It’s election day in the Philippines (for you non-Filipinos) and there was nothing much on the news except partial election results. The Taguig mayoralty count was on with political dynasty card-carrying member Lani Cayetano leading over Rebecca “Rica” Tiñga, a card-carrying member of the opposing political dynasty. Sam read the names and mispronounced “Tiñga” probably as a result of misspelling, the candidate’s name spelled on the screen as Tinga rather than Tiñga. The misspelling is carried over in the network’s website. Continue Reading
The photo above was taken by Sam a couple of years ago through the car window somewhere in Bulacan. Look at the image of the river. Stare at it and don’t think of anything else. What do you see? There’s water, vegetation, reflection and haze.
But is it really just seeing? What we sense is information transmitted to the brain and it is the brain that says that what we see is water, vegetation, reflection and haze. And our brain tells us that because we have encountered water, vegetation, reflection and haze in the past, and it is all a matter of recall, language and association. In other words, it’s not a simple process of seeing. We are, in fact, perceiving and that is a complex mental process.
The level of perception varies from one person to the next. While one may perceive nothing but water, vegetation, reflection and haze, another may perceive more. Like?
3. Natural beauty
4. Something dreamy or mysterious
Still waters are serene. Gray (as in a gray day) is bleak. Undisturbed vegetation is beauty of nature. Fog, haze and anything that blurs an image is something we associate with the nebulous state and mystery of dreams. In short, the association that we form in our minds when we see an image may go beyond the basic things as to whether the objects in the image are solid, liquid or gas, what their colors are and what textures they possess. These extended associations are assembled by social and cultural constructs.
Another illustration. Continue Reading
First grade, I think. We were learning about planets, solar systems, galaxies, stars, asteroids… So many worlds to learn about and I wanted to explore them all. So, I dreamed that, one day, I would be an astronomer.
I was six. Everyone had slum books, we wrote in each other’s slum books and, in that part where you’re asked what you want to be, I consistently wrote: “To be an astronomer.”
In the second and third grades, we moved to other areas of science. But the stars and the solar systems were calling out to me. I borrowed library books. Everything there was on astronomy. And I read them on my own time. We had a set of encyclopedia at home and those volumes became a supplement when I ran out of library books to borrow.
Then, I can’t remember when, I found out that to be an astronomer meant one had to learn physics too. And that meant learning math — not the kind of math that made sense but the kind where you added, subtracted, multiplied and divided with letters instead of numerals.
The next time I signed someone’s slum book, in that part where you’re asked what you want to be, I wrote: “To be a lawyer.” Continue Reading
In The Matrix, arguably my most favorite movie of all time, Agent Smith told Neo:
“There’s no escaping reason, no denying purpose, for as we both know, without purpose we would not exist. It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us, that binds us, it is purpose that defines us.”
Easy for him to say, right, because Agent Smith is a computer program with a very definite purpose.
But The Matrix is more philosophy than sci-fi. Depending on one’s perspective, I suppose. But that’s the main attraction of The Matrix for me. It dares to ask questions we always thought we knew the answers for. It dares us to entertain answers radically different from what we always thought were the only correct answers. Continue Reading
DI stands for dance instructor. In today’s world, DIs are not only found in establishments that offer dance lessons; they are also found in clubs and parties. In clubs, they approach you and ask if you would like to dance. Sometimes, for free; other times, there is a price tag.
DIs as dancing partners have become so popular that women bring them to parties as dates. Or DIs are hired as a group and they are available to dance with anyone in a private party. Search the web — a lot of events planners’ services include DIs in the package as part of the entertainment.
To start with, they are called dance instructors for a reason — instructors give lessons for a fee. It’s a professional relationship. But when DIs are paid as dancing partners, they are no longer performing the role of instructor. If they are paid by the hour or by the number of dances, then, they are like taxi dancers. De metro.
I don’t mean to sound derogatory. Dancing is an art and there is no reason why good dancers cannot make a living doing what they do best and what they enjoy. They should. And if they can wow us by performing on stage or before a camera, why not on the dance floor? Still, I take issue when DIs are brought to private parties as a group, paid for the night and available to anyone who cares to dance with them. I don’t feel comfortable with women bringing DIs to parties as their dates either. There’s just something about the arrangement that makes me cringe. The practice is degrading to the DIs themselves because it makes them nothing more than paid escorts or another version of women who are paid to sit with male customers and entertain them on an exclusive basis. Continue Reading