Saturday, April 24, 2010

Working Out

Now if you know me at all, I am a person who is very comfortable in her own skin. I don't really mind if I am overweight, nor do I mind if people think that "sayang naman, maganda ka, pero mataba." For me, dress size and weight does not equate beauty. I do not envy those skinny models at all. I sort of even pity them, being so thin. I admire rounder and shapelier women. Who gets turned on by looking at a bag of bones? For me beauty is how you carry yourself, how you dress and how you talk and your intelligence. If I were a guy, I would rather go for someone I can actually talk to, rather than a jejemon who is thin but won't be able to carry on a conversation that does not have "po" or "you naman."

So I never did see why people think that a person is ugly because they're fat. I never see why a person is a "waste" because they're overweight. I do understand, however, if people are concerned about someone else's health.

Maybe a month ago, I finally got myself a gym membership. I think the biggest hurdle is actually walking through the door and saying, "so, how do I sign up?" The second biggest hurdle is going into the workout area and not knowing anyone and...anything.

But things have changed. I now know a few people. The nice receptionist still gets my name wrong, but you know, whatever. At least she DOES recognize me as part of the gang. The name I am sure she will remember after asking a few more times.

I promised myself to go to the gym at least 5 times a week, at least for the first three months, unless something more important comes up. I've been good so far. Going on the treadmill or lifting those goddamned dumbells has become relaxing for me. I can totally get my mind off work and just concentrate on the counting and breathing (which, trust me, does not come so very easy after running a couple of miles). I am also changing the dynamics of my diet. So far I have lost a pound and a half, which is a healthy start.

In any case, this is not an entry about my losing weight. It is an entry that celebrates different kinds of women, and the struggle to make others understand that there is always a story behind every woman who seemed to have "let go." Most people see a fat woman and right away they would say "man, that one is letting herself go." I, for one, gained weight after working nights at a call center, everyday hating my job but I still went for it because at that time I had no other choice. At that time I was also primarily taking care of our finances and also sending some home. At that time, I was a 20-year-old girl who had the genetic tendency to gain weight and a lot of stress. So I turned to the bad guys: soda, pizza, junk food. Food felt good. In hindsight, I realize how gross it was to have eaten all those things (imagine 1 gallon ice cream AND pizza AND cake) with no single thought of my health. It was easy to put on some extra pounds that way, but is it REALLY fair for you to say that I let myself go? Wouldn't you if you were in my shoes?

A young mother I met recently at my other job told me that she has gained so much weight (from 137 lbs to 175 lbs, 5'1", in one year) after her baby was diagnosed with cancer. She was working two full time jobs, one at an office and the other one home-based, so she can provide for her baby's treatment. She carried her laptop with her and worked in hospital hallways as doctors would operate on her sick child. She made a lot of money working twice as hard, and she would "reward" herself with all the treats she can eat. Like me, food was her drug, and the only thing that kept her going, quite literally. She's definitely not a slob, only someone who is trying everything to get going.

Can we also blame those whose parents have spoiled so much? Those whose families bonded over food and parties? Is THAT considered "letting go"? How about those with metabolic problems?

My whole point is for people not to be so quick to judge. There is always a story behind that fat girl scarfing down that bag of cheetos. I am not saying it's healthy. All I am saying is that you're not helping any, so shut your face.

Which reminds me to add this little footnote. I am not going to the gym for anybody but myself. I am the one with weight problems, I am the one with a family history of heart disease and hypertension. I am doing this for myself. I love Allan, but I am not doing this even for him, although I am quite happy that he is going with me. I am not doing this for fashion, or to fit into a size 0 or look sexy in lingerie. Those are only fringe benefits. Gone are the days when women want to look good FOR men. Most empowered women today want to look good because they want to look good and I feel the same way. I am terribly annoyed at people who even make this ignorant assumption. I am doing this for HEALTH, nothing more and nothing less.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Orange and Lemon

I’m tempted to publish what I know are “photoshopped” pictures of Manny Villar with “Money Villarroyo” tattooed on his behind so I can challenge him to prove the photos are fake by dropping his trousers on prime-time news. I’m sure he’ll say, “Why would you ask me to do that when you know the pictures are fake?”

But that’s exactly what he wants Noynoy Aquino to do with the bogus psychiatric report that sources from the Nacionalista Party leaked to ABS-CBN News. He knows the report is bogus but he still insists that Aquino address its fake contents.

Villar’s foray into black propaganda is so crude, pathetic and desperate it reminded me of Mike Tyson biting off the ear of Evander Holyfield. 

— Manuel Buencamino, “Pseudologia fantastica,” Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom, April 14, 2010.

MLQ3 posted this in his Tumblr account recently and I have to say he has a point. It's also the same thing as saying:

One: "Why do you not believe in God?"
Two: "Because I can't see him."
One: "Can you see the wind?"
Two: "No."
One: "So does the wind not exist?"


One: "Why do you not believe in God?"
Two: "Because I can't see him."
One: "Can you see your brain?"
Two: "No."
One: "So does your brain not exist?"

Or some other shit like that.

Two things: First, having writing on Villar's butt is not the same as having mental problems. Whatever Villar has tattooed on his butt will not matter, but the psychological state of the next president definitely will. Villar pulling down his pants will cause him unnecessary embarrassment while a psych exam for Aquino will clean up his name, and clarify the issue once and for all. What's he to hide anyway? Almost all presidential candidates are willing. Why not him? Why is he hiding behind the patient-doctor bullshit instead of trying to convince people that HE IS FIT? Gibo is willing. Villar is willing. And well, whether or not the others are willing is pretty useless anyway. What's up Noy?

Point 1.A: The test results do NOT have to be released as is. What the psychiatric investigating team needs to release is a clean bill of mental health, or a 'rejected' stamp. No need for details. Does that violate patient-doctor confidentiality? Not at all.

Second point: Is it so unreasonable for presidential candidates to take a psychological assessment? Is it so mundane and corny? I think not. It is necessary for the candidates and it is necessary for people to know who they are going to vote for. Every voter, in their heads, will have to weigh the risks. Mental stability is one of the risks that people have to consider.

The Aquino party said that they do not want to "go with the script" that the Villar team is baiting them into. How lame. This is not an issue between Aquino and Villar. This is something they owe to the Filipino. This is something between the candidates and the people. They should do it because they need to assure the people that they are worthy.

Leadership is not like believing in God. It has to be proven. And no sarcastic analogy will ever beat that fact. Nine failed bills in the 10+ years in the congress and senate. Nine bills seems skimpy already. But even so they all FAILED. Nine failed bills, guys. Nine.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Neighing Through the Competition

This one will be short...I was kinda wiped out by that Villar entry. Researching is not fun on a slow connection.

Anyshoes, you know that thing about that contestant in Pilipinas Got Talent? The transvestite who sang Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo? Watch it here.

There have been many posts about this guy, and frankly, it's because they don't understand the song. I think the horse sounds are pretty spot on. For starters, Banal na Aso (Holy Dog) and Santong Kabayo (Saintly Horse) are terms in Filipino that denote religious plastic-ness. It is a story of a man who met two people, a woman praying a rosary in a bus who cursed the driver when he missed her stop and a man who's praying in church but refused to give a street child spare change. I'll translate it line per line.

Kaharap ko sa dyip ang isang ale
(In front of me in the jeep [a mini-bus in the Philippines] is a woman)
Nagrorosaryo mata niya'y nakapikit
(Praying, her eyes closed)
Pumara sa may kumbento
(Her stop is a convent)
Sa babaan lang po sabi ng tsuper kase me naghuhuli
(You can only get off at the bus stop, the driver said, or we'll get caught)
Mura pa rin nang mura ang ale
(the woman won't stop cussing)

Banal na aso, santong kabayo
(Holy Dog, Saintly Horse)
Natatawa ako hihihihi
(You make me laugh, hahahahaha)

*Note that the Pilipinas Got Talent inserted the horse sounds in place of "hahahahaha." It was pretty funny, and as I said, appropriate. It was mocking and funny. Drives home the concept of religious plastic-ness (I know there is no such word, get over it.)

Nangangaral sa kalye ang isang lalake
(A man is preaching in the streets)
Hiningan ng pera ng batang pulubi
(A street kid asked for some spare change)
Pasensya na para daw sa templo
(He said sorry but the money the passersby gave is for the church)
Pangkain lang po sabi ng paslit
(Please? I'm really hungry, said the street kid)
Talagang di ba pupwede?
(Can't you really give me any?)
Lumipat ng pwesto ang lalake
(The man moved to a different area)

Anuman ang iyong ginagawa sa iyong kapatid
(Whatever you do to the least of your brothers)
Ay siya ring ginagawa mo sa akin
(You do to me)


So you see, aside from the notes that performer was hitting, he was singing this far better than the original band. Yeah, I the clothes are funny, and the face and bony, but the performance was quirky, different, amusing and amazing. Can you make a horse sound in perfect C#?

I sort of resent that some people are PM-ing me that I should see the video and that it's weird and laughable. This isn't even about Filipino pride. The performance was good. Yeah, not Susan Boyle, but the Got Talent franchise is not about Susan Boyle-type talents.

I personally dedicate this to you, B. And your sometimes elitist views. Being American, you obviously didn't understand the song. I'm not saying this is how we should sing, or that he's the best, but you got it all wrong. He wasn't just doing the neighing because he felt like it. It was a well thought-of performance, I think.

And by the way, I know for a fact that you're tone deaf.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So Am I Proletariat? Because 8 of 10 are.

I have been wanting to write this post. But I have been swamped with work and other stuff that I didn't have time. I wanted this post to be fair and me writing at the end of my day, tired, pissed and ready to explode, will not produce a fair entry. But today the cosmos conspired. The day is pleasant, it's a Friday and a holiday, I have a little money in my account and the cheesecakes are free at Starbucks. It all said, go get a double brownie fudge cheesecake and some tea, then sit your ass and write. So here I am, writing.

I am for Villar. If you have visited my page anytime in the month, I am sure you'll see that's pretty obvious. Why? Why will I vote for someone who used his influence to apparently change the C5 plans so it will pass through his properties? Why should I vote for someone who lied about his brother dying and him being poor?

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not paid by Villar, nor do I want him to. I am in no way related to him, though that will be cool. I am Facebook friends with Maryrose Villar, through the Tropang Zamboanga page. My cheesecake was courtesy of Starbucks, and I paid for the tea myself.)

I will begin by saying that when I go to the supermarket and buy tomato sauce, there is a reason why I pick up a can of Prego, or Del Monte and not Goody's Tom-A-To sauce. Because Prego and Del Monte have always worked for me. I'm a track record girl. For a spaghetti dinner I will cook for my mother-in-law, I put out the best I have. This is not the time for me to experiment with new brands. I will buy those brands because I know it's done well before.

If we were electing someone for say, Barangay Captain, it's fine to not give so much weight to track record, because that is the entry level. However, when you are voting for President, the highest position in the country, there is no room for experimentation. He better have a damned good track record, because if he messes up, it's going to affect a nice chunk of the decade.

Aquino simply does not have that track record. Okay, well he's gone through the motions of congress then senate, the same way we go through grade school and high school. But then again, did he ever make an impression while he was there? When did you last see him on television, rallying against a law he did not like? Corollary to that, when was the last time you saw him on television rallying for something he's FIGHTING for? I can tell you when. Never. In fact, he's never been in the limelight. He's not the smartest apple in the tree that is the senate. He was never interviewed to get his views on something, because well, he's never really had anything to say. And that's odd for a legislator. It's a red flag. A very bad sign. The only time we saw him again was when his mother died. And when he said he'll run. I hate to say it, but it really looks like he used his mother's death as a springboard.

Now Aquino is all "Ituloy natin ang laban..." but was he making "tuloy ang laban" four, five years ago? What laws or actions resulted from this effort? What laws did he pass to ensure that the freedom and democracy that his parents fought and died for is taken cared of? If he was really fighting the good fight his parents fought, why are we hearing this "ituloy ang laban" thing just now?

Villar has the background necessary for the job. He has a platform that is suited to for the presidency. He has passed laws (good job on the no smoking in public areas!) that have helped the average consumer (usage of recyclable materials in packaging, go green!), educational institutions (freedom of speech associations for students in higher education, digital education partnerships, creation of an institute for science and math) as well as small businesses and medical practice, among others. Now I know Aquino said the Philippines has too many laws that are not followed anyway and he doesn't want to add them? But heck, what kind of reason is that? There is a reason why you are a MAKE legislation. Gah. Villar, he read the job description.

I'm tempted to discuss Aquino's medical record, but I realize it is in bad taste. So I will veer away from that if you promise me to be impartial about Villar's apparent lying about his poverty and about his brother's death until some documents are presented. I think it's a fair deal. After all, where are the documents, death certificate, ownership papers that will will verify these claims? The claims against Aquino are backed up by an actual document. So we'll wait for the anti-Villar documents to surface before I say anything further on this topic.

As for the C5 issue, it is carefully explained in his website read it with an air of fairness and it actually makes damned good sense. On the matter of Luisita, however, how did Aquino respond? He didn't. This is a big issue for me. If you can't take of things in your backyard, you have no right to "take care" of other things, especially an already severely problematic country like ours.

I also do not agree with Aquino's plan to add years to basic education prior to college. He's going to add two to three years to basic education. I see that he is doing this to sort of pattern it to the educational system of western countries. First, western countries have junior high and middle school because they're only in school for a 7-8 months a year, not counting holidays and Christmas break, compared to the Philippines' 10 months. If you count it, the number of years or months that a western student is in school is almost the same as a student here. It's not about the number of years a student is in school. What we have now is's the quality that's bad. Quality over quantity. Always. But we go back to the previous issue...did Aquino pass any laws to improve the quality of education? Will families have enough money to send their kids to three more years of school? They don't even have money to send their kids to first grade. We need more computers, more good teachers, more facilities for gifted students, cheaper private schools and better public schools. Better academic measurement standards. We need to give incentives to people taking up education, not frickin' nursing. I need to pay teachers better and on time. We don't need to put kids in middle school and junior high as a requirement.

Finally, we go to corruption. I'd like to say that Villar will not grow richer during his term, but that's not true. He has properties, businesses and other sources of income and if those are managed well, he will become richer. It's weird for us to expect him to become poor during his term. Duh. Following the same thought, Aquino will also become richer in office, because he is a shareholder of many properties. But will Villar become corrupt? Maybe. But I think that I'd rather vote for someone who has an ego big enough not to be pushed around and be pressured by other people in the palace. I'd rather vote for someone who has a big enough ego to not tolerate being told what to do. For me, that's Villar. He's a commander. You don't create large, successful companies by being a wimp. In my head, Villar has the presence, command and swagger to point his finger and say: "Get that bastard Ampatuan to jail now, finish that case in eight months." He's more the father figure, yes? Big, burly guy with a firm decision making skills. Aquino, more the bestfriend, sidekick material. But hey, I'm just saying.

We also cannot say Aquino will not be corrupt. So what is his parents are not corrupt? They're not him. He has never had power like that...unlike Villar who already has experience having absolute power in his companies. Thing is, we really don't know what Aquino is capable of. That's the problem. And I don't want to experiment.

Bottom line, Aquino was ill-prepared to take on a campaign for president. He's ill equipped to do the job. He is not his mother, he is not his father. If you're voting for Aquino, I don't want to know. Villar has many faults, sure, but Aquino has so many more lacks. Kulang. Hilaw. I'd vote Roxas over Aquino. Heck, I'd probably vote Jamby more than Aquino. Call me masa, because the truth is, earning less than 30k a month, I AM part of the masses. Except that I don't watch telenovelas.

Let's look at facts here. Let's not think with our emotions. I know people view Aquino as the pure-hearted innocent. But it's 2010, not 1986. We need more. I don't want to come to work in the morning and not be able to come home because there's a coup attempt in Ayala Avenue or wherever. If you cannot stomach Villar, vote for someone else, but please, not Aquino. If Aquino will win, I will seriously consider migrating to another country.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Don't you feel that people these days are becoming more and more homogeneous? You go into a lot of offices and unless it's a bank or a sales office, you will see men wearing slacks, worn leather shoes and a striped shirt most often not inserted into their pants. Women will be wearing slacks, flats (very rarely heels these days) or some comfortable but horrible looking platforms (think fitflops). And they were these things EVERYDAY. You wear a dress or a skirt? You're the frou-frou employee or the girly-girl. You wear heels and you're the hooker.

Some days I look at the rushing throng of people in my part of Makati and see them like the picture up top. Very few wear a blazer or some sort of jacket that doesn't have Adidas or some other sport label on them. You know, that business-like jacket or blazer that emphasizes a woman's form. They all just form a big, ugly blob of similar looking people. On Fridays, they wear a polo shirt (both men and women) jeans and flats or sneakers. Predictable. Excruciating. What's more is that sometimes, I allow myself into that blob. I know, it's kinda tiring to dress differently ALL the time.

And it doesn't take much to separate yourself from the blob. Wear a dressy skirt or a nice flattering day dress to work. Wear color combinations that do not include black. For example, white-purple-gray or light green and khaki. Pink and gray. Rose and sand. Ahhh endless! The black slacks and whatever collared shirt is so goddamned tiring already. Oh and tuck your clothes into your skirt or slacks. You look two notches professional if you do.

When it comes to clothes, I am totally against over-wearing. Meaning, the clothes you wear should be able to breathe and the fibers relax. If you launder them, say, weekly, they'll be fit for trash in a few months. So invest in clothing and allow at least two weeks before you wash and wear a piece of clothing. That means for work, having two or three blouses, button-down shirts, tank tops and matching blazers/jackets. Meaning around 10-12 pieces that you can wear interchangeably without wearing one twice in two weeks. Same goes for pants. I find it easier to have at least 4 pairs of slacks and same number for skirts. Or you can have a lesser number but with a thicker fabric so you can wear them twice and not have to wash them as often. The key here is not just fashion, it's longevity of your clothes.

Trust me, if you over-wear your clothes, I can probably make a graph and in a couple of weeks I can give a good estimate of what you will wear tomorrow. So you're going to be the girl who wears the blue striped button down shirt on Monday, the flowery peach one on Tuesday...The horror.

Oh but it's so expensive! Nope. Instead of buying your office clothes at Landmark or SM where it's Php350 a pop, go to ukay-ukay or online where you can get cheaper clothes. Your Php350 for a cheap mediocre shirt will be enough for two or three pieces with good fabric and style at thrift shops. You don't necessarily need brand new, only good quality clothes. AND sometimes, spend a little of that wad of cash you receive every fifteen days and buy yourself something decent from a good store. You owe it to yourself. Stop saving so much on that wedding that may or may not come. Leave the future in the future. It'll come, but not today. Today you've got yourself to take care of.

Have We Forgotten?

With all the brouhaha that is the upcoming elections, how can we forget Maguindanao? Until today, wives, sisters, mothers, fathers, brothers and children still grieve in vain for the loved ones they lost. They are six feet under and pushing up daisies, silenced and missed forever. I wonder that now with people all hot and bothered by Villar, Aquino and all their madness, the dead and their families may feel all the more bitter about their lives unceremoniously snuffed by men that are still not convicted.

I know there are processes. I know we have law. But those processes are slow. And not merely enough to satisfy the anger that I'm sure is still boiling inside the families of the departed. So many people were outraged by the massacre and I was seriously hoping that that fire will burn until the criminals have already been sentenced. But look at the dailies, the blogosphere, and television and radio. We very rarely ever hear of the massacre anymore. We barely hear of the biggest massacre of journalists during peacetime. A little bit over four months and it seems that it was SOOO yesterday. We buried the issue in our memory just like the Ampatuans tried to do with the bodies.

Four months. I know of women who cry, blog, and lament over an ex for longer than that. Lots of them, actually.

So. Where are the hecklers who drilled the Ampatuans? Where are Twitter updates? Where are the blog entries. Where are the specials about the families of the killed journalists. Where are the coverages of the court proceedings. I'm looking for something, any damned thing, that will remind people that 'Hey, there was a body attached to that dirt and blood stained hand. And that body was murdered and covered with a banana leaf. And that place where they were murdered will forever have the stench of death and crime all over it.'

So. Where?

I am voting for someone who will hopefully put this issue in the top folder of his to-do list. I want him to promise that he will bring justice to this horrendous crime by end-of-year. And I want him to do this and wipe that stupid, confident grin off that monster's face and lock him up forever.

I am angry that I have forgotten about this, myself. And today, as we reflect on the suffering of Christ, may we all remember the suffering of those 57 people who got killed. I'm not even looking at them as 57 journalists, but 57 human beings whose lives are lost forever, like candles snuffed by a spoiled, belligerent child. Let's all remember their families and how lucky we are we still have ours. Let's all remember the fire and anger we had when we first knew about the massacre and let's keep that going. We owe them that, at least.