In the Eyes of a Kid

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Look at the picture above, what do you see?

The photo was taken from the book “The Little Prince”. The picture is supposed to be of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. When I first saw it from the book, it didn’t register in my mind as a boa, not even as a hat, as some grown-ups would perceive. For me it was just a lump of an indistinguishable object that did not matter at all. It’s the kind that I wouldn’t have to look again and be curious about. I was already a grown-up when I read “The Little Prince” so maybe I had an excuse. Probably when I was a little younger – when I still didn’t think of career, money and the future – I could have guessed what it really was.

The book struck a chord. I could remember that when I was a kid, I used to draw, tend the garden, smell the roses, gaze at the stars, watch the trees as they move past, count sheep from the cloud formation, catch dragon flies, pick up shells from the beach, feel the rain, roll over the grasses and run around barefoot.

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I used to see the world as the drawing above. In my mind as a kid, the sun rises from the mountains and illuminates the world with its rays. Clouds are cotton candies, which float over the world. Rice is planted over acres and acres of land. Flowers bloom everywhere. Mangoes are shaped like half-hearts and coconuts are circles of life. No complications – everything can be drawn by a series of lines and curves. Looking at the drawing now, I would say that the lines are not straight, circles are not perfect, asymmetrical, with no sense of perspective and the real objects do not appear as depicted. But when I was a kid, I thought that the picture was beautiful.

Then I was told by the adults to stop drawing because my notebooks were for the more important lessons. And I was told that I could not run around as a kid because I need to study for the exams. I needed to concentrate if I wanted a bright future. I did. Slowly I forgot how to be a kid – I stopped to wonder and be amazed at the little things around me because they are of little importance. Science, Math and English were far more important if I want to go far in my life.

Graduated from primary, secondary and university then landed a job. Moved from job to job to get a higher pay. Just like a drone guided by something else other than myself. Just like the passenger described in the book “Constantly rushing from one place to another aboard trains, never satisfied with where they were and not knowing what they were after.”

With Technology, everything is within reach. However, everything is out of reach as well. Life became easy, but because of this, we tend to take things for granted. How many could remember the real smell of roses from the garden? Not the kind you smell from a perfume bottle or flower shops. When was the last time you look up to see the Big Dipper? When was the last time you took notice of the soft rustling of the leaves or the waves crashing into the cliffs? When was the last time you enjoyed running around with no care about how ugly you look with your messy hair and sweaty face? When was the last time you sang to your heart’s content, not really knowing the exact lyrics? Most of us have become wheels – pushed forward, rolling constantly, worn out by friction – not seeing, not caring. Most of us are drawn by the trivialities in this world – latest about the Kardashians or Britney or Lindsay or Paris, marriage of the Prince, mansions of Hollywood actors, break ups/reconciliations of some celebrities, most expensive car, latest fashion – momentary distractions. Then we move on. We really do not care much at all – we, grown-ups.

We seldom see any sparkle in the eyes of the adults as we normally see in the eyes of the kids. Little kids light up when they see that their parents are home. They laugh at small things. They cry when they’re hurt. They forgive. They’re amazed at so many things. They ask a million questions about the world. They dream.

In the eyes of the kids, at least in my eyes when I was a kid, life is beautiful and the world is full of wonderful things, possibilities and magic.

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Gates of Hell, is it not?

Just a few days ago, the social media is abuzz with politics. People were belittling each other for the outcome of the election; we were judging each other’s decision-making capability. Topics range from the politicians – Binay, Estrada, Poe, Villar, Dick, etc. – to the “masa” and the uneducated/uninformed. We argued. We tried to make our point. Tempers flared when our opinions clashed with somebody else’s.

At some point; however, we agreed that there is something wrong with the situation in the Philippines — poverty is staring right back at us, crimes remain unresolved, overpopulation and pollution in cities — the list could go on and on.

And here comes Dan Brown’s Inferno novel, supposedly calling Manila as “Gates of Hell”. It just did not go well with most of us.

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The book is just a work of fiction. But, how come it struck a chord? Is it because deep inside we know at some point that it is true? It is hard for us to accept if someone points things to us that we do not want to acknowledge. It is not that we are blind not to see. The biggest probability is we do but we choose not to. Or, we are so used to the reality that we accept it and will not do anything about it. It would also take some perspective and comparison to see things as they are. I am not sure which is more tragic – not knowing things or ignoring them?

It was reported that our own MMDA chair Francis Tolentino sent a letter to Brown to protest on what was written on the novel.

“While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis. We are displeased of how you have used Manila as a venue and source of a character’s breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity.”

I am yet to read the book but the passage is supposed to be as below:

“(W)hen the group settled in the city of Manila—the most densely populated city on earth—she could only gasp in horror. She had never seen poverty on this scale. For every one person Sienna fed, there were hundreds more who gazed at her with desolate eyes. Manila had six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade whose workers consisted primarily of young children…. All around her she could see humanity overrun by its primal instinct for survival. When they face desperation… human beings become animals.

“‘I’ve run through the gates of hell.’”

Are we to read the passage above as it is or there is something more in between the lines? What is hell? What is evil?

When I was a kid, I was taught that I should do good things; otherwise, I will burn in hell. Coming from a Catholic country, I am sure Filipinos are well familiar with that teaching. Hell is portrayed as a never-ending ocean of flames where all the sinners will burn. Evil has dominion over this place. If we take Brown’s words literally and compare them with what was taught to us, “Gates of Hell” may not be an accurate portrayal of the city.

But, what if hell is not really an ocean of flame? What if evil is not a red, human-like creature with black horns and pointed tail? What if the evil we are trying hard to fight is creeping all around, catching us unaware?

I remember a friend once asked me when I was complaining about the seemingly unsolvable problems in the country, “What if evil is all these little things that lead us to forget the good in this world and cause us to be hopeless?” It made me think — of the busy lives we lead, of the poverty in this world, of our being uncaring towards others who could not help us in return, of the divide between religions, of forgetting how to pray and give thanks, of accepting little lies to be the truth, and of ignoring what’s right when it’s too difficult to uphold. Maybe evil is not that one, big scary thing we can fight the same way as in the Lord of the Rings. No Sauron exists that we could defeat once to change everything. In the present world, maybe it is the little things all around us and in us that we choose to ignore. If that is the case, then maybe Brown’s words may not be far from the truth – not only in Manila but all over the world. Perhaps rather than disproving Brown’s words, let us work to prove to ourselves that we all could rise above the sufferings and the pains in this world.

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Philippines: A Rising Star?

Philippines: A Rising Star? — Article from the Inquirer

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m happy that the Philippines is doing great based on the article above; however, I’m a little bit too wary sometimes whenever there are good news around election time. I can’t help but note the following from the article: “Moody’s Analytics, meanwhile, highlighted the benefits of the anticorruption agenda of the Aquino administration.” I’m not against the administration or anyone; I’m just against people getting us high and then plunge us all back down.

I remember that the Peso was doing well during the elections in the past. Looking at historical data; however, the Dollar-Peso rate has never gone down. As far as I can remember as a kid, it was 1 Dollar – 25 Peso rate, but now, how much is it?

I honestly wish that the Philippines economy will be better in the future, and then none of us OFWs need to go out of the country just to be able to send some money home, and none of us back home will be struggling to live at meager income/high commodity cost.

Here’s one hoping for the article to be true. Here’s one hoping that in time, the Philippines will be able to rise amidst the problems in the country. Here’s one trying to do her own little ways to help.

Why I Don’t Update My Relationship Status

I’ve been seeing a lot of updates in Facebook about friends getting on with new boyfriends or friends breaking up with their girlfriends. These updates made me think my relationship status has been null since Friendster.

I know some people who put emphasis on FB relationship statuses. Normally girls do. They’d get annoyed with their boyfriends if their relationship statuses remain as ‘Single’ or null after getting the sweet ‘Yes’. I guess it would be understandable because for others, this could mean commitment — that the one they’re in a relationship with is not looking for anyone else. Sometimes relationship statuses could also help people gauge their chances (if you’re the stalker type :p ). If you’re a guy or a girl, you wouldn’t normally go for those who are not single, right? Oh well, yeah, I guess there are lots of reasons why the field below appears in Facebook and other social sites.

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(NOTE: I have to look everywhere in Facebook just to get a screenshot of the Relationship Status drop down values for the sake of this blog.)

Most of my friends are “Single”, “In a Relationship” or “Married”. “Engaged” status is very rare because it is changed to “Married” in just a short span of time.

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I’m yet to see “Widowed”, “Separated” and “Divorced”. The interesting part is seeing the “‘In an Open Relationship” and “It’s Complicated” statuses. Seriously, I don’t understand these two. I’m not being rude; I’m just confused – probably because I’ve never been into any of the two to understand. (If someone could explain them to me, that would be great. :))

Nine available values to select from and mine is just null. And why is that?

  • I just have known that the Relationship Status in FB can be updated from “About” tab, “Relationship and Family” section edit button. (This is as of this writing because FB moves stuff around at random points in time.)
  • I’m half a girl.
  • {Several reasons here}.
  • I don’t know when to use the “In an Open Relationship” and “It’s Complicated” statuses.
  • If I’m single, I don’t want people to be wondering what’s wrong with me if I’ve been single for the longest time. Image
  • If I’m in a relationship, I don’t want people to have a good laugh at me just in case my boyfriend is also in a relationship with somebody else.
  • The actual relationship is more important.  Image
  • If I change status from “In a Relationship”/ “Engaged” to “Single”, or “Married” to “Widowed”/ “Separated”/”Divorced”, I don’t want people to ask the wrong questions and put salt on unhealed wounds. Image
  • The right people will know, and they’re all that matters.

PS:

– It is not the purpose of this writing to criticize anyone.

– I do post random thoughts on my FB wall (some are nonsense, some are serious, and some are overly dramatic) so basically, I don’t have the right to criticize what updates I see on FB.

– This blog has nothing to do with my current relationship status.

– I’d probably update my status to “Single” if I know there’s a line waiting for me outside the house with all kinds of gifts. Then, I can say “NEXT!” LOL!

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