Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the rain last night

Grasses flattened on their roots, great lengths of streets flooded, varying articles of clothing spread everywhere, concrete road signs toppled, walls crumbled, trunks and branches of once sturdy trees fell on the ground.

Apocalyptic, it was a scene of total disarray, the moment I went out of the house early to avoid the morning rush to work. And all of that in a place I thought was secure. Well, nothing was secure in the wake of Basyang (international name: Conson). Yes, it’s signal number two in Metro Manila.

In my bed last night, turning over and over again sleepless, I thought, if I could hear the troubling clanging of my neighbors’ roofs right now, what about the shanties and those homeless people? It made me more restless. The howling of the wind and lashing of the rain on my windows were not helping either.

Now here I am in the office, trying to recollect the whirlwind of postulations that gave me three hours of rest last night, trying to rub off the temptation of sleep in my eyes. It’s back to reality, they say.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


They are seldom racing cyclists
and are largely innocent

of the working of the petrol engine.
They are, however, comfortable in taxis.

They are abroad in the small hours
and will seek out the caustic blue liqueur

that you purchased in Majorca
for comedy reasons, and will rise late.

There are whole streets
where their work is not known.

a father in the army

and the distance to the next farm
made them solitary.

Their pets
were given elaborate funerals.

No one understands them.
They are inordinately proud of this

for they have shunned
the brotherhood

of the post room
and the hair salon.

They write a word
and then another word.

It is usually wrong.
Their crossings out are legion.

They sit in trains
and pass through cotton towns at nightfall,

conscious of the shape of cranes
on the violet sky

and how the poured creamer
pleats and billows in their coffee,

and how both of these things
whisper, softly, ‘Death.’

- Mark Haddon

Sunday, July 04, 2010

there's not much to hate

Except for those who have witnessed the incident one early afternoon, I have never shared this to anyone:

I remember being told by a teacher, no less than inside the classroom, in front of my classmates, that I would not succeed in anything I would do. It’s too early to tell but what I can clearly share is that this teacher now is a drifting unemployed mote.

Yes, I have my own share on the plate of the bitter pie but, as far as I can remember, not in such scale. I cannot stoop that low when it comes to broadcasting a person’s fate, a dark fate that is—just for the heck of it.

Especially that the statement came from a teacher made it all the more striking. My own mother is a teacher and I couldn’t picture her saying that to a student, especially someone who’s a few years away from plucking a course in mind for college.

This account was posted in Facebook and what a number of responses I got. It turned out I was not the only one assaulted with scholarly omens.

I’ve had a similar experience... with my high school principal, no less.

I’ve had teachers (mostly in high school) who would belittle me.

Di naman ako inapi like you, but I do remember when my other classmates were ‘upgraded’ to “one potato, two potatoes” and I was stuck in “bird’s fly bears don’t” workbook dahil di ako magaling magbasa or something.

Alarming, really, to learn that in different regions of this country, in places where knowledge, self-assurance and competence are fortified, some working men labeled as teachers ironically pull these very things away from a student.

In my case specifically, this teacher of mine would always find the littlest mistake in all the things that I do, in a not-so-constructive way. “Why did you draw this with a black ballpen?” he asked with a frown. In my mind, I could’ve illustrated it with watercolor, you know.

He could point that out, especially that most of us in class passed the assignment in pencil, but I could also point out that there were no provided specifications or rules. The instruction simply said copy this instrument. Good thing I didn’t have a camera right then and there to take a picture of it.

No matter what explanation I had in my defense, it was my fault, assuming he hated the fibers of my existence. Fine, my mistake, let’s move on.

The succeeding encounters did puncture my buoyant floaters. Luckily, I was able to forget the dramatic saga altogether and graduated. I followed, though not that easily, the path I wanted to trek on, and found my steps towards a few triumphs. As for those who responded in the Facebook post, I pondered on their names and, wow, there are far from quacking ducks. In fact, they’re the few people I highly regard.

That’s why I’ve always loved this statement from my college teacher/mentor: “You gotta love haters. Because they push you to do even better than you thought you could.”

This time, I don’t think my high school would like to talk more about success already.