Thursday, February 28, 2008


It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

-The Invitation

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another One On Compassion

I know somebody will not be very happy with this post (i.e., my financial planner). But what the heck! He's gonna find out sooner or later anyway. Might as well blog about it now.


So yeah, my computer crashed and I need to have Windows reinstalled. Dell tech support assured me earlier today that there is hope. The hard disk is ok and the files are recoverable. Not all of them though. They can only recover up to 10 Gb of files. I could have bitched and bickered nonstop to force them to back up my whole C:/ partition, but I was just drained of energy after staying on the phone with them for about 3 hours, that I just accepted their offer with a sigh.

Still, I really think I need to get myself a new computer. My Dell is 3 years old already and I'm sure it will crash again in the near future. And next time around, on its 2nd major stroke, I doubt it will still be revive-able.

I was on my way home early this afternoon, and I passed by this little shop in Citygate, when I felt a strong force of energy calling me. It was irresistible. I looked to the direction the energy was coming from and I saw a little green reptile. He was lonely. He stared at me as if saying, "Are you just gonna stand there and ignore my plea for help? Where is your heart?" I was dumbfounded.

This untimely tantrums my Dell is throwing, plus the planned trip I have with friends to Bohol before the next payday, and the many unforeseen expenses this month have all made my March budget really, really tight. But I'm only human. I have a heart and more often than it may seem, my compassion takes over me. Like today. When I saw the green reptile. Maybe I will just scrimp on tuna and rice over the next couple of days. Maybe I will need to re-adjust my social life this month. Maybe I will just ask Dan to extend his graciousness some more so I could use his computer until the next payday, when I have more financial freedom to get myself a new one. Maybe I will just have to press pennies harder over the next 3 weeks. It doesn't matter. I was bent on adopting the reptile to make his life just a tad happier. In my warm apartment, he will have friends who will welcome him with loving arms when I bring him home. So, without thinking twice, I asked the foster home to allow me to bring him home. After about 2 minutes of negotiaitons, I found myself clutching him in my arms.

And look how happy he is in his new home!

The chocolate brown cowhide baby that I adopted in December is now also enjoying her new-found joy. She is French but was born and raised in the UK. They are the newest playmates in my family. Oh! (How could I forget?) And there's also the black little trendy kid from Manila that I adopted from my good friend Jethro. He's a bit shy though. He's still finding his place in the family. In time, I'm sure he'll be ok.

There's just one more kid that's waiting for me to own her from her foster home. Her name is Donna, a big, white girl from New York. Maybe next monthy, Donna.

So, in honor of my ever-growing loving family, here is our family's song...

"...We are a family/ Like a giant tree/ Branching up towards the sky..."

Friday, February 22, 2008


My fuckin' Dell laptop fuckin' crashed.
I am fuckin' crippled.

*thanks to Dan for letting me use his laptop.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Across The Universe" Got It Across

As an 80’s baby, I never really knew what it was like to live in the hippy era; what the revolution was all about; why the Beatles was definitive of their generation; and what profundity was hidden in their songs. Thanks to the wonderful brain of Julie Taymor, the same brain that brought us “Frida” and “The Lion King”, I now understand a little better.

I initially thought the idea behind “Across the Universe” was very simple: pick 30 of out of the many songs of Beatles, make music videos out of them, then conceptualize a storyline that would gel all 30 of them together. That simple. Still, it was a task Herculean for the novice.

One of the things that worked well about the film is how they introduced the central character, Jude and his love interest, Lucy in the first 3 minutes of the film. Instantly, one knew that somewhere in the film, "Hey Jude" and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” would be sung. As these two characters develop along with the others, the audience is left guessing how each character could start a conflict to bring in those songs in the story, until that poignant, tear-jerking moment when "Hey Jude" was actually sung.

Although it felt like the sole purpose of every character and every scene was to propel the story towards the “Hey Jude” moment, it would be unreasonable to say that it was the only song the stood out. The way the upbeat “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” was remade was astonishing. Prudence, the lesbian cheerleader (who later on evolved to be a musician), sang it to her girl friend, to whom her infatuation was never revealed. It was especially biting to hear her sing the line “Please let me be your man.” Then there was the more tragic interpretation of “Let It Be”. Imagine the Detroit race riots --- black men and women, and children, running frantically; gunshots; bomb explosions. The song started a capella as the music bed for that scene, interspersed with the death of Lucy’s boyfriend in Vietnam. The camera panned to reveal that the soulful voice was coming from a black child, distraught and hiding beneath an abandoned car. The song launched to a gospel choir rendition towards the chorus, where the scene also moved from the riot and the Vietnam war to the funeral of the black child that we saw singing a few bars of music earlier, and that of the soldier-boyfriend of Lucy. Another one was “I Am The Walrus”, performed in the film by Bono, in which the film somehow attempted to show the audience the psychedelic mood and the trend of the late 60’s: revolution (sexual, spiritual, socio-political) and drugs (remember that this was the golden age of marijuana and the birth of ecstasy). And of course, the way “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was used to convey the weeping of the nation when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

The visuals (both animation and cinematography) were a treat. They were at certain points funny, sometimes grotesque, or literal, or symbolic. Other times they were just plain spectacular. “Strawberry Fields” was one of those numbers that combined all those to come out as one rich visual moment. I also think that it was also in this number that the film got its biggest achievement in cinematography. In the first to scenes of Lucy and Jude together, “If I Fell” and “Something”, the colors were very earthy – browns, grays, black and white --- and the lines were clean and sharp. These were the scenes that their love was beginning to blossom: a great contrast with “Strawberry Fields” where the dominant color was red and the visible shapes were those formed by the splatter of paint.

The choreography was fresh, crisp and theatrical. Notable ones were the football from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, the preppies from “With A Little Help From My Friends”, the bowling from “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, the street from “Come Together” and the draft office scene “I Want You”. The simplest but most riveting of the choreographies for me though was the brief butto-inspired movement section of the naked Vietnamese ladies floating on the waters. This bit, symbolizing the fatal dangers of vulnerability, came rightfully after the riot scenes in the States and in Vietnam.

All You Need Is Love”, was very well chosen to be the song to give the audience a sigh of triumph and relief. It spoke of the ultimate reason that that generation fought what they fought for. It spoke of the only thing they had left to fight against war itself. And it spoke of the reason Jude came back to the US after being deported in the middle of the movie. Fine, the scene the song created was quite cheesy and Hollywood-ish. But the characters were quite out-of-the-box in a heroic kind of way that when they fell in the trap, it felt more sincere than tacky. And more than the Jude-Lucy romance sub-plot, the direction succeeded in translating it to a more universal perspective in the time of US anti-war radical uprising.

an excerpt:

Jude: [referring to Lucy] She's probably out fighting for the cause.

JoJo: Looks like you've been fighting for it too, huh

Jude: I don't have one. That's the problem.

A piece of art --any form or genre -- is a masterpiece when it is able to define the times it was produced or the era it represents. It should be able to convey the wants, needs, hunger, desires and battles of its generation. The answer to the question “Who are we as a generation?” should be its message. Utilizing songs that best defined the flower power period, I think “Across the Universe” got its message across.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

SInging Of A Better World

photo credit: "Speak Up For Peace", by Obbino on flickr

I see what people do
I hear what people say
I know theres trouble everywhere
I see ít everyday

Some things won't get better
Some people won't get through

But I can dream of a better world
If I want to

If I want to imagine
Peace on every land
I close my eyes
And dream my dreams

In dreams I make a stand
Anytime I start missing
Human harmony
I listen hard
Until I hear the music ínside of me

I can sing of a better world
if I want to
I can dream of a better world
if I want to
And I want to

You walk down any street
You don't know what you'll find
Sometimes it takes me all I have
To face a world unkind

I won't give up trying
I won't just let it go
I still believe
you can plant a dream
If you want to.

-"If I Want To", Dionne Warwick

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Language Lesson: NEGATION

Main Entry:
15th century

1 a: the action or logical operation of negating or making negative
b: a negative statement, judgment, or doctrine; especially : a logical proposition formed by asserting the falsity of a given proposition — see truth

2 a: something that is the absence of something actual : nonentity
b: something considered the opposite of something regarded as positive

ne·ga·tion·al \-shnəl,
-shə-nəl\ adjective

*Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Basic Example:
My brother is not a pig.
Not, being the operative word.

Double Negation (a grammatical error):
I can't hardly wait.
Hardly already denotes not being able to. Not is unnecessary in the statement.

Triple Negation (a telemarketer's error):
phone conversation, happened yesterday during siesta
Telemarketer: Hi, sir! This is Rowena from Owtel. May I speak with Mr. Ryan?
Ryan: (wakes up from his nap) This is he. I'm sorry, whatever it is you're offering, I'm not interested.
Telemarketer: Sir, we have a new promo po. This offer...
Ryan: Sorry, not really interested. Bye! (hangs up)

Telemarketer: (calls again, about 5 seconds after Ryan ditches her) Sir, how often po kayo tumatawag sa atin sa Pinas?
Ryan: Di ako tumatawag. Kaya di ako interesado. Bye! (hangs up)

Telemarketer: (another attempt) Sir, this won't take much of your time.
Ryan: (flares up) Anong this won't take much of your time?! You already took 3 minutes of my precious siesta time! Natutulog ako. Kahit ano pa yang promo mo, di ako interesado. Nainitindihan mo yun? Isa pang tawag mo, mumurahin na kita!
Telemarketer: Thank you, sir. Bye!


*for non-Tagalog speaking readers, please email me for translation of text.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

For You, On Valentine's Day

We kiss in a shadow,
We hide from the moon,
Our meetings are few,
And over too soon.

We speak in a whisper,
Afraid to be heard;
When people are near,
We speak not a word.

Alone in our secret,
Together we sigh,
For one smiling day to be free
To kiss in the sunlight
And say to the sky:

"Behold and believe what you see!
Behold how my lover loves me!"

We speak in a whisper,
Afraid to be heard;
When people are near,
We speak not a word.

Alone in our secret,
Together we sigh,
For one smiling day to be free

To kiss in the sunlight
And say to the sky:
"Behold and believe what you see!
Behold how my lover loves me!"

-We Kiss In A Shadow
from The King and I


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Punyeta Ang Lamig!

It's been terribly cold.

It's been terribly, terribly cold.
Go away, winter.
We don't want you anymore.

photo credit: Junk Girl on Flickr

This winter is considered to be the coldest in 1oo years and had already caused dozens of deaths in Mainland China. It was reported that a few days ago, the thermometer registered 0.9 degrees Celsius in Ngong Ping, the peak of Lantau Island (the island on which I live) --- a tourist spot that boasts of the largest outdoor sitting Buddha; about a 20-minute drive from my place.

Besides the extreme cold, we are also battling with erratic humidity conditions. One minute our noses are bleeding from the unforgiving dryness of the air, the next minute, it's drizzling, foggy and damp. Hello, dry skin!

Winter officially began in November and we've been experiencing the sudden drops and rises in temperature since then. The unbelievable cold started sometime between Christmas and New Year's. It hasn't stopped getting worse even until now. The most disconcerting part according to HK Observatory is, the weather isn't expected to improve over the next few days.

Times like this, I miss home. I miss the Philippines. All of its 7, 107 tropical islands. High tide or low tide.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

One Night Only!

Ok... maybe not one night. But for a limited time only.

Here's the farewell vid we made for our dear friend, Julius when he left for London in May of last year to marry the man of his life, Nige.

View it now before any of the gurls demand that I delete this post.

The first part is a 2-minute slide show. The message is touching, but if you find it boring, at least wait until the timer hits 2:05.

Yes, we'll make you happy!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Bottomline

Life is like a wheel. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down.

Sometimes you're a top. Sometimes you're a bottom.

But when you're a bottom and you've topping for two whole weeks, it gets annoying. Then you start to ask:

"When will the wheel bring me to the bottom again?"


About A Boy And A Chinese Acquaintance

at Volume. Eve of the Chinese New Year

Acquaintance: Hey you! Kung hei fat choi!

Boy: Kung hei fat choi to you too!

Acquaintance: I need to ask you something. See, my boyfriend has a friend who likes you. Is it ok if I introduced you two to each other?

Boy: Is he top or bottom?

Acquaintance: (chuckles) Why do you ask that?

Boy: Because I'm sick of bottoms. I despise bottoms. There's only enough room for one bottom in HK, and that space has my name written all over it already.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"Ninong Rye, Are You Gay?"

I will be busy over the next two hours, re-watching "Across The Universe" (which I just saw this afternoon in our green room). The film is so engaging and moving, I think it deserves a second screening, in a less noisy environment (i.e., my room).

While I'm singing along to the Beatles tunes that were used in the film, allow me to share with you the comment I posted on the latest post of Aries: a recollection of an incident that happened during the Sinulog Festival, at his aunt's house where his seemingly innocent young cousin asked whether he was gay. I am posting this comment here in my blog for the reason that Aries appreciated what I said and I just thought it might --- somehow, someday--- come handy for anyone who might be in the same situation. I'm not suggesting you memorize the script. I'm just saying that, I think, in all our human interactions, love should still be all that matters. Not our sexual preference.

He ended that post with:

"tama na ba yung sinagot ko? kayo, anong sagot niyo?"

Here goes my comment:

"Ako, bakla?!? Of course not! I'm just straight curious!"

circa 2002.

yung favorite kong inaanak-- anak ng very close friend kong lesbian-- was 4 years old then. it was the afternoon of september 21, my birthday and i brought him to glorietta. as we were in line to the cashier, he nudged me and said,
"ninong rye, are you gay?"

Ninong Rye: (gulat syempre. tila nablangko panandalian) Why do you ask, dudi?

Dudi: Sabi ni yaya, gay ka daw.

Ninong Rye: Did she tell you what it means to be gay?

Dudi: No.

Ninong Rye: When you grow a little bit older, Dudi, you will know what gay really means. Pag nalaman mo na, you won't have to ask ninong Rye. You will know the answer. Habang di ka pa lumalaki, just know that Ninong Rye loves you so much, ok?

Dudi: How much?

Ninong Rye: kasinglaki ng whole universe!


Dudi's turning 10 in June. I guess he won't be needing to ask me anymore.


Here's part of Kiks' comment as well:

...pero prinsesa, okay lang ang sagot na yon. walang mali o tamang sagot dyan. ikaw lang ang makakapag-assess.

I agree.

*non-Filipino speaking readers, please send me a message if you need a translation.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Got the Message. Loud and Clear.

I was chatting online with my friends last night and somehow, the name of this guy --- the partner of one of my close fiends --- came up and I referred to him as the guy who doesn't like me. Then one of my newer friends, who was also in the online conference last night said, "Is there actually a person who doesn't like you, Rye?"

That was the first time I was ever asked that. And, surprisingly, without even having to pause for a while to think, more than a dozen names popped in my head : people who don't like me. Or at least, people who show they don't like me.


I logged in to my Myspace account again tonight after a long while to send a friend a message. To my surprise, I found two comments on my blog waiting to be read. Both from people I absolutely do not know, both composed of very kind and inspiring words.

Then my notifications also said that I had new friend requests. One of them was a high school batchmate; the other one, a sexy Afro-american 23 year-old guy named Luke from Florida. A complete stranger. After seeing his display pic, I quickly decided he was a lonely, desparate, stinky (but sexy, nevertheless) sex maniac whose only chances of getting laid are on Myspace. I wasn't, by any luck going to approve his request. I don't even know him, after all. But my curiosity urged me to view his profile. And I saw, in his "about me" box something I have received in an email years ago. It's a bit cheesy and preachy. But it speaks a little bit of wisdom and it's what made me a more positive person in the past.

Maybe I was led to Luke's page tonight to remind me to exert a little more effort in being positive. I've been quite cranky and offensive since I started taking Hydroxycut.

Here goes the verse:

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, To find the best in others, To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. Make all your friends feel there is something in them. Look at the sunny side of everything. Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give everyone a smile. Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others. Be too big for worry and too noble for anger.

Ok, universe! I hear ya!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

That's My Seat!

While courtesy in global terms dictates that passengers waiting to board are to allow exiting passengers the right of way first before forcing their way into the train, in HK, it's free-for-all. Once I even missed my stop because passengers getting on the train swarmed me as I was getting off and I got pushed to the closed side of the train. I learned my lesson then. Today, I wasn't about to throw away what I had learned from that experience.

The chimes started to sound off, signalling that the train doors were about to open. I held on to my sling bag and put on my earphones as I impatiently watched the glass doors slide sideways and the first few people to come out. With my 15-kg luggage as my armor, I squeezed myself into the crowd and anybody who tried to get in my way had his feet gravely punished by my armor's wheels. Some people got hurt. I could see them giving me piercing stares and I could see their mouths open, as if trying to tell me something. I didn't care. I couldn't hear them. My ipod, which was then playing Barbra's Don't Rain On My Parade, served as my shield. Ok, so I was among the first ones to actually get on the train. But it doesn't end there. That was winning only half of the battle. The next challenge was to be seated.

HK people (locals and expats alike) and Filipinos getting a seating space on the train are quite alike in such a way that the elders would send kids running and have the innocent accomplices reserve a spance for them. They differ in such a way that when, say there are 5 of you finding a seat on a public utility vehicle and you are behind all four of them, you could easily predict where all four of them would sit. Filipinos, even those who never had the chance to school and study physics, know the principle of trajectory. HK people don't. Sometimes, you'd be ready to sit and all of sudden, somebody appears from nowhere like a genie and beats you to your seat. Other times, there'd be somebody in front of you who, as a Filipino, you would read the trajectory and predict that would sit four spaces away from you, and he's suddenly where you're supposed to sit, cross-legged. Sometimes also, you'd be caught in a group competing against each other for one slot, and then as soon as you give up, everybody else would too and then there's no one there. Then the old woman occupying the space beside the most-coveted-space-2-secs-ago-but-is-now-empty desides to hoard it by resting her bag of groceries there, while a host of other passengers of various shapes, sizes and odors are pressed against each other, in front of her.

So today, as soon as I got on the train, I quickly found myself a space that was to be my goal. My base. My homerun. The teenage girl in front of me was on the phone, walking ever-so-slowly. And although I don't understand Cantonese, I could tell she was on the phone with her puppy love. I could swear I wanted to grab her phone and hit her head with it and yell, "If I don't get that fucking seat because of you, I swear to God you will curse the day that you were born." Of course I couldn't really do that. I'm not that evil to be capable of doing that. Instead, with the help of my armor, I poked her leg a little bit. Just a little bit. Just to let her feel that there was someone behind her who wasn't in a walk-in-the-park mood like she was. She gave me a defensive look and I said, in a very offensive manner, "Excuse ME!" She moved sideways to the left, still looking at me. I stared back and tilted my head to the right, silently commanding her to move the other way. She didn't understand it quickly enough so I positioned my luggage to her left, which displaced her. AND displeased her, too.

I was about to sit when a man, maybe in his late 30's appeared right next to me, as if ready to take my seat. I looked at him from underneath, reached into my sling bag and sat. When I was already sure I had the seat for myself, I took out the reason for my being feisty today. The reward for being such an asshole to the people of Hong Kong ---


Wednesday night, I was in Relay, a bookshop in the Central MTR Station that just opened days ago, wanting to get for myself my second Murakami book. I thought they were too pricey. So I sms'ed Kiks: "Which books by Murakami do you have?"

He promptly replied: "One lang. Norwegian Wood."

Me: "I have South of the Border, West of the Sun. Trade? One week?"

He: "Go!"

Last night, as soon as he and Aaron arrived at Law's for our little get-together, he handed me a crisp, fresh copy of Norwegian Wood. I gave him my South of the Border. Then I said, "Here's another book. And you can have it." It was Paulo Coelho: Confessions Of A Pilgrim.

I found it on my shelf as I was getting South and I decided he was the best person to give it to. Hello! He's the only person I personally know who has a picture with the Coelho.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Everybody Line Up! The Show Is About To Start!

Here's part of the email I got from Edowan the other day --- something that got me all excited and looking forward to the summer:

It's time to think FLOATILLA 2008 ....... what to wear, how to trim down, and look fabulous !

FLOATILLA date is here to come & stay : MAY 11th !

May 12th is a Public Holiday = Budha's Birthday, so a perfect day to recover from your sins and senses.

Where oh where I hear you be confirmed closer to date, in order to keep the paparazi at bay - so to say !

Best to start planning your outfits, boats, and slim/trim that body. Lets show HK how much fun this GLBT day of Unity can be. Weather Freddy has promised us more sun this May (over April last year).

So watch this space for more news from Greg's Floatilla's new web-site this Feb - in both Chinese & English !

Ok, boys and girls! Let's start getting ready for what GMagazine dubbed as "the hottest, wettest, and newest annual gay event in HK" (also the biggest, if I may add.)


Scenes from Floatilla 07