Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I've turned 29 today! There's a sign to shine, still fine at twenty-nine!

(there's more about this soon!)


Twenty-nine Years

(as promised above) 27/08/2008

I’ve known my parents who have guided me through the years.
I’ve known my siblings who are always the reason of my laughter and tears.
I’ve known my grannies, my uncles and aunties who have given all their cheers!
I’ve known my cousins who were once my playmates and now my ‘Cavaliers!’

I’ve met my mentors who are clever on the subject matter
and on the moral of real life.
I’ve met my classmates who revealed the realism of individual differences and strife.
I’ve met my friends who showed the importance of camaraderie, and the value of genuine service.
I’ve met plenty of enemies who challenged my patience and had tested my forgiveness.

I’ve encountered various bosses who believed in my ability and had commended my job.
I’ve encountered some subordinates who ignored my authority and had rejected my views.
I’ve encountered workmates who tried to put me down and had driven me to sob.
I’ve encountered co-employees who have been very supportive and exceptionally virtuous!

I’ve been to different places that are just once in my dream!
I’ve eaten a range of cuisine from the modest relish to the deliciously supreme!
I’ve read the greatest books and have seen the best movies.
I’ve endured the humblest lifestyle and have enjoyed the world of techies!

Twenty-nine years seem so long for my body and mind to grow strong.
Twenty-nine years is so short to send out love and extend support.
Twenty-nine years of learning means lifelong years of sharing!
Twenty-nine years persevering, twenty-nine years of believing—
Means many more years of achieving!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Personae Non-grata

(A Love Story of a Poultry Farm Worker)

HER NAME is Stephanie. She’s only 23, and still in the uni taking up Biology. She’s already a mommy, but doesn’t have a hubby. She’s blonde and chubby. She’s my love—my one and only!

Our love story is quite complex. The rules are plenty—like a codex, all set by her family! They don’t like me. All I want from her is s_x, they reckon. But they are wrong, because my heart is beating so strong. I have promised to love her ‘til the cows come home! [To avoid confusion, I want to make a clarification: I didn’t sire her son, it was her ex.]

I am not welcome in their house in Gawler. I am not allowed to come, or even see her!

Is it because I am a foreigner in this Land Down Under? Or is it because I am just a poor chook-minder?

Five days a week she’s in town, living in a uni student quarter. So, there’s no reason for me to frown, there’s no need to slow down. I have regularly headed downtown to hug and kiss my beloved princess!

Eyes and tongues are everywhere, however. Our escapades didn’t last longer because her family is so queer to discover everything we did this winter!

THE NIGHT WAS DARK. The temperature was freezing, and the wind was wheezing! As the coals were burning, she’s preparing our dinner that chilly evening. There’s somebody on the door, knocking and yelling! I moved towards the door to see who’s coming... It was her mum and her elder brother, with her uncle and her cousin!

Without a word, they hit and beat me! I couldn’t fight, the battle isn’t tight! She cried and pleaded but she was neglected! The physical attack continued and the emotional assault was then pursued! I had helplessly faced the right and left fists; and had been relentlessly awarded with up and down kicks! I was brutally kneaded until I bled!

I was so lucky to find a chance to break free, but unfortunately, bruised, wounded and bloody! I ran so fast like an Olympian, I’ve left my outmoded Nissan. Without my Skyline—the only asset of mine, I hopped like a kangaroo, and flew like a cockatoo!

INSIDE MY CARAVAN, I’ve just got out of my bed. I am still sick and very weak... While here I am writing, she is there still sleeping. She left her family and has chosen me... Her future is at stake, all for our love’s sake!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hello Philippines!

I’ve just finished speaking to Nanay over the phone. The call summary of my mobile phone read 54:36 when we ended our conversation. A lengthy chat like this is only happening once a month, or luckily, every 3 weeks. It’s not practical for me to ring and talk to her weekly (except for emergency situations, of course) considering the cost of an international call from Australia to the Philippines. A daily exchange of short message service (SMS) is enough for us to update ourselves with each other’s activities, achievements and anxieties.

Nanay was actually watching the evening news on the national television channel when I rang, and as compliance to my request, she instantly turned the TV off. It’s not that I don’t want her to watch the news, but because the sound was very disturbing as it was actually a noise when my ears started to capture it over the telephone line.

“The news are not really very good,” my mum said, “it doesn’t matter if you interrupted our viewing with your call.” She enumerated the headlines and issues for the day: the bombing and the battle of the rebel troops with the military in our province, the GRP and the MILF peace process, the oil price and the protests of the concerned groups, the charter change and the opposing teams, the justices and the alleged bribery case in the GSIS-Meralco issues, and many more. I just can’t stop my mum from mentioning these things earlier, as a respect, and tell her that tomorrow morning I’ll be updated about these things through my Australian-based source of Filipino news.

Aside from the national news, financial problems, personal matters and family worries were as well discussed. [Don’t be bothered, I’ll not reveal it because it is classified and it is not my issue here.] It’s good to have updates from my loved ones back home. I can compare and contrast, and finally realize the situations of both countries which are very important to me. While the Philippine media is very busy presenting issues regarding those very critical national concerns, Australian news this evening was mainly focussed on how their Olympic athletes fight for their 5th gold medal and showed how their swimmers established another world record in the Beijing Games. My favourite Australian current affair show tackled issues on how they can help save the Murray River and Australia’s plans to combat climate change.

Upon hearing all the news (including our family problems) back home, my thoughts of giving up this job as a chook-minder (in this driest state in the driest continent in the world) has been offset. Perhaps it is good to stay here in S.A. and happily pick up the daily mortalities inside the sheds and drive the farm tractor to bury those decomposing dead birds by myself; or start putting on a pair of earplugs in my ears and enjoy shearing the thick, tall grasses in the farm perimeter using the auto-mechanical slasher. I admit that being a poultry farm worker is not easy but packing up my things and rushing back home is not a very good decision at the moment (the detailed reasons? That's another story).

Now back to my phone conversation with Nanay... As we shared our stories, my 3-year old nephew—RJ, was grabbing the mobile phone from my mum, screaming, “ako man!” (me too!), which means he wanted to speak to me, as well. His grandma allowed him to.

“Daddy, bakal eroplano nga nagakamang kag nagalupad, kotse, kag bag ko nga may karito ha...” (Daddy, please buy me an airplane that crawls and soars, a car and a bag with a wheel...)

I instantly answered, “Yes, I will,” because I know that with his young, innocent mind I could surely satisfy his countless fantasies in this world!

But I suddenly started to think about tomorrow, how about if a growing RJ will soon ask for something about the Real World: to give him peace and harmony, a government with integrity, food security and a happy family?! Can I buy and give him at least one of these? I wept.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Promise!

I heard the news this morning. The Supreme Court has issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) for the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the expansion of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

I have mixed emotions about it. I was surprised because I haven’t heard about the issue in the past days, considering my complete attendance in front of the television during the Filipino News every morning in SBS-Australia. I am happy because the MOA has been restrained. I am sad when I realized that the GRP’s peace-negotiating panel hasn’t consulted nor conducted public hearings with the constituents of the affected provinces (North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Palawan) and city (Zamboanga City) before composing this agreement. I am scared about the future of my province should this plan be pursued. I am worried about the future of my country should this agreement be upheld.

I was only 10 years old when ARMM was established. What has been left in my memory at this moment is the plebiscite that was conducted where the voters in my hometown were given the chance to write YES or NO on their powerful ballots, as an answer to the question whether they wanted their province to be included in the autonomous government or not. Majority voted for NO in my province (North Cotabato).

Twelve days before my 22nd birthday in 2001, the same opposing note was heard from 90.98% of the electorate of North Cotabato after the conclusion of the ARMM inclusion/expansion referendum. I wasn’t in my hometown that time because it’s the first day of my 3 days veterinary licensure exam in Manila, but my cry would be the same had my fate allowed me to cast my powerful vote that day!

This year, twenty-two days before I turn 29, the people in North Cotabato has again started expressing their protest against the move of the Philippine government to put them under the governance of the ARMM. During this late Australian winter, I also wore my red jumper in the poultry farm this morning to join my fellow Cotabatenos back home as they demonstrate their courage amidst this crisis and as they show their anger against this careless decision of the GRP Peace Panel.

I oppose because I care. I oppose because I believe that the secret MOA on Ancestral Domain is not the ultimate solution to attain the genuine peace for Mindanao that we’ve been seeking for ages. I oppose because I believe that the secret MOA on Ancestral Domain is not the ultimate solution to achieve the real economic progress for Mindanao that we’ve been waiting for decades.

I believe that the ARMM will now take this as a challenge. I believe that the ARMM will now immediately start to show to the world that its power can diffuse genuine peace that will originate from the 5 provinces and a city under the present rule. I believe that the ARMM will now immediately start to show to the world that its authority can bring real economic progress that will originate from the 5 provinces and a city under the present rule.

As soon as the ARMM can accomplish these two important things, I will immediately withdraw my protest. Promise.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One World, One Dream

I do not want to lose.
I am afraid to fail.
So I never did choose
to study Law in Yale.

I am not into sports,
to exert my efforts.
'coz I cannot apprehend,
without a GOLD at the end!

Is this lady I love the most,
can give me the true love utmost?
While in doubt I will not marry,
than to suffer in Calvary.

I am used to be a winner,
in every field of endeavour.
I wanted to be a victor,
in all my goals in the future!

I am always extra careful
to shoot every ball in the goal!
But life is fair as it always be-
a spell of gloom and a span of glee!
Life is a game, to win is my aim!
GOLD is my dream, my top prior'ty.
Yet with silver I shall be ready
as with the bronze I shall be happy!