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Of Course I Want To Get Married… August 8, 2010

Posted by Gerely in Uncategorized.
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When I was in law school, a friend of mine sent me an e-mail containing the essay of a Philosophy student at the Ateneo regarding choosing well for marriage. Unfortunately, the brain cells responsible for remembering the name of that brilliant student had died as I aged, so I am reduced to giving you a gist of his essay (or whatever I can remember of it). Proper acknowledgment though is given to him.

He said, in essence, that the secret to a blissful marriage is in choosing your partner well. And choosing well starts with finding someone with similar values, mindset, and, yes, even intellectual level. He went on to say that a good marriage, after all, still hinges on fundamental compatibility even while you recognize your differences as individuals.

This particular essay came to mind as I watched Kris Aquino’s interview on The Buzz regarding the reasons of her separation from James. I don’t mean to trivialize the thoughts of the Philosophy student from the Ateneo by linking his essay to a showbiz issue, but Kris was just so dead-on in her analysis of the breakdown of her marriage to James, that, for a while there, I actually suspected that she was being coached by the Ateneo Philosophy student. She said that she and James were already miserable in each other’s company because she (or probably both of them) realized that they had nothing much in common. She even said, “iba pa rin ang magka-level kayo,”  or something to that effect. Those statements really say a lot. She did not have to elaborate and we were all just dying to say, “we’re not surprised.” Boy Abunda’s interview of Kris mercifully ended without much of the drama we all expected from the drama queen herself.

This brings me now to my point on why people, who decide to remain single for a long period of time (or maybe, forever), should not be judged, labelled, or, worse, ridiculed. I know that there are men in their 40’s or even 50’s who are still single, but society has managed to be more cruel in their scrutiny of women who are still single in their 30’s. There are several reasons for this, but they all boil down to one thing — the lack of understanding of what being “choosy” really means.

Relating to people is never easy and there is no hard and fast rule in maintaining relationships for the long-term. Naturally, we get drawn to those with whom we can find some commonality in hopes of reducing the friction that comes with our individual differences. In romantic relationships, however, raging hormones and strong physical attraction come into the picture that we tend to justify differences and ignore the lack of any common ground. Falling in love (or falling into the hormone trap) simply gets everybody woozy, that we disregard warning signs stemming from obvious incompatibility. Then, for some, they take it to the next level and get married — only to realize that, apart from probably the great sex and the mindless chatter after, there is nothing much they can share with each other. Then, the problems begin. We all know how these things end.

So, ladies and gentlemen, speaking as a 36-year-old single woman, I would like to assure everyone that there is nothing wrong with me and to the countless other women similarly situated. We are happy for what we have and we do not stress out on the things we do not have. If we appear to be choosy, we have every right to be. In fact, it is our responsibility to be choosy because we also want to give the man we will end up with for the long haul the best that we could ever be. If we just settle for what is available, we are not just shortchanging ourselves, but also depriving the men of their right to have someone they can truly be happy with.

The question now is, do I want to get married? Of course, I do, but only to someone I have chosen well and who has also chosen me well. There is no need to rush. There is no law that gives a time limit to getting married. When I do get married, I want to be able to say that my marriage is so good, one lifetime is not enough to enjoy it.

Moving Forward December 25, 2009

Posted by Gerely in thoughts.
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They say that the most difficult part about changing oneself or one’s situation is the moving on part. When can you really say that you have moved on? In my experience though, I realized that moving on is so much easier, only if we dare move forward, too.

Yes, people can always claim that they have moved on, whether from the current path of their careers or from their relationships. Moving on, however, is just a fraction of the story. It could simply mean moving away temporarily with an intention to return to see if the thing or person we moved on (away) from is still worth going back to. When we move forward, we tell ourselves that there is something better out there. It’s a definite statement that the situation or person we are moving on (away) from is not worth our time anymore and we deserve more than we could ever hope for.

As the year 2009 draws to a close, let me share some important lessons I’ve learned this year. I hope that these lessons will help me move forward, heal the wounds, and make me a better person.

1.  Happiness is what you make it. Hence, when you’re unhappy about something, don’t waste time blaming others or the universe. Go on and find that happiness. It’s not a crime to do so.

2. Don’t be bitter when others find their own happiness.

3. Don’t let others define your capabilities and weaknesses. Their judgment of your character and worth is also limited by their own view of this world.

4. When you are trying to redeem yourself because of errors in judgment and moments of weakness, do it for yourself, not for others. Your redemption is for your own account.

5. While it is always good to love, to care, and to make sacrifices for others, you can only do these things if you also love yourself.

6. Abuse happens only because you allowed it to.

7. Know when to keep quiet. It could save you at the end of the day.

8. Don’t be scared that you will lose a friend over an argument or differences of opinions. That’s why you’re friends. You managed to be drawn to each other despite yourselves. If you do lose them and they are real friends, don’t worry, you would eventually find a way to get back in each other’s arms.

9. Words, once spoken, can never be taken back. So always be careful with what you say.

10. I know this is cliché, but let me say it just the same. Life is too short to be wasted on whining, complaining, being angry, being bitter, and thinking of things that could have been. Always move forward. You’ll never know what wonderful surprise awaits you.

Happy holidays everyone!

Of Mail-Ordered Brides and Video Scandals May 21, 2009

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It’s so nice to be writing again. Yes, I need this break.

I spent a major part of the day musing about two headlines that have once again brought out the thinkers and analysts in all of us — the Hayden Kho-Katrina Halili Sex Video Scandal and Alec Baldwin’s slur against Filipinas. Obviously, these two issues are not related, but considering the magnitude of attention they have drawn, I might as well write my own thoughts about it. I just have to be prepared for possible violent reactions on this piece. Well…this is a free country.

Let’s tackle first the Alec Baldwin incident. On page 6 of today’s edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the headline screamed about Alec Baldwin’s supposed joke during his guesting in the David Letterman Show a few nights back, wherein he said that, being divorced for quite some time, he would like to have a mail-ordered Filipina bride or a Russian one. David Letterman joined in and said he wants one, too. Like any racial slur against Filipinos, Alec Baldwin’s statement didn’t go unnoticed and drew angry reactions from ambassadors, consuls, senators, congressmen, women’s groups, etc. The news item said that the Philippine Consul assigned to New York has already written both Baldwin and Letterman, demanding an apology for their offensive remarks. Not to be outdone, Senator Bong Revilla, Rep. Riza Hontiveros and a host of other legislators have given their piece, essentially stressing that there is a Philippine law, which imposes penal sanctions against those who procure mail-ordered Filipina brides.

Before things get out of hand, ladies and gentlemen, maybe it will do us well if we stand back and try to analyze Baldwin’s comment from a different perspective.

The only reason I could see why Baldwin’s comment came on as offensive is that there are really Filipinas who offer themselves up to foreigners for marriage in hopes of having a better life. In other words, it’s one of those truths that either we couldn’t handle or we refuse to accept, hence, we feel slighted when foreigners, like Baldwin and Letterman, would have the nerve to bring that up. Yes, mail-ordered brides have been outlawed, but the law banning it has not prevented some Filipinas from deliberately using other means solely for the purpose of snagging a potential foreigner-husband.

I’m not saying that we parade Filipinas in pen pal columns (if these still exist) and on the internet like commodities waiting to be sold to the highest bidder who would then marry them. My point simply is that we should not stop at being offended by these racial slurs. Let’s look deeper into the issue and see how far we have come to address it.

“Mail-ordered brides,” notwithstanding being outlawed, are products of our society’s inability to provide for opportunities at a decent education and decent jobs. The short-sightedness of our vision for our country has somehow created an atmosphere, which has conditioned them to view marriage to a foreigner as their only salvation. From where they stand, if their marriage to a foreigner would provide food on the table and send their siblings to school, there should be no issue at all. Quite honestly, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that kind of thinking.

The flak Alec Baldwin is getting is nothing more than a reflection of a probable lack of genuine understanding of this phenomenon. It would seem that those who have reacted violently towards Baldwin’s comment were just content with having a law banning the procurement of “mail-ordered brides” then throwing this to Baldwin’s face. What have they done beyond passing that law? Lest I be misinterpreted, I’m not defending Alec Baldwin. I have no soft spot for him either. However, let’s be objective. We’ve done our part in making the world know that we won’t take his remarks sitting down. Let’s move on and work on making Filipinas realize that foreigner-husbands, or men, in general, are not their saviors.

On to the exciting world of showbiz…the Katrina Halili-Hayden Kho sex video scandal.

Well, who among us has not seen a sex video scandal? Each scandal seems to be novel at the beginning, but eventually, when everything has been said and done, when the Senate has already conducted its investigation in aid of legislation (remember the Bruneiyuki scandal of the ’90s?), our interest over the scandal wanes. I’m not surprised that everyone who has ever been exposed to this new scandal involving Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili is eager to take sides and give his opinion on who’s to blame, who should be sued, should Hayden Kho’s medical license be revoked, and other questions that will tickle your fancy.

Before I join the fray and give my two cents’ worth, may I be enlightened as to why, in scandals like this, the supposed victims immediately go to the Senate and spark an investigation that would be funded by taxpayers’ money? I mean, really, why the Senate? If they want to file a case against the purported predators, then go to the courts. The Senate does not adjudicate civil, administrative or criminal liability. Victims…you’re just giving these legislators a venue to campaign for their re-election. In the end, we all become the victims of their cheesy and utterly tasteless commercials.

Now that I’ve got that out of my chest, on to Hayden and Katrina.

Guys, these are two consenting adults. Who are we to stop them from showing off their skills in bed? How different is their sex act from all the pornos we have probably seen at one point in our lives? The only reason why there’s so much hoolabaloo about this is that the scandal involves celebrities, and nothing stirs this country more than the dirt that we could dig up about our favorite celebrities (and politicians).

To Katrina…you didn’t know you were being filmed? Puhleeeeease! You can do better than that, hija.

My only discomfort about these scandals involving women who knew fully well what they were doing then cry foul later for reasons known only to them is the immediate sympathy they get from all sorts of groups who are convinced that these women are victims. Again, children, let’s take a step back and analyze this from a different, less emotional perspective.

Actors, whether male or female, who have chosen the path of exposing their body parts and performing sexy/sexual acts in front of the camera cannot be categorized as victims. Whether they did it for the money or for fame, bottomline is they chose to do that. I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt that they are thinking individuals who know the consequences of their actions. Further, could we please stop looking at these scandals from the gender perspective? If we think that these sex video scandals are abominable, then both male and female actors are actually affected by the repercussions of their indiscretions.

So for those who are inclined to use this scandal as a platform for grandstanding, I urge you to think twice. We can only handle so much trauma in our lifetime.

Moving On February 12, 2009

Posted by Gerely in thoughts.
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What I’m about to publish is something that I wouldn’t normally write. However, if only for the literary value of the letter I initially intended to send someone (but was prevailed over by more rational minds), I think it’s worth reading after all.

Here it goes…

—————————————-

I’ve debated with myself for so long over whether or not to tell you this and, if I do, how best to tell you about it. I wanted to write you this some time ago, but I didn’t have the necessary courage to do it then. Now that I’ve made peace with myself on this issue, I can be completely honest about it.

I fell for you – plain and simple. There’s really no other way to say it. I thought I could dismiss it as another case of attraction or whatever else it was, but the longer I got to know you, the deeper I fell, until I just had to admit that it was definitely more than attraction. I never blamed anybody for what happened because this was clearly my choice. However, I knew it was wrong, hence, my decision to leave.

Leaving, in hopes of staying away from you permanently, was probably one of the most painful decisions I had to make. What made it more painful though was the realization that it was not the solution after all. Drawing the thin line between friendship and that intense need to care about you; and keeping myself grounded at the same time, became a daily struggle for me. I can’t remember anymore the number of nights when I let out a muffled cry thinking that I had loved someone under the wrong circumstances.

Thankfully, God has been so good to me. He constantly guided me and given me the wisdom to still choose what is right. He showed me that there’s so much in store for me in this lifetime that I shouldn’t waste time pining over someone who is not rightfully mine. To my prayer that I’d be given the grace to let go, He threw my way opportunities that deserve my undivided attention. I have now moved on and have come to terms with my choices. More importantly, I have forgiven myself.

Thank you for not taking advantage of my weakness and for being a good friend. I will not apologize for how I felt about you, but I do want to apologize for whatever trouble I may have caused you.

Having said all these, I can now close this particular chapter of my life; and for all the lessons I learned, it was a chapter well-written.

So It Happened Again January 2, 2009

Posted by Gerely in humor, meeting a guy, thoughts.
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Happy New Year everyone! Here’s wishing all the best for 2009. To quote my usual Chinese toast — may we all live in interesting times!

I was supposed to write about this three days after it happened. However, I was just too lazy (again) to write, as I was looking forward to the long Christmas break. Now that the long break is almost over, I better post this now before work piles up.

Remember “the guy” I talked about in my blog entry titled, “The Guy I Met In ‘Court’?” Well, I had another encounter with him — this time on a more legitimate setting. The friend of mine who seemed quite hesitant to introduce me to “the guy” invited me to watch them perform on stage (I wouldn’t want to elaborate on this anymore). So, I bought tickets for me and five friends of mine for this event.

It was really a cool event. We had lots of fun watching it. Unfortunately, “the guy” was not able to dance because, when he was about to perform his break dance number, someone tripped on the wires and the music stopped. This did not stop me though from “demanding” from my friend to have my picture taken with the guy after the event.

So there…after the event, I went backstage to greet my friend and to enforce my demand. 🙂 Boy! Was he helpful. He invited his co-performers, including “the guy,” to a photo-ops. To make things subtle in a way, I took a picture of them first. Then, my friend, who was really living up to his promise to me, grabbed my camera and pushed me to “the guy.” Of course, I said sorry to “the guy.” He flashed his million megawatt smile and said it was okay. As expected, all my systems shut down from then on. Sigh!

I was able to have two (group) photos with “the guy,” with me beside him. You would think that I grabbed that major opportunity to strike a simple conversation with him. As expected though…I DID NOT…I GOT DUMBFOUNDED AGAIN. I just mustered a simple and weak “thank you” to him then ran away to get my camera from my friend. I’d rather not talk about what my friend did to me.

Of course, there was the usual tongue-lashing from my girlfriends. They simply gave up on me that night.

Oh well…I guess I’ll leave it at that. I just hope that next time I have an encounter with him, my blog entry about it will be a pleasant one. 🙂

Ge vs. The World December 5, 2008

Posted by Gerely in humor.
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Welcome back, folks!
Don’t worry about the seeming seriousness of the title. It’s not about my struggles in life or whatever. It’s all about some of my “bitchy” thoughts about life and The World’s own “bitchy” thoughts about me. To make it more fun, let’s write things down in Tagalog.
 
—————
 
Si Ge, tinanong kung ano’ng isusuot nyang costume sa Halloween party:
“Ge, ano suot mo sa Halloween party natin?”
“Miss Piggy.”
“Come as you are na lang.”
 
 Si Ge, nakakita ng baklang may boyfriend:
“P@#$ng @#a naman o! May matres naman ako a!”
 
 Si Ge, nakakita ng baklang ubod ng ganda na may boyfriend:
“Sana hindi na lang ako nabuhay sa mundong ‘to.”
 
 Si Ge, hiniritan ng isang guy na nagsabing maraming naghahabol na babae sa kanya:
“Really? Playboy ka pa sa lagay na iyan? Ano na lang kaya kung guwapo ka?”
 
 Si Ge, during the office outing:
“Ge: Mababaw lang ba iyung pool?”
“Sec.: Oo ma’am, 5 feet lang dito.”
“Ge: Haller! Kung 5 feet yan, di lubog na ako.”
 
Si Ge at ang kanyang nanay:
“Nanay: Anak, sabi sa zodiac sign ko, may madadagdag daw na miyembro ng pamilya natin by the end of this year. Baka ibig sabihin nito mag-aasawa ka na.”
“Ge: E ano naman ang sabi sa zodiac sign ko?”
“Nanay: Wala.”
“Ge: Puwes, baka ikaw ang mag-aasawa.”
 
 Si Ge and a friend:
“Ge: Hey, napanood mo na iyung movie na ‘The 40-year-old Virgin’ starring Steve Carrel?”
“Friend: Hindi pa. Bakit?”
“Ge: Panoorin mo. Sobrang funny!”
“Friend: Naka-relate ka?”
“Ge: Haller! 40 years old na ba ako?”
 
 Si Ge at ang kanyang nanay, Part II (nung mga panahong broken-hearted si Ge):
“Nanay: Hay naku anak! Yan na nga kasi ang sinasabi ko. Pagkatali-talino man ng babae, pag umibig nabobobo rin!”
“Ge: So ikaw nabobo rin nung umibig ka kay Daddy?”
“Nanay: Ano pa nga ba? E talagang ganun. Pero at least ako 26 years old pa lang nag-asawa na.”
“Ge [to herself]: Ma, you’re not helping.”
 
 Ano kaya kung hiniritan si Ge ng ganito?
“Naku, nakakaawa ka naman at wala ka pang boyfriend.”
Sasagutin ni Ge ng:
“Oks lang. Ikaw may boyfriend nga, swangit naman.”
At hiniritan uli sya ng:
“Ge, maniwala ka, kahit gano ka-swangit ang boyfriend mo, mas ok pa rin iyung kesa iyung walang-wala.”
Ge [to herself]:
“Actually…”
 
Si Ge, at her meanest mode, nang sagutin nya ng ganito ang isang kamag-anak:
“Kamag-anak: Naku, kaya siguro wala kang boyfriend kasi ang taba-taba mo. Wala talagang magkakagusto sa iyo kung mataba ka.”
“Ge: Ay ganun po ba? E bakit po kayo, payat naman, hiniwalayan pa rin kayo ng asawa nyo?”
[Sa tutoo lang, ang sarap ng feeling na makasagot ng ganito, kahit kinurot ako ni mommy sa singit.]
 
Nung college si Ge, gusto nyang mag-part-time job. Dahil college lang sya nun (at di pa uso ang mga call centers), ang puwede sa kanya e mag-crew sa Jollibee or McDo. Lekat nga lang at may height requirement na at least 5’2″ for female applicants. Shet! E 4’11” lang si Ge. So Ge bitches to The World: “Bakit kelangang 5’2″ pa? Basta ba naman mas matangkad pa ako sa counter at makikita ako ng tao, ok na iyun.” Sorry, Ge, it doesn’t work that way.
 
 Opinion ni Ge sa mga beauty pageants:
“Hay naku! Naglolokohan lang tayo. May interview portion pa kuno to determine the intelligence of the candidates and their capacity to become ambassadors of goodwill. E kung ganun din lang, e di marathon interviews and exams na lang. Bakit kelangan pa nilang iparada ang mga sarili nila in swimsuits and evening gowns? Aminin na lang nga mga organizers na physical beauty pa rin ang hanap.”
The World answers back:
“Hay naku, Ge! Inggit ka lang kasi hindi ka makasali. Height requirement pa lang sobrang talo ka na.”
 
 Ge [to herself]:
“Beautiful ako…beautiful ako…beautiful ako…”
The World:
“Are you trying to convince us or are you trying to convince yourself?”

On Turning 34 November 28, 2008

Posted by Gerely in thoughts.
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I wrote this entry in my other blog last July — a day after my birthday this year. I just want to preserve this so that I would be constantly reminded of the important things life has taught me so far. I hope this will also serve as an inspiration to many. 🙂

——————–

That’s right, folks. I turned 34 yesterday. I know for a fact that a lot of women would not admit that they have reached the age of 30+. Not in my case. There’s something about being 30+ that makes me feel more powerful and in control than I used to be, say, 10 or 12 years ago. It’s really a badge of honor for me to have come this far. As a tribute to my turning 34, allow me to share with you guys the top 10 things I have learned about life…so far:

10.  Men will say and do the meanest, nastiest, and most annoying things on earth and nothing can change them. So…just ignore them.

9.  Men are not necessarily bad. They’re just into the habit of making fools out of themselves most of the time. So…just enjoy the show.

8.  For the lawyers out there, when a client says you’re good, just say thank you and smile, but don’t take the compliment seriously. A client’s appreciation of your efforts is limited to his own understanding of the law and how he perceives the law to be in his favor. It is your own perception of your efforts as a lawyer that should matter.

7.  Listen to your mother. She’s always right.

6.  When something bad happens to you, allow yourself 24 hours to grieve and weep. On the 25th hour, move on. Anyway, by that time, you would have run out of tears already.

5.  I know this is cliché, but you can’t please everyone. So stop pleasing people.

4.  Always have a quiet time for yourself each day. It gives you the much-needed space to re-focus your efforts towards your goals.

3.  When confronted with a problem, rather than go at it blindly, step back and try to analyze it from afar. In that way, you can see the bigger picture and come up with a better solution to it.

2.  Breathe…it’s free and it works.

1.  Another cliché, but one we tend to forget often. ENJOY LIFE TO THE FULLEST even if it means making a fool out of yourself, getting hurt or heart-broken, and giving up a little bit of yourself each time. Remember, our lives are not measured by how much we earned or amassed, but by how much we have given to those we love and to those who might have been undeserving of our love.

Let me end this blog entry by giving you a little Chinese toast — May we all live in interesting times.

The Guy I Met In “Court” October 31, 2008

Posted by Gerely in humor, meeting a guy, thoughts.
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It’s so nice to be writing again.

I’ve had the chance to review my previous blog entries and noticed how serious they are. Even in my discussions of Sesame Street and Voltes V, I found a way to tie it up with some of my personal issues. So, I’ll take a step back and write something fun…hopefully.

You might notice that the word court in the title is in quotation marks. Obviously, I’m not referring to courtrooms where I usually perform my professional duties. It’s a different kind of court — one that recently brought so much fun in my otherwise staid life. It’s nothing major, but everytime I remember that encounter, I can’t help but smile.

I’m talking about a basketball court. No, I don’t play basketball, but I watch the sport as if my life depended on it. I know all the rules involved in the game that I can actually argue with the referee if he makes a bad call. In 1989, when San Miguel (then composed of Samboy Lim, Hector Calma, Yves Dignadice, et al.) made a grandslam at the PBA, I was able to watch all the championship games even if I had exams the following day.

It happened 5 days after my birthday this year. Since a friend of mine seems quite hesitant to introduce me to “the guy,” I decided to make my own research about him. No, I’m not stalking. I vehemently deny that. It’s not my fault that I’m really really good at research (my major in college is communication research…that’s always a good excuse). Besides, stalking involves an intent to make somebody else’s life miserable. That’s not my goal. I just want to know more about “the guy” as I know that I would most probably just admire him from afar.

Anyway, so I went to see a basketball game of his. I don’t want to go into the details on how I was able to introduce myself. That was the most embarrassing part of the story. Thank heavens he didn’t scoff at me. He was very friendly. Whether he was just being polite or was actually flattered by my efforts, I can sincerely say that the encounter is something that I will always be proud of, considering how I’m not really comfortable approaching guys I like. There’s no denying though that that was one magical moment for me. He has such an unforgettable smile! Those deep brown eyes…probing, full of life…how much of himself can he give away by just looking into that wonderful set?

Exactly 20 days after I went to see his basketball game, we had a chance encounter at my friend’s office. He spoke to me first when he saw me, but it all ended right there. I was just too dumbfounded that I failed to grab the opportunity to get to know him a little better. I got the harshest tongue-lashing from my girlfriends. They could not understand how a lawyer who could argue for 3 hours non-stop in court and who could write 100-page briefs that make the heads of Supreme Court justices spin cannot muster the courage to strike a simple conversation with “the guy.” Looking back, yeah, how hard was it to ask him, “would you care to join us in our beer session?” Oh well, that’s water under the bridge.

I would like very much to explore in this write-up my psyche on my unusual “systems breakdown” when it comes to the men I like, but I promised at the start that this will not be a serious story.

The guy I met in “court”…what difference can one encounter make in this lifetime.

Remembering Sesame Street October 17, 2008

Posted by Gerely in thoughts.
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“Sunny day, sweeping up clouds away. On my way to where the air is clear. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?” Sounds familiar? Who could ever forget this wonderful program for kids back in the ’70s? And who could ever forget the wonderful characters that made learning so much fun? — Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, Snuffleafagus (I don’t know if I spelled it right), Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Kermit the Frog, Count, Elmo, Guy Smiley, Forgetful Jones, Mr. Hooper.

I have a lot to thank Sesame Street for. I was the only child for more than 6 years. While other kids might find that fun because no other sibling is around to take away their toys and other favorite stuff, for me, being the lone child that long brought some sense of instability in my life. I might not have labelled it “instability” then but I knew there was nothing fun about playing alone and not having another kid in the house to talk to about kid stuff. Sure my parents were there, but I did not expect them to know the details of how lego blocks work or to appreciate Sesame Street the way I did (and still do). So there I was growing up to be the independent child. Good thing Sesame Street was there to keep me company even just for an hour each day. It was my “surrogate playground and school.” My world practically stopped whenever it was on TV.

You might wonder then, why didn’t I just play with the kids in the neighborhood? Well, there was the language barrier problem. Both my parents are Ilokanos. So it is not surprising that it was the first language I learned even when I grew up in the city. Who among the kids in the neighborhood would like to play with someone who spoke a rather weird language? Thank heavens for Sesame Street, I learned English. Still, who would like to play with someone who spoke a different language than Tagalog?

I wrote about animés in my previous blog entry. I don’t think, however, that I can pass upon the chance to write about Sesame Street. Whoever conceptualized the show was truly brilliant. Later on, I would learn that the entire program was based on a curriculum similar to what they have in school and each episode is the “actualization” of the curriculum.

When I do get to have kids someday, I will definitely make them watch Sesame Street (it should be available in CD/DVD by now) so they can experience the learning process I so appreciated as a child. They will not be alone in watching it.

The Best Animé October 14, 2008

Posted by Gerely in animé.
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In recent years, we have witnessed the deluge of animés in television, video games, or even on-line games. They have become sources of entertainment to the generation of today. Whatever our objections may be over animés, whether on the themes presented or the characters or the storylines, it cannot be denied that they have integrated into popular culture and have, one way or the other, defined communication patterns among those heavily exposed to these.

Animés, however, are nothing new. According to Wikipedia, they have been around since 1929. Can somebody already existing that time validate this? But for those born in the ’70s (like me) or even the early ’80s, the most popular animés were Voltes V, Mazinger Z, and Daimos. Within the past 10 years, we have seen the popularity of Ghost Fighter, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto. For me though Voltes V is still the best animé in terms of storyline, characters, lessons imparted, and the way the series was written. Although the animation is not as sophisticated as that of the cartoons today, the story of this classic animé more than compensated for the technical issues.

I remember the debate over Voltes V when the late President Marcos pulled it out from the airwaves due to its alleged violent contents, which he deemed not suitable for children, or probably to the “new society” he wanted to establish. Regardless of any political motives involved in the decision to stop showing the series, I feel that my generation was vindicated when it was allowed to be shown again in the mid-’90s (even dubbed in Tagalog). By that time, we were no longer the kids President Marcos tried to protect from the “bad influence” of Voltes V. Unfortunately for me, I was still not able to finish the series because law school got in the way. It was shown every 6:00 in the evening when night classes in law school would just begin.

Thank heavens, however, to my youngest brother who gave me, as a birthday present, the entire Voltes V CD collection. I spent one whole weekend watching all 41 episodes and was so relieved to finally know its ending and to find comfort that I will be able to tell my children someday about this great animé.

If we could just see Voltes V for what it is, we can, in fact, appreciate its general theme and not focus on its “violent” aspect (Voltes V always ending up slashing the opponent’s beast fighters with its mighty Laser Sword). It is about love and sacrifice for family (remember how Prince Zardos, the evil conqueror, sacrificed his life for Steve in the end when he found out that they were brothers?), for the Earth, and for one’s country. It is about showing the value of team work and staying true to one’s duty and vision, regardless of the odds. Most importantly, it is about fighting for what is right, regardless of the relations involved (Dr. Armstrong was a Boazanian nobility but he chose to fight for the rights of the slaves in order to achieve equality within their society). Bottomline…selfish interests would not get us anywhere.

Maybe, if our politicians could learn a thing or two from the Voltes V series, this would be a much better country (or world, for that matter) to live in.

Long live Voltes V.