Archive for December, 2007

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High Time

December 30, 2007

Ordinary politics talk is depressing, but nothing beats depression from talking about Philippine politics.
Most of the time, such talk will be about what ifs and what should have beens. If only Marcos hadn’t become corrupt. If only we sent our children to the United States thirty years ago, then we should have been as advanced as South Korea and Japan. If only Erap hadn’t become president, then Ramos’ economic reforms would have continued. If only Gloria didn’t run for her second term, then she would have left with a good name and not be known the worst president ever. If only our politicians are not corrupt, then we would actually see progress. If only more jobs were available and the wages were higher, then Filipinos wouldn’t be tempted to search for greener pastures abroad.
The list goes on, and it gets more depressing as line by line is added. Many of the population believe that the government is almost beyond hope. Some sectors go so far as to adhere to the extreme ideology that a violent revolution must be made for the Philippine government to be reformed. These sectors can be commended for their idealism if not their methods. The same, however, can not be said for the majority of Filipinos. They still submit to the government, but they have ceased to be affected by everyday situations. They have closed their eyes on corruption and all the rot that it brings.
Nevertheless, this lethargy can become a blessing in disguise. It is high time we stopped waiting for the government to help us. It cannot even help itself, how much more would it help the people. Let us stop waiting for miracles. The government in its current situation will never be able to grant us the progress we are hoping for. Let us instead become the miracle that would transform our country.
It is time that we go beyond the cheesy cliches about not littering, not jaywalking, and not cheating on income taxes. These practices are relevant but they are just not enough. Something beyond self improvement is needed. It would have to be radical, and it would have to be something that would change other individuals, families, communities, the country, and even the world.
It could be a scholarship program or honest job provisions. It could also be about returning to the country and helping those who are in need. Everyone who is able can help in his or her own way. It’s high time we stop complaining about our situation. It’s high time we stop looking at the government and other countries for hope. Let us instead work for the change we want to see. Let us become the hope the country desperately needs.

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A Reformed Islam?

December 29, 2007

Moderate
In my wanderings of the blogsphere I came across a blog that criticized the Toronto Star, the most read newspaper in Canada, for downplaying the role of Islam in the ritual murder of Aqsa Parvez, a Muslim girl killed by her father for dishonoring their family. A link in the site led me to Muslims Against Sharia, a site that promoted the formation of a Reformed Islam.
Before I came to the site, I didn’t know that brave moderate Muslims existed! I had thought they were too afraid of their Fundamentalist brethren to even contemplate speaking against terrorism and fanaticism. I believed that should they say one word against the jihad movement, then the terrorists would blast them to what they’d believe would be a 72-virginless eternity.
Although I do not believe the site portrays the the majority-held belief of Moderate Islam, I must admit that I was surprised to see that it existed. It seemed too radical, even more radical than Radical Islam.
The actions of Islamic radicalism is not surprising. In fact, it shouldn’t even be called Radical Islam at all. Anyone who follows the Koran to the letter sets as his goal to convert the world to Islam be it through violence or other means of coercion. Someone who has at least listened to a fraction of high school history lessons knows that Islam was not spread by wandering prophets who preached about peaceful living through the denial of self. It was spread through conquest, subjugation, and forced conversions.
Moderate Islam, or at least the branch of Moderate Islam preached in the link should be labeled Radical Islam. It preaches peace, love, and light; terms that are preached in Islam but is not reflected in the actions of Islamic fundamentalists. It also portrays the Crusades, religious wars mostly forgotten by Christians but still fresh in Muslim memory, in a neutral light; saying that the Christians were merely trying to reconquer formerly Christian lands then controlled by Muslims.
But perhaps the most radical of its claims is that the Koran used today has been corrupted by Muslims through the centuries as evidenced by these violent verses. As a solution to this, they propose to excise these verses from the Koran thereby forming a Reformed Koran and eventually a Reformed Islam.
I do not know how exactly Islamic Fundamentalists would take that news, but I’m thinking that a parallel act done on the Bible would be considered by devout adherents as blasphemy! Strong curses and prohibitions are spelled out in the Bible prohibiting such an act*. Furthermore, changing the text of scripture of any religion would also change how such a religion is practiced. Moderate Muslims of that persuasion may claim they’re only restoring True Islam. They may even become model citizens because of their belief in Reformed Islam, and I know I’d become good friends them.
Yet what if their basic premise is wrong? What if the words of the Koran had not been corrupted after all? Something which may not sound good, or politically correct in our times, may not necessarily be corrupted through time.

* Deut. 4:2, Rev. 22:18, 19

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Post Christmas Post

December 27, 2007

I did something different this Christmas.
Instead of sending out Christmas text greetings to the people listed in my phonebook, I only let the messages I received to pile up in my phonebook. I did, however, text my replies to those who sent their greetings.
This not only allowed me to save on Christmas spending, but it also made me realize something that I’ve yet to discover.
… but anyway, A Belated Happy Christmas Greeting to Y’all!!

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The Princess and the Goblin (A Review)

December 19, 2007

Princess Goblin
Some shows are best left to memory, and one such show would be The Princess and the Goblin.
The film was released on 1993, and I used to love it. It was based on a book written by George Macdonald. It had a haunting theme song that was beautiful in a nostalgic way. A decade and a half have passed, but the song was retained in my memories. Snatches of its melody, and its mangled lyrics (which is to be expected for those young ones who use English as their second language) continually appeared on my mind.
Nevertheless, watching the show again felt like cold water after a swoon. I couldn’t understand why I even liked it in the first place! The show lacked background sound. Its animation was ghastly. Its message even veered away from the message in the book it was based on.
Furthermore, the characters were drawn awfully. Kurdie, the boy protagonist, had a head that was too big for his thin body. His father sported wrinkles, making him look way older than the Princess Irene’s great, great grandmother. Irene’s father, the king, had armor that showed an exaggerated reflection of sunlight, which looked impossible since it came from a dull looking grey. Plus, all of them barely had facial expressions. Their eyes were so wide and expressionless that I felt like I had to blink for them.
Now I know what a mistake it was to watch that show again. The nostalgia I felt for it was infinitely better than the real thing. I should have left the movie only as a memory. In that way it would have stayed beautiful forever.

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Call Me Godfather

December 16, 2007

Godfather
I’m now a godfather.
It’s my first time so I must say I am still jittery about it. I’m asking questions like what gift should I buy for a boy below a year old, and what else should I do besides give gifts at Christmas and his birthday. I guess everything will just be sorted out as the years go by.
Anyway, I had a realization a few minutes before my companions and me were officially recognized as godparents. It seems that every godparent (or is it just the first-timers like me?) have different aspirations for his or her godchild, and it is reflected by the gifts he or she gives. For example, godparents who aspire for the child to become good in sports will give sports-affiliated gifts. Those who want the child to be smart would likewise give educational gifts.
This realization made me understand how the fairy godmothers in the story of Sleeping Beauty must have felt. They also had aspirations for their godchild as I have with mine. The only difference between us is that they have the power to make their aspirations come true. I, however, must only hope that my aspirations would come true. IMO, my folk are at a disadvantage against them. Nevertheless, I did find one advantage for the child if he or she lacks fairy folk as godparents. At least, he or she won’t worry about being pricked by a needle and sleeping a 100 years as a consequence for it!

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Faux Pas

December 13, 2007

colorblind
Asay pink diri. Asa ang green?
Which one’s pink here, he said. Which one’s green?
Colorblind, o!
You colorblind or something, I said as a joke to a good friend.
Colorblind na siya.
He’s colorblind, someone else replied.
Oh, I said silently.

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NMAT Part 3

December 10, 2007

NMAT’s over.
And no, I won’t be writing any more emo posts. I would also not post any questions from the exam per contract between the Center for Education Management and the examinee (Ahem). They, however, have nothing against saying what the test was like.
IMO, Part I should have been scheduled to be finished under a longer time limit. Every examinee I talked with fully agreed with me on this one. It was the first time in my entire life that I did not finish a section of a time limited exam. I had to randomly guess the answers of several numbers since there was no longer any time to read them all.
Part II was a breeze. Biology was easy. Social Science was easy. Physics and Chemistry were easy. If it was permitted to return to Part I, I would have had time to more confidently answer them. Plus I would still have a few minutes to catch up on my sleep debt from last night.
I do hope I can still get the coveted 99+ percentile*, but those sections that I missed would certainly affect the result. But whatever my result will be, I will still surrender it to God. I did my best. I leave the rest to Him.

*No harm in hoping. Besides, having high standards is a good motivator for excellence.