chelsea girl

Leviathan summon fail

Friday night found me drinking with friends. After a few beers, one of my friends gave an off-the-cuff comment about the weather. A storm was coming, she said. She heard it on the news. The storm's making landfall tomorrow, she said, so now she had to cut the night short and leave. I heckled her, thinking it was her way of weaseling out of a drinking session in full swing and skimping on the bill. So she left and I stayed until I got semi-shitfaced enough to head back home and prepare for an early morning class the next day.

I can not be late or absent again for my Saturday morning class. I've used up all my free cuts and can't afford another one. Anyway, the rain was falling like a curtain, but I was going to make it to class 'through hell or high waters' like they say in the movies. I arrived one hour and thirty minutes late and drenched with flood water to my knees. In the middle of the lecture, I had to surreptitiously take off my shoes and wring water from my socks. That's just how I roll.

When class was over, the UP lagoon had crawled up to the Academic oval. The campus was empty. No more vehicles were passing. The storm had caught our city with our pants down. I walked home through chest-deep flood.


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chelsea girl


Weeks late, but still incredibly relevant. Writing an editorial, so I had to browse some sites for info. Found Alanah's photos and decided to repost them here.

Heard Alanah broke her 60,000 peso camera lens when the coppers got rough with the media. There was a student-led lightning rally held in Malacanang last August 19. This was the violent dispersal.

Pictures by Alanah Toralbah, Anton Dulce, couple more photogs.







Pretty me

Continuing that semi-hiatus trend during the scant downtimes I can manage.

Congratulations, I suppose, are in order.

Stefania Fernandez swept the Ms Universe 2009 title and tiara for Valenzuela, following the footsteps of her predecessor Miss Universe/ Miss Valenzuela 2008 Dayana Mendoza.


In my entirely invalid opinion, she looks like a cross between Natalie Portman in Star Wars and Nicole Kidman from Moulin Rouge. But how backward and uneducated would I look if I said she wasn't pretty? So let's make it clear: she's pretty. She comes from Valenzuela which, in my imagined geography, isn't far from Brazil-- which, in my imagined geo-cultural map, is where pretty (but poor) people come from.

I could never get into the Miss Universe hype thing. Because I am not impressive in a swimsuit or an evening gown, people who manage to pull it off impress me even less. But good for Miss Fernandez for crushing the confidence of 83 other beautiful women. Speaking as a woman myself, there is nothing more enjoyable than making your peers envious (except maybe an extra slice of chocolate cake).

Having established my near ignorance about this matter, I have a question: what exactly is the purpose of this pageant? On the basis that the contestants wear sashes with their country's names about them, I am assuming there is some sort of cross-cultural mission-vision going on. Otherwise, why bother with the nationality thing unless it's a means to garner spectators from all over the world.


At any rate, I look nothing like Miss Philippines. I walk for 20 minutes in any direction from where I am standing now, and there is a 0.3% chance of me catching sight of someone who looks remotely like Miss Pamela Bianca Manalo. She's also very pretty. I guess. If you like that sort of thing. The type of girl I'd expect to see in magazines, I suppose. Very Western with her fair skin and sharp features and arched eyebrows.

Pretty but not exactly Filipina. Or Filipina after a few weeks of skin-whitening soap and plastic surgery-- which is not to say that I'm accusing miss Manalo of anything. I'm saying that, while she's fortunate to have been born with her look, the majority of us brown-skinned girls have miles to go in order to look like that. What does this tell us, exactly, when we turn on our TVs and see Miss Philippines-- presumably the fairest of us all-- looking nothing like ourselves?

It's no secret that non-Western countries like ours look to our fair-skinned sisters as a standard for beauty. The most popular plastic surgery operation for East Asian countries is the procedure that adds a fold to one's eyelids. South East Asian women go for nose-lifts and such. Skin bleach, metformine pills, hair straightening, nose-lifts. When that's done, we go for crash-course English lessons complete with that American twang. Meanwhile, for the national costume portion of the Miss Universe Pageant, Miss America got on the stage looking like this:


Still very pretty, Miss America. Stay classy.

A round of applause for the prettiest women in the planet. Reserve your boos and hisses for this ugly hellspawn, Caster Semenya, South Africa's track champion.


Semenya topped the women's 800meter track run with a personal best time record of 1:55.45. People are questioning her win, however, because of the huge progress from her earlier track records. But instead of investigating for steroidal use like most sports controversies, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) are going to be investigating her sexuality instead.

While the root of this issue is Semenya's phenomenal performance-- a matter I won't touch either because I am no use in sports-- this is undeniably tied to Semenya's looks. To put it mildly, she couldn't hold a torch to the Miss Universe contestants. To put it harshly, she looks like a man.

Just to appear slightly more sophisticated than I actually am, here's a quote from Simone de Beauvoir: "One is not born, but becomes a woman. No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society: it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine." Feel free to disregard what de Beauvoir said. She's a feminist and very probably a dyke.

Nevertheless, the 'biological, psychological' aspect of the quote is interesting, in light of what the IAAF plans to do to Semenya. To quote from the link:

"The verification requires a physical medical evaluation, and includes reports from a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender."

Some people have equated Semanya's gender testing as racist as well. I'm inclined to agree. Semanya looks nothing like a woman, if the standard we use is Western. She's muscular, she has facial hair and the manliest of voices. But South Africans came quick to her defense, calling her beautiful. Semanya's gender testing is racist the same way the Miss Universe pageant is racist. Both expect its contestants to conform to a racial perspective that deems a correct type of womanhood.

I refuse to enter into the complicated discussion of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Identity because other people have said it better (and I'm running late for a class). The point I'm struggling to make here is the futility of having a 'universal' experience of being a woman. While some women can get into international pageants like Miss Universe, others will suffer the humiliation of having their sexuality questioned. The worst experience is for the spectator who can neither participate in beauty pageants or sporting events. The women who are not acknowledged for their excellence in either field will still be subjected under the same beauty/ gender/ racial standards. Because of the rigidity of these standards, it is unfortunate that the only universal experience women around the world will share is the dissapointment of falling short.
mister J

One for the road

Like Jay-z dropping an album after announcing his retirement, or Gloria Macapagal Arroyo running for a second term after saying she won't, tonight is a night of recantation. Just a last hurrah, then I'll disappear into the void.

I read this article which puts three of my favorite things together: street art, Batman references, and political schisms. Plus, this is the sort of thing the campus paper won't let me run with, since it doesn't concern many UP students. LET'S DO THIS SHIT.

All you care about is money. This town deserves a better class of criminal. I'm going to give it to them.

I haven't been following a lot of foreign media in some time. Lots more pressing news bits on this shore. A couple of things that sift through-- Obama's proposed universal health care plan (which was shot down by the American public, I believe?) and stimulus plans to revive the US economy. I'm sure there's more to that, but hey, I'm a 20-something colored girl living in a third wold country. What do I know.

What I know is this: during the last State of the Nation Address delivered by our president, I ran after a small group of graffiti artists, serving as a look-out for cops while they vandalized public walls and spaces. We (that is to say, they) put up calls for GMA's ouster, painted slogans to end this oppressive regime, called for people to make a stand against the proposed charter change that may allow GMA to extend her term as president. I know what vandalism and graffiti represent.

In the Philippines, hundreds of political activists and journalists have been forcibly dissapeared, tortured, and executed by military agents under GMA's presidency. Freedom of speech is an illusion. Media is whitewashed. Mainstream media barely reports about Melissa Roxas' case for reasons known only to them. When your country enjoys the silence of a graveyard, there will always be forces that make sure the very walls of our cities scream.

Last year's SONA, actually. Yoinked from someone else's blog. Sorry.

Then again, that's what street art is over here. Giving credit where credit is due, street art did originate from the US. There isn't that big a difference, as far as I understand. A documentary I watched mentioned that graffiti came from Black neighborhoods because they were marginalized, invisible in the US socio-political space for a long time. It's not a leap of logic: people deprived of the opportunity to be heard end up writing on walls to force the public to look-- LOOK-- because society isn't nice and neat and just. If we have to dirty up your comfortable lives to make you pay attention, we'll do just that.

Speaking of Black neighborhoods, I've always wondered about the precise moment/ issue when Batman started visiting Black neighborhoods (yes, that was my transition, FUCK YOU and your pretentious notions of structure). Around the 70s or 80s, I think. Silver age Batman would fight black pimps, man. Or stop black gangbangers smuggling drugs into Gotham. Killer Crock, I believe, is black underneath his green scaly skin. Only recently did the Batman comics become racially benevolent. Rene Montoya, former Gotham City Police Officer turned The Question is Latina, hey! And that sack of shit Cassandra Cain, the new Batgirl, is some sort of Azn. The 90's brought Batman to black neighborhoods to *protect* black Gothamites. You go, Batman.

Here in the Philippines, there is that strange turn of phrase "Bahala na si Batman." The word bahala comes from the word Bathala, meaning god or greater spiritual deity. To say "Bathala na" means to leave the matter to god/ greater spiritual deity. Somehow, somewhere, the letter T was dropped and the phrase became Bahala na. You're broke and you've got a hot, high-maintenance date? "Bahala na." Let chance/ god/ circumstance sort it out. "Bahala na si Batman" means to leave the matter to Batman. Three major papers and two exams tomorrow and you haven't begun anything yet? "Bahala na si Batman."

This is strange because Batman is not a figure natural to Filipino mythology. I'm chalking it up to the American collonization of these islands, bringing their culture and superheroes along with them. Plus the notion that Batman can overcome anything, even --YES-- the Omega Sanction.

Batman NOT dying by Darkseid's hand

Of course, you can't talk about Batman without talking about his best friend, The Joker. Epitomized by the late Heath Ledger to the collective satisfaction of women's panties all over the world, the Joker is Batman's opposite. He is the blast of color to Bats' monochrome, the wheezy, high pitched squeal to Batman's gravely growl, the lanky effem to Bats' muscular butch. He is anarchy, he is chaos. He is, in fact, resistance to Batman's RSA. (Oh no she didn't!)

When you boil it down to the essentials, what is Batman? The vigilante alter ego of grotesquely-rich Bruce Wayne. He is the capitalist dream. Wayne Enterprises practically owns Gotham City. Financially and politically powerful, what else can Bruce want? Oh yeah, the liberty to operate outside the law without consequences. The freedom to install CCTV cameras in institutions in Gotham (Animated series Batman has a special button in his Batmobile that lights up whenever there's a riot/ breakout in Arkham Asylum). No transparency or culpability whatsoever, even when he beats the teeth out of criminals. Commit a crime in Gotham, expect Batman break into your house and punch you in the face while you're sleeping.

Not Batman, but also a fear that strikes in the night

He's the best detective in the world, our caped crusader, but this guy, this Joker boggles his mind. On one hand, the Joker's insane. Clinically. So, you know. "I don't need money, I use money," says the Joker in one comics issue or another. He doesn't want to get rich. He's already famous. He knows he's powerful. He once beat a man to death with a bunch of bananas (Batman DCAU series, an issue entitled "second banana"). Green bananas too, for maximum pain. He did not stop beating that man until the man died-- which must have taken a few hours, considering how poor a bunch of bananas are as a weapon. But that's perseverance for you. And if that doesn't give you fame and power in Gotham's criminal circles, I don't know what can.

I am not kidding.

The Joker, it seems, only exists to annoy the fuck out of Batman. He exists to prove that, while Gotham's guardian may seem untouchable, there will always be forces that resist repression (see how everything in this rant ties up so neatly?)

I'll skip the part where the Batsignal is a model for Foucault's Panopticon, or what meaning can be derived from the fact that Batman is masked whereas the Joker uses his real face. Let's go back to JOkerBama.

Slapping the Joker's face paint on politicians' faces aren't new (at least not anymore. They were new in 2008, when the movie came out). We did that for GMA too. The message was that these politicians are like the Joker-- villains, basically. Unpredictable criminals. Insane. What have you. But there's one crucial difference that makes the comic book geek in me bristle with indignation: The Joker is funny. He's lovable, hilarious. Batman takes himself too goddamn seriously and the Joker provides comic relief (albeit in the form of a few maimed bodies). When these politicians fuck up, it's not funny. Murder and manslaughter are only funny in comics, apparently. It's why that part of the newspaper was known as the 'funny pages'.

Slapping Joker's face paint on Obama is strange. Add the 'socialism' label at the bottom of the graffiti sticker in the mix and I get mixed messages. For one, I don't believe the Joker is socialist at all. He's a nihilist. He'll hate any form of authority on principle.

Secondly, Obama is no socialist. Have no fear, America, you are still very much the capitalist hegemonic imperialists you've always wanted to be. You are Batman. One phone call from your president and 3 things happen simultaneously: Nicole recants her testimony that she was raped by a US soldier, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith is returned to your loving arms, and the Visiting Forces Agreement is stronger than ever. That's some Batman ploy if I've every seen one.

Recently, GMA along with 30 of her henchmen went to the US for 30-minutes face time with Obama. Doing his best Bruce Wayne impression, Obama complimented GMA on a number of things, ignoring her 9-year track record of corruption and human rights violations in her own country. Of course that's what he's going to do. Batman allows the Penguin to continue his illegal trade in Gotham in exchange for information, doesn't he? When the meeting was over, GMA went over to the Iceberg Lounge to wine and dine with Two-face, the Riddler, Condiment Man, and other such unsavory people.

This is a goddamn long rant, but it's heading somewhere, I promise. The article from the Washington Post mentioned above (scroll up, scroll up) seems truly, genuinely concerned that the anonymous graffiti poster may be carrying some insidious jab at Obama's color:

Obama, like the Joker and like the racial stereotype of the black man, carries within him an unknowable, volatile and dangerous marker of urban violence, which could erupt at any time. The charge of socialism is secondary to the basic message that Obama can't be trusted, not because he is a politician, but because he's black.

I dunno. What do I know. 20-something colored girl from a country smaller than Florida blogging from the middle of nowhere. From what I can see, the Washington Post got it wrong. JOkerBama doesn't reaffirm Black stereotypes of violence. It's just Obama with a white face-- no different from all the other white American presidents that came before him: Unknowable, volatile, and dangerous.

Warp speeds and Hiatus.

I hate it when life kicks into warp speed.


A fiend of mine commented on how much I've changed in the past few months. He said I used to exude an aura of being casual and laid back, like nothing can bog me down. Now he says "haggardo" every time he sees me.

So many, many things have happened since after that bit of theater work. School started. Holding down two classes this semester-- my last semester, hopefully. I started in university in 2004. Deep in my heart, I know I'm delayed for graduation by a year. But counting off with my fingers though, I figure I'm in my sixth year already. I'm incredibly bad at math.

I walk down the familiar streets of my campus and no one knows me. It's like the opposite of Cheers. Most my friends have gone up and out into the real world. It's depressing.

My former editor at the campus paper passed the figurative thinking cap and truncheon to me. Heaven knows why. I'm lazy, my spelling is bad, most bright ideas come to me when I'm under the influence, I'm bad role model for young students, etcetera, etcetera. But more to the point, I'm not fit for newspaper writing. I decided to apply for the campus paper to get material for (hopefully) literary endeavors. Then they put me in charge of a whole section.

A large chunk of why this blog has been traded for microblogging at Facebook is because most topics I'd want to focus on get covered by the culture section of the campus paper. I don't see the point of writing something about the EDSA 1 replay or the National Artist fiasco on this blog when my section mates and I will have to EXHAUST THE FUCK out of those issues. It'll be better written on the newspaper too, compared to the profanity-riddled gutter dialect I use here.

Rackets, rackets, rackets on the side. Freelancing and shit. Money troubles to the tune of the smallest violin playing in the background. Eating up my spare time when I'm not reading or editing.

Then there's writing. Always writing. Writing outside the newspaper, cobbling up scenes and characters and storylines until it all makes sense somehow. An avenue for the profanity-riddled gutter dialect that comes to me naturally. Let's leave it at that.

A glance at my last few blog entries makes me cringe at the amount of activism I publish here. It's not something that I want, but it's not something that can be helped. We live in a shitty society run by villains and remaining silent isn't an option. I'm afraid that as long as things stay this way, my blog entries might continue to get angrier, redder by the post.

This is not the life I ordered. But hey, it's mine now. Stiff upper lip and all. I'll come back when I'm cool again.
chelsea girl



A snippet from Morning After: A Final Tribute,Edel Garcillano


How can you
outside your self?
The event was
pure melodrama,
staggering the heart:
Why are you
like a woman
quick to shed tears
at the drop
of a hat?
The heckling
streamed down
like the rain,
but he couldn’t duck
the water spray.
So here he was
wiping his face
lest people find out…
But it was
no laughing matter.
Cory, they said,
was the last brown hope
of the underdogs?
A patrician
to lead the pack?
Of course not,
He counter-argued:
The revolution
has so many roads:
She just opened
a door –
a long, winding story to be told.

Image from here
chelsea girl


Been skipping out on Livejournal and microblogging on Facebook. Signs of the times, signs of the times. More important real world stuff calling...


The State of the Nation Address mobilization will be MASSIVE. An estimated 20,000 protesters in the streets. There will be more if you come. And there is good reason to come.

It's going to be GMA's 9th SONA-- 5 more SONAs than your average president. 8 years under undeclared martial rule. More than 200 slain journalists nationwide, plus the unaccounted number of enforced dissapearances under her regime.

Bombings and the escalating war in Mindanao. The people's worsening living conditions. The douchebag move to hastily pass a constitutional assembly that will lead to a changing the country's charter despite the people's vehement objection just so she can stay in power. A myriad of criminal cases waiting to be filed against her once she steps down as president. The reasons are countless.

Melissa Roxas, a Filipino-American activist talks about her abduction and torture by military agents.

Edita Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos decries the promotion of the military officers who allegedly took her son. No justice for Jonas still.

Foreigners were warned against joining the mass mobilization on Monday against GMA's SONA on pain of deportation.

There is no saving this administration. Keeping silent is the ultimate complacency. GMA cheated her way into power and continues to hold on to her presidential seat by virtue of bribing military generals and strategic political allies in Congress. Let's make this GMA's last State of the Nation Address.

chelsea girl

The benefits of walking.

Walking is incredibly good exercise. Most walkers have less incidences of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. For weight loss, walking does not depend so much on speed as it does on distance. Around 100 calories (a bottle of light beer, for example) is lost for every mile walked.

Modern medicine advocates walking as it supposedly adds years to one's lifespan. Not to mention, walking facilitates a commune with one's environment, invites meditation, and improves one's mental health. Rene Descartes cobbled up his books Le Monde and L'Homme on natural philosophy in his mind while walking, I believe.


Walking-out is also a fantastic exercise of our democracy. The students who walk out of classes on July 10 to join the protest march to Mendiola affirm that, yes, academics are important, but education does not limit itself to the classroom. By walking out, we realize that teachers with masters and doctorate degrees are nice and dandy but the streets can be teachers too. One can only learn so much theory in the school setting. Praxis arises from participation.

Walking-out then becomes an exercise of the country's youth, to show that we will be responsible for where this country is going, that we will not stand idly while lawmakers railroad a constitutional assembly without our side being heard. Walking-out shows that we do understand what is going on, that we do not simply flip to another channel or plug our ipods on when someone talks about something more important than, say, celebrity gossip. More importantly, walking-out shows that we have a clear opinion on the matter, that we oppose this bastardization of due process. Through this simple exercise, we show that we are the rightful successors of the Philippines, and we are staking our claim before they sell our country to foreigners one island at a time.

Scenes from the July 10 walkout last year:





Come join the July 10 walkout. It's a street party where everyone's invited. It's good for the body and freedom of spirit.