Sunday, September 28, 2008

Frauenliebe und Leben, Op. 42

(In English, "A Woman's Love and Life.")

Robert Schumann presented this exquisite song cycle as a wedding gift to his bride, Clara Wieck, in 1840. Apart from its historical significance (with the piano accompaniment breaking away from the Schubertian model, becoming quite independent from the vocal part), the cycle is remarkable in the composer's sensitivity in the musical setting of Chamisso's poetry, and in its beauty enhanced by its simplicity.

Fraunliebe und Leben remains very popular among female voice majors in CMu, and for good reason. Quite simply, it is one of the most beautiful song cycles ever composed! :) I myself sang this during my first recital nearly two years ago (it was Sir Eudy who suggested it, and oh! How grateful I am to him for introducing it to me) . Up to now, I can sing it word for word. It is both my panacea and my catharsis for heart ache.

Fraunliebe's simple melodies are deceptive. On paper, they look easy to sing. But ask any soprano who has studied it, and they will tell you how difficult it is to have a modicum of success in interpreting the cycle's songs. For each one has a distinct mood, and although the persona remains the same all throughout, the performer has to convey the growing sense of maturity of the child-bride as she progresses from a state of innocence to that of a beloved wife, a joyful mother, and (the most difficult) a widow nearly deranged from grief.

They say that one has to fully experience Life in order to give justice to the rendering of all music. Using this mindset, Frauenliebe would have to be the most demanding of all song cycles! For it fully encompasses all the stages of a woman's life.

I have long known the pangs of infatuation, whose childishness does not in any way detract from its heartfelt sincerity. This could be my high school self singing:

I.     Since I saw him
       I believe myself to be blind,
       where I but cast my gaze,
       I see him alone.
       as in waking dreams
       his image floats before me,
       dipped from deepest darkness,
       brighter in ascent.

       All else dark and colorless
       everywhere around me,
       for the games of my sisters
       I no longer yearn,
       I would rather weep,
       silently in my little chamber,
       since I saw him,
       I believe myself to be blind.

In Edna Vincent St. Millay's words: "And what are you, that wanting you, I should be kept awake as many nights are there are days with weeping for your sake?"

In college, I came to have a taste of what love is (or at the very least, the closest thing to it, in my experience). I was not wholely unexperienced when I sang:

II.  He, the most glorious of all,
       O how mild, so good!
       lovely lips, clear eyes,
       bright mind and steadfast courage.

       Just as yonder in the blue depths,
       bright and glorious, that star,
       so he is in my heavens,
       bright and glorious, lofty and distant.

       Meander, meander thy paths,
       but to observe thy gleam,
       but to observe in meekness,
       but to be blissful and sad!

       Hear not my silent prayer,
       consecrated only to thy happiness,
       thou mays't not know me, lowly maid,
       lofty star of glory!

       Only the worthiest of all
       may make happy thy choice,
       and I will bless her, the lofty one,
       many thousand times.

       I will rejoice then and weep,
       blissful, blissful I'll be then;
       if my heart should also break,
       break, O heart, what of it?

Someday, I will be able to sincerely sing this ode to joy, speaking of happiness at having one's love requited:

III. I can't grasp it, nor believe it,
       a dream has bewitched me,
       how should he, among all the others,
       lift up and make happy poor me?

       It seemed to me, as if he spoke,
       "I am thine eternally",
       It seemed - I dream on and on,
       It could never be so.

       O let me die in this dream,
       cradled on his breast,
       let the most blessed death drink me up
       in tears of infinite bliss.

The fourth song remains my favorite. All the songs in the cycle are beautiful in their own right, but Du Ring an meinem Finger is incandescent... it is the crowning glory of a superb set of songs. Words fail me to describe the beauty of the melody, and of the piano part!!! (To give you an idea of how much I love this song, I painstakingly set out to study its piano part. Yup... slow note-reader that I am, I undertook this because I desperately wanted to be able to sing this while accompanying myself so I could have the pleasure of performing this and not have to bribe/coerce a pianist into accompanying me, tee hee)

IV. Thou ring on my finger,
      my little golden ring,
      I press thee piously upon my lips
     piously upon my heart.

     I had dreamt it,
    the tranquil, lovely dream of childhood,
    I found myself alone and lost
    in barren, infinite space.

    Thou ring on my finger,
    thou hast taught me for the first time,
    hast opened my gaze unto
    the endless, deep value of life.

    I want to serve him, live for him,
    belong to him entire,
    Give myself and find myself
    transfigured in his radiance.

    Thou ring on my finger,
    my little golden ring,
    I press thee piously upon lips,
    piously upon my heart.

One can distinctly hear the pealing of the wedding bells in the piano prelude of the next song. Listen to the postlude as well and catch the first few bars of a wedding march. :)

V.     Help me, ye sisters,
       friendly, adorn me,
       serve me, today's fortunate one,
       busily wind
       about my brow
       the adornment of blooming myrtle.

       Otherwise, gratified,
       of joyful heart,
       I would have lain in the arms of the beloved,
       so he called ever out,
       yearning in his heart,
       impatient for the present day.

       Help me, ye sisters,
       help me to banish
       a foolish anxiety,
       so that I may with clear
       eyes receive him,
       him, the source of joyfulness.

       Dost, my beloved,
       thou appear to me,
       givest thou, sun, thy shine to me?
       Let me with devotion,
       let me in meekness,
       let me curtsy before my lord.

       Strew him, sisters,
       strew him with flowers,
       bring him budding roses,
       but ye, sisters,
       I greet with melancholy,
       joyfully departing from your midst.

*Dirty minds depart!*

The next song's piano part is extremely minimalist, in order to highlight the pure emotion of the singer's voice as she sings of her deep joy at being truly beloved, at the celestial bliss of being ONE with her husband.

VI.  Sweet friend, thou gazest
       upon me in wonderment,
       thou cannst not grasp it,
       why I can weep;
       Let the moist pearls'
       unaccustomed adornment
       tremble, joyful-bright,
       in my eyes.

       How anxious my bosom,
       how rapturous!
       If I only knew, with words,
       how I should say it;
       come and bury thy visage
       here in my breast,
       I want to whisper in thy ear
       all my happiness.

     About the signs
     I have already asked Mother;
     my good mother has
     told me everything..
     She has assured me that
     by all appearances,
     soon a cradle
     will be needed.

       Knowest thou the tears,
       that I can weep?
       Shouldst thou not see them,
       thou beloved man?
       Stay by my heart,
       feel its beat,
       that I may, fast and faster,
       hold thee.

       Here, at my bed,
       the cradle shall have room,
       where it silently conceals
       my lovely dream;
       the morning will come
       where the dream awakes,
       and from there thy image
       shall smile at me.

They say that a girl fully becomes a woman only when she has given birth. :) My stint as a pre-school teacher has made me anticipate Motherhood all the more! Here the persona sings to her child, her first love:

VII. At my heart, at my breast,
     thou my rapture, my happiness!

     The joy is the love, the love is the joy,
     I have said it, and won't take it back.

     I've thought myself rapturous,
     but now I'm happy beyond that.

     Only she that suckles, only she that loves
     the child, to whom she gives nourishment;

     Only a mother knows alone
     what it is to love and be happy.

     O how I pity then the man
     who cannot feel a mother's joy!

     Thou dear, dear angel thou,
     thou lookst at me and smiles!

     At my heart, at my breast,
     thou my rapture, my happiness!

After such rapturous joy comes such tragedy, such sorrow, that I pray none of us gets to experience in real life. T.T

VIII. Now thou hast given me, for the first time, pain,
         how it struck me.
        Thou sleepst, thou hard, merciless man,
        the sleep of death.

        The abandoned one gazes straight ahead, 
        the world is void.
       I have loved and lived, I am 
       no longer living.

       I withdraw silently into myself,
       the veil falls, 
       there I have thee and my lost happiness,
      O thou my world!

Thank goodness for the Internet! You can download the score here.

Now if only I can find the Anne Sofie von Otter/ Bengt Forsberg rendition...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Note-able Purchases During the College Week

I spent a considerable percentage of my hard-earned salary on particularly note-worthy items :)

                 It's blue (my favorite color)! And it has a keyboard, a G clef, and notes! :)

I love canvas bags, particularly if they have a music design like this lovely score.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A G-clef pen and a G-clef brooch for those peekabo tops. :)

 

Goodness, can't get enough of those G-clefs.

 

And what about G-clef bookmarks, in various colors? :)

 

*sigh* But this is what made my voice-major heart go a-flutter:

 

Just for this special week, I let my closet shopaholic get the better of me. :) 'Twas worth it.

So, how was YOUR College Week? :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ஐ Les Fleurs d’un Livre ஐ

http://glizzando.blog.friendster.com/
Meewa is a Renaissance woman extraordinaire, one of those rare individuals who is a bibliophile, artist, musician, and modern day poet all in one. You can lose yourself for hours while reading the truths in her blog :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

All In A Day's Work

Whenever my dark materialistic dopelganger threatens to get the better of me, all I have to do is look at the children around me and I feel all warm and content in the knowledge that I am safely where I am supposed to be, at this particular stage in my life. :)

~ ~ ~

Everyone has "off" days... when your coffee turns out poorly, when your uniform feels like it shrank two sizes due to an extra serving of dessert the previous evening... when nothing seems to be going the way it should be.

But then there are those days when you feel the worth... no, the BEAUTY of what you're doing, of what you're part of.

I had one such a day last week. :)

True, the start of the day was not an auspicious one. Two high school boys got into a fisticuff bout, I had to step in and physically separate them. Thankfully, I got to do it before either got more than minor bruises. My Asian Civ.class time was eaten up by the consequential investigation and sorting out by the principal. My heart ached for the two boys.

Then, during my Grade 2 Music class, one of my little girls fainted! Luckily she was a slender, tiny thing. She fell slowly and gracefully, like an elven princess, so we were able to catch her before she hit her head on the floor. I thanked the Heavens for my macho, unfeminine arms as I carried her slight frame to the infirmary. (Turned out she had chicken for lunch and suffered an allergic reaction. Thankfully, she's fine now)

All these sources of additional stress, aside from the usual stress brought about by my normal work load, disappeared in the face of a beautiful twenty minutes worth of Playground Duty.

All of the teachers in RMM have Playground Duty. We go out, rain or shine, and stand guard over the little children as they run around, a preventive approach to accidents... guardian angels in uniform, except without haloes and wings. :)

Two little boys (let's call them S and D) from my CASA (kindergarten) class have been my "teachers in patience" these past several weeks. They run around and refuse to stand still for one minute, no matter how often they're told, and as I try not to use my voice any more than is necessary, I often resort to running after them instead of shouting at them. They've been helping me practice my "patience muscle," as a wise friend put it.

Anyway, S and D were fascinated by a chess game they observed between some fourth graders. S ran up to me and said, "Teacher Gabi, gusto ko mag-chess!"

"Bakit? Marunong ka na ba?" I asked, to which he confidently replied, "Oo!"

So I guided him to the office, and showed him where to sign his name in the Chess Set Log Book and how to write the time and the number of the chess board. I had a suspicion that he didn't really know how to play, and I was right. But I was more than happy to teach S, and his other naughty playmate D.

They were so absorbed in the chess lesson, they didn't run nor skip the whole playtime before class, and came in the room with dry shirts (a near miracle! Especially with such energetic boys like S and D).

I have seen fewer more beautiful sights than that of two little boys, with their faces rapt in attention, while older children gathered around them and took over my role as chess instructor. Some sixth graders came along, and two of them appointed themselves as the little ones' teachers. "Turuan mo si S! Ako magtuturo kay D!" said one sixth grade girl excitedly.

Hmmm... maybe one of them will grow up to be the next Filipino grandmaster! :)

For the next two days, S and D barged in the office as soon as they got off the school bus, and borrowed a chess set. And I'm willing to bet this will go on for a long time. It seems a fire has been lit. And who says that 5 years old is too young to start learning how to play chess? ;)

All in a day's work. I can't wait to be witness to more fires being lit next week, to bear witness to the blossoming of a thirst for knowledge that is every educator's dream to inspire in one's students. :)

There will be more off days, but with golden moments like these to hold on to, how can one ever tire of teaching?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The famous Abegg Trio in Manila!

ABEGG TRIO IN MANILA

More than 15 years after their concert in Manila, the Abegg Trio are back to play for classical music enthusiasts in Manila. This year's concert celebrates the Centennial of the University of the Philippines and the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the UP College of Music.

The Abegg Trio is made up of violinist Ulrich Beetz, cellist Birgit Erichson and pianist Gerrit Zitterbart. Since the founding of the group in 1976, they have won numerous awards and toured the world. The trio have more than 20 recordings to their name, including individuals works by Haydn, Louise Farrenc, Clara Schumann, Fanny Hensel, Berwald Kiel, Goetz, Dvorak, Smetana, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Henze, Acker, Killmayer, Rihm and Erdmann and the complete piano trio cycles by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms. For their Manila concert, the Abegg Trio will be playing pieces by Haydn, Dvorak and Beethoven.

21 September 2008, 7pm Francisco Santiago Hall, BDO South Tower (formerly Equitable PCI Bank Tower I), Makati Ave., cor H.V. Dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati

FREE ADMISSION! :)

(from the UP College of Music web site)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

13th September 2008: Isang Panaginip Na Fili

It just struck me that I watched the DUP production of “Isang Panaginip na FILI” on a very fitting date, for today is the death anniversary of one of our best yet one of the most underappreciated national heroes, Macario Sakay.

Please read this article on Sakay if you have time to spare.

Back to the FILI musical.

It was an excellent show, well worth the P150 I paid for my ticket (That’s UP price, the normal ticket price is P250 for outsiders). The show I watched had Joel Molina starring as Jose Rizal, Eric Dela Cruz as Tunying/ Simoun, JC Santos as Basilio, Micaela Pineda as Juli, Astarte Abraham as Maria Clara, Greg De Leon (from CMu!) as Kabesang Tales and Emlyn Santos (also from CMu!) as Donya Victorina. Congratulations to Kuya Cholo Gino, Choir Master extraordinaire, and to Eric Ferrer (one of CMu’s finest tenors, and Ernesto to my Norina in Don Pasquale) who I got to see in alternate roles as an ilustrado and as an about-to-be-executed prayle.

Apart from refreshing my memory about the immortal second Rizal novel, watching the musical made me realize anew just how relevant the Fili’s themes remain today. The issues of autonomy over colonization, the separation of church and state, a physical revolution versus a moral and educational one... and most especially, the importance of being WORTHY of independence and self-governance.

Some memorable lines from El Filibusterismo, the novel:

"Hate only creates monsters; crime, criminals; only love can work wonders, only virtue can redeem. If our country is some day to be free, it will not be through vice and crime, it will not be through the corruption of its sons, some deceived, others bribed; redemption presupposes virtue; virtue, sacrifice; and sacrifice, love."

 "The school of suffering tempers the spirit, the fighting arena strengthens the soul. I do not mean to say that our freedom must be won at the point of the sword; the sword now counts for very little in the destinies of our times; but I do say that we must win our freedom by deserving it, by improving the mind and enhancing the dignity of the individual, loving what is just, what is good, what is great, to the point of dying for it. When a people reach these heights, God provides the weapon, and the idols and the tyrants fall like a house of cards, and freedom shines in the first dawn."

"We tolerate vice and thereby become accomplices in it, sometimes we go so far as to applaud it; it is only just, then, very just, that we should suffer the consequences…….. He is the God of freedom, Mr. Simoun, who makes us love it by weighing the yoke upon our shoulders. He is a God of mercy and justice, who improves us with His punishments and grants happiness only to those who have merited it with their exertions. …… Mr. Simoun, as long as our people are not prepared, and enter the struggle deceived or compelled, without a clear idea of what they are to do, the best-planned movements will fail and it is better that they should fail, for why give the bride to the groom, if he does not love her enough and is not ready to die for her?"

I am not here to debate upon the reality of Rizal being the national hero, as opposed to Bonifacio who took up arms. It remains a fact that Rizal wrote two novels which surpass even the great Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas in the nobility of their message. Through these novels, we have a glimpse of what a Filipino nation COULD be. Rizal dreamt of it, and died for his dreams. And it is every Filipino’s sacred duty to continue the fight, and to continue working for this nation’s betterment.

~ ~

Shallow rant and rave: JC Santos and Mica Pineda (Basilio and Juli) were the perfect couple onstage! It’s hard to believe that such a good-looking duo could exist outside Hollywood. Forget Brangelina. Those two couldn’t hold a candle to the chemistry that JC and Mica had. The entire audience screamed in kilig when they shared a kiss (hehe, some girls were so loud, they almost ruined the show for me), and of course, they got thunderous applause come the encore. The cast was full of goodlooking people, but when you put JC and Mica onstage, all the others pale in comparison, looks-wise.

Which brings me to my point that, no matter how much I may be against it, looks really DO count a lot when one is in the performing arts. I have nothing against JC and Mica, and have the highest regard for them, especially since I got to know Mica personally in a Theater class and have only praises for her talent, dedication and professionalism.  But I couldn’t help noticing that the lead roles mostly went to the best looking people. I feel that if one is an actor and is not blessed with an aesthetically pleasing face and form, one has to work doubly hard and display more talent for one to be given the lead role.

I highly recommend this show to all open minded Filipinos who, if not of legal age, are of a mature enough level to take a little nudity and graphic sexual play-acting in stride. Despite its overt sexual depictions and unnecessary (in my opinion) displays of flesh, FILI remains a hit show, one that I hope will be re-staged soon so more schools can book tickets for their students to watch.

(Regarding nudity in theater, expressing my thoughts would take another blog post altogether, but I really do not think believe it is EVER necessary.)

Go see the musical and have your memories refreshed and your patriotic sentiments renewed!

I end with the closing line from the musical: “Ang mithiin mong bansa, Rizal, malapit nang makamtan... malapit na.” Let us continue hoping, praying, and working so that this WILL be so.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Book Fair!!!

Nothing signals the start of Christmas season like the annual Manila book fair. My family and I have been faithful devotees since ... I can't remember, maybe when I was still a toddler. :) They used to hold it in SM Megamall. I have pictures of last year's book fair (Hi Christian!!!) which was held at the World Trade Center, Manila (speaking of World Trade... it's the 7-year anniversary of 9/11. Let us continue to pray for the families of those who perished, as well as the countries who went to war because of that fateful day).

The 2008 Manila Book Fair starts tomorrow and runs until Sept.16, at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.

For more information, go to www.manilabookfair.com

See y'all at the Book Fair! :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Where Is Matt? ---> my new favorite youtube video of all time




This is beautiful... I cried the first time I watched it.

Parental Love before a basketball game

My father had been a basketball player for Ateneo in his youth, and remains a die-hard Ateneo fan to this day. He was able to get two tickets for the La Salle vs. Ateneo game slated for this afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum, after moving heaven and earth to do so. He wanted to get five tickets so the whole family could watch, but we were lucky to get the two already.

            Naturally, we all agreed that Papa would take Ticket No. 1 since he was the most ardent Ateneo basketball fan in the family. And it was only right, we felt, that Tata get Ticket No. 2 since she was teaching in the Ateneo High School. They say it’s even written in the job description of Ateneo teachers... “Article X Section 3: Teachers must attend Ateneo basketball games and cheer their lungs out...” hehe. Or so they say.

            Ogot had to stay home and do some schoolwork. I also had MA stuff to take care of, but        Mama wanted to check out Gateway Mall  (which is right beside the Coliseum), but she didn’t want to go alone so I volunteered to act as her window-shopping companion slash bodyguard (Cubao’s not exactly a peaceful neighborhood). “Live today, work tomorrow,” was my motto. J The plan was, Mama and I would leisurely stroll around this unfamiliar mall while waiting for Tata and Papa to finish watching the game.

            On the way to Araneta, we were all surprised when Papa suddenly turned to me and said, “Why don’t YOU go with Tata to watch the game?”

            I was stunned. First of all, I knew just how much watching this game meant to Papa. For me, it would be the equivalent of my getting a ticket to watch Kathleen Battle (one of my favorite sopranos) perform at the Met (haha, one can dream!).

            This would be the first time in at least 10 years that he would be able to watch a La Salle vs. Ateneo Seniors Game. It meant the WORLD to him. We knew that. And yet... he was willing to give it up... for me. So I could go and watch it with my twin sister. “You’re both young, you should be the ones to go experience this,” he said.

            I hastily assured him that he would be casting pearls before swine, as it were, since I was not (and probably never will be) a basketball fan, despite my having green blood. (Hmmm... come to think of it, my siblings and I have all three “Top Schools” colors of blood in our veins... We went to La Salle Zobel for high school, UP Diliman for college, and now go to the Ateneo for grad studies. So we can sit in either team during a game, and have justification for doing so, hehe.)

            This is just one of the many instances in my life that Papa has shown the depth and extent of his love for me. He may not tell us in words, since he is a true Marlboro macho man and avoids sentimental, flowery speeches. But actions speak louder than words, and he shows us how much he loves us each time he drives us to and fro school/work, each time he brings home some chocolate or apples and oranges when we’re sick, each time he treats us to our favorite Starbucks drink even though he’d never buy himself a cup since he thinks it’s too expensive. He shows it in his stern lectures whenever we forget to fix our bed, or stay up too late typing a paper... he shows it when he forbids us to go to certain places with certain people, telling us that he’d rather we hate him for being “too strict” than let us go and put ourselves at risk.

Truth be told, to be the recipient of such self-sacrificing love is very humbling. It defies logic, and is utterly self-effacing. It is also very inspiring... If I could be half the parent that my own parents are to my siblings and I, it would be the highest achievement I could ever hope for.

God bless our parents! J

P.S. Incidentally, Ateneo won the game by eight points.

P.P.S. Objectively speaking, I think La Salle has the better cheers, Ateneo has the better players, and UP the BEST Alma Mater song (nothing stirs the blood like singing “UP Naming Mahal....”)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Land of Bondage, Land of the Free

LAND OF BONDAGE, LAND OF THE FREE
Raul Manglapus

October 20, 1918 — July 25, 1999
Appointed as the Philippines’ youngest-ever foreign minister in 1957, and was elected to a national senate seat by a landslide in 1961. He ran for President in 1965, but lost to eventual dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Manglapus returned to the foreign affairs post in 1987 as a member of the cabinet of President Corazon Aquino. A statesman of towering stature, he is best summed up by a Philippine newspaper columnist as “…the best President we never had.”
* * *

Once upon a time, the tao owned a piece of land. It was all he owned. But he cherished it, for it gave him three things, having which, he was content: life, first of all, and liberty, and happiness.

Then one day the Spaniard came and commanded him to pay tribute to the crown of Spain. The tao paid tribute. And he was silent — he was certain that he was still the master of his land.

The Spaniard became rich. But with riches, evil entered into him and he came to the tao a second time. He read to the tao a formidable document saying: “According to this decreto real, which unfortunately you cannot read, this that you have been paying me is not tribute but rent, for the land is not yours but mine.” The tao paid tribute and said nothing … He ceased to be a freeman. He became a serf. Still the tao held his peace. The rent went up and up. The tao starved.

And this time at last he spoke. Not in words, but with that rustic instrument with which he cleared the land once his own — the bolo. He transformed it from an instrument of tillage to an instrument of death, and with it drove away the stranger. Then he returned to his field saying: “Now indeed shall I again be master of this land, once my own, but stolen from me by the trickery of quicker wits than mine.”

But the tao was wrong. For the land had another master. This time not a stranger, but his own countryman grown rich. The tao had a new name, kasama, which to us means partner, but which to the tao meant still a slave, for once more he suffered from his countrymen the same things he had suffered from the stranger: the rents, the usury, and all the rest of it.

Yes, the tao returned to his field thinking that he was free. But he soon discovered that he was still a prisoner. His prison, a two-room shack, rent by every wind, without any comforts, except tht three families have there the privilege to starve. The tao’s home has become his very prison. Its doors, if you can call them such, are wide open. It is a prison nonetheless. For the tao is bound to it, not with chains of steel, but with a stronger chain — his honor. To this day, the tao remains a slave, a prisoner of the usurer.

No wonder, then that tao, being a slave, has acquired the habits of a slave. No wonder that after three centuries in chains, without freedom, without hope, he should lose the erect and fearless posture of the freeman, and become the bent, misshapen, indolent, vicious, pitiful thing that he is! Who dares accuse him, who dares rise up in judgement against this man, reduced to this sub-human level by three centuries of oppression. The tao does not come here tonight to be judged — but to judge! Hear then his accusation and his sentence:

I indict the Spanish encomendero for inventing taxes impossible to bear.

I indict the usurer for saddling me with debts impossible to pay.

I indict the irresponsible radical leaders who undermine, with insidious eloquence, the confidence of my kind in our government.

You accuse me of not supporting my family. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

You accuse me of ignorance. But I am ignorant because my master finds it profitable to keep me ignorant. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

You accuse me of indolence. But I am indolent not because I have no will, but because I have no hope. Why should I labor, if all the fruits of my labor go to pay an unpayable debt. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

Give me land. Land to own. Land unbeholden to any tyrant. Land that will be free. Give me land for I am starving. Give me land that my children may not die. Sell it to me, sell it to me at a fair price, as one freeman sells to another and not as a usurer sells to a slave. I am poor, but I will pay it! I will work, work until I fall from weariness for my privilege, for my inalienable right to be free!

BUT IF YOU WILL NOT GRANT ME THIS … If you will not grant me this last request, this ultimate demand, then build a wall around your home … build it high! … build it strong! Place a sentry on every parapet! … for I who have been silent these three hundred years will come in the night when you are feasting, with my cry and my bolo at your door. And may God have mercy on your soul!

Separation Anxiety

Our Internet server has been down the whole weekend (read: Friday evening, the whole of Saturday and Sunday), and you can't imagine the amount of distress it caused our household.

We all suffered separation anxiety, in varying degrees. I was lucky, I had the piano and my books to comfort me. I spent more than two hours Friday evening playing the piano and singing my old pieces (take note, I'd just come from three and a half hours of teaching at CMu!), which made me realize just how much I love Music. I never get tired of doing it, in fact the more I do it the less tired I get. :)

It was both a liberating and stressful experience... liberating in the sense that I rediscovered the simple joys of generations past. There ARE so many more worthwhile things to do. But I am a true product of my technology-savvy generation, and felt anxious about the fact that I could not update myself on the happenings in my friends' lives through bloghopping.

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I have a new definition of irony.

Irony is lugging one's laptop all the way to a cafe in Makati, buying outrageously priced coffee and even more scandalously priced wi-fi (P100 an hour!!! *gasp*), and getting all of five minutes of Internet when a storm hits and effectively screws up the connection.

Hehe. That's what happened to my siblings and I. We couldn't transfer to another place because we'd be drenched if we did, so we ended up doing "the sibling bonding" over coffee, and actually enjoyed ourselves despite the initial irritation.

Being able to shrug off the unchangeable and philosophically sigh, "Oh well, that's life," is a huge part of learning how to live life. And I learned that, this weekend.
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When all is said and done, I'm still so glad that the Internet's back :)

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