Monday, November 16, 2015

France's bluff, deuxième fois

I condemn violence. I abhor injustice and unfairness. 

The French people need to examine their country's past and present in a sophisticated manner. They are in desperate need of some perspective on the horrendous attack they have incurred for the second time this year. It's important not to fall into terrorists' intentions. Never forgetting how and why terrorism works and functions, cue French Revolution, and Far-right Zionist terrorism in Palestine, pre-State of Israel. To avoid succumbing into the strategy of the terrorist one must not allow to forget what has been, to properly point to where we are now. What is the context? What is proportional? 

The French government has continuously stated that they will fight radical Islamic fundamentalism, and yet they allow oil-rich gulf states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait to build mosques that teach Wahhabism, an ideology that preach hate, intolerance, slavery, misogyny, and all other forms of barbarity, it allows these oppressive regimes to commit crimes on their own citizens, not just that, it patronizes their oil. France sells its heritage, Modigliani and Cézanne, its historical sights, and values, in exchange for oil to sell to other countries through their neocolonial oil company, Total. Yes, because France had a lesson learned moment post-OPEC 1973 oil embargo, that they needed to secure energy independence to maintain their beloved sovereignty. 

France appears to abhor terrorism, yet they have no problem with bombing the Rainbow Warrior, the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet in the port of AucklandNew Zealand on its way to a protest against a planned French nuclear test in Moruroa that was carried out on the 10th of July, 1985. They intentionally killed a freelance Dutch (of Portuguese origin) photographer and rightfully and unashamedly justified it. If you question the high standards I have set on French "civilization" you're not alone in wondering why I put it in a pedestal, after all this is a country that sent over 75,000 Jews to the death camps, by handing innocent people over to the enemy, a country that tortured and killed hundreds of thousands in Algeria and Vietnam, a country that brags about its stolen loot in the most visited museum on the face of the planet, Louvre.

If not for the heroism of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Raymond Aron, who set aside their intellectual differences during the Vietnamese refugee crisis, the three were practically begging for France to wake up to its responsibility to save those caught in the crossfire, hundreds of thousands more would have died. France has had lots of bright moments, like when they emancipated the Jews of Europe, a work of the beloved Napoleon. Or when provided refuge to the oppressed (even temporarily), or to those seeking a better life, like Marie Curie, Pablo Picasso, and even the Ayatollah, because why not? Equality! Right? 

And now, it is attacking the "democratic elements" in Syria, a problem their history created but have no responsibility towards after profiting from its enormous wealth. Once upon a time they were proudly declaring to the world how "we should support" the democrats opposed to Assad. I have long insisted that the West should have been supporting Assad's regime as it is the best guarantor of stability, security, and safety, in that part of the world, unlike the "democratic opposition" a group that the West insisted was the real successor of Assad, and yet fast forward to 2015, after millions of refugees created, it turned out Assad has been right all along. When he stated that the "fighters" weren't "democrats" but were "terrorists" backed by the oil-rich gulf states (Sunnis). And now France has bore the brunt of its tenacious stubbornness on the "democracy" of the Syrian fighters, which turned out to be the Islamic State. 

A quick scan at France's history, and you begin to feel that the France in enlightened people's imaginations is fading away, its values under attack not by external forces, but by corruption of the elites, traceable to the Ancien Regime, the more information you read about its once famed literacy, science, arts, tolerance, equality, the more you feel the longing for it, as it is now evaporating before all our eyes. What will replace it is not subject to historical determinism but by the will of its people, by its democratic will, we'll find out where it will go, in the mean time, we have to contend with the tragedy of the tragedy, classical hysteria by the uneducated populace, media sensationalism, and tragic irony. 

Monday, October 26, 2015


It was last Tuesday when my roommate wondered if I've seen an episode of or knew of Homeland, and quickly replied, "I've read it's good." Good reviews, crazy, and mildly racist and inappropriate, at least based on a video I saw in BuzzFeed. But gripping, that was what I was to discover as an understatement about this series. Let's just say it gave Netflix-chill a whole new meaning for me. I was glued from that Tuesday night, from the pilot till yesterday, to its squeaky-clean Season 3 ending. 

Initially, I was biased against it. I felt this was a perfect example of Chomsky's "manufacturing consent," a means for the "military-industry complex" in priming (I learned from Nobel-laureate in economics, and psychologist, Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow) the American public (the main audience) on national security issues, erosion (or evolution, for better or for worse) of civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution, primarily privacy and habeas corpus, the rule of law, and lawful procedures by agencies. In other words, I thought this was propaganda, that it is still, as it is not a romantic story, a story that is artistically new and one which brings forward the art of the medium, rather it is a collection of events sourced from facts ingeniously meshed together with an overemphasis on human relations and personas, and jazz, seriously good. 

Before I began my critical examination of this series, and subsequently falling in love with it, I saw the film The Experimenter, 88% in Rotten Tomatoes, starring Winona Ryder, and Peter Saarsgard. This film re-taught me the "agentic state" of Stanley Milgram, the social psychologist whose 1961 experiment in Yale is the subject of the film. Today, he is the 46th most-cited psychologist of the 20th century, based on a survey published in 2002 by the Review of General Psychology

What is the "agentic state?" "People allow others to direct their actions, and then pass off the responsibility for the consequences to the person giving the orders. In other words, they act as agents for another person’s will." That's how defines it. Now, how is all this related to my initial subliminal hostility to Homeland? Claire Danes, Damien Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, the other cast members, the producers, the networks, the people behind the scenes who made this addictive series possible, are indirectly agents of propaganda by the military hawks in Washington. That is the major implication of the works I've cited here, if one thinks about it. 

I love the show now, but it doesn't change its nature, and what it serves, entertainment, and priming. Priming the public of what agents like Carrie go through in order to keep people safe. It is priming us of the bureaucratic infighting, and warfare, present in these organizations. That complexity, and its reverberations, precedes its real nature, goals, and ideals. Perhaps by seeing this revelatory material, we can understand what they go through, and therefore, judge them in a more sophisticated manner. It's an inquiry, not a damnation, of American intelligence actions. And I love it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Shiva for Dick, the chemist Nobel laureate 'left to die because he had no money' in Manila

When I was still in Manila, busy with my blogs, my paintings, my jobs, I did my best to get in touch with the nearest Nobel laureate I could find. Why? I wanted to meet a Nobel laureate. I was dying to meet one, even just to gawk at a Nobel laureate. I imagined it as an experience similar to that of a devotee visiting shrines of saints or places where miracles have happened. But aren't celebrities saints nowadays? At least that was what Nietzsche thought. We venerate them, we follow in their footsteps, we ask for their guidance, we emulate them, or is it just me? 

The Philippines hasn't produced a single Nobel laureate, the last person that was considered for one, for the Peace Prize, the former president and mother of the current president, Corazon Aquino, didn't get it because she wasn't so peaceful after all, thanks to her human rights record. But maybe I'm setting the bar to high here, after all, Henry Kissinger, and Barack Obama, won the Peace Prize. Napalm and drones, fascism and deportations, merit Nobel prizes, apparently. But to be fair to the Nobel committee, how could they have known? Tradition begets convenience.

So, there I was, at that moment of time, doing things to find a way to interview interesting people for this blog. When I discovered that within my habitat, in the bantustan-y, segregated, post-colonial, chaotic, gated-community-ridden, class-conscious, inconvenient Blackhole of Manila, a Nobel laureate, by the name of Richard Heck, who relocated to Manila with his wife, the surely amazing, Soccoro Nardo (what a beautiful name, but their marriage was prettier), as soon as possible I looked for a way to get in touch with them. For a meet and greet, for a chat, for an interview, for a friendship (LOL) for an autograph/selfie, for an ego-boost to my investigative powers. 

After people from newspapers ignored my request, (if I could obtain the contact information of Mr. Heck, whom they interviewed from that moment in time when they simultaneously found out that a Nobel-laureate have chosen the Philippines, a backward Third World country, to be his retirement home, it was national news as it begged the question, what have we done to deserve him? Symptomatic of a low-self esteem and propaganda from the neo-colonial elite, to seek his validation for the Filipino people's identity, to make sure he loved the country, to perpetuate national myths, to put words in his mouth). I scoured the Yellow Pages, all I got out of it was a mild irritation on my some of my fingers from the dust of the ignored and unused books, some hang-ups, and "wrong number." I though my next step was to write to some of the journalists, and if necessary to their editors, or perhaps, to the Bureau of Immigration to find something out which was highly plausible since certain subclasses of visas required publication of the applicant's information, in theory, in case a local objected, obviously absurd.

And then, after many weeks passed, weeks of happenings, of cinemas, of books, of gossiping, of volunteering, working, eating out, traffic, pollution, mild attention deficit, procrastinating, laziness, lethargy, I shelved the idea of interviewing him, I relented, I told myself, soon, soon, I know I will, well duh, I must, no doubt, I will, shall, and it will and shall happen. But then things unfolded in my life, the hyperactivity of the death threats, the demands of my bookshelves (yelling stop this devastating Tsundoku), the demands of my work, personal, and social, life, overrode my desire to meet him as soon as possible. All of a sudden everything was different. All of a sudden, I had to flee, my priorities had to change quickly, so needless to painfully point out, it didn't happen. And it would have been dormant in my memory if not for this horrific news, that a Nobel-laureate, who not so long ago, was hagiographically propagandized to satisfy elite-masses tensions, died in a private hospital in Manila, for a reason not so unfamiliar to the masses in the Philippines, for not having money. The implications are there, think abut it. Funny enough, the New York Times didn't mention this critical piece of fact. Why? 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

63 years and 216 days later...

Once in the Treetops Hotel, a princess became a queen. Ascending to a position of life long "duty," descending an orphan, and the queen of the world's largest empire. How opportune was it, that it was she who managed the "decline," ever so graceful, always adapting, globe-trotting ruler of the seas of Britannia, for her subjects not to be enslaved by its daughter, Americana. Magnificent is it not that at the cradle of civilization, the "civilizing mission" came to an end. But end it may be, end is splendor. Opportune indeed it is that the monarch tasked to handle this mass-consciousness adjustment rose to the occasion.

Kenya, along with other African countries left with a promise, some overdid it through tasting power by experimenting how to make refugees, giving back to the desolate British Isles of the Duchess of Normandie some few thousands of their leftovers, as they bid adieu to Her Majesty in grace, to save face the "special relationship," the Commonwealth of Nations, and neocolonialism were tools for the good old fashioned pomp and ceremony, when all of a sudden it seemed 1931 was nothing but a "walkabout" or probably a preview a la West End? Trudeau demanded "patriation," and was granted a constitution, and a flag, along the way, the very establishment at the core of the British Isles was challenged, by the nebulous "devolutionaries," not to mention the 70s featuring Wedgie Benn and dragonnaire Babs Castle.

Not that lefties were a problem, like her great-great-Grannie Vicki, Lizzy preferred the lefties. Disraeli, and Wilson, bulwarks of abolitionism, as a treat perhaps, Her Majesty graced Wilson with a dinner attendance, the only one beside Churchill to have been privileged. Not so lucky with Australia though, not even Gillard's British citizenship could hinder Abbott's stronger British citizenship, maybe (官话, 北方话) Mandarin-fluent Rudd was right? No one knows, history has a way of surprising us, every generation, and of repeating itself.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Economist John Maynard Keynes, whose name defined a political economic era, once remarked after studying Sir Isaac Newton's alchemical works "Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians." It is now an indisputable fact that the man, along with Gottfried Leibniz, who gave the world calculus was obsessed with alchemy, astrology, biblical chronology, and eschatology. 

It is important to note that during the time of the brainiac, alchemy wasn't alchemy in the manner that the contemporary world defines it. It is said that medicine, and chemistry, developed into what it is today, distinct isolated disciplines when the "balkanization of knowledge" was at its rampaging rationalist zenith at the time of the Enlightenment. Or as Michelle Feder of the Khan Academy puts it, "Like alchemists, sometimes the process of discovery might entail isolating specific components; other findings might come from developing new compounds...modern chemistry carries on the alchemical quest for the elixir of life."

Alchemy has been cyclically present in the golden ages of civilizations, at one point it's been derided as "lunacy" and another a representation of a "new frontier" for science. The possibility for further expansion, a hint of risk, imagination, all out faith, and servitude, have all necessitated alchemy. 

Wikileaks, and biographers, had proven that a lot of functionaries of nation-state power structures in our contemporary world have a strong belief in astrology, tarot readings, psychics, etc. What do the Reagans, the Blairs, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, and Catherine de Medici all have in common? Besides that obvious fact that they're historical political figures, it is the fact that they were all firm believers in astrology. 

Confession alert! I have been reading Susan Miller's monthly forecasts since I could even remember. In the data-hungry world we live in, any data is crucial, must be given fair amount of attention, before getting dismissed. I love astrology, it has helped me know more about the world, and about other people and my interactions with them. 

There was a period in my life when I was a student at the Goethe-Institut in Manila, and one of my classmates was a medical doctor at a totally "bourgeois, elite, fancy" hospital. We fondly called her Doc Nes. Once during a 15-minute break I overheard her talking to one of our classmates about the latter's aura, and being the nosy me that I'm, I invited myself to the conversation. Needless to say, I got my own reading from Doc Nes, who is an amazing doctor, classmate, friend, a great energy to be with. 

I'm new to Buenos Aires and yet it feels like this place has always been my home. It feels less like a place I'm seeking refuge in than a place where I belong. It's my home. I fell in with it, I love it and the feeling is mutual. Sometimes when I'm in the calle, it reciprocates its gratitude, for having graced this city. 

Doc Nes noticed that my timeline was filled with pictures in my new city. After chatting for a while, I decided to seek an aura consultation, and was glad when I found out it was plausible online. I'm satisfied with her feedback, and advice. Though I prefer to keep the things we talked about in secrecy. She's a very jovial, open-minded, helpful, and caring person. If you want to contact her for a consultation, she'd love it, and you can do it simply by following this link


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Attack

It was around 5 AM, last Wednesday. I left home at exactly 5:20 AM to visit my spot in the walls of Intramuros. It was my intention to watch the sunrise and paint the way the light reflected on the buildings below the sky. It was the spot for the variety of buildings from that vantage point. Baroque, Neo-Baroque, Neo-Classical, Faux-Classical, Modern, and Internationalist, most were there. What I had in mind was a beautiful osmosis of amalgamated styles of Cézanne, Kahlo, Kusama, Nolde, Wood, Yeats, and of course, my own.

As I was siting in my spot waiting for the sun to come up, out of nowhere, two tall men arrived. They were in motorcycle masks and gloves (both in black). They were oddly wearing sunglasses. I thought it was a fashion statement. I was so relaxed as I was siting there, resting right after preparing my art materials, beside my Louis Vuitton over-sized paper bag. Man A asked if I was Paul. I answered.

In less than one minute all of this insanity would end. 

He grabbed my head and pushed it towards the floor. My chest, front torso, and face were laying in the cobble-stoned floor. I overheard Man B ransacking my bag. I later discovered he took the hongbao (red envelop with money) which was given to me as a gift by a friend, that I intended to bring to the bank later that day. Also, the finished painting in the Louis Vuitton paper bag.  While I was laying there frozen with fear, all thoughts ran through my head. Man A put a knife in my left clavicular area, and grabbed my neck tightly with his right hand then uttered "If you don't stop what you're doing, we will kill you" in the vernacular.

Afterwards, both stormed off, not before Man A registered his footprint in the canvas on the floor beside me. Meanwhile, I continued to lay there catatonic, like a spastic victim of pimp violence. For like three minutes, which felt like an hour, my mental capacity was in full throttle. Grateful and fearful. Grateful that I was still alive, fearful that they might come back. 

I gathered my stuff quickly, forgetting my obsessive compulsiveness, not bothering to check if I left anything, I quickly hailed a cab and went home. As the sunlight was on its way, and the cabbie drove towards home, I felt like I've just been in a Kurosawa film scene. I saw blood staining my shirt, coming out from both of my elbows. It was crazy as fuck! I checked my bag and saw everything was there minus the hongbao. My Louis Vuitton paper bag was damaged. The finished painting was stolen.

Later that morning I was on my to the hospital, after taking a bath, I felt a huge pain in my neck and head. I decided to visit the hospital, no need to worry about costs anyway since my job thankfully provides me with good health insurance. 

On my way to Makati Medical Center, I thought what and who was behind all of this? I knew it wasn't my August painting from last year that depicted Mohammad, Jesus, and other gods, in an orgy that infuriated them, I mean probably, how could I discount their motives? This was obviously a hate-crime. I thought maybe it was my association with some agrarian rights activists from the north that did it. Perhaps, this was a fascist attack. Perhaps, it was an anti-Semitic attack? Perhaps, an Anti-Zionist attack? Who knows? The freakiest thing was that they knew my name and took my painting, I mean why? Am I totally being random here or what? Am I totally being a neurotic slutty speculator here or what?

In the emergency room, I told my story. The doctors and nurses were very helpful. They gave painkillers for my head. Not surprisingly, they radiographically examined my neck and head just to be sure there wasn't gonna be any permanent damage done to my head. Once I was nauseous and a bit dizzy, I had a hypochondriac attack! I thought I was gonna be one of those people in sensationalist news reports wherein a child gets a seemingly innocent bump in the head as a 7-year old and wakes one day, in the midst of a successful and happy family  a suburban classic yuppie in his 30s, comatose after leaning. Then the discovery of that crack that was left unchecked from yesteryear.

Objectively, this was an attack designed and perpetrated to deter me from being who I am, to silence me, to stifle me, to neutralize me, to normalize me. Well, I only know one way of living, and that is in being the best and doing what I think is right, is necessary, is civilized, er go, no quitting. After all, I'm no quitter. 

Yesterday, I visited the crime scene to take pictures and to put this episode in the past, to move on. Remembering only the lessons of that attack. To live the extra mile. I have a new lease on life. I want the world to know that this has happened to me. I'm not a sadist to keep this to myself and allow a cycle of victimization-in-perpetuity to run its course. 

On my way to the crime scene.



The crime scene.

The view from where I sat.

The floor that had contact with my face.

One must do everything for one's happiness. Fashion is therapeutical.

My friends visiting me post-attack.

Humor is necessary to life.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Yom HaShoah & Yom Ha'atzmaut

The 20th century was destruction and rebirth, catastrophe and renaissance, to commemorate those who perished, I lived the extra mile. 


eating more,

exerting extra effort in finding the perfect selfie,

please let this not be Diane Arbus' shot, 

doing things I like,

appreciating beauty and remembering those who upheld civilization.

Friday, April 17, 2015

International Day of Peasants' Struggles

Taken from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines' Facebook Post today:

April 17 is International Day of Peasants' Struggles

In spite of the land rights claims of the Aetas and the farmers, corporate interests prevail in Hacienda Dolores, Pampangga. Government must stop the corporate greed, impunity and violence against the poor. A farmers’ leader pointed out that “Kung noon ang kinukuha sa amin ay ang aming kabuhayan at ikinabubuhay, ngayon ang kinukuha na sa amin ay buhay”.

Protect Human Rights Defenders! #ProtektahanHRD
Uphold, assert and defend human rights!
Support the campaign! Pls like and share.

Know more, visit our "Protect HRDs" video at 

Support human rights defenders!
Support agrarian reform now!
Laissez-faire now!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Totalitarian Week

It all started with a message. The epiphany that is. That's when I realized I was living in a Kafkaesque tyrannical temporal nightmare from which days felt like years. In fact nothing was different when I realized what I did from that day, I received the advisory from my telecommunications service provider, advising me of the necessities (more like capitulation on their part) of adhering to the unconstitutional whim of the national schedule, from any other. I have felt such for such a long time already anyway. 

The real difference was I was about to experience a part-Chomskian, part-Arendtian, totalitarian national outpouring from which I had the best seats of. Think of it as Brownshirts in steroids. The moment I witnessed the lunacy of the people all basking in their national amnesia, Plato's (not a favorite philosopher of mine) ochlocratic paranoia on democracy sprang up.

To make things eerier, the same week, post-Charlie Hebdo, revelations on GCHQ's capturing of journalists' (from the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel), emails was revealed. The very institution that is part of a government apparatus designed to preserve institutional functionality was participating in what the attackers of the innocent victims of Charlie Hebdo were doing-destroying freedom of speech. Why the hell would you put journalists on a "threat list?"

All the while, the Pope all mighty, euphoric and high on his magisterial divine position took no qualms in declaring that “There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits.” Not content with his overt political statements and insensitivity to modern civilized living, he further added at a mass attended by 6 million people that"ideological colonization" was destroying the traditional Filipino family. 

Isn't "colonization" the reason why you are able to conduct a mass in Asia's largest Catholic country? Or is globalization and its perks that you have a problem with? Perhaps thanks to international trade of information, people, goods, services, and capital, people now have the ability to read through or watch a documentary of the abuses, inhumanity, gruesome, barbaric, despicable, and destructive, behavior the world you lead has caused over the centuries, and continue to do so today. The repercussions of which beyond staggering and reverberating till this day. 

Meanwhile in France, myth-making as a hobby was resurrected at its grandest scale, not seen since the end of the Second World War, wherein France became "a heroic bastion of freedom and liberty" that helped defeat the Nazis has such outpouring occurred. Thankfully the collaborative behavior of the French people have been exposed, although its position within the UN Security Council of the Allies remain, a legacy of the Cold War realpolitik

Nonetheless, over night France became a sort of haven for individual liberty again (which of course it is plainly not!), at least in name, and to the people who partied, at least they enjoyed it. Never mind that months before the massacre at the temple of freedom, Charlie Hebdo, growing anti-Semitic attacks ranging from pepper-spraying en la rue, to kosher grocery store arsenia, has been done to innocent human beings of Jewish descent. 

Anti-Semitic attacks are always ominous harbingers for destruction. What did the French elite do? Perhaps they share Tim Wilcox's subconscious racist condition? Hypocritically, Hollande declared: "Today, Paris is the capital of the world." Tell that monsieur to the Roma girl you deported for studying! Can he hear himself? His pronouncements on freedoms can not be more different from his actions. 

This is the international "society" we live in. The "Dictatorship of Grief." The slacktivists, the technocratic Kantians, the statists, the illiberals, the racists, bigots, homophobes, xenophobes, misogynists, regressives, they are here and real. What am I to do about it? Write about it!

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