Friday, December 08, 2006

Five Minutes Away From Amsterdam Centraal

This shop is situated right beside the Homomonument, mounted to commemorate all the gays and other homosexuals who were killed during the holocaust. It is a few blocks away from Amsterdam Centraal (around 5 minutes walk perhaps, my pace.) It is along Kaizersgracht and the main road whose name I have completely forgotten. The umbrellas and the bracelets are nice but I like the political postcards better. Uhm, and yes, the men at the counter were quite good.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Long fingernails, rat droppings and the Philippine government

Yesterday, I noticed my nails were long since they were already gathering dirt. I wanted to cut but I had no time. I will cut them tonight.

A few weeks ago, I noticed rat droppings beside my bed, by the windows, on top of the double decked bed, underneath the cabinet of books, behind the books themselves. I only snuffed them out with a vacuum cleaner last night.

I hated stalling but I do it all the time.

Yesterday, I and more than 200 migrant workers witnessed another stalling - this time from the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong.

Yesterday was the scheduled Leader's Forum which the Consulate and the migrant organizations here decided to hold. It was the biggest (standing room only!), well-attended forum of all.

After all the chitchats from the Consulate people, we all went down to business. And so did the Consulate.

They stalled, agreed to further look into the matter, smiled, smirked and called for professionalism, friendsly discussions and healthy debates. Any kind of shouting or hard debate would have been deemed uncivilized, undisciplined and not worth the dialogue.

The Consulate itself, however, solicited this kind of response. They did not make any categorical answers to the migrants' demands. They stalled and beat around the bush with their answers to the questions. In essence, they committed to nothing. Clearly, a sign of inutility and worth the people's indignation.

Behind their sweet words and smiles were policies that kill and chill migrant workers to their deaths. They did not waste time in squeezing every dollar from us and making sure we agree. This is one thing they did not stall on and something they do all the time.

These days, with yesterday's event in mind, a lot of migrant workers are sharpening not only their long fingernails but their minds and hearts - against this Consulate and a system that is worse than rat droppings.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stop Enforced Disappearance! Stop Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines Now!

Petition of the Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines on the International Day for the Disappeared
August 30, 2006

On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, we, human rights advocates, civil libertarians, migrant workers, unions, youth and students of Hong Kong, unite and call on the Philippine government to effectively and swiftly address the unabated extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the Philippines.

To date, human rights organizations in the Philippines have documented 729 cases of human rights violations in the country including scores of those who were forcibly abducted and until now remain missing.

Enforced disappearance still remains to be one of the gravest acts of human rights violations. It is a violation of many international conventions on peoples rights not the least of which is the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The documentation of 147 cases of enforced disappearances (as of June 2006) in the Philippines is a cause for alarm and indignation for all defenders of human rights.

What is even more alarming, of the cases documented and reported to Philippine authorities, not a single case has been resolved.

Worse for victims of enforced disappearance, delegates of the Hong Kong Mission for Human Right and Peace in the Philippines reported that their interview with Task Force Usig, the body formed by the government to supposedly investigate the spate of political killings, revealed that the task force is not investigating cases of those who have been abducted and have not yet resurfaced.

The excuse that was given by the task force was that its mandate does not cover cases of enforced disappearances and that it only investigates cases in which a body has been found. This is an absurdity given the very serious nature of the crime of enforced disappearance which causes continuing grief for the families and friends of the victims. There is no reason why enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings should be dealt with separately by the authorities as this would surely encourage perpetrators to ensure that bodies are never found. This development could subsequently lead to cases of involuntary disappearances replacing the present wave of extrajudicial killings.

In most cases, human rights groups have documented the involvement of the police, military and paramilitary groups on incidences of human rights violations. Even the various fact finding missions conducted by respectable institutions and groups all over the world has revealed the pattern of state involvement in these human rights violations.

Different international organizations including human rights associations, journalists, churches, lawyers and even parliamentarians have already expressed their concern over the killings.
However, the response of the government to the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance is very disappointing.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos strongly-worded promises of solving human rights violations cases issued only after international pressure mounted and the issue has become a national concern still remain as promises.

On this day, we demand the Philippine government to:

1. Uphold international conventions and UN resolutions on human rights such as the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance
2. Give full priority to the investigation and resolution of reported cases of human rights violations;
3. Direct the police and the military to account for their involvement on human rights violations and direct them to resurface those who have been forcibly abducted;
4. Provide sufficient protection and assistance to witnesses of human rights violations incidences, and;
5. Establish a truly independent body that shall investigate the cases of human rights violations.

Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines
Asian Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong Christian Institute
Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee
Justice and Peace Commission of HK Catholic Diocese
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Center for Justpeace in Asia
World Student Christian Federation – Asia Pacific
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples
Asian Students Association
Thai Regional Alliance
Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers
Iglesia Filipina Independiente/Philippine Independent Church – HK
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
Filipino Migrant Workers Union
Abra Tinguian Ilocano Society
Cordillera Alliance
United Pangasinan HK
Migrante Sectoral Party - Hong Kong
Association of Concerned Filipinos
Friends of Bethune House
Pinatud a Saleng ti Umili
Filipino Migrant's Association
Association of Filipino Women Migrant Workers in Hong Kong
Filipino Friends - Hong Kong
LIKHA Migrant's Cultural Organization
Bruce Van Voorhis, AHRC
Michael Anthony, AHRC
Corazon Amaya-Canete, Kisapmata Productions
Cynthia Ca Abdon-Tellez, MFMW
Jun Tellez, MFMW
Norman Carnay, MFMW
Gessen Rocas, Hong Kong
Peggy Lee, human rights activist (Canada)

Friday, August 25, 2006

McDonald's 1

Sa isang halos araw-araw nadadaanan ang McDonald's at tila nanawa na sa simpleng pagtunghay lang dito, at naumay na rin sa halos buong panahong pagkahumaling dito lalo noong unang inilagak ang branch nito sa may malapit sa Sta. Cruz Church sa Carriedo, hindi ako makapaniwalang kumakain pa rin ako ng McDo.

Kahit narinig ko na sa mga kasama ko ang kasamaang dulot ng hindi matunaw-tunaw na burger, fried at beef patty sa tyan, ang paninira nito sa puri ng kalikasan at ang simpleng katotohanang junk food ito at tyak na isang malaking pakana ng mga kapitalistang ganid, natatakam pa rin ako at buong panahong nagkukumahog para lamang makatikim nito kahit isang beses isang linggo.

Pero hindi ngayong linggo. Simula noong dumating ako mula sa Pilipinas, halos araw-araw ko yatang pinupuntahan ang McDo at masayang kumakain. Paborito ko ang Big Mac kahit pa talagang masamang cholesterol lang naman ang idudulot nito sa akin. Paminsan-minsan na lamang sa Coke na nakapanlilinis ng makina ng sasakyan kasi meron naman silang Fruit Punch at Iced Mocha na tyak ding magpapataas sa aking blood sugar.

Hindi ako masaya sa french fries at Mcnuggets kasi walang tinapay although masarap talaga ang mga recent pakana nilang sauce tulad ng malay satay, hot ichiban, thai mayo at isa pang nakalimutan ko na.

Sa punto de bista ng isang nagmimintina ng kalusugan, masamang pagkain ang McDonald's. At kahit pa alam ko na ito, kumakain pa rin ako.

Sa punto de bista ng isang nagtataguyod ng organic farming at lumalaban sa corporatization ng pagkain, dapat itinitigil ko na ang pagtangkilik dito. Pero kumakain pa rin ako.

Mamatay sa nais. Mamatay sa hilig.

Naalala ko tuloy si Nanay noong sinasabi nya ito sa amin habang kumakain sya ng malalambot na buto ng manok. Matagal nangn yumao si Nanay mula sa cancer of the colon, 26 years na ang nakakaraan. Malungkot ako noong namatay si Nanay. Naalala ko pa rin sya at ang sinabi nya sa akin:

"Mamatay sa hilig."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Apartment sa Dapitan

Apartment sa Dapitan

Nakilala ko ang sumusulat dito. Sa totoo lang, kilala ko na sya bago ko pa nalamang meron syang blogspot. Iilan pa lamang ang nababasa ko sa mga isinulat nya pero nawili na rin ako. I find it weird that I am publishing two entries in my blog today.

Magaling kasi siyang sumulat. He inspires me. To write again.


i am immuno-compromised. this is a wild guess after having what i had days before. shingles.

i had shingles, or herpes zoster, the same virus that causes chicken pox. and before i had it, i never thought chicken pox would not come back and attack me once again. but it did. as the website for diseases screamed words of truth to me, even before i confirmed it was shingles from the doctor i visited that day, shingles do happen to people, many of whom are either 50 years old and above or immuno-compromised. i am definitely not 50 years old.

i experienced a strong stabbing pain on my chest days before. i sprayed myself with an anti-pain mixture that was brought home to manila to a friend from her US-based girlfriend thinking it would relieve myself of such a weird intoxicating attack of what seemed to be big needle pricks on my chest.

a day after, i saw rashes building up on my upper left torso. i attributed the rashes to the spray and blamed my friend for it. she was not responding to my text messages so i thought she was feeling guilty about it. i did not know i had rashes building up on my back until the blind masseuse told me she was feeling some hot nodules on my back and decided against massaging that affected area.

i did not know it would be this painful - physicially and financially. physically, the virus was attacking a part of my dermatome, an area with a lot nerves making the fruition of the blisters into pus-filled tit-like nodules excruciatingly painful. financially, it killed off the remaining happy days of my life when i spent more than 1,000HKD for a week-long intake of valtrex. what a way to celebrate my vacation back home.

and then they all crusted and i got well a week after. true, what my doctor said, that valtrex was a miracle drug hastening the resolution of the virus from 4-5 weeks to just one. although i am having post-herpetic neuralgia, where one still feels a stabbing pain on the chest or around the affected area, i am okay now.

i don't mind being immuno-compromised but i do mind not taking it seriously.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Buying Giordano

Opening Sale

I thought of writing really serious stuff lately but right now I have nothing much to say so it is better to get off with something that I have learned to do when I got here in Hong Kong - to become a consumerist.

As a clothesperson, I have a motto: wala. Wala akong motto. I just thought that since Hong Kong has a year-long sale with REAL sales hitting the scene every 3-4months, I better start searching ones that I can really depend on for wear - that is cheap but hip, wearable and formidable (lasting at least 2 years). Like Giordano. (Really? Hai me?)


Giordano has expensive clothes but they sell their pants cheap sometimes. I got my cheapest at 50HKD. They have this lifetime promo coupon where they would put sticker for every pair that you buy. Upon purchasing your 8th pair, you get a pair of pants FREE. Natawa lang ako sa promong ito kasi para namang lagi kang mauubusan ng pantalon... UNTIL, I met some people who are so addicted to jeans, pantaloons and what have you that they would be more than willing to spend 3,000HKD for a pair (Japanese brand Evisu has that price in his tag. How do I know Evisu is a man? Maybe he is gay.)

But then, I used up all the eight slots, thanks to friends who supported me in this cause. No, I did not have the free one to myself. I gave it to my comrade-friend who needed a pair really badly. I should go to heaven for this.

As for the belts that sell for 2 for 80HKD sometimes, wag mong bilhin. It only took me 3 months to see it talking back to me. Nakakatakot. I had to buy something expensive pero yung tatagal naman, say, ng 2 taon.

Bili-bili na!

Sunday is the best time to buy Giordano shirts, specifically sa Des Voux Road sa Central. Filipino migrants buy things as pasalubong or padala sa kanilang mga kaanak. At dahil dito, mabenta ang mga damit at tindahang tulad ng Giordano. Doon ko lang narinig ang Sex Bomb dancers na kumakanta sa background habang naghihiyawan at nang-eengganyo naman ang mga Giordano boys and girls: "Bili bili na! Mulang mula! Pala inyung asawa, poging pogi!"

So that's where you will see all these factory defects being sold at 10HKD a piece. Naiinis din ako kasi lapsap (garbage) na pero ibinebenta pa rin. Iba talaga ang kapitalista. Pero... bumibili pa rin ako paminsan-minsan.


Natuwa ako nung nakita ko uli yung palaka sa Giordano. It reminded me of the 80s, one of those years when I got a Giordano hand-me-down from my heavily endowed sister. I was happy with the shirt, a mint green collared tee that I only wore for a few months because I got bigger.

Closing time

In the end hindi pa rin ako tumatagal ng limang minuto sa Giordano. Pangarap lang karaniwan sa maraming taong tulad ko na maging official endorser nito at mapupuno ng Giordano pants, shoes, undies and shirts ang aking gamunggo sa liit na cabinet.

I am now researching where Giordano factories are, who their workers are, how much they receive at the day's end, if they are estranged with the products that they make, and how much the owners are earning from this "endeavor".

World Without Strangers... nice design.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Top 20s for 2005 - Part 1

Days before 2006 starts. Days before 2005 draws to a close.

Is there anything interesting this year that has been very "impactive", as I one time mentioned?

With that, I will attempt to list down 20 and 05 people, events, places, foods, things that have made considerable impact, significance or what have you on my life. Sige nga, I'll try.

But not now. Maybe later?