Sunday, November 14, 2021

Mama’s Story: A Marriage Sealed With A Kiss

(Written by Cymark Ferdinand Mirasol. As requested by Cynia P. Mirasol for her 66th Birthday)

The pendulum swing of values throughout human history is a fact of objective reality – but Marx and Engels were wrong about their prospective vision. The pendulum will never stop because a perfect system does not and cannot exist simply because of the inherently chaotic and indomitably rebellious nature of humanity itself.

On a smaller scale, I have been fortunate enough to experience the dynamic nature of human values as it has swung from one side to the other several times during my 60+ years of existence. It really drives home the reality that in the grand scale of the universe, we are all just microscopic particles clutching onto delusions of grandeur about our own scale of influence and power.

Far detached from these grandiose thoughts, this is a story of a simpler time. A time when the ruling paradigm of human values in the Philippines was ridiculously conservative: this is the story of my Mama a story of marriage from a stolen kiss.

My Mama, Delia Dela Cruz (eventually Paguntalan), was the 2nd child in a family of 9 consisting of 6 boys and 3 girls. She was always considered the kindest and the most obedient and well-respected among her siblings. In other words, she was loved.

This was a time when parents and their children strictly observed the natural order of social hierarchy within the family. The parents, at the very top, were given the utmost respect by their children. Meanwhile, among the siblings, no one ever dared to question the authority of the eldest child. Just as in modern times, sometimes this ultra-conservative setup worked and sometimes it didn’t. In the case of Mama’s family, everything turned out just fine.

Mama lived out her childhood and teenage years during the 1920s and her adult years in the 1940s and beyond. As far as the Philippines was concerned, the pendulum swing of societal values was very much far into the conservative rightmost side – and of course, the Philippines being largely Catholic, this was the norm and was widely accepted by almost everyone. 

Mama and Daddy had known each other almost all their lives. While they were never classmates because Daddy was two years older, they at least lived in the same district of Molo. The truth is that Mama never had eyes for Daddy and only knew him as an acquaintance.

On the other hand, Daddy always had a crush on Mama but he was always too shy to confess. 

Mama would often recall this story to us, her kids and every single time, it never failed to make us laugh because of how ridiculous it sounded to us, who were born in a different decade when women were starting to become more empowered.

One day, while Daddy was playing volleyball along with his buddies, Mama was passing by on her way home from school. It was at this moment that Daddy decided to take his destiny into his own hands and seal his fate with his crush – with a kiss.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, Daddy simply rushed over and kissed Mama on the lips. 

Mama was shocked. She shouted “hudas” at her oppressor and immediately ran home crying. She felt that her honor and dignity had been severely violated – very much like how women would react nowadays to having their virginity taken by force.

For days, she would not leave the house and would spend her time in her room crying and recalling the vivid details of what had happened in her head. Modern individuals would see this as naïve – I like to see it as more of a reflection of the times. It’s hard to foster modern progressive rainbow colored values in your head when you didn’t have anyone to tell you about them and constantly reassure you of the overinflated importance of your own existence. At that time, you had yourself, your real-life friends, and your family – and if they drew from the same experiences as you did, then they would most likely hold the same values that you did.

A few days later, Daddy, along with his parents visited Mama’s family in order to formally propose marriage in order to make amends for stealing Mama’s precious first kiss. Nowadays, people might think that this is an exaggeration. After all, who gets married – staking their lives on a stolen kiss? Hello! It’s 2021 – but it wasn’t 2021. It was sometime in the 1930s and things were very different.

So yes, Mama accepted the proposal and they were married after a few discussions and arrangements. 

In the end, they didn’t have a perfect relationship. Daddy was an alcoholic who was sometimes verbally abusive to Mama as well as physically abusive to us, their children. Yet there were glimpses of a debonair and caring gentleman beneath the constant stench of alcohol and his endless vocabulary of Spanish expletives.

Meanwhile, Mama, despite her brilliance as a well-respected teacher, was always submissive to Daddy no matter what because she wanted to keep the family intact.

Honestly, I am not even certain where love factors in into their relationship. From a pragmatic standpoint, I never saw this. Despite my own misgivings however, they somehow made it work. Their marriage somehow held strong for over 5 decades until death separated them. That’s probably a few decades more than some of you have been alive. I’d like to believe that much is worth something at least.

This is my Mama’s story. A story separated from the reality of the modern world by the barriers of time. An ordinary story of a less than ideal marriage -- sealed with a kiss.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Happy Birthday Hayate Ayasaki - 11.11

 Happy Birthday, Hayate Ayasaki -- former butler turned boyfriend of Nagi. You may not have had the best of luck, but you certainly hit the jackpot in the end. Also, he was born in 1988. He's in his thirties now. He old. 

Also, I might update this post with new images later. Current one is a quick sketch on my LCD writing tablet -- that I should review pretty soon.

Oh, and I finally removed adsense from my blog, by the way. I mean, like I've had it on for nearly a decade and I've never had a single payout anyway.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Mediocrity of the Filipino - An Anecdote by lordcloudx

Why do we Filipinos often become the butt of the joke in many an online meme and why do we act like we're proud of it? It's like the modern iteration of the infamous "crab mentality."

We make fun of ourselves and make fun of other Filipinos and our own mediocrity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

If we don't respect ourselves, then how can we expect the rest of the world to do so?

The next presidential elections won't resolve anything. Not if we don't change the way we think. In my honest opinion, we need to revamp our culture. Keep what works, discard what doesn't. Keep it simple like Bruce Lee's philosophy.

I believe that the best lessons in life are always drawn from personal experience and not from cold, unfeeling statistics. The experience is different at ground level -- no matter what mathematics might say from a statistical analyst's standpoint.

Here's an anecdote about the mediocrity of the Filipino mindset: 

I had my bike serviced at a local repair shop. The service guy broke my brand-new dual kickstand by accident. 

The owner kept quiet and didn't do anything about it. I was charged for the services and parts like it was business as usual -- for the owner, it was.

I am the customer, it should not have been my duty to do so, but I had to do it myself. I asked the owner of the shop to give me something to compensate for the damage and she agreed and asked me to choose anything. I chose some new handles. The guy who broke the kickstand said he'd buy them himself because the owner was going to take it out of his pay anyway. I refused.

Why, you might ask?

Legally, I am entitled to be compensated since I am the customer and the damage was not due to my own negligence.

Legally, the owner has the right to make the deduction up to a certain extent since the damage was due to the employee's negligence.  

These are crystal clear -- at least from a legal standpoint.

The problem is that with small businesses like these, the employees already receive such a paltry sum and rely only on tips for additional compensation that it would be morally unfair for me to stake my claim no matter what. Furthermore, I can afford to buy a new dual kickstand from Shopee/Lazada (since they are not available locally).

Still, it would have been more prudent of the owner of the establishment to absorb the losses herself and at least offer to compensate me in cash for the damages. 

Unfortunately, this is how unprofessional these small businesses do things here in the Philippines in GENERAL. They merely go by established traditions which sometimes results in corrupt business practices.

On a bit of a tangent, this is why no new president or any other political leader is going to make any significant impact here UNLESS  that person is willing to make wide-sweeping reforms from the ground up in order to:

1. Educate business owners as well as employees on the proper and professional conduct of business as well as their corresponding rights and obligations

2. Aggressively crack down on corrupt and unprofessional business practices.

3. Initiate a widespread campaign to correct the culture of corruption and indolence that has become endemic to the Filipino people. 

We have a chance. People ARE starting to understand that we don't live in a bubble anymore. We are citizens of the world and we need to act as such with dignity and self-respect. 

Stop looking down on yourself and passive-aggressively thinking "Pilipino lang tayo" while maliciously attempting to one-up others.

Start doing things correctly. Respect the queue, respect social distancing, don't be maliciously rude and disrespectful to random strangers. Focus on improving yourself and your own situation and stop drawing comparisons with other people.

We're not mediocre Filipinos -- not if we don't choose to be.

Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me (Dreamcast): A VIsual Novel Review by Mid-Tier Guard

To Derek Pascarella, Marshal Wong, Duralumin, Lewis Cox, Piggy, Nico, Danthrax4, Lacquerware, EsperKnight, SnowyAria, VincentNL, cyo, and Ha...