Nationalism or What do Filipinos Care About?

I am presently working in a foreign country as a temporary economic migrant. Someday, I will return home, but for now, I owe my financial resources to this nation whose culture is as different from mine as night is from day.

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I was thinking about my situation when I came across this article from one of the blogs I follow and usually comment on.  It is asking about nationalism, how it can be a bad thing, and finally, what Filipinos care about.

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First, the question of whether nationalism is “good” or “bad” is maybe a question of gradient and context.  When I was in elementary, the message I got from my teachers is that nationalism is “good” – and that is something we should strive for. We sang the national anthem and recited the “Panatang Makabayan” every morning without fail so this vague thing called “nationalism” could be instilled in our young minds and hearts. I had this idea as a child that it is a noble quality to be willing to die for one’s country. Back then, I was not aware of the nuances – i.e: what exactly are you dying for your country for?

Fast forward to Now.

Nationalism has taken on a bad rap.  The idea that “nationalism” is a dangerous concept probably started in Europe with its issues about the Nazis; fascism;  the breakdown of Yugoslavia due to the nationalist tendencies of the states that made it up; and now the deluge of non-European migrants into European soil. Presently, the US President is the poster child of the poisonous “nationalist” – a word which has become almost synonymous with “bigot”.

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A personal story regarding nationalism & immigration:

My aunts and uncles have all migrated to Canada in the 1990s. They have worked there and paid their taxes and eventually became Canadian citizens. So recently, Justin Trudeau has been welcoming Syrian and other immigrants to Canada. I would think that given their previous positions as economic migrants, my relatives would agree with Trudeau’s policies, in the spirit of paying it forward. But, alas … no. When I spoke with my aunt and uncle, all they could complain about was how the Canadian government policies would mean more taxes for them to pay and how welcoming more immigrants would be such a drain on the economy and how these middle eastern migrants are terrorists-in-disguise etc etc. So I just rolled my eyes and stopped the debate because I love my relatives and I don’t want us to spend their vacation arguing over immigration policies.

So what has this story got to do with JoeAm’s blog post is this: “What inspires Filipinos, broadly? Family, faith in the rituals of it all, gossip, and the practicalities of life: eating and getting around. Where is the MORAL foundation?” — particularly, me, mulling the answer to that question.

F Sionil Jose once wrote that Filipinos are  a shallow people (by the way, FSJ also supported and probably voted for Rodrigo Duterte — go figure).

FSJ said that we are shallow because we are “mayabang” (arrogant), we do not read (hence we are under-educated) and that our  mass media is shallow.

Given this “shallowness”, what inspires us then? I mean what would one expect a child to be inspired of? JoeAm gives this answer “Family, faith in the rituals of it all, gossip, and the practicalities of life”– ouch, but true. If we want to get rid of our shallowness, of this narrow definition of nationalism that we have, then we have to start with the family. And because of this we must consider that the unmet need for family planning in the Philippines is presently at 17.5% — oops, but this is another topic for another blog post  🙂

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So, to connect the ideas of this meandering post: do I believe nationalism is bad? Not necessarily, depending on how it is used. I mean, if one will define nationalism as a sense of loyalty to one’s country of birth/allegiance, that is not a perilous thing. That is actually a virtue. However, if one uses nationalism to justify the exclusion or persecution of “the other”, meaning people who are not part of your country of allegiance then that would just be mean. And if nationalism is used to defend one’s laziness and shortsightedness and unwillingness to make the personal sacrifices needed to combat climate change, well, that is just stupid.

Do Filipinos have a sense of nationalism? Yes and no. We have a superficial (“shallow” is the word FSJ’s used) sense of nation. We love our families to our detriment; and we identify with our tribes/regions (i.e Ilokano, Tagalog, Maranao etc), to the exclusion of our identity as “Filipinos”.

Given this fact, the question of “what inspires us?”, with all due respect, is the wrong question. The question should be: “how should that which inspire us translate to love of nation?”

Like, I love my family, my family inspires me. But would my family have existed at all if Filipino nationalists have not asserted our independence from Spain, America or Japan? My grandmother was telling me a story how the Japanese used to bayonet babies in their village. Without Filipino nationalism, she could have been one of the kids who suffered and then I would not exist.

This is a what-if of history (something my aunts get exasperated about when I bring it up, saying it is futile to think of what ifs).  But part of learning history is wondering about what ifs.  And that is what Filipinos lack, I think, why our love of our family does not translate to love of nation. We lack history. Somebody stole it from us (the colonial masters, the fucked up educational system, the present elites, you name it) – and now we fail to be inspired.

 

 

 

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On History and Heartbreaks

 

You should not love what you will never own. You only set yourself up for a humongous heartbreak.

A broken heart can have disastrous consequences, the magnitude of which depends on who owns that heart.

Cities, states, empires even, have fallen because of broken hearts — and that is in a literal sense.

We only appreciate the lessons of history when we study the personal details of the players that have acted in it.

We are humans, hence, we never learn from the story of others, unless we relate it to ourselves. That is called ego.

***

Last Week in History:

Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes IV met with US Senator Marco Rubio.

As anyone who cares to know is aware, my country is currently in crisisfake news (some of them are even state-sanctioned) is masquerading as real news, innocent people are sent to jail, there is a so-called “drug war” which has killed over 10000 of my fellow citizens, ISIS has ravaged our southern city Marawi where one of my bestfriends lives, and China is rapidly devouring Philippine territory (China has Sauron-like tendencies these days).

My country has never stood a chance to powers that are larger than she is. The Philippines is like all those Hollywood actresses who were sexually harrassed by Harvey Weinstein.

Also, we Filipinos have never had a lot of luck with our leaders. Most of them have pimped, abused or sold us. Or were too weak to stand up for us. In fairness to them, we Pinoys were also babies, we were a bunch of mewling, whining, unlettered idiots. Give us a break, we were in a convent for 300 years (under good old Mother Spain), drugged by Hollywood for 40 years (thank you Mother America), tortured by Kempetai for 4 years (Japan and WWII). We have only been to primary school and high school after 1945. And today, we are like starting college.

So … here’s to hoping for better leaders in the future, and more informed and active citizens to guide them.

If This is A Filipino

Jose Rizal is the Philippines’ national hero. Some say he is an American-invented hero, but I still believe that the honors accorded to him are well-deserved. He died for love of country — which is probably a hell of a lot more that I can muster. He is a nationalist and a polymath and his work and whole life is something that a lot of  of his countrymen can emulate. Sad to say, they do not. (photo from Wikipedia)

 

Jewish writer and concentration camp survivor, Primo Levi once wrote a book called “If This is A Man”. The title came from this poem:

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

 

It is a heartbreaking poem, for it compares a free person with someone who is locked up in a concentration camp. The most powerful words in this piece are these: “meditate that these came about”.

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Why am I writing about concentration camps and that archaic event called holocaust (which is being denied by a lot of people who disagree with Israel’s occupation of Palestine — holocaust did happen, my dears, which is not to say Palestinian occupation is a fiction, those two are not mutually exclusive; it is heartbreaking when victims close their eyes to the humanity of others) ?

The Philippine president once said that it’s okay to kill drug addicts and criminals because they are not humans. It is an outrageous thing to say; but which Filipinos (or at least the 16 million who voted for Duterte; note: there are currently over 100 million Filipinos) totally love.

They love the president, despite his bad mouth, shoddy accomplishments, crooked and squabbling deputies, and his very vocal support for violence to solve the country’s problems (number one of which is drugs — according to him, whether that is supported by facts is another matter).

Filipinos love him — the recent survey shows over 80% approves of his presidency.

They love him and his policies enough to wish other fellow Filipinos who disagree  total ill will. For example, the social media is replete with Duterte supporters who will post statements that you deserve to be raped or killed or your family massacred if you point  out how morally wrong the president’s pronouncements are.

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Which brings me to the title of this post: If this a Filipino …

…. would I want to be one?

…. would I be proud to call a country that produces such people as my own?

…. would I want to go back?

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What is frustrating, what makes me feel more sadness than anger towards fellow Filipinos who voted for Duterte is how willing they are to dig their own graves.

Talking to them is like talking to an addict who consciously knows that it is ingesting poison — i.e. Duterte supporters’ willingness to sacrifice innocent lives for this so-called war against drugs — when someone loses one’s moral fiber by supporting a policy that reduces innocent human lives to collateral damage, that is poison. (And please, they are aware that not all who are killed in OPLAN Tokhang are drug pushers,  just like not all who were killed in the Marawi airstrikes were terrorists.)

Despite this, they are willing to ingest poison because the option of stopping (for them) would be more painful.

Oh well,  I know I have the alternative of leaving the Philippines if (when?) it gets fucked up; a lot of the 16 million Filipinos won’t.

And that probably makes me sound unpatriotic but, fuck, I am beginning to  disbelieve Jose Rizal and all those heroes that think our country is worth fighting for — 16 million Filipinos just showed that I am probably not one of them (insert sad emoji here).

The Kind of Story I Would Like to Write

Your Life Under The Next Dictator

You still believe that it’s only the ‘bad guys’ that will be hurt and somehow that is miraculously determined by vigilantes with guns

It’s Monday morning and you are late for work because your kid’s yaya didn’t make it to your house in time. Her son disappeared over the weekend while out with his friends, and she doesn’t know where he is.

You’re not worried, he’s always been a troublemaker anyway. Rumor has it he even smokes outside his house.

You are rushing because you’ll miss the mass transit bus that replaced the cars in major thoroughfares. You have a car but you can only use it around your neighborhood. You have to be careful because of the traffic enforcers you heard are very strict. You’ve seen by the look on their faces that they really don’t mess around.

You’ll be fine. The streets aren’t congested after the president eliminated traffic by his strict regulation of vehicles. The public transport systems are affordable, and they are clean – thanks to the no littering, no smoking, and no gum-chewing ordinances in all public places.

Foreign investments are up because peace and order is evident. The crime rate is close to zero. All employees are versed in business math. Economic progress is unprecedented, and the president has made the Philippines great again, as he promised. At least that’s how it’s portrayed by media, whose positivity has been so refreshing, right?

You expected this. You voted for him. Despite his detractors who accused him of becoming another violent dictator, you knew he would follow through. He would clean up the Philippines’ act.

A cleaned up act

One look at the city shows it. There are no street children, no vendors, no panhandlers, not even smokers. The streets are tidy enough for you to eat off them. There isn’t even a blaring horn to startle you, not even a misplaced signal light.

On your ride you pass the statue of Ferdinand Marcos who was declared a hero by presidential decree. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is now the president’s advisor. Bongbong Marcos is the vice president. It makes sense. The culture of this administration is in his blood.

Even the newspapers have no crimes to report. Everything seems fine and dandy thanks to a presidential memo to media on “positive” news. You ignore the rumors that defiant news reporters are being detained somewhere outside Manila, same with emergency room doctors who report violent crimes. Serves them right for creating trouble, you think. Things are really better when only the good things are publicized.

“Puro kriminal lang yung mga nakakulong (Only criminals are jailed),” say your like-minded friends. You agree. After all, your chosen candidate said he will eliminate crime no matter what, and not to expect him to follow the rules. He’s just keeping his promise and you can’t fault him for that.

You forget that this already happened 40 years ago, because you only heard stories and never studied martial law.

“Kailangan nating ng disiplina (We need discipline),” you insisted to those who disagreed with you in 2016, even if they all warned that this “disciplinarian” president would cause citizens doom.

There is no doom as far as you’re concerned. The birth rate and unplanned pregnancies are down due to the president’s aggressive population control initiatives. The church first opposed this, until the cardinal disappeared when he spoke up about the immorality of contraception and armed guards watched the content of homilies during mass.

Proud of your decision

You’re proud of your decision to vote for a brave and proactive man. He’s developed initiatives his opponents and former incumbents could only dream of. You were right all along that an iron fist is what the Philippines needed. People follow a strong leader. Citizens are disciplined if there are consequences. You are glad that petty thieves are removed from the streets. You don’t really care where they end up, much less if they’re alive.

After a day of work you get back home without traffic to be able to spend time with your son – something unheard of before this administration when city traffic made it impossible to get home in time. The boy talks about the day’s school civic lesson about the president’s “Citizen Justice System,” where civilians are allowed to arrest, detain, and turn over offenders for community leaders to punish as they wish. You remind your boy how important it is to be good or else suffer the consequences of misbehaving. You warn him that “bad guys” are killed like the president wanted, and it doesn’t matter how and why.

You fall asleep quickly and without worry of locking your doors or activating your security alarm. It’s so quiet outside and you don’t remember the last time anyone reported any break-ins or other crimes. You’ve slept soundly like this for a couple of years, without worry for yourself or your family night after night.

But this time, at 1:30 am, you are shaken from your sleep because your brother was arrested for breaking the curfew. Your mother is hysterical and wants you to find him, but forbids you to leave the house before morning lest you be arrested as well.

You insist on leaving because you’re only looking for your brother and not doing anything wrong. There are cops patrolling everywhere, and soldiers man checkpoints. You get stopped by a plainclothes man with an AK-47, and you think that’s a good thing. You can ask for help finding your brother – a teenager who was probably just late coming home from studying in a classmate’s house – and maybe explain his side.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he says.

“I’m looking for my brother who was just arrested for breaking the curfew,” you say. A simple explanation should lead you to him in no time.

“So you’re breaking the curfew as well?” he responds, sizing you up, nodding at his fellow enforcers in some kind of code they’ve developed doing this night after night.

“No, I just–”

“Get in the van,” he says, pointing his gun barrel at a police vehicle nearby. You turn your head to find more armed men behind you. Lacking alternatives, you oblige.

The van is filled with street kids, homeless people, and those like you who were out after dark. The ones who are quiet are resigned. The ones who were angry have been beaten up. A guard silences anyone who makes a stir.

“You can’t do this, you can’t arrest me for nothing,” you say.

“President’s orders,” he says, making room for one more by his side.

You look in the corner where a teenage boy lies lifeless on the floor. You take a seat and calm yourself, confident this will all be cleared up in no time. You’re not a criminal. You’re a good citizen. You’ve never even so much as littered or passed a red light.

You believe someone will eventually listen to your explanation, lead you to your brother, and you’ll both have a good laugh.

But what if that doesn’t happen? Who will look for you? Will anyone even know where you’ve been taken? Will anyone be brave enough to report your abduction or death? Is there a newspaper that will question your arrest, or a lawyer who will fight for your rights?

Due process?

In the back of your mind you hear the warnings of those who mentioned terms you ignored when you pledged your full support for your president: due process, summary execution, death squad. You shrug it off, still believing those were all exaggerations. A noble leader cannot possibly allow injustice under his administration. Surely, like God, the president is all-knowing and has eyes on every single “law enforcer” of the hundred thousand he has appointed to maintain order on the ground. Of course they’re all good, conscientious, and not corrupt. Of course they are specialists on wrong and right. The president said so. He is always right.

You relent and believe for a second that you’ll be fine.

“Excuse me, sir–” you say one last time.

“Shut up or I’ll shut you up,” he says, cocking his gun.

You don’t understand. You fully supported rounding up the undesirables in society and dumping them in Manila Bay. When your president bragged about the thousands he killed to eliminate criminality, you believed it was hyperbole and that he didn’t really kill anyone. He was just so convincing that he scared people into behaving. Those were just rumors that hundreds disappeared because of the anti-crime initiatives in his hometown.

You appreciated the cleaned up streets and the visible peace that your idol has created. It’s a system that works in favor of those who follow the law, like you do. As long as you were good, you believed, you would never be harmed.

Surely there’s another way around this misunderstanding. This cannot be happening. Abducting an upright citizen like you cannot be in your idol’s plans.

You want to speak up, but who will listen? You did approve of the rounding up of journalists who portrayed your beloved president in a negative light.

You didn’t realize that giving power to anyone to arrest, detain and execute without due process means that any person may be taken on a whim. There is no paper trail to track their whereabouts, what crime they committed and what punishment is suitable for them. There is no accountability for the loss of life or serious injury. There is no press to report wrongdoings. There are no lawyers and judges brave enough to go against an administration that has abolished Congress to ensure power for as long as they want.

You keep your fingers crossed as the children in your van of “criminals” start crying. “Inosente rin po kami (We’re innocent too),” they say to you, but the guard tells them all to shut up.

“Lahat kayo kriminal (You’re all criminals),” he says, giving you a special glance. You know you’re not a criminal and you have done nothing wrong, so you want to say it out loud. You scout the streets for anyone you can yell at who will listen to you, to hear what you say and help get you out of the danger of being a wrongly accused passenger in this van.

Peace and order

But alas, the streets are empty due to the curfew. It is quiet, crimeless, and very peaceful. No undesirables. No lowlifes. No troublemakers. No whistleblowers. No one could hear you even if you screamed or if you were shot in the head in plain sight.

The van speeds up to take you to your final destination. You still believe that it’s only the “bad guys” that will be hurt and that somehow this is miraculously determined by vigilantes with guns without need for investigations or trials. Your beloved president cannot possibly allow injustice, and determining the fairness of executions is solely a divine act.

You voted for this, so you should be proud. This is how the president made the Philippines “great” again, and you fully supported it. Now it’s your turn to pay the price that others have paid before you when you claimed this is what we needed. You didn’t care about the lives previously snuffed because you were content in thinking that they were guilty and deserved death because they’ve been “bad.”

Congratulations on being part and product of making the Philippines great again. Don’t even say you were not warned. 

 ***
Yep … I have shamelessly cut and pasted Shakira Sison’s Rappler article in my blog.
She is an award-winning Filipino writer and I greatly admire her works.
As of this time, this story has garnered 111 comments in the Rappler website. The tone of the comments range from throught-ful to defensive to stupid to outright bitchy.
But hey, freedom-of-expression and all that jazz, right? Something we so take for granted in this messy “democracy” of ours 🙂

A Continuing Past

“The past is not dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner, a dead white American novelist. From the novel, Requiem for a Nun.

“The past is past.” Bongbong Marcos, real-life son of a dead Filipino dictator. In an interview.

RequiemForANun

***

There should be a right way of remembering. Some protocol to acknowledge and/or forgive the past without bogging us down in grudges and arguments.

I say this because I live in a country that has never known how to use the past. We are like that rodent in the cage that keeps on going around in circles.

The son of a dictator insists that the past is the past and we must move on and leave it behind. How so Mr. Marcos? How does a nation that was robbed and mutilated  by your father’s regime do that exactly?

Maybe, for Filipinos, Martial Law is the equivalent of the Civil War for Americans. In many ways, it is a topic that divides us. There are two narratives of Martial Law in my country, and it depends on who is doing the remembering.

According to you and your supporters, it was a golden age when people were disciplined, the economy was great and the leadership was able and competent.

According to me and others who hold the same views: Martial Law was one of the worst things that happened to our country — when corruption was institutionalized; when Ferdinand, Imelda and the cronies robbed us blind; when people were killed by the thousands for expressing their views and when the country’s economy went down to the pits.

I wish for a time traveling machine, something like in that Michael J. Fox  movie that I was so fond of way back in 1989.

I wish to observe the past first-hand and have my friends who are pro-Marcos do so as well. We will go back to 1980, perhaps, the year  I was born and check the veracity of certain claims.

Like: presidential decree arrests, Imelda’s infrastructure projects, arrested and tortured activists, the so-called enforced discipline in the streets, the peace in the countryside, the corruption in the military, the desaparecidos, the food stability and the green revolution, the squatter  colonies and the rise of Smokey Mountain …

Can one narrative be completely right and the other completely wrong? Or are they both correct, different facets of the same prism?

How do we learn from the past if we cannot even agree on  what it consisted of?

If martial law was so wonderful ....

If martial law was so wonderful ….

 

... then why did the 1986 People Power happen?

… then why did the 1986 People Power happen?

 

 

***

Reading Lists:

http://www.fhm.com.ph/daily-reads/news/bongbong-marcos-family-elections-vice-president

http://www.spot.ph/newsfeatures/the-latest-news-features/64010/ferdinand-bongbong-marcos-mythology

http://www.slyejoyserrano.com/myths-about-marcos/

http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/12780-the-ghosts-of-martial-law?cp_rap_source=ymlScrolly#cxrecs_s

 

Random Thoughts (on history and families)

“History is the resolve that makes us act so things don’t have to be the way they are. History is about hope, not despair.” — Ambeth Ocampo, Filipino historian

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Like a lot of my countrymen, I belong to a family of OFWs. Half of my mother’s siblings went to another country to work and, eventually, live their lives; and they now consider the Philippines as just another vacation spot. Now that their nieces and nephews are grown up (whose educations were helped by their remittances), I imagine my aunts (whom I call “mama”) feeling relief, pride and a sense of accomplishment.
So I think back on my mother’s family: my aunts and their dreams of getting out of poverty; my grandmother who never learned to read or write; my grandfather, a farmer who probably got so bored and lifeless living in an industrialized country that he developed the dementia that forced my aunts to send him back to the Philippines; my uncles who worked as soldiers to a dictator; and my mother  with her frustrations and neurosis which she passed on to me.
We trace history through our family. The skeletons in our cabinets, our mad relatives in the attic, the seeming successes that hide secret shames.
Families are a big deal to Filipinos. We are, as a foreign writer has offensively put it, “an anarchy of families”. Our loyalties, first and foremost, are bound to people that share our DNA or are connected to us by rituals such as marriage.
Families are a big deal to Filipinos. Statement of fact. We are a young nation and the institutions that compel us to be loyal to the idea of “country” are tenuous and superficial.
Take the public health facility where I work, for example. the idea of “public health” is a modern one, there is a rigorous body of science behind it, values and norms in which it should operate. That is, in theory. In practice, public health is a pawn of partisan and feudal politics. (I should clobber myself in the head for letting that idea sink in just now. What can I say: idealism and hope made me close my eyes to reality.)
So, yes, I am leaving. Sorry mommy, the system is just too much for me. Much as I would like to follow your entrepreneural example, I am unable to do that and still maintain professional integrity. So I am leaving. Whether I am coming back (and how or when), well, that’s for history to know.

Reading Lists:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/09/25/un-development-goals-miss-point-its-all-about-power?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

http://zenhabits.net/uncertainly/

http://www.rappler.com/views/imho/106827-martial-law-stories-hear?utm_content=bufferb0ec8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

A Case for Second Chances

Initially, the plan was to kill Jonas;  have some villain murder him and dump his body in an unmarked grave that Alice would have to discover. That story would be about moving on and picking up the pieces of one’s life after the only person you’ve ever loved has been taken so irrevocably away. And maybe I can inject an element of hope by bringing in a new character who will remind Alice of Jonas’s  steadfastness and innocence and courage and patience in loving someone as imperfect as her.

However … I have been mulling over Pope Francis’s visit and his homilies. And doing that makes one realize that the world does not need another death to prove its point  — that it is basically cruel, careless and indifferent (I have Christopher Hitchens to thank for this mindset); and that, probably, there is no God (thank you Richard Dawkins).

Alice is still an agnostic. A closeted one, who does not think it is worth her while to broadcast her lack of faith in a higher-deity-who-is-capable-of-personal-relationships-with human-beings to the world.

The thing with Alice is that is she is too much of a product of her times (and of her creator, obviously). She belongs in a country where villains pose as heroes; and heroes are finding it really hard not to go dark-side and turn (ala Sauron) into villains.

I am thinking that maybe, for all her faults, Alice deserves a second chance. Not everyone  had been privileged to find that someone who loved them above all others; who saw through one’s insanities and accepted her anyway. Killing off the male love-interest is a waste of a perfectly HEA, romantic lovestory worthy of a Judith McNaught or Lisa Kleypas (who I am re-reading right now).

A part of me, however, would like to kill off Jonas, just to make Alice realize what her indifference and pathologically neurotic fears can eventually lead to.

The thing is, if Jonas is alive … he wouldn’t be the same person that Alice knew. He would be damaged, almost beyond recognition; and it would take a lot of work to patch him up. Maybe he would be so banged up that, at some point, he would lash out and kill Alice to satisfy some sense of justice — or maybe not.

I have come to love Jonas and I don’t know why I have to choose between torturing him and killing him just to give Alice a happy ending.

***

During his visit to Manila, a girl from an orphanage asked Pope Francis why God let little children suffer. I am beginning to think that the answer may be because grown-ups like me have become too cynical and apathetic and complacent. So for that little girl, maybe Alice deserves a happy ending (which she must first work hard for, obviously)

During Pope Francis’s visit to Manila, a girl from an orphanage tearfully asked him why God let little children suffer. I am beginning to think that the answer may be because grown-ups like me have become too cynical and apathetic and complacent. So for that little girl, maybe Alice deserves a happy ending (which she must first work hard for, obviously). Picture from dailybalita.com

“Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion which is useless.Certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears.” Jose Mario Bergoglio, the Roman Catholic pope also known as Francis, January 2014 in Manila.

***

Readings Lists:

http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/mom-dad/relationships/stay-or-leave-10-real-life-relationship-situations/page/2

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/reviews/a31865/erotic-art-movies/

http://www.rappler.com/specials/pope-francis-ph/81106-full-text-pope-francis-homily-tacloban

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/01/27/15/what-tagle-thinks-hidden-streetkids-during-pope-visit

http://www.rappler.com/nation/85084-edsa-aquino-tagle-homily?utm_content=buffera45fa&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://www.rappler.com/nation/83044-aquino-accepts-purisimahttp://www.mindanews.com/mindaviews/2015/02/01/commentary-but-what-shall-we-do-with-the-fallen120000/-resignation

http://www.rappler.com/world/regions/europe/85189-jihadi-john-isis-execution?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=referral