Archive for July, 2007

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I Didn’t Need to Know That

July 31, 2007

I’ve noticed girls here are more open about personal matters as compared to the girls I knew in Manila.

Back in Manila, I’ve never overheard girls discussing menstruation, cup size, choice of sanitary napkins, among other things. Yet I seem to be picking up a lot of things lately. There was this incident that happened earlier this day during our Anatomy and Physiology class. We had to measure our chest sizes during inhalation and exhalation.

Ever the quipper, I could not help but comment to a girl who was starting to place the tape measure around her chest, “That would be a 36D.”

Everyone laughed, but it did not end there. Another girl, who btw is very pretty, said, “Wow. That would be so gifted.”

Then she started bemoaning the state of her cup size, even adding that she placed socks and hankies there for obvious reasons. Then another girl said, “Ha,” she continued, “What would your future husband look like when he sees the socks!”

“Hey, that was long ago,” she answered.

“What about wonder bras,” another girl butted in. By then, I was ready to bolt out, but curiosity made me stay.

“They’re made with foam,” the flatter girl said, “but they’re really expensive. My sister owns a pair.”

“I only buy bras with wires,” the more rotund girl said, “they hold them together. Otherwise, they would sag, and that’s painful.”

“Good for you,” the flatter girl answered. “At least those wires could hold them. What if there’s nothing to hold up?” This, btw, is not entirely true. IMO, she was getting too hard on herself, but it would be inappropriate to voice my thoughts out loud.

Then there’s their monthly period. There was no shortage of questions about this topic during one of the class discussions. They went:

“Ma’am why is dysmenorrhea painful?”

“Should we take pain relievers?”

“Why does the hot shower reduce pain?”

“Does beer really help?”

“What if she bleeds for a day, then she bleeds again the next week, then the next week again,” one girl finally asked.

“Would that be you,” the teacher said.

“Yes.”

“Then I think you better see your gynecologist.”

To which the entire female population in the class cried. “Ewww. Yuck.”

“Girls, the doctor respects it if you’re single,” our teacher said. “He won’t be poking around there. He uses the other entrance.”

And so it seems that girls here are still conservative, but they are still not shy about discussing such topics in front of guys. Although, I must admit that I’ve somehow enjoyed overhearing conversations, but the grisly details does really bother me when I think about them. How I miss the days when I didn’t hear about those topics, when they were shut off from the hearing of guys. If only there was a polite way of saying:

“GET THE HINT. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR DYSMENORRHEA. PLEASE SPARE ME THE DETAILS AND LEAVE ME TO MY BUSINESS.”

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UnDiscorded

July 24, 2007

Chao
Months after I read the Principia Discordia, I was faced with the choice of eating a hot dog bun or go hungry. It would have been awkward to decline the free offer, considering that nobody there, to my knowledge, has even heard of Discordianism. Explaining that philosophy in a Bible study (of all places) is highly improper. The Bible holds Order in prime importance* while Discordianism holds Disorder as coequal and coeternal with Order.
I’ve never been a full supporter of Discordianism, but I was sympathetic to it. The Principia, its “holy” book (which is ironic since it is a demystifying philosophy), introduced me to Discordianism. It had a pseudo-religious tone with a scathing sarcastic humor that appealed to my intellectually parched mind. Nevertheless, I could not abandon the Christian faith. Discordianism pales in the light of the reality of Christ in whom Perfect Order is manifested**.
Yet, as I said earlier, I was sympathetic to Discordianism. I stopped eating hot dog buns as I recalled the story of the Original Snub. I had a Discordian celebration of Earth Day (I did not do much. My pineal gland won’t let me litter). I even drew the Sacred Chao everywhere (Everyone, however, thought it was the Yin-Yang. I did not disillusion them; they won’t understand my explanation anyway.).
I was convicted to renounce Discordianism altogether, which I partially did. I deleted my copy of the Principia, and stopped relating anything to the number Five. Yet despite those changes, I still refused to eat hot dog buns.
This may seem trivial, but the point is not about diet. It’s about acknowledging the truth of the Bible as opposed to all other thoughts and ideas, Discordianism included. Keeping that one tenant of Discordianism was tantamount to swearing off the Bible, considering that God is Jealous, and He would not give his glory to another.
Ironically, the lesson tonight included Manasseh. It should be remembered that Manasseh drastically altered the Divine Order of the Temple by introducing different designs and even heathen altars into its complex. The Lord considered this an evil thing. Even today, the Lord still considers anything that competes with His Order as evil. His words are not to be tampered with. He promises grave punishment to those who add or remove from them.
And so as I ate the hot dog bun, I renounced whatever vestige of Discordianism I still clung to. I know it’s incompatible with the truth of the Bible no matter how much I try to justify it. Although I must admit that it is a fun philosophy, it is not truth. It is a lie and should be abandoned. Nothing should compete with God given Order.

*According to the Bible: Church services should be ordered. The law itself is ordered. Corresponding punishment is meted out for the corresponding crime.
**Order does not mean uniformity. Remember the analogy of the church to the human body? One body, many parts. One church, many roles.

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Obligatory Harry Potter Post

July 23, 2007

Although not the best (HP4 gets my vote), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is nevertheless a very important part of the saga. It gave the series closure. I know a deluge of fanfics is forthcoming, but these would not change my opinion. Harry Potter is over for me. It’s now the stuff of history, something we all could look back to but could never add up to.
The book held a demystifying theme, which is ironic considering that it’s a book about magic. The pure and grandfatherly image of Gandalf image of Dumbledore shatters as the pages unfold. We are introduced to an ambitious and power hungry young man who reluctantly takes care of what is left of his family, which ended up in a death and a separation. Nevertheless, this failure revealed another side of the book that moralists would love, that of redemption. Dumbledore would henceforth be known as the champion of Muggles, protector of the weak, and the only one he ever feared.
Death also recurrs frequently in the book as it did in the other books of the saga*. It’s not just because of the fact that a lot of people die here. It’s also about the cost and the ever present presence of death in all circumstances in life. Yet the greatest example of this theme is reflected on the question, “Who is the real master of Death.” Is it he who tries to escape from it (Voldemort=escape from death), or is it he who faces it willingly for the life of his friends and his whole world?
And just as death symbolizes closure, I say goodbye to the world of Harry Potter. And just as death also symbolizes new life, I say hello to different book experiences that may or may not be better than the Harry Potter saga. Books will come and go, but there will only be one Harry Potter saga for me.

For an exhaustive list of examples: click the link:
I trust Snape
This is my tribute to Snape and to the community that upheld this view. I’m not an offical member of the list but I did support Snape always.

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Which is More Liberal?

July 18, 2007

Despite the obvious differences between Manila and my city, I must say that in some ways my city has more liberal tendencies. It’s a no contest to declare Manila as the winner for her tall buildings, big malls, and obviously massive population. Yet despite my city’s diminutive aspects, it can not so rightly boast a more liberal stance (at least on the youth.) on some matters, particularly abortion.

Abortion is illegal in the Philippines. Punishment for it include fines and jail time, but to my knowledge none has never been convicted of it. This, however, does not mean that it is not practiced here. A girl has only to go to an herbalist/quack doctor or manggagamot, and she’ll get the concoction or massage to remove unwanted “accidents”. She could even buy the “prescription” herself. These are labeled euphemistically as pamaparegla (Trans: Menstruation inducers), which she can get if she happens to pass by vendors lining them in front of large Catholic cathedrals.*

The practices mentioned above form the traditional methods of Philippine abortion. It is what is implied in the media, and known by the public. They are what I think is commonly practiced in Manila, and this is where my city and Manila differ.

In here, rumors abound about a drug that can remove “accidents”. I don’t know anybody who has tried it. Heck. I wouldn’t know it even if they had because I don’t think they’d feel comfortable opening that topic to me. So the stories that I’ve heard are second to third hand information. They’re related to stories of the cousin of the friend of a classmate.

Nevertheless, these stories are complete with details regarding dosage, point of entries, and side effects. It makes me wonder how it became that popular. It’s supposed to be a prescription drug, but its ubiquitous fame (at least, among the youth) makes it seem like an OTC.

Of course I cannot verify these stories. They could well have been just urban legends, and my city would just have one more category lost to Manila.

*I’m not saying that Catholic priests endorse that practice here, and I wouldn’t know if they rebuke those vendors because I’m Protestant and therefore do not attend Mass.

PS I’m not telling what drug it is. It wouldn’t be right. I am, after all, anti-abortion.

PPS It could also mean that I didn’t mingle with the more liberal Manila population to learn if they knew about this drug. I am, however, sure that Cebu people know about this. I guess the Bisaya just beat Tagalogs at this.

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China Again

July 17, 2007


It seems nothing is safe anymore. China fumbles in another export product: white rabbit! That candy you grew up with is actually laced with formaldehyde. That’s right. It’s the chemical they use to preserve your cat or toad for proper dissection. But I must add that formaldehyde also occurs naturally in our bodies, albeit in minute amounts. This, however, does not mean that we should add it to our diets! This causes cancer for goodness’ sake.

PS Note the zombie rabbits from hell on the sides of the wrapper.

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Burned

July 9, 2007

You know that you have too much info about anatomy and physiology when you burn your hand, and the first thing you think about as you say,”Ouch,” is:

“That will be a partial thickness burn,” then you continue, “I hope it’s only first degree.”

And true to your prediction, no blister forms. It was only a first degree burn, and it fades in 3 hours.

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Of Ants and Me

July 9, 2007

Ant

We have an image of ants as noble, self sacrificing, and industrious creatures. Most who have heard Aesop’s fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper would agree with that statement, but I’m not one of them. I find it unfair to place ants in a special light when in reality they are not that noble. They are so overrated.

Ants are evil. They bite, and their sting hurts like hell leaving welts that both itch and hurt. They are thieves; they eat the food you leave, without thought to your feelings. They are vandals, destroying property for the selfish ambition of improving only their colonies. Plus, they are also destroyers. They break things, especially electrical ones.

That was how our clock stopped ticking. That was how our pump stopped drawing water. And that is also how this Sound Blaster is refusing to turn on. A bunch of ants have started to live inside there, and they’re not coming out. Just they wait later. I’ll show them that I am no respector of their reputations.

They are not the noble image of hard work. Rather, they are the image of the highest form of group selfishness. And so I must destroy their nest…