Sunday, July 22, 2007

An Evening with the Bar Topnotcher, the Singer with a Sultry Voice, and the Peddler of Festooned Ylang-ylang

We ‘re all asked to dress semi-formal that night. It was a mere request actually for it turned out that some are really stubborn in acceding to the magnanimity of the one who requests. So that in the ballroom, fully-carpeted, chandeliered, and plush with royal curtains, you can see someone parading her backless gown. . .and there’s another one doing it on the ramp with her seductive, strapless suit. The latter caught all the guys’ attention because of her obtrusive pinning-down-the-aisle-along-the-red-carpet motion. “Och, you can do that more gracefully!,” said one. The people on the table at our back were hushing around. “Is she one of the honorees?” asked one. She answered herself: “Think she’s not. She has no flower brooch; think she’s just an usherette.”

The Bar passers, and apparently along with Bar flunkers were being honored that night.

The nobility behind such event is beyond reproach, the college head expresses his compassion to those who tried their best but unfortunately failed, : “We’re still here for you!” However, the wisdom behind it has its own cracks. Oh well, this explains why, as I later on realize while lying on bed after that gruesome four hours and a close-to-being esculent dinner, why someone from the corridor was overheard saying that one of the testimony-giver that night was undeserving. That was mean. Never mind him retelling incorrectly, what the school head previously told about self-transformation being the mission of the school. He proudly said: “We should always remember what Sir told us; that beyond all these achievements of our great school, what matters is our self-confirmation!”. . .what aggravated the fact is that he repeated this over and over again.

The Sir was unabashed, maybe. . .just maybe, the two concepts correlate each other or that he was not just listening previously. I said: “Forgive him for his grammatical errors but not for keeping the dinner waiting because of his one-hour long-standing speech which circled around self-confirmation.” hehehe

Over dinner, a svelte lady and a guitarist climbed up the stage to soothe everybody’s indigestion, apparently because of the lousy menu: creamed chicken with vegetables, tendered beef with gravy sauce, sweet and sour fish fillet [am not really sure about the real name of the dish; just judged it by the way it looked and tasted] , rice, and a supposedly bottomless serving of iced tea which will never be true in a place where waiters taste and drink what they serve at the back kitchen. (I must confess: I saw three of them gulping down from the pitchers!)

While the people were busy devouring what is there to devour on their plates, the singer was also busy (what else?) singing and trying to get helplessly the attention of the deprived attendees of this grandiose occasion. She even used her eyes and hands. . .her graceful hands reaching and swaying and luring the people to look at her and listen. . .in vain. (Except me miss. . .If you’d only look at this direction. . . .pssst, here, here.) She sang smoothly in my ears. . .in that classy jazz style. . .Moon River, The Way You Look Tonight. Her performance being interrupted by little applause until she was wrapping up. “This will be my last song for tonight. Hope you enjoyed?” [Yes, yes, your croon’s different, I mean distinct from all. . .look at my plate I didn’t even touch it because I watched and listened to you. Your show’s great. Please, please. . .more, more] And I’m probably the only one who’s in that line of thinking. . .the host thanked her and said: “If you want to catch her she performs at Gilligan’s and The Manor.”

The host called the man of the night. He was apologetic upon standing at the podium because according to him, he did not prepare a speech. [But, judging by the way he delivered, this man’s a certified orator]. He started by relating how the past few days, weeks and months has been perceptively too long for him. Too long because in that past few days, weeks and months, the aftereffect of meeting the high authorities of the land still lingered in him. Imagine, he was able to meet the “bantam” president and the Supreme Court en banc. He shared a piece of him: when he was a kid he wanted to be an astronaut; to live up to his dream he entered college and pursued a degree in engineering; when he got bored he took up accountancy. . .passed the licensure thereafter; got bored again, entered the college of law and passed the Bar besting all examinees all through out the land. [look at what boredom worked for this guy; how I wish my boredom worked that way] He continued: “It’s a matter of reinventing yourself.” “My classmates before probably didn’t know about this; that I am continuously reinventing myself.” [He was not at the top of his class. The Dean just after the bar exam results were released was caught pointblank when asked by a reporter to comment about the guy.]

How to hurdle and slay the dragon? He reached for the microphone and emphasized his tip to all of us. . . [all ears]. . . “Do you remember the movie Gattaca?” “Well, in that movie there are two brothers competing with each other. . .” Gattaca is a futuristic film. The story’s centered on two brothers. . .the one’s strong while the other one’s a weakling . In one of the scenes, the two brothers agreed to prove themselves in a swim-fight to test their respective strengths. They ran from ashore to the ocean. The weakling eventually won the fight because he was able to surpass his brother. The weakling was then asked how he did that. He answered: “Because I’ve put all my energy in my swim to the ocean and did not mind the swim back.”

The chandeliers above us were strikingly beautiful with the dynamic steel formations it possessed. They breathed life. Took a deep breath and told myself: “This night is enduringly painful.” Painful in two aspects. One: the food and the waiting. Two: wisdom imparted that’s starkly true and real creates a big balloon in my head. . .not that it’s overwhelming but because it is parsimonious yet relatively elusive.

I was bombarded by cold air on my way outside the hotel. It’s half past midnight, the crescent moon illuminates in the sky. While on my way to the coffee shop to warm myself, I passed along a peddler holding festooned ylang-ylang. I asked: “Do you still sell that?” “No, I’m about to throw them.” “No, let me have it. How much?” “They don’t have the smell anymore.” “It doesn’t matter. I’m not after their fragrance anyway.” “Okay, you can have them.” . . . . Saw him pass by the shop. He looked at me and bore a smile, which spoke to me intuitively: “A lonely man, you are.”

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Too Much Sex in a Foggy Evening

The city’s been experiencing gloomy afternoons & evenings lately with all the drizzling showers and descending clouds that smudges melancholic mist among lonely souls. Been forgetting to bring the umbrella consciously to become wet from head to toe at the day’s end and feel the soothing spray of rain on my deadbeat face. The occurrence of foggy afternoons in this mountain city is so rare these past few years except in cases of violent storms which never allow someone to walk along the streets and feel the feel of such blissful mist. A decade ago, while touring the city; me and my little friend Nico almost got lost in Burnham Park because the visibility is so low ; worsened by our astigmatic eyes clogged with hazy glasses. Little Nick said: “glasses with wipers are yet to be invented.”

* * *

The excitement of today’s wisdom-gathering was defined by the common thread of topics which came out from the mouths of no less than our three teachers, Atty. G., Atty. T (which was the subject of an earlier post because of her seeming pedantry) and the salacious Atty. E. For the first period, Atty. E discussed, to the pleasure of his students, the intricacies of the crime of rape. . .particularly its history: how it became a crime against persons from being a mere crime against chastity; about the impossibility of it not being committed in its frustrated stage because of peculiarity. The Campuhan doctrine explains how the crime of rape is committed in a very esoteric manner. . .(the language of the Supreme Court sometimes beguiles the reader as if it is a lyrical prose). Atty. E, drums up the beat, “Do you remember class [pause] [winks at Ms. Beautiful seated at the right aisle] . . .the words of the High Court in People vs. Campuhan?” “Who’s under me in Criminal Law I. . .Criminal Law II. . .[no one answers] [all is stale, some docile] Atty. E continues. . . “Ok, I’ll refresh your memory.” He scribbles on the board, left hand in his pocket, his swaying right hand carouses on the gleaming writing board and produces a cursive script, too cursive. . .extant of any angular form which may impress on Atty E’s frugality with style and reproach on the rubbish. He faces the class and points on the board. . . He read his writing thrice. . .

“Mere bombardment of the castle of orgasmic potency or mere shelling of the citadel of passion is only attempted rape.”

“But mere bombardment of the drawbridge is invasion enough even if the troops did not succeed in entering the castle.”

On the third time, upon Atty. E’s cue, his students read aloud like in a nursery class his point (Atty. E’s style of teaching could be compared to a Sunday worship- the Amen affirmation thing). For the fourth time: Atty. E’s repetitive act became annoying. . . “Meeere. . .” Class: “Bombardment.” Atty. E: “. . .of the castle.” Class: “of orgasmic potency.” However, I’m still grateful with this. At least the retention is positively great!

Atty. E wants to illustrate his point further. He tells the class: “You know class how it is easy to illustrate and to act out the crime of homicide/murder like what we did the other night but in the crime of rape it is nigh impossible. He advances: “Di ba Ms. Beautiful Lady seated on the right aisle?” Many sniggered. . .then came a passing thought: we’re all preoccupied. Who says he’s not?

* * *

Then came Atty. T whose eyes always glimmer in mystique that I can’t keep myself from staring at them, straight and uninterruptedly, within that short and ephemeral sixty minutes. Atty. T speaks in rapidity, with minimal and short pauses, one just wonders where she gets oxygen and the necessary fluids to maintain her vocals. She started with the provisions on legal separation and related these with void and voidable marriages. Atty. T underscored the mutual responsibility of married couples to copulate in order to actually consummate marriage. Impotency could be a ground to annul a marriage. Likewise, excessive desire to copulate on the part of one spouse that border in perversity could be a ground for legal separation. “. . .so that if one spouse is either suffering from nymphomania or satyriasis, the normal spouse could petition the court and ask for legal separation.” She continues: “However, if such perversion is consensual as between the spouses, for instance both engage in sadomasochism, one spouse could not later on complain that she/he is aggrieved by the sexual conduct and behavior of the other spouse.” Very Freudian huh. The imagination flickers in the air, speech balloons popping out tremendously above everybody’s head. One slouchy student appears to be aroused. . .the one beside her drools. . .like a deprived Pavlovian dog. I particularly diverged myself and remembered the bonobo chimpanzee and Freud’s definition of love: “Looove is the instinctual derivative of sex.” Quite true. [Me: And when sex disappears in this world, what would most likely happen?] [Flourescent bulb: Earth would be renamed the Insanity Planet!] The tantra was ended by Atty. T’s violent closing of her little black book that produced a shocking and embarrassing sound that somehow implied that we’re not allowed to indulge at the moment. She strutted her way out, passed the aisles her left hand clutching at her “hairy” handbag.

* * *

Atty. G walked in the classroom holding a plastic cup splattered with coffee stains on one side. . .took one sip before he began talking. “Okay, class where did we stop last time?” Atty. G is quite demure in his ways but he occasionally blurts out his repressed thoughts. His discussions mostly punctuated by green jokes on girlie-night bars and the indispensability of going nocturnal on weekends. While explaining the national ID system that was previously rendered unconstitutional he joked on his other companero who is apparently Atty. E. He said: “You know class, on hindsight, I think the ID system would benefit persons like Atty. E, because in such case Atty. E wouldn’t appear to be a Don Juan at the pleasure of his virile students who go nightly at his favorite bars using his name when asked at the entry point by bouncers.” Nothing but sex keeps the house alive on this soporific and supposedly romantic evening with all the mists and the lonesome walk at dark alleys partially illuminated by the dying light of lampposts.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Of Pre-Made Lawyers & Robotics

Lawyers are made; they are not merely born to be in such profession.

What we want to settle here is: are lawyers predetermined beings right from the start or are they developed by their environment. Would an unconditioned gene survive the path where it ought not to take? Or is there really such restriction that pervades the human system? My stand is in the negative.

Lawyers like doctors, musicians, artists are not, right at birth, destined to take the fields they belong to. They are molded by their environment in the course of their development so that they, as human beings, choose the path where their social consciousness dictates them to take. These social imperatives are more likely to manifest in the law profession.

Ask a law student about the reasons why he chose the field and I am hundred percent sure that he would not answer that it is because his genes are programmed for a lawyer. Law students, those who are really motivated by their ideals, would likely cite reasons pertaining to social order: the improvement of the present justice system; to bring justice to the marginalized sectors or at least make money in the profession.

It is well settled in psychology that nature or the environment has the biggest impact in the development of children. Many studies have shown that the biological factors bring in less impact to child development as opposed to the role of environment. One notable breakthrough in the field of psychology is the concept of emotional intelligence proposed by David Goleman. Emotional intelligence is an overhaul in the age-old thinking that intelligence does not have a relationship with the affect side of the human being. As opposed to conventional intelligence, EQ is not innate; it is developed. EQ is a product of the social environment where a person grew with. EQ, as Goleman asserts, is more likely to be determinative of the success or failure of a child in the future.

How can you say that intelligence would suffice? Disregarding the fact that abnormalities come out like that of a person who has low IQ, intelligence even average for that matter, rely on the quality of environment which is either facilitating or neglecting. An illustrative case, for example, is an 11-year-old juvenile delinquent, who spent his crucial developmental stage in prison. Would this child, in your opinion, even if he has the innate intelligence, grow up as an intelligent person in its truest sense? Compare the child to one that has a nurturing family, would it be the same even if he has only an average IQ? Common sense would dictate us that a difference between the two children’s potential in the future is manifest. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that a bad environment also develops resilience so that in certain cases intelligence flourishes alongside personal strength. Van Gogh never had facilitating childhood experiences, but his craft was honed.

In the 17th century the French philosopher René Descartes set out views which held that people possess certain inborn ideas that enduringly underpin people's approach to the world. The British philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, on the other hand, took a more empirical approach emphasizing the role of experience as fully contributing to behavioral development. It is Hobbes and Locke’s views that find acceptance in many scholars. You can find the evidence in persons who are acculturated by a different societal framework. Now you can see Filipinos acting and behaving like Americans but, of course, never Americans acting and behaving like Filipinos except in exceptional circumstances.

On a side note, I want to share a joke on lawyers: A man went to a brain store to get some brain to complete a study. He sees a sign remarking on the quality of professional brain offered at this particular brain store. He begins to question the butcher about the cost of these brains.” How much does it cost for engineer brain?, asked the man “Three dollars an ounce, answered the butcher." "How much does it cost for programmer brain?.” "Four dollars an ounce.” How much for lawyer brain?" "$1,000 an ounce."
The man cannot accept the price so he went to ask: "Why is lawyer brain so much more?" The butcher proudly answered: "Do you know how many lawyers we had to kill to get one ounce of brain?"

Lawyers are indeed created and destructed by their environment. It is not intelligence, per se, that would determine judicious and fair judgment that lawyers must embody in their ideals. Intelligence is mechanical and robotic. Let alone, intelligence will muster over the ends of justice.

True lawyers are brought into the world, not by the order of nature but by the impinging concerns that slowly kill the society.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Inside the President's Mind

Spasmic synapse explosions are occurring at both sides of her brain. She has in particular three ominous and protruded thoughts that flutter somewhere in the anterior portion. They imprint their specific categories in spyro-like pattern that glitters passionately ahead of other predilections. These are power, power again and wardrobe. She has seen privately, the TLOR trilogy and witnessed how Smeagol turned into the lustful Gollum. Her ponderings were concentrated on the ring and the nibble of wisdom it imparted. She threw Gollum into the subconscious and shoved her memory of the ring in the prosencephalon, anyway, this is the object she can highly relate to. She liked the ring, and the feel & power of invincibility it possessed. From then on, her pons responded spectacularly with the sight of rings. In her blank state, when struck by sudden impulses she pulls out her most precious wedding ring, and calls out in the open air, silently, in spite. . . “Maaay preeeciioushhh.” Her granddaughter was shocked and terrorized by her semblance of that monster in TLOR; child called her dad at the other room and told him that she just saw Gollum. Dad: “Little darling it’s just your lola!”

Her memories’ repulse with bits and pieces of I-should-get-that-trophy moments. She’s hungry for achievement. Her heart’s fraught with the absence of failures and dignity and respect for others lives. This might be the result of childhood insecurity. As the family poses for the camera circa 1960, her reluctant smile was captured by the monochrome shutterbug. The photo shoot was scheduled in the morning that day. She was frank with her emotions and her father cajoled all that there was to convince her baby. He even promised her a gold plated trophy as tall as her in vain. Her father was then surprised to see her in a yellow plaid dress and well-shined tresses. The father appreciated such meekness and understanding but nonetheless, her little girl returned a vicious smile. The lens-man was preparing his doodads when the family arrived. Two wooden chairs that shined in antiquity were placed at the center. “Mister President you could sit on the right. . .that’s it. . .the little boy could stand beside you. . .the little girl could. . .” until little Glory interrupted the unassuming man. “No! I will stand by my father.” Her voice was plush with authority and it echoed round the hall, which put everybody at a standstill. It was like a riveting explosion albeit silent in its nature that distracted momentary peace. Her father was not nettled by the sudden commotion and gave her sour response approving of her little child’s demand to be at his side. The little girl could be seen biting her lips and hiding one of her hands at her back. The flash of light was blinding and everybody except little Glory turned away from the camera’s focus.

The petite features of Gloria defies the rabid power and discretion she exercises over her constituency. How can that be? There’s parallelism with the irony imposed by her physical features vis-à-vis her insurmountable power with the case of the twins that lead the Karens. But unlike the children rebel leaders her stay in power is not grounded on idolatry nor tradition to say the least. Her continued existence could be well-explained by bribed support and wily tactics. It is likewise reinforced by the citizen’s apathy and the decline and corruption of vital institutions. She couldn’t stare at herself on the mirror while her personal servant does her make-up few minutes before her appearance in Congress to appraise them and the nation of the state of the country. She rubbed her faced violently with her two bare arms, so fiercely that her attendant moved feet away from her fearful and shocked at the sudden outburst. “Please, get out of the room,” she appealed. She continuously asked her spirit, relentlessly as if she wanted to prove herself something and that she wanted the answers in an instant. In bare futility, all her efforts transformed into a blabber. . .words cascading themselves away from her; from logic and reality. She finally realized, her reign is close but no cigar.

She stepped out of the room composed but surprisingly docile. All’s well that ends well. Forget the means in achieving a prejudiced end. She succeeded in power because of the people’s revolt. She was not the best option but all was in high hopes. She promised a lot. Those promises speedily dropped like flies. Her academic achievement was astounding. She could have used it very well in the service of the nation. But power’s influence is really expansive. Optima corrupta pessima (the best things corrupted, becomes the worst) She has three years remaining to prove whatever she has to prove. She gave us a glimpse of her ambitions: she wants to remain in power at all costs.

Authority intoxicates,

And makes mere sots of magistrates;

The fumes of it invade the brain,

And make men giddy, proud, and vain ...:

By this the fool commands the wise,

The noble with the base complies,

The sot assumes the rule of wit,

And cowards make the brave submit.
(Hudibras, Butler, 1680.)

The use of metaphor in her speeches has never been so disorienting to the learned. She banks so much on the people’s inability to evoke the sovereign will. But will this prosper? En route to Malacanang by a plane, a cabinet member was astonished and emphatic as the president quipped, while staring blankly at the window which gave a good view of the green islands, “ano kaya ang pwede pa nating magawa para mapaunlad ang ating bansa?,”. The cabinet member, in one of her interviews, revealed the observation on the president’s sincerity because of her unrelenting concern for public good even in peculiar moments. She was indeed a GOOD ONE. The same cabinet member later recanted such conjecture. She was only trying to be good. The president has only one thing in mind, the cabinet member realizes. Power. Forget the wardrode as stated earlier. The emperor has no clothes!