Of all places in Indonesia, why Malang? It’s a typical pambungad that’s thrown to me by locals here when my non Javanese-sounding accent (when I speak Bahasa Indonesia) starts to reek. Continue reading “Taking chances”
There are times it takes me months before I could write a new post. Usually, what happens is that the thoughts inside my mind are so hard to mend into intelligible pieces, like pockets of gossips brewing at Finster’s fifth floor. They simmer for months or years yet none of them evolve into anything valuable. That reminds me now of why back in college I preferred to wait for my next class inside Atenews’ tiny corner at the back of the gym — or at the periodical section of the library, where I would ask the librarian for a the day’s copy of the Inquirer and nurture self-pity while studying how witty Germie’s paper write their headlines. While, on the other hand, my classmates would gallivant at the fifth floor. Some would camp inside the sound studio, where Pak Edgar could be seen tinkering with new Macbooks of students asking for bootleg FCP7. Others would be sitting on the sofa at the lounge, where often they get a tongue-lashing from Ibu Jo (or whoever the kaprodi was at the time) for polluting the base of Humanities division with noise. Who on earth loves noise? Sometimes that’s the reason why it takes me a long time to update my blog, apart from being so preoccupied with my masters and teaching, and just recently, editing. I can only imagine DJ or Luz’s reaction when I start telling excuses. One time, in the summer of 2012, I rushed into DJ to explain why my video sequence on Manila’s fortune tellers hasn’t been exported yet. Well you know what we have a box near the door where we can put our excuses, he said. Luz had a nonchalant but equally stingy response to our excuses. She would shut her ears with her hands while saying excuses, excuses. Germie, who calls Luz her favourite editor, wrote about the non-existence of writer’s block in her blog days ago. It’s either we’ve gathered enough facts or not. It’s either we have the story or not. Well then, let’s just say when I’m not blogging that would indicate an absence of thoughts. Then again, what’s my excuse to not think?
Disclaimer: I am not a psychiatrist. But for being bullied for all my life — for my flat nose, dark complexion, hideous funny Tagalog accent, pretentious English accent, soft personality, my man boobs (I was fat for 26 years!), the denuded forest that plaster my skull, inept partying skills, my choice of weird friends, career, nationality, and my seemingly gullible appearance, I have become an expert in bullying.
For half a decade of teaching at universities, I get the chance to meet countless of young people whose talents brim so much that I can imagine how far can they get later in life. One of my ambitions is that my students do something with their talents which their community might benefit.
And the question has been thrown to me once again last Sunday, January 24, 2016. Why Durian Writer? Two things: I come from Davao, a city outside the Philippine capital which is known to cultivate the best varieties of Durian in the country. Second, I am a writer (among many other things that I do).
Dear bald men,
If, at the first time you are introduced to people and they immediately notice your denuded head and make fun of it, be patient. People will judge you because your head shines and it hurts their eyes. So, as a revenge, the jokes are on you. If they make fun of your denuded head, don’t get mad. Bald people are supposed to be the clown in the crowd, even if you have an entirely different profession. But don’t fret, bald people stand out because unlike any other forms of human being, they’re the only ones who look like walking eggs. Don’t take it as an insult, because your misery means laughter to the many people who compare your head to the sun — though forgive their lack of taste. And you can’t accuse them as racist, because baldness is not a race. Never get offended when you walk on the street and all of the sudden strangers would yell at you “botak.” People don’t like angry bald people. They’re scared of them. Bald people should be as funny as a clown. So, when your mouth starts to open, make sure it is funny. Do not take life seriously. People will lose their hair if they do, and that’s what makes you funny. Be patient, people, for the jokes are on you.
Many of my friends say I’m living the life because I get to travel a lot. But the curse of being a nomad is that you lose some valuable opportunities in exchange of constantly moving from one place to another. My decision to live in Indonesia came with a price. Apart from letting go of a promising career to pursue my graduate studies here, it also meant estranged relationships and a lost opportunity to see my grandmother again (may she rest in peace).