Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advice to Miss Anonymous

ADVICE NEEDED from anonymous

Dear Doc: Lahat tayo nagpapakita ng suporta sa violence against children... pero, paano po ba makapamuhay ng maayos at masaya ang taong naging biktima ng violence nung bata pa... rape and sexual harassments at that! I’ve been living in misery and trying to live as normal as I could be, but I couldn't... “Ms. Anonymous”

Dear Ms. Anonymous,

For a very traumatic experience like yours, it requires a lot of guts, determination and resolve to get back to the so-called ‘normal life’. Foremost, the haunting experience will keep lingering at the back of your mind. For how long? No one can tell.

I have some few things in mind, which I hope will help you: 1) a psycho-social therapy might help but the most effective therapy is still your ability to unload the baggage that you’ve been carrying through. 2) It would also help if you find a gentleman who will love you sincerely despite what had happened. This is not impossible. 3) And you should not forget the power of prayer. When everything else seems failing us, it's time to turn to the Lord and give up ourselves to Him in complete submission and prayer. The Lord's hand works in mysterious ways and nothing is impossible with the Lord. He is the best Comforter and He is our final destination. The most exalted in the eyes of God is one who is most righteous.

Finally, you should also begin to realize that life's worth is not only in being able to imitate the lives of ‘normal’ people. Each one of us has our own abnormalities which manifest in different ways. Also, not all those who believe they are miserable are completely handicapped. There's a saying which goes this way: "If you want to see how fortunate you are, look at people who are more miserable than you." Example: if you had been complaining of sore eyes and you think that you are the most unglamorous person around, look at the uncomplaining blind who does not even enjoy the beauty of the world around him.

I really hope and pray that you will be able to get out of the miserable world you are currently in. There's a lot more space that you can occupy in the normal world if you are willing and determined to get out of your miserable world.

I sincerely wish that you get your visa to the ‘normal world’ very soon.

Yours truly,

Dr. Mosaid

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


(Defense of the Ancients, or DotA for short, is an Aeon of Strife-style custom map created for the game Warcraft 3. Originally developed for Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos, the map was later unofficially ported into the Warcraft 3 expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Currently, several variants of the map exist under the name of DotA.)

When I was addicted to this game, I once said that my studies were destroying my dota games. Words that I don’t want to recall anymore.

It was my last year in high school and I promised once more to stop playing dota. But like my previous promises, they were all broken. This was specially broken when a girl, my friend and classmate (and crush!) asked me to teach her the particulars of the game. Frankly, I was hesitant to teach her as I had promised to quit the game for good but she was simply irresistible to me. Besides, it was a good opportunity to be with my ‘crush’ for most of the time. My heart was freakin’ happy and pumping wild like jumping acrobatics for joy!

In no time at all, she had learned the rudiments of the game faster than I expected. It pays that she was a computer enthusiast. Days and months passed and we were confidently close to each other. She was also improving a lot in her games that she has already beaten me one time. By this time we were starting to challenge more experienced dota players around town.

Meantime, our closeness had grown more intimately. We play, dine and go home together. We were already the subject of the grapevine as in ‘mag-syota na raw kami’. The truth of the matter is we are not, though from my side of the issue, we are almost there.

The hands of time had moved faster until I realized that it’s already the month of March, and suddenly, my fear that our happy moments would end after high school had started to set in. The fear of being separated was aggravated by the fact that I did not pass the entrance exam in the state university where she passed.

“And now, may we call on the graduates to come on stage to receive their diploma”! Oh my.. was that wrong ‘gramming’? Wow, today is graduation day. How time flew so fast. I had mixed feelings of fear, anxiety, apprehension, and what have you. And then the graduation ceremony was over. Everybody was happy. It’s picture-taking time here, there and everywhere. I don’t feel that I’m happy. After the milieu she approached me and invited me to her ‘despidida’ party as she will be leaving in the next few days to go to Manila and enroll in one of the country’s premier state university. Even if I had passed the entrance exam my parents’ income would not allow me to go with her.

That night I did not sleep well. That ‘despidida’ thing kept haunting me. I hate to imagine that she’s leaving our town very soon. These thoughts sustained me till dawn until I heard that the neighbor’s fighting cocks are starting to cuckoo.

I didn’t want to rise from bed. I went to sleep again, woke up, sleep and then woke up again. This time I was imagining what to say to her when we are gathered for her ‘despidida’. Then the big day came. As I was entering their house, I saw that everybody was enjoying the party. There was drinking, shouting, laughing and dancing from every corner of the house. I’d like to shout and say “WON’T YOU STOP PLEASE! YOU SEE, MY BELOVED IS LEAVING AND WHY ARE YOU SO HAPPY!??

I was met at the front door by a beautiful lady. Oh she’s the one; I didn’t recognize her as she became more beautiful with the lights changing colors. While we were entering the big receiving room, I felt that time had run slow while my heartbeat had run faster. After eating (I did not drink wine), I was trying to rewind our happy moments together especially while playing dota and hoping against hope that she might change her mind and would not leave.

I dragged her politely to a corner so we can talk more intimately outside the hearing distance of the other guests. While we were sitting down, no words would come out of me; something that I did not understand. Then she was forced to break the silence. She was telling me many niceties and thanking me again and again for making her a great dota player until she stopped when I interrupted to tell what I truly feel for her. I said “I love you and I’m serious about this feeling.” I repeated it twice, thrice but she didn’t say a word. Deep within me I wanted to shout and tell her, “why can’t you say I love you too!” She looked at her watch, stood up to leave and said, “let’s go, they might be looking for us by now.”

Back in the company of the other guests, I realize that it’s time for her to bid goodbye to everyone as it was already getting late. And then she was giving each one a sweet embrace. I was last on the line. While she was approaching me for my most awaited embrace, I felt that time went slow while my heartbeat went faster. I embraced her tightly and tighter as if there was only the two of us in an uninhabited island. Then I said again, “I love you so much”. This time she responded with “I love you too” - words that I had been longing to hear from her. Then I continued to say “Dota was just my means to get close to you, to keep your company, to know you better, and then to express what I feel for you. I don’t mind if this is the last time we can be together. The more important thing to me now is to let you know that I love you. Goodbye my dear, and please take care wherever you are .” Then our embrace started to loosen but I refuse to let her go. She was frisking me away but I held her firmly on one hand and she was shouting at me with my name. She was repeatedly shouting my name until this had grown so loud, it was already irritating to my ears.

When I opened my eyes, still embracing my favorite pillow, I saw that it was my mother calling my name and saying, “bumangon ka na iho, magtatanghali na’t di ka pa nag-almusal.” Ahaays.. bumangon na lang ako sabay bulong.. “nay naman.. sarap ng panaginip ko!”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts on the Peace Concerns in Mindanao (or peaceful thoughts)

I am posting here some thoughts on the peace concerns in our beloved hometown of Pikit, in particular, and Mindanao in general. These were taken from our correspondence with some friends from cyberspace, more particularly, facebook - the most popular social network in the internet today.

1. Yes my friend.. praying is one of the least best things that we can do for our hometown, and yet, it is better than passing the blame around. Take a look at Cotabato City. It's leaders have come and go, yet the kidnappings, killings, carnappings, drug trafficking, etc. had persisted. We can put the best and the most intelligent person to lead us in our hometown and these crimes will continue as it is in many other places around the world. But of course, let me say that there should never be any excuse to un-peace and under-development.

Unfortunately, some would rather paint a gloomy, if not monstrous, picture of our hometown. If I choose to, I can paint a gloomier picture for Metro Manila and Chicago than Pikit. But here we are, who see the night and day in Pikit as they went by, who say that there are still many, many more good things happening here than what the criminals are doing. I repeat Pikit is very much livable as evidenced by the fact that a lot of your relatives and friends are some of our good neighbors.

The last time we had the Search for Miss I Love Pikit Web Society and the Rock Band Competition, all held at night, they were jampacked by the Pikitenos. The dragnet that we put up to deter hold-ups and carnappings were praised by the people as they say it has effectively served the purpose for which it was intended. I cannot write about all the bad things just as I cannot write about all the good things that are happening here.

Let us be true (not pseudo and elitist) peacemakers by 'converting' people to thread the right path and showing them the way to Godliness. I envy some NGOs that I knew, who silently do their thing on the ground and are slowly but surely 'convert' people and give them hope. They are better peacemakers. Kuya Butch, a former MNLF commander, is one of them.

We do not have to kill the troublemakers and those who disturb the peace for they will all die anyway. But let us make sure that they are replaced by a more responsible generation whose upbringing is how to value life, love and respect every human being, and God-fearing.

2. The people that you mentioned are all very intelligent and I am pretty sure that they are preoccupied with a lot of things. This is the reason why it's quite difficult to assemble people of this caliber.

I am sorry brod but I have my reservations. I believe that I cannot lead over that many intelligent people. Besides, from the looks of it, I am afraid that we might just consume much of our time vying with each other for impressions on one hand and finding cracks in each others' opinion on the other like what had already happened to Valli and Luvin. Good for you and me because we can quarrel a lot of times and nobody would seem to be affected. But when some people are leaving, or would like to leave, even at our formative stage then I think there is a need to reconsider things. I can't imagine for one moment that a cause as noble as this seems not to catch fire, and I pray not otherwise ire. Frankly, I feel that we should consider strategizing first before moving forward.

We can move stones and produce ripples even without too many intelligent people with us. In fact, a lot of achievers on the ground are very simple people yet very dedicated to their cause. I see what church-based organizations are doing and they are very productive. I am amazed by the will power behind these organizations that inspires them to move. Maybe because most of them lead by example and they are not afraid to mingle with the meek and the lowly.

We are not the only ones searching for the elusive peace in Mindanao. Several peace advocates and institutions have started far way ahead of us and yet we see and feel the same problems of un-peace and under-development in Mindanao. They are very intelligent like the people who compose the GRP and MILF peace panels. But why is it that the change that we desire and kind of life that we aspire for have not shape up to this day.

Something must be wrong somewhere!

3. Thank u for recommending this book (of Ms. Gail Ilagan) Cat. I think it is one dimension of the Mindanao conflict that we should consider. I am now obliged to get a copy of this book.

I have always been interested to know the many dimensions of the conflict (war?) in Mindanao as it keeps me puzzled no end on why the problem seems to defy solution despite so many people and institutions who had involved themselves in finding a lasting solution. I have a copy of the book "Questions and Answers on the Mindanao Conflict" by Prof. Rody Rodil - former member of the GRP panel which negotiated with the MNLF and the MILF. We know the victims very well but we have only very scant knowledge as to who/what the real culprits were/are.

The members of the negotiating panels (GRP & MILF) are very intelligent people who were carefully selected by their respective principals. It is mind-boggling why they can't craft an intelligent, fair and acceptable solution. Of course, they can.. but so many people are afraid to even try this solution (the case of the MOA-AD) and even if it gets way into implementation very few people are sincere and honest-to-goodness implementation is almost nil (the case of the Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF).

We can get to know all the dimensions of the conflict and identify solutions, but if the key players are not sincere and honest in implementing the solution, then we will reap more frustrations than satisfaction. At the end of the day, we have only more guaranteed failures than success. The true solution to this conflict lies in our attitude as a people. "Allah will not change the people's lot unless they themselves change it" (Holy Qurán).

4. The way I look at it, one of the root causes of the conflict is that fundamental differences in culture and our covert ignorance which our leaders conveniently choose to ignore over and over. We don’t really know each other’s culture and beliefs and that ignorance lead to distrust, misunderstanding, stereotyping, bigotry, and even hatred in some cases. Education is the only way we can lift ourselves out of the pit that we unfortunately dug ourselves into. Education is the first way to break the cycle of war because when people are educated, they can think for themselves and they can shed the group-think mentality.

Our leaders (and elders) failed us in this regard. We do not have common goals and aspirations as people. Some of us don’t even have hope and so the thinking is what is there to lose when we fight? Ask the supposed legitimate fighters of the political organizations; ask them what they are really fighting for. I wonder how many can give us a sensible answer.

That said, we do have leaders/elders who find it profitable to keep their constituents ignorant. Knowledge is power, you see and therefore it is much easier to control people if they don’t have the ability to think for themselves. For example, these NPA sympathizers who are screaming “Ibagsak ang Kapitalismo” has probably no idea what capitalism is all about. Worse, they don’t have a clue of the impact of socialism on their lives (From my Friend Cat).

5. You do have a good grasp of the so-called Mindanao Conflict. Now, if there is no one single root cause of the conflict and the effect had been multifarious then we should start looking at several solutions to address each one of them.

I think this is one of the basic flaws in the solutions that so many intelligent people had been searching for. They thought that the GRP-MILF panels could address all of them. But first, let us put our trust in these peace negotiators and government instrumentalities should do an honest-to-goodness implementation of what they have to implement. Private institutions should do the same. They might hit the solution to some of these root-causes of the conflict along the way.

Finally, in our diversities as a people of Mindanao or Mindanawons, let us learn to love sincerely and relentlessly. If all men and women of the universe can love their fellow being there will be no trouble, no conflict, no war and no terror in the land.