Category Archives: everything and anything

Dear graduates, the real world is fake

By Leloy Claudio  The Philippine Star Updated March 02, 2012 12:00 AM

(direct link)

MANILA, Philippines – I said goodbye to my graduating students today. The farewell was visceral. Five year ago, I was in their shoes, excited about starting a career while anxious about leaving behind the comforts of university: 15 units, org time, college romance, perennial grade consciousness, blockmates, etc.

Graduation, as the cliché goes, is when you begin the hard transition into “the real world” — a concept I never really understood. In my mind, only MTV has defined this world adequately, fleshing it out in all its trashy grandiosity for 26 seasons. In that case, reality was actually fake, revealing the inherent flimsiness of the concept.

The idea of a post-graduation real world is offensive to academics. If the real world lies outside university halls, what do teachers do? Play? Act? Dissimulate?

The life of the mind may at times be solitary, and it may lead to bouts of depression, but it’s as real, if not more real, than Taylorized work. And when lived to the fullest, this life may even alter reality.

Common-sense reality refers to a specific lifestyle, rendered normal by a society that prices everything. The real world, especially for the upwardly mobile/wealthily immobile Atenistas I teach, is a nine-to-five job in a big corporation. This is a valid reality, and, though leftist, I am not crass enough to issue a blanket condemnation of this choice. But we should not conflate the choice of a moneymaking lifestyle with reality. For a lifestyle choice is precisely that: a choice, an option within an array of plural realities, each one of them wellsprings of lived complexity.

Marx — a false prophet of global redemption but a trenchant analyst of events — argued that work under capitalism is alienating. No matter how much your boss tells you to feel ownership for your brand, you will probably never own “your” brand, let alone the company. Moreover, seeking the bottom line every day of the week constitutes a kind of tunnel vision where profit precedes creativity and love. This is not to trivialize the need for material stability, only to point out that conventional notions of reality can be as fleeting as university life.

My heroes in academia have all experienced realities that demand real responses. Patricio “Jojo” Abinales continues to confront death in Muslim Mindanao — a place subjected to systematic violence by the Philippine government. Walden Bello rendered real the rapaciousness of the Marcos regime when he obtained classified documents from the World Bank. My mother Sylvia Estrada-Claudio comes home depressed because of what she witnesses as a feminist researcher: systematic rape, domestic violence, state denial of reproductive rights. All three are fiercely independent critics who tear down conventional wisdom better than moralizing op-ed rock stars on popular broadsheets. But, more importantly, they are real.

Two years ago, I began conducting doctoral research in Hacienda Luisita. I befriended farmers feeding families with wages of P200 a day. Others had witnessed the horror of the Hacienda Luisita massacre. I shared their grief. When I wept after my first visit, I felt closer to other socially engaged academics. To me, scholarship, when done right, involves sharing experiences like these to students.

The liberal arts university provides students opportunities to dream big and to pose grand questions. Unfortunately, the scale of a liberal arts education reinforces the notion that teachers place their students’ heads in the clouds. I hope I am guilty of this accusation.

If I got my students to think about a life outside their careers, if I was able to show them a different world and introduce them to people, places and ideas they would not have encountered otherwise, I would have achieved my goal as an educator. I’ve never wanted to force a reality on my students; I just wanted to show them differing ones: there are start-up companies, but there are also labor unions; there are flyovers that take people to work, but there also are poor people who sleep under them; there are women heroes who break the corporate glass ceiling, but there are also those who serve as volunteers in community health centers.

Dreaming can be real when you dream in solidarity with others, especially those who suffer.

I know that, after graduation, many of my students will be caught in their individual realities, and the world of my classroom will likely recede into fantasy. But I hope some of them visit me as I grow up and grow old in my cubicle. When they do, maybe we can dream together anew.

Leloy Claudio obtained a PhD in history from the University of Melbourne. He teaches political science at Ateneo de Manila. 

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Session at BuCor

Left Quezon City during rush hour.  Took a very, very tight ride on the MRT to meet the guys, RJ and Martin, in Makati.  Our “fieldtrip” destination: the outdoor shooting range at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

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Food delivery and lazy people

Quickdelivery.ph is the best service that I have discovered during my Quezon City. Someone–whoever you are, THANK YOU!–came up with the brilliant idea of consolidating the menus of several restaurants into one booklet and providing a delivery service with only one phone number.

Throughout my five year stay at my Lola’s house in Quezon City, I never cooked or had the maids cook for me.  My brother and I always had breakfast meals brought in from the house in Alabang.  I ate out for lunch or not at all if I was particularly lazy.  Dinner was also brought to the Lola’s house at the start of the week by my mom from her office’s cafeteria.  I know how to cook and prepare food items, but I’m just too lazy.  The running joke is that if I were left to my own devices, I’d probably stick to blended fruit juices and raw food simply because I am THAT lazy.

Here’s another complication, my brother and I are picky eaters.  We got tired of Filipino and American cuisine after having eaten it for a better part of our lifetime.  We discovered we had a taste for other types of Asian cuisine–Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian–and haven’t had a craving for Filipino food since.


Quickdelivery.ph’s service covers these restaurants.  With choices as extensive as these, I have no reason to be picky.

Anyway, we were so happy when we discovered the convenience of Quickdelivery.ph.  Food can be ordered by calling their number 2121212, or using their text service (text service!!!), and even online.  I placed our very first order–from Banana Leaf Asian Cafe–through their online service.  The website promised a verification call within the next 5 minutes; the Quickdelivery staff called in 2.  We got our food exactly 1 hour after the call.  I am impressed with the service.  It’s just a shame that they werent around in my first year of college.


Ten Lies You’ll Hear Before Pursuing Your Dream

Pursue Your Dreams

(I found this through Feannekitty‘s tweet.)

By: Marc and Angel Hack Life (Original post right here)

Unfortunately, just before you take your first step on the righteous journey to pursue your dreams, people around you, even the ones who deeply care for you, will give you awful advice.  It’s not because they have evil intentions.  It’s because they don’t understand the big picture – what your dreams, passions, and life goals mean to you.  They don’t understand that, to you, the reward is worth the risk.

So they try to protect you by shielding you from the possibility of failure, which, in effect, also shields you from the possibility of making your dreams a reality.

As our friend Steve Jobs says:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.”

Here are 10 ill-advised tips (lies) people will likely tell you when you decide to pursue your dreams, and why they are dreadfully mistaken.

  1. You can follow your dreams someday, but right now you need to buckle down and be responsible. – Someday?  When is ‘someday?’  Someday is not a day at all.  It’s a foggy generalization of a time that will likely never come.  Today is the only day guaranteed to you.  Today is the only day you can begin to make a difference in your life.  And pursuing your dreams is what life is all about.  So don’t be irresponsible.  Don’t wait until ‘someday.’  Make today the first day of the rest of your new life.
  2. You’re totally screwed if it doesn’t work out. – Wrong!  This is a giant, lame load of BS.  You’re not even close to being screwed.  In fact, the worst case scenario is that things don’t work out and you have to go back to doing exactly what you are doing right now.
  3. It’s safer to stay at your day job. – Sure, I suppose.  But you know what’s even safer than that?  Going home, locking yourself in your bedroom, and never, ever coming out.  And just like that you will have flushed your entire life and your dreams down the toilet.  Remember, safer doesn’t always mean better.
  4. That’s impossible! – It’s only impossible if you never do anything about it.  The reason certain things seem impossible is simply because nobody has achieved them yet.  But this doesn’t mean that with your help these things won’t become possible in the future.  If you truly dedicate yourself to an end result, almost anything is possible.  You just have to want it bad enough.
  5. Only a lucky few “make it.” – That’s because those lucky few got off their rear ends and did something about it!  They had the drive, determination, and willpower that you have right now.  You can be one of them.  It’s up to you, and only you.
  6. You might fail.  And failing is bad. – Failures are simply stepping stones to success.  No matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.  The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake.  If you can’t handle failure, then you can’t handle success either.
  7. You don’t have access to the right resources. – It’s not about having the right resources; it’s about exploiting the resources you do have access to.  Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.  Get it?
  8. You need more money saved before you can take the first step. – You don’t need more money.  You need a plan.  You need a budget.  Eliminate ALL the nonessential costs in your life.  If pursuing your dream requires you to leave your day job, figure out the absolute minimum amount of income that you require to realistically live.  Studying those who have succeeded with similar ventures also helps.  But above all, take baby steps.  Don’t be foolish and assume that you must have a certain amount of money saved right now, or that you must quit your day job today in order to pursue your dreams.  Instead, ask yourself, “What actions can I take right now with the money and resources I have right now that will bring me closer to desired goal?”
  9. You don’t need any help.  It’s smarter to go after it alone. – You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with.  If you hang with the wrong people, they will negatively affect you.  But if you hang with the right people, you will be far more capable and powerful than you ever could have been alone.  Find your tribe and work together to make a difference in all of your lives.
  10. That sounds like a lot of hard work. – You’re darn right it does!  But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.  I think success in life hinges on one key point: Finding hard work you love doing.  As long as you remain true to yourself and follow your own interests, values and dreams, you can find success through passion.  Perhaps most importantly, you won’t wake up a few years from now working in a career field you despise, wondering “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”  So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop.  You’re on to something big.  Because hard work ain’t hard when you concentrate on your passions and dreams.

Disregard these misguided bits of nonsense and you’ll be well on your way to fulfilling your dreams.

Now get out there and make a splash!


Schaum’s outlines/Moving on…

(and the bi-annual post-sem review)

The Schaum’s Outlines Calculus textbook and workbook saved my brain from getting fried by Calculus.  I ended up enjoying Math 54 because of it.  Too bad I did not get these books when I was taking the prerequisite subject.  I would have gotten a better grade and wasted less time.

And just when I am about to finish–hopefully–all of my structurals series, I find these.  Idiot.  How I WISH I had these for the past four semesters.

Right now, I am waiting for my grades to be posted in the CRS website.  I don’t recall ever having fully relaxed during the first week of the semestral break because of the waiting.  I think the most agonizing school years/semesters were when I was still taking my basic Math and Physics subjects.  The CRS was in its early development stages.  Professors simply posted the final or pre-final standing outside their offices.  So, one can imagine the anxiety and inconvenience of having to go back and forth to check if the grades were actually posted.

My current anxiety is my second to the last structurals subject.  The last one, I’m even surprised I passed.

I’m still waiting for the “GO!” signal for me to proceed to my last semester.  I’m amazed I got through 5.5 years of college.  Personally, I do not even consider myself remotely intelligent as I have very poor retention skills.  I have to go over a lot of my lessons repeatedly just to retain a fraction if it–think Dory from “Finding Nemo”.  Haha!  It’s funny because I know I did more than the minimum requirement; repetitive study did pay off; my grades are generally above the passing mark but I still hate the results.  I don’t even like 90% of my design plates throughout my entire college stay.

Anyway, moving on.


Anniversary

It’s surreal to believe that we’ve lasted this long.  August 21, 2010 officially marked our 10th year together.  And the reunion was… Let’s just say we ate like a pig and drank like a fish for the most part of the night.  The party wound down at around 3 AM.  The others who were natural insomniacs—including me−bonded with rock songs from our high school past and mint cigarettes until we heard the birds chirping.

We started the day with a game of poker instead of breakfast. Haha!

Diverse. I never really thought about us that way. Never occurred to me until that time.

The original members, the later additions, South Bench people, Hillsboroughnians, the “borrowed” and “adopted” members from other  groups, Vastos Squad, the plus 1’s (a.k.a. dedicated boyfriends) who have been there through thick and thin, TSUNAMI, the yoga fanatics, those other sub-groups that formed because we went to different universities.  (The  residents from Canada, America, and Singapore were absent.  You were definitely MISSED!)  Labels like these don’t seem to matter now, do they?  I am happy that in spite of the diverse paths that every one of us has taken, my second family from the South is still intact.

Congratulations again to the Outrageously Ridiculously Groovy Youngsters, a.ka. the ORGY’s.


Music for Jazz Dancers

I found another freestyle jazz set on SoundCloud.com, which is quickly becoming my favorite source for non-mainstream music.  (This is just for my personal reference since I always forget where I save my music.) I want to buy almost all the tracks on this album but the prices are in pounds. :(

About the album…

‘Music for Jazz Dancers’ is a selection of hot & exclusive tunes taken directly from DJ Adrian Gibsons’ sets at ‘Messin’ Around’, the club he has been running for 14 years with DJ Perry Louis (who is also the leader of the Jazz CoTech Dancers)

The UK Jazz-Dance Scene is a uniquely positioned scene that has sent shock waves around the world and influenced countless artists, DJ’s and Dancers. Despite this, it is surprisingly sparsely documented with regards to CD’s, Books and articles detailing the songs, dance moves, key DJ’s, dancers and clubs. Luckily, we recently had the fantastic ‘From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz’ by Freestyle recording artist/DJ and now author Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove’

Peter Herbolzheimer’s Rhythm Combination & Brass featuring Dianne Reeves kick off the CD with a storming rendition of the Ray Noble jazz standard ‘Cherokee’ which was initially made famous by Charlie Parker. Other highlights include Primo & the Groupe’s ‘A Child Runs Free’, a wonderful modern take on Fred Johnson’s notoriously rare Vocal Jazz track, and Marcos Ariel’s ‘Samba Torto’ which is Brazilian Samba-Fusion of the highest order.

Music For Jazz Dancers draws together be-bop, nu-jazz, big band and samba/jazz fusion sounds, the common denominator being that they all inspire hot heeled hoofers to throw jazz shapes across discerning dancefloors the world over! If you like what you have heard you can visit some of the Jazz-Dance clubs like ‘Shiftless Shuffle’ or ‘Out To Lunch’ to experience the music and atmosphere for yourself.

Released by: Freestyle Records
Release/catalogue number: fsrcd074
Release date: May 31, 201

(SoundCloud.com)


For the sake of updating

I am RESTLESS and DISTRACTED. I HATE it.

It’s been all caffeine, research and instrumental jazz these days.  I’ve gotten sidetracked by non-architectural topics several times. Funny, how everything not related to architecture seems to be so interesting these days.  I’m supposed to be looking for information about biomanufactured bricks (structural bricks grown by bacteria) but, surprise, surprise, I ended up on a webpage about genetic disorders.

In other news:

  • SoundCloud has been my latest find–and gold mine–with regard to experimental music.  Valtteri Topias, a pianist from Finland, has been on my playlist for the past 48 hours.
  • I had consultations with my thesis adviser along with the other advisees last weekend.  The new format is confusing.
  • I wasted 5 hours in Greenbelt 5 after thesis consultation.  On any other day, or other month, I would have enjoyed it even if I was broke.
  • My thesis is a school for construction workers.  Okay, the tentative title is “A Vocational and Technical School for Construction Trades”.  How the heck does one make that an exciting space?!

Sleep Paralysis and Lucid Dreams

Since the start of summer I have been sleeping with all the lights turned off.  Before that time, it was imperative that I had something–my drafting lamp, flashlight, or even emergency light–that I could use as a night light.  The habit seems pretty childish for a twenty-two year old, and even ridiculous for my personality.  To make a long story short, I needed a night light to go to sleep because I developed a fear of ghosts/maligno/evil spirits/dwende after my one year stint in UPLB.  I’m in an insomniac, therefore it takes a lot of (induced) exhaustion for me to fall asleep.  On nights that I actually finished studying early, I would lie awake in bed and simply wait for myself to drift off. (Note: Lights were always off at the time.)  When I was just about to cross the boundary between wakefulness and the early stages of sleep, I would find myself jolted awake because of something invisible and heavy pressing down on me.  The pressure would start from the chest and radiate outwards to the rest of my limbs at the instant I tried to struggle free.  Imagine someone using a gigantic rolling pin on your body?  That’s how it felt.  I experienced that for several random nights and even a few more times after I transferred to Diliman.  Those episodes were very distressing to me because I would lie in bed, fully conscious, and unable to move.  The paralysis seemed to affect even my head and neck.  I could barely open my mouth to scream for help. Who would help me anyway?  I was the only one in the room.  I had no choice but to endure that rolling pin sensation while screaming in my head, “Wake up! WAKE UP!”.

I attributed this experience to something supernatural because: (1) there are haunted dormitories in the UPLB campus, if the caretakers’ stories are to be believed, and (2) Filipino soldiers and civilians were massacred on campus by the Japanese army during World War II (see Raid at Los Baños ).  I heard about other students who shared the same experiences–a law student and med student, both not strangers to late nights.  Apparently (and fortunately), my incubus/maligno from Los Baños is nothing more than a medical condition called sleep paranoia.

Sleep paralysis: A frightening form of paralysis that occurs when a person suddenly finds himself or herself unable to move for a few minutes, most often upon falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis is due to an ill-timed disconnection between the brain and the body.

The symptoms of sleep paralysis include sensations of noises, smells, levitation, paralysis, terror, and images of frightening intruders. Once considered very rare, about half of all people are now believed to experience sleep paralysis sometime during their life.

Sleep paralysis strikes as a person is moving into or out of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the deepest part of sleep. During REM sleep the body is largely disconnected from the brain leaving the body paralyzed.  Sleep paralysis is the result of premature (or persistent) mind-body disconnection as one is about to enter into (or exit from) REM sleep.

Sleep paralysis occurs most often after jet lag or periods of sleeplessness that interrupt the normal REM patterns. It affects both sexes equally and occurs at all ages but is most common in teenagers. Sleep paralysis can be familial and may be genetic (inherited) in some cases.

An attack of sleep paralysis is usually harmless and self-limited. It tends to be over in a minute or two as soon as the brain and body re-establish connections and the person is able to move again. However, the memory of the terrifying sensations felt during sleep paralysis can long endure. (Some scholars believe that sleep paralysis may account for some of the old claims of attacks by witches and the more recent “reports” of nocturnal abduction by space aliens.) —Medterms.com

Well, lookit that.  I still have episodes of sleep paralysis every now and then but they are not as frightening as they were before.  I think they were more frequent when I was at UPLB because that year was a stressful one for me.  I had no study group to ask for help at the dorm, and the fact that I had to shift to Diliman was almost always at the back of my mind.  I have no doubts that my insomnia and very physical daytime activities had contributed to my sleep paralysis too.

How do I cope these days?  I just give in and wait for the episode to pass.  Sometimes, the paralysis is accompanied by a vivid dream wherein I know I am dreaming and I can even move around in my dream.  Sometimes I end up kicking the wall when the paralysis ends.  (I even had to train myself to not sleep in a supine position as most paralysis episodes occur in this position.)  Again, it is all caused by stress which has been increasing steadily anyway since day one of my being an architecture student.  Haha!  Despite knowing about this medical condition, I don’t believe this will make future episodes of sleep paralysis any less distressing.  I still find myself overcome by surprise at the start of an episode; it’s much worse when I don’t have a night light.

Yep.  It occasionally makes me wish that I had a roommate too.


That “500 Days of Summer” dance

Because I’m in a very good mood today, I need a dance for the moment.