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Showing posts from 2009

Random Diss Excerpt #14

READING ADVISORY: Lots of big words meant to justify my comparison of two seemingly unrelated fieldsites (and a sharp, sideward elbow-jab aimed at the positivist tendencies that continue to thrive in some anthropology departments). WARNING TO WOULD-BE PLAGIARISTS: Embedded in this excerpt is a curse upon your privates. At first glance the proposed comparison of the case studies presented here appears to violate at least one traditional tenet of comparative studies in general: “that the items compared must share certain fundamental traits” (Nader 1994: 87). Nader (ibid) refers to this as “the notion of controlled comparison,” based upon anthropology’s early conformity to the canons of positivist science that include the identification of and control over discrete variables in stable laboratory settings or, as might be the case with human society, in bounded, static, homogenous communities. The comparative approach of this study has been questioned repeatedly on the following terms:

Hiber Nation

I am temporarily in deep dissertation space. Blogging will resume when I discover a way out the blackhole through sheer mind-power. SHHHHHHH!

Katas ng Jeepney

Under the blinking sacred heart of Jesus, shoulder to shoulder and knee to knee, everybody sits placidly in the jeepney, former vehicle of war converted by Pinoy genius into a medium for mass transport, articulating function and frivolity the way only the Filipino can. Today’s dispatcher in the paradahan ng bayan is the artist Kawayan de Guia, who swears that riding the jeepney through the maze-like state of the nation eventually leads to an inexplicable sensation of being stuck in a bygone era.   And the music! Oh the music! The April Boys back to back with Curtis Mayfield, by turns wrenching and soothing the passengers’ collective broken hearts. Alaskado! There’s no getting off because up ahead is a sign that says no loading and unloading and around the corner is a fat cop with Ray-Bans just waiting for ‘small change’ to fall into his itching palms. The elusive Filipino psyche is out for a joy ride in these musical pieces, these gilded jeepney/paintings and jukebox/jeepneys resurr

Reading Lessons

The tips of Manang Cielo's slender fingers are cracked from all the work she does growing things. Wedged into the thin cracks of her fingertips there is always earth. Her home is surrounded by bamboo, pine trees, magnolia trees, and coffee planted by her parents and before them, her grandparents. Everything grows in wild profusion. There are always green shoots of one thing or another pushing through the perenially moist soil and, if you look closely, insects and worms of all colors and sizes bustle about everywhere. Plants and fallen leaves cover almost every inch of ground, except for in a wide circle swept daily around the old house, whose wooden floors are always shiny. Manang Cielo no longer bothers to go downtown. "There's no reason for me to go there," she says with disdain and a dismissive wave of her hand. "There" is just a ten-minute jeepney ride from where she lives on one of Baguio's hills. She says she sees enough of what's out "

The view from not so far away...

Or, What We Have Forgotten... There is a way of thinking about the world around us that has become so persistent that we take it for granted. We think of nature or the environment as something out there, as being about trees, wild animals, mountains, pristine lakes and oceans. We think of ourselves, humans, as being above nature because we are rational, calculating, and conniving. We think of our cities as being separate from nature. We think of our technologies as management tools that we can use to control nature. We speak of Ondoy as a natural disaster. It's time to change our habits of thinking. Ondoy, the natural disaster, is gone from our country. That particular typhoon is over but we are still in the throes of a social disaster created by nature and humans both. The possible human causes for this social disaster include, among other things, excessive waste generation and improper waste disposal, lack of foresight in the zonation of our cities, our contributions to g

Because copying down poems over and over is a form of prayer

A PRAYER THAT WILL BE ANSWERED by Anna Kamienska Lord let me suffer much and then die Let me walk through silence and leave nothing behind not even fear Make the world continue let the ocean kiss the sand just as before Let the grass stay green so that the frogs can hide in it so that someone can bury his face in it and sob out his love Make the day rise brightly as if there were no more pain And let my poem stand clear as a windowpane bumped by a bumblebee's head (Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh. From A Book of Luminous Things by Ceslaw Milosz.)

This makes me wonder

I've been thinking about... why Manila wasn't prepared... When a 1977 government study saw the possibility of this happening. I've been wondering about... how we might get our acts together in the face of all this... ... when the administration's allies are busy undermining the government (that's us, the people, that they're undermining). I've been awed by the outpouring of love and the amazing resilience among Filipinos and our creativity in times of crisis . I respect and am grateful for those that have turned to prayer, and yet I ask myself, is prayer enough?

Although it was no soft rain and pain hangs in the air around us...

OF RAIN AND AIR All day I have been closed up inside rooms, speaking of trivial matters. Now at last I have come out into the night, myself a center of darkness. Beneath the clouds the low sky glows with scattered light. I can hardly think this is happening. Here in this bright absence of day, I feel myself opening out with contentment. All around me the soft rain is whispering of thousands of feet of air invisible above us. BY WAYNE DODD, from A Book of Luminous Things edited by Ceslaw Milosz

Going Bananas

I have two questions. 1) If you by these Dole Cavendish bananas in 7-11... are you buying into the use of poison rain in corporate banana plantations in Mindanao? "In May 2009, the Department of Health released its study (“Health and Environmental Assessment of Sitio Camocaan, Hagonoy, Davao del Sur”) which showed that residents exposed to the spray were found to have pesticide traces in their blood. Air and soil outside plantation boundaries were also found to be contaminated. The study recommended banning aerial spraying and a shift to organic methods... "'We are not bananas. We are not pests.' This is the cry of communities near banana plantations in Mindanao who have to suffer the adverse effects of regular toxic aerial spraying. Imagine yourself sipping coffee under the open sky when suddenly something lands in your cup. Imagine yourself a child on your way to school and getting sprayed with pesticides. Farmers working on their small farms and people doing the

Cathy's Litson Rice

How does the lechon rice of Cathy's Fastfood fare on the two seesters' and Fritson's scale of pig snouts? Click here to find out!

Today's Mood

It's September but it feels like August.

I wish (5)

... I could have a french bulldog. Because they are so cute in such an endearingly ugly way, just looking at them fills my heart with joy and laughter.

Centennial Front Pages

The top halves of a few local papers on the newstands on September 1, 2009.

The Market on Baguio's Centennial Day

City officials promised that the reconstruction of the burned areas of the Baguio Public Market would be completed and inaugurated in time for the city's centennial celebration. Enough said. My sukis and friends and I greeted each other, "Happy Baguio Day!" and we just had to laugh at the irony of it all.

Science clichés abound in social science too

Here. Read all about annoying clichés in the natural sciences. In my dissertation I am guilty of "shedding light" on the messy complexities that get tangled up in each other when nature conservation and indigenous peoples' rights meet. I am pleased to note that I didn't call for any "paradigm shifts" but I probably said as much, given that there are countless "missing links" in the interactions between agents of conservation and indigenous communities . The former are searching for the "holy grail" of indigenous peoples living in harmony with nature and the latter just want a "silver bullet" with which to shoot the conservationists and other bossy werewolves in the head.

Araw ng mga Bayani

Today I want to remember Pinay heroines. Image credit: by Francsico Coching, seen at komikero komiks Gabriela Silang , who taught me that women could be warriors, and who has had a fierce grip on my imagination from wild childhood days when I would ride whooping through the rain, bareback on a galloping horse, thinking of what it might've been like to be waving a bolo in one hand, charging into enemy ranks. Image taken from kapuso online Corazon Aquino , who taught me another way of being a woman and a warrior, and who made history at a time when I was just beginning to learn what it meant to be a woman, and to be Pinay. Hmmmm, wala bang heroine dyan na may asawa? Hmmmm.


A NERD BOYFRIEND. Check out these fine specimens. More diversions on . Thank you, Miss Mika O .

Today is International Day of the Disappeared

To disappear is to cease to be visible. To disappear is to cease to exist or be in use. To disappear is to be lost or impossible to find. To disappear is to be taken and kept against your will. To disappear is to go missing or be killed. To reappear. What does it take?

Armadillo in the rain

This evening's rain is my friend. Tonight I am an armadillo and the rain and I are talking. The rain tells me it will keep me safe tonight. The sound of the rain shuts out the rest of the world and I like it this way. I am not hungry. I can stay where I am. Something heavy rustles outside my den. Quickly I curl up into a tight, armored ball, but the rain says, "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. It's nothing." Image credit:

The Baguio We Know

Please join us for the launching of a volume of essays written by authors who have lived and loved in Baguio. Edited by Grace Celeste T. Subido. The Baguio We Know September 2, 2009 at 6PM National Bookstore, SM Baguio "Today, with the emergence of new and concededly more titillating, tourist destinations, many will admit that Baguio has "fallen from grace" from its once lofty position as "Summer Capital of the Philippines." However, perhaps more than anything, this collection of works reveals the Baguio that is so much more than the handmaiden to tourism that some falsely believe is the answer to this city's ultimate salvation. "This collection of works provides a glimpse into that view from within of a place forged in consciousness that transcends boundaries of time and space." -- FROM THE INTRODUCTION The Contributors Cecile Afable Pia Arboleda Arnold Molina Azurin Tita Lacambra-Ayala Nonnette C

Right Thoughts, Right Actions

After our nation's outpouring of love for Cory, what next? What next? What next? Ipat Luna's wonderfully simple suggestion.

I'd like to give this The Finger

Image source: The Daily Dose by Manuel L. Quezon III 11 bottles of $510 champagne. Macapal-Arroyo must have been celebrating something. Some victory, perhaps, after her visit with Obama? What would that be, I wonder? Did she clinch yet another dirty deal at our expense? What does she have in store for us next? Image source: The Daily Dose by Manuel L. Quezon III A $20,000 dinner. Shameless. Oh please give me the strength to hold back all the cuss words piling up on my tongue! Read more At Midfield.

The Middle Finger and I, six-years old and up

Seeing my irate nanay raise her middle finger at a jeepney that had just barely shaved past us and left us gagging in a cloud of black poison, the six-year old in me sensed that this was a powerful gesture. I asked her what it meant. Nanay must have realized that she had let slip the veil of propriety that mothers are expected to wear. "It's a curse," she said perfunctorily, and taking my hand she walked briskly down the street as if to usher me away from the spot of my almost-awakening to something adult. I was delighted to learn something new and magical. From then on I went about surreptitiously giving the finger to condescending adults (always have loathed them), channeling all my childish indignation through my middle finger. I firmly believed that henceforth these unwitting adults were doomed to live unhappy grownup lives. (Pero redundant pala ang curse ko.) I can't remember when or how I finally learned what the middle finger signified. But I think that by


Excerpts from a journal entry written January 9, 2008, Phnom Penh: "We knew we had reached Toul Sleng when we saw barbed wire fences around the corner. When we entered the gate the hairs on my nape and arms stood on end. The air in that place is heavy with agony, anger, grief, and depravity. "We first went to Building A, where interrogations were carried out. The rooms had iron beds and shackles on them and worst of all, photos of torture victims that had died on the beds. One room still had blood stains on the ceiling. It was difficult to breathe. I didn't know whether I wanted to cry or vomit. By the 5th room at the end of the hall, my knees weakened and I had to sit down. ( Pan ) was blurry-eyed and red-nosed... I had to send a text (home), to connect myself to love. I'm crying now as I write this. "After a few moments we entered Building B. The first row of rooms contained photos taken by the Khmer Rouge of all the detainees that were brought to S-21 for

I wish (4)

... that I could pile my bike, my dogs, and the Artist-in-Residence into the pickup and just drive into the mountains for a weekend of sleeping under the stars and eating with our hands, our backs leaning against tall pine trees whistling in the wind, the dogs lying contentedly at our feet. But first, I need a pickup truck.

"Pay the writer"

I absolutely love this video of Harlan Ellison ranting about monetary compensation for writers' work!!! I have Cor to thank for finding and sharing this gem! This brings me back to my own thoughts (not half as rabid, but ok, kinda rabid) and dilemmas about writing for free . I have more to say about this. Real soon!

Dense Valley

Image credit: Why, Mika Oshima of course! "Some day, I'm going to write stories and my best friend Mika is going to illustrate them." I feel brave enough to say that now that Carlo J. Caparas is National Artist for Visual Art and Film. (Ooh and next time let me tell you about my digital fantasies too.) Comics illustrator Gerry Alanguilan has a very straightforward opinion on why the award is undeserved, here and here . National Artist for Visual Art, Bencab had scathing yet sensible things to say about it too . I've been holding to my comic(s) fantasy for years but I haven't yet written a single story. I'm still saying I'd love to try my hand at short fiction almost everyday, like it's a mantra of some sort. (That is to say, I'm still trying to get over the fear of making the attempt.) But anyway, I'm so happy that Mika is turning her comic(s) dreams into reality. She's churning them out in Dense Valley . Yey, Mika !

Gov. Padaca and the Task Force

In this time of unfettered political disillusionment, it's good to remember that there are people in government like Grace Padaca and the members of her anti illegal logging Task Force. A heroine and heroes of the Sierra Madre forest. This page requires a higher version browser For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Where the Wild Things Are

Image credit: I've always said that Baguio is Where the Wild Things Are. My friends and I, we're all a bunch of monsters out for a good time. Image credit: I grew up loving Maurice Sendak's book , and now I am waiting, waiting, waiting for the movie by Spike Jonze. Watch the trailer here. I wish I had a Max outfit when I was a kid. (And I shouldn't have to tell you that I don't mean the chicken.)

Random Diss Excerpt #13

READING ADVISORY: Rather righteous sounding stuff on the Ngaju Dayak livelihood repertoire and conservationists' limitied view of "alternative livelihood". The parallels and connections drawn between the environmental history of Southeast Borneo and the contemporary livelihood repertoire of the Ngaju of Baun Bango show that the importance and prevalence of various sources of income and sustenance have continually shifted over time. These shifts occurred – and continue to occur – through people’s interactions with physical and temporal aspects of the environment and the decisions they make in the context of these interactions. The relative ease of physical access to both resources and markets leads people to choose less risky enterprises. Decisions on ‘harvesting’ particular resources from the forests and rivers depend on the seasons as well as on the actual means by which these resources can be reached and transported out to buyers. For example, at the time headhunting

Announcing a New Blog!

Litson Rice Atbp! Featuring Fritson the multilingual pig. Yeeey!

Walking the Waking Journey