Monthly torture for boys

Traditional boy's haircut
Traditional boy’s haircut

When we were kids, my two brothers and I underwent a traditional Chinese haircut (minus the queued tail) that, for most boys at that age, was already a minor form of torture. But the torture was tripled—at least for me—because (1) it was done monthly, (2) it was done with an old razor featuring reusable Gillette blades, and (3) it was done by my father during his often-grumpy moments. Continue reading “Monthly torture for boys”

How I transcended my frat leanings

When Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, I was a student in UP Diliman taking up B.S. Chemical Engineering. When UP classes reopened around October or November (after a few weeks’ suspension due to the initial uncertainties of martial law), I decided to also go back to my studies while at the same time doing clandestine work with other comrades inside the university as underground ND activists. All my subjects as a freshman were still limited to the general arts and sciences at the Palma Hall (the famous “AS”). And that’s where this story about my short dalliance with frats is supposed to begin. Continue reading “How I transcended my frat leanings”

The perennial boy scout

Rockwell - The Adventure Trail
The idyllic images I had in childhood, which I tried to reproduce in real life.

Ever since I can remember, there’s this mindset, or tendency, or personality trait, that runs deep in me: I have this keen smell for approaching adversity. It’s a constant anticipation verging on a perverse wish, or sense of challenge, for some looming adverse event to unfold so I can see if I, together with people around me, can face it head-on. Continue reading “The perennial boy scout”