Thursday, March 25, 2010

On a Not-So-Hidden Soapbox

I wanted to start blogging again tonight, but it seems I really have nothing to say.
So I'm just posting the speech I made and delivered during the meeting de avance for the law student government elections. I think i was more than a month ago.

Good afternoon my schoolmates, friends.

This past week has been an interesting one for all of us, and a really hectic one for us candidates who now stand here on this stage. This campaign week, we have seen students from all over the university, enter our classrooms, delay our classes and talk about their GPOA’s and chant their tag-lines. This past week, we have been handed an obscene amount of fliers, containing the credentials and testimonials for the candidates, showcasing what they have and what they can give. This past week, we have been screamed at by posters hanging on the walls of Malcolm Hall and by pins hanging on the chests of its denizens. It’s been an interesting week. It’s been a crazy one. Some of you have even seen me and luis, do our comedic act to explain our BABABUBU GPOA.

It is my fervent hope, that throughout all this craziness, we were able to see the sanity that lies beneath. Hidden between the lines of these GPOA’s, whispered under the chants of these tag-lines, invisibly clipped with these fliers, declared in unison with these credentials and testimonials and printed in the finest lines on these posters and pins... is the truth. The truth that we, your candidates, are here and ready to serve you. All we await for is your nod, and your choice. Hidden beneath the seeming childishness of the phrase BABABUBU, is the maturity of a plan for you my dear batchmates, and for the college in general.

My friends, we stand at the precipice of change. This year, the last of the decade, will bring about a ton of changes. By June of this year, for good or for bad, our country will have a new President after 9 years. A little after this, or maybe even before, if issues of constitutionality are overcome, a new Chief Justice will be appointed to head a very different Supreme Court. The opening of this coming school year will mark the beginning of our university’s Centennial Year. For my dear batchmates, it also marks our last year within the hallowed halls of this ancient institution –it’s our graduating year.

A lot of these changes, we cannot control. And most of them will bring about uncertainty and maybe even a tinge of fear.

Ngunit hindi natin kailangang matakot. Not everything is beyond our control. Marami pa po tayong pinanghahawakan. Isa na po dito ang pagboto natin sa lokal na eleksyon dito sa College of Law. Bukas po, dala ang ating ID o kaya ang ating form 5, kaya nating gumawa ng sarili nating pagbabago at hindi lamang magpasuyo sa pagbabagong dala ng daloy ng panahon.

The College of Law may be a small community, but I know that to each of us, personally, the changes that happen within its walls out-shadow those that are happening outside in the bigger world, simply because these are the most immediate, and the ones that affect us directly. So let us pay attention to the changes that will happen to our small community, and more than paying attention, let us lend a hand in steering such changes.

Bukas, sana po ay bumoto tayo, at iboto natin ang mga kandidatong naniniwala na sila ay hindi lamang aakyat sa kanilang posisyon, kundi baba upang magsilbi. My batchmates, as next year’s graduating batch, let us set an example. Let our Batch be Bonded by going Back to the Basics so we can start creating Building Blocks and begin Building Bridges. That is the essence of BABABUBU. Change for ourselves, change for our batch, change for our school and change for the rest of our country.

I have said much in the last 3 and a half minutes, so let me end with someone else’s words – the words of the Immortal Bard Shakespeare as two of his most famous characters are on the precipice of change: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."

Ako po si Carlo Alojado, tumatakbo bilang 4th year batch representative. Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


As was mentioned in my previous post, I was rummaging through my closet looking for my graduation pictures. Besides the poem, I found a shoebox that contained memories of my past. Letters. Notes. Pictures. Small trinkets. Things that reminded me of a time that has long since passed away. Things I tried my best to bury inside the deepest recesses of that closet.

I was always afraid of opening that box fearing what emotions might come out and, like Pandora's evils, engulf my world with darkness.

I opened that box tonight. Nothing came out.

Nothing. :)

Poetry of My Native Tongue, Language of My Heart

I was rummaging through my closet, looking for my graduation pictures, when I unearthed a poem that I wrote once upon a time.

Enter into the mind of a second year high school student who thought he knew how it was to love.


Paulit-ulit tumatawag sa akin ang iyong ganda
Bumibighani sa aking mga mata
Mula sa talulot mong pula at nakasara
Nahahanap ko ang sa aki'y nagpapasaya

Bango mo't halimuyak ako'y namangha
Tila rito ang papantay ay wala
Kaya't ako sa iyo'y naaakit tuwina
Sa pagmamahal sa iyo'y wala akong panangga

Ikaw ay tinatangi, sa isip ko'y laging hinahagkan
Ikaw ay nilagay ko sa aking kataas-taasang panagimpan
Ikaw ay aking minamahal, pinaka-iingat-ingatan
Pag-ibig ko sa iyo, akin laging tangan-tangan

Ngunit natatago sa ilalim ng iyong bulaklak
Mga tinik, mga pantusok na nakakasindak
Kaya't pag ika'y hahawakan, sila ay tatarak
Sa kamay ko, sila'y mag-iiwan ng mahapding tatak

Ngunit kahit na dugo ko'y patuloy na tumulo
Pagtangkang ibigin ka'y hindi mahihinto
Pagkat wari ako'y hindi na matututo
Pag-ibig ko sa iyo, mali ma'y totoo

Ang napakalalim na sugat na sa iyo'y nagmula
Iniisip ko na lamang, na iyo'y hindi sadya
Iniisip ko na lamang, na ako ang may kasalanan
Iniisip ko na lamang, ika'y walang kinalaman

Kaya't heto akong muli
Sa iyo'y nabibighani
Masaktan man akong lagi
Sa iyo lahat ng aking sandali

Huwag kang mag-alalang baka ako'y muling masugatan
Basta't ikaw ang dahilan, ayos lamang iyan
Ika'y iniibig, iniibig kita ngayon
Ika'y iibigin sa habang panahon

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finishing a Poem

I wrote this poem about six months ago but I never really did finish it. For six months, it sat on my desktop with only its "Part 1," because I had no idea how this poem would end.

I had the urge to finish it today. Turns out, "Part 2" is just one stanza.


At The Music Store

One day you passed by my display case
While I sat there scratched and untuned
You stopped and stared at the weathered paint on my face
A fading red varnish like a newly dried wound

I looked at your eyes and I saw a question who's answer you sought
And I wanted to speak and explain what was true
But that old ribbon of horsehair was no longer taut
The stick that held it straight was broken in two

For the last that came by took me out of my case
And took my bow and played me with all haste
I played all her music both soft and wild
I played to her beat and gave her whatever she desired

And in my effort to give her my all
I allowed her to play so hard and so hard did I fall
A couple of strings snapped but I thought it was okay
It was her and she was going to take me home anyway

But I guess I was wrong, I was badly mistaken
For she threw me down and I hit the floor broken
My face was badly scratched and my bridge became bent
And without a word, she turned around and away she went

So here now I sit in my display case
Looking up and staring at your face
Wishing I could have still been able to play
And show you that we could make wonderful music if it was another day

But that day might never come for it did take a while
And during that time, another one made you smile
So now that I'm here, fixed and ready to play
I turn and see that you've chosen him and happily gone away

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Reminded By An Episode

I just had another one of my music nights - an evening where I just relax and look around for different music to listen to. Sometimes I look stuff up on YouTube, mostly videos of some of my favorite artists performing, or songs whose full recordings I've wanted to listen to ever since chancing upon them earlier. Other times, I scrounge up a clip or two from somewhere among my disorganized music files.

Nothing heavy nor fancy tonight. I just want to share a simple song written and sung by a man named Billy Joel. I've always loved this song but it seemed to have slipped my mind these past few years. I was reminded of this song a couple of months ago when a good friend sent me an mp3 of the King's Singers' version. They are a British a capella vocal ensemble and their rendition of this song is hauntingly and soothingly amazing. I was reminded of this song again a couple of days ago when it played in the Boston Legal episode, Son of the Defender.

And So It Goes

In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

I tried uploading the mp3 file, but for some reason, Blogger keeps denying it saying there's some sort of error. So instead I looked the song up on YouTube and found Billy Joel's version.
Apparently, I also found a recording of the King's Singers version. I'm not that familiar with the Supernatural video it plays with and don't care much for it, but still, listen to the audio and hopefully you like it as much as I do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Something Important To Shakespeare And Mr. Bean

I was thinking the other day, and I realized how important this thing we call timing is. Veteran comedians say that the secret to a successful joke is the timely delivery of the punchline. The wrong pacing of such a delivery could ruin a perfectly good joke and leave it a flop. In a sense, a good comedian is someone who knows how to use timing by making sure that his audience is ripe and ready to receive the punchline, before he lets go of it. If he does it properly, he will be rewarded with laughter and applause. If you've seen Rowan Atkinson, more popularly known as Mr. Bean, doing one of his stand-up comedy routines, or even one of his Mr. Bean slapstick episodes, you will see how much he understands this concept. The way he places his pauses before the impact of his joke comes, allows the audience to take in and recognize the joke, and helps to build up a heightened sense of anticipation. This tension created by his impeccable pacing is released into uncontrollable laughter upon his delivery of the punchline. This kind of skill results in him having a very successful career as a comedian. All of it, timing.

Timing isn't only important in comedy. The Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines timing as, "the ability to select the precise moment for doing something for optimum effect." If you think about it, that covers almost everything people do in this world. To the champion boxer, fighting in the ring and looking for a knockout to secure his victory, a well-timed punch is all that he needs. To the acrobat waiting for his swinging partner's hands to get within reach of his, timing is the thin line dividing his rise to fame and a fall to his demise. To a percussionist of a world-famous orchestra, knowing how to time his movements decides whether or not he properly performs his important role of banging together his cymbals four times in a half-hour span.

The timing of the heart's beating too, as I am sure my soon-to-be-cardiologist friend would agree, is very important. A hard hit to the chest (yes, this is in reference to the news article a couple of years ago about a 12-year old kid being hit by a line drive to the chest off a metal bat), can short-circuit the heart if the sharp impact occurs at a precise moment between heartbeats. This disrupts the rhythm of the heartbeat and can cause coma or even death.

And how about love? Imagine a person breaks up with his girlfriend, and a week later meets another girl who is perfect in all ways. He simply cannot just go and start courting this other girl. He would still need time to get over his past love, because until then, his heart is still not his to give away. And even if he foolishly tries to court this other girl, chances are, once the new girl finds out he just had a break-up, she might start thinking that she is a "rebound girl," and that would probably ruin what could have been something beautiful. The new girl came at the wrong time and it's just bad timing. And saying for example that he does wait it out a bit, maybe a couple of months, just enough to pick up the pieces of his broken heart, bad timing would find the new girl already being courted by another guy, or maybe even already in another relationship. If only the girl came at a time when the guy's heart was ready, things might have been different. I know this is simply one "out there" example of how bad timing can affect the finding of love, but it is one example among many.

Timing is indeed very important, not just in comedy, or sports, or music or the literal or figurative beating of the heart, I even dare say that timing is crucial for a person to succeed in life.

The great bard, William Shakespeare, in his play Julius Caesar, writes about such timing. In Act 4, scene 3, Brutus tries to convince his co-conspirator Cassius to march their army forward and fight Marc Anthony and Octavian's forces at a place called Philippi. In his mind, the more they wait, the more Octavian will be able to increase the number of troops, and they will miss what could be their best chance at victory.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

-Julius Caesar, Act 4, scene 3, 218-224

To ride to success on the peak of life's wave - that is timing. Once it comes, it is folly to wait.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Simple Song About Clowns

I was still in high school when I first heard this song. I think it was about 8 years ago when our theater group's managing director, a really old but very wise man, told us about this song in one of our many sharing sessions and explained to us what it meant. From then on, it had become one of my favorites.
Before, whenever I listened to this song, I would pretend to understand exactly how the singer felt. Even though my younger self had never been hurt the way she had been, I would try to vicariously feel her pain and hear her words as she tried to soothe her hurting heart.
These days, I have no need to pretend.

This song was written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1973 musical A Little Night Music. It is sung in the second act by the character Desiree after being rejected by a man whose marriage proposal she had rejected 20 years earlier. Desiree, an aging actress, realizing that she now loves the man, and believing that the he is unhappy with his current marriage, and is in need of "rescuing," proposes to him that he leave his wife and be with her once and for all. Instead of a yes that, with all her heart, she expected, she was turned down.
"To flirt with rescue when one has no intention of being saved..."

As to the title, back when the circus was a mainstream form of entertainment, whenever something in a stunt goes wrong, like an acrobat falling hundreds of feet to his death due to a misstep, the ringmaster would shout, "Send in the clowns!" Legions of clowns would then enter the big top and start playing their little slapstick jokes and their little magic tricks to distract the audience from what had just occurred, in an attempt to make them forget about the tragedy.

I would always pull this song out whenever I felt sad. I'd listen to it and somehow, it would help make me feel better, or at the very least, help make me forget. I'm pulling it out tonight.

Send in the Clowns

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can't move.
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

Just when I'd stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
Sure of my lines,
No one is there.

Don't you love farce?
My fault I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want.
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don't bother, they're here.

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer,
Losing my timing this late
In my career?
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
Well, maybe next year.

My favorite version of this song is the one sung by Glenn Close.
Here is a YouTube link if anyone wants to check it out:
Dame Judi Dench's version is also very good but she plays it with a bit more anger than I believe necessary. This song is more about about a mixed sense of self-pity and self-loathing to the point of it being almost funny. Here's her version. It gives a bit of context to the song by including some of the man's lines: