Sunday, November 27, 2016

Be Kind to Your Eyes

   We spend a lot of money on shampoo for our hair.  We pick the latest and most beneficial depending on our hair texture.  The same goes for the skin, from lotion, toner, facial mask, dermabrasion, all the way to facelift surgery.  The feet gets expensive signature shoes.  

   What do we do for our eyes?  The one organ that leads us through life is the most neglected.  We order prescription glasses when we are forced by necessity.  Ladies batter their eyes with tons of makeup, from powder or cream shadows to mascara, to heavy fake thick lashes attached with glue.  Then they remove everything with a chemical called eye makeup remover.

   The use of eye makeup started in Biblical era (2 Kings 9:30).  Cleopatra is portrayed in history and movies based on her life as big on eye makeup.
 The Filipina caught on when American cosmetics arrived in the Philippines.  Still in the 50’s, lipstick was the most commonly used.  Revlon was my mother’s brand.  Mine is Maybelline.  My daughter’s is whatever catches her attention.

   We spend on cellphones, cover them with glitters and all it could say is what we type.  The window to the inner person, the eyes, transmit involuntary messages like anger, fear, love, etc. that even the best trained actor can’t fake.  Our eyes can speak volumes in a glance.  It reflects the person’s racial identity through color and shape.  Even babies who can’t say a word show intelligence with their eyes.  The eyes show compassion towards others better than money changing hands.  

   If the eyes could complain, what would it say?  I heard mine speak to me.  Now, I wash my eyes daily with a couple of drops of Visine at the end of the day and in the morning as soon as I get up from bed.  That’s not too expensive considering that the eyes age without discoloration.  Blue eyes will be blue from cradle to grave.

See also:

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Nice Guy
   My mother taught us not to hurt rats or curse or call them names.  She insisted that we call the creature “mabait” instead of rat or mouse.  Mabait means ‘nice guy’ in English.  Some people chase rodents with a broom or any weapon around the house.  Mother said we are to dispose of the rodent inflicting as little pain as possible.  She said rodents are to be treated kindly or else they will retaliate by eating holes in your socks.  To emphasize the point, she said that even if all our socks are kept in the same drawer, the mouse will only eat the sock that belonged to whoever said something offensive.

      I have not had any encounter with a rodent since I was a child until this past Saturday.  I took out the garbage and failed to close the screen door.  A ‘mabait’ managed to slip through the door.  That night my daughter and I were watching television when she heard an unfamiliar sound.  She checked it out and found the mabait eating a hole in the loaf of bread laid out on top of the microwave.  The rodent ran off to hide.  We cleaned up the kitchen of exposed food and swore to never again leave dirty dishes on the sink. 

   That night, I was terrified the rodent would eat holes in our clothes.  We got too careful about closing our bedroom doors while I figure out what to do to get the mouse out.  The next morning, Sunday, I went to my religious meeting.  I picked up an elderly member on the way.  During the ride, I mentioned my problem with the mabait.  She suggested a product I have not heard of before, a kind of glue that sticks to rodents not kill it.  After the meeting I went looking for that glue.  I found it and laid it around the house that night.

   Overnight, the mabait has been caught.  I didn’t think it would be so quick.  Over breakfast, I marveled at the efficiency of the glue and reminded myself to thank the sister for bringing it to my attention.  I heard the mabait make some baby noise, it was just a baby, judging by its size.  I thought it was trying to ask for help.  I had the urge to buy it a cage and make it a pet.  My daughter feared that I might do just that.  I put it in a bag and dropped it in the trash outside.  I leave its future in God’s hands.

See also: 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sesame Street versus Ibarra St.

   In the late 50’s and early 60’s in Pasay City, Philippines children played in the street.  Homes with television were few.  Children with no television set at home watched by peeping through windows of neighbors.  Shows were created for adults.

   Along Ibarra Street, we played with trumpo or tops as it is called in English.  The contest was to break each other’s tops by hitting it with the metal pin while spinning on top of it.  That may sound barbaric but the exercise honed the kid’s survival or killer instinct.

   We played with Teks cards.  Each child has a designated card to represent the owner.  The bunch was flipped in the air and the card that comes down face up wins.  The owner of the winning card was paid in cards by the losers.  Eventually the one who has won most of the cards gets to sell some to the losers for money, nickel and dime.  This game fostered cunning.

   We had pocket wars between neighborhoods fought with tirador or slingshot made from a Y shaped tree branch with bullets made of folded paper bent into V shape or pebbles.  

   This could actually hurt but whoever complained to the adults will not be welcomed in the game again.  We nursed our wounds and moved on to fight another day.  This game taught sportsmanship, teamwork and loyalty to the team.

   By the late 70’s I was a mother of three.  The world became more dangerous.  I became paranoid.  We left Ibarra Street for the more tranquil Tahimik Street in Imus, Cavite.  Tahimik literally means silent.  I kept my children indoors.  I stocked up the freezer with Magnolia products so they didn’t have to go out for ice cream.  
I encouraged them to bring their friends home.  I invited their cousins to spend summer vacation with us.  We spent weekends in the mall or swimming in hot springs.  We took their playmates swimming with us.

   When I was at work, they spent their time in Sesame Street.  They learned to sing the alphabet.  They found harmless creatures like a vampire who loves to count.  The monster ate cookies.  The biggest character, Big Bird, didn’t bully.  Ernie and Bert taught them about friendship.  Oscar the Grouch who lived in a trash can taught them the worst thing that can happen to a homeless is become grouchy. Hence, my children grew up with a very unrealistic view of life.  

   They all got bullied in school and didn’t know how to defend themselves.  I didn’t know how to handle it because I was not bullied.  From Ibarra St. to Jose Rizal Elementary School, a public school at the corner, there were enough childhood pranks, teasing and thug brawls.  I learned the valuable lesson of when to run or when to fight.


   The new US Administration is trying to cut PBS funding among other charitable programs.  This means Sesame Street will be shut down.  The idea did not come from this article.  We empathize with the cast and staff of Sesame Street.  As per Philippine history, the children that were deprived of Voltes V grew up to populate a coup d'tat.  Let's see what 15 years will bring.