Monthly Archives: January 2011

Speak Your Mind Even If Your Voice Shakes

Anyone who has been a steadfast activist would most likely find this title familiar. A strong quote I borrowed from then American activist Maggie Kuhn, who dedicated her life fighting for and defending human rights. I can’t think of a better irony right now than this statement. Two contradictory ideas that marvelously create perfect sense. Like a wilted flower that, though teetering, never succumbs to the blistering heat that taunts it, scorches it, and gives it a reason to loosen its hold from the tree.

You should’ve guessed by now. I am that flower.

Every day, for the last few months that I had worked night shifts, it felt as though my feet were bound with heavy shackles that caused my existence to be in a drag. I had struggled to wake up every 6:30 p.m.to that cursed sound of the alarm. Although there were days when I’d have the entire day to squander (translation: sleep), I’d still get eye bags, and  I’d still feel tired like never before. I was dragging my whole self to the situation. I took a part-time job to at least give justice to the eye bags, but the situation didn’t get any better. I gained more money, but I was losing two important things–my weight and my life.

As I turned on the TV to watch tonight’s news, my heart sank upon seeing the grim fate of the ten construction workers, who died in an accident when the scaffold they were standing on collapsed and fell from the twenty-eighth floor of a high-rise building. There were allegedly eleven people who boarded the scaffold, which was supposed to hold not more than six. It was definitely a case of overcapacity. Among the eleven who took that leap of faith,who risked their lives for a few pennies, I couldn’t help but wonder. Hadn’t anybody thought about speaking his mind?

I trust in the saying “Two heads are better than one.” And what of eleven? There had to be somebody among them who felt an ominous chord before they went and embarked to their unfortunate demise. Somebody who gained insight on the ramifications of what they were about to do. That somebody who had the knowledge but lacked the power to express. Perhaps a newbie who had cold feet and convinced himself that it’s inappropriate to talk ahead of the seniors. Or a senior who opted not to press the point, thinking it would just be an ordinary day, and there couldn’t be anything bad that could happen.

I wonder what went on the minds of the other ten who snobbed the idea of danger. Who carried on without batting an eyelash. Were they as nervous as the one who trembled and held his tongue? Or had the thought of going on that unsteady platform stripped them of all emotions and kept them numb?

If only that man had spoken. Or, if he did, if only he stood his ground. If only he had been courageous enough to risk being ridiculed or laughed at. If only he had taken that life-changing risk, it would’ve saved more than half a dozen more and spared a thousand television viewers from anguish and despair.

If only he chose to believe that there’s nothing wrong to be that wilted flower, but that there’s more wrong than right in pretending to be a sturdy tree.

This is not to say I’m trying to find the culprit to point a finger on. This is just my curiosity, which has engendered speculation. I am anxious to hear the story from the sole survivor who’s currently fighting for his life in the hospital. I pray that he lives to tell us the “Tale of the Eleven Construction Workers.”

While I write this, I am curled up  like a flower. The Cebu weather has been generous in allowing rain that gives showers to flowers. Especially that, which was once dried up but is now teeming with life.

It’s 8:54 p.m., and I’m sitting in a mushroom of comfort with three piles of pillows on my back. The alarm would have gone off minutes ago. I have to ditch that alarm. I have time on my side now. I’m happy. And I’m being paid.

(I am now working as a home-based freelance editor. I love my job.)

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Fairy Tail

When you walk into a book store, eyeing for a possible good read to purchase off the shelves, there are things to consider before you settle on something you think is worth your money. Some immediately look for their favorite author’s name or fall in love at first sight of an artsy front cover. Others go with a title catchy enough to win a few bucks left from the week’s allowance.  Most of us do all three steps, though it only varies on where we look first. As for me, I check the title first and then flip over to the back page to let the synopsis be the deciding point. But I think most people look at the title firsthand before going to the other details.

My English teacher once taught me that a good title is a title of a successful book. Something to cause someone to notice your book that he not only looks at it, but looks at it again. When I heard Redh say he was into some animé entitled Fairy Tale, it slipped my mind almost as fast as it had come. We’ve been seeing fairy tales since we were little babies, right? And why would Redh watch sappy stuff? A few minutes after he lost me though, he went on to elaborate that the title is oddly spelled. It sounds pretty much the same as tale but spelled as tail, as in the behind of an animal. That caught my attention and started the late-night animé marathons.


ANIME INFO

Genre: Action/Adventure/Comedy

Story: The story follows the adventures of Lucy Heartfilia, a young mage who ran away from home to be part of the most prestigious mage guild in all of Magnolia. Along the way, she meets Fairy Tail wizards who later on become her friends as they  do mage missions together, helping people and fighting the evil minions of different villains. You might need to be patient with the first few episodes though because that’s where the writers throw all the crap. We can understand in other shonen animes, like Naruto and Bleach, where a decent dose of humor is inserted in some parts to give it a soft touch of fun. Fairy Tail happens to have humor extravagance. And I’m not even talking about the fillers yet. If you pass those stodgy episodes though, the action commences when, one by one, new characters with awesome magic powers are revealed. But it’s not like Harry Potter who uses a wand to cast a spell. Most of the characters use their bare hands or parts of their bodies to cast spells. Cool, right? Who says only ninjas can do that?

Characters:

 

 

Natsu Dragneel. The main male protagonist of the series. Nicknamed Salamander, he uses an ancient style of magic known as the “Dragon Slayer,” where he uses the element of fire.  Not only can he spew balls of fire from his mouth, he can also emit fire from any part of his body. The magnitude of damage he inflicts depends on his mood, so it’s when he gets very pissed off that his true power comes out. Like most male protagonists, Natsu has a carefree and sunny spirit. He’s always engaged in constant bickering with his fellow Fairy Tail mage named Gray, an ice mage.


Happy. Natsu found Happy when he was out in the woods and saw a huge egg drop from one of the trees. He took it home and cared for it until it hatched and became a talking, flying blue cat. Happy is a very intelligent cat though. During missions, he would help in knocking Natsu to his senses especially when he gets all fired up that he ends up doing stupid things. Happy is very cute when he says his punch line, “Aye, sir!”

Lucy Heartfilia. The main female protagonist of the series. Having met Natsu, she became the newest recruit of Fairy Tail, and together, with Natsu’s sidekick, Happy, they embark on missions. Lucy is a celestial mage who uses her celestial keys to open the spirit gates and summon powerful stellar spirits. Like most summoners, her weakness is she can’t use magic without her keys.

Gray Fullbuster. He casts different forms of ice magic using both his hands. As an ice mage, Gray has this strange habit of taking his clothes off at inappropriate times since he’s most comfortable without them. His guild mates often need to remind him because he doesn’t seem to realize it. Gray and Natsu has a brotherly relationship that although they squabble most of the time, they know when to team up for the sake of their missions.

Erza Scarlet.  My favorite character. Erza is an S-class mage and is the strongest female mage of Fairy Tail. She can equip herself with different  armors and weapons from her vast arsenal at will. If you’ve played RPGs (Role Playing Games), you’ll know what I mean. I love her armors that range from sexy to flashy. Erza is feared by her guild mates though due to her stern personality.

Review Rating: 7/10

Overall, it’s a fun animé about family and friendship. Action packed and hilarious. If you like magic, you’ll definitely like Fairy Tail. More snapshots below:

 

 

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For Goodness’ Sake

There is something good in everyone. The midthirties lady who cuts in line in a grocery store counter, the “gentleman” who shoves you off when he passes by and doesn’t even apologize about it, the copassenger in a jeepney who happens to be a pickpocket, or the little street kid who asks for loose change but snatches your bag away as you’re trying to get your wallet. Perhaps the premise here is everybody’s altogether bad, but behind the misdeeds, something good lives within the fabric of our being. A budding flower that needs just a little streak of sunlight for it to blossom and eventually take the front line from the bad. Call it over-optimism, but really, it’s just looking at the brighter side of things.

I lost two cell phones from a pickpocket kid. I was almost shoved into a busy highway by a gang of street kids. In a place where you’re always looking over your shoulder, it’s a stark struggle to stay an optimist. Even kids have been robbed of their supposed innocence due to obscenities circulating in today’s media. We say they are supposed to be at school. Or playing with fellow children. But in a country where 8 out of 10 are poor, that’s too much to ask. (Okay, don’t mind the statistics. I made that up. But you pretty much get the picture, right?)

Earlier today, a group of friends and I went to Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts  Children’s Home to share some goodies to the hapless kids. Most of us aren’t financially rich ourselves, but knowing these children are orphans who rely only for donations to get by, we know we have more. And it’s a perfect opportunity for me to actually put my New Year’s resolution into action, which is to be kinder to everyone.

I haven’t been kind all my life. I was the black sheep of the family. The rebel. In other words, I’ve been practically a b**ch. I even pierced two more holes in my right ear just to get back at my father for hovering over me while I was in College. And I did that myself in the comforts of my own room (with the help of some cold ice and a sharp needle). For somebody who’s afraid of blood (from a wound, that is), that was a pretty tough thing to do. But when you’re bursting with anger, you can pretty much do anything. My point is, though I was a bad ass in the early years of my life, there’s still something good in me. Some people somehow saw it, which might be the reason why it’s not so hard for me to stay optimistic with things. Because some people have been seeing the good in me when, all the while, I thought I was a hopeless case.

I am currently editing a religious manuscript that tackles the verses in the Bible. I can’t call myself religious, but I believe in Jesus Christ, so this is something I have to share. The author said, when the first human beings, Adam and Eve, had fallen prey to Satan’s dirty antics when they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they, along with all their descendants (us), lost the holy bond with God. He added that from that point onward, we ceased to be children of God and became children of Satan, which explains why there’s so much evil going on everywhere. Although Jesus paid the price thru his crucifixion, it didn’t stop Satan from wreaking havoc in the world. However, as a rule of thumb, evil cannot exist without good. So there must really be something good in each one of us, and we shouldn’t be fazed by the bad things happening because in the end, it’s always the good that wins.

And who doesn’t want to win, right? So I chose to be a good girl since then. It also helps that I have a strong support system backing me up. I have to thank Redh for taking the hardest role in the world–to be my partner. Of course, my family is also just a text away. Plus I’ve got friends who are amazing just the way they are. Cheesy as it may sound, but my heart skipped a beat when I saw the invite. This kind of outreach program is something I wanted to do since Christmas, but I never had the chance to organize or join in one. (Let me rephrase that: I’ve been utterly lazy.) To the woman of the hour, Celest, thank you for taking the first step and inviting us to this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I couldn’t explain the joy I felt when I saw the children’s smiles as I handed out food. And their thank-yous were music to my ears.

In closing, I can’t end this blog entry without thanking God Almighty for showing me the way to righteousness. Just like most of us, I’m a Christian in progress. And that’s a lot more progress than what I was back then.

(Pictures to follow.)

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