“But an abstract like truth is always incomplete truth… Capitalism is the most suspect of these abstracts, made absolute only because of its stamina. Since when has a system of public vice made for public virtue?”—Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado
Oh, why is it so hard to write? This is one of the questions I ask myself everyday, along with “Should I wake up now, or sleep 5 more minutes?” In all fairness to my life, I believe I am not deprived of any interesting events to tell. I actually have a lot of them, but they only end up getting stuck in my head, without anyone to judge their sense or plausibility. I remember the time when I was still able to pen my thoughts more easily, bottles and bottles of beer and packs and packs of cigarettes before. Maybe I just need some practice; talking in an almost accent-free English does not make whatever you say more sensible, just as eating less will not make tons and tons of girls go gaga for you. Squeezing some more meat in the burger—that’s what I need to do.
Don’t you just hate it when your eyes behold a beautiful snapshot of the world, and in wanting to share it to others, you take your camera out, CLICK, and then the picture, in all it’s pixelated glory, is leagues and leagues inferior to what you are seeing? Or, have you ever gotten a certain feeling you wanted to describe but any permutation of all the 20 languages you know couldn’t fathom even a millionth of the meaning you wanted to convey? Nah, not even the most Italian of all them Italians would be able to come up with a sequence of hand gestures to explain what you felt! Not even if she had fifty arms! Constraints, these are all we have. With a brain as free and as powerful as ours, the space-time box we live in is just not enough!
But then again, what if our eyes were just tricking us, leading us to believe that stuff as ordinary as rusty beams under a bridge “philosophically” glow under the dimming rays of the setting sun? What if the sentiment you were trying to blurt out all along didn’t even exist? The brain has proven itself to be a smart (ha!) and autonomous organ, able to protect its owner from a traumatic event through repression, from a grain of sand through involuntary blinking. What if our brain, in all its boredom inside our surprisingly tough skull, just wanted to have fun? Alas, your brain asks you, ”Who’s your daddy now?”
In this world of science and empirics, a proof is always needed for a fact. Belief is consequential to evidence. Duplicability is paramount. No one ELSE saw it? Never happened. You still think it did? You’re nuts. Reality is a consensus.
As I am a stubborn brat, I will never let these meditations stop me from believing in pink elephants dancing ballet or in a cake that is sweet, sour, curried, salty and chocolaty at the same time. I will continue to believe in what I feel and in what I see. Who the fuck cares if all of this is not real? I pity Descartes who is just a thinking piece of something floating in nothingness. I feel, I hear, I sing, I think, I hunger, I thirst, I jump, I move, I dream, I love, ……….., therefore, I am.
Talking Gibberish: On Voter Education in the Philippines
With the likes of former President, oh how unsuitable this title is, Joseph Estrada, Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid having millions of votes to their name in the recently concluded national elections, one begins to wonder how in the world they got to convince that many Filipinos to shade their respective circles in the ballots. We have learned a lot from the country’s first attempt at using computers for the exercise of our most sacred duty; but one of the most painful, though not surprising at all, is the lack of voter maturity among us Filipinos. Estrada winning the 1998 elections was not as disheartening as his garnering the second spot in all of the current tallies for the 2010 presidential elections. One, I was still young then; I could not care less, being more preoccupied with the afternoon merienda (Banana cue na naman?!) than with politics. However, looking back, the prehistoric manual counting method of that era always raised a cloud of doubt over election results. One would blame it on cheating. Another would blame it on the bobong masa, to which he inadvertently belonged too. But now, the times have changed, with a supposed accuracy of 99% and with the impartial and now famous PCOS machine doing “flawless” calculations, one really begins to wonder whether the arrogant university-degree holder was right after all.
Before you become giddy about the title, may I clarify that I was not pertaining to that wanting you might not want to talk about with a seven-year old child. WANDERLUST, I say, is very different from the penchant for carnal satisfaction, as one can effectively quench the latter thirst by some minutes of horizontal exercise and the former is, sadly (or, for me, excitingly), insatiable. Just as the French ENNUI is an existential boredom and the German ANGST an existential anxiety, WANDERLUST is not like lust which is a fleeting urge to engulf the Other and to be engulfed by the Other. The intrinsic itch to travel, to discover, to understand, to communicate, to express, can’t be scratched by a holiday in Paris or a backpacking adventure in South America (though that would definitely be sweet). The climax is never reached; it is always manifest in the horizon but never really achievable. When does one decide to stop traveling and discovering? After having been to all corners of the earth? Things always change and the Barcelona I met in February 2009 is, unfortunately, different from that I experienced in October 2009. There is always something new to learn about a place, and the hunger to be in union with the world is actually exacerbated by trying to solve it!