DAY 5: Fall in Love, Stay in Love, and It will decide everything

The last entry for Valentine’s Day countdown starts with this quote from a video that I saw in 2010. It was part of Ateneo de Manila University’s graduation AVP for the graduating batch of 2010. The video is a little bit nostalgic for me (as it shows landmarks in the university, legendary professors, and people you interact with everyday) but towards the end, there’s a beautiful quote.:

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  1. That we all yearn it, yet it is difficult to learn to be loved.
  2. That we all hope it would last, yet it does not last in its current form.
  3. That we might make mistakes, yet it grows into something deeper or it falls apart.
  4. That we think it completes us, yet it is acts as a projection of our self onto another.
  5. That for small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. (from Carl Sagan’s novel Contact)

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a countdown of my favorite moments of love, with quotes and movie clips as a starting point. There would be one released every other day until the 14th of February. I hope you enjoy.


Day 4: Death ends a life, not a relationship

On this fourth day, I struggle with the notion of enduring love. Love that lasts for more than a life time. While looking for video clips, I couldn’t really pick the one that just feels right. I went to the Death of Little Foot’s Mom in “A Land Before Time”, to a short clip from the Anime “Fairy Tail”, to Titanic’s “My Heart Will Go On” performed by Celine Dion. All of them were either too depressing or too mushy for my taste. So struggling to find the right clip, I sat and wasted several minutes until I bumped my head and realized, Oh, why did I forget “Rent”?

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Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a countdown of my favorite moments of love, with quotes and movie clips as a starting point. There would be one released every other day until the 14th of February. I hope you enjoy.


DAY 3: True To Your Heart

I’ve been reading a lot of memes/criticisms about how fairy tales are so idealistic and it gives us a false hope and false image of love and relationships. I agree to this at some point, because who the hell kisses a supposedly dead stranger in a glass coffin surrounded by crying elves? How do you fall in love with someone by just hearing their voice?

But in fairness to these fairy tales, or at least to their DISNEY-fied version, it’s beginning to become more realistic over the past few decades, specially with transformation of the ‘damsel in distress’ to ’empowered women’, and from ‘prince riding on a white horse’ to ‘normal people, thieves or frogs’. These newer fairy tales tell of a more realistic notion of love.

Two of my favorite Disney movies are “Beauty and the Beast” and “Pocahontas”.

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Every now and then, you get a blow in the face with the following emotions of random order:

complacency, sadness, frustration, awe, excitement, and so on.

Every now and then, they change the way your day goes, and then the weeks, followed by the years.

Every second. Every minute. Every hour.

As each second hand ticks, our choices can critically change another being’s fate. Then again, we have our own things to mind apart from others.

Bills. Flights. Rendezvous. Relationships. Career. Time.

This is not even close to a countable fraction of the daily grind we all think of… All the more when many of us moved to Europe either as temporary jet setters, or as lifetime extortionists of the European lifestyle. I am pretty sure that Rizal and many of the Ilustrados have felt the same way.

We are a bit different compared to the friends, families, and the countrymen back in our homeland. We are not like many of the people here who stare at us countless times because of our skin color, and our deceiving accents. Perhaps we have thought of pushing to the border of blending in with many of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) since we thought that Filipinos abroad share the same frustrations if we live more or less in the same city, or country, or even the same continent.

Dead wrong.

We are far different from all that. Being different is the big norm followed after being hipsters. We are different as we get to taste a bit of both worls like those Filipinos who moved to America, and other countries.

We are different in a sense that we try to understand with our intellect and five senses how the world works, how the rate race is in our fields, how scientists, engineers, and other intellectuals fare compared to the other people. We have a lot of things to ponder while sipping a glass of wine, or beer, depending on your preferential taste, geography, and budget.

All that there is to life, we do not sit down and become thoughtless. No. When we get saturated and overwhelmed with everything there is to life, we would like to shut down – thus the wishful thinking, frustrations, and  what not pretentious thoughts that cover up the negative emotions. We try to deny what we think of as problems and settle for what life is bound to happen.

Thing is, we cannot settle for less. As much as we want simplicity, we just can’t. We live in a complex and shape shifting world, that things change rapidly and constantly. Maybe some of us like it, such as the 24 hour shops, and all – being available when you need it. But many of us discretely wish for silence, and peace… you know those seemingly perfect holiday facades that travel agencies show us.

Having a brain is not a curse but I guess that we just have to take a step back and breathe. Then if our minds are quiet, do the dirty work, step by step.

That is the beauty I see among us, the Filipino scientists stuck abroad or have already tasted a bit of it, and are somewhere else.

Why am I writing all this? Truth is, I just wanted to bring back this blog. Then again, what else do I have to lose if I write a part of what my brain is wondering.

  1. The most memorable thing about the 90s was how the Internet and cable TV became mainstream. At that time, it was unbelievable to see so much by doing so little. We take it for granted now but back then, it was sweet. I think the people who are now in their mid to late 20s are lucky enough to be at the precipice of a new world.
  2. I bought my computer with my own blood, sweat, tears and money during the mid-90s around 4th year high school. It cost 65000 PHP at that time. That was a lot of money at that time! Guess what is in it? Pentium III 550 MHz, 128MB RAM, 20GB hard disk, 32X CDROM, a Creative Soundblaster!, a motherboard from some Taiwanese company (whose capacitors blew up after a year) having three USB 1.1 ports (no USB 2.0 yet!), NVIDIA RIVA TNT2 graphics card, a 15 inch monitor (which had a factory defect) and an Epson Stylus 640 printer. Now it costs much less than 10000 PHP to buy the same items (if they still exist). Even then, it only took a small amount of time to reduce the value of my purchase. It was amazing and at the same time heartbreaking to see blood, sweat, tears and money go down the drain.
  3. Flash was just starting at this time. It used to be a Macromedia product. Adobe Reader 3 was fast at this time.
  4. I used to recompile the Linux kernel to get my sound card to work. My first Linux was Red Hat 5.2. Back then, a black screen with a command prompt is all you need. Who could forget rm -rf /? One command to destroy everything if you are root. KDE 2.0 was just introduced. Very ugly but fast. Now it is less ugly but bloated. Take your pick.
  5. Back then the craze was to emulate Mac style designs for window managers and (who could forget?) themes! So much fuss about fonts, wallpapers, cool screensavers (remember the aquarium type screensavers?) and sound effects.
  6. The 90s was also the time when cable TV is more popular. There is no such thing as pay-per-view yet. In fact, my favorite Chinese channel, Star Movies, broadcasted a lot of softcore porn (e.g. the stupid yet funny sometimes arousing Erotic Ghost Story series) around midnight. Tell me, isn’t this memorable? WOWOW (If you do not know what this channel is, there is an 80% chance you are lying.) was available a little bit later but was scrambled shortly after. There was also this channel where European softcore porn is broadcasted. I think I watched the Emmanuelle series. Not too bad. But then Gloria Arroyo (I think) had to ruin the lives of teenagers everywhere. Now you resort to internet porn but back then 33.6 kbps was the norm (remember the annoying ring of the modem?). Some channels became pay-per-view as a result. Now some programs back home are being censored (cleavage sometimes gets blurred, come on!).
  7. Finally, who could forget Final Fantasy?

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a countdown of my favorite moments of love, with quotes and movie clips as a starting point. There would be one released every other day until the 14th of February. I hope you enjoy.


DAY 2: In your presence, night feels like day

We focus today on idealism of being in love. I bring you a video clip of one of my favorite Filipino love songs of all time, “Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin”.

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Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a countdown of my favorite moments of love, with quotes and movie clips as a starting point. There would be one released every other day until the 14th of February. I hope you enjoy.


DAY 1: The measure of love is to love without measure

I start with this movie clip towards the end of one of my favorite films “Love of Siam”.

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My postdoctoral research grant from the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen has brought me back to Singapore, a small island I consider home.  I have stayed here as a student for a couple of years.  My other homes include England where I also studied, Germany where I am currently based, and, of course, my beloved Philippines where I was born and raised.  Though this entry tackles my current experiences in Singapore, perhaps its implications on conducting social research will resonate with my colleagues in the social sciences in Europe and elsewhere.

For a few months now I have been interviewing young adult Singaporeans on their individual aspirations, their thoughts concerning Singapore politics and society, and the role of religion in their society today.  My research institute has a broad interest in aspirations in several global cities in Asia.  While this is mainly an academic exercise, my research is to a large extent a way of giving back to Singapore.  Apart from benefiting from its generous scholarship grants, my sense of who I am as a person and general outlook in life today have been shaped by my interactions with local friends here. After all, I spent a good amount of my third decade in this country.

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One interesting research question today deals with the origins of life. In this talk by Dr. Martin Hanczyc, he introduces the concept of protocells — minimal life models. Dr. Hanczyc is an associate professor at the Institute of Physics Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Southern Denmark.

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