After many years of writing alternately in Tagalog and English, I noticed that I am now more at ease in English, although I can still write fluently in Tagalog. On self-reflection, I realized the reason for my strong English bias is that I want to reach an intellectualized audience even if they too are Filipinos like me. The unspoken premise is that Tagalog is much less intellectualized than English, and so it has become more precise, concise, and easier for me to write intellectually in English rather than in Tagalog. Continue reading “A linguistic philosophy for intellectualized Tagalog”
When lower and slower are better
Some of my friends and colleagues were curious why I chose to take the six-hour train ride from Amsterdam to Berlin (and the same ride on my way back) instead of Easyjet, which is cheaper and faster.
This became the topic of conversation during a Berlin dinner with Tanja, Susanne, and other Misereor friends. At first I explained my choice with practical reasons such as train seats being more spacious and comfy, and the Hauptbanhof being a short walking distance from my hotel. Then I ended with a cryptic “It’s a philosophical question, actually.” They seemed to pick up my line of argument quickly enough, and I promised them a blog piece on the topic when I have time. Which is now.
Leaving cemeteries as clean as we found it
Shouldn’t it be obvious enough, like it’s staring you in the face?
The news today is that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has collected stupendous amounts of garbage that accumulated over the November 1-2 weekend in the various cemeteries of the metropolis. Well, you buy flowers and candles, you bring them to the cemeteries, and you leave them there. What do you think will happen? That the dead will later rise and clean up after you?
I’m thankful we made the decision not to bring flowers and candles to the cemetery, but just ourselves, with our mindful presence, deep thoughts and memories.
If we had to offer flowers and candles, I’d rather that we offer them at home, or wherever we are staying, so that the flowers and candles are kept fresh as long as possible, and don’t go to waste in one universal implosion on the night of November 2.
And of course, if I had given more attention to it, like in past All Saints-All Souls days, I would have made an additional offering of wine, in copitas for easy gulps, so that my dead ancestors and and I could sit down once more for an evening of relaxed reminiscing. Other gentle souls in the vicinity would have been welcome, and in the morning, we would have emptied a bottle or two.
We would have cleaned up afterwards, and not rely on MMDA to pick up our self-inflicted trash. Leaving cemeteries as clean as we found it — I’d have thought our ancestors taught us how it’s properly done, all these years. # Follow @junverzola