Friday, February 29, 2008

Four Years

Happy Anniversary, Dear!
Looking forward to celebrating more leap years with you.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Finally got around to posting some of my travel pictures. You can find them on my multiply site here. So far I have three albums, 64 pictures total.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The End of an Era

Just learned from BBC that Cuban President Fidel Castro will be retiring. As of this posting, the news is not yet reflected in the website of Granma, Cuba's official paper, but I suppose it will be posted soon.

Castro came to power in 1959 after throwing out the corrupt but US-backed Battista government. Dwight Eisenhower was the US president when he came to power; nine US presidents later, Castro is stepping down from office.

This marks the end of the old Cold War, of red banners and songs of struggle. [In case you're wondering, yes, I consider Joma's CPP-NPA-NDF a relic of the past that has long outlived its relevance.] Despite disagreements with many of the things he stood for, I salute Castro as a revolutionary who never faded. Viva La Revolucion!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Farewell, Brother Felix

Brother Felix Masson, FSC, passed away today, 5 February 2008, at around 3pm in Napa, California (7am on 6 February, Manila time). He was 89.

Brother Felix was a much-loved figure in De La Salle-Zobel, where I spent my grade school and high school years. We best knew him for greeting each one of us on our birthday, giving us a stampita as a birthday gift. Each student. Every year. Without fail. Being called to his office was always a welcome distraction from the humdrum classroom, not to mention everyone knows it's your birthday when you get that call, prompting the whole class to sing "Happy Birthday" as you walk out the door.

And we did not get a routine greeting from Brother Felix-- he really tried to connect with us. I remember when I got my birthday call when I was in 4th grade-- I was a new student in Zobel then. He asked me about my sports and hobbies and, unable to think of anything, I mentioned tennis. He said stuff about the grassy courts of Wimbledon, to which I replied with a blank stare. On my next birthday, in 5th grade, he asked me if I still liked tennis. Funny how forgotten memories can suddenly make a comeback.

Farewell, Brother Felix, and thank you. You will be missed.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Philippines, 1899; Iraq, 2003

One hundred and nine years ago today, on 4 February 1899, Pvt. Robert Grayson of the First Nebraska Volunteers shot a Filipino soldier, whose name has been lost to history, and started the Philippine-American War. Not an insurrection, not an uprising, but a war. A war between a newly industrialised United States, fresh from its defeat of the former superpower that was Spain, and a newly sovereign Philippines, barely seven months after it declared its independence.

A war where America's preferred method of torture-- waterboarding-- was first tried and perfected. A war where America's miltary losses-- in Balangiga and Bud Dajo-- were avenged with the blood of civilians. A war where at least 600,000 Filipinos, mostly civilians, lay dead.

A war which was the fruition of an American president's desire-- his Manifest Destiny-- to spread democracy by the barrel of a gun. A war which America has chosen to forget. A war which America is doing all over again.