Ballpen: A short anecdote| T.O.A.

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“I’m sorry to disturb you. But I hope you understand. I am a father, with children who I send to school. This is the only moral way I know to earn a living. If you could just buy (even one or a few), it would mean a great deal. Thank you!”

 

Those were the few words uttered by the elder man who was obviously roaming the streets earlier today- amidst the sorching heat of the sun and danger of going from jeep to jeep in the middle of heavy traffic. He  basket full of pens in hand and small printed notes that more or less said what he had uttered.

All this, just so he could send his child(ren) to school.

Some may say, it could be another modus operandi, a hoax to get people’s money. It’s a thing so common in the Philippines when you roam the streets and you encounter indigents who ask for alms. There are people who take advantage of the suffering of others…

Others who think that they have no other choice, if they wish to survive.

But dare I say, where is the proof? Would we dare choose to believe the latter whilst knowing that there is an equally high chance that a simple ballpen could mean a child’s future?

But besides all this, I was nearly moved to tears…

I felt guilty…

 

Being still considered a fresh graduate and having earned my license last October, my current job has had me in the ropes. I’ve faced challenges and situations that have me constantly pondering whether I did the right thing, and/or whether the struggles are worth it.

 

But what are my struggles, compared to others who choose to push on? Like that man who had put aside any concern for his health and being for the sake of the future of another?

 

Love.

 

Hope.

 

Selflessness.

 

Goals.

 

Purpose.

 

No matter what our situation is written to be…no matter how grim or trialsome…May we never lose sight of these.

Lessons from the Railways| Thoughts of an Ahjumma

23mrt

(Credit to The Philippine Daily Inquirer for photo)

I always am blessed to learn or to be reminded of something good while taking the MRT. But today was quite different.

There are almost a handful of things I was reminded of or taught about while experiencing another worse-than-packed-sardines-MRT day. (Which is almost like everyday, except Sundays XD)

1.Our society is very much like this kind of MRT day. People pushing,impatient, all desperately racing to get their destination, not minding that others like them are on this same platform as well. Literally, and figuratively speaking.

They’d push, they’d do almost anything to get on that train. I strongly think that 2/4 of the frustration comes from not giving others the chance to get off first. (The tramcar is obviously full, how could one get in when others haven’t gotten off to give next passengers actual space??)

Would anything change if we push ourselves into an already jam-packed vehicle? Are those few secondss we lose just to let others off first really so important? Won’t we lose more when we fight and almost push others off the railway?

This mentality of “my welfare first”/“i have my problems too” is a major reason why we ain’t moving as a society. 

“No man is an island” is something that I believe talks more than just individual loneliness. It talks about how we all, despite being unique, are interconnected. In fact, it’s our uniqueness that helps us connect and helps us collectively more forward.

2. Reminded again to never judge a book by its cover. Just because that person looks so “sacred” that he/she can’t be corrupt.

Such kind of person was next in line to me. Making way for someone getting off, I was pushed out and then that person got in first. I laughed at the encounter but it made me sad, since they’d be like one of those people many would expect to act with more patience & decency… whereas if I would have worn a veil slightly different from theirs, society would probably just go “Oh she’s of ‘them’. Rude, is expected”. (Prejudice is something terrible to have)

3. Despite all the frustrating ills we have as human beings there’s still hope. Most grateful to the security guard who let me go first -even after I was pushed out of the queue, giving me an exception even when others would have protested. He saw what happened  and calmly explained even the commuters’ hot tempers. Without his help, I probably would have ended up at the end of dreadful queue. (I know because none of those who were next to me in line moved an inch to let me get back in line after being pushed out.)

“There is still hope”. If only we could all learn to be like that security guard. If we could stop being stubborn in being pessimistic. If we could learn to let ourselves have sympathy/empathy again. That the plight of others is not their fault entirely. Especially in this society, we in differing degrees are responsible.

Reminds me of that commuter who laughed at Pnoy for trying to implement “tuwid na daan”/(pursuing the) “straight path” and all who still believed in it. That person said,  “He’s a fool! What straight path? It’s nonexistent. In this society? Ha!”

I wished I could’ve spoken out then.

Because the only reason we can’t seem to get on a straight path is because we have chosen to believe that such path doesn’t exist. We laugh at others ACTUALLY doing what they can to change. When we should pity ourselves for not being concerned,giving up, doing nothing.

4.  Last is something I’ve adopted after taking the MRT quite often, if not regularly.

In a competitive society, the pressures of everyday life can come from all directions- pushing you, squeezing you ’til you can’t seem to breathe.

  Letting these pressures get to you won’t help. Letting the anger of others get to you won’t help. Breathe despite all of it. Adjust what you can, but never loose your footing, your zen within. I’ve learned to calmly let others be when it seems there’s nothing I can do now to change the situation. And to smile, even it can be painful.

Because it might seem such a long ride, but as long as you keep patient in doing what you can, your bound to get to your destination in time.

-Growing Tree

Seed

I won’t give up dreaming. If I can’t realize it now, I’ll work for a future where that dream can’t be harmed and where it can grow. I’ll plant the seed today so that even if I may not live to see it, my children can see the tree all-grown.

(Tree of Hope by InertiaK on DevianArt)

For the Children (part 1)

Children Of The World by Romero Britto

I want you to know you are beautiful.

No, not because you have those eyes,

No, not because you have that skin,

No, not because your house is this,

But in you is a blank art-piece.

Pure, untouched, responsive to Love.

You who within, God placed a Promise,

That this world may understand His Message.

His Message of True Peace.

-Growing Tree

Once there was a little girl. A bright young girl. Full of energy, full of wit, full of kindness. Like everyone, young and old, she yearned for love. And from her family, she received so much. Soon, she had to go to school.

Everybody was excited. She had gotten top grades, and was promising according to her teachers. But her family didn’t know of another pain she would face. They wouldn’t have imagined it…

One day at home, she looked through her mother’s dresser. She took out the powder, and shook so much of it out and into her palm. She covered her face, she covered her limbs and ran to her grandmother and mother.

“Am I beautiful now?” she asked.

And she isn’t the only one.

[to be continued]

On Love and Perceptions | T.O.A| Back for the Holidays

Oftentimes we don’t give people who have learned to love purely much thought. In the age of romanticized minds, of hearts seeking the tingling bolts of adrenaline, oftentimes those who have learned the kind of love that has transcends beyond flesh and nerves have become invisible to us.

They, who have learned that to love is to not be greedy, nor be bashful, nor to be too rash. They have learned that to love is to show care no matter what “level” of bond is there. To be sincere. To not be selfish. To show affection without the need to go beyond whispers of the dark shadowy lairs.

Those who see beyond the masquerade of glitter and sweet nothingness. Those who believe in the spark within each and everything. They see the rosebud within each other’s soul and so they treat each with a touch that is shy, but not short of reverent compassion.  So like a gardener they wait and nurture, careful that no weed toucheth their blooming bud. And when bloom it does, they do not pluck it, but let it grow, with care, of cool water, clean air and warm sun.

But no…seldom do we understand. And when the time comes that we do, these true lovers had flown into the setting sun.

A/N: Aaaand, yes the author of this blog is still breathing. All praise to God. 🙂 Hopefully for these last few days of the year. So~rry! Glad to be back!

Flying Cars, Robot Maids, and Laser Guns| A MUST WATCH AND READ| SPREAD AND DO CHANGE!

Hi guys! Here is a piece written and delivered by a good friend of mine! His message cannot be more timely! I won’t talk much anymore since his message is the focus of this post! Please! Spread this! And inspire and do change in your own little ways too! “Every single grain, drop, iota, and atom counts!”

[TRANSCRIPT]

Flying Cars, Robot Maids, and Laser Guns

By

Alfonso Manalastas (Computer Studies Program)

When I was much younger, I imagined a future world that spanned a colony of concrete skyscrapers, the sky flooded with flying shards and splinters of steel, life slowly dissipating, and the sun nowhere to be seen. This is a fault that cannot be attributed to my once naïve mind, oh golly, no. Being born in a generation saturated by Technicolor images of “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” aired in primetime, coincidentally at the height of the “Back To The Future” franchise that depicted a highly futuristic 2015.

2015 is but a few months from today.

You see, as a young boy, I thought that by this time the world was going to be swell, and majestic, and awesome in every sense of the word. I thought that by this time, we would see flying cars that travel faster and higher than commercial aircrafts we see today, ones that could literally cross-continents in a matter of minutes. Like if you want to have Breakfast in Paris, no problem! Lunch in Italia, why not? And if you’re in the mood for something more exotic, you can always go to India for dinner.

Robot maids will be scattered about everywhere, all at our command and disposal, each one of them specifically designed to cater to all our wants and needs, like “Uh, excuse me sir. Would you like to have some tea or some wine?” Right? And oh shucks, who hasn’t dreamt of shooting laser guns? They’re exactly like regular guns except they shoot lasers!

But standing before me is a completely different world. I see right in front of me an audience filled with people who have perfectly capable hands, eyes that beam of dreams, with thirst for life, and curiosity for knowledge. But outside the very walls of this institution, all I see is a wasteland. A dark, concrete abyss, remnants of what used to be a paradise. And then I begin to realize that maybe the problem isn’t that the world did not turn out as I hoped it would be, but that as a young boy I believed that in order for the world to be swell, and majestic, and awesome in every sense of the word, that all it needed are flying cars, robot maids, and laser guns.

Our generation is fixated on the concept of progress so much that even as young boys and girls, social constructs have implanted a certain algorithm in our minds making us believe that in order to create a perfect world, that technology, industry, and even warfare is the only way to go.

Now, my young travellers, allow me to deconstruct that algorithm for you:

One: every member of the Urian population bears with them a piece of plastic called an “ID”. Under each is the caption “I am an Urian, I grow trees.”

Two: each one of those Urians spend hours falling in line to get their ID pictures taken, making sure that their faces turn out as beautifully as they could ever hope for. We spend so much time doing that instead of, well, actually growing trees.

Three: a total biomass of 42,000 square feet of coral life is destroyed after a ship skims through the subterranean ecosystem in the Tubbataha Reef.

Four: approximately 350 endangered sea turtles were found dead in a Chinese vessel a few miles off the coast of Palawan.

Five: all 298 passengers on board were killed after an aircraft was shot down the Ukrainian skies by a man-made weapon.

Six: On November 2013, the Western Black Rhino was declared to be officially extinct.

Seven: According to conservationists if nothing is done, the Northern White Rhino and the Javan Rhino will soon follow.

Eight: The primary source of their extinction? Murdered by us humans.

Nine: Miss Earth, to us, is a woman who strips down to her underwear and parades her half-naked body, her porcelain white skin, and her 20,000 peso hair and make up professing to us nothing but generic sound bytes about how important the natural environment is as if we don’t know that already.

Ten: Let us ignore the fact that the Miss Earth beauty pageant is a project that costs millions and millions of money that could have been otherwise been spent in actually making a difference.

Eleven: Welcome to the pornography of environmentalism where to represent planet earth as its human embodiment, one must be intelligent, beautiful, and have a vital statistics of 36, 24, 36.

Twelve: In Israel, it is normal for people to gather around in tents with food and beer on hand as they watch bombs fall over the shores of Gaza to the sound of dying children, kind of like watching fireworks on a bright New Year’s Eve.

Thirteen: The year Israel began to attack Gaza, over 1000 people died.

Fourteen: The year the Al-Qaeda struck America during the 9/11 terrorist attack, 2,900.

Fifteen: During the Holocaust, 11 million.

Sixteen: Blood diamond in Zimbabwe.

Seventeen: The Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Eighteen: The Korean War.

Nineteen: The Vietnam War.

Twenty: The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Twenty-One: When will we ever stop destroying everything around us? We are supposed to be a community.

I have been alive for 21 years. It means that for 21 years, I have seen the world wronged 21 times. But as I grow older, I refuse to accept that the world has no hope. I refuse to believe in flying cars, robot maids, and laser guns, and instead, I choose to believe in our sense of community, in our respect for all forms of life, and in our ability to inspire human compassion. Because standing before me is an audience filled with people who have perfectly capable hands, eyes that beam of dreams, with thirst for life, and curiosity for knowledge. All I see are Urians dedicated to keeping out past from defining us as we move forward in our conquest towards molding community and sustaining ecology.

The work has just begun.

 

Literary “Analysis” 2: Blind Man and the Sun |T.O.A.

A/N: Final share! I really find this piece heart-warming and mind provoking. The analysis is very rough, I admit. But I hope the message still comes through! 🙂 Peace!

BLIND MAN AND THE SUN

Short Story, by Su Shi (Su Dong Po) of the Song Dynasty

 

Once upon a time, there was a blind man who did not know what the Sun is. So he asks other people to explain.

One man said, “The Sun is shaped like a copper plate.” So the blind man banged on a copper plate, and listened to its clanging sound. Later when he heard the sound of a temple bell, he thought that must be the Sun.

Another man said, “The Sun gives out light just like a candle.” So the blind man picked up a candle to feel its shape. Later when he picked up a flute, he thought this must be the Sun.

And yet we know that the Sun is vastly different from a bell or a flute; but the blind man does not understand the differences, because he has never seen the Sun and only heard it described.

Analysis:

From the first intake, it would seem most fitting to approach this piece of literature using the Imitative Theory primarily, and the Affective theory secondarily.

Su’s use of the two characters can be immediately construed to mean more than their literal sense. What the Blind Man and the Sun represent exactly, however, would entail proper study of the exact timeframe when it was written and the state wherein the author was when he wrote it.

Taking from the personal background that is noted of the author, one can deduce that this short story is another expression of the values of that he stood for being raised and educated through his highly-educated mother and his town’s Taoist priest. Whatever are the values aimed to be addressed in the piece are surely addressed through the story of the blind man trying to grasp something that he had never seen.

A probable answer to the true identity of the Blind Man could be Wang Anshi, a political figure who, along with this faction, was the common subject of criticism by Su. Or could the Blind Man be an imitative depiction of himself, written during his time of exile and poverty in Huizhou/Huangzhou? Was this short story a depiction of an inner realization? It was in Huangzhou that Su had reached his literary zenith.

With all the questions, one lesson drives the whole story. Perhaps the ambiguity of the true identity of the Blind Man and the Sun was the intention Su had when he penned this story. Perhaps the author left the answer relatively limitless so that the lesson he tried to communicate would make a more effective impact to the heart of the reader. For the lesson answers the questions, “How do we expect to find something we cannot grasp? With our limitations, how must we approach the understanding of things?”