Monday, April 26, 2010

The swordtail

Do you know what swordtails are?

When I was a little boy, I remember my father would take the family out to the movies almost every weekend. And after that we'd usually grab a bite to eat at this Chinese restaurant.

My favorite part of this family weekend ritual, however, was neither the movies nor the eating out. It was this short walk we had to take from the movie theater to the restaurant. For along the way was this little pet shop that offered quite a collection of dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and rabbits -- enough to impress my young impressionable mind. But of all the animals at the store, my personal favorite were the fishes. And to my utter delight, the pet shop had all sorts of fishes in all sorts of shapes and colors. But what really caught my eye was this small orange fish that had a pointy little protrusion on its tail, the sword as it were, hence its name, swordtail.

Secretly, I wanted to have my own swordtail. But even then, I understood that it was going to cost money. Money, I thought, that we could not afford. Though we can go out almost every weekend, it was made very clear to all of us, that was as far as extra expenses would go. A personal fish for me would be too much, I didn't even dare ask.

But for every weekend that passed, every weekend that I had to go home without my swordtail, my secret longing for my very own fish grew even more. Until one day I finally decided, if I was ever going to have my own swordtail, I was going to have to earn it myself. And so for the first time in my young life,I started saving.

It wasn't easy. From my meager allowance, even saving all that I could, meant little progress. It took every ounce of discipline but I was determined. Finally, after about a month or so of self-sacrifice, I had just enough money for one single swordtail.

That very weekend, I could hardly wait to go to the pet shop. And once there, I eagerly poured all my savings onto the counter and just as quickly pointed at my much-desired swordtail.

My father, surely, must have been amused, but said nothing.

The salesclerk, on his part, was only too willing to oblige. And so there I was, two little hands gently cuddling a plastic bag filled with water and one solitary fish.

When we finally got home, I brought out a jar I had been keeping all this time for this special occasion.

I filled the jar to the brim with tap water. But before I could pour in my fish, my father cautioned me to let the chlorine breathe out of the tap water.

After about an hour more of waiting, my fish, finally, was home. And I, finally, was happy.

I was happy, as only a little child is capable of being happy. I could have stared at my fish all night, if only my parents had allowed me to. I tried to give my fish a name, but nothing appropriate came to mind.

My father must have been moved by my passion for that fish. Though he never said anything, one day, to my great surprise, he came home with an aquarium.

My father's aquarium was huge! Nothing like my jar at all. It even had sand, rocks, and a bubble mechanism that was supposed to aerate the aquarium. After letting the chlorine breathe out of the tap water, my father began pouring in fishes from a large shopping bag he had also brought home with him. Fishes, of all sorts of shapes and colors, began to fill my father's huge aquarium. Once my father was done pouring in the fish, he told me to pour in my fish as well. And so I did, water and all, into the aquarium.

I stared at the aquarium for a while. Not really looking at the other fishes, but instead, secretly looking for my one swordtail.

I should have been happy, I know. After all, before, I only had a jar and one fish. And now I had an aquarium of fishes. My father meant well, but you see, before I had a jar and one fish. It was just one fish but it was MY fish. Now fish is just fish to me.

(footnote: I wrote this in my early twenties. It was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday Magazine. It is the one story of mine my mom got to read.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

So long lives this

(photo was taken from here: Fan photos from Tingloy A Taste Of Paradise)

I should have savored every last retelling of the old story my mom must’ve told at least a thousand times.

My grandfather was Ireneo Martinez, “lobo del mar” or sea wolf to all those who knew him by profession.  A ship captain and harbor pilot, he was the one expert everyone wanted to safely guide their ships into harbor in stormy weather.

Being the best at what he did, lolo earned enough that he was able to buy three good-sized batels he used in the trade and transport of goods. This new source of income meant that lolo no longer had to spend months at a time away from home.

Home was Tingloy, a small island fishing community just off the coast of mainland Batangas. The family lived in relative wealth in a house that was the first real big house made of mortar and stone that for a long time you can simply tell the pedicab driver to take you to the malaking bahay to find it.

Sunday lunches were always a minor occasion at the malaking bahay, with the Spanish priest from the local church a regular guest after celebrating morning mass. It is from these little visits that my mom’s sister, Chabeng, would learn authentic Spanish cuisine. My mom, Nena, being the youngest and the spoiled baby everyone doted on, would never bother to learn.

Aside from the recipe, the Spanish priest would occasionally bring ingredients sent to him direct from Spain. And it is from these that my favorite aunt, Mama Chabeng, would learn that it is only with chorizo from Bilbao itself that one can make authentic paella. And when preparing kaldereta, absolutely no tomato sauce, you need olive oil and olives to get it just right.

It was a point of pride and truly a great pleasure to have the parish priest as regular guest at the Sunday lunch table. Grandfather practiced his fluent Spanish discussing theology, philosophy, politics and current events with the priest when they retire for coffee after the hearty Sunday meals.

It was all good times except for one Sunday, when unexpected guests came along with the priest for lunch. Grandmother was caught unaware and had prepared only one large escabecheng lapu-lapu for main course – mom’s favorite.

Of course, my mom and her siblings gave way, as good manners demanded. Whatever was left of the meal after the guests have had theirs would be their lunch. Nervously my mom, not yet eight, spied from the kitchen as the meal progressed. Remember, this was a time long before Andok’s Lechon Manok take-outs. Quietly she watched, until someone decided to turn the fish over.

“Inang, binaligtad na!” my mom cried on-top of her lungs in total anguish.

Mom would tell that story, always starting from the punch-line, whenever we’d finish off one side and turn the fish to the other. She’d only fill in the details right after.

I never really knew my lolo save for the stories my mom would tell.  I didn’t even get to see the 45 caliber pistol he used to drive away the tulisanes who would raid the fishing village from time to time. Nor the thank you note that President Manuel Quezon wrote after he spent the night at the malaking bahay. Lolo died from pulmonary disease when I was still just a baby of six months. Mom died when I was twenty-six. Mama Chabeng, who never married and lived with us most of her life, when I was thirty.

For us, the siblings, we carry on the punch-line like a tradition to this very day. It must be a little confusing to the kids, not knowing the back-story of it. We can never bring ourselves to fully tell it. It is mom’s story. It wouldn’t be the same, somehow.

Again, I should have savored every last retelling of it. Inang, binaligtad na.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I remember when

My mother would scream at the TV, “Came to the Philippines! You go there, you come here!” She was again emphatically correcting Jeanne Young on “Spin a Win”, who was just telling the story on how she “went” to the Philippines so many years ago. The affectations of Jeanne Young’s American twang didn’t impress my mom, an English teacher of the old school kind.

“Children are listening. You are teaching them the wrong things!”

My mom would surely skewer me, the way I’ve mangled the English language with my colloquial and highly informal style. Imagine what she’d do if I ever texted “d2 na me.”

The rules have changed. That’s for sure. But still I cannot bring myself to text “Hir na me, wer na u?” I’d rather “D2 nako, sankana?”, or the English equivalent “M here, wru?” That, somehow, doesn’t sound so awful.

Maybe I am just an old dog that refuses to learn new tricks. I still adamantly refuse to drop the “O” in “Ok”. What’s another three keystrokes? “K” is just too lazy, if you ask me. And I am often guilty of still texting full words, correct spelling and syntax, that is, for as long as I can confine it to the 160 character limit. One peso is one peso, after all.

We take care when it costs.

The scrolls of documents in the Vatican archive, all hand-written in elaborate fonts, are almost all without errors. They didn’t have MicroSoft Word back then. No one button to undo what has been recklessly done. The scribes took care, because paper was worth its weight in gold.

I live in a housing complex where I am advised to “Please observed cleanliness.” Somebody actually put paint to metal and wrote that. It was a fine job, if you can overlook the grammar. I cringe, the sound of my mom’s voice ringing in my ears. Perhaps I should lobby for the hardware to charge more for paint.

Driving through Bataan and I am actually tempted to gouge out my own eyes tortured by all the misplaced apostrophes. “Crab’s for sale” says one sign. “Crabs’ for sale” corrects the competition. Doctor Evil, scratching his ill-timed imaginary quotation marks in the air, has got nothing on these locals.

I make no claims to perfection. But I try. I take care, because I know words cost. And more than that, I believe in the value of what I have to say.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ten things men are thinking but are not saying

1. STOP taking 2 hours to get ready to go out. There are only 24 hours in the day. 6 hours for sleeping, 2 hours for the 3 meals and snacks in between. 2 hours is 12.5% of our productive lives! Men can shit, shower, and shave in 30 minutes or less. We are giving you an hour. If you can not look good in 1 hour, you can not look good, period.

2. STOP blaming men for everything. Do not believe the feminazi propaganda that even blame men for high heels. Get over it. It's the 3rd millenium. No one is putting a gun to your head to wear high heels. Wear it. Don't wear it. It's your choice.

3. STOP being angry for no reason. Stop being in the mood. 

4. STOP with the "I'm bored" (what are you gonna do about it?) nonsense. If that's your biggest friggin problem let me tell you about my day...  Do you really want me to unload on you all the crap I had to go through all day? Men are quiet for a reason. We want to spare you the grief.

5. STOP using the excuse "I am a woman" or it's other incarnation "you are not a gentleman". If ever you choose to go this route, at the very least, you should abandon the "women equality" cause.

6. Don't blame us men why we don't give up our seat anymore in the MRT or bus. I was probably the last boy scout who tried to do this, some girl looked at me suspiciously. WTF?!

7. Food, rent, utilities. Get your priorities in order. All else, other than those three are LUXURIES. Get that?

8. STOP texting or talking on the phone for hours. Unless you are discussing world nuclear disarmament, 5 texts or a 2 minute conversation on the phone is more than sufficient for just about anything.

9. STOP using sex as a bargaining tool. Men can buy sex outside the relationship and it is (ultimately) cheaper. Don't make us choose that. OK?

10. If you are going to post pictures of yourself in varying degrees of nudity on the internet, or if you really feel the need to wear that ultra micro mini to work, STOP feigning surprise or disgust that you get "unwanted" attention. What's up with that? 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

System reboot

On May 10, Filipinos of voting age will once again troop to the polls to exercise their democratic right. This time and for the first time in an automated computerized elections.

Congratulations to the Liberal Party for turning this edition of the presidential fiesta into one issue, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Never mind unemployment, poverty, dying economy, climate change, Maguindanao massacre, etcetera, etcetera. Ironic, but the most unpopular president, who allegedly has never won the presidency shall once again be deciding factor who becomes the next president. 

Gibo Teodoro never had a chance. His “galing at talino” was rightly dismissed by the voting population. You claim “galing”, but “galing” in what? “Galing” to serve the blighted Gloria presidency? You are either a fool, or worse a willing participant, in the rape of our sacred democratic institutions then. From the Department of Justice, to Congress all the way up to the Supreme Court. As for “talino”, how can you claim that and be blissfully unaware that any association to Gloria is political suicide? JC delos Reyes and Nicanor Perlas, at least know they are not running to win the presidency but only to take advantage of the free media mileage to promote their advocacies. 

Talino? Anyone with half of Erap’s street smarts can take this kind of “talino” for all his money – and his mother’s too. Say what you will, but Erap NEVER lost an election… until now. And the man is only falling on his own sword to sabotage the other “mahirap” presidential candidate.

Manny Villar must be scratching his head. He has been eyeing that most coveted seat since he became Senate president, the next logical step-up in his so far bright political career. How did he suddenly become “Villaroyo”? Rightly or wrongly, the monicker stuck. Completely forgotten, though hard to ignore only for the sheer volume of it, is the catchy “langoy sa basura” jingles. Manny can still be president, if kids 6 to 13 are allowed to vote. There’s that 10% he needs to get over the hump. His campaign managers should be hung. They’ve made a catchy jingle but for the wrong target audience.

Sadly the one man that should be president is lost in the din of the jingles and the mudslinging between the warring camps. Dick Gordon has both the resume and the relatively clean record to deserve a six-year-turn of trying to run this country. This time around, however, Filipino voters would prefer to once again reboot the system. And it is not solely to keep in spirit with the “computerized elections” theme.

We need this purge.  We need to exorcise all traces of the nine- year cancerous Gloria presidency.  And it is not because she cheated. Everyone cheats. Every misplaced oversized tarpaulin poster is cheating. Now tell me who has not cheated?  

But ah, you see, the framers of our 1987 Constitution, in all their wisdom, foresaw the problems of an incumbent president running for the presidency. It is the very reason that that sacred document forbids presidential re-election. 

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated with all the powers of the presidency behind her, and in doing so, sold the presidency to the cabal of the Garcillanos and the Ampatuans. And worse, she did not even cheat very well. She got caught. And the ensuing cover-up further indebted the presidency to congress and anyone willing to overlook the damning evidence. Hard to believe, but how can anyone ignore “Hello Garci”? I’ve seen many American B-movies where the rogue sheriff in some backwater town is finally done away with because the hero is able to catch him on tape. That the Gloria presidency survived is testament on how deep the cancer has spread. 

All the years after “Hello Garci” and the sole government policy is to keep Gloria in power. Never mind that the Ampatuans are stockpiling arms, or that Winston Garcia has the GSIS sponsoring his “scholars”, or that giving away free health cards is not a financially viable proposition. Gloria needs this. She has to stay in power – by all means necessary.

And so, on May 10, once again, it is up to the Filipinos to rid themselves of an unwanted president. Filipinos will vote their hearts out. Turn out will be high. Believing that that one vote, that one voice, long ignored and brushed aside by this perverse administration, is finally the indictment of the Gloria presidency we have all been longing for.

And so, we go back to 1986. We choose the “mediocre” over the “brilliant”. We choose Cory over Macoy. No grand plans. No bright ambitions. Just another cleansing. But as Macoy has made Cory necessary, so too did Gloria made Noynoy necessary. We cannot, as a nation, hope to move forward without righting this wrong. 

One thing though, Noynoy, upon his acceptance of the challenge to run for the presidency has made one promise; if ever he gets elected president, when his terms ends after six years, he will gladly turn over the reigns of power to the next president. And his presidency, like his mother’s, will be missed.   

I long for the day when we can elect a Dick Gordon to the highest office in the land. I hope he sticks around. And be the Ramos to Noynoy’s Cory.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Generation Gap

Sometimes I forget my age. One time, while working late, a young co-worker made a brilliant contribution to our project.

“Good thinking Wonder Dog!” I exclaimed.

She took that as a very negative sexist remark. Lost in translation was the context. She was just too young to have caught the Saturday Fun Machine edition of “Super Friends”.

“Good thinking Wonder Dog,” is a perfectly harmless remark, I explained. Wendy or Marvin always gets to say that at least one time each episode. She was hardly convinced.

I felt my age. I was, for the first time, on the other side of the generation gap. 

I still vaguely remember the first time someone referred to me as “manong”. It was a little boy begging for coins that ushered my official entry into manhood. I was just fourteen, but had shot six inches the past summer. I was no longer “boy”. Almost overnight, I’ve become manong.

And before I could save enough for a beeper, Generation X would be superseded by Generation Y, and now have to watch myself lest I be unfairly accused of sexism.

Suddenly, “don’t touch that dial” no longer means anything. I have not seen a TV with a dial at least the last 15 years. “Dialing” still works for phones, but no longer in the literal sense. And adjusting the ringtone no longer means just tinkering with the ringer volume control.

I get confused still by all the ym-ing, mms-ing, and sms-ing. I know google. I can text and email. But I can do without twittering. And no, I don’t want to be friendsters with you. I can, however, still rename files using DOS. Copy and move files line by arduous line. But for the most part, the world just moved a little too fast for me. Hard to believe, but hardly anyone faxes anymore. Anyone still recall what F10 does in Wordstar?

These young graduates never got to know the gentle lullaby of someone pounding away at a typewriter late into the night in the dorm. I miss that clackety-clack sound and the ping at the end of each line. 

I miss Voltes V, for all you too young to know, the “V” is Roman numeral and pronounced as “five”.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A ninja I am

The ninja deep in training at the Maculcol (lahar) river, border of San Narciso and San Felipe, Zambales, Philippines.

I love messing with kids’ minds. They’ll believe anything. And I don’t just mean Santa. I would share with my nephews and nieces my most precious secret, that I am a ninja. Oh yes I am. It is a secret, of course, that no one else should know. Not even their siblings. I say that in total secrecy, one at a time, to each of my nephews and nieces.

My brother was a little annoyed when he found out the reason his son refused to take karate lessons was because he would rather take ninja lessons from me. I am the absolute master of the art, you see. First lesson, get me a coke from the ref. Aha, no debates, no questions. The student should follow the master without delay or question. 

By the time they’ve reached the awkward age, my nephews and nieces began talking amongst themselves, was their uncle really a ninja? So they asked me, point blank. I was a little disappointed. It was the most precious secret I have revealed only to them. And I, the fool, expected the one to have not revealed the secret to the other. 

“Who else know now?” I asked. Not the neighbors please! They all answered, no. Only they knew, they swore. 

“So, are you really a ninja?” they pressed. 

After I was satisfied that my secret was safe within the small circle, I finally answered, “Am I a ninja? Oh yes I am!” 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bucket list

Before Michael Jordan retired, I had wanted so much to travel with the Bulls (as a fan) and watch every game for one entire NBA season, home games and away games. If I had been Bill Gates’ son, I would have really done it. Imagine what great fun it would have been if that year coincided with the last leg of the Bulls’ second three-peat! But alas, it was never meant to be.

There is the still possible list, of course. I want to eat batchoy in Iloilo. Eat sisig at the riles in Angeles. Eat chicken inasal in Bacolod. You get the drift. I’ve done the local part of the list mostly. What I’ve yet to do is drink lager in Germany (a German friend has brought some to the Philippines, but it’s not the same). Sip champagne in France. Eat pancit in China. When I finally get to drink that shot of ouzo at the foot of the Parthenons, I can die a happy man.

Right now, I am actively looking for angel investors to help me with one item on my list. I want to start a gym. Name it, pseudo French-like, “feauty le tee”. Because you know what? I believe every man, before he kicks the bucket, should be able to tell himself that he has literally exercised in “feauty le tee” (read that as: futility).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

For the greater glory of love

If you've been reading my blog, you must be thinking, “Surely, this lunatic won’t do too well at social functions.” And you would be right. Not with the way my brain is wired.

I am the one guy who will actually show up at 7:30 because the invitation said 7:30. How was I supposed to know that 7:30 was actually for the caterers and that guests aren’t expected for at least another hour?

“Fashionably late” is totally lost on me.

Worst living room experience was being stuck, waiting for other guests to arrive, at the house of a friend whose mother was Opus Dei.

Trying my darnedest to look cool, I tried entertaining myself with the reading material available – all Marian devotional stuff and the like. I was on my third pamphlet when finally the man of the house realized what was going on and rescued me with an EDSA Revolution coffee table book.

For all that suffering, I exacted vengeance on the beer. Good thing, I am not a lousy drunk. Foolish, yes. Lousy, no.
I was maybe on my fourth beer, when we sort of played this game where everyone had to say something. Around the table we went. My turn, I toasted “For the greater glory of love!”

The sheer foolishness of toasting the “Karate Kid” theme song was really funny, at least in my own drunken mind. I was the only one laughing. Maybe they just didn’t get that I changed it up a bit and stuck the word “greater” right in there, having just read through two and half Marian pamphlets.

A few more beers and the househelp serving started to look cute. I thanked her as I have done throughout the evening but this time around with a flirtatious smile. Some other female guest caught that and commented “eeew.”

Why? Bottomline, by what measure was she better than the househelp? Because her parents can afford St.Paul matriculation? I wanted to rip that one zinger off. But I held back. It was a party. I was a little tipsy. I was supposed to behave. I let her off the hook by giving her the same flirtatious smile.

Much later on into the night, one final guest arrived. Talk about fashionably late and she was Sarah Jessica Parker. She used to work in the same office we were, as an account executive or some other bullshit title. And she had the most fashionable reason to be late to boot, having just flown in from LA.

Apparently she was now an international flight stewardess. And just about everyone at the party was impressed. They were all fawning over her, except me.

Same girl who commented eeew asked, “Aren’t you impressed?”

I should have again held back. Bit my tongue and all that. But the beer got the better of me this time around.

“Sure, I am impressed. Konduktora ng eroplano is really impressive.”

And on that sour note, the party was over.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The miseducation of every Juan

I think I was in the fourth grade when my teacher gave us this exercise, “Draw a Filipino house.”

Right away, I started drawing a bahay kubo fronting a ricefield, a Mayon Volcanoesque rendition of a mountain range on the background, and the picture completed with the ubiquitous carabao parked on what would be, technically, the carabao-port

I was going to this exclusive Catholic school for boys. Matriculation meant that we were all coming from, at least, upper middle class families. But as my teacher would later point out, just about everyone in class had drawn more or less the same picture as mine.

Why? We were all Filipinos. We lived in Filipino houses. Did anyone of us live in a bahay kubo?

“Anyone?” the teacher asked. No one raised his hand.

This was my rude introduction to social studies. As my teacher would go on to lecture, by the fourth grade, and in an exclusive school at that, we were all already miseducated. And not just from school, but from society as a whole.

Ferdinand Majellan did not discover the Philippines. These islands were already inhabited. People of color aren’t allowed to discover things?

Mercator maps are not accurate. It is Eurocentric, drawn by a German cartographer, primarily for European ships to get proper bearings. It is not drawn to exact scale. Southern countries look smaller in Mercator maps.

The Philippines is nowhere near the far-east. From whose perspective is the far-east “far”?

It was one of those radical eye-opening lectures that would stick with me my entire life. And ironically, I got the lesson in a traditional Catholic school run still at the time by Spanish priests.

Much later on in life, I found myself working for a Swedish boss. Nice, very polite chap. He co-owned a production house with his Filipina wife. Being the in-house editor for the company, it was not unusual for me to pull three-day non-stop stretches. “Non-stop” almost literally means just that. I get three hour sleep breaks, around 5 am to 8 am once every 24 hours. And no, there is not enough time to go home. I even time my bathroom breaks so that, at least, the computer is rendering.

My Swedish boss, out of a polite need to stay in the trenches with me, would try to stay awake and keep me company while I worked. He usually gives up after Conan O’Brien. One of my monitors has cable, a minor perk, given the tediousness of my work.

On one of those crack-of-dawn all-nighters, my boss finally commented, if we Filipinos were willing to work so hard, and he wasn’t just talking about me but the rest of our crew as well, he really just doesn’t get why the Philippines is so poor.

Sweden is almost identical in land area as the Philippines with very harsh winters, he points out. And yet Sweden is the second richest country in the world per capita. Clearly, he thought the comment through.

I quickly blamed over-population, Metro Manila alone outnumber the entire population of Sweden. He nodded in agreement.

“But population is not necessarily a negative. Human resource is capital.”

I was stumped. Clearly it was something else. Finally, the grade 4 lecture came back to me. It was our mentality. We are the products of our miseducation. Over three hundred years of Spanish colonial rule, four years of Japanese Imperial occupation, and about a hundred years of Hollywood, and we are all convinced, we are worth less than anyone with fairer skin than ours.

A Swedish boy, growing up, would ambition to top Bill Gates. Subconsciously, Filipinos would be very happy to be Bill’s assistant. Our collective psyche is damaged.

I am witness to the resilience of the Filipino. Driving through Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, and Zambales, I have seen farmers re-plant rice-fields two days after being devastated by a storm for the second time in the last three weeks.

We do not cry. We will not die.

But give the same Filipino some comfort, and he is lost. It is almost as if, he accidently stumbled upon his colonial master’s private quarters. It comes from the very same place, I believe, where crab mentality is deeply rooted. There is an ugly part in us that do not believe we deserve a better life. And so we sabotage our chance for success and that of our fellow Filipinos.

Beer commercials do not help. That you’ve made an extra five-hundred pesos over budget is not enough reason to celebrate. Aim a little higher.

And what about Charice? What about Lea? Are they good because we think they are good, or are they good because they’ve earned the approval of Oprah and Broadway? Didn’t Charice lose in a local contest? And Lea, perfect pitch and all, lost in the sea of non-talents in “That’s Entertainment”?

Just a few decades ago, while we were busy aping spaghetti westerns, Hongkong was making their own spaghetti easterns – low budget martial arts movies so bad that it was unintentionally funny.

Oh, we were good. Way better than Hongkong. We had cowboys down to the last detail. Even the bad guys were completely convincing in their black hats and trench-coats. Imagine trench-coats in the heat and humidity of the Philippine countryside.

But fast-forward to the present, and even Hollywood is now adapting Hongkong style fight sequences. The Chinese just believed in themselves, when no one else would. The rest of the world just needed to catch up.

More recently, Bollywood dance sequences is gaining ground and slowly winning the same kind of worldwide recognition. Of course, we Pinoys do not want to get too far ahead of this curve. We wait for Hollywood to embrace Bollywood totally. Only then do we conclude, finally, it is not baduy.

And where are we in all of this? Right now, we are remaking Koreanovelas and feeding the same inferiority complex we grew up with to the next generation.

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