Will keep us together
We could steal time
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
For ever and ever
1. RH Bill is introduced due to overpopulation and high crime rate
2. Religious sectors against it. Calling it abortion. Condoms and contraception is abortion.
3. Senator Sotto writes/copies melodramatic biased speech against the bill. He a powerful voice of the Religious sector.
4. People call him out for plagiarism and melodrama.
5. He denies
6. In his embarrassment, he pushes the libel clause to the Cybercrime law to "Level the playing field against social media critics"
7. The Law passes
8. Alleged PNP Facebook account uses new law to threaten people for criticizing them. Here's the link to the threat. The police are denying that it's their account.
All of this started because [we were[ trying to get the RH Bill passed. A law that will allow people to have access to contraception and birth control. A law that our Roman Catholic, overpopulated, and high crime rate country refuses to pass as it considers it abortion.
A Senator against the bill plagiarized a blogger when he wrote a speech against the bill. The whole country confronted him for lying online and he cried "Cyber bullying" and inserted libel into the Cyber crime law so no one could criticize him anymore. Now, people think the police are abusing the libel clause in the bill.
"You can sell your soul and lay the blame all on the passers-by
You shake your body on the TV screen
It seems to me, you'd try anything twice"
23? 24? He looked older than her, that was certain. They were walking across the pedestrian bridge towards the jeepney stop.
“Well, it can’t be bad, I mean, all bad, right? You have a job.” He nodded, giving her a sardonic smile. “I can’t help but think going to college had been a total farce, you know. I mean, I’m grateful. I could be unemployed, but I don’t see what you see in this second rate job.”
She shrugged. “I’m not trying to front. The novelty, of course. I’ve got plenty of options.”
He laughed, but he didn’t look amused. Far from it.
“I should be disgusted - the audacity you have! This morning, I had this one kid walk in and use the store’s sink to wash his feet and dirty laundry. Nobody said a damn thing - none of the customers anyway. Eventually, one of the crew did. Called the guard over to escort the kid out once he’s done. It was so bizarre. You see this kid, right, ratty clothes, probably haven’t showered for days. His clothes are in a yellow plastic bag. He just walks in while everybody’s having their fucking pancakes and sausages and reading the Inquirer, and he proceeds to use the sink as his personal laundromat.”
She listened to him and broke into a smile as they passed by makeshift food stalls at the bottom of the bridge. The smell of roasted peanuts, vinegar for the fetus eggs, fired fish and squid balls filled the roadside.
“You bought him breakfast or something?”
He looked incredulous.
“Are you daft? What good would that have done? It would have brought him straight back in there. And I’m sure there’s more where he came from. It’s not easy being kind, you know. We’re programmed for … plausible apathy.”
She nodded, taking him in under the yellow glow of gas lamps. He seemed nervous all of a sudden. “Would’ve made his day though.”
He grimaced, wondering once more why on earth he was hanging around this woman. He couldn’t tell if she was being a deliberate troll or if she was actually sincere. He grinned.
“There’s enough confusion in the world, don’t you think?”
Concise as a Fairytale
When the time comes and my folks are settled down in peace and their friends come for a short visit like old people do, when they ask my folks how are your kids doing, what are they up to, what kind of work they got, I see my folks sharing a look, my mum squeezing my pop’s hand. “I don’t know,” a hard thing to swallow, let alone say, but not that day. That day, my mum and pop’s hearts they swell with pride and love, they go, “I don’t know, but I know they’re happy.”
Their friends, they won’t understand. It takes time. Everything takes time. My pop lays his hand on a the little treasure box on the desk and says, “They send us letters from time to time. Pictures of the places they go and the people they meet. I got the pictures here, the letters my wife got on that shelf.” He points to the book shelf near the bottom of the stairs where there are letters bounded thick as novels stacked to the brim on the clean brown wood.
“But,” their friends mumble, “Don’t you get to see them? Where do they go? Don’t they have a place to stay?”
Mum smiles at pop. “They always have a place here. Always.”
When the time comes and I do come back, I know their house will never be empty. At the end of the floods, when I come back to that rustic yellow gate and I find the leaves unraked, windows and bookshelves grey with dust, and silence echo in every room, I will find a home. I will know what love is and I will remember it every day. I will be happy.
The spectacle leaves you breathless. War is having fun with you.
Since you’ve met, he has made the incredible effort of introducing you to every scenario that might belong to his category. Which, in summary, seems to include everything:
from the struggling football club trying to climb out of relegation to the heroin addict trying to get clean while fighting to obtain his next fix (“We are at constant war with ourselves,” War reminds you, “Much like in the rest of history, wars happen simultaneously.”
“Who wins out?” you feel the strong need to ask. War roars with laughter and you roll your eyes), from two empires fighting over land and women to the young man trying to find purpose in the midst of everyone’s overwhelming expectations.
“You fight all your life,” lectures War at the end of the day, “Peace is what you hold onto, what you cling to – an idea, mostly an idea, sometimes a feeling in the aftermath, whether of triumph or defeat – or a lesson in between that tells you all of your struggles are worth something. Whatever it is, whatever you choose it to be, it keeps me alive and in return, I keep you alive.”
You stand before the memorial thinking through the deaths that are laid at its feet, the women raped, the bayoneted infants. War shifts closer, slides an arm under yours and you lean into him.
“I have to find ground, is that it?”
He thumbs through your hair and laughs. You feel his palm softly above your heart.
“But you already have.”
I go back to that story every time.
It was an early schoolday morning. Our knees were pressed against each other as we sat on the common room floor, waiting for the class adviser to administer the ritual morning prayers.
Like good Catholics, morning prayers always began with the sign of the cross. But being what I was working to become, I didn't lift a finger. Billie did. She sat across the room from me and she did everything they asked because she was smarter. She didn't want any trouble. There were lots of time for that: in the corridors, in the letters we passed to one another between classes. But not here, not in their prayer hall.
If she was the sly one who followed the rules, she did so for the both of us and left majority of the mischief up to me. I wasn't reckless, I was just precocious. I didn't have the patience to lie for longer than necessary, so when we were asked us to bow our heads, I kept mine raised high and proud watching over the dark crowns that prostrated towards the holy book in Mrs. Jose's hands.
Most of my classmates wrote it off as a quirk. They knew Billie and I weren't believers, but we were nice people, allies to both saints and sinners. Billie was a liar and I was an asshole. But we were good friends and good people. Surely there was a footnote in the Bible for people like us.
But do what we, well, I did long enough and the cordialities eventually give way for the disquieting curiosity to unfurl.
Bo-o used to sit right next to me. That day, she turned her head when I didn't make the sign of the cross. Leaning over, she whispered, "So, who do you pray to?"
I looked at her and then at Mrs. Jose, to see if she was watching. She wasn't, her old, weary face pensive and buried in the gospel she was reading.
"What do you mean 'pray to'?" I whispered back.
Bo-o shrugged. "You know, like Jesus. Who's your god? Who do you lean on when you're in trouble? Who do you talk to?"
She searched my face quietly. Then without a word, she bowed her head again and pulled her clasped hands closer to her body.
I didn't know what to think or feel after that. I probably didn't give Bo-o much to think about as she did me. Most atheists who I knew back then could affix an easy answer to her question. Like, well, we liked to believe god's inexistence narrowed down the responsibility and moral decisions into our own hands. Accountability, humanism, reason.
But suppose our troubles couldn't be solved by pure logic alone. Where did we non-believers get the sense of moral propriety that we needed to make decisions? A universal guideline? Historical deductions? Intuition?
Through the years, I began to look into a massive collection of other people's thoughts and feelings, their anecdotes and their histories, their wisdom and follies. This gambit was rooted in the philosophy that the best clue we had in learning to understand the world was not god, but each other.
A higher power, a compassionate overseer of souls and secrets, was a fine thing to imagine. Men can be so disappointing, after all, and we seemed to give one another a good reason to need the input of Jesus Christ and his friends.
Still, my best friend and I stayed the non-believing course, finding neither comfort nor trepidation in the absence of god.
"We make it up as we go along." It seemed like a good plan when Billie said it. We used to talk all night about the misgoings of the world and how we thought we fit right in.
I never felt comfortable with consulting other people's thoughts and feelings to complete myself, but I eventually learned to let go of the underlying self-absorbed ambition. I began to understand that there could be no concept of self without the other. Billie and I, Bo-o and the believers, and the whole wide world - it didn't matter really where we thought we found our guidance. At the end of the day, I figured, we were all in this together.
The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users.
It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.
Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn't be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system.
How many children do you plan to kill today?
They were sitting on the edge of the dock, seabirds sailing high and ships flying across the grey horizon. She leaned back leaving the long line of her brown neck stretched bare for him to relish.
It was the perfect moment to say something. The truth's been a long time coming and he wasn’t short of reason to bring it up. But courage was hard to come by this late. Looking away, he took a hit from his dying cigarette before tossing it into the bay.
“They’re all happy now, aren’t they?”
She was talking about their heroes, all the rockstars they used to listen to. Their iPods sat between them quietly taking judgement as she dispensed it.
“Married, settled down, sobered up, living the lives they thought they could avoid. The Strokes are with offsprings, Jenny...”
He added with a smile, “Ben’s got Zooey. You heard the latest DCFC album yet?”
They laughed. It was warm and familiar and laced with a sense of resignation.
After a moment, she solemnly declared, “Everyone’s either happy or dead.”
He looked at her for a while. “Maybe it’s a sign it’s time we grew up too.”
The sea swelled moving sideways and splashing the wall. Droplets of water caught their bare feet.
Now that they were older, they realized the world was just as they left it. Cold, bland and ever moving, not spending a single second to rue their imprudent teenage rebellion.
Who the hell did they think they were anyway?
Youth was just an interlude, a few years for those willing to spend it. Now that chapter was coming to a close. They were berthing on rigid land and signing up for a life that required them to cast the past 20 years in mere memory. Neither of them needed to imagine what was waiting for them in the city. They both knew too well.
As resentment began to dig in, the sun steadily rose from the ashen sea.
As if on cue, he began to sing - “And it’s time to live in the scattered sun”.
She looked at him and wondered if the nerve to get up and leave permanently was ever going to come. On the other hand, how long down the road did she still have before she turned back and found nothing but her shadow on the trail?
"Waiting for you - to tell me what's wrong. This is the strangest life I have ever known."
They swung their legs over the edge and swayed as their shadows striped across the empty quay.