The Dimunitive President

In the news last night, the Comelec made it official that there are absolutely no legal impediments to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s bid for the Congress in the coming Elections. Much to the chagrin of many, I’m sure.

I have no opinion yet about the possibility of GMA becoming the Speaker of the House someday. It all boils down to results, after all. And at this point, it’s all speculation. She hasn’t won yet.

I do have much sympathy for this dimunitive little woman. She is undoubtedly one of the most controversial, and perhaps one of the most criticized Presidents in the History of the Philippines. I think she would rank a close second to the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

But personally, I’ve always admired this woman.

She may be many things, and may be called many ugly names in the book.

But she has strength of character and guts of steel. She has enough of that to be able to withstand the barrage of threats, calls for resignation, impeachment hearings while warding off terrorist threats, dealing with national calamities and finding ways to go around economic recessions. And there’s also everything else in between. Even her boob job several years ago gets the front page news. If she even had so much as a tiny zit on her forehead, I’m perfectly sure she would be tonight’s headline once again.

It’s not too different from Barrack Obama’s trip to the burger joint within a few months into his Presidency. The poor man can’t even get a burger without pictures of it getting splashed all over the front pages. It’s not a stretch to say that people like Obama and GMA have their entire lives under constant scrutiny. And heck, no one’s perfect. It’s all far easy too to twist the truth or skew it even just a little bit to  suit the conclusions that people want to make.

Bottomline: the country’s problems can’t be solved by one person. Nor can they be solved by a ten-year term in office. Our problems began long before you and I even existed. If we take a look at History, every administration was riddled with its own set of problems. Every President has his/her own legacy to speak of.

I’ve always felt that the sickness of our political system is the fact that our politicians spend more time scrutinizing the mistakes of every person in office and publicly criticizing every move they make…. rather than spending valued time doing something real and concrete to try finding solutions to the country’s problems. If there’s anyone at fault for why we haven’t risen to the levels of our other ASEAN counterparts, then take a stab at deconstructing then rebuilding our political culture.

The dimunitive President may be many things. But she is a woman of action.

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Lessons from the Anti-Heroes

We can always learn a thing or two about dealing with injustice and grief from today’s fictional anti-hero heroes and icons. (indulge me for a while in this post as I talk about fictional characters as though they were real).

I wager many fans of thriller and suspense flicks actually love Hannibal Lecter as much as they love Clarice Sterling. I know I do. After all, he does what we all just wish we could do but dismiss as even a remote possibility owing to our long-held beliefs of right and wrong. When karma takes too long to get back at those who did wrong to you, it’s almost tempting to contemplate revenge and vindication.

But that was one of the very few things my mum has carefully instilled in me since I was a young girl. Never exact revenge, and never will nor want for anything bad to happen to anyone, even to those who have wronged you. The world has a way of righting the wrong, but just let it be… and don’t cause for any of it to happen.

And so I just take vicarious pleasure watching and contemplating Hannibal Lecter’s life principles. Not that it makes his methods right, nor does it make him any less of a madman, nor is what he does right in any way. But you gotta admit. He  does what we all just wish we could do in a less extreme way. Hurt the ones who hurt other people. Lecter generally takes good care of the people whom he has dubbed as “people who are worthy of being a part of the human race”. He lets people like Clarice Sterling live. He offs the opera singer who cheats on his spouse; tortures and terrorizes the ambitious, dishonest journalist who gives little regard for what is morally right… effectively, he is just ridding the world of morally ambiguous people.

I have a handful of friends and acquaintances who classify as “don’t ever mess with me or you’re dead meat“. They’ve gotten justice at people who’ve wronged them in ways I can never even imagine doing (and yet, it’s nowhere even remotely close to Hannibal, okay?). On the one hand, I cringe at the thought of willfully causing hurt or pain to someone else…. even if it is only to seek justice (not even revenge). Even if repercussions on the recipient of justice are mostly emotional scars.

On the other, part of me admires their tenacity and will to get the justice they feel they deserve.

Where do you draw the line?

Every decision and action we make, no matter how seemingly insignificant, has corresponding actions and reactions. It’s not so far from making a decision everyday on how we behave towards humanity.

My husband gave me an interesting insight last night. As we were watching a documentary on History Channel about the Legacy of Star Wars, he told me to pick up lessons from Anakin Skywalker’s journey to the dark side. It began with just one incident: his mother’s death. Not only did it awaken his lust for revenge and power, but it brought out the strongest emotion that led him down the path to the destruction of his humanity: fear.

And so it begs the question of what to do when people have wronged you. It’s so easy to seek vindication and justice but sometimes, you wonder. At what cost does it come? Whose feathers do you ruffle? How many individual’s lives will you alter? Whose spirit will you crush?

Perhaps those are the same questions that plague Jack Bauer. (Jack Bauer, the perpetual martyr in the TV show 24)

I used to joke that next to God and the others powers-that-be in the Universe, Jack Bauer is the next rockin’ hero.

He takes bullet after bullet of crap to save his country. Several nuclear bombs, suicide bombers, biological warfares and homicidal terrorists later, Jack Bauer still keeps coming back to save the day. At what cost? His life, his wife, his daughter and all the other things that matter in his life.

Never one to seek revenge or vindication for himself. Always does the right thing. Always takes the fall even when he should be the last person to take it. Seeks to protect others before himself. Decides always for the greater good even if it’s at the expense of his own life.

Does a person like that truly exist? If there is, I’d like to meet this person and take him away from his awful reality, give him a taste of the good life for a change.

Like many fans of Jack Bauer, I draw comfort from the possibility that a Jack Bauer exists in this lifetime. A character like him restores my faith in humanity (although watching his enemies affirms the cynicism that the human race is often in a state of total, utter disgrace) and reminds me that there are people who will go beyond the call of duty to do the right thing.

The whole point of this discourse? Nothing much. Maybe except for the fact that life will always be unpredictable and we will always wonder why things happen to us that we feel we don’t deserve. And maybe we really don’t, who’s to say?

Perhaps if there’s anything you can take out from pop culture’s icons today, it’s this: we can never ever lose the part of us that’s good, that’s kind and decent. That’s what it means to be human. Every single day, we cannot lose our humanity. Every word we say, every thought we think of, every action we do irrevocably shapes the person we will become someday.

The Bright Side of Adversity

I saw this image in a football blog site. It’s quite funny and charming.

Aside from alcohol and an overindulgence of tobacco, there are other things that help relieve the struggles that come with adversity. All in all, my sad story isn’t just all bad after all. There is a silver lining to adversity.

Something I realized last night while trying to battle the blues and the panic attacks is that I am quite blessed. Thrice now in my life when major adversity strikes (the kind that leaves you shaken up for days and weeks, and where you kinda never go back to how you used to be afterwards), there was always an overflowing amount of love and support from the most important people in my life. Nothing puts a relationship to the test better than when adversity strikes.

Friends. The best kinds of friends in the world who offer unconditional love and support. Who will always believe in you without even the need for an explanation. Who can sense from miles away when a text message of support is all you need to get through the next few minutes.

Family. The ones you want to murder almost on a daily basis, but when you’re at the end of your rope, they’ll reel you back in and remind you of what you’re worth. Who will pray for you, even when there are still unresolved issues on the other side.

Husbands. (I only have one, and I thank the universe with all my heart that he is my “one”). The one who will hold you when you cry, and tell you that everything will be alright. The one who will be as angry at the world in your behalf, if not angrier. The one who will take you away from your troubles for just a few minutes by telling you that he loves you more than anything in the world.

To anyone out there facing a tough battle, I hope this post reminds you that through everything in life, you will never be alone. Just look around. They may be the same people you’ve learned to take for granted on a daily basis. Most often, they are.

But I guarantee you, many times over with my life story as proof: adversity strikes and it’s tough, it’s unfair, it sucks. The world could punch you repeatedly, beat you up, tie you to the stake and burn you alive again and again while all the wounds are still fresh… but you will survive anything. Just put your trust on those around you, and believe with all your heart that this is the world’s way of reassuring you… you’re never alone.

Falling Apart and Coming Together

A friend of mine does something on her blog every Monday morning. She posts pictures with different messages. These pictures are meant to give a little pick-me-up for Monday blues.

In the peak of my slump yesterday, this photo broke through the layers of my beffudlement and disappointments:

I’m not the inspirational, kum-ba-ye-hands-up-in-the-air type of girl, but I do believe that sometimes the universe sends out messages and attempts to speak to us for whatever purpose.

So life may seem like it’s falling apart right this minute, and maybe it really is. In the midst of mind-blowing pain, there just seem to be no answers, to acceptable reasons for why bad things happen. It takes a lot to take a step back for one second and just have faith that everything – good or bad – happens for a reason.

This photo has appeared in a handful of blogs already. Among some: wifely steps, please don’t talk to me i fall in love so easily

A Sad Story

You’re gonna love this one.

It’s the story of a wife in the city on the brink of quiet desperation. Who whispers a silent prayer to the universe almost every minute of the day to be given a break from the monotony of constant disappointment. Who is asking for just one great thing to restore her faith in humanity and the long-held belief that you get what you give. That what goes around, comes around.

This is the story of a wife who’s wanted nothing but to be a good friend, a dedicated and honest worker with integrity, a loving wife, a good daughter. But as the days go by, her wavering faith in the innate goodness of the human soul is reaching a point of no return.

What to do, when one is called ugly things to one’s face when the truth sits plainly at the injustice of it all?

What to do, when one is desperately seeking vindication yet knowing all the same that in this world, vindication almost never comes for those who truly deserve it?

What to do, when one is so weary of never having a moment to stand still and not have to think about anyone or anything but herself for a change?

What to do when every which way you turn, you still feel alone, overwhelmed with responsibility yet always still manage to look like the bad guy?

There’s the quintessential question: why do bad things happen to good people? I’d like to think I do qualify as a good person. Everyday, I go to sleep with a little leap of optimism in my heart that tomorrow things will get better. And then the next day, just when you thought the worst has passed, something else happens.

I wouldn’t make Coco O’Brien proud with my cynicism, but grant me this one moment of despair. In a few minutes, I need to rouse myself again and be the strong one again. Appear to the world that nothing is wrong and everything can be shrugged aside and moving on will be as easy as pie. Put on a sunny smile, a cheery wave even when you feel like ripping your insides to douse the pain in your heart.

I just need a break. Is anyone in the world listening?