Thursday, July 5, 2012


Maybe it comes with age.

Is there truth to the presumption that the older you are, the less tolerant you become? Or shouldn't it be the other way around?  

After all the years of one's earthly existence, shouldn't you just have this knee-jerk reaction and mumble, "Been there, done that ..." rather than go through the entire gamut of abandonment to capture the true meaning of frustration or exasperation?  Whatever.

But one thing is for sure: there are certain things that I have yet to understand.  Why?  Because I am mortal. Because I have limitations. And because I do not plan to duplicate the life of Mother Teresa or even claim that I have aspirations to mirror the assumed sainthood of the President's late Mommy.

There are things that I do not understand ... and people who I do not like and it's OK that I feel this way. Because there are also people who do not understand me as there are those who can't stand me either. So fair is fair.  

I know I can be a bitch  (OK, let me correct that: I am a bitch. I am an uberbitch sometimes pronounced as biii-atch!) and there is nothing I can do about it.  

As I said there are certain people who do not like me and I cannot help it ... nor can I blame them for it.  Why? Because there are also people who I do not like ... and I will not make any excuses for it either. So why should I feel bad if some people categorically cannot stand me when I cannot stand some people as well.

Tit for tat.

How ultimately shallow it must be for anyone to think that his or  her lifelong dream is to win Mister or Miss Congeniality. Leave that for social workers and pre-school teachers.  I am more Angelina Jolie than Julie Andrews.

I do not have to explain myself why I cannot stand the sight and sound of ________ because I know for a fact that said specimen of Darwinian achievement cannot stand my very presence as well.  The Universe has a way of making things even ... and, hey, I am not about to lead the choral singing of "Fill the World With Love" or "Isang Mundo, Isang Awit."

Unfortunately such displays and exhibitions of ultimate altruism violate the code of conduct of certified opinionated bitches like me.  And so anyway ... after that long, tedious, meandering introduction ...

I decided to list five things that I have yet to understand.  Some are trivial ... some are monumental.  Some are extremely personal while others challenge the entire theorem of the worm hole in the universe, tantamount to what Ridley Scott was trying to say in his latest opus entitled Prometheus.  Others are silly ... with all the historical significance of Shalala to Philippine history and culture while some are things that bother me enough to give me sleepless nights trying to figure out.

So let's proceed:

(1) I do not understand why parents bring their kids (by this I mean toddlers including babies who are still breastfed and who bawl at the slightest provocation) in crowded malls, tiangges or any public venue that can expose them to anything from a virus to kidnapping.

I asked a friend (who has too many kids for his own good) why parents do that.  Don't they know that: (a) they run the risk of having their children trampled as they scamper around the narrow alleys of tiangges in Greenhills where everyone is shoving one another to get a glimpse of goods teleported from Bangkok?  (b) their kids are thrown right into a crowd where body odors emanate from all directions and where noise pollution can possible damage some of the DNA strands of their beloved larvae?  (c) they also run the danger of completely losing their kids among the waves and waves of mall-crazy capitalist-hungry maddening crowd?

And I got the lamest answer possible: there is nobody left to take care of them at home.

I smiled at my friend and exerted maximum self-control, wanting very much to bash his head in to confirm that he and his wife and his children are the living proof why the RH Bill should be passed in this country even if 75% of the Filipinos are ex-communicated by the celibate priests.  If you expose your vulnerable children to the mammon of commercialism (and therefore risk so many dangers) just because you don't have anyone to take care of your little ones --- then, Honey, you have no right pro-creating.  

I do not think kids from ages a few months to four years old are ripe enough to be taught the joys of shopping at Toys R Us or much less ... to be shoved aside while their parents are fitting replica Ralph Lauren Polo shirts or examining Class A LV bags from Korea at stalls in Greenhills, right?  

Gimme a break!

(2) I do not understand how we can tolerate the brainwashing of young women to think that to be fair and white is to be beautiful and to be brown and dark is to be cheap, common and panget.

In the final year of the Mayan Calendar --- the dreaded 2012 --- Filipinas are still made to believe that maganda ang maputla.

Despite the fact that it has been proven in such zeniths of worldwide cultural events like the Donald Trump's Miss Universe Beauty Pageant (given much greater importance here than the Nobel Prize) that to be brown or kayumanggi is more beautiful than to have the pale skin of a mongrel, we still insist that iba talaga ang maputi because that is the only way to be maganda.

Excuse me for a minute while I barf.

OK, fine: I will submit to the fact that the porcelain beauty of Lucy Torres-Gomez is immaculate.  I will confess that Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo possesses timelessness ... and (sige na nga) Anne Curtis-Smith still creates moments of sexual identity confusion at my age reminding me of the same level of crises I went through post-puberty. Pero, my goodness naman!  

These ladies are not merely maputi.  They are beautiful. And if you get to know them, they are more beautiful in the inside than they are with what the eyes can behold.

Then again ... think of all the great Filipina beauties who have been celebrated by the world: Gloria Diaz, Aurora Pijuan, Desiree Verdadero, Chiqui Brosas, Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup, (O sige na nga, isali na!) Miriam Quiambao.  These ladies are anything but maputi, maputla or anak-araw. They are dusky beauties who celebrate the golden kayumanggi of their skins.

They are Filipinas the way that Filipinas can and should look like.  And they are beautiful.  The world acknowledged that.

So why are we brainwashing all these young ladies that they have to look like albinos to come close to being beautiful?  Why are we feeding them with all these chemicals to cleanse away all their skin pigmentation so that they can eventually become so white that they have turned transparent ... or even invisible?

Why are still equating brownness or darkness of the skin with pagka-muchaha or pagka-tsimay?

This is 2012, remember?  And we are still thinking like we are about to go on a paseo down Bagumbayan to see the indio get shot down for inciting rebellion and insulting the frailles?  

Now I really, really want to puke.

Let me just reiterate: just because you have hair black as night, lips red as blood and skin fair as snow does not mean that you can be mistaken for Lucy Torres-Gomez, huh?  There is a substantial difference between a beautification project ... from acquiring self-inflicted dementia.

And this leads me to ...

(3) I have nothing against anybody using the advancements in science and technology --- and maybe even witchcraft --- to keep themselves looking young.  But when reaches a point of resembling The Bride of Frankenstein or turning one's face to the state of waxen, then something must be mercilessly wrong.

No, I will not indulge the reader with examples because right after finishing the two sentences above, each and every one has somebody or the other in mind to personify the case I offered.

Somebody once said, "Well, if you have the money to splurge on diamond peels, Aptos procedure, liposuction, collagen enhancement and what-not, then who should stop you?"  I had two stock answers but I opted not to say anything.  Who should stop somebody addicted to pilfering with the God-given? Maybe God?  Or let's make it simpler --- maybe the mirror?

There is an art of growing older and being all the more beautiful with the passage of time.  The best thing you can do is to take care of yourself because you owe it to yourself that you take care of your body. That way, you take care of your soul as well.

When I think of very public figures who are so naturally beautiful but have now graduated to look like they have gone through a make-over by the professional "aestheticians" at the most popular establishments for the deceased along Araneta Avenue, I cannot help but feel said.

No, I stand corrected: I do not feel sad. I feel very, very bad when I see the desperation personified in clinging onto elusive and fleeting youth.  Why is it so difficult to understand that there is beauty in maturity ... and that the passage of years enhances a total re-definition of what is attractive and truly ... well, beautiful?

OK, maybe I should give examples: Dawn Zulueta.  She who has never pilfered with nature --- has become even more beautiful as she approaches middle age.  Here is another: Judy Ann Santos.  Now that she is in her thirties, she has never been as beautiful as before.  As a matter of fact, both Dawn and Judy Ann have never been as beautiful. Period.  And their secret is not enhancement. Or correction.  Or alteration.

It is leading happy and fulfilled lives.

Oh, but don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with trying to pull back time and attempting to remain forever young. But there is a limit.

And one should know the dividing line between alteration to downright aberration.

Since we are talking of age, let me deal with a sensitive issue.

(4) Since when did the adjective "old" turn into an insult?  Since when was it ever degrading, demeaning or even insulting to be old?  What authority or privilege do the young have to look down and condemn the old?

I do not understand this completely.

Real life anecdote: in Twitter, somebody sent me a message. It read, "What are you doing here? You are so old."

I was not really insulted. Instead I was confused.  Of course I realize that in my profession (and because of the kind of media exposure I receive) it could not be helped that you will have your share of bashers and haters.  As I said, I do not like and love everybody ... so I do not expect everybody to love me.

But to go out of your way to insult somebody can only point to a very lonely half-life who has no sense of self-esteem and whose name will only reach the papers if he is in the master list of passengers who died in a plane crash.  Or something like that.  There is such sadness in creatures who do not know how to calibrate the level of their insignificant existence.

Moreover, what is wrong with growing old?  Nowadays, considering the proliferation of all sorts of causes for diseases that terminate the life span of homo sapiens, isn't it more of a privilege to harvest so many years in a lifetime?  It is not only a matter of how many years you have lived ... but what you have done with your life, right?

I used to shriek each time somebody asks me how old I am.  I felt fear each time I had to admit that I have been around that long. But then ... considering what I have done with my life ... and how I take care of myself (ask all the gym rats of Fitness First and they will assure anyone that I can outlast people half my age in the spinning classes, hahahaha!) then why should I not be proud to be old?

Again, I remember a dinner I had with an ambassador and his assistant in his residence in Makati. I was with a group of people --- mostly journalists --- and when the subject of age came out, I told the ambassador's right hand man, "Oh, I am fifty-seven years old." His jaws dropped. So did Karen Davila's. They couldn't believe that I should be three years from retirement ... yet I can still wear skinny and carrot cut jeans and I can still sing the chorus of Nikki Minaj's Starship.

Yeah, yeah, yeah: old is a state of mind. So is being young.

Considering how the young are wasting away their lives thinking that one should work hard to the point of taunting death to be able to buy their gadgets, amortize their fancy cars and condos or even wear their designer clothes, I can be the remaining forty years of my life that more than half of them will never reach the aid of fifty.

I can bet on that.

That way ... they will never grow old.  Because they lost that most beautiful chance.

(5) Somebody should explain to me the reason behind the following:
- Why do people post photos of the food on their plate in Facebook or Twitter?
- Why do people have a sense of obligation to record every minute detail of their lives on Twitter? This includes the odors they smelled, the people they have come to love --- or hate, or even swapping insults in the net.
- Why do people have a compulsion to encode their random thoughts and feelings in 140 characters ... without thinking that this can get them into really really deep shit?

I am still trying to figure this out.

Apparently with the advent of social media was born the very "overshare".  

Oversharing is the reckless compulsion to say more than necessary right to the point that you are at the doorstep of self-incrimination.  Oversharing is pagpapakatotoo pushed to the level of panggagago or pagpapakatanga or even pambabastos.  Oversharing was brought about by mainstream media when it heralded such monumental/historical/life changing announcements as:

(a) unwanted pregnancies where names are not only named but hailing underage female celebrities who become teen-age mothers as martyrs and figureheads of modern day feminism
(b) sharing scandalous videos of various sex acts unwittingly or deliberately recorded for the sake of posterity or just to give a hint to future grandchildren about the dexterity of the bodies of their ancestors --- or perhaps giving proof to future anthropologists about the permutations of mating habits of post-digital human beings
(c) announcing to the world with pride and pathos about one's recently acquired sexually transmitted disease (complete with background music, judicious editing and perfect lighting)
(d) giving a blow-by-blow account (and therefore with such prime interest) about politicians splitting from their wives and speculations about who are they now dating.

The list goes on and on and on as if these precious morsels of facts and/or speculations can improve our economy or give us more guts to face the Chinese at the Scarborough Shoals.

So instead we have people ruining their lives and reputations with the aid of 140 characters in Twitter --- or their shoutouts in Facebook.

So instead we make public our private frustrations and emotional outbursts because we want the world to know because I am, therefore I tweet.

Regardless of how I try to rationalize, I cannot yet explain.  I cannot explain how allegedly intelligent celebrities can tweet such insensitive and politically-incorrect statements thereby igniting the fire of controversy and the ire of thousands.  Well, not unless you are aspiring for public flogging, then why not?  I do not understand why in an irrational (or alcohol-induced) moment one can make hasty statements for the world to see ... tantamount to pouring gasoline to one's self and asking your mother to light the match.

Well, maybe one day there will be an answer to all this. Or maybe the answers are apparent but they are too close for comfort that I could not see them too clearly.

In the meantime, on with life.  One thing we all have to admit, ours is not to know or comprehend literally everything.