Real Steel, the movie that may have toppled every movie that I liked

The script is corny, the story is elementary, there’s “poverty of imagination at work”, and the movie is a cliché. Fine, I agree with them.

But more than half of the movie sure hell made me wanna shout and jump up and down my seat as if I was personally inside the arena watching the bout of the bots and hearing metals crashing against metals.

Not that I can relate, but the sentimental scenes between the father and the son are very much moving. The scene where Atom and Max were dancing their way to the boxing ring defeated Step-Up.

Everything was unexpected of this movie.

I want you to fight for me. – Max

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The undead me!

With nothing to do and nothing to talk to and with the Halloween keeping the Christmas season from being fully felt, I thought I’d just turn myself into two kinds of undead creatures – the much loved vampire and the repulsive zombie.

Thanks to Picnik for the editing tools!

Click images to enlarge.

May sore eyes lang...

Brains....

Facebook addiction (or rather, dependence) is real…

… and so is the related withdrawal syndrome.

With all the confusing changes being done in Facebook and several security concerns, many have threatened the social media company that they will delete their accounts. Yet, the number of Facebook users, continue to increase.

Many probably did try to get to the edge of the cliff, but never actually jumped.

Like me.

Until last night when I finally did it.

The edge of the cliff

I just deactivated it, not deleted. (What’s the difference? Click here. There’s even a third term called “Memorializing.”)

Why I deactivated my Facebook account? Basta.

But one thing I can say, Facebook has a great emotional impact on me. I’m not exactly saying (although there must be some truth to this) that I got too personal with everyone and everything on Facebook. The greater effect, I guess, was that I got too personally attached to Facebook itself.

Just like a chain smoker, Facebook is my breakfast buddy, my pampalipas oras, and my stress buster.

This is the proof:

My mobile phone charges

Look how the data usage (green line) fluctuates similarly compared to the total cost (blue line) per billing period.

Why I am going back (after 24 hours only)

1. It’s not easy to quit Facebook. At least for me. (Arte!) Like any other types of dependence, quitting has to be slow and systematic.
2. Twitter is boring?
3. Twitter is boring!

Just how it really felt to be detached from Facebook?

♫Tulala sa isang tabi
at di mapakali
ating nakaraan
minumuni-muni♫

A fullmetal heart

A lesson without pain is meaningless. That’s because no one can gain without sacrificing something. But by enduring that pain and overcoming it; he shall obtain a powerful, unmatched heart. A fullmetal heart. – Edward Elrich, The Fullmetal Alchemist

Mall security measures more strictly absurd?

For the past weeks, we’ve seen in the news two incidents of shooting inside two different branches of Shoemart (SM) – one by a beleaguered wife to an allegedly cheating husband and a rescuing security guard and another by a minor gay lover to an older-yet-still-minor boyfriend (also accused of cheating).

Read the stories below:
Hell hath no fury: Abandoned wife kills 2 in mall shooting
2 minors in SM Pampanga shooting pass away

As a result, malls have once again tightened their security measures by installing stricter bag checks (thus longer cues).

In Ayala malls, I still don’t get the idea of those metal detectors. They beep, they flash red lights, but the guards don’t seem to care what those mean. And I don’t personally know what those signals mean. Or will the detectors automatically electrocute a person who carries a weapon?

In SM Ayala, there are two layers of security check. Upon entry, a guard will perform the classic poking of bags with wooden magic wand stick. The security guards still don’t check other pockets that may contain weapons. After that, another guard will run a handheld metal detector on your pants and feel your pockets and waist with their bare hands.(What if the weapon is hidden on the crotch area?)

But those measures by Ayala and SM are nothing compared to Landmark: they’ve hired Naruto (who performs the Shadow Clone Tecnique before going to work).

Checking bags does not require a lot of chakra.

I’m qualified to judge in the UAAP cheerdance competition

Either I have the “vision” or I’m good at cheerdancing that I was able to determine who would or should win in UAAP Cheerdance Competition 2011.

My fearless forecast right after the performance of UST. I didn't bother watching UE.

And the results?

2nd Runner-up: Far Eastern University

Basta ok naman performance nila. ‘Yun na ‘yun. 🙂

1st Runner-up: De La Salle University

(I couldn’t find a video of DLSU’s performance in YouTube. Well, I couldn’t blame the Lasalistas. They didn’t expect this. No one did.)

Update: Someone actually had faith on DLSU. Finally, here’s the vid of their performance:

And I still couldn’t believe DLSU’s performance. For the past years (and decades, I guess), they only performed just “to represent their university.” But this year, they actually showed the audience that for the longest time, they wanted to win.

They did get the second place.

The champion –

UNIBERSIDAD NG PILIPINAS!

The best thing about the University of the Philippines, not just in cheerdance competitions, is that they don’t restrict themselves with the usual. They continue to reinvent and show something new, even if others would see them as weird or jologs.

Thus, they always stand out.

The fourth seed

I am a proud Thomasian (college). I’ve always believed in the excellence of the Salinggawi Dance Troupe, but I guess the current members of the group do not have the same brilliance in cheerdancing and creativity compared to the ones that brought glory to UST a few years back (when I was still in college).

And I’m telling this with all objectivity.

I miss the spine-chilling thrill that the Salinggawi used to give me.

Do you remember where you were exactly 10 years ago?

As of press time (i.e., September 11, 2011 at 1328 hours, Manila time), I was probably at school, walking aimlessly along the corridors perpendicular to the old pavilions of UP Integrated School, as I used to do after eating lunch. I probably must have come across Victoria Doloricon in front of the library. (She is my grade 9th classmate who noticed that kind of behavior of mine.)

At that time, my adviser and chemistry teacher, Prof. Mel Mapa, was on leave and was currently in the US.

Exactly 10 years ago (i.e., September 11, 2011 at 1328 hours), the 911 attacks have not yet occurred.

Honestly, I don’t remember how I heard the news. But according to this website, which shows the detailed timeline of that date in New York:

8:46:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 impacts the north side of the North Tower (1 World Trade Center) of the WTC between the 94th and 98th floors. American Airlines Flight 11 was flying at a speed of 490 miles per hour (MPH).

So if it happened at 0846 hours, then in Manila, it was 2046 hours. I was already at home at that time. But I don’t remember hearing about it in the news. Memory gap? Or was I in shock?

The earliest memory I could remember concerning the 9-11 attacks was when Prof. Mapa was back in Manila and she told us that she was in New York City when that happened. I also remember my professor in Algebra (I forgot her name!) when she came into the room and asked Prof. Mapa if she was alright.

That’s it. Ten years ago, I don’t remember much. But that event did change the world (esp. airport and MRT security).

Washington Sycip: Mike Arroyo is heavily involved in jueteng networks

I was browsing ABS-CBNNews.com when I chanced upon a story that grabbed my attention at once.

It was about a classified cable from the US Embassy in Manila released by none other than WikiLeaks. The cable talked about how the corruption in the Philippines was worsening and that then First Family was involved. The First Gentleman Mike Arroyo being personally connected to illegal activities and his wife former president (now Pampanga representative) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo knew about it.

But of course, the way the cable was written didn’t prove that the two infamous personalities were in fact involved in corruption. It only showed the opinions of the businessmen in the Philippines about the political condition of the country as it relates to the economy and the business community.

But the most intriguing portions of the cable are those statements that came from Washington Sycip, founder of the largest professional firm in the Philippines – SGV & Co. Sycip has always been regarded as everyone’s consultant. He happens to have very strong and wisdom-filled opinions on anything, including corruption.

The way the cable has been written seems to show that Sycip has first hand knowledge of the widespread corruption in the country.

Here are some of the excerpts from “the partial extract of the original cable,” which according to WikiLeaks is not available.

——-
Summary
——-

WikiLeaks

¶1. (C) Influential members of the Manila business community increasingly express concerns about how corruption is undermining the RP’s economic outlook. According to long-time Embassy contact Washington Sycip, who is widely respected as among the top economic observers in the country, corruption is at its worst ever and is making it impossible for democracy to work in the Philippines. President Arroyo’s husband, he claimed, is one of the worst offenders, with a reputation for corruption seeping down to all levels of society and eroding PGMA’s political standing. Francis Chua, president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce, claimed that almost all business people perceive worsening problems with corruption. He echoed Sycip’s assessment that the First Gentleman is a major problem with respect to corruption. X X X End Summary.

Mike and Gloria

————————
Corruption and Democracy
————————

¶2. (C) Manila business leaders have increasingly expressed serious concern about how corruption is hindering their ability to conduct legitimate business. Washington Sycip, a founding partner of SGV (the country’s most prominent accounting firm and an affiliate of U.S. firm Ernst and Young) has become increasingly pessimistic, claiming privately that corruption nowadays is at its worst, surpassing even the Marcos era. He has expressed doubt about democracy’s suitability for the RP. Emboffs strongly objected to Sycip’s assertion that the RP should reconsider democracy, underscoring that the U.S. would not support any move to non-democratic leadership. Sycip has responded by pointing to countries in the region with stronger leadership, such as Singapore, Malaysia, and China, claiming they have made more progress in improving their citizens’ well-being through non-democratic systems. Sycip has further argued that, in countries with per capita GDP under $3000, Western-style democracy leads to cronyism and corruption. He pointed out that two out of the last five presidents elected here have been removed from office by non-democratic means, leading him to conclude that the Philippine democratic process is choosing the “wrong” leaders. Of special concern was corruption in the judiciary up to and including the Supreme Court, which has destroyed the constitutional system of checks and balances.

¶3. (C) According to Sycip, First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo’s behavior, in particular, is damaging the credibility of the government and hinders President Arroyo’s ability to implement anti-corruption measures. Sycip claimed that Mike Arroyo is heavily involved in the illegal gambling or “jueteng” networks and closely connected with major smuggling syndicates (ref B). President Arroyo, according to Sycip, is aware of her husband’s misdeeds, but she is unwilling to do anything to curb his activities because he was instrumental in marshaling campaign donations and is now keeping those supporters in line to help her maintain her grip on power. X X X

¶4. (C) In response to complaints about corruption, President Arroyo agreed to form an advisory group, of which Sycip is a member. The group has advised the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) to abandon taxes on earnings and shift to taxing evidences of wealth because taxing expenditures “better suits” the Filipino character and will ensure better collection. It has advised the DOF (Department of Finance) to publicize the amount of VAT retailers collect and turn over to the government to dissuade underreporting. Sycip nonetheless has lamented that the GRP and PGMA, in particular, seem rarely to follow the advice of the group. X X X.

Click here to read the entire cable.

Understanding James Soriano beyond his terrible mistake

This post is not in defense of James Soriano.

Three or four weeks ago, the Filipino sensitivity has been put to test with Mideo Cruz’ blasphemous (that’s according to many) work of art called Poleteismo. A part of the Kulo exhibit, it divided our society between freedom of expression and respect for one’s belief.

When the senate inquiry on the Kulo exhibit sort of ended the public discussion on such topic, a certain James Soriano tickled that sensitive part of the Filipino pride and challenged our national stand of what the Filipino language truly represents in our country.

As part of the celebration of the Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month), Soriano wrote an essay that tackled the role that the Filipino language plays in Philippine society and in global commerce. This was published in Manila Bulletin, but after it received many negative reactions, the news agency thought that it might be better to remove the article.

Thanks to Google cache, it will forever exist in the world wide web.

If you have not read the essay, click here.

James Soriano made an awful mistake

I deferred my reaction on this issue because I was looking for the right reason why his essay was bollocks.

Facebookers, tweeps, and other netizens noted that James Soriano totally missed the point of having Filipino as a national identity, that he’s just a coño kid from La Salle with colonial mentality. (Coño is a Filipino slang term for rich kids who usually speak in English with a certain accent. The term is generally used as an insult rather than a compliment. On the other hand, De La Salle University arguably has the reputation of having rich and the most coñotic of students in the Philippines.)

Soriano argued against the use of Filipino as a language of trade, progress, technology, and global identity. He wrote with all arrogance (yes, arrogance) how he was raised to speak in English, how he grew up learning mathematics and science in English, how he prayed in English, and how he talked in Filipino only to speak with the manongs (referring to his driver/s), the tinderas (vendors), and the “katulongs (house maids) of this world”.

But then a certain Migs Bassig tried to analyze the grammar, word usage, etc. of James Soriano and found more than 30 errors.

The way James Soriano wrote his preference for English over Filipino as the language of the learned and how proud he was that English was his mother tongue were his greatest mistakes.

Click here to see the editing.

You see, if you truly believe that you are very good at something and you tell the world that you were born with that skill, make sure that you have truly mastered it.

When you say you can play piano since you were a very little kid and in fact learned to play some or all pieces only by ear, you have to make certain that when you play the first piece that you ever learned in front of a large audience, you should never hit any wrong key.

Now I don’t profess to be very, very proficient in English. In fact, every article I post in my blogs undergoes a lot of proofreading even after it has already been published. No one else checks my grammar, so there really are chances that I miss on something. Anyone may proofread my articles and I’d be glad to accept your comments.

(By the way Migs Bassig, in your proofreading of James Soriano’s essay, you indicated that instead of “on the jeepney”, it should be “in the jeepney”. I believe that when we are referring to a public vehicle, we should use the word “on” and “in” if a private vehicle; as in “get in the car” and “get on the bus.” Correct me if I’m wrong.)

Let’s not be hypocrites

Yes, that statement came from me – The Hypocrite.

Once again, let me come to the rescue of the persecuted as I did with Mideo Cruz.

First, this is another case of respecting one’s freedom of speech. We may not agree with James Soriano, but we must respect his thoughts on the Filipino language.

Let him show his disgust of it. He has the right to do so. Let us argue with his opinions, not defame his name and his person.

And for all purposes and intent, if we publish his essay, we stand by it; not because we agree with him, but because we defend his right to say his opinion. Especially if we are a news agency. Right, Manila Bulletin?

Now let me go to the substance of the essay.

While I am not emotionally affected by his message, I do think that the essay has been distastefully written.

But then, I truly believe that his arguments are perfectly valid. That is, of course, disregarding the way he badly conveyed his thoughts.

He did say some good points about Filipino, but that was after he insulted it and its users many times and before he finally spat on it by the end of his essay.

In my opinion, these were the points that James Soriano would like us to understand:

1. We were taught to learn English from kindergarten, even nursery (some even from infancy) so we could be globally competitive.

2. Isn’t it true that all the major subjects were taught in English? (Well, in the University of the Philippines, Filipino is the medium of instructions. That means that, except English and music that are under the same academic department, all subjects are taught in Filipino. That didn’t make UP students less globally competitive. But that’s a different topic.)

I just remembered: to those who studied in UP Integrated School, do you remember the Filipino terms we used in our sex education class to refer to “vas deferens” or to “fallopian tube”? Do you remember the time that we were asked what changes had been happening to us during puberty and we had to recite them in Filipino? I perfectly remember them and everytime I do, I smile.

3. Isn’t it true that Filipino is not generally used in the board room, operating room, court room, etc.? (FYI: The Philippine Constitution was originally written in English, but was mandated to be translated to Filipino, Arabic, Spanish, and other dialects and that in case of confusion, the English version shall prevail.)

4. Isn’t it true that in the outside world, that is, after college or when we start making our own living, the English language is an edge in the business world, while the Filipino language is a practical tool in the streets? Isn’t it true that English is a language of privilege?

Do we write reports in Filipino? Do we speak with the CEOs, the presidents, and the corporate directors in Filipino during meetings? No, but we do create casual and friendly relationships with them using the Filipino language. We speak with them in Filipino outside the board room, over lunch or snack or dinner, in the corridors talking about life or celebrities, in the elevators. If we ever speak in Filipino during meetings, it’s usually because we can’t think of appropriate English words for our thoughts.

Do you think you can be promoted to supervisory, managerial, and executive positions if your English sucks? Do you think it matters to JAZA, MVP, EL3, or OML if your mastery in Filipino is immaculate?

You perfectly know the answers to those questions.

5. Isn’t it true that we highly regard those who can speak very fluent English?

In fact, we even look down on those who can’t speak English very well and even insult those who try so hard to have an American accent, which I am personally guilty of. (I just hate Regine Velasquez and Jericho Rosales and their annoying twang. Can’t they speak English with a better diction?)

Can you easily accuse someone who speaks in perfect English with petty and poverty-driven crimes? We do equate non-proficiency in English with poverty and fluency of it with wealth. (I’ve already discussed this point in my previous post where I was almost accused of theft or robbery on a jeepney. Click here.)

6. James Soriano wanted us to realize that while we needed English to become globally competitive, we cannot erase the fact that the Filipino language –
     – is a language of identity (It makes us truly Filipino, especially with the words bayanihan, tagay, kilig, or diskarte; which don’t have exact translations in other languages.);
     – is a language of emotions and experience (“Mahal kita” is more romantic than “I love you” and “putang ina mo” is more disturbing than “you, son of a bitch”.);
     – is a living language (It is a system on its own and it continues to evolve.); and
     – most importantly, is a language that can be further develop to become a language of science, trade, business, politics, law, economics, progress, etc. (because we do know for a fact that it is currently not).

Then why are we offended by James Soriano’s essay?

I can think of only one reason: we, subconsciously, prefer admire the English language over the Filipino language and give the highest respects to proficient English speakers and insult to English suckers, but we expressly deny that fact, and that observation had to come from a coño kid, who we truly hate in this society where, although English is a primary an official language, only a few could write and speak in fluent English.

We hate the idea that a La Sallista represented us in our adoration of everything foreign, especially American.

Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa mabaho at malansang isda.” – Jose Rizal, Philippine national hero

(A man who does’t love his own language is worse than a stinking fish.)

In conclusion, let me use James Soriano’s own words: we are in a society of rotten beef and stinking fish. If you don’t accept that, you’re a hypocrite.

We have been thinking that James Soriano insulted us personally by attacking the Filipino language. But did we even notice his acknowledgement of his being rotten himself?

And with this comes the realization that I do, in fact, smell worse than a malansang isda (fetid fish). My own language is foreign to me: I speak, think, read and write primarily in English.

I guess not. Because we, ourselves, cannot grasp the thought that we are just as rotten as James Soriano. Or maybe we do, but accepting it is really hard.

And we hate to be compared with a coño.

Language, Learning, Identity, Privilege by James Soriano

This article was originally published on the website of the Manila Bulletin, but after it received negative comments, the news agency thought that it’s better to remove it. It used to be here. Hmmm….

Thanks to Google cache, the proof that Manila Bulletin did publish the article and suddenly deleted it will forever exist in the world wide web. See it here.

My comments after this post.
———-
Language, learning, identity, privilege
Ithink
By JAMES SORIANO

August 24, 2011, 4:06am
MANILA, Philippines — English is the language of learning. I’ve known this since before I could go to school. As a toddler, my first study materials were a set of flash cards that my mother used to teach me the English alphabet.

My mother made home conducive to learning English: all my storybooks and coloring books were in English, and so were the cartoons I watched and the music I listened to. She required me to speak English at home. She even hired tutors to help me learn to read and write in English.

In school I learned to think in English. We used English to learn about numbers, equations and variables. With it we learned about observation and inference, the moon and the stars, monsoons and photosynthesis. With it we learned about shapes and colors, about meter and rhythm. I learned about God in English, and I prayed to Him in English.

Filipino, on the other hand, was always the ‘other’ subject — almost a special subject like PE or Home Economics, except that it was graded the same way as Science, Math, Religion, and English. My classmates and I used to complain about Filipino all the time. Filipino was a chore, like washing the dishes; it was not the language of learning. It was the language we used to speak to the people who washed our dishes.

We used to think learning Filipino was important because it was practical: Filipino was the language of the world outside the classroom. It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed “sundo na.”

These skills were required to survive in the outside world, because we are forced to relate with the tinderas and the manongs and the katulongs of this world. If we wanted to communicate to these people — or otherwise avoid being mugged on the jeepney — we needed to learn Filipino.

That being said though, I was proud of my proficiency with the language. Filipino was the language I used to speak with my cousins and uncles and grandparents in the province, so I never had much trouble reciting.

It was the reading and writing that was tedious and difficult. I spoke Filipino, but only when I was in a different world like the streets or the province; it did not come naturally to me. English was more natural; I read, wrote and thought in English. And so, in much of the same way that I learned German later on, I learned Filipino in terms of English. In this way I survived Filipino in high school, albeit with too many sentences that had the preposition ‘ay.’

It was really only in university that I began to grasp Filipino in terms of language and not just dialect. Filipino was not merely a peculiar variety of language, derived and continuously borrowing from the English and Spanish alphabets; it was its own system, with its own grammar, semantics, sounds, even symbols.

But more significantly, it was its own way of reading, writing, and thinking. There are ideas and concepts unique to Filipino that can never be translated into another. Try translating bayanihan, tagay, kilig or diskarte.

Only recently have I begun to grasp Filipino as the language of identity: the language of emotion, experience, and even of learning. And with this comes the realization that I do, in fact, smell worse than a malansang isda. My own language is foreign to me: I speak, think, read and write primarily in English. To borrow the terminology of Fr. Bulatao, I am a split-level Filipino.

But perhaps this is not so bad in a society of rotten beef and stinking fish. For while Filipino may be the language of identity, it is the language of the streets. It might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned.

It is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege. I may be disconnected from my being Filipino, but with a tongue of privilege I will always have my connections.

So I have my education to thank for making English my mother language.