My Favourite Disney Songs

These four songs are my MOST favourite Disney songs. They are totally underrated and overshadowed by Elsa and Belle. These four have some common themes: breaking out from a place that holds you back, finding your place in the world/universe, and knowing who you are.

I’ve been awarded a position as a research fellow at my university. I’ve been invited to present my paper at a conference. I’m currently under the tutelage of brilliant professors. I could make a living here and live out the rest of my life, but there’s something missing.

My mother told me, “There’s nothing here (the Philippines) for us. We have no family. We have to find something else.” I agree with her. I am interconnected to so many people and things here, but there is so little that makes me truly happy. The only thing that makes my stay here worthwhile are my friends.

These songs keep me hopeful that I can one day leave and find that happiness that I can’t find here. You keep me strong, Disney.

Favourite part:
And I want a moment to be real,
Wanna touch things I don’t feel,
Wanna hold on and feel I belong.
And how can they say I never change?
They’re the ones that stay the same.
I’m the one now,
‘Cause I’m still here.

Favourite part:
I will find my way
I can go the distance
I’ll be there someday
If I can be strong
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere
To feel like I belong

Favourite part:
And out there
Living in the sun
Give me one day out there
All I ask is one
To hold forever

Favourite part:
I could go running
And racing
And dancing
And chasing
And leaping
And bounding
Hair flying
Heart pounding
And splashing
And reeling
And finally feeling
Now’s when my life begins!

Arranged union

I have a friend whom I just recently parted ways with. She was an international student, and she needed to get back to her home country.

I would say that our upbringing is somewhat similar. We both grew up in a country that did not “match” our ethnicity. Even though we are similar, our views of our motherland is different. She wasn’t born in the country where her parents were from, but she finds love and attraction to that country. I was born here in the Philippines, raised in England till I was 10, then lived here in the Philippines since then but have no love or attraction for this country.

Don’t over generalise and say, “This guy hates everything about the Philippines.” No. I do not hate. I just do not love it. However, I do love my friends and experiences that I’ve created.

I’ve lived in this country for over 17 years, yet I have not grown to love it. Here’s the question. Is it wrong of me not to love something that was arranged for me? I may be genetically coded to be a Filipino, but does that mean that I should be a Filipino? I’ve seen too much dirt in this country that it’s impossible to see the beauty.

If people can undergo sex reassignment surgery because they feel like they were born with the wrong parts, I should be entitled to change my own identity to what I believe I am.

I am the least culturally​ Filipino person you’ll ever meet. I tell this to all my friends with confidence and gusto not because I feel egotistic but because I know who I am. I will not lie about my heritage or lack thereof of it. I am not Filipino because the culture I grew up with was not Filipino, and the culture I follow is not Filipino. 

People may call me brainwashed or a traitor, but that will only push me away even more.

I don’t know what I am. I do know that the answer to that problem is not in this country. 

And another post on happiness

There has been a great amount of incredibly influencial set of circumstances that has fallen upon me this past week. One of which was my discussion with my mother on my academic trip to Japan. I’ve been planning this trip for most of my childhood till now. 

I’ve always looked forward. If there’s one thing that my parents’ generation and our generation have in common is that we’re both looking forward to the future; it’s something that must be acquired. The past, however, is a different story.

Since this is about happiness, the joy one has experienced​ differs. Some people are born into families that love and support one another. This love and support would translate into personal growth in mental and emotional stability. These are some of the bases for a person’s internal happiness, and if that person has had those while growing up, he’s had a good past. But then there are people with families who have disjuncted love and support, like mine.

How can one grow as a person, move forward, and reach for the stars when family is lacking? When I talked about my Japan trip, I was quickly reminded of my past. I never thought of what would happen to my mother if I left her. Is it selfish of me to think of my own happiness when my mother said that all she wished was for my own happiness? I’m not even​ sure if she can literally survive without me because I doubt that my father would take care of her.

This is what’s holding me back, my father’s ineptness to take care of my mother and my mother’s lack of skills to take care of herself. There’s no love and support among my parents, and I want to escape that. Yet, it seems like I can’t escape because their lack of love and support holds me back.

Another post on the lack of happiness

I’ve always had this belief that happiness must come from within me. If I were to experience true happiness, I should be able to “produce” it on my own.

A professor of mine in philosophy, Laureen Velasco, told the class that she didn’t need a man to be in love. I took that to heart very seriously.

I believed that I didn’t need any sort of external objects or influence to make me happy. If I could achieve internal happiness, I’d be set, right?

However, I think I may have taken her lesson the wrong way. For years I’ve been trying to find this happiness within me even if it’s just a tiny bit. Nothing. My father put a strong dent in me or rather took a lot out of me. I can’t seem to feel happy for myself.

There are other things that do make me happy: friends, pets, books, videos, films, music, gym (I would be dead without this), academics, etc. But all these things are external.

I can list a dozen more things that can make me happy, but at the end of the day, I can’t make me happy.

When it hits you way too late

Seven months ago, you told me that you would come with me to Japan. The perfect girl living with me in Japan for two years, that’s the life. Seven months have passed, but I realised way too late that I fell in love with you. For fuck’s sake, I’m still thinking of you, yet I haven’t seen you in five months. If I had the clarity then like I do now, I would have changed things. Emotions, when it hits you way too late eh?

[I have a paper due on Monday. What the hell am I doing with my life?]

Is ignorance bliss?

In my previous post, I wrote on the line of not understanding what happiness is. Now, I’m experiencing something new yet not necessarily good. Indeed, I have been “studying” how these people have procured such positive outlooks in life. I conclude that they have so much love and support from their own family that they are able to use those emotions to fulfil their desires. I do not have this love or support from my family. By studying happiness, I have inadvertently exposed myself to the fact that I am not as lucky as others. Find people who can love you for you shall grow into a better person. That is my recommendation for this study.

Not Understanding Happiness

Social media has made it really easy for me to peek at people’s lives. I just found out that one of my high school classmates is pregnant with a boy. Knowing that sort of thing would have been impossible a couple years back. Anyway, that isn’t important. I’m here to talk about happiness (again).

I don’t understand how some people can inherently find happiness in everyday life. I don’t understand how they can easily be happy. When I look at them, they’re full of joy–actual joy. It seems like it just happens on a whim for them.

I, on the other hand, have to make sure I do all the things I need and want to do in a day to feel a bit happy. I work SO FUCKING HARD just so I can feel some joy in me. If things don’t go as expected, it’s difficult to push through with the day.

You might be thinking, “Well, of course, things won’t go as you’d expect. That’s life!” No. No. No. What I’m talking about is everyday happiness. The thing that people describe as the “Small things in life bring you joy.”

I have to plan my day. Do the things I need to do, and maybe, just maybe, I can get some happiness by the end of the day. You heard me right. I plan for my everyday happiness. Why? Because I don’t know how those people, who inherently find happiness in every fucking nook and cranny, do it.

Everything I do, I do to make myself happy. I don’t get given happiness like most people. I work for it.

How a Girl Made Me Forget Buddhism (re-written)

I’ve been writing and rewriting this blog entry for over a month. This was supposed to be a blog rant about how a girl made me so mad that I forgot I was Buddhist. I realised that writing a blog rant wouldn’t be very Buddhist. I would be putting more wood in the furnace when the furnace isn’t supposed to be there in the first place. I decided to scrap the entire entry. The best thing I can do is to realise that these negative emotions towards her hold me back. Around 90% of my mind is convinced that moving forward is the best thing to do while the remaining 10% yearns for those days I spent with her. I miss being with her, yet I know I won’t be able to stand her.

Unfair Expectations from a Non-Filipino Cultured Person (updated)

Where do I begin? Each time a person asks me, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” I’m always quick to reply with, “I was born in the Philippines, but I grew up in England.” And I say it with a smile. I smile because of my memories of Cobham, Surrey were probably one of the best years I’ve had growing up. I smile because I have to mask the pain I experienced growing up in the Philippines.

I’ve probably written so many England-Philippine comparisons on this blog. I won’t put you (or myself) through that. Let’s just start with memories of the past, no comparisons. I’ll leave that up to you.

Cobham, Surrey was something out of a fairytale. It had a village not far from the town centre with a stream and a watermill in between them. The stream was clear and cold and sometimes had fish and ducks. The school nearby was an international school. Children from different parts of the world learned under one roof. The differences in culture were normal. The differences in skin colour were negligible. We all knew we were different, but we didn’t care.

Cubao, Metro Manila was something out of a nightmare. The houses were clustered together like shoeboxes. The city centre was far, and to get there you needed to brace yourself with the pollution. There were no streams, only sewers, and canals infested with bacteria germinating from lumps of human faeces and sometimes rat carcass. The school was not an international school. The children were from one single culture, and I had to learn with them. They were all the same: same skin, same eyes, same religion, same mind. They all knew I was different, and that mattered much to them.

That’s just a gist of my past. However, I do want to say that university changed my perception of the Filipino people. I used to detest and loathe them. I hated the culture, every bit of it. University changed that. I respect the Filipino people, and I understand that there are assholes everywhere in the world and not just in the Philippines. If my 9yro-self knew that, he would have turned into a happier person.

***

There’s a friend a classmate of mine who is the anthesis of me. She’s half-blood (half Japanese), she was offered to live in Japan, and she loves the Philippines. Culturally and in belief, she is more Filipino than I am. What I don’t understand is why she thinks negatively of me when I’m sceptical about this country (sceptical, not negative, different thing). She thinks I’m pessimistic, but that’s what idealists say. She’s an idealist, not an optimist because she too is a sceptic, but just in a different way.

I’ve told her, in length, my memories. Yet she still doesn’t understand why I can’t find that affective connection to the Philippines. She told me to just accept the Philippines because I am a Filipino. This is the unfair expectation.

Here’s analogy part 1: my parents created me. They created my mind, body, beliefs etc. I am nothing without them. My parents are also Christian. And with my friend’s classmate’s logic, I should be Christian and discard my belief in Buddhism because I from my parents.

Part 2: The Philippines created me. It created my mind, body, beliefs etc. I am nothing without the Philippines. Does this mean that I should love the Philippines with all my bleeding heart? No, of course not. That’s an unfair expectation. It’s unfair to be expected to love something because it is, literally, in my blood, raised me, or created me.

Dragon God

The air was thin and piercing at the highest tip of the highest mountain range. Sylorin journeyed for months to get to where he was now. He battled goblins and bandits along merchant’s paths, fought orcs in forests and giants on cliffs, and resisted powerful magics of witches and wizards. His face wore fatigue, like leather armour beaten and scratched over and over. A breath materialised from his lips as he spoke a spell he learnt from his old master. The words emerged like worms from the ground where he stood. They crept along his body and off of his one extended arm forming a large sphere in front of him. He finished his incantation and slowly opened his eyes. A dragon, larger than the mountains themselves, was before him.

“What you seek you will not find here, half-elf. Many have come to claim what I protect, and you shall not be the first. Although, you are the first to challenge a god on their own. You are either very desperate or a mere imbecile.” The dragon’s face lowered and hovered above. The snout alone was large enough to hold a small village. The dragon was so massive, the cool air of the mountain was warm to the touch. The wings attached to his enormous body never moved; magic kept him from touching the ground. His platinum scales, each as large as a house, shimmered a multicoloured spectrum, reflecting light across the mountain peaks.

“You are no ordinary dragon. Are you Bahamut?” Sylorin clenched his ebony metallic staff in one hand and held an ancient tome of spells in another. “I have an inkling that anything I do will not even smidge your armour.”

“No mortal can kill me. This is true.” The dragon squinted, meeting the half-elf’s blue eyes. “Sylorin Armoursmith son of Lord Iangretor Armoursmith the Wizard. Bahamut is my spawn.”

Sylorin’s eyes grew wide. “Tiamat is yours as well?” He could feel his knees buckling under the gravity of the god above him.

“Yes.”

Sylorin steeled himself and shoved the metallic staff, which now seemed like a burnt twig, towards the god. Sylorin emptied his lungs with fervour, “God of Dragons, the One True Dragon, Creator of Bahamut and Tiamat, Creator of the Plains, the First Primordial of the Void. Io, I have come to claim your eyes.”

The air stilled around them. The winds themselves died and retreated for what was to come. Quiet. Then in an instant, Sylorin found himself thousands of feet above the clouds. He fell towards what looked like the land covered in sparkling precious gems. Io had engulfed material plain, yet there seemed to be no shadow below him. There was the only light in all spectrums. Sylorin, paralysed by magic, slowed to a halt on the bridge of Io’s snout.

“Kingdoms have perished trying to penetrate my armour, yet you muster the courage to claim my eyes.” Io chuckled. The air trembled, and the earth rumbled.

“His mere breathing shakes all matter around us,” Sylorin thought to himself. “I must stay on course.”

“Yes, you must never askew from your goals,” Io read the half-elf’s mind with great ease. “What do you intend to do with my eyes, half-elf? Use it to claim a throne? Or perhaps there is a woman you wish to enchant? Speak only truth for my eyes see all.”

Tales and myths about dragon-gods’ eyes were widespread across the world. Mothers read stories to their children: whoever claimed these eyes, he would turn into a god himself. Ever-strong, ever-wise, ever-living, ever more. Other accounts by ancient scriptures from scholars suggest that the eyes held the power to life and death itself. Sylorin did not desire any of these.

“Dragon-god, I wish to use your eyes to see into the past. My past.”

“Interesting.” Io released him from the spellbind, and Sylorin, though still hovering, was able to move about. “You speak of looking into the past, yet that is what memories are for.”

“Memories fade through time, and new ones grow to take their place. Memories are like mortals, I guess. They are created and die eventually. Then the young ones continue that legacy.” Sylorin looked at his hands with sombre and exhausted eyes. Scars and cuts plagued his palms and fingers as if he had dipped them into a thorny bush. “I just wish to see what I saw then.”

“You do not need my eyes, Sylorin Armoursmith. I can grant you the vision, however temporarily.”

Sylorin raised one eyebrow in scepticism. “I know there is a bargain. Nothing you gods give are free from consequences.”

“True. What I shall seek in compensation is your undying loyalty.”

“A follower? You have many. Millions of mortals fight and die for you and your children. One more loyal follower is not enough to pay for your power.”

“Again, that is true. You will be a direct servant of mine. I shall grant you powers beyond your understanding, like the ability to see past what can be perceived. In return, your life is mine.”

“It would be nice to have a purpose again. I accept.”

(Read the first part HERE)