Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kikay

Kikay (March 25, 2017)
Paalam, Kikay
By Leena Calso


Ang bilis ng iyong pagpanaw.
Akala ko magsasama pa tayo ng ilang linggo, ilan pang araw.
Handa naman akong pakainin ka, painumin ng gamot, linisan, damayan.
Kanina,'yun na pala ang huli kong pagsuklay at paghimas sa 'yo.
Ang tanging kunswelo ko, di ka na naghirap. Nagwakas na ang iyong paglalayag.
Tahimik na ang gabi. Wala na ang kahol na gumugulantang sa akin para takbuhin ka, alamin ang dahilan ng iyong pag-iingay. Tahimik na rin si Chico na dati ay sumasabay sa iyong pagtahol.
Tahimik din sina Kit at Princess, ang mga naulila mong anak. Bukas kaya ay hahanapin ka?
Marahil alam din nila. Wala na ang kanilang ina.
Nagwawakas ang buhay.
Ako ay umaasa, sa kabilang ibayo, balang araw tayo ay magkikita.
Paalam, Kikay.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Earthly denial

There is no frigging frigate like a book
I used to grouse about how messy human affairs are in this planet, and Leena would tell me to go to another, and I'd say, "If there's really that alternative." When I reached junior age -- you know, the age when oldies with extreme denial refuse to join fellow earthlings who own cards exempting them from paying (1) taxes on maintenance medications, (2) fees on movies, on certain days, (3) for deadly foods in mall eateries -- I learned to relax, the way only Type A (I think I'm triple A) goonies can: no more shouting so the cats in the room don't scurry to the clothes hamper, accepting mistakes without trying to melt the offender with imaginary Cyclops eye, calmly clicking to another channel when Duterte or a representathieve appear. I have mellowed, or I'm melting; either way, it's a way out of stress.

Lately, with movie channels swamped with Harry Potty, Divergent and Percy Whoosis series, there's no alternative truth to be found except in books. (Ok, there's video games, Duterte yakyaks, Trump behest truths, Kardashian reality, but I limit myself to books.) I'm almost done rereading Sagan's book, have seen the Hubble telescope pictures of galaxies billions of years outside our solar systems, pictures which would have astounded Aristotle (who calculated the Sun is 5,000 miles above the Earth, just a little bit off, by about 91,995,000 miles), Copernicus, Galileo, Hershel, Kepler, Newton, Halley, Einstein, Hubell, Hubble, Feynstein. Even Sagan, who died in 1996, would have been impressed by the Eagle Nebula, estimated about 13 billion light-years away -- meaning, it will take 13 billion years at the speed of light to reach that Nebula, which is about 7 light-years high. Which also means that photons (particles of light), to travel that mind-deranging distance, are indestructible. Also, what we have seen happened was 13 billion years ago; by this time, that nebula may have already given birth to unimaginable numbers of stars and planets and has dispersed to a totally different shape.


The frigging Eagle Nebula

One chapter of Sagan's book near the end deals with the inevitable question dealing with creation: What about God? For most scientists and some philosopher, God is not the outsized, Caucasian male with long, white beard micromanaging in his throne somewhere up there the fall of every sparrow's feather. Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein, Sagan points out, "considered God to be essentially the sum total of physical laws which describe the universe." John Lennon was more cynical, "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." They were the tactful ones, compared with Mark Twain's attack on religion in a book he asked to be published years after his death, or the blistering commentaries of Ingersoll, Schoppenhauer, Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Mencken, Ayn Rand, and of course Marx, Engels, and Mao, to name a very few. Anyway, religion should serve as a succor, a brief surcease, from the insanity brought about by humans dealing with other humans. There were knights in ancient crusades who slaughtered people who did not believe in Christ, mainly Muslims. Now it is the Islamic fundamentalists grouping up to destroy Western civilization in the name of Allah. The monstrosity of 9/11 scorched my mind, but now, when I see how the Americans elected an insane gremlin as president, I imagine a sequel to White House Down, wherein the terrorists win for a change. (I'm aware that before Trump, we in this Banana Republic showed the way by electing our own madman. This time a green card offers no asylum.) Headache beckons, so back to space...

Scientists have discovered that the universe is expanding, at a very fast rate, and away from the viewer, all receding from Earth, it seems. I'm very much tempted to offer my Pogiistic wisdom -- If I were a chicken, a pig, a cow, a fish, seeing the proliferation of all those McDonald's, Jollibees, Burger Kings, KFCs and other centers for carnivores, I certainly would escape to the next planet, even if its red color from a distance reminds me of the incessant slaughters here. But Mars up close is coffee-colored rocks, hills, ravines, valleys, mountains and volcanoes -- a Starbucks planet. However, this will be invaded by the technologically adept carnivores soon. Already, plans are being hatched to bring to reality what was in the realm of the science fiction of the 1950s. The technology to take Flash Gordon (or Digong Duterte, if you wish) to the Red Planet is available now; however, the information for the human pioneer to survive the atmosphere of Mars is not. Simplifying a lot, a space buggy from here, at a velocity of 36,000 mph, should take about six months to reach Mars. (If you take the EDSA detour, add at least 10 years to your ETA.)

So there you are, the pebbles of Mars at your feet, the mountains like mounds of Cappuccino awaiting a barista, except there's no other species around, not a mulcting traffic cop, no ugly congressman or similar thieves, no bird singing, not even a worm for fishbait or fertilizer to nonexistent flowers. What to do? Return, of course, and appreciate the human noise and sweat, the pretensions high or low, motives malign or benign; mix right in, carry in your belly shredded meat (legs by which chickens used to strut with, goose liver, scorched skin of pig whose agonized face you ignore, belly of mother tuna whose kids died of starvation), wear skins of cute and fattened and slaughtered minks or ermines to keep you warm, entrust your hard-earned money to politicians you loathe. Or just shut up and read -- There is no frigging frigate like a book.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Like kita c",)


Na-unfriend ka dahil di mo gusto si DU30? DE5? Leni?

Nakikita ba nila yung mga "Likes" mo para sa kanila? May bigat ba yung pagsang-ayon mo o hindi sa ejk, death penalty, sovereignty? FYI: Hindi sila nagbibilang ng Thumbs-up o 😡 kung may oras man silang mag-FB.

Mas matimbang yung likes ko sa post mong puro prayers, dahil kahit hindi ako nagsisimba ay ayos ka pa rin sa akin (at ako naman ay parang krus na pasan ng Friends file mo). Hindi kita ipagpapalit sa sampong Duterte o Pacquiao o Lacson. Pero baka kay Leni (napansin din ni Digong ang legs niya ha)... *Jokes!*

Einiwei, kung happy ka kay Trump, kahit na kay Kim Jong Un, okay na rin ako. Ang natatandaan ko lang, nung nasa ilalim ako ng gulong ng buhay ay nandoon ka at umalalay sa akin. Isang "Like" lang ang bilang ko, pero higit pa sa libo-libong likes na ibinibigay mo sa kanila.


Say sorry, Leni

Leni: Victim of incompetence

With deep dismay, I have to agree that the vice president's speech to the UN contains an inaccuracy that betrays more than shoddy performance by her speechwriter and researchers in her staff. True, more than 7,200 men, women and children have been killed in Duterte's war on drugs, but not all are EJKs, although more than half of those killed are Deaths Under Investigations. It would have been more correct to say that MAYBE more were killed by vigilantes than by police, AFP men, and NBI agents combined.

A more important point here is that her international proclamation, hitting the president (no matter how Hitleric) and the police (even if saturated with rogues and murderers), should not have carried such an error that it undermined Leni's credibility. That she delivered that damned message shows that she was careless with her facts, or she allowed incompetent staffers to handle important affairs under her watch: Either way, she has shown a portentous tendency towards the apathy and bureaucratic system that led the disgusted voters to spit at the imbecile Noynoy Aquino and his plundering LP partymates. A big portion of Duterte's 16 million votes is a protest against the way Aquino and his thieving cohorts had mishandled their tasks. And, now, Leni is showing signs of LP jaundice.

I'm asking -- still trying to hang on in my belief in Leni's capability -- if she did not question the figure of EJKs while rehearsing her speech. "Is not this wrong?" she could have asked. "Surely not all of the deaths are by vigilantes, drug dealers, and hired killer-cops? Wala bang legitimate operations?" But her speech, aired worldwide, indicates that she did not. Not one in her staff pointed out the error. Or exerted some efforts to check the veracity of PNP's alleged palit-ulo system. 

After that, the descent to suspicion follows: She is not really aware of what's happening to this country? She doesn't know. She doesn't care! And we descend deeper: Maybe she did not do so well at the Housing post to which Duterte had appointed her? And the beginning of a halo above Duterte's head conceals his horns: The president would not sacrifice the housing of thousands of poor citizens just to play politics against Leni, would he? Maybe he just used Leni's criticism of him as a pretext to remove her from his Cabinet. A graceful exit for her, and he sustains more ego-bruises.

But that's my bottomline on Leni (and hallucination on Duterte's gentle nature). I will not -- yet -- believe that Leni Robredo is not a decent woman, one who will act against Duterte mainly to replace him as president. I will not put Bongbong beyond such act, but Leny should be above such manipulations; if not, I'll seek succor in the fetal position while hell comes crashing through. 

Leni's mistake is not an impeachable offense, even if lackey Alvarez of Congress and puppet Pimentel of the Senate are amenable to poo in their own legislative turfs. Duterte has proved that a madman intent on his course can drag along supposedly honorable critters in his wake of destruction. A suicidal Hitler taking along as many as he can.

The vice president must own up to her mistake, and must resolve to be accurate in her pronouncements in the future -- and must not be like the president she criticizes. She has earned Senator's Lacson's pique; more seriously, she has lost his respect, and of those who wish her well.

She must apologize for misleading the United Nations and millions of people worldwide about the figures of death and their causes -- to retain the respect that she could, to obviate the suspicion to her possible motive, to show Filipinos that there's decency somewhere in this country.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Our kite

Photo credit to online owner
The Philippines is like a kite snagged on a tree, unable to soar beyond its third-world sky, because of a few ambitious and virulent politicians. The anti Leni fake news on Facebook (and I'm guessing there's more on Twitter and Viber) have started proliferating; one of the culprits is "Thinking Minds" -- obviously a Marcos spawn which is pushing the lie that the vice president's late husband had a mistress and a child or more outside their marriage. A more malicious (but moronic) group has gone to the extent of claiming that Jesse Robredo had no less than 12 mistresses. If that's true I'm beginning to admire the man's prowess and ability to juggle his time to accommodate the lovely tootsies. But more likely the extra dozen is a dumb overkill of an overzealous Marcos-Duterte loyalist.

The appearance of the trolls' claims, however, should disturb the citizens: the program is groundwork for Leni's ouster. That means some of the SC justices -- enough of them to put a Marcos back in the executive branch -- have already safely hidden their huge bribes in bank accounts abroad and are ready to make public their decision, after a zarzuela hearing to make it credible for the misguided citizens.
I thought that last year, when Duterte was spiking rumors about his bad health, the SC would take Leni down, but some big events -- like the murder of Mayor Espinosa in prison and the Matobato Senate hearing-- made it dangerous for short-tempered Pinoys to accept one more national anomaly. (The politicians still remember that Dancing Queen Tessie Aquino Oreta's taunting the crowd over the unopened envelope quickly led to EDSA 2 and the ouster of President Estrada in 2001. Oreta, Tito Sotto, Miriam Defensor and other Estrada supporters were not reelected in the next election.)

In the last election campaign my admiration for Duterte was at its peak, because he showed that Poe is comparatively weak (Roxas and Binay are corrupt in different ways, although Roxas does not realize that simple fact), Defensor was a front and vote-getter for Bongbong, who, with his family, had really hoped and financed Duterte to win. Down to earth, blabbing honesty out to reporters (about throwing drug lords or notorious criminals out of a helicopter, about his aim to decimate the drug dealers, etc.), Duterte made me think, "This is the man who will and can do the reforms." I applauded when he warned the telcos to speed up our wifis and bring down the cost to the levels of our Asian neighbors or he would bring in foreign players. I also cheered when he noted that electricity in this country is the most expensive in the region, and expected him to throw MVPangilinan behind bars. He would solve the traffic problem, although the solution needs time, the smuggling at Customs should stop blah bleh blah.

But Duterte, it turned out, could also keep his mouth shut on crucial matters -- at least until he won the presidency convincingly. Then he revealed that the Marcoses had been rooting for him all along, that Imee Marcos even contributed to his campaign fund. Also, he loved the Marcoses so much that the country came second: he did not give Leni a Cabinet post because, Duterte said on live TV, he did not want to hurt the feelings of Bongbong. After some pressure (and, certainly, permission from Bongbong and family) he appointed Leni to take charge of housing the indigents; she did well, but she spoke out against the Dictator Marcos' sudden burial and was rudely kicked out. The Supreme Court, or the enriched members, had decided to grant the Marcoses' and Dutertes' wish. Duterte has been hinting he will not finish his term. I think he's just waiting for the ascension of Bongbong so he can step down, due to ill health -- mentally, I guess.

Media people realized that the SC decision to allow Marcos' burial was anomalous because the SC decision was already known two days before the justices sat down en banc and "voted." We were not surprised that on the morning of the decision Imee, down from Ilocos Norte, was at Padre Faura with paid supporters carrying placards and banners of support. The supporters said they had gathered spontaneously when they heard the news. I assume that many of them were capable, almost instantly, of making well-designed banners and placards with neat slogans neatly lettered as if by professionals.

The same members of the SC who always voted according to the sway of their bank accounts are expected to decide to oust Leni. Or they have already decided, and are waiting for the right time to meet en banc (should be "in bank", really), dragging along to opposing members to make the sideshow credible. If I'm wrong, I'll be the first to jump with joy that there's hope for this ill-starred nation of servants with diplomas. This Supreme Court, with a bit of variation, is the court that changed its decision, after ten years of having been carried out, that Hubert Webb and his cohorts, all serving time for homicide then, did not really rape and kill Lauro Vizconde's wife Estrellita (13 stab wounds), 18-year-old daughter Carmela (13 stab wounds), and six-year-old Jennifer (19 stab wounds). News leaked out that the reversal occurred after Estelito Mendoza wrote a letter to some SC justices. Estelito, still alive, served as Ferdinand Marcos' Solicitor General during Martial Law. It is said that Estelito remains potent due to his enduring contacts with judges in the Appeals Courts and the SC. Did he fix the Marcos burial? Is he fixing Leni's ouster?

I have been thinking, Why are the Duterte supporters such rabid fanatics, even after the malignant revelations about him? I can understand the paid online trolls, even the bribe-loving judges, but I'm confused by regular citizens that are deliberately averting their sights on the killings of young boys and girls in Duterte's war on drugs. Religious Filipinos disavowing the sixth commandment for an insane president, who calmly declared that the innocents were collateral damages? Life is so bad for some that they are hoping for a reshuffle of the bad cards fate had allotted them, and the rest can go to hell. That's the miseducated Filipino, heavy with the crab mentality that drags the country down when it moves up towards progress. It's fitting that the antonym of progress in this country is congress.

I have planned to be quiet about politics this year, but events prod me. In this Year of the Hen, I will keep in mind what I have learned about the victims of violent crimes when I was astill a newsman: the young chicks placed on top of the casket of a murder victim are expected to peck at the grains of rice there, each peck supposed to pinch the perpetrators' conscience, if any at all.