Life’s Paradox I

Along Howmart Road, you can see a family living in a shack joined to an unknown building's concrete enclosure. The head of the family is a tricycle driver, the wife unemployed and can be seen selling cigarettes or halo-halo now that summer has set in. They have nine kids including the unborn. The wife is pregnant again.

I have long been passing the road and I always see them especially the kids. There was this little boy who happened to be their son that caught my attention. He doesn't have anything to protect his body. He is nude roaming the streets, barefooted. I was sort of attracted to him, not that he is good looking but because despite the condition, he seemed to be a jolly boy, playful and unmindful of the situation. Papsie told me once that he is thankful I am not conceiving because our unborn child might resemble the looks of the boy (from an old myth) which to him is not cute as I always tell him.

I wonder how they live. Seeing the shanty, it can barely hold four people, to my calculation. They take a bath outside the shanty and also do the laundry there. I see the 'cute' boy, with mucus oozing in and out of his nose, eating whatever every morning. It can be a biscuit, a piece of bread, or junk foods. I wonder how he will be when he grows up. The oldest of the brood is already a tricycle driver. It was plain that they do not go to school. The boy next to the eldest roamed the streets and looks like a siga (a bully) (he was barefooted until he is in his teens). One of the boys is a canteen helper at the tricycle station. The only girl, which looks like twelve to thirteen years old, with disheveled hair, and untidy clothes, can also be seen along the streets.

It is hard to feel empathy to the parents of these physically and emotionally abused children. How can they be so selfish not thinking about the future and welfare of the kids? Is it ignorance? Is it nonchalance thinking that they can cope with anything hard life has to offer? I am not being judgmental here but they could have been more responsible. They could have borne fewer children, or better, only one child, or much better, not have children at all.

And here are capable parents who wanted to have kids or more kids but cannot have them anymore because of some health reasons or physical incapacity. They should be the ones having those many kids and yet they suffer unfortunate consequences of not having children or more children.

What a paradox.

Life’s Paradox I

Along Howmart Road, you can see a family living in a shack joined to an unknown building's concrete enclosure. The head of the family is a tricycle driver, the wife unemployed and can be seen selling cigarettes or halo-halo now that summer has set in. They have nine kids including the unborn. The wife is pregnant again.

I have long been passing the road and I always see them especially the kids. There was this little boy who happened to be their son that caught my attention. He doesn't have anything to protect his body. He is nude roaming the streets, barefooted. I was sort of attracted to him, not that he is good looking but because despite the condition, he seemed to be a jolly boy, playful and unmindful of the situation. Papsie told me once that he is thankful I am not conceiving because our unborn child might resemble the looks of the boy (from an old myth) which to him is not cute as I always tell him.

I wonder how they live. Seeing the shanty, it can barely hold four people, to my calculation. They take a bath outside the shanty and also do the laundry there. I see the 'cute' boy, with mucus oozing in and out of his nose, eating whatever every morning. It can be a biscuit, a piece of bread, or junk foods. I wonder how he will be when he grows up. The oldest of the brood is already a tricycle driver. It was plain that they do not go to school. The boy next to the eldest roamed the streets and looks like a siga (a bully) (he was barefooted until he is in his teens). One of the boys is a canteen helper at the tricycle station. The only girl, which looks like twelve to thirteen years old, with disheveled hair, and untidy clothes, can also be seen along the streets.

It is hard to feel empathy to the parents of these physically and emotionally abused children. How can they be so selfish not thinking about the future and welfare of the kids? Is it ignorance? Is it nonchalance thinking that they can cope with anything hard life has to offer? I am not being judgmental here but they could have been more responsible. They could have borne fewer children, or better, only one child, or much better, not have children at all.

And here are capable parents who wanted to have kids or more kids but cannot have them anymore because of some health reasons or physical incapacity. They should be the ones having those many kids and yet they suffer unfortunate consequences of not having children or more children.

What a paradox.

Arrgh!

This happened last week. A teenager from around the neighborhood swallowed his denture together with the crown. It must be a two to four-tooth denture. I don’t think nobody can quaff a full denture. And it must be very painful.

The good news is the doctor was able to get the denture from down inside with forceps. The poor boy immediately asked after the denture was successfully taken out of his esophagus, “Can I eat?” He must have been starved to death because of the accident.

The story why it happened was very amusing. He was with his friends drinking beer and he got occupied playing with his denture and accidentally swallowed it. Pulutan* was probably missing:-).

*Pulutan is finger food.

 

Arrgh!

This happened last week. A teenager from around the neighborhood swallowed his denture together with the crown. It must be a two to four-tooth denture. I don’t think nobody can quaff a full denture. And it must be very painful.

The good news is the doctor was able to get the denture from down inside with forceps. The poor boy immediately asked after the denture was successfully taken out of his esophagus, “Can I eat?” He must have been starved to death because of the accident.

The story why it happened was very amusing. He was with his friends drinking beer and he got occupied playing with his denture and accidentally swallowed it. Pulutan* was probably missing:-).

*Pulutan is finger food.

 

Ugly Work Scenario and Fag Questions

I don’t recall exactly when I talked to one of the auditors who failed miserably at the Performance Appraisal. The VP is not around so I decided to talk to him to encourage him to work on his potentials.

Disappointedly, he told me he feels depressed at the time because he did not expect to be the ‘goat’ of the group. I could understand how he feels but my objective was to explain where he failed. I cannot comprehend though the need of telling me that he had not received such a low grade when he was a student, and that he is a board passer. (“You fool, and why the hell did you fail the appraisal? You could have at least protected your reputation by doing your best!” – went my other self, and going back to the scene where I am currently in, I almost laughed.) The guy left after a while, telling me that he still feels depressed but that would soon disappear. I don’t know if I need to sympathize with him because he is such a weakling. Instead of working it out with self-realization, it was like self-denial that he truly failed to perform during the audit. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t able to withstand the verbal abuse he received from the others, who failed miserably as well.

—–

Question: What are you going to do if you feel so bored of the whole thing?

Answer: Amuse myself with thoughts of thumbtacking maggots on the cross.

Question: What would you choose to be, a chain-smoker or one with ulcer?

Answer: They are both gross.

Question: If you discover that your other half is gay, and you already have kids, what do you do?

Answer: Forget about the gay. I can be gay with my kids.

Ugly Work Scenario and Fag Questions

I don’t recall exactly when I talked to one of the auditors who failed miserably at the Performance Appraisal. The VP is not around so I decided to talk to him to encourage him to work on his potentials.

Disappointedly, he told me he feels depressed at the time because he did not expect to be the ‘goat’ of the group. I could understand how he feels but my objective was to explain where he failed. I cannot comprehend though the need of telling me that he had not received such a low grade when he was a student, and that he is a board passer. (“You fool, and why the hell did you fail the appraisal? You could have at least protected your reputation by doing your best!” – went my other self, and going back to the scene where I am currently in, I almost laughed.) The guy left after a while, telling me that he still feels depressed but that would soon disappear. I don’t know if I need to sympathize with him because he is such a weakling. Instead of working it out with self-realization, it was like self-denial that he truly failed to perform during the audit. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t able to withstand the verbal abuse he received from the others, who failed miserably as well.

—–

Question: What are you going to do if you feel so bored of the whole thing?

Answer: Amuse myself with thoughts of thumbtacking maggots on the cross.

Question: What would you choose to be, a chain-smoker or one with ulcer?

Answer: They are both gross.

Question: If you discover that your other half is gay, and you already have kids, what do you do?

Answer: Forget about the gay. I can be gay with my kids.

Patterns

Bernard is a product of a dysfunctional family. Their father dominated everybody. It was his rules that should be obeyed. Nobody should go against him. Their subservient mother rarely voiced her opinions and ideas. She will choose to be silent than to speak, even if it means speaking for her children.

The father refused the idea that his children should go to college. He believes that they can acquire jobs as high school graduates just like him. He wanted one of her daughters to go abroad to be a japayuki and earn lots of money. The daughter went with a separated man, had four kids with him, and is currently unemployed. The other daughter chose to work at an early age after high school and lived separately, away from home.

It only took several years before Bernard was diagnosed to be mentally ill. According to his mother, he was duped to trying shabu once, and perhaps that was the cause of it all. The institution for mental patients released him after a few weeks because his was not a grave case, and besides the institution had limited accommodations, which was solely for those with serious mental illnesses.

The community where the family belongs got used to the family’s scenario later on. When Bernard throws fits, it was such like another common event in their household. Barangay tanods will arrive to bring him to the barangay hall and keep him through the night. It is such a pattern that some people wonder if Bernard is really mentally ill because the causes of the sudden outbursts will always be that he was not given money to buy cigarette or food, or that he cannot sleep. When they talk to him, he can converse naturally. He can even bet on his horserace favorite just like every normal neighborhood fellow.

Bernard’s traits are intentional. He wanted everybody to believe that he is sick. When he is brought to the hospital, he forges his depression but rejects the idea of being admitted. Such is the case of people with Munchausen Syndrome, an illness where a patient intends to deceive medics and relatives into believing that he is sick. He believes that by doing so, he will receive support and attention, which is lacking because he was neglected or deprived before or when he was younger. And truly, he receives attention from his mother who supports him with cigarettes against doctor’s advice.

Munchausen syndrome is an artificial sickness. Those afflicted have indications by way of (1) total fabrication, (false claims), (2) simulation (mimicking symptoms of illnesses), (3) illness aggravation (attempts to worsen a disease), or (4) illness induction (attempts to produce an illness or symptoms of an illness).

False psychological disorders presenting depression is much less common in Munchausen Syndrome patients. Patients commonly fabricate anemia, rash, fever, and bleeding. These patients hop from one hospital to another, creating exaggerated tales of their illnesses, and very willing, too, to undergo tests. Unmarried, unemployed, and estranged men are those that tend to display these symptoms.

Patterns

Bernard is a product of a dysfunctional family. Their father dominated everybody. It was his rules that should be obeyed. Nobody should go against him. Their subservient mother rarely voiced her opinions and ideas. She will choose to be silent than to speak, even if it means speaking for her children.

The father refused the idea that his children should go to college. He believes that they can acquire jobs as high school graduates just like him. He wanted one of her daughters to go abroad to be a japayuki and earn lots of money. The daughter went with a separated man, had four kids with him, and is currently unemployed. The other daughter chose to work at an early age after high school and lived separately, away from home.

It only took several years before Bernard was diagnosed to be mentally ill. According to his mother, he was duped to trying shabu once, and perhaps that was the cause of it all. The institution for mental patients released him after a few weeks because his was not a grave case, and besides the institution had limited accommodations, which was solely for those with serious mental illnesses.

The community where the family belongs got used to the family’s scenario later on. When Bernard throws fits, it was such like another common event in their household. Barangay tanods will arrive to bring him to the barangay hall and keep him through the night. It is such a pattern that some people wonder if Bernard is really mentally ill because the causes of the sudden outbursts will always be that he was not given money to buy cigarette or food, or that he cannot sleep. When they talk to him, he can converse naturally. He can even bet on his horserace favorite just like every normal neighborhood fellow.

Bernard’s traits are intentional. He wanted everybody to believe that he is sick. When he is brought to the hospital, he forges his depression but rejects the idea of being admitted. Such is the case of people with Munchausen Syndrome, an illness where a patient intends to deceive medics and relatives into believing that he is sick. He believes that by doing so, he will receive support and attention, which is lacking because he was neglected or deprived before or when he was younger. And truly, he receives attention from his mother who supports him with cigarettes against doctor’s advice.

Munchausen syndrome is an artificial sickness. Those afflicted have indications by way of (1) total fabrication, (false claims), (2) simulation (mimicking symptoms of illnesses), (3) illness aggravation (attempts to worsen a disease), or (4) illness induction (attempts to produce an illness or symptoms of an illness).

False psychological disorders presenting depression is much less common in Munchausen Syndrome patients. Patients commonly fabricate anemia, rash, fever, and bleeding. These patients hop from one hospital to another, creating exaggerated tales of their illnesses, and very willing, too, to undergo tests. Unmarried, unemployed, and estranged men are those that tend to display these symptoms.

Terra Cotta Sun, Indigo Waters

Whew! It is so hot. I had a nap but the scorching heat interrupted its peace. What a feeling (!) to be waking up perspiring.

I wish to be drenched in the pool water, or the beach. But wait, we scratched the beach from the list already. Talk about sunburn that lasted long (like more than 6 months!). Our fault anyway not to bring sunscreen lotion last year because it was a decision done in haste. We will never head anymore to the beach (or the pool) unprotected.

It was a lesson very well learned and the conviction was more encouraged after reading about sun exposure. Here go the facts about the harmful effects of the sun and ways to protect the skin:*

  • 60-80% of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays penetrates clouds.
  • There are four sun’s light waves and they are categorized by their intensity:

  1. UVA (ultraviolet A) – have the longest wavelength and they penetrate into the skin’s deepest layer, the dermis. They accelerate skin ageing.
  2. UVB (ultraviolet B) – rays that only penetrate the skin’s upper layer (epidermis). They are responsible for skin cancers, allergies and sunburn.
  3. UVC (ultraviolet C) – rays that are the most damaging but do not reach us because they are filtered by the ozone layer. But with the thinning of the ozone layer, there is rising concern regarding exposure to these rays.
  4. IR (Infra-red) – light that is felt as heat and inflames cells. It disrupts the skin’s support network of collagen and elastin and damages the immune system

  • There are two types of sun-protection filters in sunscreen products:

  1. Physical filters – they sit on the skin’s surface and reflect, rather than absorb, ultraviolet rays. They repel radiation at all wavelengths (including infra-red waves).
  2. Chemical filters – absorb ultraviolet light like a sponge and prevent the sun’s rays from penetrating and attacking the skin. They can be mixed into any base, dissolved in gels, lotions, moisturizing cream bases and waterproof formulations.

  • The SPF (sun-protection factor) of a product refers to the length of time you can remain in the sun safely. Multiply the SPF by the number of minutes you can stay in the sun unprotected without burning. For example, if you can be exposed 10 minutes under the sun without starting to go red, using a sunscreen with SPF 15 can extend your exposure to 150 minutes.
  • Look for a SPF product that best suits your skin type. Use a gel formulation with physical filters for oily, problem skin. Use cream or lotion with its moisturizing properties for dry skin.
  • Stay out of the sun between 11am to 3pm when the sun is at its strongest and deadliest.
  • See your dermatologist when pityriasis versicolor (an organism that changes during sun exposure and produces a chemical which disables the pigment-producing cells) appears on the upper body as small, white patches after sun exposure.

If I have magic, I will bring about the terra cotta sun and indigo waters. That way the weather will be cloudy with the sun around.

* J. Campsie 1997, Inner Health Outer Beauty, pp 143-147.

Terra Cotta Sun, Indigo Waters

Whew! It is so hot. I had a nap but the scorching heat interrupted its peace. What a feeling (!) to be waking up perspiring.

I wish to be drenched in the pool water, or the beach. But wait, we scratched the beach from the list already. Talk about sunburn that lasted long (like more than 6 months!). Our fault anyway not to bring sunscreen lotion last year because it was a decision done in haste. We will never head anymore to the beach (or the pool) unprotected.

It was a lesson very well learned and the conviction was more encouraged after reading about sun exposure. Here go the facts about the harmful effects of the sun and ways to protect the skin:*

  • 60-80% of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays penetrates clouds.
  • There are four sun’s light waves and they are categorized by their intensity:
  1. UVA (ultraviolet A) – have the longest wavelength and they penetrate into the skin’s deepest layer, the dermis. They accelerate skin ageing.
  2. UVB (ultraviolet B) – rays that only penetrate the skin’s upper layer (epidermis). They are responsible for skin cancers, allergies and sunburn.
  3. UVC (ultraviolet C) – rays that are the most damaging but do not reach us because they are filtered by the ozone layer. But with the thinning of the ozone layer, there is rising concern regarding exposure to these rays.
  4. IR (Infra-red) – light that is felt as heat and inflames cells. It disrupts the skin’s support network of collagen and elastin and damages the immune system
  • There are two types of sun-protection filters in sunscreen products:

  1. Physical filters – they sit on the skin’s surface and reflect, rather than absorb, ultraviolet rays. They repel radiation at all wavelengths (including infra-red waves).
  2. Chemical filters – absorb ultraviolet light like a sponge and prevent the sun’s rays from penetrating and attacking the skin. They can be mixed into any base, dissolved in gels, lotions, moisturizing cream bases and waterproof formulations.
  • The SPF (sun-protection factor) of a product refers to the length of time you can remain in the sun safely. Multiply the SPF by the number of minutes you can stay in the sun unprotected without burning. For example, if you can be exposed 10 minutes under the sun without starting to go red, using a sunscreen with SPF 15 can extend your exposure to 150 minutes.
  • Look for a SPF product that best suits your skin type. Use a gel formulation with physical filters for oily, problem skin. Use cream or lotion with its moisturizing properties for dry skin.
  • Stay out of the sun between 11am to 3pm when the sun is at its strongest and deadliest.
  • See your dermatologist when pityriasis versicolor (an organism that changes during sun exposure and produces a chemical which disables the pigment-producing cells) appears on the upper body as small, white patches after sun exposure.

If I have magic, I will bring about the terra cotta sun and indigo waters. That way the weather will be cloudy with the sun around.

* J. Campsie 1997, Inner Health Outer Beauty, pp 143-147.

Each Taste of Calvary

About AD 29, a place in Jerusalem was popularized because Jesus and two thieves were crucified there. It was called Calvary from a Latin translation calvaria, and from the Roman kranion and the Semithic golgotha. They all mean ‘skull’.*

The Encarta Dictionary mentions a literary meaning of ‘a time of great suffering’. Phrases like “he/she is my calvary” or “this may be the calvary that I have to bear” characterize the meaning very well. This is often heard in Filipino communities that share in the knowledge about the sufferings of Jesus Christ in the hands of the Romans.

But does each human being experiences a taste of calvary? Are those born with a golden spoon in their mouth spared of this? Are there really mortals who did not suffer? Are they protected from sorrow, safeguarded from grief, or sheltered from misery?

It has always been a question in mind why there are those who suffer. It has always been boggling me why others seem to catch all seemingly endless misfortunes while others seem to enjoy every bit of their human existence. It is painful to bear the thought that perhaps God had overlooked this aspect of equality – a fair share of ups and downs. Then we console ourselves with the possibility of reason for every situation and condition. After all, God is omnipotent and omniscient.

We see well-being as a state of being blessed. This is because we see things plainly according to fortune, security and comfort. We then conclude that people who experience these things are not introduced to any form of suffering, that is, not a taste of calvary in their lives. But I believe that this is not so. All human beings undergo a situation or condition that can be expressed as a taste of calvary. No one is spared. Not that I wanted each human being to have the contagion but because God is a just God.

*Calvary, Grolier Encyclopedia International 1963-1967, p. 520.

Each Taste of Calvary

About AD 29, a place in Jerusalem was popularized because Jesus and two thieves were crucified there. It was called Calvary from a Latin translation calvaria, and from the Roman kranion and the Semithic golgotha. They all mean ‘skull’.*

The Encarta Dictionary mentions a literary meaning of ‘a time of great suffering’. Phrases like “he/she is my calvary” or “this may be the calvary that I have to bear” characterize the meaning very well. This is often heard in Filipino communities that share in the knowledge about the sufferings of Jesus Christ in the hands of the Romans.

But does each human being experiences a taste of calvary? Are those born with a golden spoon in their mouth spared of this? Are there really mortals who did not suffer? Are they protected from sorrow, safeguarded from grief, or sheltered from misery?

It has always been a question in mind why there are those who suffer. It has always been boggling me why others seem to catch all seemingly endless misfortunes while others seem to enjoy every bit of their human existence. It is painful to bear the thought that perhaps God had overlooked this aspect of equality – a fair share of ups and downs. Then we console ourselves with the possibility of reason for every situation and condition. After all, God is omnipotent and omniscient.

We see well-being as a state of being blessed. This is because we see things plainly according to fortune, security and comfort. We then conclude that people who experience these things are not introduced to any form of suffering, that is, not a taste of calvary in their lives. But I believe that this is not so. All human beings undergo a situation or condition that can be expressed as a taste of calvary. No one is spared. Not that I wanted each human being to have the contagion but because God is a just God.

*Calvary, Grolier Encyclopedia International 1963-1967, p. 520.

I Dream of You…

In almost every sleep, I dream. Even during short naps in the afternoon, I also dream. Most of them are about people and the way I feel towards them.

There are times I would wake up crying because of a dream about someone who is dying, or inside a casket. This someone has the face of another person that is also closely related to me. And I wake up crying because of the pain that I will never see them both.

Another dream that makes me cry is when Papsie ignores me in a dream because he was with a pretty woman and when I try to talk to him, he would scowl at me. The Papsie in my dream is always a total opposite of my husband.

I also dream of people that I hate most, or those that I am annoyed with. But what is odd about these dreams is that they are very respectful, decent or nice people. We go along well in my dreams. While I dislike them, I like the feeling these kinds of dream give me.

I dream of impossibilities, too, that range from paranormal moving chairs to becoming a popular person. I talk to doors that speak where we can only see them in magical fairy tale movies. I sign my own books while people queue and I was really looking good as an accomplished writer. I see myself riding high, all smiles.

But with these dreams, I like the one in which I make love intensely the most. The physical connection seemed so real that I always wake up with flushes, perspiring, and my heart pounding. Feels good, nonetheless.

It makes me wonder why dreams occur even if there are already scientific explanations to it. Are they purely consequences or do they have meanings at all? Are they realities that are bound to happen, or metaphors that have to be deciphered to give warning or lessons?

I look like not so much of myself today because of a dream.

I Dream of You…

In almost every sleep, I dream. Even during short naps in the afternoon, I also dream. Most of them are about people and the way I feel towards them.

There are times I would wake up crying because of a dream about someone who is dying, or inside a casket. This someone has the face of another person that is also closely related to me. And I wake up crying because of the pain that I will never see them both.

Another dream that makes me cry is when Papsie ignores me in a dream because he was with a pretty woman and when I try to talk to him, he would scowl at me. The Papsie in my dream is always a total opposite of my husband.

I also dream of people that I hate most, or those that I am annoyed with. But what is odd about these dreams is that they are very respectful, decent or nice people. We go along well in my dreams. While I dislike them, I like the feeling these kinds of dream give me.

I dream of impossibilities, too, that range from paranormal moving chairs to becoming a popular person. I talk to doors that speak where we can only see them in magical fairy tale movies. I sign my own books while people queue and I was really looking good as an accomplished writer. I see myself riding high, all smiles.

But with these dreams, I like the one in which I make love intensely the most. The physical connection seemed so real that I always wake up with flushes, perspiring, and my heart pounding. Feels good, nonetheless.

It makes me wonder why dreams occur even if there are already scientific explanations to it. Are they purely consequences or do they have meanings at all? Are they realities that are bound to happen, or metaphors that have to be deciphered to give warning or lessons?

I look like not so much of myself today because of a dream.

Number One

“Kay passed the talent determination test,” went Papsie's text message yesterday. “No. 1 nga siya kasi alphabetically arranged (She's no. 1 because the list was alphabetically arranged).” I laughed to myself while reading this, mixed with glee because of the news that Kay made it again. Six of the applicants did not pass. Good thing they have the option to enrol in another course.

I am glad that she got what she wanted. I believe that a person will give his/her best if he/she likes what she is doing. I believe that Kay will do her best to reach her goal because she had obtained her long time desire of studying at UP.

Number one for me are my children's wishes to come true. I could have insisted in telling her to take up Nursing which will her give her the chance of working abroad and amassing money :-). But I know Kay will say no because she does not like Nursing. Her passion is the arts.

Number one for me are my kids. They are what matters to me most. In whatever I do, their welfare is my main reason to press on with life's hurdles. Between my happiness and theirs, it will be theirs that will take the lead. Never mind me.