thoughts on “la cucaracha”

Since I was a five-year old kid in the tropics, I’ve been a certified La Cucaracha executioner. They’re presence in my territory was like Code Red and–whenever they’re around–I often felt like a naked virgin that’s completely vulnerable to their spine-tingling approaches.

It was always a bloody conflict and it’s with them that I engaged in self-defense using my leather shoes. Sometimes, when I spot a roach lying helplessly on its back, I exacted revenge by resorting to chemical torture. As if I’m possessed by the vicious soldiers of General Yamashita, I mercilessly poured bleach or Muriatic acid on the roaches’ body until it succumbs to death–while I (on the other hand) suffer headaches from the reeking fumes. (cough cough)

Experience has taught me that roaches usually emerged in groups whenever they sense the coming of rainfall after a scorching-hot day. Heaven forbid (but it seemed like it),that the roaches and I seem to have developed a mutual bond. An “arm’s race” if you will–which Biology calls Co-Evolution.

Every time I tried to kill a cockroach, it always came back with a new strategy of dodging either my Kung-Fu or my chemical weapons. It escaped the bolt of my stomping feet in the middle of an open room. It shielded itself from the things I threw by taking refuge between the corner-walls. It shooed me more than once by gliding from a high wall and flaunting those thick, scaly abdomens in front of my face. What’s more, the monsters seem to know that I’m scared of them. Whenever threatened, they would fly to my direction instead of going the distance like a peaceful white dove.

Cockroaches love me. Seriously. Whether adolescent or middle-aged, they always found ingenious ways of presenting their acquaintance. They kept on adapting themselves to any worldly devices I mustered to prevent their intrusuion. They gave me the privilege to experience an adrenalin rush of combined disgust, dismay, fright, and unprecedented laughter.

The more I ponder on how they see the world, the more I’m impressed of their cunningness.

masses, economy & psychology

No Filipino would forget Lino Brocka’s masterpiece “Pasan Ko ang Daigdig” and Ms. Sharon Cuneta shooeing her abusive father with a long black whip. For me, that’s the epitome of a smoldering fox with claws (rawr). As these scenes unfold in front of  “fatigued-by-life” audiences, I wonder whether we could really have a saviour like that. A celebrity who’d whiplash the assess of people who causes the suffering of many.

Now that’s Cinema Paradiso isn’t it? An auditorium where the masses can forget their unfair and sometimes destitute existence. It’s the place where they’ll see the entity of their wildest dreams–like a maid beating-up a blowsy employer. It’s where people living on a pittance will see themselves resurrected. A world where a voice is not denied to those who have less than impressive status-quo.

But in all honesty, I’d rather see scenes of ragged men in Philippine Cinema than see the ways of the rich. I don’t know if you notice this, but if you follow the trend of Philippine movies with reference to the economy, many of the classic movies of the 70s, 80s center on the underdogs of society. And yet, the economy was doing far better then compared to the present.

Nowadays, we have movie shoots from Milan (or any other foreign territory) where they feature well-to-do Filipino families. Movies about the broken-hearted ramblings of a spoiled-brat socialite. But in reality, more people live below the poverty line and the economy is far worse than in the 70s or 80s.

My statistics are nil, but I have the feeling that, in a developing country, using romanticism to cloak realism in film is vital for our progress. If the maid “Inday” saw a movie about a cleaning lady who toiled her way to unprecedented success, then perhaps the other Indays will get inspired to that idea. It will give them hope to do something better instead of collecting materialistic installment plans (wristwatches, Starwax, even translucent So-En panties). Trends which may be blamed from extensively glorifying the filthy-rich lifestyle.

I remember my early cinematic exposures during TV’s “Sari-Saring Sine”. The Peso-Dollar (USD) rate back then was only 20 Pesos to One Dollar. Yet, in a time when the Philippine economy was obviously doing well, I sat and watched my grandmother cry over disabled Rosemarie on a wagon, who begged for alms, while being pushed by the very young Gelli de Belen and Sheryl Cruz in Home Sweet Home (1983).

I know that many regard such plot as “formulaic” but there are situations more colourful than the story of Inday which lurks around the side-streets of our country. I have seen dramas in real life that I wish I saw in the movies. Like the scene in San Marcelino, where an itenerant mother commanded her young daughter to walk across a thorough-fare of ten-wheeler trucks. Or this scene from a busride to Laguna when a Christmas carolling young girl was pushed aside by commuters simply because the bus has reached one of its stops.

I believe that cinema should serve as the epicenter of hope in a truly rotten status quo.

Though, at times, it does annoy me to see some *Sharon Cunetas of the country to have abused the admiration of our people. They make the news 24/7, shedding a few tears to further their political agendas. And expects justice and fan support irregardless of reason. Legions of fans who knew that she once peeled pineapples in the silver-screen, rallies on a fictitious belief (that perhaps like them) their idols were victims of unfair treatment.

But where were the *Sharon Cuneta’s when a murdered corpse of a child simmers in Formalin? Where were the *Sharon Cunetas whenever card-games are the only solution to fund the burial of a victim who’s shot by a trigger-happy drunkard? Where is our “*Wish Upon a Mega?” Our whiplashing fox?

With the existence of superhuman regard to our powerhouse casts, can we really blame our masses for being too emotional? I completely disagree.

In mass psychology, all masses have a leader.

I blame the leader.

thurs. coffee w/ superBitch

Gaaad! the sun shows up finally and I’m having my capuccino again. thank you for the messages *move to recycle bin. sipping sipping. lacks high-quality syrup. table sugar is so outdated. reading my script…i mean my agenda. finger tips on my forehead. digesting digesting. okay. gotta refill my parker to sign some papers. okay. annoyed by the people passing by. why can’t they sit down? settle down syndrome whatever. okay. concentrate. oops seesmic desktop on mac makes a noise. someone wagging their tail. okay. read it. ok not funny, press the snob button “x”. okay it beeps again. oh FB updates. so let me see… ahh the usual. …FB is a master with many pets. okay, someone sent invite to a place that’s like sincerely 10,000 miles away. yah right!  *press ignore. shit i broke my nail from …ahh frustration. ok ok. sip coffee sip sip. call the ambulance. open my handbag… text my BFF. read the spam mail dropped from a space station. an invitation from scientology. crumple crumple. brochures brochures. “satisfaction guaranteed. (next sentence) i’ll see that your money is promptly refunded” so that’s dissatisfaction idiot. crumple crumple. “it costs you nothing” (but there’s like a dollar-sign) idiot idiot crumple crumple. coffee’s almost finished. sip sip, my pastry is dry. i blame the economy. don’t have to eat it but ok pay pay. give me the check. keep the change. be robotic. say thank you come again coz i’m leaving.


the caring rose without the disco & alcohol

I wrote this note to re-examine tangible presence in my life. For many months now, I spent quality time with the members of the flowering family: the red rose, some pink tulips, purple Hyacinths and white Dahlias. I was accepted by this majestic kingdom of blooms for just the way I am. I love them with all my heart and it pains me to have not fully surrendered to their genuine beauty and unsolicited eagerness. Unfortunately, I was also distracted  by bugs that were reverberating with conceited angst–like hornets at the wrong side of a window pane.

I never swatted insects upfront. I wish I did, but I chose not to. There were bugs whose existence kind of serves as a reminder, for which I cannot help but smile and appreciate the sense of humour they unknowingly offered. All I could do was watch and pry open the windows in hopes that they escape their confinements. 

Such reckless presence convinced me that there’s so much beauty in acknowledging real potentials, and not buzzwords. Whichever books I examined, there’s a portion dedicated to people and things that were entirely significant to its creation. But most of the time, like life itself, it has been undeniably selective. There must be a reason why no film would roll its end credits providing everybody with special thanks–in spite of the fact that everyone must’ve done something in the making of a project.

The answer to this hushed fact is the reality that sharing common denominators are shallow by nature. Similarities won’t be the catalyst for liking and that the mere presence of company musn’t be rewarded. For personal relationships to be established and considered “deep-rooted”, it must be based on a presence that’s five-steps more miserable than established first impressions (without the disco and the alcohol).

Okay…make that ten steps lower without the disco and alcohol.

In the grand scheme of things, there’s always a turning point. It happened yesterday as I lounged at a lofty cafeteria. The view was breathtaking, and on my table was a rose in a vase and some typical objects to induce comfort in forgetfulness.  My eyes were focused at the view outside my window that’s comprised of distant structures and strangers. With so little regard to objects within my range of vision, I missed the daily beauty and significance of the caring rose in front of me.

I left the cafeteria and finally came down to earth.