Thursday, December 30, 2004

Of Postmodern Sex

“But isn’t sex always sexier in the mind?”

Last night at chuckey’s toma party, listening to more outrageous sextories from a friend got me motivated to finally write something I’d been meaning to write about for quite some time now. Mediated sex. Sex through the media, i.e. SMS and the internet.

I’ve been a netizen for four years. And with those four years, I confess to having had my share of sexual conquests and blunders. When I broke someone’s heart quite callously, I thought, “I really shouldn’t do this again.” But there’s a certain high in making someone cum just through your words, maybe even sometimes your voice. For certain people in a particular state of mind, mind fucking works. Without question, nothing a beats real-person sex; the smells, the tastes, the sensations. But sex seems sexier, hotter, hornier in the mind. So much so that when you finally get to doing the deed, it’s almost an anti-climax. What makes you wonder is, why so?

What is postmodern?

Postmodernism: philosophical ideas, mainly derived from poststructuralist theory, and also cultural formations, especially associated with global popular culture. (McGuigan)

Now, before this brief definition scares you away from reading the rest of this article, let’s dissect some key terms in the definition.

Postmodernism is a movement in the visual arts, cinema, architecture, philosophy, literature and various other “knowledge” disciplines on the latter half of the 20th century. Postmodernism is simply a collection of new ideas to interpret social phenomena, a new lens through which “observers” may view reality.

Since it’s a “post” then it implies a modernism. Modernism emphasizes the importance of our being “material,” made of bone and flesh, with material needs (food, shelter, clothing) in order to survive. Our reality is constructed by our materiality. You are what you eat. The reality of your body is the sum of the genes you inherited, the food you ingest, and the amount of physical work you do. You do poorly in school partly because you may be malnourished, and so, pre-disposed to “failing” in life. These are some “modern” explanations to the reality of your body.

What then, is a “postmodern” explanation? For one, it breaks away from anchoring reality on the material. It veers away from claiming there is an observable material reality out there waiting to be discovered and analyzed. Rather, reality is perception. There is no “real body,” only a “sign.” You are who you perceive yourself to be, and others’ perception of you. And since we’re not an all hooked up in a bee-hive brain, we all have different perceptions or interpretations of what is real.

Since the invention of language, what is “real” has always been mediated by language. Words, both written and spoken, in a way mediate between a subject (you) and an object (reality).

Postmodernism is heavily influenced by linguistics, particularly semiology; “A science which studies the life of signs at the heart of social life.” Simply put, semiology claims that:

A Sign as a unit of meaning is made up of:

1. Signifier—acoustic sound, visual mark (the sound your mouth makes when you speak and the swirly lines you make when you write)

2. Signified—concept of meaning associated with Signifier

A “sign” could be CAR. The car’s signifier is the letters C-A-R and that sound produced by your voice box. The car’s signified is the idea triggered in your brain when you see the sign “car.” Your mental picture of a car (indeed, for all I know, not only a mental picture, but also a mental smell, mental noise or whatever) will not be the same as mine, for a variety of reasons. Your idea of “car” might mean a Volkswagen Beetle while “car” might trigger “gas-guzzling Ford Expedition” in my brain. Maybe you have never seen a Ford Expedition in your life and that is why your idea (or signified) of CAR is different from mine.

Semiology shifted the emphasis from the notion that there is some kind of 'real world' out there to which we all refer in words which mean the same to all of us. Reality is constructed through “signs.”

We are the active makers of meanings. We don't sleep on a structure of metal, foam and springs, we sleep on a BED. The fact that we refer to it as a BED means that it is to be slept on. We don’t usually eat on it or shit on it. We do not live among and relate to physical objects and events. We live among and relate to systems of signs.

What is postmodern sex?

The signs SEX, FUCK, LOVE, DICK, CUNT may have as many meanings as there are interpreters. And we are active makers of the meanings behind these signifiers. The written words “I am sucking your clit” elicits different responses in us, and our individual “system of signs” connect the words “I am sucking your clit” to different equivalences most pleasurable to our egos and our senses.

And so, through mediated sex we are able to fulfill our fantasies and wants not so much with another human being, but really, with ourselves. You’re alone typing away on your computer screen “communicating” with someone of a similar proclivity, but you’re not having sex with them. You’re screwing with yourself, in your mind. You’re not screwing him and he certainly isn’t screwing you.

You wonder why you feel so empty and emptied out after having your sexual encounter with the random cunt or dick of the day. And for those who are bolder, you wonder why, upon meeting your cybersex partner, there seems to be no connection, no spark, no nothing. Only awkward stretches of silence when you’ve run out of things to say. The mind fuck seemed infinitely better than the promise of the real. Well because, a promise was all it was.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Father Christmas Must Die

Father Christmas is a lie,
A gift wrapped up in red.
Rosy cheeked phantom,
Saint Nic a long time dead.

Fine example of generosity,
As his wrapped gifts are dropped
Down the chimneys of the homes
Of privileged little tots.

So when they ask why the poor,
Don't have Santa too,
More lies must be invented,
To cover up the true.

That Father Christmas is no more
The hero Santa Claus.
Consumer society has adopted him,
And used him for their cause.

A logo, branded image
For shops to sell their stuff.
A messed up folklore legend,
Redesigned with soft white fluff.

Why do we still use him?
What purpose does he serve?
Other than to say that lies,
Have some valid worth.

The tale of old Saint Nic,
Still can have its place,
In story books and tales told,
Of why we still embrace.

The time of giving every year,
To mark the caring season,
The joy of sharing what we have,
For no selfish reason.

As for teaming him with faith,
What an odd way to tie,
Faith and lies on the same day,
Father Christmas must now die.
Ah, Christmas excesses. Christmas means abundance and overindulgence in all things bad for you and your health. Have I said Christmas was shitty this year? Well, literally shitty for me. Four days of pooping my brains out, I have. Four days!!! Methinks I've been food poisoned in a certain resto-cafe that serves "Twice-Cooked Adobo." There, be warned.

Note to self: if food tastes funky, don't fucking eat it!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Just a random pic the boyfriend and I took at the annual UPD lantern parade. Must admit, sure don't appreciate them austerity measures when yer desperately wanting to feel christmasy. Sigh, they even repeated last year's theme which was "Perya" (loosely translated -- "fair"). Which means they've recycled some of the floats from last year. Gripe, gripe, gripe.

Monday, December 20, 2004

No more classes, no more books....

A two-week reprieve that isn't really a reprieve since I've papers to check, a book review to do and a report on Korea to prepare for has finally come! And for the past couple of days I've gone on a French film frenzy. Here are some of the terrfic finds I've managed to pick out from among the many Hollywood flicks....

Comment j’ai tué mon père (How I Killed My Father)


Forty year-old Jean-Luc is a successful gerontologist living in the wealthy Parisian suburb of Versailles with his beautiful wife Isa. On the surface, Jean-Luc appears to have everything one could want from life, however the unexpected arrival of his long estranged father (Maurice) promises to shatter Jean-Luc’s facade.

A quiet yet lively man, Maurice abandoned his wife and two young sons years ago, without any apparent misgivings, to practice medicine in Africa.

Like most European movies, this film is slow-paced with well-written characters. It builds into a climax so nerve-wracking it is testament to the brilliant acting and directing. For those who have father issues, you'll need a tissue box while watching this one.

Sous le sable (Under the Sand)


Marie Drillon is a strong, attractive, professional, independent middle-aged woman trying to get her life back on track after the sudden disappearance of her husband. Even for a superwoman like Marie, the shock of the tragedy is psychologically traumatizing.

Marie isn't sure what happened to her husband (Is he dead? Did he run off with someone else?) and she's in denial about him being gone. At Parisian dinner parties with her supportive, careful friends, Marie still talks about her husband in the present tense. At home, she still imagines that he is with her; she pours two cups of tea in the morning and she reminds him to set the alarm clock before going to sleep at night.

A film exploring what grief might do to a woman married to the same man for 2 decades or so. Makes me wonder how my mom ever copes. Where Marie verges into extreme denial and bouts of hysteria, my own mother just keeps plodding on. I suppose we're all made of different stuff. Mind you people, I chose these films totally at random!



A middle-class family must deal with racism, incest, homosexuality, and other issues when a pet rat comes into their life. A bitterly funny satire of family life from France.

This is Ozon thumbing his nose in French bourgeois sensibilities. It mocks just about every aspect of a "traditional" bourgeois household. Although most "sexual" images are tastefully implied, it manages to tickle forbidden funny bones. Its hilarious, knee-slapping fun.

I stand alone (Tout Seul)


The story of a brutal, unemployed butcher at the end of his rope, I STAND ALONE is a violent and dark film exploring the darkness of the human soul. The nameless butcher, just out of prison, looks for a new job. With each rejection he becomes more and more certain that the world is out to get him, leading to stunning acts of violence as the protagonist goes on a hate-filled rampage. Containing graphic sex and violence, I STAND ALONE is a disturbing but powerful look at one man's tormented soul.

What to expect from a film by the same director (Gaspar Noe) who made Irreversible? Extreme acts of violence and unspeakable acts designed to make your stomach churn and your brains a-turning. If you can stand it, watch it.

Sur mes levres (Read My Lips)


In its opening shot, READ MY LIPS shows Carla (Emmanuelle Devos) inserting her hearing aids and getting ready for work. But it's evident that her hearing problem does not hold her back as she throws herself into answering the constantly ringing phones at her job as an unappreciated secretary for an architecture firm.

Swamped with work, Carla asks her boss to hire an assistant for her, Paul (Vincent Cassel), an ex-con who is trying to get his life back on track. To everyone else--her sexist coworkers and her sexy friend Annie--Carla is a dog with a disability. But to Paul, who is Carla's subordinate, she's a femme fatale. In Paul's life--to his parole officer and the two-bit thugs to whom he still owes money--he is an untrustworthy outcast and a bum. But to Carla, he is a secret weapon with skills (lock-picking, physical intimidation) that she needs. Likewise, Carla becomes Paul's secret weapon as her ability to read lips opens up a new world of possibilities to his plotting, criminal ways.

READ MY LIPS is a story of romance through and through, and, in its second half, it is a fast-moving and constantly flip-flopping heist drama. Once Carla and Paul really start working together, the tension between them only helps them along. Never trusting each other, never predictable in their actions, these characters imbue Jacques Audiard's masterful film with a breathtaking suspense that is simultaneously alluring and repellent.

I loved this film. Vincent Cassel is hot. Need I say more? :)

Ma femme est actrice


MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS is a clever French comedy from Yvan Attal, who directs, produces, and stars in the film. Jealous and paranoid, Yvan (Attal) is the husband of Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a popular young actress who is constantly being cast in starring roles opposite attractive and seductive male actors. This drives Yvan crazy. But because he loves her, he must let her pursue her career dreams.

A sports writer who operates in a world that is equally exciting, if not quite as glamorous, Yvan's own career is always secondary to Charlotte's. When she travels to London to work on her latest film, sharing the screen with the studly older actor, John (Terence Stamp), Yvan makes furious and impulsive trips via Eurostar back and forth between Paris and London.
He worries that his marriage with Charlotte will not withstand the weight of his heartache.

Roughly the equivalent of a Hollywood romantic comedy, this French version still manages to come off as more real and infinitely more intelligent.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

No Nilad

It's been five days and still no water in our little corner of the metro. Thanks Maynilad. What a great way to end the year. No advisories, no warning, no nothing. Should water actually trickle out of faucets, it smells and tastes like shit. Literally. Lopez mismanagement isn't just their business but of tens of thousands of us affected. Just you try hike electricity rates next year. Motherfuckers.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Season of UnforGiving

Don't you miss those days when Christmas meant new clothes, new toys and pamasko from ninongs and ninangs? It meant seeing your cousins and playing and Christmas parties with games and goodies. But why is it that as we grow older Christmas only brings headache and heartache?

First off, the goddamn traffic is so thick and heavy you wonder how all these people manage to get anywhere at all. On the length of EDSA there are about a dozen malls or so. Yeah, go ahead and count. This means there are some 10 million people or so are expected to be milling around and doing their shopping pretty much around a 9 kilometer circumference. And of course these people will need to drive their cars, ride taxis and other public utility vehicles to get to their destination, hence the goddamn traffic. This time of year, drivers are especially lawless. To fuck with basic road courtesy, we gotta finish shopping!

This is also the season for the "little marked white envelope." They creep up and pounce on you from unexpected places and circumstances. People you have never seen in your life hand you the envelope and wait for the sacred mana that is the peso bill to be delivered from your unsuspecting pocket. "Kami po yung basurero n'yo." Fucking hell you are, they've already come by! "Meri Krismas Mam! Donation lang po sa simbahan." This church is aaaall the way from Mandaluyong. Or, the ambush carolers who hand you the envelope just before they harangue you with their varied versions of the same ol' shitty carols.

Our pockets suffer the most during this season, it bleeds. We not only have to shop for (very much expected) gifts for lovers, friends, family and godchildren, but we must choose wisely or else said gifts may end up in someone else's hands due to "recycling." You do it and I do it. But I guess, what we don't know won't hurt us. Unless of course we ask. "So how come I never see you wearing the Marvin the Martian tie?"

Christmas lights used to be a pleasure to look at back when we could afford them and the electricity. Despite the pronouncements of PGMA, we ain't out of crisis yet. And so energy rates will come up, and water rates will increase and our measly salaries remain pretty much the same. I've always wondered what they do to them roadside decors after the season. Store them and re-use for next year? Or just throw 'em away? The idea that most likely we're not getting the most out of 'em decors due to substandard materials brought on by corruption in LGUs kinda makes me wonder some more...

And finally the heartache of those without significant others (sayang naman ang lamig ng panahon at walang kayakap or kaulayaw!) and those with missing family members whose birthday it was on the 24th. Hay. The pronounced loss of said family member will probably soon pass. Maybe as each unforgiving Christmas passes, so too will the loss. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Here's the nasty weather system devastating the country. I suppose Pag-asa had a hell of time thinking of a male Pinoy name starting with a Y.
The skies are weeping droplets along with those from my eyes. Overcast and gloomy and quietly storming in my head, I am inconsolable in my thoughts.

Would that the fears would stop knocking on my windows. Would that my knightly-shining armor would do its job and protect me from imagined doom. Would that my peace of mind stay a bit longer, and resist being consumed in the icy holidays. But it won't. And as the crisp cool air kisses my cheeks and elicit shivers, so will it kiss my heart. It is pouring. And so am I.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Maligayang Pasko

"Mababaon din sa limot," o di kaya "maghihilom rin sa katagalan." Sa pandinig parang kay hirap gawin. Parang kay hirap limutin ang sakit na idinulot ng kay tagal. Ngunit ang hindi alam ng kung sino man ang nagbibigay ng ganitong payo, at nang kung sino man ang makarinig, napakadali. Napakadaling isa-isantabi ang mga hinanakit upang ipagpaliban ang kagalingan.

Halos dalawang taon ang lumipas na hindi ko halos s'ya nakita o nakausap. Simple lang, umalis ako sa bahay ng walang paalam. Ang iniisip ko ng mga panahong iyon? Ayaw ko nang umabot sa pagkakataong masagot ko s'ya nang pabalang. Tama na ang isang beses na akala ko'y pagbubuhatan n'ya ako ng kamay. Umalis na ako sa bahay na 'di na magpang-abot ang aming galit.

Halos dalawang taon. Noong una'y hindi n'ya alam kung nasaan man kami ng aking kapatid. Sa katagalan malamang ay tinanong n'ya rin kay Mama. Ngunit di s'ya tumawag. Di n'ya na inusisa kung bakit. Marahil, Nainintindihan n'ya ang mga dahilan. Marahil, ayaw n'ya nang marinig.

Malinaw sa aking alaala ang huling pagkakataong s'ya'y aking nakita. Nakaupo ako sa harap ng computer. Madaliang tinatapos ang report ko para sa klase kinabukasan. Di ko namalayang pumasok s'ya sa pinto ng sala. Bago pa noon, marahil ilang buwan na rin ang nagdaan na di kami nagkita. Nagulat ako. Napatda. Ganoon din s'ya. Tila umagos ang panahon ngunit sa katunaya'y ilang sandali lamang ang lumaro sa aming pagitan. Ilang sandali ng katahimikan. Napansin kong para s'yang tumanda ng ilang taon. At bakas sa kanyang mukha ang bawat isa sa mga ito. Malumanay ang kanyang mata, na para bang may takot. bakit s'ya natakot sa akin? Gayong ako ang may pakiramdam ng takot at hiya sa kanya.

Napatigilan s'ya sa may pinto. Para bang ayaw nang tumuloy nang makitang ako ay nasa sala ng appartment na tinutuluyan ko at ng aking kapatid. Nakawala ako sa aking pagkagulat at naibulalas ang mahinang "Hi Pa." Di ko nakayanang ngumiti man lang. Tila nanigas ang bawat laman ng aking mukha. Tahimik s'yang lumapit sa akin at tiningnan ang monitor. "Tinatapos ko lang report ko para bukas."

Lumingon ako. Nakatingin sya sa aking ginagawa. May kung anong dahilan at inihain ko ang aking mukha sa kanya, at may kung anong dahilan na naintindihan n'ya na nais kong humalik. Tumungo ang aking tatay at dumampi ang labi ko sa kanyang pisngi. Na hindi ko ginawa ng halos dalawang taon. nanikip ang aking didbib ngunit di ako naluha. madaliang tumalikod ako at nagkunwa'y may tiningnan sa monitor. Lumayo s'ya at binuksan ang ref, kumuha ng tubig. "Susunduin ko lang ang mama mo." Ilang sandali pa ay dumating ang aking nanay, at saka sila na'y umalis. Iyon na ang huling sandaling nakapiling ko ang aking tatay.

Tatlong linggo ang dumaan mula ng gabing 'yon nang dahilan sa init ng ulo, at marahas na pagmamaneho ay sumalpok ang kanyang sasakyan sa may Edsa-Balintawak. Halos dalawang taon. Napakadaling makalimot ngunit paano kaya maghihilom? May mga bagay na aaakalaing hindi-hindi mapapatawad. Siguro ang pinakamahirap na dito ay ang salang ang magulang ay tao lamang. At ang magulang ay nagkakamali di lang minsan, kundi paulit-ulit. At sa pagmamatigas ng dibdib ng isang anak, ang ugnayang nawasak ay di na kailanman maitutuwid. Hindi saklaw ng pagpapatawad ang kabilang-buhay.

Sa ika-24 ng Disyembre ay kaarawan sana ni Papa. Isa na namang paskong wala na s'ya. Maligayang kaarawan at maligayang pasko.

(I posted this before, but its Christmas time again, so here it is. Some minor changes made.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Lovers' Quarrel

Fucking bitch won't let me in. She looks at me with her come-hither eyes and now she dares refuse entry. She must be outta her fuckin' mind. Now, now she deigns to raise her bowed head and lay her oh-so-precious eyes on me. Cunt. I swear she makes me hopping mad I could split her head in two. Like coconuts I used to climb for in my dewier youth. God, this broad is a tough not to crack. Ah, that's sorta funny. I even crack myself up.

"Please." Finally. An aria from her mouth. It's been some time since I heard her talk last. She wants a favor perhaps? If she only knew. I would do anything for her. Her lips are beautifully ripe. Red. So shiny and red. I bend down to sit in between her spread legs. Stray hair from her pony tail. Smooth locks. Heavenly smell. I could eat her alive tonight. Or tomorrow maybe. Just to keep her inside me. "You know I would do anything for you. You know that don't you?"

She bobs her head up and down twice. Ah, my beautiful princess knows. She knows she is my world.

"If you could untie me? Or even loosen these. I would feel a little better." Reasonable enough, her request. Maybe the ropes restrain her. Maybe, she wants to put her arms around me? Maybe, she wants to touch me? "Promise me something first. Let me in." My pulse quickens in anticipation. My darling beauty will finally grant me entrance to kingdom come. My precious delight.

A glaze spread over her pretty pupils, her mouth slightly agape. Uncomprehending. Stupid fucking cunt. She let me believe she understands. She let me believe she knows me. Lies. A pretty liar she is. Pretending to know me, to like me, to love me. She's spoken to me so many times. Pretending false concern.

"Hey. Would you be so kind as to hand me the mop? I'm closing up for the night. Chilly isn't it? You should bring a jacket. I see you shivering in your thin shirt."And now she's shivering too. Her nipples have long hardened in the night air.

A filthy liar is what you are. Who knew someone so scheming could be hiding behind those eyes? The same eyes that spoke to me, calling me, wanting me. But now you're here aren't you? You're here with me. No more lying now.

"Listen, I have a family waiting for me to come home. They know I'm always on time. They'll get worried. Maybe even call the police. Just. Let me go please. I haven't done anything to you."

You wound me with your denial. How cruel. I would offer you the world. A sound hisses in the chilly night air wafting through the broken windows of my palace. My knuckles cracking perhaps. Or a grunt espacing my throat.

"Please. Please let me go. I've done nothing to you. I won't tell anyone I promise. I'll quit. I'll find another job so we won't have to see each other." Why is my precious love shivering? Her lovely white throat now hidden in her hunch. Her long white thighs all a-quiver. I must warm her.

"That's not the way it works. You're here. And you're staying." I move closer to kiss. Closer. Closer to heaven I am. Her fragrance is coating my skin. Seeping inside. I am lost in her. My beauty. Knowing she's mine is making my head dizzy.

"Ahhh!!!! Fuck!!!!" Slap. SLAP. I imagine I'll lisp forever. My tongue. She cut my tongue. "Shut the hell up! Stop crying you sniveling little bitch. You stop now or I'll carve your pretty little tongue out." She's merciless. Her shrill shrieks are bouncing off the walls over and over and over, piercing my ear drums.

It has to end. One swift motion. The small light bulb overhead caught the glint of my arching steel. And finally blessed silence. Would that I could have kept her longer, my darling princess. They all do not last me very long, my beauties. Would that they could just love me and let me in.

Of course this is a work of fiction. Kind of pathetic really, I guess I'd have to do more research on how a nut actually thinks. But what the hey :) Been watching too much CSI.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Fire Flies

The house is all a-burning. I see it clearly in my head. The flames licking the wooden white walls, the smoke sifting out the windows, the bright orange halo overhead. There is cackling from inside, popping, crunching sounds of things burning. The linoleum floors, the washed-out rugs, the burnt oven-toaster. No screams, no piercing cries from within however. And so there is relief from all around. The firemen want everyone out of the way. They shove and shout and motion the bystanders to leave. But they stay, drawn to the light-show the house is putting on. It is a marvel looking at destruction. Courting death is a secret delight and there is a perverse need to stay on and watch.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Owing to the fact that oil prices are rocketing beyond imagination, I thought it appropriate to post a (edited) paper I wrote on the so-called energy crisis.



The last fifty years has witnessed numerous conflicts rooted in oil politics. Oil’s finiteness, its role as the main fuel of industry and its concentration in select parts of the globe make for its volatile characteristic as a strategic resource. The quest to secure this resource has led to political and economic interventions where it is most abundant, in the Middle East.

Oil will continue to play a role in geopolitics, and exhaust the energies and preoccupations of the world’s powers as long as it remains the world economy’s main energy source.

The world consumed some 21.34 billion barrels of oil in 1960 (Annual Energy Review 2001 p. 297). This figure almost quadrupled by the turn of the century to 76.02 billion. World projections by the International Energy Agency for the next two decades see a continuation of this upward trend. Estimates of daily consumption by 2025 is a staggering 118.8 million barrels per day (IEO 2003 p. 185).

The figures for increase show a jump of 20 million from 1990-2025 in industrial countries alone. As the developing world proceeds on its path of economic development and industrialization their projected consumption will triple from 17.3 million barrels per day in 1990 to 50.7 million in 2025. See Reference Case Projections, EIA International Energy Outlook 2003 p. 185

These figures indicate enormous stresses on the world’s oil resources. The combined factors of the continued pursuit of the developing countries for industrialization and the sheer growth of world population most assuredly constitute increase in consumption.

But is there really crisis? Does crisis entail running out of this finite commodity? There is plenty of evidence to state otherwise.

Empirical evidence show that the world’s major producers have enough oil to fuel the world economy through the 21st century and beyond should current consumption patterns continue unabated. Wherein lies the problem then? The crisis stems largely from the insecurity of the Arab region, which shall continue to be the world’s largest oil producer. What exacerbate this volatility are the inherent significance of oil in world politics and the attendant interests of the world’s major international players.

Another factor aggravating the crisis is the difficulty of transition from the fossil fuel economy to more viable and sustainable (environment-friendly) alternatives.

Other energy fuels – coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables – constitute 60% by volume of the world’s resources of commercial energy. No special concern however, attaches to the security of their supply or to their pricing (Fried & Tresize, 1993: 1).

Knowing that there exist other energy resources, this paper focuses on oil as it is not only the relatively cheapest, most preferred fuel of world industries but also owing to the fact of the instability of oil politics. Making ourselves familiar with trends in oil and the concomitant politics of the Middle East not only concerns us as students of international politics but as Filipino consumers. As a developing country with no, as of yet, substantial oil reserves, the fortunes of our economic development lie on our dependence on the Arab region’s exports and the precarious nature of oil markets.

The conditions of our migrant workers in the region should not be our sole concern but the eventual resolution of many of the political conflicts that have historically interrupted oil supplies and triggered price instability. Our motivations should be plain to see, as the consequences of such economic downturns hit us where it hurts the most, in our pockets.

Is There Shortage: The World’s Crude Oil Supply

See World Oil Markets

The table above provides us with the following information:

1. Substantial increase of oil production from Persian Gulf producers.
2. Doubling of oil production by other OPEC.
3. Stagnation of production by exporting industrialized countries.
4. Total world supply in 2025 meets projected world consumption (118.8 million barrels per day).
5. Persian Gulf producers account for almost 1/3 of total world production.

On the question of shortage, it is apparent that we shall not run out of this limited resource any time soon. What should concern us however is that the bulk of redeemable oil reserves still remains in the Persian Gulf. This is compounded by real American business, political and strategic interests in oil, “the US being the world’s largest producer, consumer and importer of energy (Stobaugh & Yergin 1979).”

Centrality of Oil in the World Economy and World Politics

Power struggles staged in the Middle East have significantly altered the fortunes and interests of not only those directly involved in the international oil system such as the oil companies and their governments and producer governments, but of every consumer in the world.
In fact, we may even argue that the hard-hitting impact in oil price increases affects each and every person in the planet remotely needing some form of energy or another.

The latter half of the 20th century is fraught with such struggles, from the two oil crises in the 70’s to the Gulf war in 1991, to the most recent US intervention in Iraq. American military engagement, no matter how quixotically couched in the language of freedom, democracy and the fight against evil, should be properly framed within the context of oil. Such substantial political, economic and financial energies expended by the world superpower luridly demonstrates the utmost significance of this energy source, not only to American interests but to the world economy as a whole.

Oil’s viability as a cheap energy source and American dominance in oil production in the Post World War II era installed the world’s current energy systems. Oil became the preferred fuel of industry and the discovery of vast oil fields in the Middle East fueled the postwar energy boom. Perhaps US oil hegemony, secure in its monopoly, contributed to world oil dependence and non-exploration of other energy sources. Western Europe and Japan, with no significant reserves of their own, showed no hesitance in heavy importation. “Early periods of energy growth had required relatively minor trade in fuels, but in the 50s and 60’s, countries that had virtually no oils of their own showed little hesitancy about shifting to an oil-based economy (Flavin & Jensen, 1995: 35).”

In fact, until the Oil Crisis of 1973, control of oil supply was securely in American hands. Five out of the seven major oil companies (7 Sisters) were American. The US government’s political backing from the very beginning of American oil ventures in the Arab region was palpable from the early 30’s up until today.

In 1945 the National Security Council indicated that “It is in our interest that this vital resource [Saudi Arabian oil] remains in American hands. (Stobaugh, 1979).”
Yet another illustration of government intercession was the American-backed installation of the Shah of Iran, which wrested control of Iranian oil from British Petroleum.

Arab Control: OPEC and the Power Shift

The quadrupling of oil prices from $2.48 to $11.65 per barrel in 1973 (Spero & Hart, 281) was the climax of the struggle for control of oil production from the hands of oil companies to national governments. Factors leading to American decline in dominance are; firstly, significant decrease of domestic production in the US itself (Stobaugh 1979, Fried & Tresize 1993, EIA 1996).

US crude oil and natural gas plant liquids has been declining since the early 1970’s from its 11.3 million barrels per day peak…The decline has occurred mainly because the US is the most mature producing region in the world, with over 3 million oil and gas wells completed since the first was drilled in Pennsylvania in 1859 (p. 67).

See US Crude Oil Imports: Growing Dependence, Energy Information Administration.

Aside from the increasing oil dependence of the OECD on imports, another factor which facilitated the shift was the increasing cooperation of the major exporting countries, then responsible for 80% of the world’s exports. The OPEC was spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Venezuela in 1960 (Al Sowayegh 1983: 33).

Their intentions in establishing the organization are clear.

The aims of the organization are as follows:

Article 2
A. The principal aim of the Organization shall be the co-ordination and unification of the petroleum policies of Member Countries and the determination of the best means for safeguarding their interests, individually and collectively.

B. The Organization shall devise ways and means of ensuring the stabilization of prices in international oil markets with a view to eliminating harmful and unnecessary fluctuations.

C. Due regard shall be given at all times to the interests of the producing nations and to the necessity of securing a steady income to the producing countries; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on their capital to those investing in the petroleum industry.

Article 3
The Organization shall be guided by the principle of the sovereign equality of its Member Countries. Member Countries shall fulfill, in good faith, the obligations assumed by them in accordance with this Statute.

Article 4
If, as a result of the application of any decision of the organization, sanctions are employed, directly or indirectly, by any interested company or companies against one or more Member Countries, no other Member shall accept any offer of a beneficial treatment, whether in the form of an increase in oil exports or in an improvement in prices, which may be made to it by such interested company or companies with the intention of discouraging the application of the decision of the Organization (, emphasis are my own).

The OPEC has used oil as a policy instrument in the past and it should not hesitate to do so in the future. They are equally aware of oil’s essential role in the world economy. It should not be misconstrued however, that they would unthinkingly raise oil prices without being constrained by market forces considerations. It is in their interest, specially the largest oil producers, to maintain the international economy’s stability as oil revenues are frequently re-invested in international banks located in Europe or North America. In any case, oil will be foremost in the organization and the members’ calculation of interests since for many, oil rents constitute a sizeable source of revenue.

Conclusion: Conditions of Crisis

See Projected Primary Energy Supply, World Energy Outlook 2003.

Alternative sources of energy and technologies are present and are possible candidates to power the world’s needs. But oil should continue to be the main exploitable resource.

Oil supplies and price stability will crucially hinge on Middle East politics. At present, the region continues to be a volatile hotbed of deep rooted conflicts whose resolutions are not foreseeable in the near future. US perceived dependence on Arab Oil contributes to their strategic plans for the Middle East. At the same time interest in Middle East politics should continue and interventions are likely as long as oil interests are at risk.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Funny thing, relationships are. When you're together for 2 days straight you get to a point where you just want to be rid of him so you can savor your own time and space. And when you know you won't see him for the next month you know it will be a painful experience, being far away from each other. Its weird being a "couple." Alone time is precious, but too much of it agony. How to find a precarious balance must be a mystery only succesful couples have unlocked. It hasn't been two full days and I'm already antsy. I don't know if its being with him I truly miss, or I've become allergic to feeling lonely.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Ear-Piece Theory

I first came across the Ear-piece theory from an American blogger (whose url eludes me at the moment). Netizens are wondering if indeed Dubya sports an ear-piece every time he needs to talk to the press, hold conferences or address the public. Certainly during the Presidential debates, some quarters seem convinced that there is indeed a tell-tale "bulge" on Bush's back suggesting some sort of...device prompting him during the arguments.

A leading NASA scientist who normally spends his days analyzing and enhancing photo images sent across the depths of space by the Cassini and other space probes has turned his expertise to images of the president in his three debates. His conclusion: "George Bush is obviously wearing something -- probably a receiver of some kind -- under his jacket for each debate."

You will clearly see the pictures here. When questioned about said bulge in the morning show Good Morning America (the US version of Unang Hirit or Breakfast), Dubya laughed it off with; "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Major newspapers hesitated to publish articles addressing said bulge for fear of influencing the results, so close to election time.

Isn't it strange how the United States' politics seem to be copying ours? They now have celebrities-turned-politicos, widely publicized allegations of government and business graft and corruption (Enron, Halliburton) and now a doozy, puppet, not-so-sharp president. Wow...isn't it a weird, weird world?


While I was cleaning up my room this morning I found two notebooks I scribbled on when I was a kid. I thought it might be fun to post some of the stuff I wrote when I hadn't a clue about the world, including the grammatical errors and mispellings. Please be kind. :)

October 7, 1994 (I was fourteen.)

The Floor

I step on the damned floor everyday. Days of school spent in tiredness. Marble floors, hard to scrub. Gray, white and black. I stare at the floor when I get a headache that pull my spine from my head. The neverending questions hurled by the sleeping monster at the front. Quaking in melancholy and waste. Slowly burning in the seat everyone owns. The wood that splinters the backside. Rashes develop and hurt. I stick my eyes on the floor. Glaring back with ferocity unqualed for a mind blank and frustrated. Like an empty room full of cobwebs, hanging on for dear life on the cracked walls. As I scrub and clean the damned.

October 28, 1994


Is this gut wrenching feeling the ed of me yet? Like a balloon slowly squeezing the air out. I feel like I'm being squashed, then left to die. Guilt, fear, worry, all mixed in one emotion I can't name. Why is it that life is so unfair? Like an unbalanced see saw with a thousand pound horse on the other side and an ant on the other. Dominating your brain are pictures of the past. Slowly eating at your conscience like a streetchild devouring a chocolate bar. Quick as a gust of wind I find solace in the arms of death, for I just cannot stand the torment.

February 1, 1995

Tying the Shoestring

I look at my feet
Way, way down
Old, worn and stinky
Flies swarm around
Looking for the thing that smells

All airy and cool
Open to all organisms
They feast on my shoe
Rotting furthermore
But the soles aren't there

Making no marks on the Sahara
Floating, not down
Jumping up, but never down
Grasping like a drowning person
I tied the shoestring
And staggered on...

There's lots more but I'll stop at this poem. My god. Reading the things I wrote ages ago...I didn't realize I was a disturbed kid. Hehehe :)

Sunday, November 07, 2004

An Underground Addiction

The underground is teeming with addicts, their eyes all aglow in pregnant expectation. They peruse the goods on display in barely contained excitement. They know, they KNOW they are within minutes of finding the perfect fix from among the abundant choices. And within the hour or two, to be consumed in complete nirvana in the privacy of their homes. The air is electric, an organized chaos, as bodies move in purposeful harmony among the many stalls of the underground.

They flock to the underground in select hordes, enthusiasts from among different walks of life. But owing to the priceyness of such addiction, minimum wage-earners would find it hard to make frequent visits. Yesterday I noticed young men, in their mid-twenties, looking for a particular joint. There were some older folks, middle-aged couples, perhaps looking for some spark back in their lives. There were two Frenchmen wanting some Asian flavor. A bit shocking was an Spokening-Dollar kid, certainly not older than ten, greedily pointing out his favorites to his accomodating parents. Then there was me and my boyfriend. What utter fiends we
were. Oh, and what a delight offered by the pirates in a certain Makati tower.

It never ceases to amaze me how tasteful film pirates have become in the last year or so. In the early days (roughly two years ago?) there were only the mainstream Hollywood flicks that came out before the commercial screening in cinemas. But these days the choices are so astoundingly varied you will find yourself lost in many underground delights for hours on end. And since there are also concerts by varied artists, including many foreign orchestras, I am told people from the Philharmonic are also among the regular patrons. High brow, low brow, they all flock to the underground.

People know their stuff, they ask for certain films or documentaries by name. They will shell out 6,000 pesos to have the complete 10-seasons of Friends. This country (and probably the whole Southeast Asian region) has become the mecca of illegaly traded films. Illicit business is booming because it is feeding this country's film-starved people who are sick with the usual stale American crap and the even more stale local versions.

Really, the films on offer are just astounding. My boyfriend's collection of Kurosawas, Hitchcocks and many other art house films has probably hit 100. My collection of French films is close to a dozen now. Without this illicit trade these films would never have found their way on Philippine shores. And since piracy seems to be good business, this obviously means there is demand. Filipinos want to see good movies, and they are willing to shell out at least 80 pesos to see them. And we wonder why the local film industry is dead and dying some more?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Well folks, Dubya has won the US elections. God forbid four more years of the same ol' dung heap of a foreign policy he, his cohorts at Halliburton (among other beneficiaries of the military-industrial complex) and his spin doctors cook up. If only he weren't given the most influential public post on the planet. But he is. And roughly half of the US electorate has spoken. Some 60 million Americans want the rest of the world to suffer their war-monger President. What a sad, sad day it is. :(

Saturday, October 30, 2004

No Weddings and Eight Funerals

Death is all around. Literally. My father died July of last year, my grandmother April this year. That makes 2 deaths in my immediate family. My chair's mother also passed away 2 months back. And before that one co-faculty's mother-in-law. And before that another co-faculty's uncle. This month, a grandmother and grandfather of a friend/co-faculty. This morning, another co-faculty's grannie bit the dust. Is it me or is Death stalking?

How many dead people in my workplace then just this year? Let's tally shall we?

1. Me -- 2 dead
2. Chair -- 1 dead
3. Co-faculty A -- 1 dead
4. Co-faculty B -- 1 dead
5. Co-faculty C -- 2 dead
6. Co-faculty D -- 1 dead

So that makes 8 funerals in a department of 10. Wow.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Reel and Real-Life Monsters

I've finally seen the infamous Frenchie film Irreversible starring the real-life couple Vincent Cassell and Monica Belucci. Yes, its as violent and visceral as all the critics say. The first 20 minutes will give you vertigo. Yes, Bella Monica is gorgeous in it. She has this scene where she sways her curvaceous body to rave music with bland skinny blonds who pale in comparison. Yes, the rape scene was very, very difficult to watch. My boyfriend couldn't handle it, and I was only able to get through the gruesome 10 minutes because I'd already known about this scene and I was watching through "technical eyes," wondering how they filmed it, the impeccable acting, the gorgeous lighting, etc. etc.

Its about an ordinary couple who were victims of a totally random crime, perpetrated by a sadistic fuck who wanders the streets of Paris. First he anally rapes her, taking particular pleasure in her pain and muted screams behind his restraining hand, and then bashes her face in the concrete floor. Over and over and over.

This film, curiously enough, showed the shadowy underbelly of the City of Lights. If monsters like that walked the beautiful parisian avenues, then equally monstrous beings must walk ours. The thought is frightening, especially as my work recently finds me in darkly-lit streets of Lito Atienza's Manila. That city gives me the creeps. Kalookan is a kiddie playground in comparison. I'd imagine horrible crimes happen under the mayor's brightly-lit smile. His face is plastered all over on cheap, ill-designed billboards.

I wonder, if human monsters, like the one depicted in the film, could only exist in a filmmaker's imagination. A day after having had those images indelibly marked in my head, I suddenly feel And clean. As though I hadn't been sufficiently exposed to this city's filth that I would die of the first infection. I lead a relatively cocooned life, carefully screened off from this city's poverty. You and I, sitting pat in our gated villages, walled schools and guarded offices lead a pretty sanitized version of Metro Manila life. It doesn't mean the seedy underbelly doesn't exist. It must. Its out there, as greasy and as menacing as thin veil of grime coating every pavement, every building.

Monday, September 27, 2004

No More Fairy Tales

You are not my knight in shining armor. Not my savior, not my hope. Neither are you the tall, dark, handsome prince of my charmed, beautiful future. You could not hope to be one, if you'd so wanted. You have not the pedigree, not the airs, not the pomp and circumstance. You are not my dashing, debonair of a charmsman. Nor a suave Casanova versed in tricks of dinner talk and bedside manners. You are not the strong, silent, broken shell of a man, begging for my winsome healing strokes. A man of my girlish dreams you are not. A man of my teen-aged delusions you are not. A man of my imagination you are not.

What you are is my best friend in all times good, sad, bad, inane. What you hear in perfect understanding is my mind. What you are is my less than perfect lover in the sack. What you are is sanity and blessing and pain. What you do is make me upright when I am off-kilter. When the air congeals in my lungs, when the red doesn't flow smooth in my veins, when my heart pumps off-beat, then it is you I am missing. What you are is my complement. What you fit is the jagged edges of my puzzle. What you make is my life sweeter. And sour. And bitter. What you are is my love.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ten Going on Thirty

Will you ever go back to teaching in that snotty school? My bestest friend stared back at me expectantly. No. The oodles of money they pay me to molly-coddle those rich bitches-to-be and those lazy in-need-of-sharpening little boys simply isn't worth it. Except for one. That ten-year-old I adored so.


I'd been warned, before he joined our class, of this little terrorist. He was disruptive in class. Manic. Short attention span. I'd expected a little monster, but I was pleasantly surprised. Sharp. Very sharp little kid. He knew what I was talking about the first time I explained French pronouns while the rest of the kids looked back at me with various levels of confusion. As expected, he got bored the second and third time I had to repeat myself. No wonder he's disruptive. He learns faster than the rest. How could the head mistress have missed this?

One Tuesday he hung back after I'd dismissed my Beginner's class. I was running late, but I thought he might want to talk.

"Hey Lance. That was a cool pic you drew. Do you really like tanks?"


"Strange though, are there always cigarette butts strewn around your living room?"

"That's the rec room. Yeah, my tito's."

"Your uncle lives with you?"

"Nah, he's my mom's boyfriend."

Dangerzone. It would probably be best if I steered clear of the Dad subject. Lance is playing with the colored chalk, leaving green and red marks on his white collar.

"Oh, I see. What about those magazines with the naked women on the cover?"

"Playboy? He leaves them out like that."


"Ok. Do you have any close friends here?"

"Here in school? No. They don't like me."

That's because they're snotty adolescent bitches and slow-learners who wouldn't get you.

"Why is that?"

"Because I'm fat."

"Nah, you're not fat. Just chubby. That's normal for a kid your age."

"Am too. They don't like me because I'm fat."

"Have you got any brothers or sisters?"

"Yeah. An older sister and brother."

"Do you hang out with them sometimes?"

"My sister's 26. She's married. And my brother's 23."

"Don't you hang out with your brother?"

"Nah. He's always out partying. He's like a vampire, asleep during the day and awake at night."

Ok. Absent mother. Absent father. Absent siblings and a pervert step-dad. Great.

"Oh. Well, have you got any friends in your neighborhood?"

"Sure. One. His name's Ryan. We play sometimes, but not often."

"So, what do you do most of the time?"

"I play computer games. I'm really good at them."

He'll develop great social skills for sure.

"Do you like our class?"


He finishes seat work at record speed. Then terrorizes his classmates. I can tell he likes my class. He shows up.

"Are you happy Lance?"

"What do you mean? Today?"

He stops playing with the chalk and looks up to stare at me, his smooth forehead wrinkled in query.

"Yeah. Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow."

"I dunno. I guess. Yeah, I'm happy."

"Ok. That's good."

He drops the chalk and dusts off his little hands. He makes a big show of standing up and dusting off his pants too.

"Mademoiselle? I've got to go."

"Alright. I'll see you on Thursday?"

"Yeah. Au revoir."

"Au revoir."

I'd wanted to talk more, but I'd sensed he was growing impatient with all the questions. Poor bright kid. The brave front he put up every day. Resident bad boy. Devil-may-care laughter. Arrogant swagger. Problem child. Problematic child. Heart-breaker of mine.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Sa Canada

Ipinagtatabuyan na'ko ng aking mga kamag-anak at kaibigan. Bakit ba sa tuwinang nababanggit ang hirap ng buhay sa bayang ito, at sa tuwinang naririnig ako ng ibang mala-litanyang isa-isahin ang kung anong mali dito sa atin, laging ito ang solusyong naririnig ko:

"Eh di mag-abroad ka na."

Noong isang araw tumawag ang isa kong Tita na ngayo'y naninirahan na sa Canada. Siya, at kalahati ng aking mga kamag-anakan. Kamu-kamusta, chismis ng kaunti.

"Kailang ka ba magbabakasyon dito? Hindi naman natuloy, nung Summer dapat 'di ba?"

"Ay Auntie, kasi po may pasok na. At saka mahal ang plane ticket! Halos linggo-linggo nagtataas ang dolyar."

"Bakit kasi 'di ka na lang dito na magtrabaho?"

"Ay, Auntie, sa tingin ko kasi mas kailangan ako dito."

"Sabagay, tatatlo na lang kayo d'yan. Hindi mo naman pwedeng iwan na lang si Mama mo."

Bagama't totoong tatlo na lang kami dahil sa pagpanaw ng aking ama at lola nitong nakaraang taon, hindi dito patukoy ang nasabi kong mas kailangan ako dito.

"Saka, sa ngayon po wala talaga akong planong mag-migrate. Sa kinabakusan malay natin." Para lang matigil na ang usapan. Kung ipaliwanag ko pa ang tunay kong pinapatungkulan, baka di rin n'ya maunawaan.

"Tama yan. Bata ka pa naman. Sige magpasarap ka muna d'yan."

Kumunot ang aking noo at nagpanting ang dalawa kong tainga. Tama ba ang narinig ko? Magpasarap muna sa Pilipinas? Nahihibang na ba ang kaisa-isahang kong tiyahin?

Huli s'yang pumarito nung namatay ang aking lola noong Abril. Siguro nama'y sapat nang makita n'ya ang hirap ng buhay dito. S'ya at ang iba ko pang mga kamag-anak ay 'di nagkulang sa pintas at reklamo;

"Ay, sa Canada, hindi pwede yang ganyan!"
"Ay, sa Canada alam mo kung saan napupunta ang taxes mo,"
"Ay, sa Canada makakain mo kahit ano'ng gusto mo."
"Ay, sa Canada, walang trapik!"
"Ay, sa Canada may disiplina ang mga tao."
"Ay, sa Canada, safe maglakad ng gabi."
"Ay, sa Canada, 'di kurakot ang mga politiko."

At pagkatapos mas masarap ang buhay dito?

Friday, September 10, 2004

Scene Eh, You Row Pa?

I've seen a grand total of three Cine Europa entries, "Black Meteor" from the Dutch, "Sweet Nightmare" from the Portuguese and "Distant Lights" from the Germans. The verdict? They all suck. This was supposed to showcase the best in European film right? Wrong.

The Cine Europa this year is a political statement. Nevermind the quality of the film, as long as they fit the general themes. Which themes you ask? Europe is a multi-cultural amalgam of nation-states, not exactly a coherent socio-political entity, but one working in harmonious cooperation. Europe is not xenophobic. Look, we welcome black soccer players! Europe does not condone racism. Europe is sympathetic to the immigrant's plight. Europe welcomes skilled, hardy foreigners. Europeans are more and more aware of being in a "union." Europeans are mobile within the EU. They even inter-marry! Europeans are investing in each other's countries. Especially in more economically depressed areas! Europe is being invaded by American culture, look at how crass and "baduy" we've become!

May this year marked European enlargement. 10 new states (central and eastern europe) are now official members of the EU. Europe is now 500 million strong. A huge market, obviously an economic powerhouse that seeks to rival the Yanks. What does this have to do with a film festival you say? Who said politics didn't use culture and culture politics? They are one and the same.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Diagnosis: Critical Condition (Or Why the Filipino Film Industry is in Deep Shit)

The Art Muses seem perverse in humor. Just as the local film industry breathes its last breath, foreign film festivals proliferate. How many have there been this year? Ok, let's enumarate shall we? (Those that I know of, of course.)

1. June. French Film Festival. Showy Frenchies like making big cultural splashes. And the film fest is the crowning glory of a month-long cultural celebration. They charged P50 pesos (I think) per film. Still cheaper than SM's P60.

2. July. Cinemanila. Hugely successful almost month-long festival which showcased some 20 foreign films, the epic-in-length Lav Diaz flick and the controversial "Imelda." My boyfriend and I shelled out P600 a piece for six films. Hard on the pocket but well-worth it.

3. July-August. Italian film fest. Screenings on Tuesday nights at the CCP dream theater. Its a small venue, but always packed.

4. July-August. Pink Film Fest. Haven't seen any of the entries. Shown not just here in Manila but in Cebu and Davao as well.

5. September. Cine Europa. Fourteen european films screening at the SM Megamall. Will also be shown in Cebu and Baguio Admission is free. I've seen "Black Meteor" and
"Distant Lights" so far. Germanic films that sucked big time. I will stick to Romance languages. Passion, intensity, similar Filipino temperament. Los Lunes al Sol and Les Choristes should be good.

While Manila residents are having a field day sampling film fares from all over, Filipino films attract flies instead of patrons. Even Bold Films aren't making as much money as before, and so SM Cinemas made the business move not to show them anymore. (No, not because they are bastions of morality and high standards all of a sudden.)

I think local producers should get a clue. People with extra money to spare for entertainment want to see films, not porno. Or the usual run-of-the-mill romances and comedies. What else explains the sudden demand for film fests? These are obviously hard times, and there is a widely held belief that "artsy-farsty" films don't make money. Precisely the point, with ordinary folk squeezing their budget as far as it would take them, they'll prioritize necessities. Not entertainment. And besides, they can always purchase that P30 VCD from the friendly neighborhood pirate.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


Takda ng ibayong panahong
Pagtagpuin kamalayang uhaw
Sa pagkalinga't kagalingan
Sa kalayuan ay natanaw
Na makadaupang palad
Ang sa layo'y di masukat
Damdami'y naglalayag
At patuloy na dumadaloy.

Na akuin ang hindi ukol
Na libakin ang kapalaran
Mga balakid ay isantabi
At panandaliang kalimutan
Ang malao'y di gamay
Kinabukasa'y panaginip
Ngunit patuloy na naglalakbay
Naglalayag na pilit.


Sa kabutihan ng loob

Sa kabutihan ng loob
Dakilang nilulukob
Ang sakit ng iba'y pasanin.
Sa kung hanggang saa'y dadalhin,
Kahit na walang sinsakit, pipilitin.

Sa kabutihan ng loob
Dalisay ang tao,
Malaki man o maliit
Bobo't matalino,
Pantay-pantay ang pagtingin,
Kahit iba't iba ang saloobin.

Sa kabutihan ng loob
Tiwala'y walang patid
Palalagpasing pilit
Lahat ng pagkukulang.
Samantala'y dito nalalaman
Kung ano't sino ang mainam.

Sa kabutihan ng loob
Hinihinang ang lakas
Sa bawat sakit na pinalalagpas
Pag-unawa sa sarili't iba'y lumalawig.
Tibay ng didbib at pag-unawa'y nag-aanib
Pinsalang dulot ng tadhana'y pinapatid.
Sa kabutihan ng loob.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Confessions of a Bibliomaniac

I've acquired an addiction. One that I know wouldn't quit because I had once thought I would steal to keep on feeding it. I had dreamt of what fun it might be to be invisible so that I may acquire as much of my drug-of-choice as I needed. I'd dreamt of raiding bookstores. National Bookstore, Powerbooks, Fully-Booked, Even Books-for-Less and Booksale. I had thought of ways to execute this crime (what to wear, choice of get-away vehicle, shoes) in order that my theft might avoid detection, having CSI agents in mind. I am becoming a book addict.

No, now that I look back on it, this addiction has long been in the making. It started when I was 10 years-old. It was fashionable in my fourth-grade class to read. The choices weren't all that many; Sweet Valley Twins, High and University, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Sweet Dreams. These were the mainstream choices among other 10 year-olds in my all-girl school. Much as I might like to claim I preferred the young super-sleuths to blonde bombshells-in-the-making, I cannot. There was something uncomplicated and pleasant in the travails of pre-pubescents' angst about boys, peers and their parents. I like Sweet Dreams too. My first copy I had bought because the main character had my first name. Sweet Dreams shaped the way I looked at boys and my general knowledge of them, I must confess, rare species as they were in my All-Girl universe. If I had known then what I know now, I'd have stuck to sleuthing.

I'd collected dozens of these books, but like any book junkie, I thirsted for more. And so, I "diversified." I believe I was in fifth grade when I discovered Christopher Pike. Master of horror novels for the young, I was attracted to Pike's kind of morbid. Murder, ghosts, psychopaths and aliens were introduced to me by this juvenile version of Stephen King. Many a night I'd quivered in fear and hyperactive imagination. I loved Pike,but growing older tends to inhibit suspension of reality. And so, I moved on to "older" material.

I was 12 I think when I read my first historical romance novel. Yes, the kind with half-naked people on the cover. Ah, the joys of sex between two caricatures in an imagined historical setting in far-away lands. This was how I learned about the birds and the bees. I fed on relationships between stereotypes written for female consumption to ensure maximum romantic satisfaction in lieu of "real" relationships.

This was how I learned about love. I was hooked. And all through highschool I lived and breathed Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsey and Amanda Quick. I was a princess, a dutchess, a lowly servant-girl who consorted with titled, aristocratic, dark-haired men who were stoic, virile and thoroughly "masculine." These men substituted for the minisucle number of boys I encountered in my real world. And so I believed men were honorable, principled beings with an almighty penis to satisfy my budding female urges. Alas, reality is a slap in the face when it comes to the men in my life. They are far from the noble, gentle knights of my girlish imaginations. Real life had finally caught up and I grew older, supposedly wiser, leaving my romances behind.

College introduced me to books that shaped and continue to shape my brain's synaptic activities. Landmark titles are Global Capitalism by Richard Peet, a Marxist. I picked his book randomly from the OPAC list of the UP main library because my Polsci 11 teacher asked us to pick among three choices on which to write an essay; War, Capitalism and the third I can't remember. Well, you know which one I picked. I suppose, more boys than girls chose the first one. I had no interest in the logistics of human evisceration. And so, completely by accident, I discovered I liked political economy, of the international sort. And of the "radical" kind. That book started it all. No professor, no indoctrinating activists. Just a single book.

My choices of books have since left the imaginary realm to dwell on "real" events and theoretical paradigms that explain and analyze them. I still occasionally purchase "in-between-ears and thighs candy" readily offered by the likes of Linda Howard and Patricia Gaffney. The writing is marginally better than my teen-aged choices, but still follows the romance formula. The fiction classics I've read can be counted on one hand. I am woefully ignorant of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or James Joyce or Brett Easton Ellis. Of pop authors I've heard Murakami and Palahniuk are gaining cult following. I've seen Fight Club, but that's about as close as I'm gonna get to entering Palahniuk's postmodern imaginary. I prefer to read postmodern socioligist/philosopher Jean Baudrillard instead.

And so throughout the years my bookshelves have continued to burgeon conversely with my eye grade. God help my poor irises, for they must be sacrificed on the altar of my addiction. I am ready to make such a sacrifice. What other explanation is there when one gets so giddily delighted by booksales and rare-book finds at bargain prices? What other explanation is there for the happiness and well-being that ensues after each quick book-gratification? I am a bibliomaniac. Does it have to do with the hubris of accumulating knowledge? Maybe. Does it have to do with "The more you know the more you don't know?" Maybe. Does it have to do with stocking up on a social capital that doesn't have anything to do with the numbers 36-24-34 or straight hair or a properly sweet demeanor? Maybe.
Speaking from the soul, head and gut.
De l’âme, de la tête et de la foi
Mula sa saloobin, sa isip at sa panalig

Je suppose, quand nous sommes chargés avec le complexe messianique, nous croyons que le monde n'aura pas aucune possibilité d'avertir la fin sans nous. C'est arrogant. L'orgueil se réverbère. Mais l'histoire montrait les hommes et les femmes effectuant des changements mondiaux en toute autonomie. Fin, je suis une de ces personnes-là. Toujours rêvant des moyens qui basculeraient les quatre colonnes fixes sur lesquels tout le monde reste. S'ils étaient capables d'avoir joués le rôle du messie, pourquoi pas moi?

I suppose, when one is inflicted with messianic complex, one tends to think the world could not possibly escape Armageddon without her. It is arrogant. It is self-important. I am guilty then. Of dreaming of ways to unhinge the world from whence it is pegged. History has shown men and women single-handedly change the face of the earth. Why shouldn't I be one of them?

Marahil sa panalig na lahat ng sangkatauhan ay karapat-dapat salbahin, ika’y nagtataka na ang daigdig ay nagpatuloy na uminog nang wala ka. Anong pagmamataas. Anong pagmamalaki. Ngunit hindi ba ang kasaysayan ay puno ng mga nilalang na sa isang lakas ay gumuhit nang kapalaran ng sandaigdian ? Ako’y nagnanais na gumuhit din. Hindi pa nagsasawang managinip nang gising na ang pakay na ito’y maisakatuparan. Kung ang tulad nila’y nagpunyagi, bakit hindi ako ?

Friday, September 03, 2004

Superducks and underducks
by Eduardo Galeano

EVERY day we spend $2.2bn on killing each other....

The five largest arms producers are the US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France. They are also the countries with a veto in the United Nations Security Council. It insults common sense to make those who provide the world’s weapons the guarantors of world peace...

These five countries are in charge. They run the International Monetary Fund and all (except China) are among the eight countries that take most key decisions at the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, where the right of veto exists but is never used....

Ah, the depressing things you learn about the world huh? Want to read the rest? Click here

Monday, August 30, 2004

What Damaged Culture?

Our culture is a damaged culture. I remember hearing this from my social science teacher back in high school. And since I was a kid and didn't know any better, of course I believed her. I'd since forgotten that day, that lecture and this term "damaged culture." But I'd retained the idea, most likely subconsicously. So all these years I was walking around with this mantra drumming in my head:"We are a damged culture...we are a damaged culture....we are a damaged culture...."

Then this term was resurrected in my universe of consciousness when I took Anthropology 225 under Professor Dacayanan. There are as many definitions of culture as there are writers she said. Among those she mentioned, this is what stuck to my head. "Culture is a tool for survival." Meaning, a culture of a particular grouping evolves to ensure its survival. To ensure that the grouping as an entity continues on (and does not
disintegrate i.e. Yugoslavia or disappear entirely, err...Atlantis?).

Recently I've encountered this term again in Julsito's and Doc Emer's blogs. It irks me so when I see fellow Filipinos describe our culture as such. Can we say ours is a "damaged" culture? I don't think so. Why? Because:

1. It presupposes we had an "intact" culture beforehand. And something or someone along the way went and broke it. Pray tell, who was this breaker of cultures? Spaniards? Americans? Japanese? Ourselves? And before these invaders came? Was there an intact "Filipino" culture? Were our ancestors calling themselves Filipinos? No, they were calling themselves Ibanags, Ifugaos, Tausugs, Hiligaynons, etc. etc.

2. It presupposes that other cultures are undamaged. What, pray tell, is an intact culture? The Americans'? What with thousands of immigrants coming in every day bringing along with them their own unique cultures? What about Greeks back in the classical era? No, wait, they were killing each other then too. And so we can't really say theirs was an intact culture. Not to mention the fact that the Greeks have inherited much from the Egyptian culture, who in turn were influenced by the Mesopotamian cultures.

Can we say the Western Europeans have an intact culture then? No. Because Western European history goes well beyond basing their civilizations on Greeks. As I said, Greeks trace their roots to the Middle East.

The point here is, cultures evolve and whether the evolution is judged "good" or "bad" is subjective. A culture is a way of life. And if our culture today means under-the-table deals, graft and corruption, crab mentality, then there was a reason for this. This culture didn't appear out of nowhere. And it is not a natural state of being.

Government is corrupt. It is self-serving. It is inept. We all know this. But then the culture of government in the Philippines has never been concieved of and practiced otherwise. Government is a pact between a people and a State. The People give up their rights to State for the latter to protect the former. Provision of public services, ensuring peace and order etc. etc.

But then Government in the Philippines for over 350 years was never meant to be a pact between people and State. There was no people. And there was no State. Government was simply an institution to assure the smooth running of a Colony, to extract economic resources as efficiently as possible without rebellions from the subjugated populations and such.

And Government was also seen as the quickest way to move up the social ladder. And so, civil "servants" joined Government to enrich themselves and not to become purveyors public service.For three and a half centuries this was the culture of government.

What about such self-hatred from Filipinos themselves? Filipinos who are so self-critical? Filipinos who denounce their citizenship abroad? Filipinons who would rather the Philippines become an American state?

Well, if you'd been told over and over in the past that you and your culture is no good, inferior, backwards, why should you think otherwise? Eventually, you believe the mantra. And if you yourself use foreign standards with which to measure your achievements or shortcomings, what other conclusions will you end up with?

We should have a new mantra drummed in our cerebrums. We need a change in culture.

"We need a cultural revolution...we need a cultural revolution...we need a cultural revolution..."

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Death Crisis Anyone?

I went to the press conference held by the economists who made the paper "The Deepening Crisis: the Real Score on the Public Debt" yesterday at the School of Economics in UP. There were a handful of print journalists, I saw channels 2 and 9, but the rest were probably groupies and students of the econ profs. There were seven of them, three of whom I recognized as Winnie Monsod, Benjamin Diokno and Felipe Medalla.

The numbers were indeed alarming. The ones that stood out were the "financial risk indicators" emphasized by Mr. Diokno. Replying to the query, "So how did we get here?" he showed us some figures from 1999 to 2003.

In 1999, 26% of our budget was set aside for debt interest repayment. In 2003, this rose to 46.2%.

Thats right folks, of every P100 of your taxes, half goes to debts neither you and I had incurred. We were never consulted about it, we had no hand in it, we had no choice about it. What a democracy huh?

Another risk indicator was the Debt to GDP ratio. In 1998, 56.1%. In 2003, it was a whopping 77%. The IMF's recommened reasonable level for developing countries is only 30%.

One lady economist (whom I didn't recognize), said capital inflows in the Philippines were considerable lower than our neighbors. Which basically meant investors are shying away from us. Maybe because theres too many transaction costs incurred due tape? Corruption? Under the table pangongotong?

On the IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment), the national government shells out P35 billion pesos annually to local government units. The IRA was instituted in the waning years of the Aquino adminstration and was finally approved in 1992. LGUs might be complaining about having their IRA slashed, or worse abolished in the name of "austerity," but Diokno pointed out there is an escape clause to the IRA, meaning the government has the prerogative not to release it.

On the Congress' pork barrel (sweetly couched as Countrywide Development Fund), Diokno said we should keep an eye on re-election senators because they will clutch their pork barrels to their chests like theres no tomorrow. They will need that extra fat for the 2007 elections.

Queried about the rumors about taxing text messaging, Ms. Monsod, decked out in a lovely orange suit, engagingly said their proposed measures had a sequence. It was careful to firstly, target the executives and the powers that be in the land and so on down the line.

The medium and long-term proposals in the paper are the following:

1. Downsize the bureaucracy. I think this has merit, seeing as there are so many redundant offices, not to mention "ghosts" bureaus which receive budgets even when its doing absolutely nada. (You notice that Visitor's Information building along University Avenue?)

2. Privatization. This proposes selling government owned and operated corporations, especially those where the government has no self-evident role to play. I have reservations about privatization, especially of public services, but the economists were careful to make the above qualification.

3. Rationalization and reduction of tax incentives. An estimated P175 billion is lost due to tax breaks on certain business sectors. Gawd, there is such a thing as "lobbying" (It should be called "lining the pockets" instead) and I'm sure these businesses have set aside cash to add to their powers of persuasion.

4. Politicization of prices and of the regulatory system. Mainly, government-owned operated services shouldn't give in to popular pressure against power rates, the metro train rates and toll fees (among others). Let the invisble hand of the market decide. Personally, I don't believe in this infamous hand.

5. Spending efficiency and the tax revolt. Government should be careful about what they ask of their citizens, especially if tax payers see their money squandered and misappropriated. On escorts like Keanna Reeves maybe? Or on gas-guzzling SUVs?

6. Rationalizing national-local government fiscal relations. Pertaining to the IRA I mentioned above. This basically means local government units should no longer wait for a dole out from national government. LGUs must then try to make money on their own, making mayorship, for example, a lot more...demanding and would require incredible managerial abilities. So people, should IRA be abolished, think twice before you vote for the likes of Jinggoy or Lito.

Angsty you say?

I believe this report is disquieting as it fully reflects our supposed sovereign nation's lack of self-determination. Here is the abstract notion of a "debt crisis" (which really means international creditors, and the World Bank-IMF) hanging over our heads, making us undertake "austerity" measures.

I have no beef against disciplining the bureaucracy and cutting off unnecessary expenses, but the point is, we're doing all of this so we can pay of our debts? Which have ballooned because government officials and their unaccountable technocrats
have continued irresponsibly borrowing througout the years? And because the peso has continued to devalue due to "vagaries" of that nebulous financial world market.

I was born into debt. You, your brothers, your sisters, your cousins, your parents, your children and grandchildren to be. We had no hand in incurring these debts. They just magically appeared in our midst. And we call this country a democracy?

Would that I could do a tax revolt, but sadly, my taxes are automatically taken out of my measly salary. Now you understand why I'm so angsty about the future. It seems the end is near. I'll go watch Marinara now. Or start playing Ragnarok.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Great Toilet Book: About Men Part 2

On having a Penis

The difficult truce between sons and fathers proceeds from both recognizing the importance of what they have in common: a penis. This simple fact is what makes all men “like” each other and all men “different” from women. Based on this fact, men come to share a belief that women are not really human beings. This belief is so crucial and so deep that it remains psychologically “invisible” to both men and women. For a number of reasons, both men and women either deny having such a belief, minimize or confuse its importance, or claim to “prefer” its hidden advantages.

The consequences of this belief are enormous. By recognizing that all men possess penises and by declaring that this is the root-sign of both humanity and true divinity, men may wince at the pain or humiliation inflicted upon other men, but not at the pain or humiliation inflicted upon other women. This deification of penises allows men to not experience female suffering as representative of human -- and therefore male – suffering. Female suffering is thereby condoned as less pertinent, less significant, less threatening than the pain which befalls men.

For example, men are horrified at the forcible anal rape of another man. But they are much less horrified at the anal or vaginal rape of another woman, especially if she is not a female relative by blood or marriage. Also, most men experience any and all expressions of female emotion as overly intense and threatening, as a form of attack, as an attempt at female control. Women are often stunned by the rigid disapproval, the contempt, the sadism that men display of female tears, of verbal demands and complaints.

Most men are respectful of female suffering at childbirth -- but not identify with it. Or as physicians, they frequently treat it sadistically. By comparison, women are both respectful of male suffering in all male economic or military wars and also identify with it as a human hardship or tragedy.

It is because men believe that women, creatures-without-a-penis, are not human beings – that women are devils or angels, goddesses, or whores – that many men do have a genuine urge to “protect” women. They “protect” women into corners where the harm they may do men is at least limited.

It is because men believe that women are not human beings that so many men are genuinely perplexed by, removed from and cannot identify or empathize with female “complaints” of unhappiness, paralysis, disappointment or anxiety.

Women, of course, have an equally difficult time really understanding male needs and are often contemptuous of the male need to be “taken care of” and “constantly agreed with.” But women have been taught to value whatever men value and need – even though it hurts or confuses them as wives or as women.

Among men, the presence of a penis is still proof of a shared humanity, still the proof of truce between father and son, however uneasy a truce it is. It is still the trigger for mae-male empathic identification. Thus are adult men always comparing themselves to other men: on the basis of penis-size and physical strength. They always feel the need for male “truce,” no matter the price. It is a transaction they have made once before. With their fathers.

Sons originally experience their “smallness” in terms of how small they – and their penises – are in relation to their fathers. The male idea or fear of being sexually castrated must involve some early fear of fathers doing this – as much as it ma be “triggered” by contemplating the absence of a penis in the castrated mother, and in all women.

Remember: one interpretation of the Patriarch Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac and the consequent substitute ritual of circumcision is that male gods and fathers can kill or castrate their young and even beloved sons, but can also choose not to. Men talking about castration anxiety seem to experience it, or associate it, with prolonged or intense heterosexual intimacy. Too intense or too “merged” a contact with women reminds men of their parent-without-a-penis who couldn’t or wouldn’t protect them from the parent-with-a-penis.

Men, upon being questioned about “castration anxiety,” either report having none – or immediately start telling me about how they fear being “castrated” by mothers and wives. They rarely mention fathers or other men. The silence of male truce runs deep; the fear of fathers is displaced onto mothers and surfaces in anecdotes about “castrating” women.

Men, upon being asked about their penises (not castration anxiety), often respond at first with a bristling, overwhelming concern with “size,” with “quantities,” and with “visible proofs” of penile activity. A thirty-one year old man said: “I can still have five erections in one session – especially with a new woman.

Many men responded to this question by telling me that “penis size isn’t really important,” but tell me how “lucky” they are to have a “good-size” penis. When asked about having a penis, a fair number of men talked about “how many more orgasms women can have compared to a man.” At least ten men referred to the “female use of vibrators,” within five minutes of being asked about penises.

This particular pattern, of male focusing on female sexuality when asked about their own, this particularly aggressive insecurity, occurred repeatedly when I tried to talk to men about having a penis. It does seem related to male uterus-envy and, perhaps, to a newly awakened fear in men based on recent “discoveries” about female sexual capacities (multiple orgasms).

Absurd as it is, men tend to use male sexual behavior as the referent for human (sexual) behavior. Men assume that if women were as “free” as men given their supposed sexual insatiability, they’d behave sexually like men, i.e., fearfully, promiscuously. If men were not terrified of being found inadequate by the designated biological inferior; if men were not frightened and jealous of woman’s reproductive capacity; if men were not disgusted by female sexual needs or demands – then female sexuality would not be so cruelly exiled into colonies of (sexuality) undemanding girl-brides and girl-wives, or into colonies of (sexually) undemanding female prostitutes, concubine, or slaves.

When men posit sex, violence and death as elemental erotic truths, they mean this – that sex, or fucking, is the act which enables them to experience their own reality, or identity, or masculinity more concretely…and that death, or negation, or voidness, or contamination by the female is what they risk each time they penetrate into what they imagine to be the emptiness of the female hole…Each time he survives the peril of the female void, his masculinity is reified. He has proven that he is not her and that he is like other hims.

Since the penis is the proof of male existence, the proof of male power, it is too important and too vulnerable an organ to be exposed publicly – especially to women. While female nudity is everywhere exposed – in great art, in mass pornographic propaganda – male frontal nudity is relatively taboo. What if women began comparing the penises of aging husbands with those of younger, more beautifully shaped men? How could a man bear being compared, once again, by a woman, with another, “superior” man?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


If television is the modern opium of the masses, then our people today must be drugged beyond the absurd. Have you seen prime time TV shows lately? 4 to 5 solid hours of brain-frying hallucinogenic experience. And since there are two major stations airing them, then that makes 8 to 10 hours total. Whew. Who needs X when you've got GMA-ABS-CBN?

At first there was the phenomenon of Mexican soap opera imports (Marimar, Maria del Sol etc.). What could be more surreal than blond hispanics mouthing Tagalog? But anyway, Filipinos took the bit because there are talking dogs, beautiful babes and the well-trodden story arc of the poor and oppressed young woman winning the battle against big, bad, rich usually older woman by marrying the young, dashing, rich young man.

Beautiful But Oppressed hails from the hinterlands or some other rural area toiling away at the fields. Meets Dashing Rich Debonair on vacation. The two fall in love and would live happily ever after if not for the Older Baddie. And so the requisite insult-hurling, cat fighting, and not to forget Big Time Oppressing (for no apparent reason but for the sheer evil of Big Baddie) must lengthily unfold before our eyes before Beautiful But Oppressed learns to fight the dirty fight and finally triumphs over Older Baddie. Its easy enough to see the box-office appeal of these agalog-speaking hispanics, their soaps could have been local if not for the "better" looking actors.

Local soaps usually make the same juxtaposition of the Poor and Oppressed in the rural areas being treated cruelly by both Destiny (as though it were a given that, well, they're just poor period), and the Rich from urban Manila. Its a cheap play on modernity vs. tradition, town mouse and country mouse but its a hit for the masses (and some from the non-masses) because it must strike on similar cultural sensibilities.

Isn't it a cultural given that everyone wants to be rich? Isn't this the ultimate goal of each and every Filipino? And musn't he or she do everything humanly or inhumanly possible to achieve this? If you happen to be a nubile young woman, well then, the way to do it is snag yourself a rich young man. Nevermind getting an education. Nevermind entrepreneurial ingenuity. Nevermind working your ass off at the work place. You just need to work your ass.

And then came the imported tsinovelas (Meteor Garden). The storylines don't deviate much from the lowest common denominator of young woman oppressed (either because she's poor or just because she's female) and in financial trouble. She may be maltreated once in a while by her significant other but that's OK, because this is the normal male-female dynamic. Young men must be brash, arrogant and showy while young women must be timid, giving and self-effacing.

The similar theme of the suffering female is the cornerstone of every single soap opera in this country (imported or not). Tears flowing from women's eyes must be more precious, more tragic. Be they humans, mermaids or mutant aviary escapees. Household pets no longer corner the talking-animal niche. Crustaceans and varying winged-creatures are now in on the market share. TV is indeed getting more absurd if prime time is a barometer. This is escapism beyond the escape. Its as if we tune in to the idiot-box to enter the universe of scripted lives because we know, that in the end, there is only happy ending.

Why would you want to live and see the real world when it has nothing good to offer?