Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Well of course it isn’t as grand as The Da Vinci Code, but it is a worthy sequel to trouble Robert Langdon from the confines of Harvard. Dan Brown’s novels, especially The Da Vinci Code, dabble with people’s doubt and feed them a page-turning storyline with mouth-watering pieces of, usually historic, information. And such quality indubitably exists with the latest release, The Lost Symbol.
America’s clandestine, undying accounts of certain doings of the Masonic brothers have gone beyond their shores. Evidently, ancient stories of their involvement in the shaping of American history are popular ‘over-the-coffee’ discussions, auditorium-worthy talks, even for non-Americans—if it weren’t, Doubleday wouldn’t have published The Lost Symbol internationally and National Treasure would’ve crashed and burned in cinemas outside American soil. Yes, The Lost Symbol toys with the same line with National Treasure, but in an entirely different arena—more convoluted and pleasurably vexing.
A madman, whose entire persona is deeply immersed among the characters, will try to unravel the secret of the Free Masons. His audacious plan is not to reveal a thousand-years-old mystery to the world but to digest its surreptitious totality and greedily destroy and obliterate its existence. Definitely a madman, but wise enough to know that he does not know how to decipher and find reason, logic, meaning with the enigmatic messages ‘hidden in plain sight’. His solution is to find someone who can, dragging Robert Langdon in the middle of the CIA, the Free Masons and possibly ending the world as we know it—a famous theory about an apocalypse in 2012.
Brown once again throws, or rather re-throws, a concept debated between the most intellectual believers and skeptics—the power of thought, the use of the brain’s untapped potentials. Langdon’s viewpoint in all this is one of a skeptic who plays along with the madman’s belief, aiming to save Peter Solomon, a friend and a Mason—and proprietor of the key to unlock the bridge between science and faith.
Though it is nowhere near the achievement, attention and reception that The Da Vinci Code got,—but I don’t think it was intended to surpass its predecessor—The Lost Symbol is a thrilling read in its own way. I finished the book in three days because it was hard to put down.
Brown ends chapters with undeniably effective cliffhangers. His brand of storytelling is clear of confusion on whose eyes are you seeing from. He starts paragraphs with the name, or in reference to the character, of the person who will be joined by the audience, adequately placing the reader as part of the scene.
Authors will have a formula that they are comfortable with. Brown is not an exception. But this time, the equation is quite different from Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Good news right? Perhaps adding up to the novel’s unpredictability, a change in formula but not with pace. 
And, as usual, the book is well-researched, from the facts amidst the fiction, down to the minute detail of architectural masterpieces in Washington D.C. vividly described for a more precise imagined tour, or better yet, reader experience. 
I honestly started reading The Lost Symbol with much skepticism—but I did keep an open mind as the pages I’ve read become thicker. Moreover, I felt like a fortune-teller attempting to spoil the rest of the plot by identifying Dan Brown’s foreshadowing and habitually muttering a turn of event before I get to the next page. I owe this behavior to my reading of Angels and Demons first then The Da Vinci Code which is how I noticed Dan Brown’s formula. And the same observation from another book lover, who has read Digital Fortress and Deception Point, did not mitigate such attitude.

Well I am still a skeptic when I finished it. But I did question certain ideologies that the book divulged and even researched them, quite a desirable trait for a novel, to make readers more interested with history. More importantly, I was only capable of spoiling insignificant bits of the storyline, except for one essential part—but I leave that to the reader’s eye. 
In a nutshell, Dan Brown’s formula has changed, for the better. And his dexterity in writing remains nifty and inventive, resourceful would also be an appropriate appraisal. With a gripping storyline, and a fascinating perspective on Noetic science and, again, biblical role, The Lost Symbol is definitely the sum of a desirable reading equation—an enjoyable read ‘not’ hidden, and in plain sight.

image courtesy: alvinkh.blogspot.com


Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Survival supersedes beliefs, principles, and even morals. The malleability of the latter concepts—that defines character and persona, distinguishes man’s social strata, class and leverage in the society he lives in—against a person’s will to live is explicitly painted in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.
Pi Patel, 16, consistently deals with bashful versions of his name, a battle well-fought but eventually pointless and miniscule against a shipwreck, which he survived, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Migrating from India to Canada due to his father’s political and economic weather forecast initiated a chain of tortuous scenes that slowly stripped Pi Patel, 16, off of his religious convictions, yes it’s in plural, his morality, his diet preference, but not his human drive and instinct to survive. And of course, Pi’s belief in God–after all it was a story intended to make Yann Martel believe in God.
Pi seeks survival on a lifeboat, with no means to propel himself anywhere, or even a direction to propel himself to, bathing in the scorching heat of unfiltered and uncensored sun rays, surrounded by an ocean of undrinkable salt water, 360 degrees visual range of vast nothing, and an adult carnivorous, not to mention hungry, Bengal tiger sharing occupancy with him in the lifeboat. With a ludicrous plan worked out—survive with the tiger—Pi sets his plan into motion, a plan dictated more by thirst and hunger.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel book cover
Martel begins Pi’s story, which won the Man Booker Prize Award for Fiction by the way, by throwing statements to readers for them to ponder on. Reading Life of Pi has effects similar to having a good conversation with a friend but it would be with a book and your self, though this sounds insane or needing a psych consult, it’s just that the points are interesting enough to spark an internal argument—one that you cannot hold in and you just need to discuss to another being, hopefully someone you’re familiar with, and not a Bengal tiger.
Perhaps unknowingly, or maybe not, Martel dictates his alpha-male trait or authority along with Pi’s introduction. If not for Pi’s dialogues, it would seem that you’re reading an article straight from a National Geographic journal—a vital and most crucial inclusion in the entire stretch of the plot.
Eventually, the seemingly ‘one-chapter-a-day’ book speeds up the tempo, transporting the reader right there between Pi and Richard Parker, the tiger whose name is an allusion to an Edgar Allan Poe character. Martel’s descriptions are enough to satiate imaginative hunger. At times the situation might drag but this is momentary and  sublimates as the storytelling picks up pace again.
When Pi finally reaches land, a feeling of relief may be felt but the tone of finality, you’ll realized has been given when Martel has interviewed the older Pi living in Toronto, Canada. Because land, and finally conversing with other humans, seems to be stranger, unnatural and more unacceptable than life at sea with a tiger and other sea creatures. Its ending poses questions of what is moral, what is believable, what is real and what is undesirable.
The final pages has an overwhelming influence to reread the previous chapters, resisting would be up to the reader—I did resist. But one thing’s for sure, Martel just can’t stop taunting your intellectual muscle until the last page—even when you close the book.

image courtesy: www.salemhigh.com


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Review: Waiting by Ha Jin

Life is consistently and habitually measured by numbers; anniversaries with a partner, months left until the New Year, weeks until payday, days of work, hours spent on sleeping, heartbeats per minute and seconds that could be the difference between life and death. Concepts of living and time are almost indistinguishable, feasible but cumbersome to determine one from the other except for their exclusive feats.
Time is depicted by numbers—an endless counting, dying of boredom from such a simple, but unpalatable, task is highly probable. While living your life is permitting time to unsuccessfully attempt and foolishly exhaust itself until its existence would only matter when you pause—and take the brave gesture of looking back to the things that were and the you that was.
Cliché statements would depict “Living your life” in all the forms of achieving elation and doing jovial actions. There is no argument about the presence of the harrowing weight on the other end of the scale. It is a dilemma to say some or most, but probably all, of us, are dealing or have dealt with the difficulties of living our lives.
Perhaps the virtue of hindsight would be the most rueful virtue to possess—when you are rendered incapable and compelled to admit that you’ve lived your life not the way you intended to, and time had gone by, waiting.
This is the message effectively conveyed and nonchalantly depicted in Ha Jin’s Waiting. Lin Kong, an almost-perfect husband-to-be, has flaws that decided how the years of his life will be spent. Shuyu, probably one of the saddest characters I have ever encountered, has been consistently, year-in and year-out like some gloomy tradition, brought to court to be divorced. And each and every year, the verdict is the same, making Lin Kong and Manna Wu, Lin Kong’s ‘true love’ and blatantly but unofficially his mistress, wait for another year.
Ha Jin’s storytelling prowess is to bring this repetitive and ingeniously simple plot out of brooding boredom. Probably the reason why it won the National Book Award for Fiction, is its delivery. The plot was plain, and the climax is unusually placed just a few pages away from the middle of the storyline—or maybe what I considered as climactic for the simplicity of the story is maintained to the very end.
And even the end is auspiciously simplistic, unexpectedly casual and creatively inadvertent. Indeed, less is more. 

It’s not a book that you can’t put down. It doesn’t have that quality. Starting to read threateningly translates to not finishing it, at least during the first few chapters, but once you get to feel and understand the characters, you know that you’ll just have to know how it ends. Its end is notable and satisfying. Ha Jin ended the book well, and I respect its finality not because I liked how it ended but because of its brilliant delivery.
Yet given all those, it’s not something that you would want to read again. It’s one of those books that you’re glad to finish, absorbed the moral, and the immoral, but just satisfied to have it lay on the bookshelf. The next time you touch it is when you recommend it to another reader.

image courtesy: www.amazon.com


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kids Fight Like in a Telenovela

I haven’t spent time with my two nieces for longer than two hours for more than a year now. It was my off-day, had nothing to do—or just too lazy to do it, and it was oven-hot in my room. So I went to my cousin’s house, just a couple of blocks away and only my nieces, and a relative, were there. Eventually we decided to have a snack or rather a ‘merienda’.

The older one, is in second year high school and her sister is in the fourth grade. So they went to the kitchen to get leftover spaghetti and had it reheated.

After eating ‘merienda’, I felt like I was watching a LIVE TELENOVELA with a spontaneous script and I even had the best seat in the house. So here’s what happened: 

Setting: We ate at the sala, and the plates, glasses and Coke bottle were on the center table.

No one was standing up to clean, including me—bad uncle, haha!.


The younger one stood and was about to bring her glass to the sink.

Elder niece: paki-sabay mo naman yung plato (Danielle, please bring the plates with you too.)
Younger niece: Ako na naman! Ako mas bata, ako pa kikilos! (Me again! I’m the younger one and I’m the one doing chores!)
E: Eh isasabay mo lang naman yung plato, papunta ka naman dun, hindi mo magawa. (You’re already going to the sink, why is bringing the plates with you so big of a deal)
Y: Lagi naman ako eh! Ako din nagpapakain ng aso! (Because it’s always me! I’m even the one who’s always feeding the dog.)
E: Sayo naman yung aso na yun ah! Ikaw may responsibilidad dun. (Well, you own that dog. You have the responsibility for it)
Y: Hindi ko naman pinagdadamot. Nilalaro mo rin naman ah masama ba’ng alagaan mo din. (I’m not being selfish. You even play with it, is it bad if you pet it too.)
E: Ako kaya nagpaligo dun nung isang araw. Napakahirap ba isabay ang pinagkainan namin diyan sa baso mo?!? (I’m even the one who gave it bath the other day. Is it so hard to bring the plates we’ve eaten on with that glass?)
Y: Ikaw naman kasi kumilos ka din, kasi sa’ting dalawa ako na lang lagi, eh ikaw ang ate! (You should also do chores, because between the both of us, I’m always the one doing stuff, an you’re the elder sister!)
E: Bakit, ‘pag may utos, sino ba kumikilos hah! Mas marami akong papel dito! (And why is that? When there are errands, who does those errands? I have a bigger role here!)
I was trying so hard not to disturb their exchange. I tried so hard to make it appear like I was so fascinated by the flower vase just to prevent notice that I was enjoying myself. But humor was up to my brim and I accidentally let out a snort. Catching the two off-guard, both of them suddenly realized how dramatic their lines were and they ended up laughing as well. That’s when I pointed out that as sisters, they shouldn’t be fighting on petty matters. I also told them, or rather an attempt to talk in between giggles, that they were fighting like characters in a telenovela and advised them to reduce time watching drama series.

And both of them brought the plates and glasses to the sink, laughing together. I didn’t know that hanging out with them is this much fun.

photo courtesy http://joemer.blogetery.com


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why I Won't Vote Noynoy

Why should I vote in the first place?
This democratic process, or so-called “election”, has long been tainted with deceit and disgustingly blatant lies that seemingly swindled the voice of God—Vox Populi, Vox Dei (The voice of the people is the voice of God). A scandal that rocked the very foundation of the republic, removing whatever guise of austerity left in casting votes.

At that time, with discord and habitual protests, it felt like an indefinite strength was amassing, and the Philippines would be known once more as a country asserting liberation from underhanded oppression of rights. But it didn’t, the gathering fire was doused. Anger, borne from distrust, turned dormant, domesticated. Nausea, borne from ingeniously rumored corruption, turned to insignificant burps, minute disorganized rallies easily dissolved by hose water.

Doubt in the system leads to decay, eventual sickening tolerance and acceptance of the unacceptable—as if we’ve started swallowing the bitter truth, our tongues silenced by fear of being included in the list of people never heard from again, our stomachs immaculately ablated, hampering our chance to vomit in disgust, and our eyes dried out, no more tears to shed for impoverished countrymen.
Moreover, who should I vote?
President-wannabes seem to have the audacity to showcase the contents of their pockets with time-consuming advertisements, unafraid of audit, they splash their resumés across TV screens. Just this year, the ratings of political and government ads combined could seemingly trump the ratings of the two titan TV stations. Miriam Defensor was right in taunting these undeniable attempts to hoard votes. It’s amazing how financially problematic the country would appear, but still capable of churning out costly dismal promotions.
Perhaps the new Richard Gutierrez or Gerald Anderson would be the face and owner of a premature presidential ad campaign—without the desirability of the two actors’ physical features.

And here comes Noynoy Aquino, an instant political celebrity from the death of his mother, icon of democracy, Cory Aquino. This brings the Philippines in a state of déjà vu, and this clamor for another Aquino president may have been brought by Filipinos’ love of melodrama or ‘ala-telenovela’ storyline.

Cory’s ascension to power was brought by a controversial and political death of his husband and supposed-to-be president Ninoy Aquino. Noynoy Aquino on the other hand was found by the spotlight due to the innocent death of her mother Cory Aquino. Ninoy’s death called Filipinos to unite for democracy, Cory’s burial reminded Filipinos of what was achieved by unity and the democracy she fought for. Cory ran under the LABAN party opposing Marcos, under the Liberal Party, Noynoy is the current torch-bearer of the Liberal Party. And Cory fought an operational dictatorial government, while Noynoy would run to repair a malfunctioning democratic system.
But why not Noynoy?
I won’t vote for Noynoy just because he’s the son of Cory and Ninoy Aquino, his blood may have the genetics to fight for democracy but it won’t suffice the brim of reason to bring him to Malacañang. I won’t vote for him just because of his track record as a congressman and senator, the president’s job is different—on so many levels. I won’t vote for him just because he appears to be a reluctant candidate, also exhibited by Cory before. I certainly won’t vote for him just because Mar Roxas made a “supreme sacrifice” and passed the chance to run for president. I won’t vote for him just because everyone else is asking, requesting for him to run. And I certainly won’t vote for Noynoy for the sole reason that, the most revered Cory Aquino, died—ultimately reminding us about a hard-earned democracy. For this, I would exercise my right to vote no matter how dubious the election is.

I would vote Noynoy, because among the surfacing presidential candidates, only Noynoy Aquino has the capacity to reunite, the divided and subdivided, Filipinos.

What the country needs now is not an economist, not a journalist, not a soldier, not even a housewife, nor a dancing politician, certainly not an actor, and most certainly not a dictator, but a president—a president who can effortlessly rally Filipinos towards a united goal.
That’s why I will vote Noynoy.

photo courtesy www.wowdavao.com


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Customer Service and Humor

Working in a call center, for the first time, has its own ups and downs. But generally, the experience, and retention, would depend on the account you work for. For example, a financial account would probably handle numerous irate customers due to the nature of their concern, which is money, the usual cause for a teaspoon-sized temper for most people. Though it is relatively easy to sign-up and enlist, it is also easy to lose interest in what you’re doing and leave, either the account, the company or—the job. Who wants to be a stress-ball for customers frustrated with the products or services of the business entity you work for? Agents would. But like I said, it has ups as well, aside from the money, of course a definite up, here are a few call experiences that I’ve heard from other call center agents.
Note that names, accounts and other sensitive information are withheld for confidentiality purposes. And these short dialogues are slightly edited. But the gist is there.
> Airline Customer Service
Agent: Good morning! Thank you for calling “Airlines”. I’m Agent, How can I assist you today?
Customer: Hi there! And good morning to you too Agent. You see I’m travelling with my two sons, for the first time (laughs), which excites them both since it’s their first time to ride a plane. I would like to see if you could get us, you know, Window Seats?
Agent: I’d be happy to assist you with that, let me just check if there are Window Seats available.
(There are two seats beside all Windows. Agent located Window Seats away from the wing, for the two boys, to make them enjoy the flight.)
Agent: I am pleased to inform you Ma’am that I can reserve Window Seats for you, would you like me to do that now?
Customer: Yeah sure, just one more favor Agent. Can you place me between my two boys?
Agent: (dumbfounded silence)
(Thinking: between the two boys, with two Window Seats? So one of her son is outside the plane?!?)
Agent: Sure Ma’am no problem! (Places them all Window Seats, one boy in front of the mother, and one behind her)
> Mobile Phone Technical Support
Agent: Good morning! Thank you for calling “Mobile Phone”. I’m Agent, How can I assist you today?
Customer: Gawd! I was on hold for like ages there! (Agent injects an apology but Customer goes on) Anyway, (sighs in frustration) my Bluetooth isn’t working. I just bought this you know, and it’s not working. I can’t even send a photo to my friend!
(reads that Customer is calling from Oklahoma) (Agent probes)
Agent: Ma’am, when you tried to send the image, where were you and your friend?
Customer: My friend is in Ohio. 
Agent: (stunned silence)
> Laptop Technical Support
Agent: Good morning! Thank you for calling “Laptop”. I’m Agent, How can----
Customer: (Apparently Irate) I’VE BEEN ON HOLD FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF! I’ve CALLED you because this F*@ing machine that costs A LOT OF DOLLARS which I JUST BOUGHT YESTERDAY isn’t working NOW! I turned it ON yesterday and it has been WORKING FINE since. BUT JUST THIS MORNING it suddenly SHUT DOWN while I was watching a movie! PIECE O’CRAP! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH IT NOW HUH!?!
Agent: Sir, is there any light on the power.
Customer: NO! WHAT AM I STUPID? I TOLD YOU, IT SHUT DOWN BY ITSELF. I keep trying to turn it on but NO! It’s not turning on and NO! It doesn’t have a light on the POWER! Stupid *ss.
Agent: Have you checked the connections sir?
Customer: THIS IS A LAPTOP, you idiot, it’s not supposed to have connections.
Agent: Sir, I was just asking if you have it connected to a power socket?
Customer: WHAT? You mean this cable here?
Agent: Yes sir, because you would need to charge it.
> Laptop Technical Support
Agent: Good morning! Thank you for calling “Laptop”. I’m Agent, How can I assist you today?
Customer: Yeah, I have a CD that contains a program I want to install. How do I do that?
Agent: Go to the Drive where you have inserted the CD and right-click on it.
Customer: Hold on. How do I insert it to my laptop?
(Agent sighs on mute)
Agent: At the side of the laptop, there’s a button there. Press it and insert your CDROM
Customer: (trying to locate the eject button) okay let me try that..at the..side.. (presses on the button, and in a very surprised tone) OH! THE CUPHOLDER!?!
Agent: (WHAT?!?) I’m sorry, what was that?
Customer: I use this as my cupholder!
> Mobile Phone Customer Service 
Agent: Good morning! Thank you for calling “Mobile Phone”. I’m Agent, How can I assist you today?
Customer: O hi there! I would like to know my IMEI number. (the physical unit's unique number)
Agent: I’m more than happy to provide you with that. Actually sir, you can also see your IMEI number at the back of your phone when you remove its battery, and---
Sir? ..Hello? Can you hear me sir?
> Customer Service
Agent: Agent: Good morning! Thank you for calling. I’m Agent, How can I assist you today? 
Customer: Your Customer Service is just awful..I mean c’mon, I’ve been on hold for like 2 HOURS AND A HALF. I’ve been transferred from the other department, who doesn’t speak English by the way, saying that you could help me. But Gawd, 2 hours? And you call that Customer Service? That’s not service, that’s customer disservi------

(busy tone..call got disconnected)
Well this is just a few anecdotes that got us laughing. And made us realize why the call center industry is booming. Feel free to share funny calls, just make sure that you don't include sensitive information.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

FEU Advocate writes its history

Reuniting the Advocate alumni to reminisce and relive the publication’s glory

The FEU Advocate is calling for its alumni to come back. Regretfully, the 26-years-gap between the renowned Advocate that joined the battle for democracy and the Revival Advocate, strained a vital alumni connection. For 12 years since its rebirth, it has published current events, stories needed to be known and understood by its readers. And much weight is borne by the publication’s function, thrusting all efforts to attain its purpose year-in and year-out downplayed an equally meaningful undertaking—recognizing the past.

Time is far more than ripe, yet it is never too late to sound the horn that will rally the Tamaraw Advocates again. This time, not a call to arms for press freedom, but a call to reminisce, to relive and to finally write the Advocate that was, for the Advocate that is, and for the Advocate that will be.

We call for your aid. Aid us in exacting and solidifying a volatile history of the publication. A grand Advocate alumni reunion is set to occur on January in celebration of the FEU Advocate’s 75th year of existence, more details regarding this event will be disseminated.

This is a rare occasion that will give you, Advocate alumni, a chance to share what you know and experienced, and to see and witness where the FEU Advocate is now. That the publication that means more to you than anyone else, is still here—existing and calling for your return.

We also call for help from FEU alumni who witnessed the publication’s releases before its shut down in 1972. You can assist us by providing or lending us old copies, photos or other relics related to the FEU Advocate. Contact us and share your stories.

For those who just came upon this call, you can also help by publicizing this project, ultimately expanding our reach to Advocate alumni.

Any assistance is much appreciated. Please contact Aubrey 09277953575 or Edge 09275437732, or email us through advohisto@gmail.com. You can also visit our website at http://advocatehistory.blogspot.com/


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clattering Knives and Forks

Despite the setting sun of Arroyo’s term, one bombarded with rain, thunderstorm and mostly clouds of doubt and obscurity, the sun hasn’t risen yet—or maybe it never had. Though Estrada’s dethronement, and Arroyo’s crowning was nostalgic to the historic signature of Cory Aquino’s triumph against a dictator, the image of a queen still remains with Aquino, while the riches of a queen is displayed by Arroyo.

Perhaps the fireworks and celebration of the ‘true new year’ should come with the official announcement of a new president, and not with the transition of 2009-2010. Or perhaps the mere confirmation that an electronic election will push through is enough for the Philippines to light up the sky, sing or shriek karaoke, bump overflowing beer, dance tribal rituals beside a camp fire, or at a P500-worth bar entrance—in whatever manner people would want to celebrate the exercise of their right to vote, the right to have a voice. And a fitting ‘medya noche’ should be as savoury and gluttonous as Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s, and her entourage, dinner at Bobby Van’s in Washington DC during their US trip.

But let’s give PGMA the credit she deserves. Her travels have yielded investments, strengthen ties and relations, and even freed sentenced OFWs as a presidential favor. This wouldn’t have been possible if she didn’t personally visited countries to endorse what the Philippines can offer and address the needs of her countrymen.

As all forms of media, critique and magnify the travel expenses, shouldn’t we ask, what do our neighbors and the rest of the world think about us? A country with an international debt, spending money on luxurious country-hopping and unnecessary ‘infomercials’—this is money that could’ve been spent on more beneficial projects or even used to pay our debts. 

And yes, PGMA’s speeches, during these expeditions, were filled with words of promise and truth of how foreign investors would benefit from including our humble archipelago in their business outlines. She may have succeeded in talking with words—but she failed to speak with her actions.

In Cory’s words, “I did not come from a rich country, why should I be someone I’m not.” And these words came after the criticism that she always wear the same yellow dress—which she never was ashamed of, and even welcomed the ‘frowned-upon’ observation with open arms and a smiling unhurt pride.

Regardless where the money is coming from, letting the more credible persons debate on that matter, to the eyes of a layman—it will always appear that the money is used from the country’s fund. This is also the reason why elective officials are reprimanded not to dabble in the business field to clear their slate, as government officials, against dubious interpretation.
Now they go off explaining the budget and its nitty-gritty mostly in English, and worse, jargons, that not all Filipinos can understand. They could’ve avoided this attempted recovery for an aftershock by exuding humility and not copying the lifestyle of the rich and famous. More so, their true economic status should’ve been immaterial, it’s like living in social caste system all over again. In the reiterating concept in the field of healthcare, and the most often overlooked proven theory, “Prevention is better than cure.”

We are not a rich country—in terms of financial underpinning. Moreover, we are among the shameful topnotchers of ‘corrupt’ countries. Although the law, the constitution, what it stands for, does not take that into account, it still expounds the need for elective officials to emanate a lifestyle of moderation—but the thing is, we have already been branded as such—and our so-called leaders still have the audacity to display such a luxurious lifestyle.

What about considering all these things before eating a $150 meal, $245 with wine? And if the reason for satisfying their appetite with such cost—enough for a family of three to survive for a month—is because they’re part of the President’s delegation which makes it “nakakahiya” or shameful to seek a less expensive cuisine, then maybe they should always keep a graphic and detailed picture of Filipinos below the poverty line, struggling to make both ends meet, suffering from famine, and place it on the glorious ‘china’ plate before eating.

A picture of the truth—as an appetizer.

(photo from spot.ph


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Giving Up Medicine

It’s funny how things work out. For the entirety of my third to fourth year college, I’ve been having an internal debate whether to pursue Medicine after Nursing or find an alternate route—which may either be a complete reroute or a parallel avenue. These pertain to finding a career beyond the field of medicine and health care or following the dictates of my academe as a Nurse.

With much weight burdening, heavier by the moment, as if the toils and trivialities of being a graduating student nurse and the works of a student publication’s managing editor aren’t heavy enough, the silent argument between me and the rest of my three names seem to get fatter every day nearing graduation. The conflict starts to identify itself to a cow, grazing with every bit of encouragement from my family and friends—that I should become a doctor.

For nights, or rather dawns as I long for a two-hour sleep, I would ponder. What should I do? What should I be? Until thoughts dilute to—I should already be sleeping! I’ll be awake in an hour! How should I sleep?!? I let myself run the course and perpetually postponed the decision that I had to make. There were too much going on, a lot of hustle and bustle that I was trying to cope with. It was almost topsy-turvy—the deadlines of the newspaper, the tremendous amount of studying for board-type exams, the assignments and requirements for graduation, the fees needed to be paid, the requirements for the June board exam, the documents for the publication and a number of things I surprisingly survived through.

The day after Graduation day came. It was when I seriously pondered, thought, focused, and concentrated on making the decision that would have shaped my life. I asked myself solemnly, though my relatives were ‘singing’ or at that time someone was shrieking by the sound of it, should I become a doctor? Should I take up medicine?

The answer came to me as a gamble. I played lottery with my own future. I told myself, and a few other friends, but not instantly because I’m not a fan of personal Group Messages, “If” I pass the Nursing Board Exam for my first take—I will take up Medicine.

And I did. But when my mind was set to that goal, it was when everything started to change. I had to give it up. Maybe when I’m ready, and had more time because I need to go to work now, I’ll tell the story of why I had to give it up.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m merely expressing the fact that I won’t take up Medicine but it doesn’t mean that I’m too disappointed, it’s just that things work out for a reason, and that’s what I have to find out—what now, and what comes next.

(photo from http://www.inthesetimes.com/images/29/10/crossroads.jpg


Thursday, August 20, 2009

TV Series Review: La Corda d'Oro

Music is the language of the heart. To appreciate its existence, its presence in the air and its pseudo-physical feel embracing the listener— has no prerequisite. If you have an ear, a pair would be better of course, that would be enough to value, or experience music. But as progress would have it, neck-clicking dance steps, high energy moves, fast paced lockdowns are the current trend in expressing tunes. But La Corda d’Oro, an anime series, will remind its viewers of the ethereal beauty and irreplaceable artistry of classical music conveyed through a medium which is familiar to the youth. I have to admit that it’s a sort of a chick flick, it has to sell and one way or another it will have a target market. But what entices me is the classical music plus the wee bit exaggeration of an anime series—a well-balanced formula with enough succulence to make its viewer ask for more. It may not be mouthwatering, but it sure is worth scanning the whole menu for. This series has the ability to make you want to pick up a violin and start gliding on the notes produced by its strings, pound on a piano to express a piece’s climax or melodically exhale  a mesmerizing continuous tune from a flute. So if you’re tired of the fighting and magical spells of other anime series, try this one out, you won’t regret it.


Movie Review: Big Eden

Sometimes we find ourselves wandering, leaving home to look for a home only to return to the place we left. Sometimes we find ourselves asking, asking a question when we already know the answer. And sometimes we find it hard to admit who we are, to the people whom we love the most, who knows better than anyone who we really are. These were the conflicts faced by Henry Hart, a successful artist in New York, who remains blind with the more important things in life.
Big Eden is a gay film. What sets it apart from other gay flicks I’ve seen is the absence of cliché and scenes abundantly present in a queer reel. Carnal desire, flaming passion and utter display of skin, sweat and pumping actions, have become a basic commodity, or bread and butter, of homosexual onscreen portrayal. Try asking someone and mention a few queer titles and ask them what’s the first thing that comes to their mind, I bet it would either be the guy—or the scene.

But these are all absent in Big Eden. The film’s outstanding quality is its non-superficiality, giving more substance to the life as a third gender. It wasn’t also grand, the delivery and storyline is subtle. Evidently, the film was delivered parallel to the world we live in. That the weight of being gay is not with sensuality, but the hardships of multiple conflicts, the hiding, the secrecy, the control, and more importantly—the longing.
It is a recommendable watch. But just to give you a heads up, the characters aren’t like the hot guys that other gay indie films would usually have in their cast and used to sell the film. Bottomline is, this movie isn’t marketed by sex, but by sensibility.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nobody But You

I've been inflicted by the LSS (Last Song Syndrome) disease. I just kept on hearing this in my head. Maybe it's about its catchy tone despite not being able to understand the lyrics, or maybe it's the simple but cute dance steps on the video. I DON'T KNOW. All I know is I like it. Or maybe I'm sick of it since this song's airtime is oversaturating. In any case, enjoy the video.

Here's the lyrics by the way.

You Know I still Love You Baby.
And it will never change.

I want nobody nobody But You, I want nobody nobody But You
Nan dareun sarameun sirheo niga animyeon sirheo
I want nobody nobody nobody nobody

Nan sirheunde wae nal mireonaeryeogo hani jakku naemareun deutji anko
Wae ireoke dareun namjaege nal bonaeryeo hani eotteoke ireoni

Nal wihae geureotan geumar
Neon bujokhadaneun geumar
Ijen geumanhae neon nareul aljanha wae wonhajido annneungeol gangyohae

I want nobody nobody But You I want nobody nobody But You
Nan dareun sarameun sirheo niga animyeon sirheo
I want nobody nobody nobody nobody

I want nobody nobody But You I want nobody nobody But You
Nan dareun sarameun sirheo niga animyeon sirheo
I want nobody nobody nobody nobody

Nan joheunde nan haengbokhande neoman isseumyeon dwae deo baralge eomneunde
Nugul mannaseo haengbokharan geoya nan neol tteonaseo haengbokhal su eobseo

Nal wihae geureotan geumar
Neon bujokhadaneun geumar
Mari an doeneun mariran geol wae molla niga eobsi eotteoke haengbokhae

I want nobody nobody But You I want nobody nobody But You
Nan dareun sarameun sirheo niga animyeon sirheo
I want nobody nobody nobody nobody

I want nobody nobody But You I want nobody nobody But You
Nan dareun sarameun sirheo niga animyeon sirheo
I want nobody nobody nobody nobody

I don't want nobody body body.I don't want nobody body
Naneun jeongmal niga animyeon niga animyeon sirtan mallya a~

I want nobody nobody But You I want nobody nobody But You
Nan dareun sarameun sirheo niga animyeon sirheo
I want nobody nobody nobody nobody

I want nobody nobody But You I want nobody nobody But You
Nan dareun sarameun sirheo niga animyeon sirheo
I want nobody nobody nobody nobody

Back to the days when we were so young and wild and free
Modeunge neomuna kkumman gatatdeon geuttaero doragago sipeunde
Wae jakku nareul mireonaeryeo hae
Why do you push me away.
I don't want nobody nobody
Nobody nobody but you.


Livewire: Filipino Homicide

As part of Mission 347, 3 updates 4 7 days, I'm posting one of my Livewire columns, published in the January 2009 issue of the FEU Advocate.

A rejected cadaver left to rot and decay despite its historic battles—a prophetic image of the Filipino language pushed to the edge of a cliff by its own kin, nearing a kiss with reality.
Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas penned a bill, House Bill 5619, the proposed act strengthening the use of English as the medium of instruction, which has already passed the House of Representatives, mandating that English be the only medium of teaching. In this bill which has received many scathing remarks from professors, students and columnists, such as Philippine Star columnist William Esposo who stated that Gullas’ bill will lead to national suicide. English will be the only medium of teaching nationwide upon grade 3, thus, superseding Department of Education’s Order No. 25 which mandates bilingualism in teaching. Gullas’ frame of thought which led to the inking of the bill is one of concern to unemployment and for Filipinos meeting the global standard. 
English is gradually devouring, with effortless mastication, Filipino as the primary language. More so, this bill’s endorsement lessens the distance between knife and wrist. To even attempt to prove this point is like eating ice cream at Baguio during the once-in-a-blue-moon 6.3 degrees mark. Despite nakedness of truth, it is of course inexcusable to sharpen the tip of this ‘ball’point pen.
No single broadsheet national daily is written in the national language compared to other ‘more progressive’ Asian countries. The Midas-like lifestyle of the bastardized siblings; the older of the two, ‘Tag-Lish’, and the toddler, ‘Eng-Galog’, with ‘coño talk’ as his nickname, who’s bound to overshadow his elder brother, are both reared by gossips and unhealthy trends. FEU and FEUCSO, as well as other educational institutions, campaigning English as if it’s a losing candidate when in the contrary, it’s Barack Obama going against Manny Pacquiao. Pinoy television series reduced to fantasy and redundancy, as well as the actors, in storylines, or more so, American TV shows with superimposed ‘Pinoy’ at the beginning to make it appear more ‘pango’ and ’kayumanggi’ and the premature delivery of ‘Filipinized’ or ‘Tagalized’ versions of Fergie’s Clumsy, Rihanna’s Umbrella and Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love—all three sending global postcards which reads, in bright neon colors, that we are ill with bruised creativity and paralyzed originality, a seemingly malignant cancer of colonialism and the aging misconception that fluency in English equates to intelligence and excellence. And finally, this being written in English, instead of Filipino, to nourish this obese frame of thought.
In the first ‘Mano Po’, Maricel Soriano stated an unarguably strong pulling force which is hopefully the mindset that shreds the bill into oblivion, she was trying to decide whether she should leave the Philippines for good or move to China, her character’s descent. What made her stay was the thought, that when she thinks, the voice in her head is not Chinese but rather Filipino. 
Case in point, educators should play with their students’ strength. A school-age child thinks and understands better in his dialect—the language of his mind. Therefore, to facilitate accommodation and learning, teachers should present it in a form familiar to the child. Even tertiary level students have better absorption of a concept explained in Filipino than in English, and to think, those that will be affected by the bill are in primary. If that’s not illogical, then I don’t know what is. 
Introducing Science and the Milky Way Galaxy is already insisting fruits and green leafy veggies as a kid’s afternoon snack. What Gullas’ bill would do is ask the child to go on a South Beach diet. 
It is also hard to ignore, that out of 238 members of the House of Congress there are only 36 who can truly salvage the language. And there are 202, who’re stagnated on the idea that English fluency is the Darna, or Superman for them, of Philippine education.
Such flow of thought remains married to colonialism and Filipinos’ pseudo-freedom. Push this bill through and eventually Esposo’s prediction will trump Madame Auring’s and Nostradamus’. English will supersede, dominate and even erase, as it is already felt, dialects and Filipino. If such damage can be done to Filipino, rooted from the Tagalog dialect, which is spoken by the whole archipelago, to what extent can it do to the dialects of the minority—seemingly sending these dialects as castaways to Survivor.
Dr. Jose Rizal once said he who does not love his own language is worse than a smelly fish. One cannot love his own language if he learns a foreign one. And if Rizal also holds true to his words that the youth is the hope of the nation’s future, then the unfortunate youth encapsulated by Gullas’ bill will bring a Westernized future and not one of originality and rich culture.
To the Filipino who is most literate in English or in any other languages, does your mind speak to you in any of those? Or did you have your nose lifted and swallowed handfuls of Glutathione to undo your own lineage?
Does your mind also speak in Filipino? Let it talk to me at edge_guevara@yahoo.com


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Like Losing a Limb

My laptop crashed. It’s like dying, without the pain, the near-death experience, and the eternal immobility and unconsciousness. But with the full blast experience of the suffering, the agony and every stage of the grieving process.

On the crime scene, there was no evidence as to how my laptop crashed. This was during the time that I was reviewing for the Nursing board exam and I was living at Galicia near España, Manila. It was my first week at the dormitory. Seven entire days of no TV, no internet and just books and reviewers—it’s like joining Survivor, without the ugly mudslinging and inhumane betrayal. Well at least you could imagine my craving, an ardent desire to just lie on my bed, hold the remote and go online, but as luck would have it, my laptop just wouldn’t turn on. When I brought it to my cousin, who is an expert on computers, he told me that the motherboard crashed—and I burned. And as if that wasn’t enough, our cable was disconnected, and there are only two channels accessible on it—TV5 and GMA7.

So there was the denial, as I tried and tried..and tried to turn my laptop on. And there was anger, I didn’t come home for three weeks. I bargained to trade, my neighbor’s noisy dog for my laptop, I would gladly perform a sacrificial ritual (barking at no one at 4 am! Sheesh! And I sleep at 3!). I was depressed for 10 long long..hours. Pretty short time to be depressed right? Well I had to get real, I need to focus on my review. And alas was acceptance, I have accepted the fact that I can no longer savor the privileges I had before, mouth-watering cable TV, luscious and crisp DSL connection, heaven on earth.

I just wired my brain into thinking that all that was meant to tell me that I really need to study for the board exam. And true enough, my sacrifices paid off.
Thankfully, I was able to backup half of my arm, or files. It’s quite goosebumps-generating to think that despite the crash, my cousin was able to recover most of the contents of my hard disk. This wasn’t the first time that it crashed, which is why I learned how to backup files—the hard way. And surprisingly, I’m on my way to recovery. It almost seem like the crash was really intended to be just a sign and not something that will destroy what I’ve lived for in my whole stint in the FEU Advocate.

By far, the greatest damage that that misfortune had caused is the stagnancy of my blog. For almost four months now, my blog hasn’t moved an inch. No updates whatsoever. But I intend to change that now. I will be starting a mission, Mission 347, 3 updates 4 7 days or 3 updates per week. I will be posting published Advocate articles, if I find them, my columns, and a whole new lot of topics which are not too personal anymore. I think I have done enough of that now. In any case, Mission 347 (I got the idea from www.aubreythinksthat.blogspot.com) is a go.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

The FEU Advocate Editorial Board 08-09

To the reader: This post is both long and cheesy. And the only post until June.
I am not the Managing Editor anymore, nor an FEU Advocate staffer. For three years I have been with the official student publication of Far Eastern University, and it ended last March 31, 2009. The transition was much at ease and less poignant than it was last year. I quote one of my best friends in the org, who was the Features Editor, Hazel Galamay who commented, “Everyone took it easily,” during the official announcement of the 2009-2010 FEU Advocate Editorial Board.
And our batch did take it easily. I felt the repression of strong emotions; which was up to everyone’s brim that I did not tempt it to overflow. But in any case, I couldn’t stop myself from writing this blog (damn fingers!).
I doubt if you would endure reading the whole post so I broke it into parts. This would be what I deemed as most read since it will dwell on who’s who in the EB 08-09 which I confidently, with much audacity, call assuccessful.
Dwight Norman Sarga, Editor-in-Chief 08-09
Dwight’s story is technically a Cinderella story though he sees it as Naruto making his way as the next hokage. He is a self-proclaimed master hokage, as what was stated in his last column, Muckraker. If techniques were to exist, he would probably be the master of subtle humor-substance writing. Admittedly, Dwight is a very good writer and also a good political critique. This is acknowledged by all our staffers despite his meek, toned “wudeber” voice.
Our staffers, especially writers, loved him (some like Ned is beyond professional boundaries) for being approachable and helpful. He would comment and critique a writer without degrading his status as a human being, he treats everyone as an equal. But when it comes to tough decisions, he knows what he wants. And despite his work as EIC he graduated Cum Laude.
No one in the EB knew Dwight as the EIC more than I did. I know for a fact that he can make harsh decisions regardless of the situation—though he has some problems carrying them out—that’s where I come in. I am grateful for having him as 08-09’s EIC for his non-dictatorial take on matters. He would have his opinion on matters but would rather listen to what we have to say first before he puts his hands down. He may or may not be swayed but it would always be for the benefit of the organization and never for self-esteem purposes. Dwight always emanates his philosophy, that the FEU Advocate is not a “one-man-show”. His personality allowed us, the Executive Board, to govern with an Assertive leadership and not an Aggressive nor a Laissez-Faire one.
Dwight has not completely left the organization yet, he is still tasked, as well as I am, to finalize the FEU Advocate history—we wanted to recast it into a better version, and its deadline is set on August.
Jane Camille Almasin, News Editor 07-09
Among the Editorial Board, it was Jane whom I was most acquainted with—from personal to professional matters, this was because we were already part of the 07-08 Editorial Board. I know how she works, how she writes, how she got heavier with every news article, how she filled the News section with all her articles, how she treats her girlfriend (Nica), how Nica was jealous of me (haha!), how she squabbled with Hazel Galamay, how she became a mother (by figure) to the News writers, how she takes vanity pics of herself with her CANON DSLR complete with kit lens, how she swims like a Butanding (slowly but surely) and how she wears her ‘unzippable’ black shoes.
Her column, Beyond Points, formerly Fathom, always took a journalistic mood. It would always be on its most objective feet and even caught the attention of certain student council officials—which she handled with poise.
She is one of my closest friends, aside from Hazel, in the org. Jane’s opinion is also among those that we, the Executive Board, highly valued for certain decisions—editorial and managerial. She is fun to be with though ‘mali-mali’ at times. I’ve seen her cry, I’ve seen her laugh, I’ve heard her half-British accent (“huwan”), I’ve seen her in a dress, I’ve seen her in a bathing suit (for crying out loud) and I almost saw her naked (pinagpapaubaya ko na po lahat). What’s important is I’m thankful that she handled the most crucial section of the newspaper well. Despite its staffer's mortality rate which is congruent with the Features section.
Her greatest achievement, aside from graduating Magna Cum Laude, was reducing the mortality rate for News writers and empowering them. Now, it is Alessandra Modesto of the News section who is the 09-10 Managing Editor.
Hazel Joy Galamay, Features Editor 08-09
Though she rarely visits the office, she would always beat the ‘adjusted’ deadline. She is also one of the closest friends I have in the org. Sufficiently, she knows the line between work and play. She wasn’t blessed with the determined set of writers compared to Jane’s and in misfortune, she wasn’t able to pass her quality of writing to a deserving heir—well, her comedienne-persona might have been (not exactly a relief).
Her writing is probably one of the best, and the longest, I’ve ever encountered. She would always bring smiles in an initially serious EB meeting. I came to expect her to do this routinely, since it would be awkward to do it myself. Her greatest rival would probably be Jane, now imagine being with the two of them in Singapore. Hazel admitted that she and Jane were oil and water, but lo and behold the EB brought them together—but not intimately (whew!).
Hazel also chose to bring balance to the Opinion page with Zeitgeist, she was smart enough to accommodate that Muckraker, Beyond Points, Bamboozled and Livewire would tackle serious issues. So she chose to bring light, long, lengthy and beyond 600-words for her columns.
Staffers and EB members didn’t quite understand that her usual absence is usually brought by Dwight’s reliance on her for academic undertakings. I recall Dwight and Hazel, childhood friends and usually mistaken lovers, when they were having an unspoken argument. Both of them channeled their qualms and grievances through me with two sticks of cigarette and one menthol candy.
This Magna Cum Laude brought the second swoop on the FEU Advocate, the first was Jane’s “reply within seven working days”. She also has this equanimity for everyone to see, but displays what’s underneath it through very good choice of words and jokes.
Khadija Salisa, Sports Editor 08-09
We are both Nursing students. This is the same fate we endured and enjoyed. Khadz was supposed-to-be Sports Editor in the EB 07-08 but by one vote, Sheilla Gianan won. It wasn’t her time then. Khadz is the eldest when it comes to membership among the 08-09 EB. But she never wanted a position, she just enjoyed being a Sports Writer with a “sapi” of a Literary Writer.
Sports section, under her, would always beat the deadline despite conflict with the delay in News article. There was a time when most Sports stories had to be scrapped but she just said, “okay”, and refilled her pages with a new set of stories.
Effectively, she developed and returned the Sports section to its status before—a world of their own? Haha! Not atrociously at the least, but the Sports section was the loudest and most bonded section before the exodus of writers in the first sem. By the second semester, Sports is prepped and ready for FEU’s UAAP hosting next year. Precious Alora Velarde, an incoming second year, is the next Sports Editor and undoubtedly one of the best writers of their batch.
Her column, Bamboozled, was tagged as having the “Isumbong mo kay Tulfo” tone by none other than Dwight. She would always address sensitive student violation issues and make the reader’s nose bleed with highfalutin words—surely
Wilson Yu II, Head Layout Artist 08-09
Emotive, childish, but highly skilled and effective is who he is. Maybe writing this would massage his ego more (haha! Peace) but in any case he was able to effectively adjust the FEU Advocate’s layout from Tabloid to Broadsheet, passed on through the Style Guide and Layout Manual. It wasn't easy especially if the templates set were for Tabloid, imagine being trained for Tabloid and suddenly the Exec board informs you that you'll be doing a broadsheet. He would always listen to the comments and suggestions of the EB regarding the layout of the pages, his kryptonite would probably be jumps and by-lines.
I was warned that he was slow in layouting, so I tried to identify its cause. Apparently, he pays attention to details--not a setback at all. A thing he eventually got over once he got a hand on how to do things his way. His greatest enemy would probably be the galley edited by the Exec, adobe wars against him and red circle marks.
The Layout section under him received a number of positive feedbacks and was commended many times. From FEU students to different publication in the Metro, many had something good to say with the layout. Though he is not an effective manager during the first sem, he remedied that during the second sem and was able to find a suitable next Master, or Sir, Eduardo Napallad Jr., Head Layout Artist 09-10 and even Lester Molina, Webmaster 09-10. Another proof of this was his graduating as Cum Laude.
Occasionally, he would have an entirely political comic strip which he was able to put in words in his first and last column—Coax, which addressed nationalism and love of country from his vista. No wonder his thesis is about dying arts of Bulacan. Uhm..Mayor?
Glenn Michael Echavez, Art Director 08-09

A balance-brained artist is truly difficult to find. And the 08-09 EB was blessed to have Kuya Mikoy, the eldest among us, as its Art Director. I had a chance to work with him initially during the second sem of 07-08 since he was appointed as OIC then. This sex-machine or self-proclaimed star is amazingly objective and naturally mature—benefit of the age.
Though at first, the Exec thought that he doesn’t think logically—quite the contrary because he really does. He sees crucial decisions for what it is and not for what it appears to be. He is reliable during important instances. The very first Tamkomiks was accomplished under his editorship, and it was a very good one.
His Editorial Cartoons bring concepts that are undeniably witty but meaningful. More importantly, he doesn’t need to be drunk to speak fluently in English. Moreover, Dwight even addressed his writing as cohesive, highly readable and humorous but there's meat as he read Mikoy’s first and last column, Diaspora. Dwight even praised it in a sort of 'orgasmic' way.
The Arts section is one of the difficult sections to handle in the org, but Mikoy was an effective manager and the illustrators respected his skill, talent and editorship. He was also able to entrust the most praised and most read section of the FEU Advocate to Jacob Lindo, Art Director 09-10.
He is bound for Cebu now, but I doubt if someone of his talent can be contained on that island.
Rowelyn Gay Bautista, Business Manager 08-09, 09-10 1st sem

Highly effective, smart and quirky. She knows her strengths, those damn ‘unos’ on her report of rating are just exemplary, or rather far-fetched for me. To any of the EB, I owe most to her for burdening more than what is required. She knows that I cannot do the dirty jobs, that I had a huge obligation which she helped me to perform. As one who will be with the 09-10 EB, teach them what you learned and do not discount even the itsy bitsy details of management. And do avoid children riding bicycles, it's not good for your face or complexion.
Charlyn Faith Gabito, Executive Secretary 08-09
Her expertise is in process and clerkship, not a usual skill to encounter. Though her efficiency faltered in the second semester, skill is something that needs to be consistently sharpened and hers just needs a change oil. I guess I have given enough of myself to you. I just hope it’s not for naught. But knowing that she'll still be part of the FEU Advocate next year provides an invisible underpinning to the new set of editors.
Katrina Mae Javier, Photos OIC 08-09 2nd sem, Chief Photographer 09-10

Another one of my sisters in the org. One who constantly needs to be pinched, teased, cared for and uplifted. Hopefully, but most likely, geared for a successful handling of the Photos section especially for the crucial UAAP hosting. She is talented and just blatantly sweet and liked by anyone, though emotional at times (hehe!). You’ve done this before, I’m sure you can do it again. But this time, it should be better by rectifying the wrongs you saw or see.
Susana Eloida Grace Abaya, Literary OIC 08-09 2nd sem, Literary Editor 09-10
Apparently, your appointment as Literary OIC wasn’t a mistake. I always wanted to say this, “told you so”. The EB can identify the strengths of the staffers and you obviously have yours. Out of all the 09-10 EB, you are the most qualified person to remind them not to hinder the growth of their writers because the Literary is the most creative and free among all the writing sections. The Literary section was able to adjust fairly well to the new demands we imposed under your leadership. Jose Angelo Gonzales’ transfer to the Features section is enough proof of that. I pray that you’ll be graduating next year with the Tampipi folio under your belt.
Ma. Socorro Agustin, Senior Layout Artist 08-09

One of my sisters in the org. Poised to be Head Layout material, Soc’s opinion on the layout is one that is always solicited by the EB. Despite her schedule, she was still able to be an effective staffer. She was also among the few chosen ones who accomplished the June and July issues. Go after your dreams as I would, because our inclination to the arts will always be there. I guess that’s enough said. ^_^
To the rest of the EB 09-10.
Tough it out, and good luck! Take it, you will need it. ^_^


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