Saturday, August 16, 2008

The extramarital affair

I had prepared something for this blog entry but I can't find it anymore. Anyway, the story is that former Democrat presidentiable Senator John Edwards had an affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter during his campaign while his wife was in the hospital recuperating from cancer. When America found out they got angry and talk is now that his political career is over. Compare that to the Philippines where blatant adultery is so common nobody raises eyebrows over it - even when supposed to be responsible model government officials are the ones at fault. When i have more time, I'll devote a whole blog entry on this. Promis.

filmmaker Rielle Hunter

Senator John Edwards

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

More hilarious pics

The owner of this car must either be very deaf or a big show off. Or both.

Rubbing salt in the wound. I wonder how the drivers feel.

An innovative way to piss off your neighbors.

It's not raining. There's no ice on the road to make it slippery. So how the hell did this happen?

If you're a Filipinow, you'd just pee over the wall. Pee problem solved.

This guy is obviously trying to hide from his flame's husband or boyfriend whose just come home from work or something.

Wise-ass dad. Smart-ass mom. Lazy-ass brother. Kiss-ass sister. Dumb-ass brother.

This boy's in a fix. Literally.

This is why you should never go to bed without any clothes on.

Presence of mind always. In order to not look as foolish as this driver.

I'm eating. Back off! Or else I'll pee in my food!

Don't try this doggie trick at home. It's painful.

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Funny pictures from the web

As cozy as a kitten in a cup, that's what we are.

I'm a cute and cuddly baby. Yet why do I feel shitty? 
Oops, I've got the wrong balls.

Soccer Chickens.

Puppy love.

Malacanang school girls.

Mom or babysitter?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The World Champion of Karate - my other cousin

The other famous cousin in the Vandenbroeck family is Bram. He started out as the Belgian champion in karate. Then he became the European champion. And yes, the World champion. By the way, according to Bram, there are four kinds of karate and he's the world champion of one style of karate. Cool huh.

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MILOW a.k.a Jonathan Vandenbroeck

I'd like to introduce MILOW a.k.a Jonathan Vandenbroeck - my cousin. This year, Jonathan won 3 awards given by the Belgian Music Industry - Best Music Video, Best Breakthrough Artist, and Best Song. He's captured Belgium and is now about to conquer Europe! Starting with Holland. We're all quite proud of him. The video clips below are  some of my favorites.

song's title: YOU DON'T KNOW 
(This video was shot with students from the circus school in Belgium. Jonathan's brother, Lennert studies there. As a matter of fact, Jonathan's girlfriend also studied there. She's a trapeze artist.)

song's title: LANDSLIDE
(This video was shot inside a museum in Belgium. Nobody ever gets to sit behind the glass with the animals, but the museum made an exception for Jonathan. The result is this fantastic video.)

song's title: BORN IN THE EIGHTIES 
(The first time mama and I heard Jonathan sing this song live in Belgium, we had to cry. Never mind telling you why.)

song's title: EXCUSE TO TRY 
(This song is a beautiful tribute to Saskia, my other cousin.)

song's title: MORE FAMILIAR 
(Bram and Lennert are in this video clip which I think is the most upbeat of all of Jona's songs.)

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MILF - Moms I'd Like to Fuck OR Moro Islamic Liberation Front?

[The classic t-shirt, made specifically for women. Pre-shrunk, 5.0 ounce 100% super-soft cotton, baby jersey knit. Coverstitched 3/4" bottom hem and sleeve opening. Custom contoured fit. Made by Bella.]

Now that I got your attention, let me get to the real focus of this blog:

So much hullabaloo going on about signing the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on ancestral domain with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). So much so that on Sunday (Aug. 3) the Supreme Court stopped the signing to the consternation of those who had already left for Malaysia on Tuesday (Aug. 5) to write their signatures that would ‘seal the deal’ so to speak.

The causes of the temporary restraining order (TRO):

In Zamboanga and Iligan, residents staged a rally against the government-MILF deal. Placards proclaimed: “MILF go home!” “Vote NO to what you don’t know!” Ultimately, what caused the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court to grant the TRO were not the street protests but the petitions filed by the provincial government of North Cotabato and the city government of Zamboanga.

Let’s spend a moment analyzing the issue.

How come the rallyists led by Cotabato Vice Governor Manny Pinol Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat are against the signing of the MOA? What are they afraid of? In newspapers, I read that people like them fear that through this MOA, an ‘independent Muslim state’ will be created. But isn’t the creation of such a territory where the Bangsamoro can govern themselves and decide how to use and allocate their own resources the whole point really? (For a bird’s-eye-view of this conflict I’m referring to, read the blog entry below entitled 'Why do the Bangsamoro feel bad?')

Apparently, those who don’t understand what the MOA signing on ancestral domain entails, fear that the citizens of an independent Muslim state will have the power to choose any form of government – “even theocracy and anarchy.” The misinformed further fear that this independent Muslim state will have its own police force, civil bureaucracy, financial system, personal and family, commercial and political laws, and get this - even an educational system that “will teach undemocratic political values and intolerant religious ideas.”

My reactions: It’s true that Non-Moros (and Moros) not privy to the negotiations aren’t sure what the MOA on ancestral domain is about – and something indeed should be done to avoid jumping to unfair conclusions and judgments, especially about what the Muslims will do when they’re ‘autonomous’ in the truest sense of the word. Voicing out opinions that show distrust in Muslims ability to handle autonomy doesn’t facilitate peace at all but only succeeds in deepening animosity. Is that what we really want? Politicians, of all people, are supposed to be diplomats for chrissakes!

One can’t help but wonder where this lack of confidence in the Bangsamoro’s ability to rule themselves come from? Some might retort: the Bangsamoro were 'given' the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but their leaders messed up big time! But then again, this assessment is too simplistic. The corruption, poverty, illiteracy, and what not, proliferating in ARMM have to do with many factors. Putting the blame of ARMM’s ‘condition’ solely on bad leaders is, I don’t think very reasonable, simply because other regions in the country have bad leaders but they’re not as hard-up as the regions in ARMM.

So what is the problem? In the few times I have visited ARMM and talked and listened to the people there, I must say that BLATANT GOVERNMENT NEGLECT is hugely to blame. Places like Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur are part of the Philippines yet the kind of autonomy that’s afforded to citizens living here through the ARMM is like a bird in a cage that’s big enough to fly around in but still not big enough as the vast open space outside the cage. In short, there are more CANNOTS that CANS. (To understand what I mean, just read the blog entries below entitled 'Why do the Bangsamoro feel bad?' and 'Is ARMM enough?') Understandably, the Bangsamoro strongly feel that only through ruling themselves – without any external interference – will they be better off.

For those cynics out there, it’s good to be aware that many non-Moros simply refuse to see the validity of the Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination because of self-interest. I bet that those who are most vocal in showing their dislike of the MOA on ancestral domain are big landowners themselves. (I know for a fact that one Senator owns a piece of land in Basilan. So of course, he doesn’t like the idea of returning to the Bangsamoro what is rightfully theirs.)

I will continue this piece tomorrow for now it’s already 9 p.m. and I’m all alone in the office that’s getting more creepy by the minute. (The knocking on the glass just won’t stop.) Anyway, stay stuck. Reserve your comments for tomorrow when I finish my piece. Till then.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

No hangups whatsoever

It’s so good to laugh out loud and be myself with people who’ve experienced my most mataray and manang moments but now look back at that time with a chuckle. Friday night was probably the longest night we’ve chatted. Winvic’s got a new car and will go on a rendezvous somewhere in Asia this month. (My lips are sealed.) Ian’s relishing his new role as a tito and is busy making one film after another. Shelly’s been traveling to faraway barrios to write stories about remarkable people. Really cool job. Chechu’s all set to fly to America on Wednesday to start life as a married couple with Bryan. Jolen is well, smiling and bubbly as ever despite everything. The good news is that she flew in on a whim from the States and she’s back in D.C. until further notice. That means I’ll get to enjoy her wonderful company and her bright, confident little Judai too!

Having said all that, Friday night was a chopsuey of emotions. Happy as usual. But sad too (for reasons I’d rather not disclose). Let’s just say, we all have grown up. Definitely more financially independent and knowing what we want from life. No hangups whatsoever. That’s what I love about this group.

(P.S. We missed you Joy and Ai.)

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Hijab and long sleeves

Last week in Jolo, Sulu during the Selected Khutba launching, it was the first time I wore long sleeves and a hijab (head scarf worn by Muslim women). Though the get-up was hot and uncomfortable inside the crowded air-conditioned room, I persevered. At the end of the event I was told by one of my colleagues that the (male) Muslim Religious Leaders were happy with what I wore. That’s nice I thought. But inside I was happy I wasn’t one of them (no offense meant). It’s just that hijabs and long sleeves are too uh, limiting. I admire women who have gotten used to them and wear them like second skin, but I don’t envy them.

Several days before I flew to Sulu, friends tried to dissuade me from going. They were afraid that I’d get kidnapped like Ces Drilon, like the cooperative members in Basilan, or like that nursing student in Zamboanga City. (I wonder what has happened to her.)

“You’re really going? Aren’t you afraid?” I was asked over and over again. Their concern was amusing at first but after the 20th query, I was smiling crocodile smiles if you know what I mean. My female bosses were going with me and they weren’t afraid so why should I? But when somebody told me that women who get kidnapped definitely get raped too, I couldn’t sleep.

To make a long story short, I went - again - to what everyone perceives as a more dangerous Sulu and I'm glad to announce that I don’t regret going. Ces Drilon would probably have said the same – if she hadn’t been kidnapped. Call me courageous or call me reckless. On the plane from Jolo to Zamboanga, I was happy to be going home and watch The Dark Knight.

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