Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Books We Read

   It’s not the tragedies we suffered, not the movies we loved, not the association of different communities that made us who or what we are today.  It’s the books we read that shaped our minds, honed our hearts and charted our future.  

In the late 60’s I read the following:

The Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan
by Teodoro Agoncillo

Struggle for National Democracy
by Jose Maria Sison

Quotations, On Contradiction and
Selected Military Writings
by Mao Tse-Tung

How the books changed me:

   I learned how Bonifacio’s revolution was thwarted.  I joined a nationalist student organization

   I saw firsthand the poverty of the masses by going to the slums and poor urban communities and countryside peasantry.

   I ran away from home and quit college to be a full time underground political activist.  I married a comrade.  

In the 70’s I read the following:

The Cinderella Complex: Women’s Hidden Fear of Independence
by Colette Dowling

The Assertive Woman by Nancy Austin and Stanlee Phelps

The New Executive Woman
by Marcille Williams

How the books changed me:

   I left my first husband because he refused to take me with him to the countryside like he used to.  He said it was for my safety.  I remarried.

   When my second husband saw what I was reading, he commented,  “Really?! You need assertiveness?!” He was being sarcastic.

   I joined and committed to the unorganized, disunited, exploited working class I fought to uplift. 

   In the 80’s I studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses.  If the order of the books were reversed, if I studied the Bible in the 60s, I would not have left my first husband. 

   “A wife is bound as long as her husband is alive. But if her husband should fall asleep in death, she is free to be married to whomever she wants, only in the Lord. But in my opinion, she is happier if she remains as she is; and I certainly think I also have God’s spirit.” (1 Corinthians 7:39-40)

   Paul says he’s got God’s spirit in saying so.  Jehovah’s spirit can’t be wrong.  I was never again as happy as I was with my first husband.

See also:

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Importance of Meditation, Part 2

   This part of Moses’ story was never included in any of the movies made about him.  Let’s focus on the verses and their initial impression, then what meditation brings to the table.  

Initial Impression
Meditation Brings

Deuteronomy 34:4-7 says, “Jehovah then said to him: “This is the land about which I have sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross over there.”  After that Moses the servant of Jehovah died there in the land of Moʹab just as Jehovah had said.  He buried him in the valley in the land of Moʹab, opposite Beth-peʹor, and nobody knows where his grave is down to this day.”
Jehovah showed Moses the view of the promised land he missed.  Was that being cruel or kind?  Moses was assured that his offspring will get the land but not him.  It sounded like Jehovah was punishing him without end. 

His grave is unknown because if the Israelite knew, they might make him a monument and worship him for all the miracles they saw him perform? 
It was kind of Jehovah to show Moses a view of the promised land with the assurance that his offspring will inherit it.  Any loving parent would appreciate knowing his children will be in a good place, even if he himself won’t be there.  The view that he got to see also rewarded his efforts in taking the Jews out of Egypt.  It showed him a happy ending to his life story just before he died.

In Proverbs 3:11-12, it says “My son, do not reject the discipline of Jehovah, And do not loathe his reproof, For those whom Jehovah loves he reproves, Just as a father does a son in whom he delights.”
Did Moses lose Jehovah’s love when he died without ever getting into the promised land he led the Israelites to enjoy? 

 Jehovah disciplines with love. 

What’s the proof that Jehovah continued to love Moses after he was disciplined?
Centuries later, Matthew 17:1-3, says, “… Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John along and … he was transfigured before them… And look! There appeared to them Moses and E·liʹjah conversing with him.”  In verse 5 Jehovah himself spoke.  The presence of Moses in this “meeting” shows that Moses remained in the level of Isaiah who was never disciplined.  He was shown conversing with Jesus like they’ve all known each other despite having lived centuries apart.  What a show of Jehovah’s continuing love for Moses indeed!

See also: 
The Importance of Meditation 
Alternative Facts 
Google It 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Coming Soon: The Matriarchs of Cavite

   Women across the globe differ according to culture.  Culture is mostly developed out of historical interaction between nations.  Asian women are known to be culturally meek and subservient except for Filipinas.
   In the revolution against Spain, women were a moving force.  In 1893, the Supreme Council of The Katipunan, an underground revolutionary government, organized a women's auxiliary section.  In the same year, the provincial council of Cavite was organized.  It was the most successful council of the Katipunan.

   There were sporadic pocket rebellions throughout the three centuries of colonialism.  A large organized group with a meager arsenal to dare confront the well-armed Spanish army was at first inconceivable. 

Battle of Imus Monument
   The first big battle of the Philippine revolution was the  Battle of Imus, or the Siege of Imus in September, 1896.  It caught the Spanish colonial government by surprise.  The victory gained by the Filipino revolutionaries in this siege showed potential to win.  Two months later, in November 1896, the Spanish military retaliated against the revolutionaries in Cavite province with the Battle of Binakayan - Dalahican.

   Those three clashes made the revolution official.  After centuries of procrastination, the first to draw blood from the enemy were the people of Cavite.  That placed the Caviteños’ courage and bravery in history.  Not all of those revolutionaries were men.  A good number of them were Caviteñas, the women of Cavite.

   The Philippine Revolution was winning when the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1898.  The treaty ended the Spanish–American War.  As a condition of the treaty, the United States paid Spain $20 Million for the rights to occupy and govern the Philippines.  Except for the priests who remained under a separation of church and state clause, the Spaniards absconded to salvage their hold on other colonies around the globe.

   Filipinas came out of the colonial years under Spain stronger than their men.  By the time peace and a relative independence was reached in 1899, it was too late to break the Filipina spirit back into domestication.  She has learned to fight for her country, take sole responsibility for her family and make money.  All while retaining the balance between feminine charm and subtle assertiveness that took the Women’s Liberation Movement, a century later, to teach the women of other nations.

   The Caviteñas, in comparison with Filipinas from other regions, earned a reputation for feistiness, vindictiveness, if warranted and only if warranted, down right malevolence.  They would be least likely to become victims of rape, domestic abuse, assault or home invasion.  They are shrewd business managers, assertive in any situation and adapts to the most difficult condition without losing charm and poise.  Thus, they make perfect matriarchs.

   The book, The Matriarchs of Cavite is now in editing stage and will be launched soon. 

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

One Asian Driver

   I got my first license to drive in the Philippines in 1979.  I did not go to driving school.  How did I pass the LTO test?  The guy who handed me the test paper must have noticed my anxiety.
   “Just put your name on it.  Don’t put any answer.  I’ll do it for you for PHP300,” he whispered to me.
   I have never appreciated corruption like I did at that moment.  I discretely slipped the money into his hands.  I passed the test with flying colors.  I was proud of that license.  Per capita, fewer Filipinas than men drove back then.
   I got my fair share of fender benders.  Even the best trained, well-schooled drivers got ticketed, got bumps and scrapes.  Did I drink and drive?  I was 26 years old.  What do you think?  

  Some US states have had drunk driving laws since 1911.  The Philippines never had one until the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10586).  We had bars with dance floors in Makati City.  I drove from there alone all the way to Imus, Cavite, anytime between 2:00 am to 4:00 am.  I was never pulled over by police.  Apparently, as long as I didn’t hit anything or anybody, I was good.  I did not get in any accident drunk, not even a minor one.  It turned out, I was a better driver drunk, after all I was suicidal, not a sociopath.  

   Fast forward to 2006.  I arrived in the US with my Philippine driver’s license that had been many times renewed with a clean record of no ticket nor accident.  Here, I felt a bigger appreciation for corruption.  I gave the policeman pocket money for every ticketing incidents.  Accidents were settled between parties without documents.  That Philippine license earned me the privilege of getting a US license without a written test.  Someone with international license required only driving test which I passed on the second try.  That PHP300, in 1979, was well worth it.  I love the Philippines!
   My Kentucky license in 2006 was exchanged for a California license in 2013.  My driving still leaves a lot to be desired.  My children now drive better than me.  My daughter is a whiz at GPS while I remain skeptical.  My son noted that I still drove like a “jeepney” driver, as I did when they were children.  He’s now 47 years old.

See also:

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Cars in My Life - Philippines

My Beetle with my daughter
   The first car I owned was a red Volkswagen Beetle I got in 1979 for PHP13,000.  That price was a lot of money back then.  I didn’t even know how to drive.  I did not take a driving course. This was how I learned.  A distant relative who works as a professional driver taught me by sitting with me as I drove.  He gave no orientation on traffic laws, no one ever gave him that either.  I wondered for years, if red means stop and green means go, what’s yellow for?  

   I drove daily to work in Makati City from Imus, Cavite via the old Parañaque road.  The coastal road was still under construction.  That humble Beetle with tiny tail lights gave me empowerment.  Holding that steering wheel made me feel I have come into my own.  

   A number of turbulent years followed.  I had to sell the car, the house, moved twice until finally life stabilized.  I bought a pre-owned, what was called box type,  1990 Nissan Sentra.  I got it a taxi franchise, taxi top lights and painted on the sides the logo “Camino Transport”.  I let it run 24 hours per driver with two drivers alternating.  That car cost me PHP150,000 in 1993.  I sold it with the taxi franchise for the same amount two years later.  I used the money to put a down of PHP50,000 each for brand new 1995 Nissan Sentra Series III, Toyota Corolla and Mitsubishi Lancer, all white.  I got the three units a taxi franchise each.  I paid the monthly car loans with the taxi earning.  This was when the Philippines started the “color coding law” which means there’s a day for every car that it can’t run in Metro Manila.  On those color code days, I drove the car to my Bible studies inside gated communities not affected by the color code.  Otherwise, I went out of Metro Manila to swim in Los Baños hot springs, Laguna or Tagaytay, Batangas.
   A few years later, I found out the banks had warehouses along South Super Highway where they kept repossessed cars being sold at a bargain.  There, I found me a red two door 1995 Daewoo Racer.  Its stick shift goes to five speeds!  It wasn't called racer for  nothing.  I named it Sutra.  Sutra was not for taxi, it was for me, at least until I sold it for a profit.  It marked the end of my taxi operator days and the start of my car buy and sell days.  Next, I bought another 1995 Daewoo Racer.  This time, it was white with four doors.  I called it Kim, because it felt so Korean.  I enjoyed Kim till I sold it.  Kim was my last car in the Philippines.  

See also:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Cars in My Life - USA

   I was amazed when I realized there were still places in America where the residents are not familiar with Asians.  There were rural areas where only white people live and city areas with all black population.  In Louisville, Kentucky, Asians are few and far from each other.  I met four Filipino families in my residency of eight years.

My employer bank
   The image of Filipinos seen on television news of a calamity gave the impression that all Filipinos are destitute.  Many Americans I met were not ready for a Filipina in a suit and were resentful that I landed a job on the seventh floor of a bank's corporate center.  A man said to my face “You’re taking a job from an American.”

 2000 Ford Focus SE
   My first car in USA was a 2000 Ford Focus SE.  It did not have ABS brakes.  The place snows six inches in winter.  After slip and sliding several times, I traded in the Focus for a car with ABS brakes, a 2005 Saturn red coupe, something too sporty for a middle aged immigrant.  I named this red Saturn, Slick.  

   Driving Slick earned me the title 'Diva' with my American friends.  The Urban Dictionary defines diva as “to describe a person who exudes great style and personality with confidence and expresses their own style and not letting others influence who they are or want to be.  A person whose character makes them stands out from the rest...A person who tries to achieve what they want and who do not let people get in their way, and doing so with style and class.”  

   Now, seeing how Asian women are marginalized in the Midwest, I liked being called a diva.  Soon after, I left for California. 

   In California, it broke my heart but for many reasons, I traded Slick for a 2008 Toyota Matrix.  I named the Matrix, Trixie.  She brings me and JW sisters to 'field service'.  She carries the cart to our cart witnessing location.  Unlike Slick, Trixie is more of a 'sister' Jehovah's Witness.  Anyone who maliciously hurts her, I will not forgive.

See also:
A Saturn Named Slick 
Parting with a Saturn Named Slick
Keying In

Friday, April 27, 2018

Potassium to a Dialysis Patient

   Potassium is a mineral found in most fruits and vegetables.  Some food high in potassium are avocado, squash, spinach, potato and sweet potato, coconut water and coconut milk Filipinos use as ingredient in the most favored dish called “gata”. 

   To a normal person, I mean one who does not have kidney failure, potassium is required to have energy because it controls muscle function.  When I was in my 40’s, before I got kidney disease, I suffered weakness of unknown origin.  I was not ill, not depressed, not malnourished in the least bit.  I slowly lost energy until I have taken to laying on the sofa.  Finally, I decided to see a doctor.  I don’t see a doctor unless I'm desperate.  The doctor prescribed that I eat BANANAS!  Lots and lots of bananas!  I couldn’t believe the fruit was the cure.  Banana is the top potassium provider.  It worked!  Thanks Doc!  It turned out, I had been eating a lot but none of the potassium rich food.  

   Patients with kidney failure can no longer remove excess potassium.  The level builds up in the body, hiding in leg, feet, and other muscles causing cramps.  During dialysis, I’ve had cramps start on my toes then move up to my legs, then to my waist.  Brian Benedict Reyes, my Dialysis Tech pushes my toes with his butt to reduce my cramp.  When the cramp starts, I jokingly alert him “Brian! I need your butt!”  I’m one of those who won’t admit they’re hurting.

   Fun and games aside, the heart is categorized as a muscle.  It beats because of potassium.  Patients on dialysis are at risk for sudden cardiac death. claims that nearly half of the population on dialysis die by cardiovascular disease.  The heart could cramp like a leg.  When it does, it’s called heart attack.

   Dialysis effectivity differ by country, by company management, by financial consideration and by the patient’s individuality.  DaVita, my dialysis center, tests my blood monthly to monitor what I’ve been doing to my body.  My potassium level tells them I have been eating the Filipino food rich in potassium, like turon, gata, etc.  My fluid level tells them I have been drinking like a fish.  My phosphorus level tells them I have not been taking my binder with every meal, or every can of Diet Coke, which I refuse to give up through the eight years that I have been on dialysis.  

   In Jehovah God’s great mercy I have survived all these years on dialysis.  My children say I’m “masamang damo”, an old saying in Tagalog which translates in English as “bad grass”,  the saying means horses don’t eat bad grass so they don’t die.

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