Sunday, January 30, 2005

Diets and Stuff

OK so my high school reunion looms in the horizon and that is somewhere in the vicinity of July 2005 - about six months away from today. In the past eleven years of living in the UAE, I have ballooned to at whooping 75 kilos from my original 50 kilos in my college days. (Oh dear) So now, what I ate and drank in the past 11 years to have put me in this current state of well-roundedness, I must eliminate within this six-months time frame. (How the hell am I going to do that?!)

The solution diet and exercise. I have begun along with my sister-in-law the abridged Atkins diet and have started going back to the gym again. The objective being that when I see my schoolmates again, I would not be within the category of "OMG, she totally let herself go!"

So after kicking off the week with eating meat and sightly meaty sustenance, I have lost about 2.5 kilos bringing me down to about 72.5 as of this post. My target is at least to go down to 65 which is 10 kilos off my current weight and about 15 kilos more than my original svelt figure.

As I did my early morning sit-ups today, I wonder why go through all this pain and suffering? Just so people who I haven't seen in the past 17 years can judge me whether I got fat or behaved myself in the kitchen? The is a slightly disturbing thing in this mad rush to look ones best for other people. Why the heck and why indeed?

Despite my adherence to feminism and spite for the status quo, I still continue to fall victim of media and society. Although I have come to accept myself as a woman who is fat and has to wear XL and sometimes XXL sized clothes, I feel a pang of guilt for having gone this much bigger when I used to be wearing Ms.

And the sad fact is, I am not alone in this crisis. Thousands of women like, from all walks of life, culture, religion, social strata undergo the same feeling everyday. Why do you think gyms are such lucrative business? And those diet schemes off the Internet that sell like pancakes? Because no matter how educated we have become, we are still trapped by what our current society dictates - that only super model like women and barbie doll look alikes get to live life to the fullest.

So as i weighed myself in the scale this morning, I sent a silent prayer to the God of Slimming and Well-Being: May I see a lower number or get me a new weighing scale! please?!?!
Been listening to South Border's stylised version of an old ballad, "Usahay" and at first i thought it sounded weird that something so old and sort of 'standard' had suddenly taken on a new twist to it. As listening continued, I began to have second thoughts. The lyrics are the same but the sound, which at first I thought was over-acting, slowly sounded pleasant. It grows on you and you find your self singing it in the shower, while making coffee, humming the new tune! To those who are unfamiliar with it, the lyrics in Cebuano (Sugbuhanon) goes like this: Note Tagalog and English transaltions follows.

Usahay (Cebuano)

Usahay, nagadamgo ako
Nga ikaw ug ako nagkahigugma-ay.
Nganong, damguhon ko ikaw
Damguhon sa kanunay
Sa akong kamingaw?

Usahay, nagamahay ako
Nganong nabuhi pa nianing kalibutan.
Nganong giti-awti-awan
Ang gugma ko kanimo
Kanimo Day?

Usahay (Tagalog)

Paminsanminsan napapaniginipan ko
Na ikaw at ako'y nagkaibigan
Bakit kaya kita madalas mapanaginipan
Sa tuwing ako'y nag-iisa (nalulungkot)?

Paminsanminsan, nagsisisi ako
Kung bakit pa ako nabuhay dito sa mundo
Bakit mo naman pinaglaruan lang
Ang pag-ibig ko sa iyo Inday?

Usahay (English)

I sometimes dream
that you and I had fallen in love
Why do I often dream of you
In the midst of my isolated longing?

Sometimes I regret the fact
That I was even born in this world
For why did you only make fun of
my love for you, dear lady?

This is the only song I know that is:

1. short - two stanzas long
2. ended in a question mark
3. there are only four sentences to this song. two statements and two questions but the entire ethos behind it is the sadness the singer feels about the way the object of his/her affection reacted to his/her revelation.

So sad, so common in young hearts and even in those matured and love weary. Oh well, better to have loved and lost that never to have loved at all.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Road Test

Here I am still a failure from procuring a driver's license. I just finished my second road test today and got a big "NO, not today!" result from my two nemesi, the traffic police officer - male and female - who like hawks watched my every move, waiting for that one chance that I will make a mistake.

I feel like a big fat loser today. Friends have been encouraging but still, the knowledge deep down that I could have done better is still my very own. And I know I should have...and yet...

I'll have to do better the next time around.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

New Year Resolutions

Each year at the end, I sit a while and assess how my year had passed. I go over how good I have been to my family, friends as well as colleagues at work and even total strangers. I also review the misdeeds I've made - trying to rationalize each one. Finally I open my list of "to do/to fulfill" and check if I've done most of them.

This had been something my mom had taught us as kids. To set goals and try to achieve them. You can do so consciously, by setting targets or simply just write down the things you want and find out at the end of the year if you're any closer to your dreams.

Last year I noted three major things and two out of the three came about. No bad eh?! This year, my list has gone up to five. Two major things and three small things that I'd like to accomplish.

In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we forget the things we truly want. When we re-visit the list again after a year, it helps us give focus into our lives and reaffirm what we want to be and where we want to be.

It is not really a matter of keeping score. After all, you are up against no one but yourself. A simple note like losing 10 pounds or reading two new novels before the year ends are do-able enough. And yet it is so easy to forget about them when life hits us with so many woes and business. The fact that you've written it down makes you committed - in the least - to make it a reality.

You can put major stuff but be realistic, after all you only have one year to fulfill them so instead of putting down "become a millionaire" which is next to impossible unless you won the lottery or something, put down "Save $100 a month" and do it. At the end of the year, you may not be a millionaire but you're twelve hundred bucks richer.

It's never to late to begin anything and there is always time to finish things you've begun. Make a difference in your life this 2005.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Rounding Up the Old and Sounding in the New

Living far from the Philippines, one tends to find friends good company during occassions like Christmas and New year, times when you usually spend with your relatives and being Filipinos, you usually spend it with several hundreds of friends and relatives spanning a few days or weeks!

So it was a different new year for us this time. We celebrated with family members on December 30th because everyone else is going back to Abu Dhabi and working. Of course, we weren't able to usher in the new year because technically, it wasn't new year's eve.

On the 31st of December, we went to buy our 13 round fruits to signify bounty. Had this been Manila, it would have required a fortune to purchase one round fruit of 13 varieties. Some friends used to but seven to mean 'lucky 7' because buying all 13 will drastically diminish their cash resources. And you've got to have money when the new year strikes!

So Pinoys would fill their pockets with money. Green money is preferrable as the exchange rate is just unbelievable between the dollar and the peso. It is currently pegged at 56 pesos to a dollar (US) so imagine if you've got hundreds of the green kind from Uncle Sam. Being without money as the new year approches signifies that you will want for money the entire year.

This goes the same for the basic spices of life. Filipinos make sure that the cupboards have enough salt, sugar, rice and food stuff to ensure that you will not lack for anyhting. It is also good to wear polka dotted or striped clothing because these means you'll have lots of money in the coming year.

The religious in us, start the new year hearing mass and afterwards partake of the Noche Buena. It is always good practice - and if you can truyl afford it - to fill your table with foods representing the various commonly edible (to the Filipino palate) produce. So in addition to the 13 fruits of bounty, you must have dishes made of fish, fowl, pork and beef - rounded, if possible, rich in sauces preferrably.

As the New Year arrives, Filipinos open their windows and doors to welcome the coming of the year and to say goodbye to the old one. This is usually done by lighting up firecrackers and banging on pots and pans or simply creating a ruckus by jumping up and down screaming "Happy New Year" and smiling so that you will enjoy happiness all year round.

There will be toasts using the native tuba or the beloved Filipino brew. Some more cultured would prepare a bubbly or wine to toast the coming of the new year.

Despite being another reason to party, the new year celebrations, Pinoy-style is also a chance to re-affirm good plans for the coming year, bridge gaps between severed friends and relations, and also to be thankful for the blessings of the past year.

In the midst of all the round stuff and the polka dots, behind the flashy fireworks and after all the noise to scare evil spirits away lives in the heart of every Filipino to yearning for a better life - not only for himself but for his fellowmen. There - in the heart of each kababayan - cries of pleading arise for a better leadership for our country so that we too can be truly a new dragon in Asia and show the world that we can make a difference.

In the quieter receptions in these parts of the desert, there is the longing to spend these precious times with family. How I wish the Noche Buena we have prepared can be share with poorer relations who would have enjoyed the fare more than us. And from the desert, a silent prayer is sent to all the loved ones who cannot be with us - in the hope that they are truly happy as the new year dawns upon us.