chickens in the pen

they look like chickens in their most zany moods: lying on their backs, wings spread out and aloft, feet high up in the air, and heads…where are the heads? ah there they are, covered by grey bridge tubes connecting the planes to the gates.

they are airplanes, after all, docked at the gates.

and this is a funny, notable scene at the sprawling tarmac while having lunch at the plaza premium lounge in chep lap kok, a.k.a hongkong international airport.

i need sleep.

lots of it.


this is how the gist of the story will be like:

the odyssey started one sunny december day.

the weather was fine all along before it slowly took a turn for the bad.

the ground got soggy from non-stop heavy downpour. the once hard clay turned in no time into a soft putty making the path slippery and dangerous to tread on.

patches of grass were also losing their grips on the ground. or was it the ground intentionally freeing itself from the encumbrances?

the sailboats were unceremoneously blotted out from the azure horizon by some careless strokes of giant rubber eraser leaving nothing in its wake but varying smudges of grey.

sight had been blurred by rain accompanied by strong winds while hands grappled for something familiar, something sturdy to hold. but unfortunately there was none.

since then it was a continuous fast downhill slide for the worse.

at moments of brief respite when will is renewed there were honest attempts at climbing up to change the course for the better. but those sincere efforts were equally met by hard knocks and fatal blows again sending the will tumbling down and

…flyyyyyyyyyyyying over the ridge.

then an uncomfortable silence reigned for a loooooooooong time.

nature, still in her crazy fit, pursued the motion in silence like a mute acting out his thoughts strongly with his hands.

were you, too, waiting to hear the final thud?

listen carefully and listen well. this is how it will end

…in silence.


see no one
hear no one
feel no one
talk to no one
laugh at no one
…but me.

this is…
my space
my time
my place
my moment.

no frills.
just pure bliss.

(N.B.: defragging in progress, please do not interrupt)

The tin can

Excuses, absolution, justification or understanding?

At its essence, “The Reader”, adapted from the novel by Bernhard Schlink, is about morality. The question the film asks the audience is: if you knew important information about something, information that could possibly save or transform one’s life, but knew that this reprieve was probably undeserved due to a previous crime, would you give up that information?

At its story level, “The Reader” is about a romance; an inexplicable affair that fills a void and helps a young boy come of age, but it is a doomed romance, that leads to a man losing innocence before he is ready, a blow that leaves him emotionally crippled for life once he discovers the terrible truths about his former lover.

At its thematic level, “The Reader” wishes to have its issues be about shame and hiding what one believes to be a secret more personal and embarrassing that is worth going to prison to keep. But “The Reader” presents this theme, wrapped in the horrific trappings of crimes against humanity. The said crimes overwhelm the true message of the film, and that is where the narrative fails.

The film opens on a German lawyer named Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes). On a trip to visit his daughter, he recalls an event in his life that has haunted his memories and crippled his relationships. He recalls growing ill as a teenager (played in flashbacks by David Kross) and being helped by a stern but compassionate woman working for the rail cars in West Berlin in 1958. When he recovers and goes to thank her, he finds himself entering into an affair with the woman.

Her name was Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet in her Oscar winning role). He goes to visit her every day after school in the summer, and they have a unique love affair: he reads aloud from his books first, and then lovemaking follows. One day he returns to her apartment to find that she vanished without a trace.

Eight years later, while taking a special class for law school, Michael, his professor and a group of students attend the ongoing war crimes trials. It is there that Michael’s sense of morality and world views are forever distorted. It is at these trials he once again sees Hanna . . . as Hanna goes on trial for being a former Nazi concentration camp guard that allegedly aided in the burning death of 300 Jews under her watch.

Director Daldry and screenwriter David Hare try to make this a compelling moral argument. Legally, she is guilty, at least by sheer negligence. From a legal standpoint, it may have been “right” for Michael to defend her, but morally, he was right in keeping quiet, as his defense would seem more like an excuse. Hanna makes no effort to hide her involvement thus Michael was compelled out of anger and betrayal for keeping silent in a sense of moral righteousness. But the film’s objectivity dwindles when it asks the audience to sympathize with Hanna’s plight in an awkward forceful way.

Older Michael, after thirty years of reflection sees it perhaps an act of his own shame (that he had an affair with a NAZI he does not openly say, but clearly he and his younger self feel that way), and perhaps, he should have been more understanding of Hanna’s plight.

He confesses all of this to a survivor of the Holocaust, and a woman that was under Hanna’s watch (Lena Olin) who is unsurprisingly unmoved by his confession. She rightly asks if she should grant absolution to Hanna for her sins or if he’s just looking to feel better about himself. Michael’s obsession to seek understanding isn’t really needed; the film shows enough of Hanna to know that she and him had fun while they were together; but he was only a tool for her (the way she always calls him “kid”) and that their special practice was once used in the concentration camp (probably not for sexual favors, but the reading aloud comes off not only as a betrayal of Michael’s emotions but also a repugnant attempt to cast Hanna in a better life).

Fiennes is wonderfully understated as the adult Michael, but his sense of trying to come to an understanding eventually grows tiresome, and his monologues can become more of a pandering effort to reroute the film to its original message. He seeks understanding and redemption for a soul who neither wants nor deserves it, or was it love? In contrast, Kross as a moody teenager plays the young Michael with a depth that is fascinating.

“The Reader,” however, is Kate Winslet’s film, through and through. She does a fantastic job at portraying a woman who is almost literally paralyzed by the fear of her dark secret being discovered. She is tough and authoritative in her early scenes with young Michael and rightly confused and terrified at the court proceedings around her later. Her scene in prison where she met Michael for the first time in so many years is spellbinding. It is painfully obvious that Michael craves an apology, for something, anything, from Hanna. And yet Kate Winslet does not allow even a flicker of remorse or regret to cross Hanna’s face for her part in the war or for leaving Michael without a word (“no one should apologize to anybody,” she once howled at young Michael). For that alone, she is worthy of the Oscar and BAFTA that she received for her role. Though she has had big parts in the past, and was competing against herself with her role in “Revolutionary Road”, her performance in “The Reader” is in my opinion, her best so far.

I won’t spoil the ending completely, but Hanna does not leave prison. The film, despite the lapses and failed attempts at being an intellectual outing, is worth watching.


just as the sun crosses the sky, inching its way to the west, so does my time ticking away to the final hour.
it was not my intention to add more words to the above inane musing. until i received an sms from a friend, a couple of minutes after i hit the ‘publish’ button, asking to pray for the eternal repose of the soul of another friend’s husband who passed on this morning.

there is really nothing much i can say about the person who just signed off today. we never met. i only knew him by his name, dennis, the husband of lerma. we’re almost of the same age, perhaps a year or two older than me. and like lerma, he too was a doctor.

accidents can happen to anybody. no one is immune to its scathing and fatal jokes. and when our show time is over in this stage we call life, we just have to bow and take a quick, sometimes unceremonious, exit.

only cats have seven lives. we play the game of chance but not quite for long.

some careless thoughts and a double-decked sandwich

Today, I have been mortified after a brief but blushing encounter with a kabayan at the lobby. I was treading down a glass-enclosed panel stairwell on my way to taking a leak and I could feel the searing heat from the outside. In the echoes of my steps I was cursing the weather and blaming myself for not picking up something for lunch at the car wash station earlier this morning while waiting for meong’s car to get done with. And as if these were not enough going ons in my head, I was, simultaneously, considering my options.

These and more continue playing altogether, even while I was in the act of relieving myself, like a collage of voices zooming in and out from some CNN or BBC station ID showing snippets of reportage from different regions around the world.

Tracing my way out of the toilet (of course after washing my hands) I was automatically prompted to run an inventory of my sandwich station safely tucked in the side drawer of my workstation. Without much difficulty, I reckoned bottles of marmalade, sandwich spread, peanut butter and chicken spread (but another round after having one this morning would be tantamount to an overdose of salmonella hehe) are lounging in my drawer since I-don’t-know-when. Seriously immersed with the thought about my luncheon engagements (hehe), it surprised me finding myself swallowed into the bowels of the lobby.

Then I saw a smiling miss kabayan staniding by the elevator and holding a huge (and made huge-r by her petite structure) aluminum tray decked with two-layers of assorted sandwiches cut in triangular shapes and wrapped in a cello-cling wrapper. I was already some five steps past her, with no one around except us two, when suddenly it dawned on me how stupid I could be to let such opportunity escape. No, I was not thinking of freeloading. It’s the opportunity of making my life a wee bit easier.

Without due regard to the obvious givens and unknown variables I readily scuttled for the solution.

“Kabayan, binibenta mo?”

“Dadalhin ko ito kabayan sa office namin sa taas.”

Those cordial full smiles slowly dissolved into a quarter questioning smirk. Good thing I maintained a safe distance just in case she decides turning into a petite Inday riding on a flying bilao in pursuit of a tactless tongue.


“Just woke up. Sori nak2log nko khpn. Mrning. Mwah!”
“Morning. We made it again labs. We hit 2 n stil counting. Hapi 2nd month. Labyu. Mwah! Mwah!”
“Hapi 2nd month! Twag ka.”
“Tawag ako latr tulog pa hehe.”
“Hmp! Cge na nga. Kakanthan sana kta. Punta n kmi church.”


“Sabihin mo pag pwde na litang tawagan ha”
“Pwede na! U”


Jason Mraz – Im Yours (Official Video) –


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