FEBRUARY 24, 2007

salamat sa pagpunta mo
mabuti na ang pakiramdam ko
kahit mayroong paring ubo
pasensya sa pag inarte ko
at sa mga nasabi ko
alam kong galing ka pa ng san mateo
at halatang hapong-hapo
teka, taga dun ba ba si recto?
di naman sa pag disrespeto
hindi ko kasi sya iboboto
ang corny ng comemrcial nya – “korecto”
akala mo kung sinung perpekto
h’wag kang magsawa sa ‘yong trabaho
h’wag mo akong gawing ehemplo
nung akoy isang empleyado


Free write

Free write

FEBRUARY 15, 2007

ahem… why is he always the first one to go home when I have to bear an hour or so traffic in the midst of the moody hotspot hacked with the cotton hearted hag begging Johnny be good old days of playing in the wide grassy field with miss fields not chips ahoy but coffee to be given when you sign up here below and get you bag filled with gummy bears crawling beneath the moor ants feasting and frolicking stilettos on your favorite cake adjacent to horrendous tomato seeds rotting that is the reason for being happy but takes a gay back street boy every time you fall the trump succeeds but say the world is a never-ending journey but Bacchus turned to an energy drink and unilab sucks cause the pain amplified by the ample heart-crushing sadness remains and milli vanili is not vanilla ice ice baby so the road to your heart is slightly showing like black widow ready to inflict its treacherous cracken like tentacles and it would show up glimmering so the darkness fell on the other side where I woke up without a doubt I can feel you reaching out but can you catch me if I fall and it is quite amusing to see you dancing to that tune I forgot to tell you how sexy you were and the sun agrees but if not I’m doomed with a boom I crashed aftermath sister crying solar altis crimson beverage juice of Saudi where the rings attest the morning should you see me or not I’ll come to the place where we first met and let these sleeping dogs say I do not declare all my asset ejaculating spitting rage strike up the day and let it bleed sitting atop the 23rd floor tapirs realized that life is unfolding once again right before their very eyes and so the villain is on the move like the silent night hidden in the mist slitting the throat I cant finish cause the target is way off like what your mom told you and It will happen.

time start: 7:13

time finished:  7:20

Mediocrity: No Longer an Option

Mediocrity: No Longer an Option

FEBRUARY 11, 2007

Sometmes, the urge to boycott the midterm election is as recurrent as that pleasant dream in which an almighty power wipes out all politicians in the country overnight and puts in place an entirely new genetically modified breed. Not just new, of course, but brilliant and possessed of a kind of unwavering integrity. It is a must. The biological progression of the present-day Filipino politician is from so young and so corrupt to so old and absolutely corrupt.

Or, one can have nightmarish urges. A serious evaluation of the senatorial wannabes may push one into adopting a position more desperate than a boycott. You would want to vote with your feet—pack your luggage and leave the country for good.

At least 80 per cent of those who want to be senator or reelected senator neither understands nor grasps the nature of the senate’s job. This is to legislate and advance an agenda for the common good. Legislation and advocacy. How hard and tough can these two get?

After the burst of inspired legislation from 1987 to 1995, the Senate went downhill, then descended into the cellar of impossible mediocrity. The Senate used to be 85-percent bright, 10-percent average, 5-percent mediocre. Now it is 30-percent bright, 20-percent average, 50-percent mediocre.

Just to illustrate: The Senate president of the Eighth Congress (Jovito Salonga) trained at Yale and the majority of his colleagues at Harvard (Saguisag, Enrile, Tañada, Alvarez etc). If they were not Ivy Leaguers, they went to public schools just as prestigious such as the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (Angara). Bert Romulo trained in jurisprudence at the Universidad Central de Madrid. The pool of brainpower was so awesome that there was room for one slacker (Estrada).

I covered the Eighth Congress (the Senate) from 1987 to early 1989. If a reporter had the energy, he could file five good stories every day and ten decent ones. All the senators, except one or two, were saying something of substance. Now, a senate reporter is limited to reporting all that nonsense and hogwash and the tortured ranting of ego-tripping jerks. When was the last time senators engaged in a debate of high-minded purpose? When was the last time they made a nation proud?

The disenchantment with the field of senatorial wannabes turns into utter hopelessness as one scans the headlines and reads what the wannabes intend to offer to the nation (in terms of legislation and advocacy) once elected. Shifting through reams upon reams of official statements, very little is said about the battleground issues of this new millennium: energy, the flattening of the globe by strides in information technology and cyber issues, the new global conflicts that have emerged from clashing civilizations and ethnicities, a world trade radically altered by liberalization.

The dummies cum wannabes don’t get these issues. Either they know they exist but there is not enough in the cerebrum to grasp their complexities, or simply the great national and global issues have slipped by without notice. While political leaders elsewhere are constantly preoccupied with the great issues of the day, exploring policy frontiers, reshaping and reinventing their advocacies, it is politics as usual in our damned and hopeless country.

The senatorial election in May is being billed, rightly but tragically, as a referendum on who is more popular and better regarded: Mrs. Arroyo or Erap Estrada. Instead of giving the public the chance to select candidates based on what they will do in the Senate once elected (again, in terms of legislation and advocacy), the public is being made to decide based on whether such and such candidate is running with the Estrada coalition or the Arroyo coalition.

What about competence? What about training? What about the grasp of the large national concerns and global issue that now dominate the policy landscape? At the very least, a basic grasp of the nuances and dynamics of public policy.

As Senator Angara (who is running for reelection) has said, mediocrity is no longer an option for the voters. The great tradition of the Senate is still covering up for the current mediocrity but the once great reservoir is fast drying up and is about to get exhausted. Voters have to take if from here and vote to reverse the slide. Grand ideas, literate debates, big advocacies and inspired and intense legislation should once more dominate this revered ground of democracy.

Marlen V. Ronquillo

Winless in Doha

Winless in Doha

FEBRUARY 1, 2007

Brown men can’t jump. Those with above-average vertical leaps can neither dribble nor shoot. The athleticism of the Malay race, if it is really there, is suited for sepak takraw, not basketball. The embarrassing loss of the Philippine national basketball team in Doha, Qatar, (winless and scared shitless after the tournament), is just the latest on a long, long list of meltdowns in international basketball tournaments.

The tattooed basketball mercenaries from the United States and Trust Territories and elsewhere can’t be of much help. They are here because they can’t make it as benchwarmers in lousy NBA teams such as the Atlanta Hawks. Stints in the CBA? Hardly. Life in the minor leagues in the US (USBL, NBL etc.) is too tough: flea-invested hotels, lousy food, creaking team buses, pay of a McDonald crew. These mercenaries have found a heaven here. Plus, they get all the leggy girls in town.

The Manila Times special report on basketball was excellent journalism. Something has to be written about the passion—and obsession—toward a team sports that has become the second national pastime after politics. Only in this hapless country of ours does basketball, a sports where we always miserably fail, intersects with politics and popular culture to a level beyond comprehension. Basketball stars shine in politics. Politicians manage and own minor basketball teams. Basketball lemons, in oversized shorts, are lionized and get the treatment of rock stars.

The bigger basketball teams are owned by the tycoons, basketball fans themselves.

Question. Is there hope for Philippine basketball? Can we at least recapture the decent standing we used to have in international tournaments? Is too much focus on basketball (to the detriment of sepak takraw and other games suited for Malays) justified?

There is only one answer and the nabobs and high priests of Philippine sports should get this. None. Wala.

We are a hopeless case. If Philippine basketball were a car, it is a Torana. The competition are Modenas and Targas. Or, at the very least, S-Class Benzes and 7-series Bimmers.

Forget basketball. It is not for brown men who cannot jump, dribble and shoot with elementary decency.

There is nothing more embarrassing than our never-ending failures against Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan in regional tournaments. Their players are blue-collar workers who play basketball after office hours, after their 8 a.m. to 5 p. m. jobs. They are not lionized and pampered, the pampering goes to their baseball and football stars (basketball is a minor game in the two countries). Yet, our national teams padded by the tattooed mercenaries can’t beat these office workers cum basketball players in international tournaments. Forget about China. Unto itself, it is a Great Wall in basketball.

Why? What is at the root of these tragic and never-ending embarrassments in a sport we so love?

Genetics is our primary curse. Just look at Indonesia, where many of our forefathers came from during the great Asian migration. Indonesia has over 200 million people, which in theory offers a vast pool of possible basketball greats. Have we heard of an Indonesian team playing in the elite World Basketball Championship? Is there an Indonesian in the NBA? Is there an Indonesian playing for an elite commercial team in Europe such as Benneten Treviso or Real Madrid? Zero. Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia have to admit to the fact that they do not have the body parts to be basketball greats.

But wait. You may remind me of the story of former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, who was awkward and gangling, but made history as one of the greatest collegiate players in the US NCAA. John McPhee, the great writer, even wrote a book about Bradley’s collegiate life at Princeton that focused on both his extraordinary basketball discipline and sense. Bradley was later drafted by the New York Knicks, played professional basketball for 10 years and helped the Knicks win big.

Bradley, of course, was short on athleticism. But he had an extraordinary sense of basketball, an extra-brilliant mind and extracourageous heart. I have read most of the books written about this basketball great and Rhodes scholar. And the books he himself wrote about life, politics and public policy. He should have been US president.

Can you say the same of our basketball lemons here?

Marlen V. Ronquillo

Licensed to kill

Licensed to kill

JANUARY 26, 2007

I came to LTO around 1 pm thinking that there would be a lot less people in the afternoon. I was wearing a plain shirt and my favorite chevignon faded denims. Due to the wound on my left foot, I decided to wear slippers instead. It would be my first time to renew my driver’s license alone, usually my mom accompanies me, but this year I decided to do it myself. Honestly, the idea of renewing it myself amused me. It was like a baby step towards independence. For all this time, I was always dependent on my mom when it comes to stuff like this. I felt like a captain of a stranded ship searching for a lighthouse so it can reach shore.

Within a few days I would be 23, and I think I should be more proactive. The time is not too early and not too late. Another climatic change is on its way. Based on the new system it should only take 2 hours or less to have a driver’s license renewed.

As I entered the front gate, a pair of hands held me back. Without even the chance to ask why, I was rescued by a guy, which obviously was a fixer. He veered me away from the entrance to the sidewalk. Seconds later, we had a deal.

He led me to the adjacent stalls along the stretch of East Avenue. The place was like a wet market – cramped and grubby; the difference is that it was teeming with testing centers and notary public instead of usual meat and vegetable stalls. Our deal was that he would accompany me through the process of renewing my license. Well, so much for thinking grand visions of independence. I thought how lame I was letting manong guard screw me effortlessly. How am I supposed to stand for the girl of my dreams when I’m blown away like hay in the field?

So much for my high hopes of renewing it painlessly: I miscalculated the inefficiency factor and the under the table negotiations. The LTO has been known to be one of the most corrupt agencies in the government and true enough it lived up to its reputation. I got my new license at almost 5 pm. I have to amuse myself listening to the Koreans seated near me. I also have to bear the people who are above the line! Those people who use their influence  to avoid the hassle of lining up are ugly as Puma Ley-Ar.