Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tong Hua (Fairy Tale)

Check this great song by Malaysian Chinese Michael Wong. The song is six years old or so and was a huge hit across the Chinese-speaking world when it was released. I can't shake off this song for the last few days, makes me regret terribly the fact that I don't speak Mandarin.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Arthur Rimbaud's Illuminations

It was I think during my second year at the university that I saw this small film called Total Eclipse about the tumultuous relationship between the poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, two people gone drunk with poetry. The film was almost unremarkable except for the fact that it starred the young Leonardo DiCaprio who later on will become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

A few months ago, there was this New Yorker piece on Rimbaud which again piqued my curiosity. Apparently, Rimbaud started writing poems at the age of sixteen, ran away from home, took the literary world in Paris by storm and then, after a violent fight with Verlaine wherein he shot the latter's ear, quit writing at around the age of twenty. The New Yorker piece points out that Rimbaud went back home home, later lived in Africa to become a merchant of, among others, coffee, and at the age of 37 died of cancer.

And so I took up my copy of Rimbaud's Illuminations I got many years ago from a bargain bin at Book Sale and finished reading it during one of the nights I was in Manila attending a conference. Was the book good? Ahhh, I think I missed the proper time of reading the book, and I regret it. I should not have tarried, should have read it when I was seventeen. Now, all the book's teenage angst and dreaminess is lost on me.

On hindsight though I now better understand one classmate I had in a class in Spanish, who was an aspiring poet then. He was probably under the spell of Arthur Rimbaud. But everybody grows up. Even Rimbaud did.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Job Opening

Senator Pangilinan tweets tha he needs a political communications person, preferably with TV news experience. Contact Renan Dalisay at 5526732.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

International Criminal Justice Forum

Advancing Philippine Contributions
to International Criminal Justice

with a keynote address from

Judicial Candidate to the International Criminal Court
Senator of the Republic of the Philippines

Discussants: Prof H. Harry L. Roque. Jr. of IILS
& the chair of the Commission on Human Rights chair,
Loretta Ann Pargas Rosales

9:30 am-12 noon, Friday, 21 October 2011
Malcolm Theater, Malcolm Hall, College of Law, UP

Sponsored by
The Institute of International Legal Studies
of the UP Law Center and the
Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Marathon reading of the Noli Me Tangere

Every December 30, local government units are enjoined to honor our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. This is why we see wreath laying ceremonies in front of Rizal monuments in every town (come to think of it,which town has no monument?).

2011 is the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of Rizal's birth, so I figure we must do something really special this year. And then I got to thinking: What could be more commemorative of the greatness of a man than to honor the work for which he was pilloried?

Rizal was meted the death penalty for writing two subversive novels, the Noli Me Tangere and the El Filibusterismo, two novels which, according to the noted scholar Benedict Anderson, made us imagine our country for the first time as a community, as one comprised of Filipinos, not merely indios who were subjects of a distant empire. It was in the Noli and the Fili that we first read about ourselves. Those two novels, according to Anderson, invented in our minds the concept of our nation.

And what greater way to honor a literary work than to read it? So on December 29, 7 AM, we are going to begin a marathon reading of the Noli Me Tangere. We are seeking volunteer readers who will each read aloud two pre-assigned pages from the Noli and, as much as possible, deliver his reading dressed as a character from the novel. Everyone will also be encouraged to bring food and beverage mentioned in the novel.

We want to make the event global (Rizal, after all, was hopelessly itinerant) and thus we welcome readers from abroad who can deliver their reading pre-recorded or live via Skype or Yahoo video chat.

Venue is tentatively set at the Monreal Ruins (inside Bicol University Gubat) on Rizal Street.

If you want to join, send me a quick message at ronnelATgmailDOTcom or message me through facebook. I will email you your assigned pages. We plan to serve tinola and tsokolate of uniform viscosity for everyone, no ah no eh.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Call for Proposals: IPC Merit Research Awards. Deadline on Nov. 21

The Institute of Philippine Culture, School of Social Science welcomes proposals for the IPC Merit Research Awards. With funds provided by the Ford Foundation, the awards seek to advance research in the social sciences. Proponents are asked to present a written proposal with clearly stated research objectives, the proposed study's theoretical significance, and the research methods required.

Priority Research Areas

The program puts priority on five substantive thematic clusters:

1. Social justice, poverty, and well-being;

2. Civil society, social change, cultural- and spiritual- based values;

3. Asset building and social capital formation in community-based health, education, shelter, and natural resource management;

4. Cultures of work, conflict, and peace; and

5. The impact of globalization on people's everyday lives.

Within these thematic clusters, specific substantive areas would include:

a. Religious change and transformation;
b. Families, childhood, youth, and aging;
c. Culture, political leadership, and state power;
d. Critical analysis of citizenship and civil society;
e. Forms of governance;
f. Corporations and private authority;
g. Social dynamics of agriculture and the environment;
h. Articulations of the global-local nexus; and
i. The coexistence of "modernity" and "tradition".

Proposal guidelines

Research proposals should not exceed 2,500 words. The proposed project must be completed within 12 months. The maximum research award is P500,000.00.

The IPC Merit Research Awards are granted on a competitive basis.

The deadline for submission of research proposals this year is November 21, 2011.

To download the MRA Guidelines and Application form please visit the IPC website:

For inquiries and more information, please e-mail Dr. Ma. Elizabeth J.

Macapagal, IPC Associate Director for Research (

Monday, October 03, 2011

Job opening: Pol Sci Teacher

The Department of Political Science is now accepting applications for full-time teaching positions for academic year, 2012-2013. Applicants for full-time positions should have a master's degree in political science or a related field (e.g. public administration, international studies/relations), preferably with teaching experience and Ph.D. units. Interested applicants may contact Prof. Ruth Lusterio-Rico, Chair of the Department of Political Science, through or

Anne Curtis and Nora Aunor smoking

First of all, let me say that Anne Curtis looks wonderful on this month's Rogue cover and Yes Magazine probably caught the real Nora Aunor on its cover photo, as editor Joanne Maglipon emphasized in an interview. But I think it was wrong to show them with cigarettes on magazine covers everybody, including children with impressionable minds, could see in the newsstands. Because this is one major path how people end up with a smoking habit: When they were young they saw adults smoking and as teenagers, in a hurry to grow up, they copy the vestiges of adulthood, the most visible of which is smoking. And when they grow older and begin to know better, they are already hooked with a habit and could not get out of smoking, even if their lives depended on it.

The magazine covers peddle the idea that smoking is sophistication. This is so trite and 1970's where the easiest thing for a stylist to do to make a woman appear sophisticated and modern is to let her light up. The magazine covers may or may not have violated the law, but celebrities should be more responsible with the images they project on children. We could pull down perfectly healthy bodies (albeit in underpants) in Guadalupe, surely we could all do better than pose with life-destroying accessories on magazine covers.

By the way, if you feel offended by Rogue, you can switch to reading Esquire Philippines (Lovi Poe can be found at the link), which had its debut issue this month with Manny Pacquiao on the cover.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sinakiki at the Kasanggayahan

The Municipality of Gubat participated in the cultural parade marking the official opening of Sorsogon's Kasanggayahan Festival. Elementary school teachers, Sangguniang Kabataan officials and other friends volunteered to showcase the Sinakiki, which I was told was Gubat's unique way of dancing the pantomina. Mr Albert Estrellado of Gubat North Central School trained the dancers; Ms Rebecca Ermino, Tourism officer-designate of the municipal government, coordinated the effort.

Governor Raul Lee officially opened the Kasanggayahan celebrations at the Balogo auditorium, with Senator Francis Escudero as special guest.