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Black and White: Societal Dichotomy

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Americanization

One big word to describe the current phenomenon of the world.

Basically we are all tied in it. Globalization and free trade they say. They covered all the intentions up to easily penetrate into world domination.

Congratulations!

The news today, popular people, things and events are rooted from the American way of life. The American dream it is. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the celebrities we are fond of, the music we plugged into our earholes, the language we speak and even the way we think, is centered in one country, the United States. I’ve asked this to myself earlier while on the ride going to school. Why had we become this way? My mom asked me a thought I’ve been trying to answer as well. How did it all start? Who told us to think this way? To prejudice and to exploit people that the US dictates as a person of the lower rank.

Exploited

The Rolling Stones issue with the Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev as the cover blatantly explains how the US wants us to see the world. The editors wanted to delve in the social issue and deliver journalistic element of fairness and justice to each side of the incident. However it just seemed to be like one. Reading the article, the editor’s note and seeing the face of Jahar in the cover looked like the magazine was giving a big chance for him to be understood by the rest of the world. But if subliminally analyzed, it only made things worst. The title included “fell into Radical Islam and became a monster”. Clearly it gave the notion of stereotyping people in religious sects such as the Muslims. Inclusion of the September 11 bombing strengthened the thought. Facial features like Tsarnaev’s plus being a Muslim indicates a terrorist. As easy as that the notion of people changes. More importantly, the magazine targets the youth as the audience they are catering such information. As young as a teenager, readers are molded into having the Americanized trail of thought and the habit to stereotype. Through this, the perception of reality narrows down to how the US portrays their image and the image of the “others”.

Just like how superhero movies are made, the story about Jahar started as a human interest story with an appeal to emotion. Capturing such human element pushes the readers to believe the heroic deed of Americans, the coach in the story and the editors by publishing such article. It made you feel better but only made the worse out of how you envision non-Americans. Certain details emphasized such as the brothers’ origin, the naturalization Jahar acquired and the statement “They were Muslims, yes, but also they are Americans” repeatedly indicates that they are and never will be part of the American society, excluding them from the dominant.

Dealing with this kind of issue is hard to consolidate in this kind of medium. The magazine just made the readers feel like they are doing their moral obligation as journalists to seek fairness, but in reality they didn’t do anything extraordinary to uplift either sides.

Fairness cannot be achieved by merely being able to represent both sides literally. Even though biases cannot be completely taken out of context, one must be impartial in telling stories. Getting angles that won’t give double meanings to harm either side. Balance can be fully achieved if stereotypes and norms of societal thinking are set aside and broken. Open-mindedness and relative fair sense of viewing the world is key to avoid such articles to be written.

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Of Second Childishness and Mere Oblivion

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She went outside the house. 

Without a warning she left my mom at the breakfast table and enthusiastically went out like a child free from the restraint of the door she had been trying to open hours before we woke up.

Shakespeare once identified the seven stages of man. The last of it, is second childishness and mere oblivion, and I saw that with my grandmom. She forgets a lot, but never my name. She would replace all names with mine in different versions of it. Clearly, I know that it was not me, I politely try to correct it whenever possible. She would smile and continue her story much as she will continue inserting my name elsewhere in it. 

My grandmom gets back to her childish ways. Just like this morning, she became a child when all she wanted was go outside and meet her old friends back here in our place. All of her friends were gone…up in heaven. She got back to the house still happy. Then she wanted to eat even if she had just eaten a while back. She asked about a few stuff to my mom. She repeated it for five times and five times over we repeated our answers to her queries. Mind you, the question will not end as long as the day’s not over.

Last night was wishful thinking I guess for I thought of her when a task of finding an interesting person was given to the class. That exact time, she stood in front of the door. She said she would just like to pay a visit. Truth is, she got tired of living with my aunt. 

They do fight. I’ve seen it myself. She cried. A lot. It was 10 years ago since she last lived with us, but my aunt asked if grandma can stay to help her take care of her newborn, now a 10-year old kid. She took good care of all of her grandchildren. It was ironic my mom once told me. She was at her 50s and all her kids were growing up that time she told them that she will never take care any of her grandchildren. Quite the contrary, up to the possibly last grandchildren she taught so many things that even moms might forget once in a while.

Grandma, being a mom herself before, raised four kids. She was lucky enough that grandpa was genuinely kind and a loving father. However grandpa died earlier than grandma. Life was never easy even before. Aside from dividing meals for the family, her attention was also divided. She had to exert effort five times for affection and care. One thing my mom told me was that she would always welcome visitors to sleepover or stay for a while in their home with no contentions no matter how long or how many visitors will stay. She just accepts their presence much like a family member. And that was how all family friends remembered grandma and her family.

Grandma’s youth was different from how we were today. She was a teenager when World War 2 happened. My grandma was from Baler, Aurora, one of the provinces the Japanese soldiers went to during that time. For three years or more she stopped going to school. Out of her 5 brothers and sisters, 1 died during the war. Another died when her brother was just in his mid 30s because of being a victim of theft. She herself was distant to all her brothers and sisters when she was just a baby. She was given to her aunt because her mother feared that she might happen to neglect my grandma because they were all so many. My grandma stayed with her aunt and causally visited her real mom since their houses were just a few blocks away. 

She went to Manila when she was in her 20s, worked as a professional nurse at the National Orthopedic Hospital, and boy she was a hell of a great nurse. Up until now I can say. One of my mom’s cousin was initially diagnosed as mentally ill because she had not been eating for days, depressed for she was away with her family (she was staying at a dorm near her school in Metro Manila, her family’s in Baler too) and she happened to suffer from a breakdown. Much of the doctors insisted that my mom’s cousin should be institutionalized and left treated there. My grandma thought otherwise. She told us that the symptoms were mild and she can cure such. She took her niece (my mom’s cousin) home and took care of her up until the time she became normal again, of course with proper medication which she knew because of her work. She believed that putting her niece in a mental hospital with such a mild case will only resort to severity of her condition. She proved it right for up until now, the girl has no memory of that incident and was never diagnosed of the same condition.

She cured me once before, not of that condition of course, but when I went home with a fracture after biking on a steep path, she cured my fracture for just days and I’m well just like before.

How do you measure a person if they are interesting? Is it when you don’t really know the person at all, or is it when you have known them all along but you happen to realize it just now? As much as I would like to tell you more of her, I still want to spend time with her for today.  

Storified: The Buzz Snowden’s making

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Another story I’ve made from Storify, just a mere exercise of how to navigate the site actually, but please do find time to read about this, cause even I learned a lot from what I’ve gathered through the internet.

Like and share away guys, spread the vital information!

Who In The World Is Snowden?

Storified: The Royal Baby of the Year

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Since exporting the Storify post to WordPress doesn’t seem to look good, here is the link to which you can view this story I made! Enjoy, like and share the content. You will forever be certainly blessed 🙂

What will the Royal baby’s name be?

9 Things We Learn from Haruki Murakami

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What’s your favorite line?

Be it a line from a film, a song or a book, there will be such words carefully etched and formed into a statement that will surely shoot you straight from the heart. It will crush your soul and will give you those OH-MY-GAAAAHD-a-tear-fell-mehuhuhu moments. Or you might just jot in down in an old crisp paper you’ve been saving for such wondrous discoveries to write about.

One dead serious thing about me, that you might find peculiar is the heavy influx of Post-it notes in my computer desk filled with different quotes I’ve picked out from a film, a book or a song. I also keep a notebook (actually 4) of which I put quotes I want to remember. It’s a clutter of different statements but oh what the heck.

AND SOOOOO….

YESTERDAY,

while reading a book, I got this idea of sharing you guys interesting lines from the books of Haruki Murakami. He’s a multi-awarded Japanese author of surreal and humurous stories of  alienation, loneliness and unrequited love. Murakami is actually a personal favorite (I hope I can push with Neil Gaiman for the next list of lines).

I’ve worked quite a few hours to make this visually remarkable with the story where I got the quotes from ( pictures used are vital symbols or photos in the story).

Also, I’d be mentioning a quick background of the book where I got the lines from.

Here it is!

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9. A Wild Sheep Chase is the third book of Murakami’s Trilogy of the Rats. Published in 1982, the story revolves around an unnamed man who goes on an adventure through the cities of Tokyo and Hokkaido in order to hunt for a sheep that had disappeared for seven years. The protagonist then meets a woman with magically seductive ears and a man who dresses like a sheep and has slurred speech.

A Wild Sheep Chase has been defined as a parody or a renewal of Yukio Mishima’s Natsuko no Bōken (夏子の冒険, Natsuko’s Adventure)”

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8. South of the Border, written in 1992 and translated in 1999, is a short novel of regrets. Hajime, from a small town in Japan meets Shimamoto, a girl who suffers from polio (she has to drag her legs because of her condition). They spent their childhood together talking and mostly listening to records owned by Shimamoto. They grew apart and had been reunited after 36 years. Hajime is now an owner of two jazz clubs and is a father to two kids. A swirl of “what ifs” puzzled Hajime’s mind because of Shimamoto’s random appearance and her reluctance to tell any story about her. Meeting her again, Hajime is forced “to choose between his wife and family or attempting to recapture the magic of the past.”

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7. First published in 1988, and translated in 1994, Dance Dance Dance is the sequel next to “A Wild Sheep Chase”. This, quite obviously, is a continuation of the third book where the unnamed protagonist goes back to the hotel that he and the woman (with the magically seductive ears) stayed. She suddenly disappeared without a trace. And this moment, the unnamed man dreams of her and the Sheep Man leading him to two mysteries. First is the question of how to survive the unsurvivable. Second is the murder of a call-girl, and his film actor friend is circumstantially involved. Murakami said that he enjoyed writing this novel the most after his unexpected fame from Norwegian Wood.

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6. 1Q84 is one of Murakami’s recent book written in 2011. The title, 1Q84 is actually the year 1984 since the plot is set in the fictional year of 1984, divided into three sets of time (April-June, July-September, October-December). Q is a wordplay by Murakami since Q is pronounced the same with number 9 in Japanese (kyu). I’ve been personally reading this right now but is still at the first few chapters of the book.  However, I can’t help myself getting such awesome lines one after the other. From what I can initially get from this is the existence of an alternate reality or the questioning of such existence.

“While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?”

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5. Now this one’s a great book they say. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle revolves around Toru Okada, an unemployed man whose cat ran away. A chain of events revealed a much more complicated life than he thought he had already seen.

“In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.”

The book is also divided into three parts: The Thieving Magpie, Bird as Prophet and The Birdcatcher.

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4. Sputnik Sweetheart was written in 1999 and translated in 2001. Sumire, K and Miu is bound in a twisted love triangle. Sumire, a writer financially depends on K, an elementary school teacher. K falls in love with Sumire. Sumire thinks otherwise. At a wedding, Sumire met Miu, an ethnic Korean woman. Sumire, for the first time fell in love with Miu. Miu offers Sumire a job and she accepted it. Since then, Sumire tried her best to impress Miu by changing her sedentary lifestyle completely (even her smoking habit). K happened to be just a friend whom Sumire can talk to about other things. Then Sumire disappeared. Up until the last part, which is also an open ending, when one night, Sumire called K to tell him that she is back in Japan and decides to reciprocate K’s feelings, and asks him to pick her up at the same phone booth she always called him from.

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3. Kafka on the Shore, his 2002 book, is about a teenage boy’s mission of finding his sister and mother and left his father and probably escaping from his Oedipal prophecy. The only clue he has is a picture of a beach and a blurred image of probably her mother and sister. He finds refuge in a private library in Takamatsu and spends his time reading a lot of books. Another protagonist of the story is Nakata, known as a cat whisperer who can find lost cats, has acquired a peculiar disorder after an incident back in his childhood during World War II (and yes, Philippines was mentioned there). They might have seen each other but did not know it. They collided, but their reality is not the same as each other’s.

“Due to the Oedipal theme running through much of the novel, Kafka on the Shore has been called a modern Greek tragedy.”

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2. Still Kafka on the Shore. But I would like to share to you the origin behind this quote I find magical. Greek and Japanese mythology encapsulates a certain kind of belief that there existed three kinds of humans, a male, a female and a male-female. But the gods deemed their existence as chaotic and unnecessary. The gods decided to split the male-female in half. Today, each person’s mission is to find their better half, the missing piece to their incomplete being because once they were separated but they have to endeavor the pursuit of being one again with their better half. Deeply touching isn’t it?

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1. Huhuhu finally! Norwegian Wood! The Beatles once wrote a song like this. This also became a Japanese film in 2010 starring Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi and Kiko Mizuhara. Both watched the film and read the story, it still gave me goosebumps when I hear the song Norwegian Wood. It talks about Toru reminiscing his past life on a plane when the song “Norwegian Wood” played. He had once been great friends with Kizuki and his girlfriend Naoko. After Kizuki killed himself (in a very awful manner of gas suffocation), Naoko is left with Toru. After her 20th birthday, Naoko entered a sanatorium to reclaim her emotional stability. Toru now entering college, frequently visited Naoko and spends time with her until the time he met Midori. Midori’s quite an aggressive classmate of Toru who showed immediate interest on him. Toru was left to choose between Midori and Naoko. However, Naoko also committed suicide and when he proclaims his love for Midori on a phone call, she hung up, leaving an open end to the story.

So there you go! I’ll publish a similar list of Gaiman’s. Feel free to suggest other authors though. Or probably songs! That would be awesome!!! :))))

Now can you tell me, what’s your favorite line?

The Emergence of the Man of Steel: A Review

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I got an earworm.

The song “Save Me” by Remy Zero, featured on the TV Series “Smallville” played on and on up until this time. Why? Because just like Clark Kent, I reminisced.

Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan’s “Man of Steel” took an angle on reminisced origins of belief. This 2013 version of Superman’s story introduced Krypton. It showed a planet with creatures of human-like features and an advanced technology evident with their ginormous robots and spaceships. The whole perspective I got from this quite dragging scene (because it almost took 45 minutes to give emphasis on Clark Kent’s origin) was dystopia. Since the planet surely got destroyed and there had been a clash between two parties plus the big black ships, it all draws a picture of War of the Worlds or what any sci-fi film might possibly look like.
Ironically, Clark Kent’s hometown looked and felt like a life in retrospect. Knowing that it was shot on a farm, it gave out a countryside feel. Several frames expressed a very classic American vibe. Likely because of the appearance of the lens flare, the sunset, a slightly focused American flag, a breakfast diner, and a simple town in contrast with an urbanized city (which was very Western by the way—dichotomies). What I was happy about are shots when Clark as Superman feeling awesome flying up in the air, it was like I’d been watching a film back when Christopher Reeve was Superman. The grainy shots really did a subliminal flashback brought into the present.
 man of steel
 
A lot of close-up shots were used and starting details of the frame will likely be coming from an intricate detail or movement of a small object, then it will zoom out to the real scenario. The use of the hands to cover the sun glaring on the face had been seen a few times. Honestly, realizing this right after watching the movie, the color scheme used in this film were schemes used in Sucker Punch and 300 (Both directed by Snyder, eminent in battle scenes in comparison with Krypton’s present state) and from The Dark Knight (where Nolan directed, showed the hazy blue, fiery red, smoke and silver to black vehicles and spaceships). A pattern I observed from the film’s sound effects was the dead silence right before a very loud gush of wind, whenever Clark flies or when General Zod attacks.
A perspective of feminism can be observed from the movie and a lot of cliches you’ll get from superhero films. It was good that a female villain made it hard for Superman to be triumphant over the antagonists, instead of the usual macho perspective of man-vs-man. However, women were still a few in both the villain forces and the American military group. An important depiction of how women was stereotyped was when Lois Lane’s co-worker from the daily planet showed feelings of great fear, panic and unpreparedness (when the girl just stood there waiting for the building to collapse and hit her in the face). It was quite cliche that America is always the center of the world, everything coming from space drops right in New York City. The first place that the aliens will attack will be the United States. And no matter how chaotic the situation was in the Big Apple, the military base camps, and the main operational office was never afflicted with any kind of danger, just perfectly safe. Most importatly, an emphasis of how powerful the country is, seen from the dead-center close-up shot of the mouth of a cannon, can imply an American-centric vibe of Hollywood films.
Quite frankly, some scenes were not realistic. For instance, the breaking news of General Zod’s ship viewed clearly in the television and captioned (non-verbatim) “a video shot from the ground” is not the same as how Clark, his mom, and Lois had seen it as just a small bright UFO. Another example was when Lois was inside a burning metal chamber, coming from space inside the atmosphere. She might have at least afflicted a few burns, but she had still become perfectly fine. Similar to her experience inside the plane that held the reason of a creation of a black hole. Once within the proximity of a black hole, no one can escape its pull. Even Clark struggled to get out of the pull. However, Lois, before being saved, still fell and was pulled by the Earth’s gravity no matter how near she was to the black hole.
Like I said, the song’s forever stuck on my head, because I missed how I loved the show when I was a kid. I missed being a child. Like how Clark remembered how he was different when he was a kid but still his parents loves him for who he is. He kept in mind his father’s beliefs and lived up to it. And finally, my question was answered (well at least from the film’s take I guess). The S was not merely for Superman. It was for hope, a virtue believed of in their house back in Krypton. A symbol that every one has the potential to bring out the force of good in everyone.
  
A kid, after watching the film was asked by his mom,
Mom: Saang planet galing si Clark? (From what planet did Clark came from?)
Kid: Sa Earth
To her mom, it was a wrong answer (for she insisted that Clark was from Krypton, technically yes), but for Clark himself, he is a child of Earth and he let himself be. He chose to protect the planet and the people. He chose to cry, to bleed and to love. Clark became a human and pursued to bring out the hope, the force of good in every human. Clark surely did stick to his belief. Trust me, he did.
image sources: http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRmwNIjnNL-lgJjus1RPlh55Ot0DRAhGT9767-XV-NcckzIa-ex
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02593/Man-of-Steel-film-_2593904b.jpg
http://wpc.556e.edgecastcdn.net/80556E/img.site/PH4h2ahMSbjU77_1_m.jpg
http://images.fandango.com/MDCsite/images/featured/201305/henry%20cavill%20shirtless%20man%20of%20steel.jpg

Keeping up with the hike, youth sector resists

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Third time’s the charm or rather the wrath of Kabataan Partylist as they made noise in the metro when the government announced tuition, water and power rates to increase.

Hot as the noontime sun, students gathered to protest in front of Palma Hall in UP Diliman. Likewise, empty gallons and enraged hearts filled the street of Philcoa at around 4 PM.

A pride and prejudiced battle heightened between the Commission on Higher Education and the youth sector when the agency approved a fee increase in 354 colleges and universities nationwide.

Proposed water rates will jump at P8.58 per cubic meter and P5.83 per cubic meter. Power rates on the other side of the spectrum will increase in its generation charge by 22 centavos per kilowatt-hour this month.

Juggling that three major price increase with high unresolved unemployment rate surely is a lot of work for millions of Filipinos who gets to be underpaid and overworked.

“While more and more Filipinos are losing their jobs, the bills that need to be paid bloat continually. This situation is a clear indication of the country’s real situation, despite the Aquino administration’s continued claims of inclusive growth,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said.

Until the the right to basic necessities is not met, might as well keep up with the Kardashian than the basic Filipino standard of living. Prolly just for the meantime.

image source: http://cf.chucklesnetwork.agj.co/items/5/6/6/0/8/one-does-not-simply-get-free-tuition.jpg

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