screw the status quo. we need change and we need it now. we need not a leader who plays with words and public funds. we need not a leader whose years of service fall under the 'fiction' category. we definitely need not a leader who knows nothing. we require a leader who has conviction, who has the guts to change the seemingly unchangeable. we need... to prepare for 2007. Now.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The FX Taxi Ride (Part I)

They think the comman man knows nothing. Nope. A weird experience while we were on the road from vacation proves that the common Filipino knows a lot, and the government's attempts to hide their dark motives is a total failure.

Who would have though an ordinary ride on a for-hire FX taxi would reveal much information about how the people feel about certain trivial things nowadays. This is "kwentong-barbero" to the next level.

It was already kinda late when we left from Baguio. So we arrived around 10pm in Caloocan, where we took an FX taxi going to Malolos. People are a bit tired already, and most people going home have already spent the rest of the day dealing with pressure. It's quite expected that people would just spend the extra hour to sleep, chat or relax on the way.

There were three guys on the middle seat, the driver, me and Elmo at the back. The guys (who looked mid30ish) were talking about the usual stuff: women, gadgets, and powertripping at work. Their voices were raised to a level as if they were the only ones in the FX, but we didn't mind since I was listening to my iPod then, and Elmo's enjoying listening to the three. The driver seemed not to mind also.

Things got a bit interesting,though, as the taxi began to move from the terminal. Randy (See? I remember the name of the guy!) opened up the topic about the seige that happened in Bicutan seige. Seems like the phrase "Ano sa palagay mo, pare...?" is one of the most interesting Filipino phrases ever made- it never fails to ignite an intense debate session. Too bad there's no beer that time to really heat things up.

"Sa palagay ko, pare, cover up ang nangyari. Biruin mo, lahat ng mga de-kalibreng lider ng Abu Sayyaf, naipon sa isang lugar, at napatay lahat sa isang lusuban lang..."

"Oo nga, pre. At saka sino ba namang tanga ang maghahamon ng gulo sa gobyerno kung ang hawak mo lang na armas eh paltik at alam mong ang susugod sa yo eh di basta-bastang mga pulis lang?"

This is when I turned off my iPod since Elmo gave me a signal that I might want to engage my attention to this developing discussion.

Elmo butts in. "Ganyan talaga ang gobyerno. Sa bawa't magandang ipinapakita nila, me maaamoy ka laging lansa..." Nice one. "Hindi naman natin maiwasan. Kasi nga, dati nang malalansa ang mga involved sa kaso."

"At dati nang may lansa sa sistema," Paul replied. "Kahit anong pabango ang ilagay mo dyan, malansa pa rin," said Randy.

"Ang akala kasi ng mga nasa itaas, porke't hinahainan tayo ng magaganda sa balita, eh tatanggapin na lang natin agad-agad. Yung karamihan siguro- oo. 'Madaling utuin ang mga yan! Ipakita mong nag-amok sila sa Bicutan, tapos tapusin silang lahat!' Sino'ng panalo kahit saan mo tingnan? Gobyerno, di ba?"

Mr. Driver enters the scene. "Oo nga. Panalo sila. Patayin ba naman ang lahat ng mga talagang maraming alam sa corruption behind-the-scenes na nangyari nung panahong uso pa ang kidnapping at maraming negotiations na pinag-usapan. Bakit nga naman bibigyan pa sila ng pagkakataong kumanta?"

I see these people as ordinary Filipino folks. They don't even seem to belong to the middle-class. (Later, we discovered Randy had just quit his job as a security guard in Caloocan bank, and was, then, looking for another job.) Yet, they seem to be able to "read between the lines". They are the present-day Filipinos: aware and frustrated by the system. I was thinking... "My God! Are they reading my blog?!" Teeheehee... This was the point when I grabbed Elmo's cellphone and desperately tried to get notes by composing a text message that can be saved later... We have not reached the NLEX Balintawak exit yet. I predicted there will be no sleeping in the FX taxi during the whole travel home.

To be continued...

very nice artwork

A "kababata" sent me this artwork... said this is inspired by me, although in this version, I'm blonde. Ok. I take it as a complement. :)

Friday, March 04, 2005

My Sassy Month

There's just something about the movie's story that sticks and lingers in the heart of anyone who had seen it. If you're a guy, you'll most probably be thinking about the sassy girl for days (and suffer naming her names since the girl remained nameless in the movie). If you're a girl, you'll most probably dream of Gyun-woo. Like me. Sigh again.

The plot seems to be simple at first viewing: Boy meets sad girl in a subway. Boy swears to take care of girl. Girl eventually becomes happy. Boy falls in love in the process. Boy can't let go of girl as a result. They get separated, and the story ends with both being together again.

It must be in it's simplicity where the movie's beauty lies. The actors handle their roles with verve and energy and, dare I say it, sass, and the writer/director must take some credit, for producing the snappy pace and quirky situations. The initial sketching of the characters is done in very broad strokes, and gives us a hero and heroine who are interesting and clearly at odds. The hero, likeable but perhaps a tad shallow in his preference for quiet, pretty girly girls, doesn't look like a suitable match for anyone with any depth, and we're caught early on thinking this might be a predictable adventure.

Not so, once we meet the heroine: we find her on the train, pissed as a newt (a marvellous phrase from my youth that I'm determined to resurrect), and not exactly presenting at her best. She's even less appealing when she throws up and calls our hero "Honey" before passing out, since this leads to the passengers assuming he is her boyfriend, and demanding that he clean up. Ick. Double ick. But we soon see another side to both characters as a result: he cleans up and carries her about town rather than abandon her, and she shows a hint of the sadness that drives her to be such a pain. He even takes her to a love hotel, and stays with her, but doesn't attempt to molest her in her sleep (luckily, or I'd have stopped watching right there).

After that, the rest of the film consists mostly of our hero being dragged around Seoul, abused, misused, and humiliated, but ever more determined to delve to the heart of this perplexing girl. From a female point of view, and a fairly fractious female at that, it's nice to see the girl getting to call the shots. I particularly liked seeing her make the hero wear her high-heel shoes all the way home when her feet hurt: instead of letting him carry her, she makes him realise just how uncomfortable heels can be. It takes the wind out of the whole "rescuing hero" image, where the strong man helps the fragile girly without actually having to empathise.

There are many scenes that you'd probably consider Filipino stereotypes, but there are a number which are bizarre yet unbelievably moving. The scene in the subway train where Gyun-woo and the sassy girl did a red-line contest is the funniest, but clearly shows a great deal about the two character's personality: one's a control freak, the other's a subservient hopeless-romantic chap. He snapped, he laughed, she freaks out, she slapped and she slapped many times until he cried. Sweet and funny, the scene would make you wish "sana ganyan din kami ni..."

The soundtrack? Well, I can't complain about it. I realized that Koreans lay sounds in comedy and romantic scenes the same as how Filipinos do it. You would even hear the song "I Believe" and the piano piece Canon D repeated on several signifant scenes of the film. But you won't notice it anyway, as you become engrossed by bot Gyun-woo and the sassy girl.

It's a good thing I've seen My Sassy Girl with it's original dubbing. I bought a VCD version just so I can watch the movie on my laptop as I work, and the audio is divided to Korean on my left ear, and Japanese on the right. And the Japanese track isn't that good.

The only thing that I'd like to note, though, is that "I Believe" is that type of a song that would remain playing at the back of your end even as days pass by. And you'll never get tired of it, specially when you recall what transpired in Gyun-woo's tree.

All in all, if you like romantic comedies, this is an absolute stunner, and if you don't, it's still an absolute stunner. Some may call it "My Sappy Film", but I'd still say it's brilliant. See it for the laughs, see it for the love, or see it for the turning upside down of gender stereotypes, but just see it. I'm sure: You'll want your own tree. You'll want someone to share it with. You'll always look forward to the next day's MRT ride. You'll have a craving to go to a disco pub wearing your highschool uniform, and start an annual event doing it. You'll never look at a piano the same way again. Ever.

I give My Sassy Girl a five thumbs up! (Uhh... that's possible if you're from Mars. Teeheehee...) Now the debate (if "Windstruck" is the sequel of My Sassy Girl) goes on...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

10 rules to take care of your sassy girl

1. Don’t ask her to be feminine.
2. Don’t let her drink over three glasses. She’ll beat someone.
3. At a cafe, don't drink coke or juice. Drink coffee.
4. If she hits you, act like it hurts. If it hurts, act like it doesn’t.
5. On your 100th day together give her a rose during her class. She’ll like it lot.
6. Make sure you learn fencing and squash.
7. Also be prepared to go to prison sometimes.
8. If she says she’ll kill you, don’t take it lightly. You’ll feel better.
9. If her feet hurts, exchange shoes with her.
10. She likes to write, encourage her.

I walk this earth at the moment with only one song in mind- My Sassy Girl's themesong "I Believe". My God! The last time I felt like this was when I saw Notting Hill for the first time... and it never lasted this long. I've never seen a movie that's both simple and beautiful, and touches the heart so dearly from start till end.

I laughed. I cried. I smiled and shed silent tears in the end. I watched it all over again, and it's always like watching it for the first time. I'm going to rave about this movie till I get tired of it... which is definitely not to happen sometime soon. I'll just wait for my Gyun-woo to come... maybe he's also waiting in the MRT station. Sigh. Big sigh. Gyun-woo...