Thursday, September 14, 2006

Speaking of Birds

Read a subject on a message posted as: The Bird on the UP Seal....
made me think about avian creatures and how, well sad mostly, seeing Jackie Chan's info-spot in Star World about how children are not supposed to play with birds...instead play with the paper (origami) version.

I flashback to my childhood when I remember stealing my elder brother's "tirador" and helping myself to a few shots at resting, even nesting, birds on the many trees that grew on my greatgrandmother's farm. Shameful to admit, but I did some terrible damage to God's smaller creatures back then; removing wings off a beetle, drowning a few ducklings, stepping on a couple of chicks, and yes, hitting several birds. If I only knew then that my own daughter would be deprived of the joy of being able to play with a live creature, I'd have stopped before foolishly plunging into the whiles of my childhood.

Remember when we used to go home from school and just outside the school gates, there would be some vendors squatting in front of some boxes selling real live chicks or small birds painted in bright colours? It cost like P5.00 back then and many of us would save our baons so we could take home a few. My brother and I even managed to care for a couple of chicks that grew to young adulthood! We kept them in a similar box (as the vendors), with the bottom fortified by pages of newspaper. A study lamp served as their "heater" for cold nights and on regular nights, they were just kept near the back of the fridge.

Now, all I can do is tell my little girl stories of how I romped around my Lola Peling's land and played with all sorts of animals. I can show her pictures of it, I can even download films and buy videos about them; but the first hand experience of being able to hold, feed, be biten by, or even inadvertently or purposely stiffling the life off one will just be left to her imagination.

On a lighter (and 'greener') note, if she were a boy, I could perhaps say, "play with your own bird na lang, anak," but imagine how many child abuse agencies would take me away?! When she'll be older (dating age and all) I could say, "play with youf BF's bird na lang, anak" but then VD and HIV are also things to consider. I guess I could say, "dress up your BF's bird na lang, anak" and hand her a pack of colorful Trojans.

Woe to the birds of our time - those which take flight and those which stand upright :-)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I was sad when Pluto was demoted from its "planet status" about a month ago, given that its size wasn't up to par.

Who decides these things? (Who even bothers about them?)

All my life I've believed on Pluto being a planet. In fact I've memorised the names of all the planets in grade school and even the correct order of distance from the sun. Pluto was kind of cool (literally and figuratively) in many ways - being the last it appeared to be the most polite, gentlemanly and well, considerate of all the planets. Para bang, "sige, mauna na kayo...lahat. Dito na lang ako sa hulihan." [imagine gray-ish pluto smiling timidly here]

Twenty years down the line, it was discovered that Pluto actually exchanges the title of being the last with Neptune, at certain points of their revolution around their respective orbit. I had my doubts then as to the veracity of this finding (baka naman lasing lang yung nag-oobserve nung day na yun) and as a result my indomitable belief in the science that is astronomy has begun to unravel.

Finally, the nail that completed its coffin is the demotion of dear old Pluto.

Since we are - and by 'we' I mean the men and women (and the gay and lesbians and the still undefined/undecided) who study these celestial bodies - making statements based on observations from a distance, isn't there quite a distinct amount of fallibility about them? Observing someone of something at an arms length still brings shortcomings, how much more so if it was a case of being light years away.

So what if it isn't big enough. It still does revolve around the sun like all the other planets do. Even it Jupiter or Saturn may have moons way bigger than Pluto, those bodies do not revolve around our sun.

Clyde Tombaugh must be stomping his feet in indignation and rage somewhere in the great beyond as he was the man who discovered the small planet in 1930. They have reclassified Pluto as a 'dwarf planet' and have even assigned to it an asteroid number, 134340.

How quickly we do away with old views. How easily we discard several generation's belief system despite still being unable to truly confirm the current standard. So like mankind to kick a planet when it's down. Maliit na nga inapi pa!

I'd like to think in a way, Filipinos in general is like the planet Pluto. Kulelat, mabagal ang usad, mapag-kumbaba sa ibang lahi, may kaliitan...yet we plod on, in our purpose - which is generally to have a better life and help loved ones attain that as well - defiant whether we be labelled as anything derogatory like the Oxford's Filipina = domestic helper. We may not be a big a population as China or India, or have a richness in tangible forms of culture like that of Egypt or Greece, yet we have conquered the four corners of our world and continue to carve a little plot of our own self no matter where we may be. We assimilate, absorb, embrace, blend into other cultures, other groups whilst keeping the best (and perhaps even the worst) of being Pinoy close by.

I do believe, we Filipinos are not just a number. I refuse to be just a statistic! So have faith and hang on to dear old Pluto who may yet to come out having the last laugh in the end.