thought about logically and rationally–and it’s as simple as it’s not right. Regardless of how I felt, none of it has been right.

“lame. cruel. mean. boring. they all belong in the “left in the dust” file of your life”

In the wake of all this, there are days when I feel like the shit, when my ego goes beyond everything I could wrap my head around and I just want to keep high-fiving myself for every little thing I do. But there are those days when it feels like every move I make is comparable to walking into a firing squad.

Fear’s a great motivator because it just reminds you of what you have to lose. Which is nothing, when you have no shame.

Be Worthy, pt. 2

This week is supposed to be crucial in the history of UP, as a public service and an academic institution. This is the week that the provisions for the 2011 budget will be approved by the senate.

As a public university, and as far as practically all institutions in the public sector go, UP has consistently been plagued by inefficiency and inadequacy, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the courses that require laboratory activities. Imagine having to do a lab exercise without a lab, that’s UP for you. The past few decades have had both students and faculty alike shrugging off these problems in what could be understood as good humor. “Try cutting an onion with a spoon and you’ll know the meaning of resourcefulness and creativity,” was how one professor pretty much put it. Try showing a film without the aid of a projector or a sound system, and you’ll know that resourcefulness and creativity are beside the point when it comes to honing academic abilities. It’s like trying to stay alive through the Robot Wars with, well, nothing.

Now you can see why the news of a proposed “budget cut” or “budget freeze” or whatever they want to call it has such grave repercussions on both teachers and students alike. After all, how do you take nothing from nothing?

This is what the student councils and some organizations are talking about when they call on the UP population to mobilize. Take action. Make some motherfucking noise. Get noticed.

But it’s not as simple as the student body makes it out to be when their representatives come to our classrooms armed with big words and calls to militant action. It’s not as simple as money we deserve–money meant to account for our basic right to education– being withheld and spent on other less highfalutin concerns, such as national defense.

Ask an anthropologist and you will be told that it all boils down to culture, and this is something I firmly believe in. UP Diliman, the biggest and loudest when it comes to initiating militant action in the UP system, is one of the few units that can possibly afford to independently sustain the column in its balance sheet that is alloted for capital outlay–meaning the accounts set aside for new buildings and facilities, and doing so would allow additional funds to trickle down to the other UP units that might need it more. And this is one of the arguments set forth by the House when they agreed to the proposed budget–UP Diliman already has other sources of income, not including tuition fees.

But all of this has forced me to think about the nature of work and the culture we perpetuate in our professional as well as academic environments. One of the points brought up by USC Chair Rainier Sindayen was that the same actions are being taken in public university systems in France, Ireland, and the United states. Students all over the world are walking out of class, going on strike, and being douchebags in the face of a government that refuses to give them is access to the education they believe they’re due.

But the student bodies in these countries, as far as I know, function very differently from the students at the University of the Philippines, and one of the areas where this is most clearly reflected is in the staff. We have a staff that remains paralyzed by low wages that UP is already paying out the ass. We have a student body that is also struggling to keep up with rising tuition fees. However, by international standards, both tuition fees and salaries alike remain obscenely low. Where does this set the bar on both education and performance? What kind of effect does this leave on the community?

Go to a state school abroad, and who assists the teachers, shelves the books, and does administrative work in some of the offices? When you can foster an environment of students working for students–as well as working to pay off their tuition–you effectively change the culture in that environment from one of entitlement to one of earning your place. You can ask for the best kind of education in the world and yes that wish can be granted, but the more important question is whether or not you even deserved it; or better yet, earned it.

Of course, in the Philippines, it’s not that simple. You can’t fire your staff and replace them with students, I mean where on earth would they go? No matter how shitty (or in better terms, humbling) the job may be, someone in this country needs that job. But at the same time, what kind of culture are you fostering by allowing that job to be performed at a level proportional to the compensation.

There’s a term for it, where the gap between superiors and subordinates is prevalent and palpable, but I forgot what it was.

More on that later when I’m not running late for a meeting.

Hosing Down the Alleyway

…As Carl glanced around, he recognized people from the office converging upon the building, but nobody he cared to talk to.

Directly to his right, something curious was going on. Two men in tan uniforms were hosing down the alleyway–a small dead-end loading dock between our building and the one next to it. Carl watched them at their work. White water shot from their hoses. They moved the spray around the asphalt. The pressure looked mighty, for the men gripped their slender black guns, the kind seen at a manual car wash, with both hands. They lifted the guns up and sprayed the Dumpster and the brick walls as well. They spot cleaned, they moved refuse around with the stream. For all intents and purposes, they were cleaning an alleyway. An alleyway! Cleaning it! Carl was mesmerized. It was the sort of thing, six months ago, that would have sent him right over the edge, seeing these men, these first-generation Americans without much choice in the matter, spend their morning in the dark recess of a loading dock, power-spraying the asphalt and the Dumpster–good god, was work so meaningless? Was life so meaningless? It reminded him of when an ad got watered down by a client, and watered down, until everything interesting about the ad disappeared. Carl still had to write the copy for it. The art director still had to put the drop shadow where the drop shadow belonged and the logo in its proper place. That was the process known as polishing the turd. Those two poor saps hosing down the alleyway were just doing the same thing. All over America, in fact, people were up and out of their beds today in a continuing effort to polish turds. Sure, for the sake of survival, but more immediately, for the sake of some sadistic manager or shit-brained client whose small imagination and numbingly dumb ideas were bleaching the world of all relevancy and hope.

Ferris, Joshua. Then We Came to the End. NY: Back Bay Books / Little, Brown and Company. 2007.

I’d Like to Think “I love for absolutely no apparent reason.”

…Because there are times when I’m looking, and something idiotic comes up, I don’t know, the way the sun looks on your hair or the pleasantness of white noise or “THIS ICE CREAM IS JUST REALLY GOOD, OKAY?!”.

So I step back and pick at my friends’ brains, and this came out of Paul Doble’s. And this is why I love his brain and why he will always be one of my best friends.

Be worthy.

Do you know the kind of woman you want to be with? Really be particular. Go on. Make a list. Exercise your creativity. Edit. Be honest with yourself. Now filter those thoughts through reality. Meaning, does a woman like that exist? Go back to the drawing board if she doesn’t, if she’s too perfect.
Done? Good.
Now take a look at the idea of a woman you’ve come up with and ask yourself: Are you worthy of a woman like that? What reason has she to stay with a man like you? What can you offer this woman? Be cruel in your introspection.
It’s all well and good to say love doesn’t need reasons or that love is blind or whatever. But you will never hear someone in love claim, “I love for absolutely no apparent reason.” It’s always, “He makes me laugh,” or, “She has a kind heart,” or even, “Strong men are a turn on.”
So, are you? Are you witty? Dependable? Sensitive? Trustworthy? Are you smart? Can you defend her honor when a drunk at the bar harasses her? What is there about you to love? You see, it’s about what you deserve. And “deserve” can go both ways, positive and negative.
Do you measure up? If yes, then that’s great. Get out there and find her. If not, make yourself worthy. Learn to dance or sing or how to speak another language. Get fit. Read more books. Work on your self-esteem issues. Don’t be such an asshole. Whatever it takes, make the attempt.
Because, otherwise, you’re just banking on luck

This brings me back to the times I had to break out the power tools; and after finishing the job, I’d think “Shit son, you need a man just like you.” Then I’d sit on the couch for a few hours assaulting my eyeballs with TMZ or Tyra, because that’s how we roll in Vice City.

But if I really had to weigh my feelings on the matter, taking into context this past year and the year before it and why it doesn’t work out–as well as why it’s good when it is–these are the points I came up with.

  1. He’s smarter and more articulate than me.
  2. He makes me laugh.
  3. He dresses well.
  4. He knows how to work a hammer and change a tire.
  5. And he will not treat my dietary restrictions like a burden.