My Easter Five

coyote

Eight weeks have passed since my last inventory. During that time, bouts of illness slowed me down. Julian Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The much-anticipated Mueller report was released, with many redacted pages. I reviewed Us and Hotel Mumbai, and I finished parts of five books. I tried reading more, from an account of the Australian outback to A Clockwork Orange. I found them both rather challenging and couldn’t get past the first two dozen pages. In chronological order, here is my Easter reading list:

 

  1. The Last Coyote (Connelly). The fourth book in the Bosch series is as stellar as any other. Coyote takes a more personal tack, as Bosch is suspended from the force and opens his heart out to the company shrink. Away from his day job, he then discovers that he has some unfinished business and takes it upon himself to find out the mystery behind his mother’s passing. He tries to confront the shadows from the past in his quest to find answers. He searches records, crashes a party, and even heads to Florida in a bid to uncover the wall of silence. In effect, he unmasks decades of corruption, cover-ups, and missing files. For Bosch fans out there, this is like the origin story. I know that Black Echo’s the first book, where we get introduced to the Detective and the tunnels underneath LA. In order to grasp the mind of Harry, his childhood, his drive to wear the uniform, this Genesis backstory is a godsend.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

 

  1. Small Great Things. I’ve already mentioned this book in a prior post. This was my first ever Jodi Picoult read. She writes more descriptively than Connelly and, as hitherto revealed, used lesser dialogue in this work. The story is a captivating tale of injustice, racism, and family. Published in 2016, Small Great was released in a time of heated racial tension. The novel is also very well-researched, a hallmark of Picoult’s work. I decided to give Jodi a go after consuming two thirds of Connelly’s Harry Bosch book series. Far from being disappointed, I asked myself why I didn’t do so sooner.

 

Rating: 4.3/5

 

  1. The Mamba Mentality (Kobe Bryant). Basically, a picture book, we are given a unique insight into one of basketball’s greatest minds. With five championships, a flurry of MVP’s, and countless other accolades, Bryant has established himself into a hoops demigod. After twenty ground-breaking seasons in the league, Kobe unpacks his vast knowledge of the game. He takes us behind the scenes on his greatest battles, his legendary fortitude, his most fearsome opponents, and the teammates, coaches, and critics who made him strive to be the best. While not as captivating as Bosch, the coffee table book is a welcome change.

 

Rating: 4.1/5

 

  1. The Black Ice (Connelly). Initially reticent to start on another Connelly, I made up my mind after reading twenty pages of A Clockwork Orange. The latter might as well have been written in Hieroglyphics; it sure wasn’t for me. Back to Bosch, and here we have an old book written over two decades ago, yet its relevance still persists. An LA cop is murdered; rumour has it that he crossed over to the dark side. Before being silenced, the detective was working on a new designer drug, which was the new craze. Harry tries to piece together the loose ends in the case, refusing to let command hinder him from his mission. He meets the widow and she intrigue him.

 

He decides to cross the border, knowing full well that the answers were there. There he gets more value for his dollars, even going bullfighting. He is warned to trust no one. He unravels a web of deceit involving Mexican police and American companies. A twist will surprise you right at the end, and in typical Connelly fashion, it’s a grand slam! It’s funny that Bosch has to go all the way to Mexico uncover the truth. Later on, Bosch would go to Vegas, Florida, Hong Kong, the Salton Sea, to name a few. The change in scenery adds new life to the chase.

 

Rating: 4.6/5

 

pact

 

  1. The Pact (Picoult). I’ve been hearing lots of good things regarding this book, so I decided to give it a try. The title alludes to the suicide pact between Chris and Emily, the two star-crossed lovers at the heart of the novel. From the beginning, we bear witness to Emily’s demise, which one local detective believes was at the hands of Chris Harte. The book alternates between an idealist past and an unbelievable present. The Pact reminds me a bit of Romeo and Juliet, with their fate sealed. The main difference between the two is that the Hartes and the Golds are the best of friends, which makes it unsurprising that Chris and Emily are soulmates. Meanwhile, the Montagues and the Capulets are mortal enemies.

 

I liked how the main character was named Chris, paving the way for my empathy. The way it was written, the flashbacks and flash-forwards, was quite entertaining. From their childhood to adolescence, school to home, this was as much about true love as it was about true neighbours. The nagging question was: how far would you go for true love? Would you be prepared to hide the truth, to dance with the truth, all just to prove your devotion to someone? While the love story was indeed captivating, the trial of Chris Harte for allegedly murdering his girlfriend was almost as riveting.

 

Rating: 4.4/5

 

I would’ve finished more texts had it not been for the hiccups. I look forward to sharing my post-Easter inventory further down the track.

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Anatomizing Assange

julian

In the past few days, it might’ve been mentioned on the news that one Julian Assange has been arrested in the UK. You may have seen pictures of a stubborn Assange being removed from the Ecuadorian embassy, despite his protests. At the same time, footage of him posing the V sign while being driven off is just as ubiquitous in the media. To be honest, I’ve shown limited interest in what Assange and his Wikileaks group has done over the past decade. I’ve never directly accessed his site and I currently don’t have any intentions of doing so. So why the sudden interest? For starters, Assange is from Australia. Second, I do not condone the UK police’s action in this case, as it is an affront to the free press.

 

The professor

I first encountered Wikileaks during one of my classes at uni. Our professor told us that the site has leaked highly classified documents on the US war on terror. Censorship permitting, she showed footage of American soldiers murdering defenceless Afghan women. We came to know Bradley Manning, the alleged conveyor of the x files. A year later, she told me that Manning has been arrested. She likewise stated that someone has released a manifesto. Ex-President Barrack Obama handed Manning a tough sentence, showing the world that they would not take this betrayal sitting down. On the very last day of his time in office, Obama absolved Manning of all his sins. Chelsea was free to leave.

 

 

The site

A few more years later, a classmate told us that he regularly checks out Assange’s testimonials on the site. At this time, Assange has been relegated to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. There were police stationed at the door, ready to pounce as Sweden had a case pending against him. Assange changed his look over the years, from a number three hairdo to a beard to his usual medium-length do. What couldn’t change was how he had to do all his work from the embassy, as venturing out would be problematic. The Ecuadorians put up with him, but instead of repaying their trust, he continued to leak confidential files. He was putting them in an unenviable situation, a zero-sum game. I was surprised that they were able to put up with him for many years. Alas, his luck ran out.

 

‘Citizenfour’

There would be no discussion of Assange without touching on Edward Snowden. They are both visionaries, some would even call them heroes. Wikileaks strives to expose what the governments want to seal forever. They have the right intentions in their essence, offering light when there is little. However, the means by which they go about this business is not right. For instance, why would they keep changing their domain name to avoid getting shut down? Why do they have to surreptitiously steal these files? They found the perfect catch in Edward Snowden, the erstwhile NSA employee who took from the gods and revealed the pretenses hiding beneath their cloaks. He introduced us to a world of deception and keeping tabs unlike any other. Snowden has chosen the right place to hide too. Tensions between Uncle Sam and Russia are shivering cold so it is the perfect hideout if you ever needed one. It’s also the biggest country on Earth, so even though half of it receives too much snow, it’s vast enough to offset that. Who could forget the airport fiasco, where Snowden was trapped for weeks, until Russia relented? Let’s also not forget that Snowden got himself an Oscar for his trouble.

 

 

No specials

Australia has maintained that it will not give Assange any special treatment. This did not raise any eyebrows, as politicians here have nothing to gain by helping him. Lending a hand would also not sit well with their allies. While being tried for a bail charge in the UK, Assange faces potential extradition to the Land of the Free. Being handed over to the Feds means that he would likely cop it like Manning: a long jail term. However, such a scenario could take a while to occur. His lawyers in the Union Jack could cause major delays, so prolonged that the White House might have new occupants after the fact.

 

Flickering light

Whether Assange is a hero, a traitor, or an ingrate, this does not excuse the actions of the UK police. They have been stationed outside the Embassy as though Assange committed a heinous felony. Even when the Swedish dropped their charges a few years ago, the British did not blink. This is like sports when defences do not make a play on the ball: it’s foul, it’s ludicrous, it ain’t right. Instead, we see Assange giving speeches in the balcony, posting testimonials online. He gets his ‘sunshine’ from the light on his lamp. When he looks down from his window, the uniforms are there. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? In this case, from the very start, Assange has been guilty until proven innocent. The day when the police finally nabbed him in London was a sad day for investigative journalism in general. While I didn’t wish that Assange had more time, I believe that a light had flickered and died. I hope that though oppression and mass surveillance may continue, so would the tide of opposition against it.

 

baikal

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Us reviewed

us

 

Having viewed Jordan Peele’s debut, Get Out, Us didn’t only intrigue me a little. The concept of doppelganger terror seemed very novel and they had a slew of talented actors to pull it off. My friend found the horror show ‘too intense’ for him, so I invited Dave instead, who doesn’t mind a few chopped livers. This was the nearly the second week of screening, and I was alerted on the picture’s massive box office haul. Us had grossed over $70 million during its American opening weekend, the biggest intake for an original horror production. Aside from this, it held a Certified Fresh score well over 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which was above and beyond Captain Marvel’s 78 percent.

 

Riveting

This all pointed to a riveting watch and the film did not disappoint. The movie goes retro, with an 80’s opening scene complete with an old school TV and Hands across America. We are teleported to an oldie circus where young Adelaide wanders off. In a house of mirrors, she meets her splitting image. We would later learn that she refuses to communicate with her parents for weeks since this incident. They even seek help from the counsellor in an attempt to get her to open up.

 

Fast forward to the present and Adelaide is now a mother of two. She has a loving husband, caring friends, and they all head to their beach house for a well-deserved vacay. They each have their own way of chillaxing on the sea change. Her daughter Zora is on her earphones. Her son Jason runs around the house. Gabe, her spouse, tinkers with a boat. They seem like the perfect family…until trouble sets in.

 

 

The Wilsons 2.0

One night a family of four bearing an uncanny resemblance to their own, turns up in their driveway. Things turn ugly and they become their prisoners. They keep asking why? Red, Adelaide’s doppelganger, starts speaking in her husky, halting tone. We would learn that she has SD, a neurological condition that’s more prevalent than we think. Lupita, the lead actress, has been criticised and maligned for ‘demonising the illness’. In the movie, we are witness to a spurned woman, someone who hates her mirror image because she is everything she isn’t. Smart, happy, with a good, picture-perfect family, she wants what they have. She builds her own circle: a son, a daughter, a better half, but the experiment crashes before it even takes flight. Instead of a loving circle, she lives in a household of psychopaths.

 

The originals fight and claw their way into safety, the sort of battle that’s foreign to them. Throughout the film, there seems to be some emphasis placed on the doppelganger’s golden scissors. Perhaps this is the director’s euphemism of ‘cutting out the dirt’. The double does not only apply to persona, but likewise to similar experiences. For instance, the family hangs out at the exact same beach where Adelaide got lost. Jason likewise wanders near the house of mirrors, just as his mother did so many moons ago. There is also a man holding a cardboard sign with Jeremiah 11.11 written on it. That same man turns into a dying hobo by film’s end. While a chain link of people clasp hands for the aforementioned hands across America, the duplicates do so in the present.

 

us2

 

High praise

Us has been called both ‘stylish and inventive’. I must admit that Jordan Peele’s second effort was highly original and enjoyable. In particular, Lupita’s portrayal of an SD sufferer was spooky and commanded attention. Bad press notwithstanding, Red’s was one of the more indelible horror performances in recent years. The ominous music also heightened the suspense. While at times confusing, gory, and unpredictable, this uncanniness is what makes this offering a great horror flick. Us refuses to be bunched together with the norm and it shows. This was almost the second week of release and I was surprised that it wasn’t a bigger hit among Sydney audiences. Don’t be fooled though from what it was: a hugely entertaining watch that’s very much worth every moment. If you want something fresh and different, look no further.

 

Rating: 4.7/5

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Venom reviewed

curry

I know. You might be asking why am I reviewing a film that’s five months old? Why am I not assessing a picture that’s five days old? The simple answer is: I want to shake things up this time. I remember my pal using the frog emoji. Why frog? ‘No reason, just trying something different.’ When I used the same emoji with someone else, they were deeply hurt.

 

Blockbuster

Venom is one blockbuster that I should’ve seen. My friend and I were slated to catch it in Gold Class last year. Even though the subpar reviews discouraged me, my friend’s persistence ultimately forced my hand. However, I wasn’t able to see Venom until recently, when I saw it on DVD. To begin with, I inferred that Riz Ahmed would be one of the good guys, perhaps even Tom Hardy’s sidekick. Having seen his turn in Nightcrawler, I expected something similar. In this production though, he is the young, wily billionaire entrepreneur who uses dodgy methods and douses water on bad PR fires.

 

On the other hand, Hardy is Eddie Brock: the good guy who loses everything after trying to out the billionaire Drake. In many ways, this is the classic good v evil trope that we see in many action movies. Only this time, it is under the imposing Marvel banner. Without a job and spurned by his partner, Brock becomes the perfect host to Venom, the alien symbiote capable of wanton destruction. At first, Brock is reluctant to pair with his alter ego, but soon realises that he cannot outsmart Drake alone. His transformation from choir boy to anti-hero is reminiscent of Spider-Man’s own evolution.

 

 

Convoluted

Along the way, riot police, Drake’s men, and TV crews all go chasing Venom. If you think Spider-Man 3 was convoluted, then think again. Late in the movie, we learn that Venom is a nobody in his homeland, much like Brock. Gasp. Yes, as the film points out, human trials are still not safe for working. I remember a scene where Brock recognises a hobo woman in the lab. She poses as the veritable Damsel in distress, in dire need of a saviour. When he opens the door, he becomes her supper. That couldn’t have been more banally scripted.

 

I once posted here that Venom ‘is a crap movie’. That was my first impression, which the unkind reviews obviously implanted. That didn’t remove the excitement that Marvel and Spidey fans held for this film. I personally knew a few moviegoers that weren’t discouraged by the negative critical reception. They seem to reason that the critics are hit-and-miss. Not all movies with glowing reviews are sterling, just as not all critical disasters are cringeworthy. Indeed, some Facebook friends have pointed out the excellent audience score as evidence that this is worth a look.

 

 

Likes and dislikes

Let me name the things I liked, and disliked, about the movie. I liked how the film opened in Malaysia, though this was only a brief scene. There was also a Chinese store owner in San Fran and this speaks of inclusion. I liked the revolution of Brock from down and out to his eventual synergy with Venom. I liked Michelle Williams’s role and how she adds spice to the equation. Meanwhile, I disliked the action sequences. I understand that this is an action movie, but it just seems overdone. The picture focused more on car chases and epic battles to the detriment of the plot. I’ve already mentioned that the entire product was convoluted.

 

Audiences have spoken and Venom was a resounding commercial success, grossing over $850 million worldwide against a $100 million budget. However, the critics consensus states that Venom’s first standalone film desperately demands Spidey. Need I say more?

 

Rating: 2.7/5

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Binat

jordan

Last weekend, I wrote about how I was under the weather. My week-long cold saw me shutting down a whole week. I was on the road to recovery, even watching Mumbai with David last weekend. However, a little carelessness saw me missing another week. Thinking back, I can blame the ice-cold drink for the unexpected relapse. I couldn’t think of another cause, since I tiptoed around for most of the time. Interestingly, I wrote about the ‘cold war’ on this site almost two years ago. As per below, I was likewise reading a novel (Matthew Reilly) and watching Married At First Sight in the evenings. Talk about Groundhog Day.

 

Rest.

We take everything for granted when we are well that we sometimes struggle when we aren’t. We have a routine and we stick to it, but what happens when our schedule becomes wide-open? When you’re unwell, it’s best to rest. There’s no point forcing the issue, as this may only lead to further downtime. Yes, it’s frustrating but call it a drop in the bucket. In the grander scheme of things, a little respite is nothing but a blessing. In hoops terms, this is akin to the distinction between Air Jordan and Floor Jordan. We love seeing highlights of MJ’s aerial prowess, soaring through the lane like Superman. Yet when he’s unable to fly like a butterfly, we witness his complete game: fadeaways, pull-ups, helpers, court vision. He picks his spots but conserves energy.

 

Picoult

Over my downtime, I was able to discover this new author: Jodi Picoult. I’ve been on a steady diet of John Grisham and Michael Connelly, but I heard that she was just as stellar. Her novel, Small Great Things, was a fascinating read. It made me wonder why I hadn’t tried Picoult all these years. Meanwhile, Connelly’s expert balance of dialogue, description and narration is second to none. In this regard, Jodi’s prose looks different. First, she hasn’t got enough dialogue. Second, her description is (somewhat) excessive. After a few chapters though, you get acclimated to her writing. Once I did, I gleaned that hers was a real page turner. Regardless, I read online that this read is being adapted into film, starring Viola Davis and Julia Roberts. With heavy themes of racism, ethics, and family, this is an ideal introduction into Jodi’s body of work.

 

 

 

MAFS

During the evening, as mentioned, I’d watch Married at First Sight. The drama from the couples, the dinner party, and the commitment ceremony, is great entertainment. I am not surprised that it’s one of the top-rating shows. Married has a great cast of characters, splendid storylines, and a novel format. You’ve got the three relationship experts breaking down the action like play by play announcers. Far from being pinned to one location, the show goes on the road, taking these couples from the security of their family homes to the Gold Coast and beyond. As I said before, they do relationships on the reverse with the weddings and honeymoon first, followed by living together and meeting the parents. How cool is that? Those people who wouldn’t try MAFS are just killjoys.

 

‘The process’

Part of the recovery process was drinking lots of ginger. I was fortunate that there was a fair supply around. I avoided cold drinks. I drank lots of aqua. I gurgled salt water. I did not turn on the aircon. On this note, I remember Nick telling me that it would be a while before he returns to Macquarie Centre after the car park nightmare. I guess it will be some time since I switch on the aircon again. It was Nick who told me that aircons could contribute to a cold, because of the sudden change in temperature. That was exactly what occurred with me.

 

 

The day after I drank the beverage, my throat became itchy. I felt ill, so I took some antihistamines. I was glad that this subsided. I still had a stuffy nose for a few days and a cough. Yet by yesterday, I was feeling swell. Recovery, like rebuilding, is a painful process. Know this: you can’t win by yourself: you need a solid foundation and game plan to eke out some W’s.

 

Rain and gloom

The past week has been rather gloomy. Storm clouds hung about, with little sunshine in the afternoon; torrential rain at times, even thunderstorms here and there. Autumn has started and the heat looks long gone. This past fortnight, beaches around the state have been deemed treacherous, turning swimmers and surfers away. Adventurous bathers have ignored these warnings. Dangerous conditions are hitting the north just today, with a category 4 cyclone on the horizon. Having battled a cold twice in two weeks, I tell these barracudas: ‘Prevention is better than cure.’

 

cylcone

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Hotel Mumbai reviewed

Taj-hotel-mumbai-india

 

This would be one of the rare instances where I would post more than once on a given week. Since I wasn’t able to blog last week, I am making up for the lost opportunity. Just yesterday afternoon Dave and I trooped to the cinemas to catch Hotel Mumbai. I was supposed to see Captain Marvel with Nick on Tuesday but had to take a rain check due to the cold. Although I only caught snippets of the trailer, the premise of Mumbai looked intriguing. That it was based on real events also upped its appeal.

 

Plot in brief

Dev Patel returns after notable stints in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Lion (2017). Frankly, he’s been typecast as ‘the Indian guy’. Incidentally, I saw all three movies with David. The film tells the events of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. We get to know various entities, from the terrorists themselves to the staff at the fabled Taj Hotel, from the visitors of the place to the psyche of an entire city. We see the Hotel transformed from a jewel to the site of a siege that lasts eight hours. A city is in the grip of extremists, waiting for help that would never seem to arrive. Meanwhile, staff at the posh venue try to calm down their clients. Even when help seems out of hand, they remain cool and help as best they can. Outside is uncertain; they only have each other in here.

 

 

Realism

What struck me about Mumbai was the realism. You could hear the chatter, the cries, the drama, the volley of gunfire. While there is little actual gore, there’s no shortage of blood and injuries. More violence indeed is implied than foregrounded. The chases among captor and hostage, the layers of the terrorists themselves…. Critics have even labelled as this realism as ‘exploitation’. There is a unique cast of characters in this unfolding tragedy, from the overbearing Russian, Vassili (Jason Isaacs), all the way to Arjun (Patel), the staffer who couldn’t afford a pair of shoes. Isaacs, of Lucius Malfoy fame, delivers a gritty performance as the fearless outsider.Meanwhile, Arjun wasn’t supposed to work on the fateful day, but convinced Oberoi, his boss, that he had to, for his pregnant wife. Arjun’s bravery is highlighted throughout the picture, and his presence really made a huge difference during the struggle.

 

Meanwhile, the terrorists are in a different league. After destroying the train station, they fan out to the streets and even target policemen. From the start, they are downright detestable. They have orders from above to wreak havoc on the city. As the denizens flee to the Taj, they do likewise, eat pizza, and barge onto unsuspecting guests. The magic of cinema is in drawing out your senses. You feel for the victims and hate their assailants more and more after every casualty. You likewise became impatient as the arrival of the special forces from Delhi appeared more unlikely by each passing hour. Hotel Mumbai was like a melting pot of these emotions.

 

Raw, powerful, and good

The movie is very raw and powerful, not just because of the extremists, but also the players involved. I’ve seen my share of movies this year and I had to single out this one for its gripping tale of truth. Mumbai was presented as a city of hopers and believers, of Good Samaritans, as the locus of the brave. Hotel Mumbai was not only moving; the movie was a nexus between Old World and New World, between authority and defiance, science and faith. There were many moments when the language and religion barrier was too stiff, even among the protagonists themselves. I recall one scene during the siege where a Western guest singled out Arjun because of his turban. His response to this seemed saintly. However, the movie inspired a measure of predictability. You kind of knew that good will win in the end. My chum called it a good movie. I would say so, too. Bonus points for being a real-life story, for portraying it the right way with the precise mix of heroes and villains. Hard hitting and effective, Hotel Mumbai paints the canvas with heavy measures of veracity.

 

Rating: 3.55/5

 

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‘Kuya’

El-Nido-Philippines

Hindi ako nakapag-post nung isang linggo. Nagsimula akong makibaka sa sipon at kinailangang i-shutdown yung buong linggo. Buti na lang at di lumala: sore throat lang, stuffy nose, at kaunting sipon. Ipapamahagi ko ngayon ang karanasan nang ako’y nasa Year 2. Noong araw, madalas kaming mag bakasyon sa Tiya namin. Malayo ang biyahe noon, mga apat na oras. Bus pa ang sakayan naming patungo sa kanya. Naalala ko na ginagawa pa lang ang kalye kaya lubak-lubak ang daan. Isang beses sa bus, may matandang ale na umupo sa unahan namin. ‘Marhay ini para pasil an pagluwas’; ewan ko kung bat naalala ko yan.

 

Ninang

Makaraan ang ilang beses, naging malapit ako sa Tiya, na isa sa mga ninang ko. Siya ang nagmamasid sa bukid doon, may mga baka, kalabaw, aso, pusa, baboy atbp. Ang bahay nila’y nakatayo ng 20 taon. Katabi lang ng lupa nila ang dagat. Sariwa ang pagkain sa boondocks, simpleng pamumuhay. Imbes na manok, may isda; ang mga itlog ay galing mismo sa mga manok sa bakuran. Kahit na ilang oras lang ang bukid sa sibilisasyon, naway ito’y ibang planeta. Tila tumigil ang ikot ng mundo, pakiramdam ko biglang bumagal ang takbo ng buhay ko. Walang cable doon, walang cartoons, hindi walking distance ang sari-sari store, bihira ang junk food at uso pa noon ang telegrama.

 

Nakilala ko doon ang 2 pinsan ko, ang mga tao niya na kabilang sina Tiyong David at Elys, at kahit simple lang eh mukhang masaya naman sila. Naalala ko rin ang mga beses na nagalit ang Ninang. Panay kasi ang order ko ng fried chicken, at na-stress pa more. Isang beses, pumunta kami ng All Soul’s Day. Naalala ko pa yung mga kandila sa semeteryo. Inamin ng ninang na hindi niya masyadong naabutan ang nanay niya; maliit pa siya ng ito’s pumanaw. Noong nasa Year 2 din ako, may tinanim akong ampalaya sa paaralan namin. Bago ako umalis, unti-unting nabuhay yung tanim. Sinabi ko kay Tiya na baka mamatay yung tanim ko. Huwag kang mag-alala, sabi niya, may magdidilig ng halaman mo doon. Nakatulong ang reassurance niya at hindi ko na inisip yun. Pagbalik ko nasilayan ko na patay na ang halaman. So much for auntie’s confidence.

 

 

Kuya

Nakikilala ko din si Kuya. Di ko na matandaan ang ngalan niya kasi ang tagal na. Isa siya sa mga kapitbahay ni Ninang. Mukhang matino naman. Naalala ko ilang beses sinamahan niya ako sa beach. Napag usapan naming ang mga aso. Tinanong ako kung sinamahan kong maglangoy ang mga aso namin. Sabi ko di ko alam kung marunong lumangoy. Sabi niya lahat ng aso marunong lumangoy kailangan lang dalhin sa dagat. Nalaman ko later on na hindi siya 100% tama. Not all dogs can swim. Isang beses dinala niya yung niece niya na halos ay kasing edad ko.

 

Isang araw tumungo kami sa isang ‘isla’. Naalala ko may Nakita kaming jellyfish. Sabi ko pwede ba nating iuwi yan? Ah, hindi matetepok ngaya yan; sa dagat lang yan mabubuhay. May Nakita din akong baka sa isla. Tanong ko, bakit may baka dito? Saan ba galing yan? Ah, marahil ay nakatakas yan sa banua. Nabanggit ko din yung somersault. Marunong daw siyang mag-somersault dati, pero wala ng praktis. Mukha namang mabuting ehemplo si kuya. Sandali lang kaming nagkakilala, but he made a lasting impression. Makalipas ang isang dekada, natanong ko si ninang kung saan na si kuya. May pamilya na, sabi niya. Apat na ata yung anak.

 

bournelegacy

 

Bagong Daan

Noong huling punta ko kay ninang, semento na yung daan. Wala ng mga bus at grabe makataga yung mga tricycle driver. Dahil maayos na yung kalye, mas madali na yung biyahe. Hindi na aabot ng 4 oras partungo kay Tiya. Pagpunta ko doon, kasama ng tiyo ko yung kaibigan niya. Pamangkin niya ang tiyo ko pero nakasanayan na namin siyang tawagin na Auntie, at hindi lola. Nabalitaan ko dito na lumisan na yung kumpare ni Tiyo. Kung may aral na mapupulot sa kwento ko, huwag po tayong matakot sa simpleng buhay. Kahit lugmok ang daan, kahit walang junk food, cable o iPhone, walang presyo ang tunay na kaligayahan.

 

halong bay

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