Sunday, January 31, 2010

call for submission of manuscripts to the 49th silliman university national writers workshop

The Silliman University National Writers Workshop is now accepting applications for the 49th National Writers Workshop to be held 3-21 May 2010 in Dumaguete City.

This Writers Workshop is offering fifteen fellowships to promising young writers who would like a chance to hone their craft and refine their style. Fellows will be provided housing, a modest stipend, and a subsidy to partially defray costs of their transportation.

To be considered, applicants should submit manuscripts in English on or before 19 March 2010 (seven to ten poems; or three to five short stories; or three to five creative non-fiction essays). Manuscripts should be submitted in hard copy and on CD, preferably in MS Word, together with a resume, a recommendation letter from a literature professor or a writer of national standing, a notarized certification that the works are original, and two 2X2 ID pictures.

Send all applications or requests for information to Department of English and Literature, attention Dr. Evelyn F. Mascuñana, Chair, Silliman University, 6200 Dumaguete City.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the rainbow has no color

Just when I thought nothing could have been more primitive than the mindless Ampatuan murder in Maguindanao, I’ve read an article in The New York Times last Sunday on the proposal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 in Uganda.

In a country where it is considered that “the gay movement is an evil institution,” fully backed up by police officers, politicians and even teachers, it is appalling to know such collective understanding that is not only discriminating but atrocious.

Atrocious is a strong word but there’s nothing more apt than this if the proposed bill imposes death sentence on everyone who exhibits homosexual behavior.

This would obviously lead to homosexual Ugandans to go back to their agonizing closets but that is another story. What would be my concern here is the fact on how little the majority of Ugandans see now of human life.The United States government sets forth human rights, hoping to stir up some minds of the principles’ presence but, as mocking as the title that is linked to its name, minister of ethics and integrity James Nsaba Buturo have simply said in conviction: “Homosexuals can forget about human rights.”

Well, there goes reasoning.

The statement is starkly cruel, and this must explain the hate stoked in many families of Uganda, which subsequently leads to many beatings, blackmails, death threats and all forms of discrimination to Ugandan gays and lesbians. And purporting that the only goal of homosexuals is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity” is not helpful.

This hatred has even lead to horrendous incidents. In the same article mentioned earlier, one gay rights activist said that “she was pinned down in a guava orchard and raped by a farmhand who wanted to cure her of her attraction to girls.” With this so-called correctional rape, she was only impregnated and infected with H.I.V. She approached her grandmother, perhaps for consolation, but she got this answer: “You are too stubborn.”

Injustice is not only the Ugandans’ concern. It is also in our country. Late last year, Commission on Elections (Comelec) has once again refused to register the party-list accreditation of Ang Ladlad—an organization of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders led by college professor and writer Danton Remoto—for the coming elections. No issue could’ve ensued if the basis for rebuffing is deficiency of requirements or the likes, but the ruling is based on the list as follows:

“The ‘ANG LADLAD’ apparently
advocates sexual immorality as indicated in the Petition’s par. 6F: ‘Consensual
partnerships or relationships by gays and
“(2) serve no other purpose but to
satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography; (3) offend any race or
religion; (4) tend to abet traffic in and use of prohibited drugs; and (5) are
contrary to law, public order, morals and good customs, established policies,
lawful orders, decrees and edicts;
“(3) Those who shall sell, give
away or exhibit films, prints, engravings, sculpture or literature which are
offensive to morals. (As amended by PD Nos. 960 and 969).”
It is not hard to imagine that the Comelec deems no importance to human rights too. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) points that, “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

Because of this, I can only gather that the Comelec shares the same brain cells with the seething Ugandans.

The news on Uganda and the Comelec has struck a wrong chord in me. After all the merrymaking during the yuletide season, I have only fathomed the fact that our lives in this very sad world is like a stubborn lint—you keep on pushing it off your sleeve but it is still there.

One day, I sent a message regarding the situation in Uganda to people I know would have a take on this. There’s one who responded in an instant, saying “These things are happening to keep the fight going.” I commend her for a half-full glass perception.

The trajectory of enlightenment is already at its peak, yes, but I have forgotten that like many trajectories it goes down, plummeting into the depths. Is this the happening we are facing right now? I could only hope it is not, thinking this could just be an airplane’s flight encountering an air pocket.

For now, I can only sense that nothing is certain. But in all likelihood, the rainbow would surely lose it colors soon if this blindness pervades.

Friday, January 01, 2010

some sense

I’ve gathered from a news report that incidents of victims who are shot from the poetic-sounding but nonetheless dangerous ligaw na bala have risen, from 17 cases across the country (2008-2009) to 26 (2009-2010).

The missing number between the two data is still big.

There must be logic behind these happenings. My guess is simple. Various organizations have strengthened their campaigns against setting off firecrackers when anticipating the coming new year, or at least burn money with the lesser evil like a fountain, so people opt to go for the most sensible form of celebration: drinking. Yes, the activity that involves lots and lots of alcohol that ranges from 6.5 to 7.2 per bottle, or depending on what kind.

After this semi-mandatory family-slash-friends affair, the pivotal reason to the rising number of deaths and wounded from the lost bullet (because it’s called ligaw na bala, diba?) comes next. People, in the end, get drunk. Obviously, those with guns, licensed or not, especially those who go beyond their sanity’s control, reach for their guns and pull the trigger. Bang!

In simpler words: No putok. Gets drink. Gets drunk. Big putok.

I say the precautionary measures must be lifted a notch higher.