Monday, November 25, 2013

Cradle Snatcher

   Candi, who married at 18, went to the movies with her 8 year old son.  She was 26 but looked 10 years younger due to her slim physique.    In 1978 there was no computer application that gave out movie screening schedule.  The two got to the theater 30 minutes too early.  They waited at the lobby which was open to the sidewalk.  

   A teenage boy on a bike  passed them and stopped to small talk.  Candi figured there was no harm.  They obviously all belonged to the same community.  The teen didn't ask about the boy she was with.  He must have assumed Candi's son was her brother.  She didn't look old enough to have a son that age.  After the introduction was done the teen started to flirt with Candi which she found amusing.  The past 9 years has slowly killed the passion in her  marriage.  

   The teen asked for Candi's  address.  She gave it to him without a second thought.  A few days later Candi's husband woke her from an afternoon nap.  There was a young man on a bike at their front door asking for her.  It never occurred to the teen the man he was facing was her husband.  She did give him her address. A married woman might not have done that.  Candi told her husband to get rid of the teen by letting him know she was married.

   By 2013 Candi was divorced and living in California.  She and her daughter decided to use the street cleaning hours which cleared the streets of parked cars to drive around the block so the younger girl could practice for her coming driver's license test.  Three times they passed a Latino teen on a bike.  

   A week later while Candi was cleaning her car along the street the same Latino teen of about 16 approached and started to small talk.  This was how the conversation went down:

Teen: Do you teach people how to drive?

Candi: No, that was just my daughter.  

Teen: Why was your husband not teaching her?

Candi: Oh, I'm not married.  

Teen: Why not? you're pretty.

Candi:  Thank you but I'm tired of talking care of a husband.

Teen: I'll take care of you. (Candi looks a doable 60 but this was hilarious.)  

Candi: Really?!  What do you think your mom would say about that?

Teen: We don't have to tell her. I can live with you.

Candi: No, that won't work.  

   The sad part of this story was Candi never got offers like this from men closer to her age, a flattering but frustrating recurring proposition of cradle snatching.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dance On the Brink of Death

   Here’s a story about another Filipina during another storm at another place and time.  She was a Filipina like all the rest if not for a short video of her last moment on this earth.  The video gave the world an opportunity to meet her and show a character like no other.
   As most Filipinas her age she had dreams of a bright future and a long life with her loved ones.  She may have been poor by rich people's standards but she was a diamond in the mud.

   When she was trapped by the raging water she could see people across the river but she didn't beg for rescue probably not wanting to endanger anyone else.  She was old enough to know the odds of her getting rescued.  She must have been scared.  She sat and ate her last meal.  Then she danced for the camera, for her live audience across the river.   Her courage was incredible.  She didn't give up easily.  She fought to stay alive in the water but the river got the best of her and just before she sank under water she raised both arms as if in triumph.  And triumph she did.  Anyone can die a conventional death but no one else could die in such a grand manner.
   Anderson Cooper of CNN during his visit to the typhoon stricken Tacloban City, Philippines said "Thank you for showing us all how to live."

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Filipina in Adversity

   The Philippines is divided into 81 provinces.  English and the national language Tagalog are taught in all levels of education while Spanish is taught in high school and college.  There are at least 14 major provincial languages and minor languages spoken by small communities in far flung areas which are not taught in school.  The country might as well have been named Islands of Babel.  Just as the story of the Tower of Babel says “Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words…” then “God had confused the language of all the earth, and had scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth.” (Genesis 11: 1-9)

   Colonizers used the language barrier and the subcultures of the provinces to divide and rule.  Regions were encouraged to be prejudice against each other.  Just as other nations have racial slurs, provinces and regions had invectives against each other.  This resulted in bearing 300 years of atrocities under Spanish colonization before a revolution was even started.  

   The nation’s division has continued on down the years through American colonization, Japanese occupation and decades of democracy marred by corruption, nepotism and incompetence.  

   The recent calamity caused by typhoon Haiyan left Tacloban City littered with dead bodies among the debris of homes reduced to rubbles.  Relief efforts to deliver food, water and medicine were hampered by the lack of cargo planes, the airport needed time to get cleaned and functional, the police and medical practitioners are themselves victims so that few have reported to work.  

   Bigger nations rallied to send help.  The GMA Kapuso Foundation and The ABS-CBN Foundation held telethon and delivered goods to the storm victims.  Help came from all over the Philippines.  The language of tragedy has unified the country.

   When bodies are piled up on a common grave it means loved ones are buried without time to be identified.  There is no time to mourn.  The Filipina storm victim continues on to save who and what she can.  In the midst of the chaos are breastfeeding Filipinas who came to nurse babies in need of milk in the devastated areas.  

   When a country’s women population is as strong and as brave as their men that nation can stumble with adversity yet not be crippled by despair.  When it finally finds its power the Philippines would be formidable and the Filipina, its moving force.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


   Jean was a Filipina divorcee in Louisville, Kentucky.  She was 59 but looked 48 and thought she was 18.  Two years in her dialysis treatment the dialysis center was bought by a bigger company.  This change brought in new Dialysis Technicians.  One of them was Mike, a Zac Efron look alike in his thirties.  Jean who has a weakness for good looking could not take her eyes off him.

   It seemed like Mike was one of those who did not welcome minorities.  Jean noticed him picking on the only Filipina Tech.  A few weeks later the Filipina tech was gone.   Jean was the only Asian patient.   She braced herself to be the next casualty. 

   Contrary to her fears Mike was good to her, doing things not expected of his job.  He helped her put her shoes on, massaged her leg during a bad cramp, folded her blanket after her run, etc.  He was careful not to hurt her whenever he was assigned to her.  He came over to say a few sweet words whenever he was not her tech even when he was working in the room across the hall.  

   When an African American patient tried to get Jean's attention and she ignored the man Mike passed by dropping the word "racist" out of context, an accusation in a code.  She felt the stab.  She was infuriated because it simply was not true.  As Mike walked back she said "That patient has been harassing me all the time".  

   "Why don't you just avoid him?" Mike replied.

   "That’s what I’ve been doing."

   Mike seemed to realize his subtle attack was out of line.  

   Jean avoided any conversation with Mike from there on and pretended to be asleep when he enters the room.  He sent her apologetic looks which she pretended not to notice.  Until during one treatment her lady tech told her to walk around the room to bring her blood pressure up.  She looked around for Mike in order to avoid him.  She was asked to walk around the room twice.  The second time got the two of them crossing paths.  Their eyes said volumes.  Jean could not resist anymore.  Their ‘connection’ was back on. 

   Jean always liked younger men and have dated quite a few but Mike was younger than her sons.  The decades between their ages would be a long jump off a cliff called ‘Sexual Harassment Gorge’.  Still, while their imaginary relationship lasted, she felt like she lived inside a hologram of a love affair. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Marital Issue

   Some preachers claim that the forbidden fruit is symbolic.  In the absence of a priest or a judge to perform the ceremony having sexual relations before the wedding was the real reason Adam and Eve were thrown out of paradise.  

   Genesis 2:24-25 reads “That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh.  And both of them continued to be naked, the man and his wife, and yet they did not become ashamed.”  God himself married Adam and Eve as He called her Adam’s wife.  There’s no wedding better than that which reiterates  “man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife” when the man Adam did not have a set of human parents.  

   Was procreation the only purpose of sexual relation between Adam and Eve?  In Deuteronomy 24:5 it says “When a man is newly married, he is not to be drafted into military service or any other public duty; he is to be excused from duty for one year, so that he can stay at home and make his wife happy.”  This command says that the man must give his wife a whole year of honeymoon period to make his wife happy (rejoice) which should include sexual satisfaction, a pleasure designed by God and bestowed to all humans.  

   Some would say the above is from the ‘Old’ Testament and should no longer matter.  Well, here’s from the ‘New’: “The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does; likewise, also, the husband does not exercise authority over his own body, but his wife does.  Do not be depriving each other…” (1 Corinthians 7:4-5)  That command is clear as daylight.  There’s no misunderstanding that.

   In current situations when a husband deprives the wife of sexual satisfaction it is typically due to three reasons:

1. He is doing someone else.
2. Someone else is doing him.
3. He suggested a three way and the wife refused.