My Old School

I’m not sure how many of you here are new readers, but let’s just say you all are new. A bit of personal backstory again (lol since this is a blog and I’ve probably written this a dozen times), I am a full-blood* Filipino and a Filipino in citizenship. If you’re not from the Philippines you’d think it’d be strange if someone tells you that having those two traits is a curse. Well, it kinda is. I say kinda only because there are Filipinos that are proud to be Filipinos or Pinoy as they call themselves. I am not that, in fact, I don’t know what I am.

I do love my country, but I hate the people that run it. I do love my friends (who are incidentally mostly half-bloods) but I hate a lot of the locals. I consider most of the local popular culture jologs (dirty, cheap, corny) so I stay away from it.

My professors would tell me that I’m a total prick for labeling things that are an essential part of the Pinoy identity. But I’m not Pinoy. I don’t keep smiling when hardships come. I don’t commit to Bahala na si Batman (which is kinda the equivalent of que sera sera). I don’t find Piolo Pascual and Marian Rivera attractive. I don’t use colloquial slang because it feels like I gargled mouthwash that’s made of acid.

Now you’re wondering, “Where the hell is he going with this? I thought this was about his old school!” We’re getting to that part. Be patient, young grasshopper. Below is a new video that ACS Cobham uploaded to YouTube showing the campus.

That’s my old school. The White House was where I first got my taste of real quality education. It housed us Kindergarten kids until we got to 1st grade in the brown buildings you saw in the video.

The White House now known as Heywood House

Now why the strong negative emotions towards Filipino culture and whatnot? Culture shock. At ACS, we were taught at a very early age that being different was normal. We had different skin colours, accents, languages, religions, and even food. The kids who were left out were the normal white kids. Talk about irony.

We knew we were all different, but we were kids so we didn’t give a shit. We’d sing songs, hold hands, throw toys, build toys, run around etc. because having fun was more interesting than looking at each other’s differences. I had so much fun learning while just being myself. Being different. I loved it. Then my father made a stupid life choice.

The culture shock I got from Filipinos when we returned was immense. I hated every local to their core until I reached uni. I brought my idea of being different was normal and severely paid the price. The normal I saw was conformity. Everyone acted the same, looked the same, thought the same, believed in the same religion, ate the same food, and I was the precious little blue flower in the garden of weeds.

I studied first at OB Montessori. I thought I was in a zoo. I literally thought I was because I’ve never seen that tone of skin colour. I’ve had African classmates and teachers back in ACS, but I never saw a dark-skinned Austronesian. In fact, I never saw a dark-skinned Asian. Which is why I thought that I was Chinese and that the Philippines was a province of China (but that’s for another blog post.)

Now the racist thought of being in a zoo was spawned from mistreatment not only from my classmates but also from my teachers and the staff. They hated that I was so outgoing, so disconnected from the system, a loose cannon in their highly militarised institution of good students. I transferred schools until I ended up in a homeschooling program.**

HSP was where I finally felt I was among people who understood what it meant to be different from the flock, to be a wolf in field complying sheep. Unfortunately, wolves are threats to sheep so we huddle as a pack to protect each other. Then uni snapped me out of it. I’m not a wolf. I’m a human being.

ACS wasn’t just an international school whose facilities were amazing. It creates beautiful human beings, sometimes too beautiful that people get scared. I don’t know what I am but somewhere along the way maybe the beautiful child from my past can show me. Maybe.

*There’s no such thing as a pure-blood Filipino. What I meant by full-blood was the typical Chinese-Spanish-Filipino blood.
**It was called HSP but we still reported to a school to take tests.

Numbers

I watched a BuzzFeed video about four people TRYING to do long division, and wow are they dumb. Well, three of them were anyway. One them even said that she didn’t have to do division since middle school? Which is strange since there is division in algebra.

Anyway, then a thought popped in, “Why don’t they practice multiplication like I do? Holy shit.” A fucking realisation happened.

Ever since I first learned multiplication, I’ve been subconsciously practising it. Just to give you an idea I would sometimes multiply numbers while listening to classical music (how stereotypically Asian) or while cooking.

When I do something that’s second nature I do multiplication to keep myself awake or aware that I’m doing something.

It’s so weird finding something out about myself after doing it for 17 years.

Fightnight in My Mind Only with More Music

I had a dream about two people fighting. It sounds boring but this dream was a musical. It began with an actor getting ready for a piece entitled White Bird.

The White Bird was omniscient and experienced all the emotions humans have in one instance. So the actor’s performance would be something in the line of many personalities with different emotions merged into one. The White Bird was an old monologue/solo piece that many actors have performed.

The newest actor named Young One practiced his lines backstage. He already had his costume of what looked like Icarus only with more feathers. An older actor named the Old One passed by to see how the actors were doing.

The Old One noticed the Young One and laughed. “You’re doing it wrong,” the Old One said.

“You’re not the one performing,” the Young One got pissed as his concentration broke. An exchange of dialogue of how it should be done happens.

Then the Old One couldn’t take it any longer and put on a similar looking costume only the white of the feathers were fading. The Old One sang the first stanza of the song while creeping up to the Young One. The Young One sensed that his spotlight was being stolen and replied with the second stanza but with his own style.

The two circled each other as the chorus bursted into a climax then, in a style of Defying Gravity, ended with the two belting at each other’s throats. The audience roared into an applause jolting the two birds. The two birds had not noticed that they were on stage, and they knew that they couldn’t get the same result if they performed solo.

That’s when the dream ends. The Fight of the Two White Birds is my first musical dream that I remember because of how the audience reacted. Simply, the audience was entertained by two people’s struggle. The Old One, who wanted to be at the limelight again and the Young One, who was brave to try anything.

Also, a play within a play! That some The Producers shit right there.

The Last Day of Summer

The last shot of the gang under the tree

I don’t know if anyone in my age group can relate to this. I don’t think anyone in my age group even watches this. Phineas and Ferb (P&F for short) is the best cartoon for kids that I have ever seen! Why you ask? 1) It’s never missed a single beat in its seven years and ten months of broadcasting unlike Spongebob Squarepants (how the mighty have fallen.) 2) Although P&F’s art direction was simple compared to the extremely colourful and creative cartoons like Adventure Time and The Amazing World of Gumball, P&F’s idea of “attacking” the viewer’s mind was through active imagination. P&F makes kids ask, “What CAN I do today?” 3) I know that P&F doesn’t exactly have one solid plotline like Gravity Falls (each episode is different yet the overlaying plot is obvious) but P&F depicts the everyday lives of kids, so random is good. 4) Sooooo much musical numbers! And of course, 5) P&F is the ONLY cartoon that has made me stop what I was doing, sit down, and watch it till the end even if they were reruns. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen them build a rollercoaster in the backyard.

When Disney released that Act Your Age was gonna be set ten years into the future, I was sooooo giddy! Then I read that it was the second-to-last episode before the series “finale” (there’s still The O.W.C.A. Files coming later this year.) IT DESTROYED ME. “Phineas and Ferb is going end. They won’t be making more.” I told my mother the terrible news. “What! Why?! It’s so good!” She replied. I thought the series would continue forever like The Simpsons.

I got myself a copy of Last Day of Summer, took a deep breath, braced myself, controlled my emotions, and pressed play. When it ended, when it was starting to sink in that I would never see the gang again, I stared at my screen for a good 30 minutes. It was all over.

P&F is probably the only cartoon that I religiously watched through my different “life” stages: 2007 when my family was still whole but crumbling; 2008 when I had enough of life but then rekindled through a certain person; 2009 when my father left leaving my mother in depression and me in rage; 2010 when I finally sorted my life after I got accepted in DLSU; 2011 when I realised that Buddhism was my key to finding the right questions to happiness; 2012 when I dated an amazing girl; 2013 when I started making friends in my degree program; 2014 when I had the best summer in a long time; now when I’m thinking of what comes next.

I may have changed a lot in the past almost 8 years but P&F was consistently giving me happiness. You may not have a cult fandom like Adventure Time and Gravity Falls or unique animation techniques like The Amazing World of Gumball or be a channel mascot like Spongebob Squarepants, but you definitely know how to awaken my inner kid. That kid will always be there.

I’ll miss you Phineas and Ferb!

Phineas’ goodbye to the viewers as he closes the door for the final time

NUJABES

The world lost a great artist five years ago but we will never forget what his music has done for us, for me. He’s has gotten me through a lot of tough shit in the past, an injection to stream which calmed the beast that riles within. I love you and your music. It reminds me that I am capable of love. Happy death anniversary.

Gotta finish what we started, so I cut this tape
As our records will stay on rotate

Touched by Religion

I meant to write about this priest I saw about a week ago (ABOUT A AGOOO!) and with him someone interesting. Her snow powder skin and ivory smile caught me, and I wanted to catch her like a firefly in a bottle. What drew me to her more was her uniform. You may think it’s strange that I comment on this but it’s because I once studied in her school so I know the uniforms well. The conservative deep-sea skirt had transformed into a pencil skirt that ended three inches above her knees, which rode up her legs each time she took a longer stride. The sailor top that was meant to be loose was now skin-tight showing her developing breasts. The sleeves were shortened baring her arms even more. She was not a Filipino. She wasn’t even Asian. This Caucasian girl with her hazelnut bob cut and blue eyes was a toy for this fat white priest. They got in a cab and as they were about to depart, the priest’s hand slid up her 12-year-old inner-thigh.

A Vision of a Cleaner Future

I’ve had this idea of how the human race could cut its dependency on oil. It all started with a man named Elon Musk and his company, Tesla. Electricity is the future. It ain’t nuclear, and it’s definitely not shale. The only problem I have with Tesla is its battery. It takes too long to charge, and it has a limited lifespan of five years. Although the lifespan may not be such a big thing since it could be recycled to an extent. Of course there are some people, like TIME, that think that an eco-friendly battery isn’t enough. This is where my idea (that combines other ideas and is technically not even a new idea) comes in.

Have you heard of solar freakin’ roadways? Well now’s your chance:

Solar roadways would be the first big step into a cleaner future. This will drastically cut our dependence on fossil fuel or any form of consumable energy (not to be confused with the laws of conservation). For those that didn’t watch the video, solar roadways replace your run-of-the-mill asphalt roads which do nothing with smarter roads. Theoretically, it can boost the economy with the jobs it generates needed to construct these roads. It can potentially give a state an excess of power if all the roads were replaced. Imagine, a city with an excess of clean power.

Last year, a company called WiTricity came into the limelight. They’ve invented a safe way to transfer electricity from one device to another.

If WiTricty, Solar Roadways, and electric car manufacturers team up, we could see the largest scale bumper cars in the world. Cars could charge and source their energy from the roads leaving charging for long-distance travelling almost obsolete. Hopefully I’ll be alive when I see this happen.

“And I might look calm and collected at a glance/ But I taste the void when I’m not connected/ To the world kinetic, as opposed to static/ Idle hands a workshop of a modern-day addict”

I don’t know how else to put this. I feel that this country, society, culture or whatever is restraining me. I kinda knew that I never belonged here ever since I got back. It’s like growing up with a foster-mother then years later live with my real mother who is practically stranger. Most things are still pretty alien to me: eating rice, this fascination for malls or even the locals. When I see them, I find myself transported to an unfamiliar place. Yes, I described them as mythical creatures in the most peculiar and racist way.

My mom and I have been wanting to leave this country for a while. We just aren’t as lucky as those deep-pocketed individuals. It annoys me that these people treat life opportunities like loose change. Sometimes they use it. Sometimes they lose it. Sometimes they forget about it. But they know that they can just get more later on.

Going back to point, I know that I can never reach my full potential mostly because of the bad memories from the Clan and my father. Shing02 raps about his muse (or whatever she is) and how she has moved him forward. This struck me too since I need to find my muse in life and getting off these 7,107 islands is the first step.

And I might look calm and collected at a glance

But I taste the void when I’m not connected

To the world kinetic, as opposed to static

Idle hands a workshop of a modern-day addict

On a hot streak for inspiration is key to feed

The mind in need of stimulation

Elevator music to the space station

Penthouse of stars a-blazing

This country is too small for me. I don’t know how else to put it.

Bidding Farewell to an Old Enemy (again)

This is the fourth draft. I’ll just make this simple. I quit smoking again. I smoked for a month when my mother was hospitalised. I stopped because I felt so disgusting. The cigarettes felt good but I just felt so gross afterwards (I used the word felt four times, I know. Deal with it). I left the pack and lighter on top of some Murakami novels in National Bookstore at Katips. Somehow it was appropriate to leave it there like it was meant to be.
Chewing gum is infinitely more satisfying.