Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where did we come from?

Cua and Chua Family Association stamp and S/S

I have long wondered when and where did the first Chua arrive on this planet. From an egg? In a spaceship from Krypton? Although we are not averse to the glowing kryptonite green of the dollars. I'm almost sure the answer is not as exciting as the origin of the Wolverine, but I'm still curious.

The answer came by happenstance in June, when a member of the Chua Family Association, Mr. Jacinto, came to me and asked me to write the blurb for the Philpost bulletin, which gives the background behind the Chua stamps and souvenir sheet (see Photo above). The blurb also served as the basis for a letter to the postmaster general, to persuade him to approve the printing and issuance of the stamps.

Mr. Jacinto, like many a wealthy Chinese, bought the Jacinto surname to misdirect local bureaucrats from his Chua origin, to be able to own properties, like his big residence and a plastic factory in New Manila. We discussed ways to persuade the corrupt postmaster general appointed by the more corrupt president of the Philippines at that time, which led to the conclusion that a financial gift from the moneyed family association should be forthcoming. So the stamps were approved and the blurb was written, and the association gave me 10 sheetlets and a presentation folder of the stamps and FDCs.

2009 Chua Family Association sheetlet
I'm happily surprised that we came from such handsome and slim ancestors. Surely they are worthy of veneration. Who are they? Being a lazy Chua descendant, I just copy (and paste) and quote from my file: "Members of the Family pay reverential respect to founder Chua Tiong [the guy on the left], who is regarded as the most honored ancestor of Cua and Chua clansmen. Chua Tiong was born more than 3,000 years ago, during the Jou Dynasty. The clan also deeply respects his father, Chua Siok To [the other guy], who is recognized as the grand ancestor of all members."

What is known among the Chinese and unknown to non-Orientals is that a Chinese cannot marry anyone with the same surname. A Chua cannot marry a Chua; a Wang cannot marry a Wang, and so on.

This fact triggers memory of a high school day at Chiang Kai-shek, when on the first day of class, a teacher, perusing our class cards, asked a new classmate why his had no middle name.

The new kid said (in Chinese), "I have none."

The irritated teacher snapped, "Look, even if your mother is dead, surely she has left behind her surname."

"She's alive," he said, and asked permission to approach the teacher. After a brief whispered discussion, the boy returned to his seat. The teacher quietly accepted his card, apparently learning that it's possible to exist legally and officially without a middle name.

At recess, Philip (now I remember his name through the mist of time) explained the mystery, followed by our murmurs of "Ahhhh!" to the key to such a simple quandary. "My father and mother have the same surname."

It is still considered unusual, if not incestuous, for Chinese of same surnames to mate, no matter how many strains may have intervened since the first Chua appeared. So Philip's parents had to go through many processes and expenses to remove his middle name.

There's more: my middle name is Chan, so marrying any other Chan in this planet is like marrying a first cousin, barely acceptable and, among strict clans, a miscegenation, a cause to be disowned.

Is it hard to be Chinese? Not really; besides, I kinda like the corny jokes about Chinese names, like, a Gina's love cannot be doubted if she consents to marry a Tan. Deeper is the love of a Malou who takes as spouse a Wang.

The jokes are lost in translation if you don't know Tagalog, but that's another topic. 

The complete stamp and First Day Cover series
The red Cua Family Association stamps and FDCs followed about a month later, apparently approved by the postmaster general, who appreciated the generosity of Chua Tiong's descendants.
Invitation to the launching of the stamps

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My World

I never saw a wild thing sorry for himself.

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around
three times before lying down. --Robert Benchley

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs
I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few p
--James Thurber

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
--Andy Rooney

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go
where they went. --Will Rogers

Dog Poem
I think I could turn and live with animals,
they are so placid and contain'd,

I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented
with the mania of owning things.
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that
lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
                                                               -- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

I got the pictures from emails sent to me. I wish to give proper credit to those who made these pictures. I will appreciate any assistance toward that end. Meanwhile, their pictures, coupled with famous quotations, are contributing to some readers' enjoyment.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ninoy stamps

2000 Ninoy Aquino handstamped issues Types 1 - 7. 
I hear a complete set with Types 8 and 9 now costs $300.

The overprints were applied manually by postal employees. Different handstamps were used, resulting in several types (so far, nine types have been identified and catalogued as genuine. The key to identifying the types is the difference in the peso signs and the shapes of (and the distance between) the zeros.

Collectors can copy and print this page, preferably on thick paper,  so they can read the notes about the stamps.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sa Balcony ng Senado

Stamp pad na Congress? Matagal na, baybee!

“Ahem, Senator Revilla,” what is the knock-knock for today?”

“Ah… ah… Speaker Sotto, I think the implication of the delegation is the legislation of exhibition in television; furthermore…”

“?? Ah, Mr. Vice President – Erap! Pssst, hoy gising! Ano ba’ng sinasabi ng kumag na ito? Meron ba’ng gano’n?”

“Zzzzz… huh? Aba siyempre po. But for the record – pakiulit nga, Pareng Mon…”

“Itinatanong ko lang, pare, kung tumalbog sa takilya yung Captain Bawang, Kalaban Ng Aswang, at kung ibebenta na lang sa telebisyon. Ekskyus mi, Mr. Speaker, at napa-Inglis ako.”

“Is olrayt, pero bago natin pag-usapan ‘yan, medyo pasadahan muna natin yung pinagmitingan natin kahapon. Ah, Secretary Coseteng, ano ba’ng tinalakay natin kahapon?”

“’Yun pong ipinapasok na bill ni Sen. Webb: sa halip na tawagin pang Lower House at Upper House itong Senado ay gawin na lang Orchestra at Balcony.”

“Okey lang, basta tayong mga senador ang balcony at yung nga kongesmaniak ang sa orkestra; supporting role lang naman sila eh. Pumasa ba? Di ko natapos yung session kahapon dahil nag-teyping pa kami ng It Baluga.”

“Yes, sir. Pero under protest pa kay Rep. Roldan dahil wala raw siyang libreng pases. Speaking of protest, sir, ba’t naman awtomatik ako ang naging secretary dito?”

“Siyempre, dahil ikaw ay babae, das why. Pagkatapos nga pala nito eh ipagtimpla mo raw ng kape si Senator Orly at medyo napuyat kagabi doon sa talk show niya.”

“Sir naman! Eh ano po ang nangyari doon sa mungkahi kong baguhin ang ilang defective provisions sa Land Reform Bill nu’ng nakaraang lehislatura?”

“Ayan ka na naman, Senator Nikki. Malay namin diyan. Tinutularan mo na yata si Senator Angara na may pa-debt cap debt cap pa. Senador na eh nag-aahente pa ‘ata ng cap. Dapat iwan na niya sa mga titser ang pagbebenta niyan.”

“Ibang klaseng CAP naman ‘yun eh…”

“Ay, basta di naming naiintindihan ‘yan. Buti pa, itong mga importanteng isyu ang pagtuunan natin. Ah, Senator Revilla, sino ba’ng gumawa nu’ng script ng Captain Bawang?”

“Eh, freelance lang yung may gawa, Mr. Speaker, at isinumite lang sa Legal Films.”

“Legal Films? Baka Regal Films ang ibig mong sabihin –“

“Hindi po. Napag-alaman kong mga Chinese investors ang nagtatag nito, kaya sa halip na Regal eh naging Legal.”

Aba, mabuti naman at naisipan nilang mag-invest dito sa halip na sa ibang negosyo. Ang alam ko eh ang mga dayuhang nagpapasyal dito eh puro chicks lang ang puntirya.”

“Di lang sila nagka-intindihan nu’ng travel agent nila, sir. Mga chicks talaga ang hanap nila at sabi pa eh handa silang gumastos “where there is plenty elections.’ Eh, tiyempo naman at maghahalalan dito, kayo isinalpak sila sa Pinas nu’ng agency.”

“Ayun! Yung Legal nila, Regal natin; ito namang elections natin eh naging erec – hmm! Buti pa eh humanap na lang tayo ng ibang scipt, masyado nang korni itong ginagawa ni Pogi. Election… Erection – wakanga!”

Por da rekord: ang mga senador nu'ng 1992 ay sina (1)Vicente "Tito Sotto III (2) Ramon Revilla (3) Edgardo Angara (4) Ernesto Herrera (5) Alberto Romulo (6) Ernasto Maceda (7) Orlando "Orly" Mercado (8) Neptali Gonzales (9) Leticia Ramos Shahani (10) Heherson Alvarez (11) Blas Ople (12) Freddie Webb (13) Gloria Macapagal-Arroro (14) Teofosto Guingona Jr. (15) Santanina Rasul, (16) Jose Lina Jr. (17) Anna Dominique "Nikki" Coseteng (18) Arturo Tolentino (19) Raul Roco (20) Rodolfo Biazon (21) Wigberto Tañada (22) Francisco Tatad (23) John Osmeña (24) Agapito Aquino.

Bilib it or nat, naalala ko itong lumang piyesa (The Angeles Sun,1992) dahil kay Michael Jackson. Narinig ko yung “Remember The Time” at nagpatikwad-tikwad na itong topak-prone kong diwa, na nag-segue sa inutil na Senado – ngayon at noon – na puro showbiz lang ang hirit. Flashback!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I planned to write a blog about this wonderful and popular free verse, but I found Wikipedia had said all I intended to say. So I'm just reprinting here pertinent portions of the Wikipedia article.

Desiderata (Latin: "desired things", plural of desideratum) is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). The text was largely unknown in the author's lifetime and became widely known after its use in a devotional.

Some time around the year 1959, Reverend Frederick Kates, rector of Saint Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, included Desiderata in a compilation of devotional materials for his congregation. The compilation included the church's foundation date: "Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore A.D. 1692." The date of the text's authorship is widely mistaken as 1692, the year of the church's foundation.

When Adlai Stevenson died in 1965, a guest in his home found the Desiderata near his bedside and discovered that Stevenson had planned to use it in his Christmas cards. Subsequently, the poem became widely known as having been found at Saint Paul's Church of Baltimore – but confusing the date of the church's foundation as the date of the text's authorship.

The text was widely distributed in poster form and in late 1971 and early 1972, Les Crane's spoken-word recording of Desiderata peaked at #8 on the Billboard chart and No. 6 on the UK Melody Maker's chart. The makers of the record assumed that the poem was too old to be in copyright, but the publicity surrounding the record led to clarification of Ehrmann's authorship and his family eventually receiving royalties.

In August 1971 the poem was published in Success Unlimited magazine, again without authorization from Ehrmann's family. In a 1976 lawsuit against the magazine's publisher, Combined Registry Company, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that copyright had been forfeited because the poem had been authorized for publication without a copyright notice in the 1940s – and that the poem is therefore in the public domain.

On August 26, 2010, a bronze statue of Max Ehrmann sitting on a park bench was unveiled in Terre Haute, Indiana, his hometown, with the sculpture done by Bill Wolfe. On a nearby walkway, some lines of the poem are also available to be read by passersby.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.