In defense of the Alex Tizon article 

*I tweeted this discreetly after a blow up on social media from various parts of the world about the controversial long read. I noted there: article, because I intend to defend the article, not the things that happened in Alex Tizon’s piece for The Atlantic about his family’s secret

People demand truth but they blow up when it’s not to their liking, failing to recognize that the work was not a lie, in fact, a brave truth. It’s naive and idealistic to demand stories to paint black and white portraits of explicitly good and bad characters and behavior. Real life is a web of intersecting good and bad, where people, customs, mindsets, and the ways of the world, are allowed to change and grow. Scrutinizing and nitpicking issues from the place of privilege where one “knows better” is self righteousness guised as righteousness. People wanna intellectual-speak instead of opening up their hearts to a writer who poured his into this. Their bond, in spite of all that was wrong in their circumstance is more genuine than how subordinates anywhere in the world get treated. Note that you can hurt and walk all over people without having to break any laws or violate any basic rights. This was a lovingly written memoir of a family that captures the ff. very crucial phenomena in the human experience:

(1) There are remnants of servitude that haunt us as revamped forms of it still exist today.

(2) There is love in dark and difficult places.

We are all Alex Tizon when we are silent, but we can also be Alex Tizon when we choose to be kinder and softer.

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transit terminal vol. 5

*I’m packing for a quick trip over the long weekend to visit my brother, so I thought of sharing bits of what life’s been like lately. It’s been busy but pretty good despite the chaos I’ve been learning more about the world and myself, alone and not

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On a short summer break 🌞
Falling asleep to CNN/BBC
Survived the first term of my senior research
🌟 & I did surprisingly well 🌟
Sleeping earlier
Rethinking unhealthy relationships
Had a blood test 💉 and my results were a-ok!
Tidying up parts of my room little by little
Finished w my study desk and shelves and dresser
Waking up to IG stories from the west
Rediscovering literature I might want to read 📚
Seeing my grandmother more often
Read thru my magazine collection
Cut out some lovely pages ✂️
Following abstract artists
Watching vlogssssssss vlogs and vlogs
Following the French elections
Sundressing 👗
Thinking abt that decently priced giant latte at a Korean dessert cafe
Research on coconut oil and apple cider vinegar
YouTube yoga few times a week
🍳 Preparing my meals 🥑
Liking handpainted prints and patterns
✍️ Religiously updating my daily planner & daily gratitude journal 📒
Crushing on young Jeremy Irons and Ralph Fiennes
📱 Waiting for my first call from my BeMyEyes app! 🤓

Eco-promise

*For my last general class which is also my last science class ever, I had to make a commitment to the environment. We were required to do one of those take a picture with a cardboard message thing, post it on social media, along with an explanation. Not a fan of that so I just kept it private on Facebook, haha then took a screenshot. To my surprise I ended up taking the project a little more seriously because this is one of the social/global issues/movements I feel more strongly about. (Thinking of making a separate post to share some of my favorite clips on the topic and another one to expound on this maybe) This was the rushed essay I typed on my phone so forgive the weird formal reflection tone and my philo professors had been talking bout Aristotle so much that day so he got squeezed into this.

Lately I’ve been realizing much of our crimes against the environment, big and small, as a group or even just as individuals, are done mostly out of bad habit. Aristotle did say that to know the good is to do the good and that’s how it is to be virtuous. It’s funny how we already know what’s good for the environment yet we still out of pure stubborn habit, continuously practice otherwise. Unlike responsibilities and obligations in school and work, correcting these bad environmental habits don’t necessarily have to mean boring scientific methods. Much of what I know about tiny concrete ways to save the environment today comes from social media actually. It’s taught me that a lot of the process has to do with small acts.

We don’t necessarily have to live in a bubble and produce 0 waste just to save the environment and reduce that size ozone layer carbon footprint. I think it’s all about continuously pursuing daily activities just with a few curves here and there in terms of our lifestyle. The way in which we go about things as normal as choosing what food to buy, what soap to use, where to throw the trash can make a great deal a difference if done in large and more regular quantities. Getting rid of bad environmental habits all boils down to daily choices.

If anything, so much of us are limited to old ways because we aren’t presented with choices or better alternatives. I’ve actually been pretty stoked about moving towards this direction. It’s a direction that lets me choose local, choose organic, choose homemade, and choose sustainable. I hope Manila becomes more and more open to these types of alternatives for the sake of everyone and everything. It’s a cycle after all.

When we choose local and organic, it becomes an act of support. There’s usually a group of people behind these, which we end up supporting, hence sustainability. We support the brilliant risk-takers that invested in the non mainstream for the bigger picture. We support indigenous tribes, we support jobs and similar environmentally aligned projects. We support an old culture and perhaps even this new one—of sustainable living.

I’m happy to have learned online that there are a lot of communities around the world with people who in their own creative and very personal ways have gone back to the land. Whatever that means. Whether it’s manually brewing locally grown coffee beans at home instead of drinking out of that plastic or paper take-out cup or going off the grid like Alexander Supertramp, living off flowers and poisonous plants, this lifestyle is open to everyone. We all use each others’ help, and so can the Earth.

Some celebrities like Jared Leto and thousands of photographers in Northern America and Europe travel on foot or bus to capture the beauty of natural parks and wildlife. I love people like Mark Ruffalo for other reasons including how he uses his influence and milks amount of celebrity to spread the word about the things he believes in. This promotes the beauty that might motivate others to maintain all these wonders or to even do as they have and see it for themselves. I’d like to see for myself. It’s a collective, beautiful effort to make these alternatives and opportunities available to everyone. I’m beginning to see it as less of an obligation to the Earth. I think there might be no better way to live than by being one with majestic city skycrapers in urban jungles and the unrivaled magic and mystery of mountains, and maybe the wolf pack howl from a safe distance.

ec

don’t mind the blurry camera, awful lighting, and the I’ve been awake for 48 hours-look haha I was rushing to finish this before Friday and it was a long two days

We ought to know where we stand… In a pretty blue green, getting real old kinda world. So heal. Make. Save. And when what’s already perfect in itself is standing right in front of you, take a pretty picture and leave it for someone else to discover. Do the good. ✌🏻

A piece of vandalism ☮

 *I’m not huge on politics but I wish I knew more and I’d like to do my own part as a citizen not only of my country but the world. It’ll be my first time to vote this May and although I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for, I do know that every person counts. This goes past elections. A government is important but no government can fix us when we refuse to fix us. With all the crazy bad natural and unnatural tragedies going on and will be going on, in here and the world, this is my piece. I also watched Bb. Pilipinas last night and contrary to popular protest, I’m actually real happy my bet won. Yay Maxine Medina, she’s lovely! 👑 In a far away munchkin land, I might join a pageant and say something along these lines… 😛🤓

Found this written in permanent marker in an alley in Singapore, ironically but fittingly a country that considers even the tiniest acts of vandalism unlawful. Still a minimal yet relevant piece of vandalism. I’ve come across a number of (legal) street art in Singapore meant to promote their culture and lineage, usually portraits of old Singapore. This came as a surprise find on a perfectly crisp white building which I had already been excited about for the usual photo op.

But this familiar quote isn’t meant to empower our indifference or sense of entitlement. Anyone could easily feel so empowered, fueled by anger towards certain systems we’re bounded by just to start a revolution of some sort. People in large numbers especially tend to get swept away by the spirit of battle, they tend to forget what they’re fighting for in the first place. And how fights can go. There is a time and a place for fights, and more importantly action doesn’t always have to be synonymous to speed typing on comment sections of social media platforms and walking hand in hand with clenched fists on the road. 👊

Uncle Ben was on to something; with great power does come responsibility. Only we are responsible for what happens to ourselves and our world. No government or god or people we project god-like qualities to can save us. Only we can save ourselves. When heroes disappoint and they have precisely because more often than not, human beings aren’t meant to be put on pedestals, much less things we cannot see. We become our own heroes. We ought to stop waiting on each other.

Whether it’s politics, education, human rights, safer streets, world hunger, or saving the environment (heck we should all save the environment🌿🌳), just stand for something. Action may just mean putting one foot on the ground and turning the other way around. Clenched fists aren’t the only way to fight for something but with open palms and outstretched arms for more. Stand for something, online and in real life by your own means. 

Not caring is not cool. In a generation where we’ve all hurt each other and taught one another that not caring is ultimately the better and undoubtedly cooler way to go, we’re coming close to functioning like robots that operate on instinct and very little of heart. 🤖 Dig deep down and we all weep a little for the things that we have to admit are also bigger than us. I have days when I convince myself it’s better not to care, that way I won’t get hurt or be left disappointed. But these are times we ought to grow up to face the reality that we live in a breaking world that wasn’t always this way. It could be another way. Let’s grow up with child-like innocence and love once again as children of the earth.👶🌎💓 It’s okay to care, I think we all do.✌☮

Say what you feel

*So this weekend Kanye West (and Wiz Khalifa) stepped foot in the South East and made a whole lot of noise. I’m no fan but I do go online every now and then and I can’t un-see the massive explosion of posts. I came across his speech. 

So if I get in trouble for saying the truth, what’s gonna be said the rest of the time? And I had to fight every day of my life when the whole world turned against me for saying out loud what everyone else felt. But that’s the job of an artist – of a true artist – not to be controlled by the finances, not to be controlled by perception, but only to be controlled by their truth – what you see, what you feel, and say what you f**king feel.

—Kanye West

I feel better knowing for a minute that there’s another solid set of individuals that still believe in the honesty of art and saying what you feel.

Coincidentally whilst in the push and pull of my own madness and hard heart searching, with my beliefs all in question, I’ve also been thinking and feeling dumb and reckless every darn time. Okay, fine not every time.

So I was told…

I wouldn’t say that. Reckless maybe? But that’s a bad word to use. You don’t get bogged down by consequences and that’s a good thing. It makes you genuine. When it comes down to it, you don’t live by the standards of another.

—my supportive friends awyeah sorry for being a pain these days

But in this whole truth-telling business (and there’s more to it than just telling your truth but living up to it, yeah he said it SAYING WHAT YOU FEEL), another part of that reality is that you would totally feel like Kanye vs. world & Taylor except you ain’t all that gold & glory. It’s a lonely place to be. You go into these things all alone, with everyone telling you no, looking at you like you’re stupid, and watching your every move, knowing you’d already fall over your two feet even before making any mistakes. Then people boooo, your inner angels start booing at you too.

It’s nice to know however that there are people who’d give this a cheer. More power to people who make an art out of being honest. I guess you can call it honest living.

Featured image: A children’s book translation of Bound 2Gether © Zak Tebbal which I think is just genius