Friday, July 27, 2007


It is that time of the year when I add one to an ever increasing number that represents my age. And yesterday I turn 33. So what about being 33? Well, I am “too old” for success already. Julius Caesar once wept in front of Alexander the Great’s statue when he was 33 years old claiming that he is too old already and have done nothing of relative importance yet; same here with me. Alexander the Great died at 33 at the height of his power and empire. At 33, Julius Caesar was at the start of what would be an illustrious path to power. Same with Temujin, the feared Genghis Khan, who at 33 has just managed to unify the Mongol tribes but still faced a formidable challenge. So does Qin Shih Huang, the first emperor of China. The latter began his unification wars when he was 33. Napoleon as First Consul has consolidated his hold as the undisputed master of France at age 33. Augustus Caesar was already the emperor of Rome by 33, having just won the battle of Actium one year before. And Bill Gates is already a billionaire by 33. And where am I now that I’m 33? Still nowhere! It’s time now to get things going.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


One morning sometime in the weeks past, I woke up and gazed at myself on the mirror and realized a question, “what if circumstances were different, would I be the same person as I’m now?” It is the question that occupied my thought for sometime. I don’t know why I ask this question but probably this has to do with what I am now (I mean I’m getting “older”). I mean, everybody asks this question at some point in their lives especially when they tried to look at their past. The gist of my question is really is “are we really the authors of our own fate?” or “are we merely the product of fate itself?” Put it simply, if we are the authors of our fate, then no matter under what circumstances be, it is we that determines who we are. Else, it is fate then that dictates who we should be. One of the popular theories in the study of history and philosophy is Arnold Toynbee’s “Theory of Challenge and Response”. According to Toynbee, when civilizations and to the lesser extent, human beings are faced with a challenge be it from Nature or from other civilizations or from other human beings, civilizations and human beings responded by learning, adapting, changing (at times, radically) their behaviors to meet and overcome the challenges. Failure to adapt and change would lead to the demise of a civilization or of a human being. Now, it is a given that though certain events and circumstances were wrought simply by our own doing, most of it were forced upon us whether you like it or not. And in cases of major challenges, we responded by learning, adapting, and changing our ideals, our beliefs, our morals, and even our principles, at times drastic and at times radically in order just to survive. And as a result, for better or worse, we became a “different” person entirely, a “victim” of fate. Although I believe in the freedom of choices but there are times when the choices simply boil down to “to be or not to be”. And most of the time, the choice of “not to be” isn’t exactly a choice at all. It is this conclusion that I hold onto for a long time until recently. You see in my recent reflections I discover that though I did “learn my past lessons” and adapt to it and even going to the extent of “adjusting” some of my beliefs, my ideals, my morals, and my principles and at times changing them radically to suit the new circumstances, I also discovered I’m essentially the same person that I was 10 –, 20 – or 30 – years ago. I am still me. I mean that once upon a time when I was still young, I was a dreamer, an ardent idealist that viewed the world in the most simplistic of all views. Circumstances in life however intervene and I was forced to adopt a more pragmatic view of life and take the most practical of all actions and responses to a given challenge. Still, I noticed that I still harbor that idealism that I hold dear in my youth. Watered down maybe, tempered probably but it is still the idealism that I once knew. The methods I employ now maybe pragmatic in form and style and at times, probably Machiavellian but my goals, my objectives are somewhat idealistic. I may no longer be a dreamer but I’m definitely a romantic. Another thing about me that didn’t change is my love for books or the more underlying reason, my constant curiosity about everything around me. The thirst for knowledge, that need to answer the question, why is still very evident in me after all these years, after all the things that happened. I bought books when I was young (though not in the scale that I’m acquiring books right now) and at the present time, I’m still gobbling up books like there was no tomorrow. Maybe if the circumstances were different and I don’t have the means to acquire the books that I have right now but still I doubt it that it would deter my voracity for knowledge or impede my quest for answers. After all, there are ways to acquire knowledge without actually buying up books. I remembered that when I was younger, I was “angry young man”. Angry of being limited, angry of being hold back, angry of the status quo (or far from what is ideal), angry for not being able to remedy it. Now that I am older and supposedly, wiser, I’m no longer “angry” but impatient. Impatient of success, impatient of slow progress and at times of no progress at all, and most of all, impatient of not being able to remedy it as fast that I would have wanted. Of course, there are a lot more about me that I finally found out that is still me even after all the things I’ve been through and it is quite heartening to know. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that no matter what happened our basic character still persists. Our core essence as an individual still permeates and this influences how we “respond” to changes. This is why some people may find themselves a contradiction, i.e., saying this and doing exactly the opposite because of circumstances while others find themselves a bag of inconsistencies, i.e., constantly “reinventing” themselves all throughout their lives, again due to circumstances. The reality however is that there is no such thing as contradiction nor there inconsistency. People feel they’re a contradiction or inconsistent simply because they didn’t “understand themselves”. And to know thyself is to know the world around us. For example, one maybe simply greedy and they never knew it and hence, they would react in a certain way given the circumstances. But this doesn’t mean that they aren’t greedy if that particular circumstance didn’t happen. They still are. Now, going back to the question. “If circumstances were different, would I be the same person that I’m right now?” My conclusion would be no, I would be a different person for I would have change my ideals, my views, my beliefs, my morals, my principles just adapt to reality but I wouldn’t be far off either for I am what I am, what I was, and what I will be. I would still be me regardless of the circumstances.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Mom Like This Doesn’t Deserve To …………!!!

Just learn of this ad posted at Friendster Classified, Philippines. A mother is selling her 1-year-old baby boy because she is no longer capable of raising him!!! What the …….?! I’ve heard of outlandish, crazy ideas before, stupid, outrageous ones even but this?!!! This tops them all!!! The ad was posted on Friendster Classified, Philippines last July 13 at 11pm complete with the baby’s picture (You can look up at or go to Friendster Classified, Philippines under the heading, FOR SALE subsection BABIES – INFANTS). I don’t know the authenticity of this post whether or not this is a joke or a real offer but if this is somebody’s idea of a sick joke. Well, it ain’t sick at all! It’s demented!!! Now, if this is a real thing, well, I could forgive her for giving up her child if she can’t raise him. Poverty is not a reason for someone to condemn another person’s act of desperation but to actually “sell” her child for monetary gain?!!! It’s just sick!!! I maybe a capitalist and an advocate of “everything has a price” but even I have my limits. I wouldn’t put a price tag on a baby’s life and future! This is so wrong!!! It’s just sick!!! Now, if the mother is really serious about her child’s welfare, give him up to a foster home or to an orphanage or put him up for adoption but WITHOUT ANY MONETARY CONSIDERATION!!! If she persists with the offer then she doesn’t deserve to be called a mother at all but a monster or a beast that devours her own young. She deserves a fate worse than hell!!! Calling her a mother would bring shame to all the mothers in this world!
On a larger view, the problem of unwanted babies is not something new nor inexistent. They are as real as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the sky we see. For one reason or another, desperate parents or moms simply abandoned their child, their flesh and blood, their responsibility because they knew of nothing else to do about it. I’ve been to an orphanage once as part of requirements of my Religion class in college. I played with the kids, the oldest of which is but 5 years old. They are so many of them and every one of them has one thing in common, they longed for someone to love them. They longed for a parent to love them, play with them. The very moment I carried one of the children in my arm, another was pulling my other hand and still another was pulling my legs, begging, crying to be carried as well. They are so many of them. They are just too many of them. And then there is one infant, a newborn whose head had ballooned to the size of a football. The baby had hydrocephalus. His parents abandoned him to the orphanage because they cannot save his life. That was more than a decade ago, I don’t know what happened to him. He would have been a teenager right now, if he had ……….. The world is ain’t fair…….. Life isn’t fair…………

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Watched Transformer the movie two Sundays and boy! It does brought back a lot of memories. I was in high school back then when the Transformer series was first aired. It became a topic of discussion among my friends and peers. In one of those discussions, I still vividly remember old pal Jerry expressing his incredulous observation of a three – storey tall robots like Megatron (NBE1 in the movie) transforming into a hand held laser rifle or that of Shockwave transforming from a giant 20 foot robot into a hand held (by humans) portable walkman/tape recorder or that Rumble transforming from a magnetic tape into a slightly larger than human size robot. I still remember about the discussions about how these Transformers transformed from their robot mode into their vehicle mode or aircraft mode among others. In one instance, I remembered that we discussed about how Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots transformed from his trailer truck into that behemoth of beauty and power. We analyzed each detail of how the headlights of the truck became his hand and arm, where his head pop out, and where his legs came from and best of all, we always wonder where his trailer has gone to whenever Optimus Prime is in his robot mode. You see in the cartoon series, Optimus Prime always carried a trailer and it “conveniently rolled off” and out of sight every time it transformed into a robot. The significance of this observation cannot be underestimated for every Transformer enthusiasts knew that Optimus Prime carries in his trailer, his weapons and his reconnaissance support named, Roller and yet, it is out of sight 90% of the time. This simple faux pas by the animators became the subject of speculations among the youths of my time back then. I also remembered a classmate of mine, Alain who expressed great fascination about the “merged” robots in the series like the Constructicons (a group of 5 robots transforming into construction type vehicles like cranes and cement mixers) merging into a giant monster of a robot called Devastator or the Thundercons becoming Minisaurs or the Protectobots becoming Defensaur. Actually, merged robots are not new at that time. After all, we do have Voltes 5 and Voltron. However, the difference between Voltes 5 and Voltron and that with the Transformer merged bots lies in the fact while the former is composed of 5 non – transformable vehicles “volting into” a giant bot, the latter are made of 5 individually transformable vehicles. It simply behooves the imagination to figure it out how they done it. More than the bots, the storyline itself in the Transformer the series was also very much a part of our discussion back then. Who wouldn’t forget the first two episodes of the series introducing the Autobots and the Decepticons and their millennia of civil war in distant Cybertron. Oh, how could I forget that epic duel between Optimus Prime and Megatron on top of the Hoover Dam or the heroic chase of Optimus Prime trying to stop Megatron from carrying all those energon cubes aboard a shuttle back to Cybertron. And who wouldn’t shed a tear for Optimus Prime when he died in the Transformer the animated movie back in the early 90s. I know I did. It’s the first time I shed tears for a two dimensional character drawn on a piece of paper! But then again, there is the death of Superman. Anyway, that’s how the movie conjure up those memories of the old and brought us back to the days when we were still young and very much into day dreaming. But that is only where the movie succeeded, the rest of the movie is just so – so in my view. For a fact, the storyline has been changed not subtly but overhauled radically. No longer were the Autobots and the Decepticons crashed landed at the side of a volcano on Earth while on board Tellus 1, the mother ship 4 million years ago while searching for a habitable planet. Instead, Megatron crashed landed alone centuries ago in the artic circle in search of the “All Spark” and Optimus Prime came to Earth to stop Megatron. Aside from that, in the series, the ability of the Autobots and the Decepticons to transform into a particular object or vehicle is permanent and brought about by Tellus 1. Bumble Bee for example is a Volkswagon Beatle, hence the name. Yet, in the movie, Bumble Bee started out as a box type car with a dubious make and later “upgraded” into a Benz – like luxury car. Clearly, commercialization has seeped into the veins of the movie. Even so, unless you are a hard – core fan who cling to cannons, I don’t see the changes as particularly “offensive”. What I can surmise is that the writers of this movie tried to “adapt” the concepts to a more mature audience e.g., people like me who grew up watching Transformer and who until now never questioned the apparent incoherence in the logic of the concept of the series. The writers have attempted to “logicalized” the concepts and adapting it more to the reality around us. An example would be Megatron. Instead of transforming into a laser rifle of the old, Megatron becomes a “pyramidal” spacecraft. Well, I can say that the writers have partially succeeded in its attempt to “logicalized” especially in the transformation part but in terms of rewriting the entire storyline, they needed to do a lot more “convincing”. The graphics on the other hand are superb. The interface between the animated characters and the real scenes are simply seamless so much so that one actually believe that they are real life robots in the real world and not simply made of pixels. The motions are fluid and the fight scenes are great although I couldn’t imagine as to why Optimus Prime pathetically loses to Megatron in the last scene since the former is a “better” warrior than the latter and that the latter can only win if he cheated. The movie is literally fast – paced and heavily – loaded with actions leaving little to character developments. I meant aside from Spike Witwicker played by Shia Le Beouf, all the characters including Optimus Prime are as two dimensional as the paper they are drawn into. Pretty shallow in my view. What’s worst was that the movie tried to etch out a love story in an action movie! Really out of place! In spite of these shortcomings, the movie is a breakthrough in the sense that it brought to life a popular animated series, a series that has both fascinated and captivated a generation of youngsters like me. It’s about time they come up with movie like this and it’s worth to watch it. Enjoy the movies.