Achieving Happiness

July 31, 2009

Questioning

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 7:22 am

sunshine1Sen. Jamby Madrigal has expressed her intent to run for the presidency in 2010.

I wish she didnt, and I wish she’d change her mind.

Don’t get me wrong; I think Ms. Madrigal is a worthy individual: she has done her best to be involved in important issues affecting the Filipino people. She has, is an active and vocal critic of his godforsaken government, and a close ally in the fight against corruption.

Given all this, though, the news that she wants to run for president dismayed me.

Ms. Madrigal can continue doing her good work without jumping into the presidential fray which is certain to be disgustingly dirty. And, sadly, it’s not likely that she’ll win. Sayang lang ang panahon at rekurso. Mas mainam kung sumuporta na lang siya samga  ibang kandidato na, katulad niya, ay may magandang layunin para sa bayan at mamamayan. Katulad halimbawa nina Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza at Teddy Casino.

—-

Gloria partying in the US while the Philippines continues to go to hell in a handbasket. Nothing surprising there.

Many of my Facebook contacts and friends/comrades have been posting links of news reports and features on what GMA is doing in the US and the implications of her visit with US Prez Barrack Obama. As I scroll through them, I get more and more incensed, and it doesn’t help that at this very moment, I have a headache that eager to take itself to the next level and turn into a migraine.

Macapagal-Arroyo is such a lousy excuse for a president, for a human being even (list of crimes and atrocities as long as the Great Wall of China), and now here’s  Obama who once upon a time touted himself as the harbinger of change. So much for change. Okay, so maybe there’s change: worse to get even worser and worser.

What on earth could they possibly talk about and what are the chances that their talk could result to anything positive or good for the Philippines and the Filipino people? A devil cannot be an advocate for heaven, even if she pretends to have a pair of wings and a gleaming halo.

Pathetic, these presidents.  And hang this disgusting brand and exercise of bourgeois diplomacy and democracy.

——

I read Jodi Picoult’s  ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ and ended up crying. It’s a well-written book– and it makes you think. It makes you question yourself and your own views about issues you once thought were black and white; and this was a very good lesson for me. So now I’m reading all of her books which my mom bought and have previously read. And there’s a pattern in all of Picoult’s writing: she makes you confront your own processes of decision; of forming opinions. Are you hasty? Are you fair? Are you often subjective?

Often kasi – and this is a major weakness I am a little ashamed to admit —  I form opinions so strong that they’re sometimes unreasonable. Meaning sometimes I ignore reasonable arguments that could and even should impact on my opinions and change them for the better.  I form opinions about different things and different people, and then I get stuck with these opinions and they — and consequently I – never grow, improve, develop. I’m often too lazy.

Like for instance people. I don’t make friends very easily. I may appear friendly, and even gabby (sobrang daldal ko when I’m not 100% comfortable. Even in the company of people I like; strange, I know); in truth, I’m a shy person and I sometimes determine whether someone could be my friend or not on the basis of  whether they read or not (or what they read); or if they like animals (and which animals). These are pretty pathetic reasons for friendship, I know that, but that’s me. And I don’t make much of an effort to reach out to people.  Mostly because I don’t feel that they have anything to contribute to my personal well-being (and in turn, I don’t have anything to give them, either). It sounds snooty, I know; but again, it’s actually laziness, and the bad habit of putting people in boxes.  If 10 years ago you were a jerk to me, chances are now I’d still view you as a jerk, and nevermind if you gave P10 million in donations to the charity ward of the PGH or Fabella Women’s Hospital.

Nothing is ever completely black and white; and people’s aren’t boxes: they have far too many sides and if you neglect seeing some of these sides, you might end up being sorry in your subjectivity forming opinions about people who could have been good friends.

These days, I  am evaluating my life and certain choices and decisions I have made. I’ve realized that  the things I used to be certain, so sure about are not sure and certain things anymore.  Is it a sign of finally growing up? Maybe.  It’s a sad process at the same time, though: it means coming to terms with the things I used to believe in so firmly and finding that believing in them does not mean automatically that they will be real; that I can see, feel, touch and experience them.

It’s all the harder because my bestfriend isn’t here and he’s so far away and it’s simply not possible to explain these things over the internet.

Nothing is black and white; and even the ideals you hold dearest you will not exist all the time in all the forms you want. Quite simply, one has to lower one’s standards and adjust. That or let go. And I don’t want to let go. But neither do I want to adjust my standards because my standards are CORRECT and I have lived them with them as an activist for so long and I have been taught by the best.

It’s just in the current situation I’m in, there are so many flaws and they all have to do with, what, upbringing? proper attitude? ideological maturity?

This entry is turning out more to be self-revealing than I like, but hey, I need to write this down and I can’t do it with ink because my hand is too slow and my thoughts are flowing like water from a newly-installed faucet and the dam just opened.

—–

I am up for a major change in the next two weeks, and I am so relieved.

I will be firm, I will be mature, I will be worthy of my teachers and mentors.

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July 16, 2009

Personal potpourri

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 7:50 am

I had my hair cut really short. After keeping a mane for the last six years, I had it lopped off to the collective and undisguised horror of the stylists in the beauty parlor in our neighborhood. It took me almost 20 minutes (I’m not kidding) of wrangling and pleading before they agreed to cut my hair; and even then they were refusing to give me a short cut, but instead kept recommending styles that would have allowed me to keep some of the length.

Why did I had my hair cut?

I was bored.

I was bored and annoyed with how things are going in my personal life and right now I’m sick and tired of trying to get sympathy from sources that are intrinsically incapable of giving it. So snip-snip-snip and I’m a ‘new’ person. Hah!

Okay, now for the not-so-dramatic reason: I couldn’t maintain my hair anymore. I don’t have the time or the patience to attend to it. Shampooing it became a chore; drying it took forever; and there were days when I felt  like some of the strands were turning into snakes and I’m Medusa.

So maybe now I can start wearing hats.  I used to collect hats, but I seldom got to wear them. And I don’t have to hurt myself shampooing (yes, I am THAT out of shape); and I can quit being wistful that I don’t know how to do braids.

—-

My daughter Kimiko Gabrielle — Miko– turned one year last week, and it was a happy occasion. I’m so proud of her, my eyes tear up sometimes just looking at her. It only seems like yesterday when we took her home from the hospital, a reddish-yellowish lump wrapped in a baby blankie; now she’s a walkin-talkin (what passes for talking for babies, anyway– she’s very voluble!) toddler who can finish a big jar of broccolli and a small juice box in one sitting.

The other day my sister Majal was going nuts because she couldn’t find her flash drive. She all but overturned the furniture in the living room in her search for it. After 30 minutes of fruitless search, she exasperatedly turned to Miko who was at the time in her crib and watching her avidly,  and asked her “Asan, Miko? Asan? Where the hell is my flash drive?!”

Of course Ate Majal wasn’t expecting an answer, but she nearly fell in a faint when Miko calmly pointed to the nearest sofa and sure enough, there, wedged under the black, cushiony armrest, was the blue flashdrive.

Contrary to some of the reviews I’ve heard and read, Transformers 2  Revenge of the Fallen was  great! I had a terrific time watching the giant sentient robots race, crash against and crush each other. I didn’t really mind that I couldn’t really see it clearly when they transformed (everything was much too fast, and the Transformers looked damn bulky) because I left all my expectations at the theatre’s entrance. The dialogue was hilarious though, gad! I laughed and laughed and there was one time when I choked on my Coke when the character played by the amazing Mr. John Turturro relayed his whereabouts as being “directly under the enemy’s scrotum.” You have to watch to movie to understand what the heck that’s all about.

Honestly, it’s not like I went to watch Transformers 2 hoping to achieve some major epiphany afterwards. I  didn’t watch so I could learn something worth dying for. I went because I wanted to see Optimus Prime kick butt. I wanted to hear Shia Lebouef’s Sam Witwicky’s wisecracks and I wanted to forget that I was pissed off.

Objectives achieved.

___

It’s a rainy, rainy Thursday, and for all the things that distract me from work and other thinsg that make me happy (yep, work makes me happy – go ahead and laugh, but I like being of use, I like believiing that to some however small degree, I am contributing to the Good Side), I’m enjoying the day. I was a frog in a pervious life, probably. I’ve always  been happy in rainy weather; it’s the traffic jams and the floods that make me want to massacre government officials.

Peace talks na!

July 7, 2009

Goodbye

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 6:15 am

2009-06-26-Michael_Jackson_1971_got_to_be_thereSo I thought I wouldn’t mourn for you, or at least not show any signs of sadness.  I was very sad, sure, when I heard about your sudden death. It was a shock, and it seemed that the world stopped for a few seconds; but everyone else was grieving, and there was –is– more than enough grieving over your loss that my own grief wouldn’t make any difference.

Oh but now that they’re fighting over your estate, and your children facing an uncertain future (not knowing who will take care of them, now that their best playmate, protector and  father has gone), and there are still the unkind reports of how you were such a major whack job, I can’t help but cry. You were music and poetry and art personified whenever you sang and danced; watching you move across the stage was breathtaking, and it was always a source  of awe and sheer delight to see you perform.  It was like seeing the sunlight sparkling on moving water. And now tmichael_jackson_king_of_pophat you’re gone, it not likely that there will ever be anyone like you again.

Perhaps the most painful thing about your passing is that you died without feeling that you were loved.  Despite the millions of fans all over the world, despite the public adoration even in the face of the most vicious, malicious attacks against you and your innocent motives, you felt unloved and unnaccepted. How else could your misguided acts of altering your face and skin color be interpreted but a deep insecurity, a tragic lack of self-acceptance and love?

You gave so much to the world with your music and your poetry; the messages in your songs, the artistry of your dance; but probably you asked yourself why did you get so little in return? Oh not the money (you had a lot of that; you lost a lot as well, but in the end you still could never be called poor); but the genuine happiness that comes to people when they know that they are loved despite everything and maybe even because of their little flaws. You were imperfect just like everyone else; but your humanity was a little closer to perfection more than so many others’ because of your kindness, your gentleness, your humble wish to make the world a better place with your music.

You shouldn’t have changed who you were on the outside. You were already so beautiful.

You should have, however, changed who you were on the inside. You should’ve not let yourself be beaten down by the cruelty of others; you have have learned to trust more in the people who did really love you and told them of the gaping loneliness and isolation you often felt; you should’ve learned to be stronger without the drugs, the medication– if not for yourself , then for your children.

Oh good-bye to the little boy who never grew up! Good-bye to the man who was always young! The world was often unkind to you even as it held you high; but you should not have given in and instead you should’ve fought back– in a way that echoed the graceful strength of your songs and the the energy of your dance. How I wanted you to fight back when they were attacking you! How I wanted you to grow indignant and angry and disgusted with the greed, selfishness and malice of others! You should’ve been more confident that the rest of the world did not hold you in contempt, and there was a wealth of belief in your innocence.

But now it’s too late. And you, gentle, gentle soul, have gone much, much too soon. Thank you so much for the music, thank you for the art.  May you find happiness wherever it is you are now.

michael-jackson

July 2, 2009

Kimiko on the run (haha)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 7:11 am

Miko is turning one on the 9th. She started walking at 10 months (with assistance, of course), and now she can walk on her own but I’d much rather she walk with a harness of sorts because she has a tendency to rush and hurry and hence, to fall flat on her face.

I’ve long planned to put together a record of Miko’s development, but I’ve been lazy and whenever I look at her photographs with the initial intent of sorting them and putting captions on them, I end up daydreaming about she used to look like when she was born, or at five months, or six…

Miko’s first word was ‘mama.’ She was almost six months old. It was around 2 pm, and Kim and I were jolted awake when we heard her say ‘Mama’ from her crib.  I carried her excitedly (she was awake and it was her time to drink more milk) while Kim, like some giant moth kept hovering over the two of us, kept begging Miko to also say ‘Papa.’ Now Miko says ‘mama’ all the time; she knows me as ‘mommy’ and Kim as ‘daddy’, but when she wants to call my attention: ‘Mama!’

Her second word was ‘Tiger.’ She has two picture books and in them are two tiger cubs. She was seven months old, she was ‘reading’ in her crib and my sister Majalla and I were in the living room and we  had wheeled Miko’s crib bnext to the sofa. Miko pointed at the picture of the tiger cub and said ‘tiger.’ Imagine the shock her aunt and I felt! Ate Majal asked Miko to repeat what she said “Miko, we didn’t hear, sorry. What did you say?” Miko looked at her whitheringly — as if to say, gad, woman, clean your ears!- and repeated: “tyyyyyyygerrrrrr.”

Miko has a fairly wide vocabulary now, and it’s expanding everyday. To help her learn words, apart from talking to her like she’s an adult,  we surround her with books (she’s chewed and eaten the spines of several), and for the most part, she seems to like looking through them. She spends at least an hour every day ‘reading’, on her own, or with one of us. She likes it best when she’s being read to, and her current favorites are “Mama, do you love me?” (It’s an Inuit storybook where there are polarbears and musk ox and lemmings in mukluks and Ptarmigan eggs), “Mama,Mama” (Animal babies and their moms: a baby koala tells his mom, ‘Mama, mama, carry me; life me up so I can see’; while a baby chimpanzee asks Mother Chimpanzee , “Mama, mama, make me clean, every day the same routine”), and ‘Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ (“Let the wild rumpus start!”).

We know she knows what the words refer to because she either points at the object in her books when we tell her the word for it; or she gets it herself when the object is within reach. So far, Miko knows fish, snake, penguin, Nanuk (Inuit for ‘polar bear’), ball, dog, kitten, rabbit, tiger, book, phone, tv, shoes, nappy, wall, bed, banana, Winnie (The Pooh; Miko has a Pooh bear and Nanuk, a snow bear), bottle, pillow. She knows where her eyes, nose and ears are; she points to her tummy and the kitchen when she wants to eat; at her room when she wants to sleep; the window when she wants to go outside. If you tell her it’s time for her bath, she will lift her arms and let you carry her to the bathroom and her tub.  She knows  soap, shampoo, water, food and cracker.