Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Growing Older

Diane Keaton, a woman of graceSource
At a certain age women should learn how to grow older with grace. Enough with the Botox, Latisse, Restylane, whatever -lane! Wrinkles, crows' feet, and other facial lines are so beautiful; they tell the story of the laughter, tears, joys, trials, and triumphs in your life. Why erase the story of you and where you've been?

Rami KashouSource
At a certain age men should stop the delusion that the comb-over hides the patch of sweaty, pinky scalp on top of their heads. Dear Men: If you're really attached to having hair, invest in hair plugs or join Hair Club for Men. Get a wig. Bond with Rogaine, even. However, why don't you just shave it all off? Bald is beautiful and yes, I dare say...sexy (in Rami Kashou's case).

When I was a kid I loved water so much and wanted to be a mermaid, so I'd cover my feet with a pillowcase and legs with blankets, and flop around the floor singing, "Part of your world." 

Now that I am older I still love water and still love mermaids, but am more into sharks. Dolphins, however, are nasty little buggers.

You know you are too old to be cool when you receive a set of knives and spices as presents, and you are over-the-moon chuffed about it. You also shake your head and mutter, "Kids these days" when you see a teenager strutting through the streets with his pants hanging past his butt, exposing his boxers. 

You know you are too young to be old when you still get carded at R-rated movies and clubs, because you have "such an innocent, baby face." Conversely, you still get the urge to stick your tongue out when in the middle of a heated debate. 

When I was younger I listened to the music of Hanson, the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, David Bowie, Fiona Apple, The Three Tenors, Braddah Iz, Hapa, 'Opihi Pickers, Pure Heart, Keali'i, Maria Callas, Leyla Gencer, Lea Salonga...and the Dawson's Creek soundtrack. Ad nauseum. My da got so sick of me playing Hanson's Middle of Nowhere CD (particularly MMMBop!) that he gave me $200 to throw it in the trash. I agreed, of course...and with that money I bought a new Hanson CD :oP 

Because I'm now too old to be cool I still stubbornly cling to the last vestige of coolness in my antiquated bod and listen to the same music, plus P!nk, Shakira, Nickleback, A Fine Frenzy, Dashboard Confessional, Eva Cassidy, Cibo Matto, Mor ve Otesi, Sertab Erener, and Sezen Aksu. 

On my last birthday an ex made me cry in a good way by showing up unexpectedly. I'd been moody and teary 'cos I thought he forgot. Not a greeting, not a sound! He also said he was going sailing. Anyhoo...he planned this whole shebang.About five of us went down Nantucket and had a mini sailing trip. After that, my momma and I had a mother-daughter bonding thing in CT. 

The year before that my momma and I spent the day at (an AmerIndian) reservation. During lunch, I literally choked on my cake because the aforementioned ex showed up; he flew from Tokyo--where he works as a VP for his family's company--as a surprise for the weekend. The next day, some friends and I had dinner at Upstairs on the Square, then had drinks at Om. 

On my next birthday I want to be in either Santorini (Greece), Capri/Ischia/Firenze (Italy), or Troy/Turkish Riviera (Turkey). Especially Troy, since "The Iliad" has such great personal meaning to me. 

The best birthday present I ever got was , is, and will always be TIME. Presence, too. 

The first time I felt grown up was when my momma and grandmother allowed me to "help" them with making Pinoy-style macaroni salad. I was about four, and my "job" was to mix the ingredients. Of course I ended up eating most of the cheese before they even got into the bowl, but I'll never forget that moment. It was also the moment I began to love cooking. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just the Way You are, Bruno Mars

Oh her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they're not shining
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying

She's so beautiful
And I tell her every day

Yeah I know, I know
When I compliment her
She wont believe me
And its so, its so
Sad to think she don't see what I see

But every time she asks me do I look okay
I say

When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile,
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you're amazing
Just the way you are

Her nails, her nails
I could kiss them all day if she'd let me
Her laugh, her laugh
She hates but I think its so sexy

She's so beautiful

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dear Friend,

Luv, when I say that I love you, the emphases are on love and you. I love and accept you for the person that you are, as well as for who you were and the you that you've yet to find. Let life bring on the storms and thunders and broken roads. It'll be okay. I'll be right next to ya with an umbrella and a compass. Let's wait out the storms, and together, we'll hold out for the rainbow peeking on the horizon.We're in this together. 


Glitter in the Air, P!nk

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face
And said I just don't care?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn
The thunder before lightning, the breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table, the walk before the run
The breath before the kiss and the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee, calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it ever get better than tonight? 


Friday, August 27, 2010

Micro-loans Available Through Cherokee Nation Program

Cherokee Nation News Release
(918) 453-5378 FAX (918) 458-6181
Cherokee Nation Director of Communications@cherokee.org
© Cherokee Nation - All Rights Reserved

Sometimes a small boost is all that’s needed to get a business underway or to help get credit on the right track. That’s the premise behind some of the small business loan programs available now through the Cherokee Nation.

The tribe’s Small Business Assistance Center, located at 17675 S. Muskogee Ave., in Room 105, is now taking applications for micro-loans to help start up a new small business or to improve an existing one, by adding new materials, work tools or merchandise. Credit-builder loans start with amounts as small as $100 and are geared towards artists and home-based businesses. Other types of micro-loans are available as well.

Small business owners or would-be entrepreneurs can get the ball rolling by meeting with one of the SBAC’s business coaches. The borrower must work with the coach to develop a business plan and will be required to attend a business planning workshop before the loan is submitted for approval.

Interested parties may also simply attend an informational workshop hosted by the SBAC to see whether a micro-loan is right for their business. Dates and locations for upcoming workshops include:

     Collinsville— Monday, Aug. 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1323 W. Broadway St. 

     Kansas, Okla.—Wednesday, Sept. 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Northeast Technology    Center, 450 N. Highway 59 

     Bartlesville— Friday, Sept. 3 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 1003 S. Virginia Ave.

To participate in the micro-loan programs, applicants must be a citizen of a federally recognized tribe and must live within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdictional area. Other eligibility criteria may apply, depending on the specific program.

For more information please contact Veronica Hix at (918) 207-3955 or e-mail 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Portraits of the Sin Verguenza Collective



Nine people lost their lives.

A woman's 2 daughters and husband were killed, and the only family member she has left--her son--is currently fighting for his life. The bus is the scene of a massive carnage--proof of how low humanity can descend. The victims' blood have barely dried, and now vultures have descended to take pictures in front of where lives were lost, as though they were posing in front of Disneyland? 

The smiling girl (second one on the right) really makes my blood boil. Have we, as a society, completely become desensitized to horrors and evil? Have we really come to the point wherein we can happily pose in front of where some woman lost her entire family and not feel like there's something wrong with it? Is the pain felt by others that much different than our own, had we been in the same situation? How can we not show even a shred of respect to those who've lost their lives or lost loved ones? How the hell can so-called educated young women and cops be so brainless as to think that using a vehicle of death as a prop would be a good idea?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Be indignant or hopeless about the indifference of others. 

Suffering should never be a spectacle. Grief should be afforded dignity, and mourning be given peace. After a raging thunderstorm, a safe haven must be extended. In our darkest hour, we must hold our heads high and keep walking towards the light--any light--no matter how weary we are. 

And yet we've somehow morphed into a society that thrives on spectacles and noise. We've become too far disconnected that we no longer feel the pain of others. 

Dignidad  lang po. 

Bigyan nyo naman ng dignidad ang isang lugar kung saan ang buong mundo ng isang babae ay nawala sa isang saglip. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Incompetence, Corruption, and Lack of Accountability: Bastion of a Demoralized Country

I wish I could say that Rolando Mendoza is an anomaly amongst cops in the Philippines, but if I did, the flames of hell would roast me like a lechon for telling one whopper of a lie. I wish I could say that kidnapping syndicates are few and far between in the Philippines, but my already tomato-ey nose would grow to Pinocchio lengths if I did, because they are as prevalent as hipsters in Brooklyn. Add in corruption on every level, and you have a thoroughly demoralized country with citizens enrolling in nursing courses en masse as a means to someday escape the country in droves.

My mom's from the Philippines, and despite the fact that I can be very harsh in my criticism of the country's unparalleled and systemic corruption, I love it. I love the Philippines the way you might love your alcoholic uncle or racist father--it's love mixed with embarrassment and hate; acceptance but wanting change.

There are things that make me hopeful about the Philippines, like the fact that an honest man was recently elected as its leader after disastrous administrations ruled by a corrupt midget and a mustachioed thief . I was filled with pride and hope when Noynoy Aquino spoke in Tagalog in his first State of the Nation Address, and called out corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. His is a transparent administration, one that holds leaders accountable for their constituents, and not their bank accounts.

The kurakot buaya posse known as the Philippine Police, however, reaffirms my belief that although all hope isn't lost, the Philippines has a long way to go to be seen as credible and trustworthy in the eyes of the world. Yes, Pinoys are known to be friendly, talented, and hard-working, but the Philippines is also (in)famous for being one of the poorest, most corrupt countries in Asia. Hell, look up dear ole Marcos on Guinness World Records, and guess what? Filed under most corrupt. 

Up to the time I turned 18, my parents and I visited my momma's family in the Philippines every summer. Although I still salivate over thoughts of dried mangoes, morcon, and sorbetes---to the horror of my family, street food is one of my guilty novelties--- the last time I visited was years ago. I am so sick and tired of landing at NAIA and being accosted by baggage handlers, officials, and the rest of the corrupt posse for money. I'm sick of having to pay fees that these badge-flashing thieves come up with off the top of their greedy (yet empty) heads. I'm sick of being in a car that's randomly stopped by cops for some imaginary traffic violation, and being told to pay a "small fee" to "forget the whole thing." For coffee, they'd say. I am sick of being told to "tone down my Americanness" and not being able to go by myself to another store inside the mall  for fear of being kidnapped for ransom. I am sick of hearing about my cousins' classmates actually being kidnapped, and then worrying about my very Chinese/Korean-looking cousin being kidnapped, because syndicates target foreigners under the assumption that they are rich and could therefore afford to give ransom. I am sick of the fact that whenever I'm in the Philippines, I have to turn off my trusting nature so as not to be taken advantage of. There are "crocodiles dressed in uniform" lurking on every corner, my momma would warn me.  I am sick of losing hope in a beautiful country that once stood proud against its conquerors. Where have the Rizals gone? The GomBurZas? The Gabrielas and the Corys? Where have they gone? Are they forever lost? Can the Philippines ever find its way?

Cops like Rolando Mendoza, who was fired because of a history of extortion and corruption, are the norm. Sure, there are honest ones, but they are few and far between, and because of the poverty in the Philippines, statistically they won't stay honest for long. Sometimes the good guys aren't rewarded. Sometimes the nice guys do finish last. That's why those who can, leave. Those who choose to stay are the elites, who jet set back and forth. It's a dog eat dog world.

Ninoy Aquino once said that "the Pilipino is worth dying for," and he did die for this belief. It's a shame that his convictions are being spatted on by the selfishness and corruption of the very people he fought for.


:::End Rant:::

Philippine police: Authorities botched hostage rescue

By the CNN Wire Staff
August 24, 2010 9:25 a.m. EDT

Manila, Philippines (CNN) -- Authorities botched rescue efforts during a deadly hostage situation on a tourist bus, the Philippine National Police said in a statement Tuesday.
Manila police said former police officer Rolando Mendoza, upset at having lost his job, held hostage a busload of tourists from Hong Kong on Monday and killed eight of them before being shot dead.
"We do not want to pass sweeping judgment or make early conclusions except to say that our intention to peacefully end this hostage drama was spoiled when the hostage-taker suddenly exhibited violent behavior and began shooting the hostages," Philippine National Police Chief Director General Jesus A. Verzosa said in a statement.
But a statement from the national police said officials have already noted "some observations and defects during their close monitoring of the unfolding events."
Video: Surviving the Manila bus standoff
Video: Hong Kong issues Philippine warning
Video: Hostage aftermath in Philippines
Video: Bus hostage drama ends in Philippines
The statement did not provide details, but lists "poor handling of the hostage negotiation," "inadequate capability, skills, equipment and planning of the assault team," "improper crowd control," "inadequate training and competence of assault team leader" and "non-compliance to media relations procedures in hostage situations."
Police said Tuesday that the bus had a television on board, which could have allowed the gunman to watch live coverage of the standoff.
Survivors were scheduled to leave the Philippines Tuesday as officials and family members called on authorities to investigate.
"The investigation has got to find out, what was the turning point? What happened?" Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon told CNN Tuesday.
Gordon told CNN that interviews with survivors have revealed that the situation inside the bus changed dramatically toward the end of the 10-hour standoff.
"Apparently the man went berserk. He was telling everybody he was not going to harm [them]...He said that nobody's going to get harmed. He said that he was probably going to die, but not the hostages," he said.
A woman who was on the bus told reporters her husband was killed when he tried to stop the gunman.
"My husband was very brave. He rushed out from the back of the bus to try to stop the killer," said the woman, who identified herself as Alicia Leung.
She told reporters that she pretended to be dead in order to survive.
"Why did authorities not rescue us? There were so many of us on the bus. Why did no one come to rescue us? It is so cruel," she said.
In Manila, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he had ordered an investigation, and would wait until it is completed before deciding whether anyone should lose his or her job.
In Hong Kong, officials and residents questioned how Filipino authorities had handled the hostage situation.
"This is a serious blow to Hong Kong people. We all feel very devastated," Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang told reporters Tuesday, saying that the government would soon announce community mourning events.
Four men and four women were killed in the standoff, authorities in Hong Kong said. One passenger was critically wounded and six others were hospitalized with less serious injuries after the 10-hour standoff erupted into gunfire, Tsang said.
The Hong Kong-based tour guide was among those who died, Hong Thai Travel said in a statement. Some of the victims were insured and would be compensated, the travel agency said.
The gunman released nine of the hostages, including a mother and her three children, a man with diabetes, and two photographers. The bus driver also escaped.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Tuesday that two of the released hostages were British nationals.
Manila police official Leocadio Santiago told CNN that Mendoza's family members spoke with him early in the standoff and that he appeared "very reasonable and very psychologically stable."
Mendoza was dismissed a year ago for extortion, Manila Vice Mayor Ikso Moreno said, and he wanted his motion for reconsideration to be heard.
"He felt that it was being neglected," Moreno said. "So he went on hostaging a bus full of foreign individuals. So when we talked to him this afternoon, that's what he wanted."
Moreno said that Mendoza's brother was arrested because he was "guilty of conspiring with his brother" and allegedly helped instigate the shooting.
Gordon said the brother's arrest may have pushed the gunman over the edge.
"When he saw his brother getting accosted by the policemen, he went berserk and he started firing," he said.
CNN's Sarita Harilela and journalists Constance Cheng, Maria Ressa and Arlene Samson-Espiritu contributed to this report.

Post Secret Perspectives: Soldiers

Quote of the Day


Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things--with resignation, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.

--President Cory C. Aquino

We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl