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"There is a great woman behind every idiot." - John Lennon

Thought Bubbles & Cake Slices aka Hey, 3AM

I’m starting to think that I’ve forgotten what a paragraph looks like. Yes, it has been THAT long since I’ve found time (and inspiration) to actually visit the blogosphere for the perennial verbal rant on the world today. Luckily, I have FINALLY found that time. Yay. 

Transpo- nation, transportation 

The Gist: Uber, Grab and the LTFRB: A saga of regulation, rule-breaking, inconvenience and missing application forms.

Verdict: Oh, transportation– a perennial issue that plagued me a lot especially during my college days. I’ve been fortunate to not have more dastardly traveling experiences but I have my share of ehh moments (especially when I commuted on a regular basis). However, with the bad comes some equally pleasant moments– those small little instances that reminded me greatly of the good that still exists in the PH.

A favorite story of mine is when I was heading home at a rather late hour and was lucky enough to have ridden with a taxi driver who happened to be the father of four girls. He was awesome enough to tell me about the shady operators who were behind taxis involved in scary incidents of attempted kidnapping and rape. He also gave me tips on how to protect myself when commuting– especially when riding taxis. I was so thankful for the help that evening, and even more thankful that I got home safe.

So where am I going with this?

First of all, nobody’s perfect– Uber, Grab, taxi operators, and especially the LTFRB. Both Uber and Grab and the LTFRB made their share of mistakes in resolving the issue and that’s just not okay. Taxi operators in the country are also problematic and have been for years (almost decades) now. There’s a reason why Uber and Grab have become popular modes of transportation for commuters– they feel safe because the applications give them that security– something that taxi operators have not been able to. These applications have become popular to the point that they’ve actually become legitimate threats to operators not under Grab or Uber— thus the push for Grab/Uber accredited vehicles to also be regulated the same way that regular operators are.

In light of the issue at hand, here are my points:

  • Stop the demonizing. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, all parties have made mistakes– but all parties have one common goal: to provide transportation to the riding public. Also, both parties have their share of good guys and bad eggs (you’ve seen the facebook stories). Keep that goal in mind and get out of the {wrestling} ring.
  • See the bigger picture. This goes beyond the issue of regulation and ride-sharing versus operators. This is our transportation system rearing its ugly, error-filled head right at us, and we need to take notice. We need to think forward and see how the common goal of providing safe, reasonably priced, quality transportation can be met by all stakeholders for the benefit of everyone. Transportation is a major issue that has repercussions on how our economy goes forward– we NEED to care.

 

Nazis,  In Living Color 

The Gist: The dumpster fire that is the Trump presidency rolls on with the tragic weekend that was seen all over the world from Charlottesville.

Verdict: I won’t lie, I feel a bit guilty that I seem to have been spending more time following the issues going on in America when the Philippines is having its own ‘series of unfortunate events’. I blame the late night segments and their genius mix of comedy with facts (see: John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert). I’m still holding out hope that one day  we find a way to deliver news in the Philippines in a similar manner– fun, yet highly informative. (* crosses fingers *)

Anyways, here are the points:

  • WHY? Why are there still people who think this way? Hay. A thought that often crosses my mind when ruminating about people who hold old world views– and a thought that rings true in this context.
  • HOW? How is this guy still president? Is this their own version of ‘tiis ganda’? They don’t seem to be getting anything done– and they jump from one controversy to another. Sad.
  • The Power of Being Permissive. One frightening image from the Charlottesville protests was that of “white nationalists” walking around in the same uniform worn by Trump to his golfing trips. Another scary instance? when David Duke claims ‘they are fulfilling Trump’s promises’ through their protest.

Needless to say, folks– that’s scary as shit. If in America the words and rhetoric of a           president preaching hate can be used to encourage negative behavior, can the same           happen in the Philippines? I wouldn’t be surprised if it could.

This is exactly WHY Duterte’s words matter– and why somebody in his administration needs to drill that idea into his head. Words, when said from a platform of power, become more powerful– they begin to matter more. A joke may seem like a joke to our president but the underlying implications are there. Jokes about rape, words about murder or cussing may all seem like the hallmarks of Duterte but now that he’s mayor no more and the leader of an entire country– that behavior becomes example. It becomes a possible model for the Filipinos of tomorrow.

Forget about your complaints that you don’t like this job or that you’re ‘not a diplomat’ because guess what pal, you are. Multiple resignation threats later and you’re still here, in this position– leader of THIS country. People see you as that and you need to BE an example of positive behavior to all Filipinos– whether they support you or not.

Don’t get me wrong, though- I’m not saying that a neo-Nazi/ white supremacist type group will emerge if Duterte continues to act the way he does. He has his issues but he is not as bad as Trump. What I am trying to say is that if he does continue to display hallmarks of negative behavior (which he does)… there goes your excuse for a shift in Pinoy culture: the propagation of rape culture, a negative attitude toward women, etc.

TL;DR: Watch your words, watch your behavior– you’re in a position of power that can be used to influence. Push that you influence for the good instead of the bad. Please.

 

 

 

Raunchy, Raucous, Righteous: A “Riverdale” Review

It took a few days and a number of hours, but I’ve finally collected myself enough to compose this impromptu review of the hot new mystery show with equally hot (and iconic) source material: Riverdale.

Although I did hear of this remake last year, I haven’t gotten a chance to check this show out at all. Can’t say I was too eager to either, especially considering my disdain for try hard reboots of my favorite childhood shows/ books etc.

And yet here I am, six episodes later– desensitized, a bit shocked and intrigued. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Riverdale is, in essence, a dark twist on the iconic comic book heroes of the Archie series. The first season of the show seems to center on the mysterious death of Jason Blossom,  but as the episodes unfold you come to realize that there’s more to this show than its teen drama/ murder mystery tale.

On the Characters

Riverdale features all of the original characters of Archie lore– Archie himself, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Jughead Jones and everyone in between. However, the show interprets them, and their families, in a very different light.

First of all, let’s start with Archie. A lot of his telling characteristics are still there– fire red hair, letterman jacket with the Riverdale R, penchant for music, his dad, his friendship with Betty… aaand that’s about it. Our favorite ginger exchanges his happy comic home for a one-parent household, a sexual affair with one Geraldine Grundy (yes, you’ve read that right) and issues that are mundane in comparison to the scandalous storylines and problematic parents that seem to populate this ‘once innocent’ small town.

Perhaps this could be explained by Archie having, despite a broken household, the only remotely decent parent in the entire town. For some strange reason the central characters are the offspring of a problematic group of parentals whose personal issues take no time in pouring into the lives of their unfortunate offspring.

Unlike Archie’s almost cartoonish red hair (he reminds me of Ariana Grande circa Victorious), bubbly blonde Betty Cooper is an almost perfect version of her comic self– complete with blonde ponytail, blue eyes and a penchant for pink. Yet in this iteration even she hides secrets far worse than that of her domineering mother (a step up from her comic self, to be honest), and submissive yet scary father. In the comics Betty’s absentee elder sister is the ‘perfect sibling’: a successful broadcaster whose fast-paced New York life is one that Betty aspires to have. In this series, however, she’s become the unlikely black sheep hidden away as Betty is molded to her mother’s specifications, albeit against her will.

Jughead Jones is brought to life by a surprisingly… perfect Cole Sprouse– whose sole nod to the comic book foodie lies in his crown beanie. And frankly, that seems to be where the similarities end– Jones is another unfortunate product of problematic parents and his iconic love for hamburgers barely makes an onscreen appearance.

Veronica Lodge has become my favorite iteration among all the characters, as it seems as though the depth given to her character actually feels… fleshed out. She actually feels more human when she isn’t fighting Betty for Archie’s affections and instead assumes the role of the supportive female friend. Although I sure do wish she gets her own romantic prospects in future seasons (IF this show lasts that long).

However, even realistic Ronnie (a mold probably aided by characters like Blair Waldorf) is not immune to the epidemic of problematic parents: her dad (a prominent parent figure in the comics), is in jail in the Riverdale world, and her mom (Hermione Lodge), has her own set of secrets as well.

The following secondary characters also make an appearance in the show: Principal Weatherbee (dude lost weight!), Ethel Muggs, Moose Mason (he’s apparently gay, not bad! But what about Midge?), Coach and Chuck Clayton (aka apparently a douche now), and the first season’s primary figures of sort: twins Cheryl and Jason Blossom.

I didn’t read much of the prominent Cheryl comics growing up but I am familiar with her character and how she was in the comics– and as for her show self, all I can say is: okaay. She’s mean but nice but broken.. ?? ehhh. At least there’s more to her here than being the notorious third choice for Archie.

One character that doesn’t seem to play a prominent role (even if he is technically a main character), is Reggie Mantle. Sure he’s been incarnated as an Asian-American fellow but why has he been reduced to a somewhat secondary character? Dude had his own comics for a while… why isn’t he more prominent?? Please let him be more than the ‘football dude’ in later seasons!

On The Plot

As mentioned earlier, season one centers on the mysterious death of golden boy/ football captain Jason Blossom– a relatively simple central plot that allows a number of stories to begin unfolding early on. These sub stories include the rivalry between the Coopers and Blossoms, the shady dealings between the Mayor and Riverdale’s local gang the Serpents, and (arguably the most interesting) subplot is the collective past shared by the parents of the main characters. Its as if the show is foreshadowing an exciting flashback episode (or two!) to give the viewers some context behind the past shared by the Riverdale parents.

There is so much more to say about the plot (especially with the rate at which the story unfolds on Riverdale), but I’ll keep it at that– all you need to know is that once you start watching, you might never stop.

Overall….

If you can set aside the very different character interpretations, and enjoy Riverdale mainly for its story, then you will be fine. Plot wise, the show unfolds pretty well, and does a suitable job of keeping viewers engaged enough that they’ll want to keep tuning in.

In case the interpretations freak you out, you may want to read up on later iterations of the Archie cannon– many of which have reworked the squeaky clean lore in order to incorporate darker plot elements that may make stomaching this show feel less “traumatizing”.

Trust me, die hard Archie fans, its not that bad. In fact, it’s rather exciting. Give it a try, and get hooked!

On Why We Probably Don’t Have Legit Food Critics in the Philippines

Disclaimer: This is not a direct response to the points presented in the Esquire article “About the Lack of Legit Food Critics in the Philippines”. Rather, it is a personal opinion on the very question posed by the piece– why are there no legit Filipino food critics? 

I’d actually like to thank the author, Mr. Yulo, for bringing this up. It’s a very interesting issue that merits discussion in the wake of the rising global popularity of Philippine food. 

Before getting into a discussion about why legitimate food critics are nonexistent in the country, we should first take a step back and reflect on how we see food in the Philippine context. What part does food play in our culture? How do we talk about food, and write about food? What are the origins and influences of our food culture?

Thanks to a number of veritable researchers and historians (Doreen Fernandez, Felice Sta. Maria, Ambeth Ocampo, Dr. Fernando Zialcita, Carmen Santiago, etc– the list goes on), we actually have a very data rich chronicle of the origins of our food culture. It is because of  these individuals that we can trace the history behind meals like the noche buena and media noche, and dishes like Pochero, Pancit Malabon, and the like. It is also thanks to the works of these individuals that we gain substantial context into the role of food (and of the meal as a whole) in the past.

But what about now?

Needless to say, a lot has changed about our local food landscape. Globalization has made imported ingredients and produce closer than ever. The rise of digital media has expanded the reach of food advertising to social media sites and YouTube. The local restaurant scene is booming with both local restaurants managed by veterans and up and coming talents and foreign franchises coming to set up camp in the country. A number of our best  chefs are receiving international accolades for their success and their talent. In a nutshell, the Philippines is pretty much on the fast track to becoming a food nation, and it is something to be proud and excited about.

This is what leads us straight to the research gap… where are the studies on contemporary Filipino food culture? We may have a wellspring of information on the origins of our food, but where is the data about how present advancements have changed the way we eat, talk, write and interact with food as a whole? Where is the information on how food advertising affects Pinoy consumer choices, or how the booming restaurant scene has affected the structure of the Pinoy diet? Do Pinoys still eat at the home dining table like they used to?

There are so many unanswered questions, so many paths worth taking in the field of research that is contemporary Filipino food culture. It is about time that someone dives in considering that multiple individuals have already provided us information about our food past.Perhaps it is once we are armed with that information that we can come to understand why legitimate food critics do not exist in the country. Or, why we probably don’t even need them in the first place.

Maybe we already have legitimate food critics in our midst. We have a large number of industry personalities to recruit– there are veteran chefs, up and coming chefs, successful food business owners and the like whose experience and knowledge will suffice in providing educated critique to readers.

But is that even enough? What if these people, despite their food expertise, are unable to articulate their insights in a manner that is understandable to someone outside the food industry? Most of them will probably prefer time in their kitchen to sitting down and eating at other people’s restaurants and then going home to write about these experiences. Majority of them are too busy running their own restaurants/businesses to even have the time to spend on being a ‘critic’.

So if the experienced guys don’t have the time, what now? Who else can we ask/recruit/train to become an actual legitimate food critic?

Perhaps the researchers with an interest in contemporary food will make good critics, or maybe retired chefs/food business owners. Another possible way would be to formulate actual modules on the art of critiquing and writing about food that could come in handy to train future journalists to become future critics. But then, the job of a food critic is not for everyone– the individual must have at least a basic knowledge and genuine interest in learning about food.

Now that we’ve outlined the characteristics of an ideal critic– let the search begin.

It shouldn’t be that hard. After all, as Mr. Yulo says, we are a nation of voracious eaters. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

More on “La La Land”

I loved a lot of things about “La La Land”– the acting, the music, the seamless story line. And then there were the moments that just got to me. One such instance is when Emma Stone sings the haunting “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”.a story turned power song that soon becomes her ticket to stardom.

“Here’s to the fools who dream, foolish as it may seem” sings the track, and right they are. La La Land is a love letter to these people– dreamers, those unafraid and gutsy enough to chase the most ridiculous aspirations at the cost of a stable life.

But what about those who don’t? What about those people who accept reality and choose to give up the lightness of free spirit for the sake of stability?

What about people like me?

La La Land brought back a tumult of memories for me..most of which included moments in my life when I used to be a free-spirited, highly inspired ‘writer type’ that saw scripts and short stories as my future. That moment in particular comes almost six years ago, when I had first discovered the Beatles and found myself obsessed with the color and the chaos of 1960s culture.

Needless to say a lot has changed since then. Time, place and circumstance have brought me to a point where I am inhabiting a space that seems more stable than it was six years back. But that spark… that wellspring of inspiration and shear flight, has gone. Ideas just don’t flow like they used to, and I miss that freedom dearly.

But then, perhaps I can find that again. Perhaps La La Land has guided me to reminisce about a not-so distant past that was just incredible for me.

Could I come back? Should I?…

 

 

‘La La Lovely’: A La La Land Review

I don’t even know where to begin.

I’ve been typing in full sentences and pressing backspace more than I’d to… and hopefully, this time, I actually stay with this paragraph– I actually like it. There is just so much to say, so much to process about this film that I can’t seem to really encapsulate the experience of seeing it like I normally do.

A General Thought (Or Two) 

Let me begin with the obvious: the hype is real. Is it well-deserved? Yes. But does the hype tend to get overboard? Frankly, yes.

First of all– musicals aren’t a thing of the past. They’ve been done a zillion times before, to both amazing and devastating results. La La Land is a product of influences and inspiration from multiple iconic sources– Astaire and Rogers films, Gene Kelly, Old Hollywood. If you’re as lola (read: a big fan of vintage things)  as I am than you can spot the Easter eggs a mile away– everything from the title card to the tap dancing sequences to the ethereal waltz are odes to legends who have done them first and have done them.. better.

What sets La La Land apart is what it does to those influences. There’s no copy pasting here, no direct reference.. Chazelle takes these nuggets of inspiration and sprinkles them into a story that is incredibly real. There’s no instant success in his Hollywood– and for most of our favorite stars, that’s how it was. You can feel the disappointment of Emma Stone’s aspiring actress Mia in every montage. You can sense the shear contempt in Gosling’s eyes as he plays a raucous Jingle Bell at his day (or should we say, night) job.

And that is what makes this film so perfect and so real, and in a league of its own. It’s no flamboyant musical– it’s no film whose every notable moment is prefaced by an over the top song– it’s one part realism, one part music and one part sweet love tale, and that is just it. It takes these multiple subplots and seamlessly puts them together in one smooth, lively, seemingly happy Hollywood film.

On Plot 

I won’t say much, but enough perhaps to keep clueless readers up to speed.

Ryan Gosling aka everyone’s bae aka forever Noah from the Notebook plays struggling jazz pianist Sebastian Wilder, who works a drudge-y day job at night to earn enough money to finance his own jazz place where he can keep the classic genre alive. Emma Stone aka precious, talented, comedic girl of the world plays Mia Dolan aka the personification of every aspiring small town girl who jets off to the city of stars to become one herself. In essence, we’re looking at struggling artists (that surprisingly DO NOT starve?).

I’ve already talked about my love for the realism in this movie but on the surface the plot seems rather… narcissistic. A Hollywood film about the struggle of being in Hollywood?! Almost felt like an biopic there. Thank the skies (and the stars) for Damien Chazelle.

On Stars 

La La Land is Ryan Gosling’s McConaughey  moment.

McConaughey Moment: Works relatively long in the business, known for a number of roles– perhaps a memorable one (or two). Makes a good job choice, does well in a well-directed film (Dallas Buyers Club)– enough to garner awards, recognition and critical acclaim. Finally gets recognized.

That’s exactly what is happening to everyone’s universal babe and it’s a welcome moment, just as it was for Mr. McConaughey a few years back. Now I’m unsure which Canadian Ryan is more well-known but it sure should be Mr. Gosling, who has been in a number of pretty good movies since his breakout film opposite Rachel McAdams.

In La La Land, he ditches the raw sex appeal and smirk for a display of incredible raw talent and an inherent charm that makes him seem so endearing. It’s also nice to see that his breakdown acting (read: acting mad acting) has gone through significant improvement.

It will be interesting to see whether Gosling’s endearing performance will be enough to jet him past his drama counterpart in the  Golden Globes (Casey Affleck, who took home the award for best actor in a drama film) to Oscar gold.

And then, there’s Emma Stone.

Again, I don’t know where to begin. I’ve seen her in everything from Easy A  to Spiderman to Birdman but I don’t think I’ve ever been this enamored with her work. On paper her role seems easy– an actor playing an actor being a struggling actor. As a once struggling actress, she’s probably had a wellspring of experience to draw from right?

But, yet again, it’s what you do with what you have that really matters in this film– and Emma does that incredibly. The realism is not just a concept here but a manifested theme used to make the characters connect with the audience, and to make the audience connect with the characters. Emma here is not just a person on the screen conveying the story but  a vessel of the story’s intended emotion that just jolts you so much that you leave the theatre feeling more moved than ever before.

That is how good she was. I’m rooting for no one else come Oscar night– this girl better take home that gold!

On Music 

From traditional flamboyance to feel-good to amazing jazz, the soundtrack of this film is as smooth as its seamless plot. I’m a big fan of how it didn’t go the Broadway route by sprinkling a full blown song for each notable moment, and chose specific sequences to inject loud, lively scores that are just a joy to listen to (perfect for getting that spring in your step every Monday morning).

I won’t lie, the signature song “City of Stars” will seem like an initial snoozefest but when enjoyed post-film, it takes on a  haunting character that everyone will come to appreciate. Real-life piano man John Legend brings in a bucketful of soul with his turn on “Start a Fire”. Looking to pierce a hole in your heart and bawl for all your unfulfilled dreams? listen to Emma Stone’s tour de force track “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” and cry, cry cry.

In Totality…

A work sprinkled with odes, yet all its own.

Performances of incredible caliber, songs of diverse emotion– classic movie escapism at its finest, and, hopefully, the film that does usher in the revival of the Hollywood musical. These are trying times, my friends… and there’s nothing better than a dance in the sky and a tap tap twosome on the street to make everything fly slowly away… even just for a moment (or two).

In short: definitely worth watching.

 

 

Ayoko Na.

This is just too much.

First of all, hello again blog world. I’ve kept myself away from you for some time and by now, you know why. But recent times have given me more reasons to keep away.

I’ve come to realize that keeping myself to the web world is just pointless… to opine on a clear screen would be tantamount to trolling, in my opinion. A thought shared with no concrete action to substantiate.

But I’ve given up. I’m full, I’m frustrated, and honestly… I’m done being neutral. I’m done being quiet.

So let’s eat some cake, shall we?

  1. #MarcosNotaHero

I have a very vivid imagination. It has been both a blessing and a curse to have this, as I’ve found watching horror movies during the day tends to make me a little scared at night. (I’m not saying I’m delusional here), but you know how it is– late night walk down the hallway to get water, late night bathroom trip… mirrors. They tend to be a little more frightening after seeing films like The Grudge at 7 am. You tend to think you see or feel things that aren’t even there.

Another thing that proves to be the bane of a vivid imagination are torture scenes in films, creepypastas, and well… novels.

In my senior year of highschool we were assigned to read Desaparecidos, a narrative as vivid as the colors in an oil painting. (Forgive my memory– a simple google search shall give you a general idea of the plot). What I remember most about Desaparecidos was the way in which scenes of torture were described. It was this particular novel that made me gain a newfound appreciation for Filipino literature and language. When written right, first person is a strong tool to use as a way of hitting the reader– and in my case, this is exactly what happened. This book just gripped me. I had seen Batas Militar multiple times for AP class, and read of Martial Law, but it was this book that opened my eyes to the casualties that Marcos caused.

So it comes as a surprise to me how people still feel like it is okay to deny this even happened. There are victims, there are families who lost things during this time. There are accounts of how things were. How could this be a lie? Is that all it was… infrastructure made it all okay? Those imprisoned were pasaway? Really????

Verdict: “He was a president, and he was a soldier… therefore, he deserves to be in Libingan ng mga Bayani.” Frankly, he probably made it a last wish because he was the one who renamed it Libingan ng mga Bayani, folks. He wanted to be remembered as such… but let’s be honest: he. was. no. hero.

As much as I would love to dig up facts and make my case, I… I’m just too fed up with everything that I feel it would be futile. One thing I do rebut is the argument that ‘xxxx was president during this time why didn’t he xxxxx:– maybe because said person wanted to just work on things for the people instead of forwarding his political agenda? Maybe there were more important things to do?

2. The Margaux Uson Phenomena 

Sigh… just typing up the headings for these paragraphs makes me want to throw my hands up in defeat. What has happened to us?

The last time journalism was under siege in the Philippines was during the time of Marcos. Now, here we are… and yet again, journalism is under siege.

My lessons from COM 140 are all suddenly coming back to me– ‘discipline of verification’, ‘adversarial’…’fourth estate’…. these all still mean something. There are still people out there who want to deliver the truth, to tell the right stories. To keep watch over the government.

But no. We now live in a time when social media engagement gives people the power and the freedom to spread false narratives. To demean the work of trained journalists and to bash them. To exchange their bodies of work for intentional misinformation.

Need I tell you who I’m talking about? Hay nako.

Here are some thoughts on dealing with Ms. Uson:

First of all, call her by her real name. People adapt stage names for several reasons– to stand out, to seem different/unique, or to hide from their past. This might just be the case with Miss Margaux. Besides, what’s so wrong with that? It’s a pretty name.

Know her context. She’s a Thomasian who was actually on her way to a medical degree. There aren’t any online sources that place her dropping out of med school alongside her dad’s death, but in an interview she does mention it as a reason for getting behind Duterte.

Don’t use her ‘sexy past’ against her. That’s called a low blow, and one that I personally believe is not even necessary in an argument against this woman.

Civility & Fact. No one likes to be insulted before they are reprimanded. Maintain a cool, civil tone and present facts with corresponding sources. Discuss with a cool head (no matter how hard that may be). In that way, you end up not being the one that looks bad in case Margaux (or whoever of her fans you may be talking to), end up using insult against you.

Don’t Share. She already has four million followers on Facebook– what are you doing sharing her posts? Don’t give her that satisfaction. Paste a link with your written frustrations instead. 🙂

Now, here are some thoughts on Miss Uson:

Social Media & Irresponsible Use. It seems as though YouTubers seem to have a much better grasp of the significance of a social media following than our good ‘ol Miss Margaux. I’m not saying there have been YouTubers that havep not used their followings to do negative things, but there are online personalities that harness their fans to actually do some good (favorite example: Pewdiepie’s charity efforts). Miss Margaux, on the other hand, harnesses her four million followers to spread misinformation and false claims. So far, I’ve seen posts that demean mainstream media, assassinate characters, and use manipulative narratives to spin downright lies.

Leni. I have nothing but major respect for Tricia, Aika and Jillian Robredo.

Imagine  encountering outrageous stories about your mother online– and realizing people believe them. Imagine encountering online personalities (Margaux) posting daily insults and petty jabs about your mother, and reading the insults in the comments section… comments from your fellow Filipinos–the same people your mother wanted to serve when she made the choice to run for higher office. Imagine reading conspiracy theories about your father’s death, and how your mother “allegedly” had a hand in his passing.

You have to wonder what it took out of them to make the decision and to see what Margaux Uson and her online cronies have done now. Had it been myself I would not even have let my mother do that. But these girls… kudos. props. respect. And I hope you girls continue to stay strong for your mom.

And as for you, Margaux, I don’t know how you even have it in you to continually demean Mrs. Robredo. Screw your ‘i’m not a journalist’ bullshit, I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that trumpeting your thoughts to your following makes a very strong impact. How do you sleep at night? Is it really that fun to peddle conspiracy theories about a woman who chose higher office to serve the people?

Face to Face. This may never happen, but I’ll propose it anyway. The only way things can truly be settled between keyboard warriors is through a face to face debate, one that involves both sides in a critical and calm discourse. Push away the Facebook barrier and the fake accounts, and sit down in the flesh, and then talk. * pipe dream over *

Lastly, here’s to the journalists everywhere– be it campus journalists, professional journalists or aspiring journalists. Please stay strong, please survive. You can do this. Please never give up on the dream of sharing the truth and the stories of your people. You are strong, you are capable, and your fight does not end here.

You can do this.

Postscript: I’m not denying the existence of bias in mainstream media. In fact, one of the things you learn in journalism class are the corrupt practices that the fourth estate has gotten involved in– things that future journalists are taught NOT to do. But to demean mainstream media as a whole is to me, unfair to those journalists who do not practice bias but are still labeled as such because of people like Margaux Uson. I firmly believe that those journalists still exist, and it is with them that I stand. 

Too Much Rotten Cakes: a Slices of Life Comeback Blog

I’ll keep the excuse short –> life got in the way, and I just don’t have the time to be a lame duck sitting at my computer anymore <– now, let’s get to the meat of this piece.

 

  1. Miriam: The End of an Era 

The Gist: The Philippines lost a great Pinay yesterday with the passing of former senator Miriam Santiago. 

Verdict: I won’t lie, I expected this– but not as sudden. I hoped to see her live for just a bit longer– but no, someone decided this was the end.

You weren’t a ‘perfect politician’, Miriam, you made your share of mistakes and worrisome quotes. But there is just no other like you. No one else with your level of experience, intelligence and capability. No one else with a fierce love for this country and a deep, deep desire to serve. It is saddening to see you go at a time when it seems the legislature has become an absolute joke– because we needed you now more than ever.

I’m happy to say that my first presidential vote was for someone as capable as you– again, that Bongbong decision was not a good one– but among everyone else there was clearly no one better fit to lead, in my opinion at least.

The shadow of your loss looms over a problematic senate filled with men who act like boys, over a Congress filled with a manyak group of middle-aged congressmen who see no problem in rationalizing that a sex tape viewing is ‘in aid of legislature’. I often find myself imagining what you would have done to them– kicked Trillianes and Cayetano out, perhaps, or dressed down Vitaliano Aguirre or Pantaleon Alvarez for their shear stupidity. But then I remember you are gone, and find myself losing optimism in the state of Philippine politics.

I can only hope and pray that the politicians now and the youth that have had an opportunity to meet you are inspired by your example to live out a fierce desire to serve and continue to be critical of the government.  Your loss is a big one and your service should never be forgotten. Thank you.

2. All Talk, No… Just All Talk

The Gist: The never ending cycle of Duterte making a speech coupled with an outrageous comment–> eliciting negative reaction –> cabinet member rationalizing behavior as the after effect of some physiological issues and so on and so forth. 

Verdict: Honestly, please just do this country a favor and shut up. Better yet, please stay within script and just give the speeches you need to give quickly and civilly. It sure would help everyone’s blood pressure. Written statements would be preferred.

I am tired of hearing you run your mouth. You think it won’t affect the economy? You think that it’s not the problem well guess what it is. If you really want to show how actions speak louder than words maybe you can do that. Fire Martin Andanar and hire a competent communication team and research team to present what your efforts have done through imagery and infographics you can show online. Use genuine, real-time data to illustrate what your initiatives have led to. Create an evidence-based report. Cut the cussing, bow your head and work!

In the meantime just talk through a spokesperson.

3. The Manyak Boys of Batasan aka Congressextape 2016

The Gist: House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and a number of his colleagues at congress seem to think that there is no issue with utilizing the alleged sex tape of embattled senator Leila de Lima as evidence ‘in aid of legislation’. They seem to think so to the point that they see no problem in showing the said tape during the drug hearings. 

Verdict: First of all, I’d like to thank the women in my family for teaching me strength and decency. Second of all, I’d like to thank my Media Law classes for teaching me how wrong and illegal this is. I cannot even begin to describe how angry, disturbed and disappointed I am in this. There are so many other ways to prove the existence of a relationship between De Lima and Ronnie Dayan. The fact that you even have the gall to joke that the tape makes you ‘lose your appetite’ when it is an alleged tape is disturbing.

Thankful for the females in Congress who do realize that this is a problem and have been circulating a petition that is against showing this tape during the hearing. Time to hope, pray and (desperately) call on Miriam Santiago’s ghost to knock some sense into the heads of these congressmen.

4. DeLima, Lima, Lima

The Gist: What is there to say about DOJ secretary turned senator turned chairman of human rights committee turned female whipping girl of the Congress drug hearings?

Verdict: Let me preface this by pointing out that I am not too fond of Leila DeLima myself. She could easily have been part of keeping this drug ring going on by letting it continue, or she couldn’t. There is no legitimate proof yet that makes this statement a fact. Yet, if she is a person of interest in said case, than investigate her properly and decently. If found guilty, punish her as needed.

But that’s just it.

Innocent until proven guilty, diba? So why does it seem as though we’ve already branded her as guilty? If she’s really a suspect than follow rule of law and be fair, and more importantly… decent. But let us be honest here: her past with the DOJ is what’s making this assassination of  her character and reputation so easy.

What I have been wondering since this drama began is how things would be like if another senator had chosen to investigate the killings, perhaps Grace Poe or Risa Hontiveros? People whose service histories are far, far away from the department of justice. Would the government have been as keen or as prepared to assassinate their characters? Would they have been ready with alleged sex tapes and dirty laundry prepared from the past?

To conclude: I am very, very worried about De Lima’s mental health. I hope she has family or friends to come home to that relax her and soothe her stresses because one can only imagine what it must feel like to be bashed and beaten like that. Again, to summarize:

De Lima = history with the DOJ has made her prime target for character assassination

She may be guilty or innocent

Investigate decently, properly and carefully

If innocent – let free and don’t character assassinate further

If guilty- punish as needed

#HyperIdealism

#AsIfThiswillreallyhappeninoursociety

5. Cursed Cabinet

The Gist: A personal rant about the problematic cabinet members of the Duterte administration 

Verdict: First of all, why don’t all of you just shut up, consolidate your statements and hand them to the one guy whose job is to communicate?  I’m talking to you, Martin Andanar. Panelo, go learn some diplomacy and stop talking for the president.

[ Careful not to rant too much due to the archaic libel laws of my home country ]

6. Hill x Trump: The Race Nears

The Gist: On Hillary, Trump and the pending change of power in America

Verdict: I’m not as explicitly informed about American politics as I was during the Philippine election, so I may have relied heavily on late night comedians for my dose of what was going on. Thank you John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah for the constant updates and the education, pretty much.

All I can say is good luck USA. I hope you realize that a serial liar billionaire for a president is not going to end well for you. I’ve been told Hillary’s got a multitude of skeletons in her closet but it looks like thanks to systemic issues you’ve ended up with her or him as choices. Believe me, we know how it feels to choose between thorns. We just did that three months ago.

But perhaps what do you need now is someone who actually knows what they’re doing and has your best interests at heart. Make the sane, decent choice and just don’t choose Trump, okay? I personally cannot even begin to imagine what things will be like if both Trump and Duterte are world leaders.

In the meantime, I may be looking forward to more quality jokes from the best of American late night comedy.

Postscript: I heard you had another shooting over there? Fix your gun laws!