Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Smoking kills (in more ways than one)

I planned on going back to Red Cross to volunteer with some of the staff members of the paper, but I woke up late so by the time I got to Alabang, they were already hanging out. So I just dropped off my donations and joined them in the food court.

On my way out of the village, I rode the friendly neighborhood village tricycle. I've been riding tricycles for many years and experienced many things there, like losing a phone and falling off the back seat. But never have I experienced riding with someone who smoked.

Generally, smokers are okay with me. A lot of my friends smoke and I'm constantly exposed to places where smoking is almost a requirement. But it's incredibly rude when you smoke in a small moving box and you don't know whether the person you're sitting next to is okay with it. I wouldn't have mind if the guy sat on the outer seat so he could blow out his smoke outside, but he was on the inner seat so I was forced to inhale his noxious fumes. I let him know that I was not okay with it by fanning the smoke that got in my face and throwing him a withering look when I got down.

Smoking, like all things, is a personal thing between the smoker and his cigarette. There is absolutely no need to involve anyone else, especially non-smokers. You don't just light up and let the world know you're cool when you're in a cramped space. It's all about responsibility. Responsible smokers respect the space of those around him.

I used to be a smoker myself so I know how strong nicotine is. In fact, it has the highest rate of potential for addiction, scoring a solid 100%. Smoking has always relieved me of my tension and helped me get by the lowest points of my life. I know that when you need it, you need it. But I was responsible. I smoked in open spaces and gave non-smokers a chance to run away screaming. I didn't smoke in enclosed areas where I could offend people. The statesman Thomas More once said (correct me if I'm wrong here) that everyone is entitled to as much space as he needs. But if he goes out of his way and invades others with his smoking, then I hope he gets what he deserves, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Balik Bayanihan Ba 'Yan

When I saw the devastation Ondoy (Ketsana) has left on our country, I realized I needed to help. There were so many of our fellow Filipinos who needed assistance that it's almost a sin to remain indifferent. I knew that if I stayed home and continued living in the lap of luxury, I'm turning my back on the country that fed and nourished me.

I must admit, at first I didn't have any plans of volunteering. There were so many things on my plate that I felt like I was in a straitjacket. I had projects, meetings, assignments and exams to prepare for that every minute was spoken for. I considered donating through text but when I heard classes were being suspended for the rest of the week, I saw this as my opportunity.

I went to Red Cross (Alabang) this afternoon to donate old clothes and offer my time and energy. I think one of the reasons why Ondoy didn't flood the entire country is so that those who were spared can lend a helping hand. And I was spared. Sure, our house had a few leaks, but me and my family were alive. And that's a lot to be thankful for. I've also been blessed with so many things that I wanted to share them.

It was such an exhilarating experience being with my co-volunteers. I went alone but a group was kind enough to let me join and together we received clothes and sorted them into piles. We saw boxes arriving by the dozen and I was happy that many people were concerned for their fellow countrymen. I forgot my co-volunteers names by the end of the day but because we were on the same mission, I practically felt like we were a family.

The Bayanihan system isn't dead as many people think. It's touching how there are many people who care, who are more than willing to reach out and help their brothers and sisters. Before I left, I read this article on Yahoo! about how the communist guerrillas are holding off assaults to help villagers recover from the storm. And there's this other article about a man who lost his life while trying to save 30 people. These news made me cry because it's proof that we are good people. My friend Jen was right when she said that these events give us hope that we'll one day be united.

When I got home, I was tired, my back pains were acting up, and the smell of old clothes stuck to my Kenneth Cole shirt. I didn't mind because it was a small price to pay for my brothers who needed help. While I was trying to battle fatigue, my brothers were fighting for their life. I love this country too much to just turn my back on it. In fact, I would have torn the shirt I was wearing off my back and added it to the pile if I didn't have so many issues with my weight.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Reality Check

There's a reason why I only blog once a week. People probably think it's because I have a busy schedule or I rarely go online, but they are completely untrue. I don't have a social life, and I spend more time online than in school.

I blog weekly because for me, blogging is an art form. Because I am that righteous journalist/editor, I have to make every entry perfect in every way. I have to make sure my material is great, my grammar is perfect, and my conviction believable. I spend hours editing my work, making sure that the words I chose conveyed my thought in the most expressive way without any lapse in structure or form. I am such a freak for details that sometimes I think it's clinical. I've been known to align my books according to size and group my shirts according to color, taking into consideration textures, details, and shades.

I find it difficult how I can't write freely. I write as I please, but I have to take into account the rules I learned in creative writing and journalism. I'm bound by all these rules that a two-page entry can sometimes be cut down to a single paragraph, with all the original words changed. Blogging was like writing a feature article coming out in the next issue.

However, I think my obsession for details worked because I'm one of the finalists of the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards for Best Personal Blog. I consider it an honor and privilege to be part of this competition and to be placed alongside blogs I admire. When I scoped out my competition, I was shocked that I was even considered. These blogs were really good. I don't expect to win, but being nominated is validation enough.

I have been compared many times to the great Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional columnist from Sex and The City. I don't know if it's my obsession for fashion, my colorful love life, or my actual writing skills (or lack thereof) that remind people of Mrs. Big, but it's extremely flattering. Flattering as it is, being compared to the great Ms. Bradshaw is hard to live up to because every week I'm expected to come up with a literary masterpiece, which is one of the reasons why I go to great lengths to achieve perfection on a weekly basis.

One night, while I was checking out the competition for the PBA, I stumbled upon RZ Fortajada's blog, Room For Squares. I was amazed at the way she wrote her entries. She was very casual, but you could feel the depth and sincerity of her words. There was no pretense, just easy, spontaneous, but impressive posts.

I realized that I don't have to make every entry worthy of a Palanca. I can just say what I feel without having to weigh if affluent would be a better alternative than rich. Being an editor made me forget that blogging is for the sake of blogging and nothing else.

So now I'm letting everything go. After I finish typing, I'll read everything once and correct errors and that's it. By blogging once a week and making it a tedious affair, I'm sucking the life out of the whole experience. So thank you, RZ for bringing the fun back to blogging. I needed that reality check.

And frankly, I'm just too damn lazy to edit.

Bayanihan is the new black (v 3.0)

All day I've been bombarded with images and footage of Ondoy (Ketsana), and it's very depressing. It's heartbreaking to even try and empathize what the victims must feel.

My heart goes out to the victims of Ondoy. Let us continue to help one another. It's nice to see the Bayanihan make a comeback.

Friday, September 25, 2009

If I could turn back time

This is the result of my Draw A Person Test by Florence Goodenough. The test aims to determine the subconscious mind through the examinee's drawing of a person. Here, everything has meaning, from the way the eye is shaped to the clothes the drawing is wearing. My result doesn't seem promising:

The client has a tendency to be paranoid to the point where he may feel obsessed, suspicious, mistrustful and sometimes, unreasonable. He also has a tendency to be schizophrenic as a result of a possible brain damage. The client entertains fantasy and handles problems in a concealed or hidden way.

The client may be aggressive, sometimes depressed and pressured over environmental issues. He may resist to grow to adulthood and may have anxiety in social functions. The client has a lack of worth and needs autonomy or self-rule. He may also be discontented with his body type. The client is in the level of maturity and he may be asthmatic or alcoholic. He has sexual conflict, and may be disturbed with sensual needs.

I think I'm one of those people I mentioned in my previous entry.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You think you know.

It was a day like any other. I got up, jogged, went to school, tried not to sleep in any of my classes, hung out at the office and finished some tasks. When I got home, I flopped on the bed and watched the news. That day had news you hear about any day. A death here, a kidnapping there, a political scandal uncovered, and the "we're just friends" line given by generic-faced celebrities.

But there was one unusual story. It involved a death by arson and the adopted daughter was the prime suspect. It was the kind of thing you'd read in Agatha Christie's novels or Sidney Sheldon's, not the Inquirer or Star. Crimes like grand theft, embezzlement, fraud, and serial killing usually happen in bestseller lists. Pinoy crimes ranged from killing someone who doesn't know who sang "Nobody But You" to beating each other to a bloody pulp arguing whether Kris Aquino is prettier than Imee Marcos.

What makes this crime interesting is that the suspect was a girl I went to high school with. I didn't know her personally because she was two batches lower but our school was small so we pretty much knew each other, at least by face. She was the kind of girl who blends in the background and doesn't make much of a splash. Because she was so forgettable, I had to dig out my old yearbook to check if it was the same girl. It was, but I was still surprised. She wasn't pretty, but she looked innocent, angelic even. Granted, her photo was taken when she was in fifth grade but it wasn't the kind of face that would harbor murderous tendencies. Then again, I doubt Jeffrey Dahmer was snarling in his yearbook picture.

It feels weird knowing someone convicted of a major crime. What made it even more interesting was that she didn't look the part. She didn't have the face that screamed killer. But who knows? People aren't always what they seem. It's like you think you know a person, and boom. She kills a person. Or boom. She has a baby. Or boom. She's now a man. Human behavior is so fascinating, so contradictory that sometimes it's downright scary.

In slasher flicks, the killer is usually the quiet one, the girl everyone ignores or the boy the jocks beat up. They're the ones who stay in the corner, have no personalities and little to no friends. But when they snap, they really snap. Sometimes, they snap other people's bodies in half. I'm not saying that all silent types are psychopaths, I'm saying people aren't always what you expect. I know of a boy who doesn't say much but has the hormones of a rabbit. There's also the girl who looks like a snob but is actually friendly.

In our Psychological Testing class, we were asked to administer different kinds of tests to the class. Our group got the objective personality test and part of our grade is to score the test and profile each of our classmates. Because of my current fascination with the dark recesses of the inner mind, I made sure to get the answer sheets of the wallflowers. I bet at least one of them has psychopathic or at least unusual tendencies.

It's the effeminate guy with the gorgeous girlfriend. The mousy girl with a fetish for whips and chains and the party boy who reads Stephen Hawking. In Psychology, I've learned not to judge people. I've learned that sometimes it's the sweetest people who have the creepiest minds and the creepiest people who have the sweetest intentions. I think one of the beauties of human nature is its ability to contradict itself. To see beauty radiating out of an unattractive personality or seeing a Brady throw a bitch fit is what makes real life more interesting than TV. Kim Chiu can't portray this kind of shit.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...