Been Doing Yoga, BTW.

I have recently been doing yoga.

Yes, I’ve gone to a few sessions in the past. Yoga has always been some sort of “I really need a stretch” kind of thing for me. However, due to this “we need to get healthier” roll that my friends have going on, I have been focusing on something healthy, and that, for me, is Yoga. It started out pretty stressful, but soon, I started getting the kick out of it and I’m planning on maintaining the practice for as long as I can.

I think it’s because it is finally kicking me in the arse how tense and stressed I have been for the longest time. Yoga is supposed to be a form of meditation, but somehow when the Yogi says “relax your shoulders” I honestly didn’t know how to do it. Relaxing my shoulders while I’m in an excruciatingly weird pose just isn’t comfortable. I kept asking myself whether or not breaking my neck was an option.

Plus, the more the Yogi says “leave your thoughts behind” the more I worry about the lists in my planner: payment trackers, workload, schedules, you know, those random things.

However, over time, I’ve gotten better at the “relaxing” and “leave thoughts behind” part. I have even been writing less because lately, Yoga has been my way to cleanse my thoughts and relax. It works exactly only during the time in the week I’m in the studio, but considering how uptight and controlling I usually am, I am just glad I am able to let my thoughts go for a few moments and just concentrate on not falling off balance. I am not good with my balance in the first place, so even a Warrior III pose is a small victory for me.

Speaking of small victories:

yoga

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Philippine Drug War: War of Morality

WARNING: EXTREMELY LONG POST AHEAD.
And yes, I will tackle injustice and your selective Christian values, so fight me.

Why is there malice in our cry for justice?

This world is not black and white, you’d think we’d know that by now.

We cry justice for Kian because he was killed without due process. He was gunned down by policemen who said he fought back, but with witnesses who said otherwise. Whether or not he was an actual drug dealer and runner does not make a difference in our cry: it is part of our right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. He will never have the chance because they killed him without proof.

“But if he really had a gun, he would have killed the police!”

True. But as I learned, “self-defense” has a very strict definition. Article 11 of our Revised Penal Code clearly stated the circumstance when you can justify an act as self-defense. When your aggressor is already down, and you still keep attacking, it is already a form of retaliation, and retaliation is criminal. Kian was shot not once, but THREE times. Could you really believe someone who is shot in the head once is not “down” per se? The second and third shots were unnecessary. It was not self-defense on the policemen’s part, it was murder.

Read: Article 11:
https://thezephyrproject.wordpress.com/…/revised-penal-cod…/
Read: Review of Interpretation and explanation of Article 11:
http://amorlegis.blogspot.com/…/revised-penal-code-reviewer…

“Why don’t you cry for the victims of criminals like drug dealers and pushers the same way you are crying for Kian?”

Key word: victims of criminals. People who act against the law. People who are supposed to be punished, AFTER they are proven guilty, and rightly so. I don’t cry as loud for injustice because I put my trust in our justice system, in the people who will testify and judge him in court for the wrong that he’s done.

Key word: victims of criminals, who may or may not be in their right mind when doing unspeakable acts, but who deserve justice nonetheless. It is not up to the public to persecute them, it is up to the court. Justice is a double-edged sword, but the Philippines suspended the death penalty, so no matter how bad the things they’ve done, they are supposed to rot in jail for the crimes they committed, not die on the street as another statistic in a drug war.

Key word: victims of criminals. I do cry for these victims. I do so every day because as a woman, I am always on alert, thinking what I have in my bag that I can use as a weapon when I go home alone at night. I am always on edge whether the man who sat next to me with red-rimmed eyes and touching my thigh is unaware or harassing me. Because if I yell harassment, I may be the one blamed for what I am wearing or the way I am acting. Because I have to keep my mouth shut when someone catcalls me even though a million swear words are running in my mind. Because screaming inside is better than being beaten up or dead.

Key word: victims of criminals. I mourn for them, their loved ones, and their families, but be the bigger person. Forgive those who hurt you and let God and justice punish them accordingly. Their fate is not in your civilian, all too-human hands.

“So why scream for a boy who may or may not be a drug addict, and who may or may not have deserved what happened to him?”

BECAUSE HE’S A BOY. Because he has a future ahead of him. How perfect were you when you were 17? How many people did you do wrong, did you ask forgiveness from, did you make amends with? How many stupid things did you do that you are now ashamed of for doing? How many people did you hurt unknowingly? How different were you then?

BECAUSE HE WAS A BOY who could have had the chance to turn things around. But he wasn’t given that chance.

“What about victims of criminals, were they ever given the chance?”

Again, key word: victims of criminals. No, they didn’t get the chance. But we already tackled criminals getting what they deserve. The bigger question is if we don’t trust that the court will give due justice to these criminals, then isn’t the problem bigger than criminals vs. victims? Isn’t the problem with our branches of government?

“YELLOWTARD! DON’T PUT THIS ON DUTERTE!”

Fuck you too, but I am not putting this on the president. If we don’t trust that the purveyors of justice and peace can do their jobs, then this is a problem not even the president could fix. This is not a problem we can fix overnight, but this is not a problem rooted on drugs, drug pushers, drug manufacturers, and drug addicts alone. This is not a political war, it’s a war among ourselves.

This is a problem of immorality and corruption from the people who are supposed to protect us from exactly these things. And if you’re okay with killing a boy, then maybe you should question your own morality too because only someone so jaded could ever think it’s okay to kill a child, and it borders on criminal when people think “collateral damage” is okay.

“It’s a drug WAR, moron. Wars always have collateral damage.”

Very true. But your lack of compassion if you believe this is astounding. Think for a second. If you sat in a jeep and ended up being next to a drug addict you didn’t know operations have been following for a while, it’s not your fault. But if said drug addict is gunned down and the bullet hit you instead, you would have been that collateral damage.

If your teenage son makes a wrong turn from school one night and ends up being gunned down in the middle of a raid in what is considered a “bad” part of town, he will be collateral damage. And don’t tell me you would NEVER allow your son in those places because teenagers have minds of their own, and you are never sure where they are most of the day. Even if you say you’re getting him bodyguards, he will and CAN makes plans to escape them if he wants to.

The next collateral damage could be your father, mother, sister, brother, friend, loved one. All because they could have been in the VICINITY of the wrong person at the wrong time. And God forbid someone frames you by putting drugs in your bag without your knowledge. Would you be okay of being killed because of drugs you didn’t even know you have? Don’t you want to be given the chance to prove yourself?

So why can’t you extend these sympathies to Kian and the thousand others who were killed without due process? Why can’t you give sympathy for people who may be peddling drugs to survive? Why can’t you give chances to children who could have the chance to turn their lives around?

Getting killed by criminals is different than being killed by people who are supposed to protect us from criminals. Criminals break the law, police officers are supposed to uphold the law. Criminals deserve to be jailed, justice officers are supposed to make sure that they get the jail time that they deserve and don’t die prematurely in the process.

And if you tell me one more time criminals deserve to die, tough luck, asshole, we don’t have death penalty in the Philippines. We don’t have death penalty the same way abortion is illegal and birth control is not encouraged — because the Philippines supposedly upholds Christian values where we believe we cannot play God with the lives of people.

So if you tell me you’re okay with this drug war, and the collateral damage that came with it, but you think abortion and using birth control is wrong, then you seriously have to rethink your choices in life, and stop pretending they are rooted in religion, because being okay with one thing but not the other makes you a privileged hypocrite, and frankly, God is unhappy with you either way.

Heartbreaking Nightmares

Today I fell down the rabbit hole. I haven’t been here in a long time, because see, for the most part, I thought I’m okay. Things happen, things end, things move on. That’s life, and I’ve long learned to accept that.

But the thing with burying something at the back of your mind does not guarantee that some random brain glitch will not dig it out while you’re asleep, and last night, that’s exactly what happened.

DAMN.

 

The circumstances that played out were barely logical. Even while I was inside that dream, I knew I was dreaming, and that nothing about it was real. The set-up, the conversation, the people in it — none of it would ever even remotely come together in real life. I could hear Lizzie McGuire playing in the background — the same series I was playing on my actual laptop in real-life because I never sleep with  no video on as a form of white noise. I was in a dream, I knew it, but the circumstances in that dream is an absolute nightmare that I really wish my brain did not go digging into.

But the thing is, even though I knew I was in a dream even as I was dreaming it — even though I knew that nothing like that even remotely happened, I still can’t get it out of my head and to confirm the dream state of it, I went down and fell into a rabbit hole that I avoided so much for the past three years.

I want so much to cry, but I told myself crying will not make it any less nightmarish or heartbreaking, and even if I can control what happens in my reality, I have no control over it in any way, shape, or form. I knew this much, and I want really to just be happy and accept what it was because it’s bound to happen sooner or later, but some things, especially those you wanted very badly for so long — some things will take a while to swallow.

I am not even coherent about what I’m ranting on and on here, and I wish I could explain without really explaining, but I can’t. Rabbit holes aside, I really kind of wish Gilderoy Lockhart is here to obliviate this one dream and one person from my mind.

And there, now you know what this is about.

Can I get my express train to Hogwarts now, please?

I Ate My Heart Out in Singapore

I believe that food is the best way to learn about the culture of a new place. Because I usually travel locally, trying new food is not that much of a big deal — the Filipino people eat similar kinds of food from all over the archipelago. However, I still always find it interesting that there are differences. For instance, adobo in Mindanao has a thick soup, while in the Visayas region, it’s more of a thin sauce. (There’s a difference, I promise!)

When I first went to Singapore, I came with my parents and was subjected to family rules: mainly, I can’t explore the city on my own unless everyone else wants to go.  Also, my mom is not really into eating street food, which means that Hawker Centres are not high on the list.

Then I came back to Singapore with my friends, which meant that finally, I get to eat as I please, and the foodie in me was happy. For a while anyway, because I realized later on that my friends, despite being voracious eaters, don’t have adventurous taste buds.

Not that it stopped me from getting them to try, although I can never seem to get them to eat the frog. Anyway, since we were only in the Lion City for three days, I couldn’t get around to eating every single Singaporean dish they had to offer. So I went with my top five musts:

Chicken Rice

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Does it look exactly like any other chicken dish? Yes. Does it taste better than other chicken dishes? Also, yes. Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken is a Michelin-starred restaurant, so that’s saying a lot regarding it’s quality. (The chicken is incredibly tender) Their set meals, which came with a canned drink only goes for S$5. It is said to go even cheaper at their original store at the Hawker centre, too.

Frog Porridge

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Sorry for the photo, I ordered the frog porridge for takeaway, and white meat on white rice porridge just look bland in photos.

Anyway. My friends refused to take a bite out of the frog porridge. Interestingly, it tasted exactly like arroz caldo, which Filipinos tend to eat a lot of. Frog tasted like chicken, but more chewy, I suppose. I realized later on that I may have eaten some girl’s prince charming, and for that, I apologize (but she should have kissed the frog incarnate sooner).

Laksa

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Hearty, spicy noodle soup perfect for chilly days. Except that Singapore is a degree above the equator and it’s super hot out when we went there. Nonetheless, I love anything spicy, so I finished the entire bowl anyway. #NoRegrets, amirite?

Sambal Stingray

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When I told my parents I ate stingray in Singapore, they went, “Why did you go to SG to eat stingray? There are stingrays here!”

Well, there are also blowfish in the Philippines but it doesn’t mean we know how to prepare them. We don’t prepare stingray at home, either. When asked how it tasted like, I love fish and it tasted exactly like fish to me. 😀 For non-fish fans, it’s actually pretty safe as a dish: it is soft and it does not have that fishy aftertaste. The sauce that went with it (spicy, but not hot) also added to the flavor.

Singaporean Chili Crab

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Yum. I don’t usually eat a lot of crab because I find them tasking, but I would definitely not say ‘no’ to them if someone offers me the meat sans the shell. The sauce for the crab tasted a whole lot like Zamboanga’s Alavar sauce. However, I Googled recipes for the various sauces and I found that they are actually quite different! The chili crab sauce has ketchup, chili paste (duh), oyster sauce, soy sauce, and tamarind paste. Alavar sauce has a lot more ingredients that included turmeric, paprika, curry powder, and coconut milk.

Anyway, if you’re ever in Zamboanga, look for curachas served with Alavar sauce (not to be mistaken with cucarachas, which are cockroaches). The curachas taste amazing as soon as you get over their nightmarish look. (Check them out: http://bit.ly/2rZhJLv)

Meanwhile, here’s a fun fact about Singapura: According to a Reddit user, Merlions ate durian and hated it. They have been vomiting ever since.

In Re: Marawi Siege

Please do not let your ignorance get ahead of you. These terrorists are not Muslims, these terrorists are terrorists.

Don’t say you don’t care about what’s happening in Marawi. Don’t say that Maranaos deserved it for being a Muslim community, and for fuck’s sake don’t you dare say “okay lang, di naman ako kasali sa gulo.”

BECAUSE YOU SHOULD CARE.

Marawi-City-Map-copy

Photo: Inquirer

Because this is not an attack on religion — they are not Islams as they claim because Islam is a religion of peace. No true Muslim would support such violation of church and of the people. This is the time to hold our ground — Christians, Muslims, and heck, even Atheists alike should unite to stop such form of terrorism.

Because this is not an attack on Marawi and its people, this is an attack on all people. As a Filipino, as a HUMAN for crying out loud — you too, should be outraged by what they are doing in Marawi because if tables were turned, what if these terrorists are where you are now? Their lack of respect for life, for religion, and for rules of warfare will translate the same. You should be outraged for the Maranaos, with the Maranaos.

Because saying “mabuti lang sa kanila ‘yun,” and “pake ko ba wala naman akong kilala dun” says more about your ignorance and extremist ideals than it does the Maranaos. This line of thinking makes you similar to the terrorists laying siege upon civilians and innocent people. And yes, there is that line in the sand. If you are not one with Marawi at this point, then you are, essentially, part of the problem of this country.

If you believe in a deity — offer a prayer for peace, and ask your God to keep Marawi, Mindanao, the Philippines, and the whole world safe.

If you don’t, then offer help. Offer kindness. Offer hope. This is not the time for blaming — not the government, not the civilians, not the region, and certainly not the religions. This is not the place nor the time for hate. This is the time for hope. This is the time for love.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:13