I’ve heard many stories about people miraculously surviving from an accident or from a seriously fatal disease. Doctors proclaim that the patient won’t last long or that he will live like a vegetable when he survives. But surprisingly he gains back his strength and lives long.

 

People say it’s a miracle, but sometimes i wonder, what if it’s just a faulty medical verdict? While I don’t question any divine intervention as a source of the patient’s full recovery, I am open to the idea that doctors’ medical opinions regarding the finality of the patient’s chance of survival is not absolute and can therefore be contested by the fact that the patient has survived/recovered. There might be some scientific or empirical explanation that is not yet within the reach of research and medical tests.

 

But then again, faith is one major component of an individual in all his struggles in life. And so I say, it does not matter whether it’s a miracle made happen by a divine intervention or a faulty medical verdict. We can never find the answer.

chapter 1

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

I dreamed of becoming a novelist years ago. i tried to start writing this novel. I somewhat lost my interest and motivation. and finally after almost 2 years, i felt the desire to continue this. hopefully, chapter 2 will be completed before summer. enjoy reading… =)

I

June 9, 2007

Holding a pile of books with her hands slightly trembling, Kelly strode along the bridge-like corridor filled with students sitting just anywhere. A group of students sitting on one of the benches near the faculty office stared at her, surprised, as if she were a mythical character in a fantasy movie that had magically appeared in front of them. “What the heck are they looking at?” Kelly asked herself as she started to become conscious of herself. As she reached the spot right in front of the next bench, she suddenly remembered she had forgotten to take her shades off. The Guidance Counselor had once warned her not to wear any sort of accessories. Kelly had nearly burst out laughing at the exaggeration. But now, she got what the Guidance Counselor had meant. She cast her eyes at one student to another and she noticed what was so obvious. But Good Lord! It’s bright here outside. Is it a crime to wear shades? She thought.

For a while, Kelly stopped walking in the middle of the corridor and stared at the school ground where she should pass through before she could reach the school library. It was filled with groups of students obviously talking about how excited they were on this very first day of classes. She imagined these eager students whining about school requirements a couple of weeks from now; an indication of their gradual lost of excitement.

Not wanting to attract attention from more students, Kelly held the books in one arm and reached for the shades. The books slowly slipped from her arm and created a slapping sound that made all the students turn their head to her direction. Cursing herself for her clumsiness, she knelt down to pick up the scattered books. A muscular pair of hands grabbed the last two remaining books from the floor. Kelly stood up and found herself standing face to face with a student approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall. He looked young and undoubtedly good-looking. His eyes had a shade of light brown with long eye lashes and thick fine eye brows. His complexion was obviously lighter than any other students’, though it was evident in his tan muscular arms that he was used to tough labor. His glossy lips were thin and reddish. The most prominent part of his face, though, was his pointed nose. His thick black hair was badly ruffled; making him look impeccably childish.

The increasing number of students looking at them brought her back to reality. Kelly fixed her composure and reminded herself that she was not supposed to be smitten by some good-looking kid. “Thanks for the help”, she said, expecting him to give her the books. But he just looked at her, having an impish smile on his gorgeous face, with the books still on his hands. Darnit! What’s wrong with this kid?

“Look, Mister… what’s your name?”

“Garfield”

“Ok, Garfield… Garfield? Yeah whatever… Look, I should reach the library as soon as possible because the flag ceremony might start at any moment and I should return these books and get other reference materials. In short, I’m rushing. So be a good boy and hand me those books”, she exclaimed with a controlled tone which she always used whenever she wanted something back from her three-year old nephew.

she was starting to lose her patience. Kelly had not expected what happened next. He pretended to hand her the books, but he unexpectedly dropped them and scampered off the corridor.

“I think you better pick them up yoursellf, Ma’am. See you around.”, He was waving his hand as he headed towards the school canteen. Kelly heard whispers and giggles behind her. What a brat! Prepare yourself when I see you in one of my classes, Kelly thought as she picked up the books.

The bell rang with so much volume Kelly almost fell off from the teacher’s table where she was comfortably sitting in crossed legs. The students burst out laughing.

“Do not forget the things I told you to bring tomorrow, okay? Goodbye class. See you tomorrow.”

“Goodbye and thank you, Ma’am!” said the whole class in unison with a tone absolutely monotonous and bland. Kelly stood up and gathered her things. She looked up at the weird-looking old clock on the wall across her. It had been an hour since she stepped inside this classroom. At first, she was a bit anxious introducing herself to her second year students as a new English teacher for this school year. They were so silent paying attention to her every word and gesture. She could see in their innocent eyes that they were curious about her. She tried to let them introduce themselves and encouraged them to tell more about themselves, but all they said was their names and their birthdays. It was apparent in their limited speech and awkward gestures that they totally lacked self-confidence, so the remaining time ended up with her talking about random things. They obviously loved it. She was even able to make some students raise a few questions about her. Most of the questions, though, were about her love life.

Walking towards the faculty room, Kelly could feel eyes following her direction. All of a sudden, she felt naked with those eyes seemingly scrutinizing her. Some students greeted her with a genuine smile as she passed by them. Though the students were generally friendly, they were obviously intrigued by new people in their school especially by a new teacher coming from the city.

Since she didn’t have sets of uniforms yet, the principal had instructed her to wear casual attire for the time being. She had chosen her low-waist black slacks to wear that day; paired with her white blouse tightly embracing her slender figure. Her black sandals with 1.5 inch heels showcased the smoothness of her feet. Her straight stylish hair was perfectly pulled back with a black pony tail. She looked fresh and wholesome that day, she believed.

She smiled at everybody as she entered the faculty room. She found her area just beside a wooden file cabinet with plenty of dusty Science projects which might have been placed there immovably for centuries. It was intolerably hot inside the room so Kelly searched for her fan inside her black shoulder bag and undid two buttons of her blouse from the top. The action made the other teachers present in that room look at her with much surprise written on their wrinkled faces.

“It’s… hot in here, don’t you think so?” she exclaimed with hesitation. Most of them forced a smile and went back to their paper works.

The always loud and jolly Abby, the Guidance Counselor, stormed inside the Faculty Room breaking the awkward silence. Abby dragged a chair and sat beside her. She had first met Abby during the first Faculty meeting held a week before. She instantly liked her and they eventually became friends. She gave her a tour around the school campus right after the meeting and she was surprised how wide it was. Agriculture was apparently a part of their curriculum. There were landscapes and gardens within the school campus.

“So, how’s your first class?” Abby asked with excitement.

“It was great. I talked for one hour,” She emphasized the irony in her voice. “

Well, what do you expect? You’re a teacher.”

“Yeah, right! That’s why I shouldn’t expect responses from my students?”

“I’m telling you. It’s either you get used to the students’ passiveness and tolerate it or you aim for reformation. Especially that you’re an English teacher. You know what I mean.”

“We’ll see.” Kelly said with a shrug.

“By the way, I saw what happened at the corridor a while back.” Abby was smirking mischievously, apparently anticipating Kelly’s reaction. For a moment, Kelly didn’t know what to say as her cheeks burned red at the thought of the embarrassment.

“Crap! That was completely humiliating.” She lowered her eyes and pretended to write something on her note pad.

“Why did you not do anything? You just let that imp make fun of you in public. I couldn’t stand watching you there, down on your knees, while the whole world was laughing their ass out at you.”

“Abby, seriously, you’re not helping. What did you expect me to do? Grab him by the collar and kick him in his balls?” Her cheeks burned red even more. Abby’s laugh reverberated in the entire room.

“That would have been hilarious.”

“What’s his name, by the way? Garfield?”

Abby cracked laughing for the second time. “Who told you that? His name is Charlie. Charlie Lopez”

Charlie? What a queer name for a tough guy. She thought.

“I have lots of things to do. I better get going. If you need anything, you know where my office is. Bye, Honey. Good luck.” Abby winked at her and went off.

She crumpled the sheet of paper which she had been doodling on and raised her eyes to the people who she’s going to work with for almost a year. They had obviously been listening to the entire conversation. Suddenly, she wished she had her own office, too.

Charlie was leaning on a pine tree, savoring the taste of his Iced Tea under the burning heat of the sun. He stared at the new teacher 30 feet away from him. She was obliviously laughing as she talked with the old canteen tenant. She was probably enjoying everybody’s attention. Charlie was sick of hearing his classmates talk about how gorgeous she was. There was no denying, though, that she was indeed a head turner. She was probably not older than 22. Charlie could still vividly envision how she looked like during his encounter with her at the corridor. Full lips, perfectly shaped nose, wide angelic eyes, heart-shaped face, long gracious neck. But above all these, she was just another selfish city girl who would never appreciate the kind of life they had in this small village. He looked away and shoot the Iced Tea bottle which he had unconsciously squeezed in his hand into the garbage can near him.

Education in the Philippines is prevalently seen as an economic necessity. With the constant struggle to battle poverty, it is believed that educational attainment elevates one’s economical status. Such is the notion of the society that it is an “obligation” for every parent to send their children to school. Financial status and stability seems to be the driving force of the majority to attain education.

Majority of the population in the Philippines consist of marginalized individuals. Besides basic necessities, education is the top priority among the poor. Despite financial struggles, parents send their children to school to secure a better future for them. With this regard, parents would always remind their children to take education seriously so they won’t have to endure the hardship of poverty. Consequently, this scenario has developed a kind of coping mechanism in the system of every poor family towards their struggle in attaining education. The eldest among the siblings or any of the siblings who has finished his education first carries the burden or responsibility for the education of the rest. He is expected to look for a job to sustain the education of his siblings.

On a larger scale, the hierarchy of priority seems to play an important role in one’s view about education. In the Philippines where everyone’s priority is to feed hungry mouths, people seek a kind of education that would equip them to have jobs that pay a high salary. This is the reason why there is a tremendous number of students taking up nursing courses or any course that is highly in-demand. Care-giving courses are offered here and there all over the country. Year in year out, a large number of people desire to work abroad as nurses or caregivers. Sometimes, taking-up an education degree is not out of passion for teaching but for the purpose of teaching abroad in hopes of a high salary.

It is also for this reason that individuals do not pursue the kind of education that cultivates their innate talents and skills. Skills like writing or anything related to arts are often neglected and are not pursued because of socio-economic issues. Usually, such skills are considered as mere “hobbies”. As far as financial stability is concerned, only a very few people pursue their skills and talents to be their profession. As a result, courses such as journalism, fine arts, and photography are underappreciated, and worst disparaged. Consequently, establishments for educational purposes seem to be relatively lacking. There are no enough libraries and museums in our country.

The country seems to be concerned only with “employment”. It seems that education here in the Philippines is a tool in preparation for jobs like call centers, tutorials, and care-giving. People end up in such jobs because, sometimes, they are not given a choice. They do not have the luxury to be what they want to be. People are motivated by money, and that’s where their education is leading them.

Writing Away…

Posted: November 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

There are odd times when I just keep quiet and try to manage the turmoil that is going on inside. Normally, I rant out my angst and grief through writing hoping to drain the negativity out of my system. The good thing with writing is that the pen and paper do not talk. They receive your words with stoic helplessness as you curse the person you believe to be the incarnation of Hitler or as you lament over some unfortunate event. It is so liberating to think that there is solace in silence, and to know that no one gets to know your struggles but yourself.

On Homosexuality

Posted: October 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

On Homosexuality

 

**This is an article I wrote almost three years ago. On the process of editing, I have added and omitted some thoughts.

Since most people rely their judgments and opinions regarding homosexuality on their religions, on their culture, and on the majority’s perception, they tend to overlook the main points and fail to recognize the important things to be understood about homosexuality. In this article, I shall explain homosexuality in its simplest term.

To begin with, let us first try to know the definition of HOMESEXUALITY. Homosexuality, as defined by Wikipedia, refers to sexual behavior or attraction between people of the same sex or to homosexual orientation. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to “having sexual and romantic attraction primarily or exclusively to members of one’s own sex”; “it also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them.

In the Philippines, we see males dressing and acting like females and wanting to become females. In our language, we call them a lot of terms, like bakla, binabae, bading. These terms have even expanded to more colloquial terms like juding, shokla, badaf, kafederasyon and many more. Majority of the population in the Philippine society has narrow understanding about homosexuality. Only the cross dressers, males acting and dressing like females, are the ones considered homosexuals. Henceforth, one is in utter disbelief when he finds out that a seemingly tough guy, with evident masculinity, is in a relationship with another guy as equally masculine as the former. A person with this limited view on homosexuality always ends up asking this question, “eh sinong bakla sa kanila?”(Which between them is gay?), without realizing that both of them could be homosexuals. Let’s go back to the definition of homosexuality. Again, homosexuality refers to sexual or romantic attraction towards members of one’s own sex; which means that homosexuality is not measured by how soft/feminine a man acts dresses up, or speaks. Hence, the physical manifestations like effeminate gestures are not enough bases to claim that a man is gay. The primary basis in saying that a man is a homosexual is the fact that he is attracted to the same sex.

There are many factors that lead to homosexuality. The first one is deprivation of emotional needs of a child for a father’s love or attention during childhood years. Childhood is a crucial stage. It is in this stage wherein the personality of an individual is molded. According to Joseph Nicolosi, author of the book Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, a boy who is not given much attention by his father has this tendency to become a homosexual. Actions manifest affection. Therefore, a father not cuddling, wrestling, or being touchy with his son may deprive the latter of his emotional needs. As a result, he might end up seeking for affection and attention from other men as he grows up. And these manifestations towards other men might eventually become sexual.

Since every male individual needs a father figure as a model for his development of his identity as a man, the presence of a father is indispensable during this process. We can’t deny the fact that there are boys who are soft or effeminate. It has to be remembered, however, that not all effeminate boys would eventually turn out to be homosexuals. Being effeminate doesn’t necessarily mean being a homosexual. To eliminate the feminine side of the boy and develop his masculinity, the support of the family, especially the father, is very much needed. The boy needs to be affirmed of his masculinity. All means should be done to reassure that the boy identifies himself as a MAN as he grows up. However, instead of being able to develop his masculinity, a boy with a feminine tendency might be pushed to homosexuality even more because of how the father handles the situation. Due to the father’s intense desire to make his son manly, he miscalculates his actions. Thinking that this is the right thing to do, he uses corporal punishment and might do anything that might hurt the child physically and emotionally. In this case, the boy gets emotionally detached from men because of his father’s rejection and harshness. He now then unconsciously feels affection from other men so his emotional needs will be met. But then his father’s earlier rejection makes him anticipate that he might get rejected and hurt by other men, so he keeps an emotional distance from them. The more he is deprived of these emotional needs, the higher the tendency for the boy to become a homosexual. The more that he seeks for affection from men but is deprived from it, the more his attraction towards them intensifies.

Another factor is child molestation. Approximately one third of the homosexual population claims that they have been molested by older men when they were young. A boy having been molested by an older man has a great tendency to become homosexual as he grows old. It’s the same logic with the case of an abused child becoming an abusive parent in the future. Like what I stated a while back, childhood is a very crucial stage. A tragic event in a child’s life might definitely dampen the development of his personality.

The greatest factor that leads a child to homosexuality is genes, hormones, or birth order. A reliable video on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYMjXucTFaM) explains that there have been studies on identical twins. When one identical twin is a gay man, there is a 70% probability that the other twin is also gay. Therefore, genes plays a a great role in determining the sexual orientation of an individual. Another studies show that having many older brothers increases the possibility of a boy being a homosexual. It’s not because mothers always baby the youngest, making them gay. The explanation for this phenomenon is that the female body of the mother sees the fetus as a foreign object that’s why it produces antibodies against it. That’s why the more successive males the mother bears, the possibility of having a gay sibling goes up significantly.

When we talk about homosexuality, it’s inevitable to ask the question “Is it a choice?” I strongly say that it is not! Regardless of whatever factor there is, homosexuality is never a choice. Whether the factor is environmental or natural, it is not the choice of an individual to become homosexual. Is it his choice that his father is not capable of providing him his emotional needs? Of course not! Did he desire to have been sexually molested when he was a child? Definitely not! Was it his choice that he was born that way? Absolutely not! Therefore, is it right to hate or despise an individual because he is gay? This time, I’ll leave the answer up to you.

Apparently, homosexuality is considered a disorder, and I believe it actually is. However, it is also a reality. Homosexuality is everywhere. And sad to say, some people do not know how to deal with this reality. For them, it is such a great sin that homosexuals should be punished for it. Talking about “sins”, Christianity is against homosexuality. The Christian dogma has influenced society to resent homosexuality. With this prejudice the society has inflicted upon homosexuals, some homosexuals would rather live with despair and frustrations by masking their real identity in order to protect themselves from the oppressive and resentful society. Coming out in the open is not the ideal thing to do, either, since the individual would eventually be oppressed, ostracized, and rejected by the society. Either way, it is a “lose-lose” situation. Anyway, the individual’s decision (whether to come out of his closet or be discreet about his sexual orientation) is an ultimate challenge.

The fear of and strong dislike against homosexuals is rooted to one’s upbringing and lifestyle. As we observe, all communities are very particular with gender roles. A man is supposed to be… because he’s a man. a woman is supposed to be… because she’s a woman. Extreme emphasis on this aspect creates gender stereotyping.

A man is not supposed to be crying in public
A man is a real man if he has slept with lots of women
Household chores don’t suit men

these are just some examples of gender stereotyping.

In the Philippines, these notions are very evident. Parents, especially the father, would train their sons to follow certain behaviors to make them TOUGH and appear real men. Anything that isn’t masculine or manly is completely off and even punishable. “APAY BAKLA KA? (Are you gay?)” This remark is always lashed at the son who does something that does not seem to be manly. As this occurs between the father and the son, the latter would form unconscious dislike/disgust against homosexuals. They might find it very hard to be comfortable around homosexuals. A homosexual personifies a character they should NEVER be.  This has largely contributed to the society’s oppression on homosexual people.

Moreover, some men are extravagantly expressive with their dislike against homosexuals. They have to aggressively project their dislike against homosexuals verbally and even physically to assure people that they are not homosexuals. The thought of people doubting their sexuality is disgusting to them that they have to attack homosexuality in order to make it a point that people are convinced they are straight.

Homophobia can also be a product of straight men’s natural reaction towards homosexual acts. Straight men, psychologically speaking, are bothered by the thought of two men having sex, thereby associating their disgust on the action to the persons doing it. That’s why they’re careful with homosexuals because they think they might be sexually taken advantage of.

 

—to be continued—

 

 

 

Not My Cup of Tea…

Posted: August 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

I got to say, in serious conversations, there are some expressions that really annoy me. I’ve been hearing some of these expressions a lot lately, and I’m starting to feel a little uncomfortable trying to buy the sincerity of the intended message behind these expressions.

I’ve observed that when giving comments and explanations on matters, people would try to sound frank and honest, but at the same time, they also try to come clean by using expressions like:

…No offense meant but…or …Not to be mean but…

I believe that these expressions are meant to wash one’s hands when giving criticisms. If a person wants to give his honest opinion and believes that it’s an opinion worth expressing, then I don’t get why one should worry about it sounding offensive or mean. Negating the idea that it’s offensive and mean is not necessary if the opinion comes from an objective reasoning. No offense meant but I don’t think that a criticism preceded by such expressions earns any merit.

…to be honest with you…

To be honest, I don’t think that this line is really necessary. I just think that this statement is a redundancy in itself. Ideally, we want people to really be honest with us, no matter how harsh their opinions are…right? Maybe this is to emphasize the speaker’s honesty and frankness, which are remarkable qualities by the way. But sometimes, exposing the cake too much spoils the fun. I don’t think that saying this line makes a statement more honest (to be honest).

…I’m sorry..(5x)

Being apologetic for your shortcomings is remarkable. It shows humility. However, saying sorry more than twice is just irritating. Okay you said sorry and you explained and I said it’s okay and you still keep on saying sorry. It’s a waste of time. I’m sorry if this post pushes some buttons.. I really am…