I lost my iPod in Manila

And the police officer looked genuinely concerned and non-dismissive. While talking to him, I knew there was no way it would be returned. We knew it was lost forever, but it felt nice just to have someone share the frustration. ‘Okay ka lang? Gusto mo ng tubig?’ I’m pretty sure he wanted to give me a hug. He was really nice.

In all my years as a student in Manila, I’ve never been victimized by petty thieves. My faith in the humanity of Manila peoples hasn’t been shattered even though it really is one of the filthiest, scummiest places in the country. I go there for my monthly dentist appointment not too concerned about safety. I’m now a grown up whose faith in Manila’s humanity is effectively shattered. Congratulations, Manila.

The first time I lost something valuable was in high school, when a classmate lent me her Girbaud wallet for a week, which I lost during lunch time. Borrowing a Girbaud wallet for a week is one of those stupid things we did in high school and I managed to compound that stupidity with another. I thought maybe I’m not meant to own anything that isn’t obtained from my own personal hard work. But then again, I’ve lost around 10 phones already; phones that were given as a gift, phones that were lent, phones that were bought with cash. I lose wallets too but less frequently than I do phones. The iPod was a Christmas gift from G. As long as it’s valuable, I lose it.

I lost two iPods in less than a year. There are no patterns in these incidents. The shitty city of Manila is full of crooks but so is anywhere else in Metro Manila. In fact, I’ve lost things in okay neighbourhoods too. It’s just the recklessness and carelessness that is constant and I need to remedy this carelessness. Do I never own another valuable gadget again? Do I forsake myself the things that other ultimately more careful people enjoy just because I’m aware of the great potential of losing the valuable again? Do I rid myself of the desire to enjoy anything worth more than P20,000, etc.

But I refuse to see the bleak in this. In fact I already am seeing the good in this otherwise very depressing loss:

1.       I slow down the development of tinnitus or whatever ear infection I’m sure to earn from continued and non-stop loud iPod playing because for as long as I own one, I will never cease to use it on every possible occasion, for as long as I have functioning ears.

2.       My CD-buying/CDs will be justified. They will look less pointless now that I have to turn to CDs again for music playing.

3.       I become aware that there are really seriously kind, concerned, non-lousy policemen in this country. From now on, I wouldn’t automatically think that policemen are just guys who freeload off buses. Thanks to Manila Police Officer Campos, he of the fine cheekbones and manners.

4.       I get to read more books. It will have to be the only entertainment of choice for long trips. Snatchers will never ever steal your paperback, ever.

5.       I have less reason to tinker with the computer because I have less reason to arrange iTunes playlist, which I spend a lot of time on.

6.       I don’t have to buy a protective case, something I’ve been meaning to do for the last 3 months.

7.       There is less urge to check Twitter and Facebook now that I can’t access them from a mobile device.

8.       Strangers I sit next to in buses and shuttles have no more reason to get annoyed by me, leaker of really loud music.

9.       My disdain for trains (MRT and LRT – the worst trains in the universe) will be more justified. I know there are thieves anywhere but our rail transport system, which gives a truly false sense of security by having mangmang guards check up on everyone’s belongings, prove to be totally worthless in times of trouble. I can’t decide which I hate more, the guards or the trains. Even, I guess. But as I’ve said, no sulking this time. And security guards deserve an entire blog post on its own.


Meek is weak

Why meekness never works for me:

1. I end up getting the worst stylist in the salon. Yung tipong mabagal maggupit kung bading yung stylist, or mabaho kamay kung barberong straight. The situation varies. Pwedeng mamadaliin ka since muka kang totoy or kung bading, chichikahin ka nang walang humpay, lalo na kung nagmamadali ka.  The fastest way to a man’s pocket is through his ego.

2. I just lost my phone last month in a restaurant where I usually eat. I left the stupid phone for 5 minutes and it’s gone. I KNOW it’s the waiter who stole it, I smelled it from the way he told me ‘Wala po akong nakita sir.’ Sinungaling amputa. If I were a bigger person, I could have scared him, he would have never attempted to steal my phone. Or maybe not, but it never hurts to be bigger. It’s Just A Phone, I know.

3. I get the feeling sometimes that people don’t take me seriously. 😦 Ok lang naman. There are pros and cons to that. If they don’t take me seriously, edi wag.

4. I get approached by marketers of all sorts of products: insurance, credit card, condo. Lahat naman inaapproach for those things kahit mukang macho. But I have a story.

I went to Megamall one time. Bibang girl approaches me and asks if I have a credit card. I told her yes, she says ok, you get a free movie pass blah blah, don’t worry we won’t sell you anything, said like those annoying UNICEF people in underpasses, except this girl is in MEGA MALL, so she told me that seemingly reassuring line in such a.. Megamall marketer kind of way. Sorry if that smacks of arrogance, it’s just that what I’m implying about Megamall’s level of sophistication is the truth. Not that I’m the height of classiness myself.

So I went along with it and I let their agents convince me to attend a session which I have no doubt in my being, is going to be a pyramid scheme bullshit or insurance sales pitch.

I got duped by her because she was so good in her job. She got me to sit chat with an insurance agent all because I was convinced I was receiving free movie passes. She appealed to my, I don’t know which thing it is someone appeals to if someone needs to sell someone something, but she did appeal to that. She asked me where I studied, then she asked me if I’m Chinese since I have Chinese eyes. She then asked me where I work, dropped another flattering remark, and then she tried to drop all these bullshit remarks that I got so charmed by her it became impossible to walk away from it all because I was won over.

5. Taxi drivers take you for a fool. For a fool! Actually you don’t have to be meek to be victimized by these vicious creatures BUT imagine if you look and act meek, how much more vicious they would be.

6. Waiters ignore you. Unless you look like a Daddy, a Tito or a sosyal person with his friends, TGIF hoes and their ilk won’t bother with you, middle class-looking, unassuming person since you’re likely going to order Chicken Fingers lang! It doesn’t happen all the time though. Thank God!

Sometimes it pains me to consume luxurious things but it’s December, it’s desire month. Consume disappointment consume disappointment consume desire, round and round it goes!

7. Salespeople, those whose help you actually need, look annoyed when you ask for help.

This is maybe why I’m occasionally arrogant to call center people, because I can’t be seen and they can’t tell from my voice if it’s a huge person or a small person with a huge complaint.

I lost my phone because the world is full of crooks. Lalo na sa Ortigas area. Tama si Holden Caulfield: the swankier the place, the more crooks there are. Last month, iPod. Ngayon, phone. I feel so bad. Sa bagay, matagal-tagal ko rin ni-shun ang technology, lately ko lang na-realize ang worth nito talaga. Meron pa nga akong mga ‘sometimes I wish wala ng phones and technology ‘ chu chu, so now I’m losing technology left and right. It serves me right. Pero sana pa rin mag-suffer yung kumuha nun at ang mga next of kin nya. Leche sya.

Also, malas ang Nokia phones for me. Ilang years ko pinagchagaan yung warak na warak ko ng Motorola flip phone pero never nanganib ang buhay nu’n kasi di maganda, napaka-bleak-looking, eh ang Nokia, kahit super cheap pa, nanakawin at nanakawin dahil akala ng mga masasamang-loob, mahal. But a lost phone is a lost phone. Losing 4 Nokia phones and counting is not a joke; it’s a mounting credit card debt.

I hate security guards. I hate them very, very much. They’re almost totally worthless. But today I will pick my battles and inspect my budget. Shet so much! Anyway thanks, Bozey for bearing witness and tolerating the BV that wafts in my general area every time shit happens to me.


Anti-Social Network

Here is this movie, trying to tell us that we are Mark Zuckerberg’s sheep that he has effortlessly been shepherding into a life of inactivity, subjecting us to an all-consuming leisure, and not a significant number of us think to quit it. It could also be trying to say that Zuckerberg truly deserves the billions, for he, too, is just like us, and geniuses like him are perfect magnifications of the belief that people who are smart and cunning are the ones most likely to become billionaires no matter how sarcastic, plastic and morally bankrupt they are. After all, it shows how easily he’s beaten his former partners and would have been business associates, Eduardo Saverin and the beautiful Winklevoss twin in the battle for billions. It gets the idea of greed and cunning so precisely and with such perfect soundtrack.

What triumphs though is the idea that Facebook is a product of a devious mind, the powers of which are felt the world over. Someone says in the film, perhaps meant as a joke, that even Indonesia has Facebook, which of course doesn’t make sense as a joke since Indonesia is fine, it’s a country that wouldn’t look like they’d treat Facebook as a disease or a product that should be avoided. So strong and so alluring is Facebook that attempts to get out of it by people who may have had ‘I will quit FB’ reactions to the film may as well have been saying equally false pronouncements as ‘I will lessen my Facebook face time as a form of protest’. There is simply no quitting it.

People who never felt compelled to join Facebook, those who never thought to be herded into any social networking site, those who even go so far as to vow not to watch the film because they’re not into Facebook (which is like saying I won’t watch disaster films because I’m not into disasters, kind of), however, will be even harder to coerce to sign up for it, thanks to Jesse Eisenberg’s unforgettable portrayal of Zuckerberg.

The rest will remain Facebookers because such is the power of our intellectual superiors that we gladly consume products of their greed and contempt. Obviously not all intelligent persons are responsible for the world’s ills, obviously. In the case of the productivity-reducing, social interaction bastardizing force of nature that is Facebook, it only took one mind, maybe along with three or four others, but just only one that altered the way we make people rich nowadays.

Money won’t make you happy, the adage, sort of rings true when pay day approaches and you’re not jumping for joy, when normally, it makes you jump so high for joy, often figuratively, like the 15th/30th is the second coming and Jesus himself is handing you your paycheck, or more realistically, Jesus himself electronically transfers your salary to your payroll account. I really like to rub it in, the venting. Like Shirley Manson and her rain, I’m only happy when I vent.

‘Tard tard tard,’ Stice says.
Group empathy is expressed via sighs, further slumping, small spastic gestures of exhaustion, the soft clanks of skulls’ backs against the lockers’ thin steel.
‘My bones are ringing the way sometimes people say their ears are ringing, I’m so tired.’
‘I’m waiting til the last possible second to even breathe. I’m not expanding the cage till driven by necessity of air.’
‘So tired it’s out of tired’s word-range,’ Pemulis says. ‘Tired just doesn’t do it.’
‘Exhausted, shot, depleted,’ says Jim Struck, grinding at his closed eye with the heel of his hand. ‘Cashed. Totalled.’
‘Look.’ Pemulis pointing at Struck. ‘It’s trying to think.’
‘A moving thing to see.’
‘Beat. Worn the heck out.’
‘Worn the fuck-all out is more like.’
‘Wrung dry. Whacked. Tuckered out. More dead than alive.’
‘None even come close, the words.’

The Plan

I will pack the few things I have
earned through living and go to X.

I will hail a taxi and brave
Manila traffic. I will make it

in time for my flight. The driver
will not mutter under his breath

when I give him the exact fare.
I will get a window seat, stare

at the clouds, and wonder idly
about the sad work of water,

hauling itself off the earth.
I will have time to wonder.

My boss will not be there to look
through the glass of his office.

I will look below and wave goodbye
to nothing. I will sleep for hours.

I will wake up to a new smell
as the plane touches down

on the island whose natives,
with skin browner than mine,

will welcome me with a dance
to music I will not understand.

I will sit on the sand and watch
the rain crashing into the sea.

I will never leave.
I will never leave.

-Kash Avena’s and mine.