Wednesday, June 17, 2009

AT HOME WITH THE WAR (April 13, 2009)

Chip Tsao's column entitled The War at Home on March 27 had only 465 words.
However, it was not the form.
Indeed, he needs an editor, especially for this sentence alone: “As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil.”
But it was the content.
Just because “there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as HK$3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong,” he can sweep the Philippines “as a nation of servants”?
Thus, we have no right to “sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary.”
So, what he did was he summoned Louisa, his domestic assistant “who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture.”
He added that he “sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell everyone of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.”If war breaks out between the Philippines and China, he would fire his overqualified maid because he would “not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state” he was paying to wash his toilet and clean his windows 16 hours a day.”
And reminded everyone that they have “a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher,” that some of his friends “have already declared a state of emergency at home, and that “their maids have been made to shout 'China, Madam/Sir' loudly whenever they hear the word "Spratly".”
In the end, he had the balls to belittle everything, or everybody, when he ended with “I’m not sure if that's going a bit too far, at least for the time being.”
In fairness, HK Magazine’s publisher Asia City Publishing Group issued an apology and, after three days, warned its readers “not to leave derogatory comments on the website.”
Perhaps, while the link to the online version of Chip Tsao's column was rerouted to another page, we got an email from a former D.H. from H.K.: “I come before you as a parent of two now fatherless young children. They are the children of Jose “Pepe” Riveral Manegdeg III. Pepe was assassinated on November 28, 2005 in Apatot, San Esteban Ilocos Sur with 22 gunshot wounds. He is a lay leader of the Rural Missionary of the Philippines. He was monitored, harassed, demonized and subsequently murdered. November 27 at 10p.m., I last heard Pepe’s hearty laugh over the phone while I was in Hongkong. Early in the day, we exchanged calls. I was bidding farewell with my fellow domestic helpers in a Turtle Park in Hongkong. He was enjoying a picnic in Burnham Park with his children and nephews and then went windowshopping at the National Book Store. The last text I got from him was around 8.55 p.m. of November 28. He just finished his lecture in a seminar and was on his way out to get a bus. A bus to Manila where he would pick me up from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 5 p.m. after meeting a colleague in the morning. November 29, 9 a.m., I was at the Philippine consulate in Hongkong. Waiting for a managing director of Deutsche Bank Hongkong to sign my new employment contract. And then, I get a call that in my craziest imagination never occurred. My brother told me that my husband could not meet me…as he is taken…he is dead. And our children? All they knew was the sudden change that instead of waiting for their father coming home with their mother, they were taken to Manila to meet me. After the excitement of our reunion, they asked for their father. And it was a moment of telling them their father was not coming home anymore.”
That was Florence Macagne-Manegdeg.
Her ancestral name is Dom-an, 36 yrs old, a mother of two children and a flutist.
We met her at Ching Abad Santos' TILAMSIK NG SINING through Baidy Mendoza who introduced us to her music four years ago.
Instantly, we invited her to perform at the Conspiracy Garden Cafe where we had been hosting the Conspiwriters Tuesdays but she politely begged off since “Manila is 12 hours away from my Sagada.” Nevertheless, she kept us posted. In fact, last Holy Week, she gave us these lines: “Tangggap ko / Ang kahihiyan sa aking pananahimik / At pag pag-iwas sa karupukan / Ng lumiliyab na galit... // Ngunit, / Hindi ko matanggap / Ang walang hanggang pagnanais / ng Kapangyarihan... / at kapabayaan sa paglaganap ng kabulastugan at kasamaan...// Hindi ko matanggap/ang mapagpanggap na kabanalan / habang ang kamatayan at kasinungalingan / ay siyang sinasamba at pinapakawalan...»
Is this for Chip Tsao? No, as Layad Kasiyana, she wrote last year, on February 27 -- in one of her sanctuaries -- the Sacred Heart Novitiate.
Well, we could simply wish she was a part of the 48th UP National Writers Workshop that began yesterday. It coincided with a canao at the BenCab Museum in Km. 6, Asin Road where the exhibit New Figurations opened at its Gallery Indigo with the paintings, prints, and photographs of Virgillio Aviado, Welbart Bar tolome, Igan d’Bayan, Plet Bolipata, Elmer Borlongan, BenCab, Marina Cruz, Kiko Escora, James Gabito, Emmanuel R. Garibay, Kawayan de Guia, Winner Jumalon, Mark Justiniani, Willy Magtibay, Joy Mallari, Jose Tence Ruiz, John Frank Sabado, Popo San Pascual, Aman Santos, Jose Santos III, Emmanuel Santos, Pam Yan Santos, Rodel Tapaya, Roger “Rishab” Tibon, Ronald Ventura, and Wig Tysmans
Today until April 19 this year’s workshop will be held in Camp John Hay with its director -- National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario – who announced earlier the following fellows: Mikael Co and Ayer Arguelles (Tula); Jing Panganiban-Mendoza (Malikhaing Sanaysay) Norman Wilwayco, Vlad Gonzales, and Alvin Yapan (Kuwento); Angelo Suarez and Carlomar Daoana (Poetry); Felisa Batacan and Dean Alfar (Fiction); Criselda Yabes and Carljoe Javier (Creative Nonfiction). Aside from us, the workshop panelists include all advisers, fellows, and associates of Likhaan: The University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing such as Dean Almario, National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, ICW director Jose Dalisay, Jr., Gemino Abad, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Neil Garcia, Charlson Ong, Conchitina Cruz, Jun Cruz Reyes, Rolando Tolentino, Mario Miclat, and Romulo Baquiran, Jr. Please our blog hub for more information.
By the way, our co-fellow during the first Silliman University's Semestral Workshop in 1988, Chi Balmaceda Gutierrez, is reminding writers who love Baguio. To those of us who would like to submit stories for the Centennial Edition of the Baguio City Yearbook magazine, we only have until April 2009. This 200-page Centennial Edition is supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. So, double-time, since it is now in the process of design conceptualization. Then to be launched on September 1, its centenary. For details, here's the Iink
Or else, you will be chip-tsaoed!
A man opened an old bottle. the genie inside asked for his wish.
MAN: Make me desirable and irresistible to sexy ladies.
GENIE: Wish granted.
He became a...comfort room!
We cry when our hearts couldn’t hide the pain anymore.
Cry if you want.
That’s not a weakness.
It actually heals the wound that laughter can’t cure.

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