Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Childhood-Revisited

Somewhere in time, but not too long ago; the word “Internet” was still an alien word. Computers were perceived to be chunks of machines that performed sophisticated work for governments and big companies. Robots and remote controls were starting to ring a bell thanks to the television, but the boob tube still has to prove its worth to the eyes of the ordinary kid.

What was supposed to be worst back then for being a child was to be stuck in one corner of the house while the rest of their playmates are out having fun. We loved staying under the sun so much that we would draw images of the sun on the ground to scare away the patches of rain clouds that would threaten it. The more and the bigger we make, the more effective it gets. Yes! Basking in the sun was the order of the day. If you are blessed to grow in a tropical country where one doesn’t have to worry about frost bites, then you will know what I mean.

I was raised in a small part of a town where the sugar cane fields are bare and dry in the summer time. We had different kinds of trees teeming with fruits and crystal clear streams flowed by. As a child I was both timid and sociable. I can either play alone with my favourite toy soldiers, or I can join with some other youth in the neighbourhood. Some of the kids were handy in making improvised toys. One guy I knew of fashioned slingshots, guns, tag-a-longs, airplanes, etc. out of woods, cans or papers. Me, I was different. I brought along my Japanese-made electronic robot, race car models, automatic machine guns (with matching helmet), NASA moon rover, yet we managed to play peacefully somehow.

Poorer countries usually do not have designated play grounds especially beyond the cities limits and towns but we never complained about it. Instead, we frolic in the fields of the wide open country spaces where the grasses are greener, alive with different kinds of insects and animals. Under the clear blue skies we would chase dragon flies, butterflies, lizards, and grasshoppers until we were all tired. They come in blue, green, red, yellow differing in sizes, wingspan and shapes. These winged creatures would hover over the grass as if enticing us more to catch them.

Children really never run out of games, songs and rhymes. Most are native to us while others are foreign in origin. We played to our heart's content (without getting sunburn, killed or maimed) playing siyato (a stick game), taguan (hide and seek), sikyo (hide and seek with tag), tumbang preso (prisoner defending a base), ocho ( chase game in the form of 8), kuryente (tag and freeze), pitik-bulag (finger flick with action guessing), rubber bands, text cards, sipa (ancient kick ball), going to market, lag-lag panyo (hanky dropping behind a circle of players), patintero (a game of tag from square perimeters), luksong-tinik (jump over torns), luksong-baka (jump over a cow), Jack en Poy (scissors and papers with a song), kapitang-bakod ( chasing fences), touching ball (a form of dodge ball), piko (hopscotch), espada (fencing), and pa-gulong (tires).

Children back then were also pretty ingenious on inventing more games and adventures for the hot summer nights. Dusk meant we would hunt for the elusive golden cicadas that made loud buzzing sounds from the trees. We would climb to trace the source of the sound from tree to tree and once we find it, we patiently scratch with our forefingers the tree trunk. For some reasons the poor thing would crawl down to its captivity.

Although not too many children are allowed to play extra-hours in the night, a few brave souls would dare escape home and be frivolous under the full moon to engage in a dreaded form of hide and seek called Bimbiw. Now, if you are the unfortunate one to be designated as the “It” that guards the home base which was a huge Acacia tree, then you got to have the nerves of steel to look for the players in the dark while at the same time keeping an eye on your base known to house several creatures that lurk in the night. Most often than not, it turned out, the players were way fast asleep in their homes while the poor guy diligently defended his base. Yes, there were also memorable nights when we would marvel at the fireflies illuminating like Christmas trees in December. Catching a bunch and placing them inside ventilated jars quickly turned them into glowing lamps that float in the dark.

Where else in the world would kids be playing with spiders? We don't run away from these arachnids. We enjoyed them like you would your PS3s nowadays, minus the swearing and the killing of course. Housed in match boxes, each gladiator is separated by a spiral divider. Their fighting prowess and agility on the sticks was awesome, and battling with the best around different neighbourhoods could even take days.

Summer time was also synonymous with fiestas, good food, games, parties, travel and before you know it the rainy season has come and the school season opens once more. But this never dampened our spirits as kids. We even welcomed the coming of the rain quite in advance better than our government weather station. How? Soon as the June bug starts to fly upon the tree tops. Children have different ways of playing with these lovely creatures. Aside from our favourite beetle wrestling, we tie their small bodies with strings and made them fly round and round like remote controlled toys. Heavy downpours also meant getting soak in the rain running around with other kids as parents watch with envy from their windows.
As a grown up man I recall all of these with a smile. My childhood “battle” scars will always remind me of the best days of my life when it was always fun to be young, carefree, energetic, and innocent. The only thing that would bother you about most as a child is, “so much to play, so little time”.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sauteed Humans

I was driving at dawn today when I noticed the usual fleet of cars lined-up like ants criss-crossing different directions racing to beat the clock for work. I told myself, "..geessh!.. is this really what life is all about?" Should humans really have to work most of their healthy lives in order to meet their needs? In a truly humane civilization, is there really some other way to subsist?

All over the world people have the same routine day in and out. Starting at the break of day most of us would wake up for our morning rituals. We take quick breakfasts; head for work; rush home; cook and eat dinner; breed and sleep en masse. Our day's-off from work are no different at all. We spend our weekends shopping at huge malls; our supercentres swarmed with bargain hunters; intertwined freeways endlessly stream with vehicles; packed theme parks anesthetize our flagging spirits; we consume supersized combos in fastfood chains; and amazingly, we are required to worship our gods in throngs. Each day seem to be an endless mass-production of sorts from the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Since modern societies rely on economies in order to survive; we are condemned since birth to participate in this never ending cycle of social system however dubitable it maybe. But, the problem arises from the difference between the goals of the capitalist and the proliterian. The former invests to earn more money, while the latter works for money in order to live. Today, billions of workers live their healthy lives confined in the four walls of factories and offices while a few enjoy the God-endowed riches of this world.

Since our meager pays these days are never enough to catch up with the ever changing technology and the increasing price of commodities, we spend and loan more money causing us to work longer hours. For instance, to be mobile between different points we need car loans to buy cars. We secure mortgages to live in houses we seldom stay because we are too pre-occupied with toiling. Mind you most of this bankers are bureaucratic monopoly capitalists who own the large markets and controls its movements. They are masters in maneuvering politcal machineries who ironically their subjugates bestow them government seats where they grow the claws of power that corrupts and abuses.
To further feed their greed, they create conditions of fear, hatred, and uncertainty among nations resulting in un-employment, poverty and fewer jobs. With scarcer employment around, people are recruited as soldiers and before you know it your sons and daughters are off to a war they never truly understand in the name of "freeedom and democracy". Meanwhile, you profess your nationalism by displaying your flag at your porch and affixing car bumper stickers emblazoned with words "We support our troops!" as your children bomb, and shoot innocent civilians in a far away land with no remorse as if all of these are just a game. With trouble brewing between waring countries, your factory assembly lines run full steam producing tanks, airplanes, and bullets that kills the weak and glorifies the rich.
In silence, inside a cavernous church, with your hands clasped, your head vowed down and your teary eyes closed, you kneel down before your God fervently beseeching the almighty to punish the "evil" nations, and that all things be well as the blarring speakers of the pulpit echo in your ears "love and forgiveness". As these transpire in this small world we live, the "reptilians" -scaly but exquisitely adorned with their finest gold and shimmering jewelries dine in style inside their stately mansions -wriggling with their own kind. Amidst the symphony of music and laughter, they plan to stage their next move. Their main course for the night? Sauteed humans!

Farewell Pa and Ma

One can replace a son or a daughter but, never a father and a mother. I have tried so many times figuring what to say about the two source of my physical being - my biological mom and dad. It gives me so much pain thinking my expression of affection and gratefulness to them is never suffice to pay back the love they gave for their children. Mama (64), passed away silently in her sleep during the first lunar month of 2007; Papa (73, while still bearing the pain of losing his lifetime partner suffered a stroke, and died during a Christmas shopping the same year.

People say children are lend by God to parents. Now I say, parents are lend by God to be their children’s guardian angels and should never be taken for granted before it’s too late. Today, as I lie down in this lonely evening unplugged from the rest of the world, my thought shouts for so many questions. Have the souls of my dear parent's reached the gates of heaven; are they at peace with God? Could they just be beside me carefully reading the lines I write about them? Could they be in another time or dimension where awaiting a giant spaceship that takes the soul of our departed loved ones onto a distant part of the cosmos where the Pharaos and Kings are destined to be for their eternal life? Which level could have they achieve out of the seven heavens? Would they still know me if we ever meet someday?

When things go wrong and nothing seems to be right any more, I find solace in immersing my soul in the land of Hades where there seems to be more life than the world of the living. Within its bounds life flashes back as streams of memories outpour imprinted by what used to be their earthly vessels. My parents taught us not only love and forgiveness, but humility in every triumph, courage in adversity, and compassion when there is pain.

Mama was a strong-willed person who never held any degree affixed to her name but still managed the very best out of her life's vocation. Oh how comforting it is recalling her sweet lullabies. Mom taught me how to appreciate the beauty of mornings when God showers daily graces upon the earth for those who would rise up early and seek graces. I also learned from her how to value the beauty of nature where we can get life's simple but priceless pleasures.

Papa, as we fondly called our dad, was an intelligent and compassionate human being. He was loved by many especially by people he worked with. He has an open heart for those in need and never lost his belief that someday his country is going to be great again. He loved music (and singing) so much that on his last day he was playing our favourite Christmas songs of childhood (a daily ritual in our house that everyone in our neighbourhood can attest to due to its loudness!).

No blog is enough to put all the wonderful things one can say about anyone’s parents. After losing both within one year, my life is shattered to pieces. Their passing away was so unexpected and so sudden that I don't even have the tears any more in their funerals.

Since all Life comes from God, I think I have no right to question their demise for I am just a minuscule and insignificant spec in the vast expanse of this multi-layered Universe. Perhaps, it would be best to think that we never really lost them at all, assuming there is indeed life after death. Where they are now is where I am right now –right here in my heart and mind. They will always be a part of me as long as I live. I and my siblings are a union of them in marriage. Genetically, they are us and we are a part of them. Knowing that, I am at peace just as when I was a little child comfortable in my crib.

As I follow the same path my parents journeyed in this life, their love will shine through guiding us like a torch in the night through the remaining years of our lives. We love you Ma and Pa. Thank You so much for raising us in this world and showing the real beauty of it. Life is indeed short but sweet. Farewell...farewell our beloved flesh and blood. See you again. Thank You for the sweet and everlasting memories of our lives. :*)

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Heart That Beats

Tell Me not to make poems
Tell me not to make rhymes
I don't know how to make any
I don't know how to make one

Ask me not to make verses
Ask me not to make hymns
For I am such a crazy person
Who can't even whistle a tune

I'll never be a poet
No never shall I be,
For I don't even have sweet words
To express my love to thee..

Shakespeare has a honey tongue
I got a soul that is neat
But there is one thing we have in common,
I too, have a heart that beats!

Sunrise Addict

I am a sunrise addict. As a young boy living in the countryside, I often times would wake up early in the morning while half of the whole world is fast asleep. I would rise from my bed, fix it up, hurry my way down to the front door, and sit on the steps. Everything is in cathedral silence as I can still see the clouds covering the mountains, and the virgin dews on the ground on which no living creature hasn't stepped yet. Then I would gaze at the fading stars, and look at the moonlight, as the dry-crisp cool air touches my body.

The dusk had stolen theworld I would say, but I have faith the sun will come back to bring us the dawn of a new-born day. The flowers are a-bloom, the birds flap their feathers like tiny beat of cherub's wings, the rooster gives its defiant crow, while the crickets perform their last cacophony of music. But ah, I can see now my faithful friend who never fails to appear beyond those hills. Her round golden-red color begins to take form as it rises up to the blue skies. Shadows start to appear behind the pageantry of trees, and I can feel now her warmness.

Oh glorious sun, my only one. If I can just touch you, and hold you close to my heart. I wish you knew how immense are my feelings for you. Yet you are millions of miles away from me, and sometimes those dark clouds would take you from my sight, still I fear nothing. Nothing in this world but the power of the night can separate me from you now. And yes, God created the oceans and the seas for you to set-in as the day ends. But the mountains and the hills have always been there waiting for you to rise, and for me to sit all alone here on this lovely morning to wonder upon you, and sigh.

May 1982