Monday, December 22, 2014

Pining For Home

Like many netizens all over the world, I am not particularly trustful of or comfortable with Google, that global internet presence which, whether we like it or not, insidiously intrudes into and then profits from almost everything we do in the online world. Its multinational hugeness and its pervasive dominance in all things related to cyberspace worries a lot of concerned individuals even those who regularly use its many services and who benefit from them in the personal or economic sense or both.

Yet occasionally, this internet colossus comes out with something that manages to surprise us all. Something that in this selfish, money-centered and cynical world (of which Google is, whether deservedly or undeservedly, in the eyes of many, a personification of) somehow pulls and tugs at that emotional core that hides in all of us, something that whispers and resonates to that softer side of our human nature, something that affirms that universally held hope that even in this selfish and cynical world, there is a premium still for love, friendship, generosity, loyalty and all those other pure, virtuous and noble sentiments of the human heart.

Last Dec. 14, Google Philippines published a video on You Tube that has been viewed and shared by more than a million people to date. Titled "Miss Nothing", it is basically a tribute to the more than two million Filipino overseas workers abroad who have left their families and homeland behind in order to work for a living all over the world. In less than two minutes it emotionally paints through images and music their loneliness and sense of isolation and how through the magic of modern wireless digital communication they desperately struggle to keep their tenuous links to their loved ones back home alive and meaningful.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Unfinished Business

Nothing irritates and distresses me more intellectually and emotionally than fellow Filipinos who should be old enough to know better and should be well-informed enough to understand clearly but who are quick to say to my face that the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution was a failed revolution because the ideals, principles and objectives it had fought for remains unfulfilled and unrealized 28 years hence.

I can be considerate of those who are too young to have been discerning witnesses if not actual participants in the crucial events of those historic few days in February of 1986 and have not bothered to really familiarize themselves with unbiased and accurate accounts of what was clearly one of the most important defining events in the recent history of this country. It is often all too easy to dismiss or, even worse, actually belittle and consider insignificant something that one does not truly understand or know enough about.

I can also disregard the fence-sitters who, 28 years ago, never did commit themselves and merely waited to see which side would prevail in the end and only then loudly proclaim themselves to be wholly, in body and spirit, to have been with the winning side from the very beginning. They did not matter three decades ago and sadly, despite their noisy protestations, still remain irrelevant to this very day.

Finally, I can discount the die hard apologists for the Marcos dictatorship who even nowadays still cling to their delusion that the more than two decades of Apo Ferdinand's authoritarian rule was the best thing that ever happened to this country, the very same people who still desperately peddle like inveterate hucksters their own revised and doctored version of the events leading to EDSA uprising. As far as they are concerned the so called Yellow Revolution will always be just an ill-advised coup d'├ętat, a disastrous putsch that really changed and achieved nothing except unjustly removing from power the one man they all worship as the greatest leader in Philippine history.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Pindang Revisited

I was among the more fortunate to have had the opportunity to sample a sinfully diverse selection from the cornucopia of festive culinary delights traditionally offered by most Filipinos to family members, relatives and friends for copious, if not gluttonous, consumption during the recent Christmas and New Year celebrations. That meant mouthfuls of the ever ubiquitous ham (of several kinds), repeated generous servings of pasta thick with sauces of both the red and white varieties including one or two others of an indeterminate shade in between these two extremes, countless portions of chicken thighs and wings both roasted or fried in batter and slices of fish either grilled, steamed or stewed with fresh veggies in the traditional way.

I have not even included in the first list list the obligatory chocolate and cheese cakes, whole wheat bread loaves with raisins, chocolate doughnuts, bibingkang kanin (rice cakes topped with caramelized coconut cream), empanadas (pastry stuffed with meat, vegetables and egg slices) and a multitude of other desserts and side dishes. The often excessive enthusiasm and unusual profligacy even normally frugal Filipino families put into preparing for the orgies of feasting during the Yuletide and year-ender festivities never ceases to amaze me.