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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Happy to Meet Again My Poet-Friend Eric Tinsay Valles

I have been very lucky and honored to have met some real geniuses among my contemporaries - people who have far more intellectual superiority than I have - and yet are also very humble and unassuming.
I am quite humbled that some of them are my friends here in Facebook and that they read what I write and react to it sometimes - because there are many things I could not see or comprehend that they could articulate with startling clarity.
Naturally, most of them are engineers since that was what I took in college, but as I grew older, I've met some who are from the fields of medicine, law and this guy, whom I've always respected very much - who chose to invest his talent in poetry.
Like many UP freshmen, I got lost in the maze and the academic rigors of that school. UP, especially Diliman, is not for the weak-hearted, certainly not for the academically feeble.
Nurturing and caring for their students is NOT in the vocabulary of my teachers then - and I hope until now. The academically challenged will just naturally drown while the rest like me, crawl very very slowly until we f****ing graduate.
So with that backdrop, Eric was one of the people who helped me survive the school. We were both avid Top 40 music followers and I guess that was the glue that made us become friends.
He has an impeccable academic background and certainly set the bar for me as to how smart Ateneans really are.
He loved literature then and with his life work now - I could see that he has really chosen poetry as his work.
He is also a teacher like me but he teaches in a more prestigious school - you cannot get more prestigious than the revered NUS High School of Mathematics and Science.
I guess like many smart Filipinos who knew that the Philippines just could not accommodate their talent (my peers in electrical engineering, molecular biology and biotechnology, genetics, physics) they have had to live expatriate lives because the country has nothing to offer them talent-wise - so the First World countries have become the beneficiaries of their talent.
He is now an active member of Singapore's literature community and he has two poetry books which have been published by Ethos, one of the bitchier publishers here in Singapore - as my sister said, they will not publish you - if you aren't any good!
I am writing this for my friends and parent-friends here who think that making a living as a person of words - a writer, a poet - is not feasible.
Yes, it is feasible. It may not make you a millionaire, but at least, it will make you do what you're supposed to do in this world.
At least Singapore allows talent like Eric's to prosper and has given him the opportunity to truly practice his art.

My Favorite Hunk of the Week: Leo Consul

I was watching Kim Chiu's new video 'Okay Na Ako' and her partner in the video is this goodlooking hunk, whose name I discover later on is Leo Consul - a Filipino based in Indonesia.

He's quite cute and he has a great body!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

RIP Azzedine Alaia - You Will Be Missed

One of the fashion world's greats and true masters, Azzedine Alaia passed away today, which is sad, because the way fashion is evolving today, it doesn't allow visionary and creative people like him to get a headstart.

As fashion becomes more disposable and with many pseudo-celebrities becoming the muses of the industry, future fashion visionaries and mavericks should just find a way to transplant themselves outside the industry and work at their pace - and not be consumed by the stressful calendar today's fashion world demands.

It's too bad he didn't design for men - it would've been great to buy one or two pieces from his ready-to-wear collection. His work is so classic and well-tailored, I think you could wear it for decades and not look out of style!

Azzedine was truly loved by his peers and clients. The fashion world is normally very bitchy and very catty but if you read his tributes from industry capitalists, to his designer peers and models and his clients, you can see the love shine through.

That's pretty rare to find among celebrity designers.

RIP Azzedine Alaia.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Enjoying Joyriding around Singapore's MRT LRT System

I haven't really taken to Singapore's MRT and LRT system as I have that of HK, BKK or KL maybe because our trips here are pretty short so we'd just take the taxi (or use Grab) - since the island is pretty small anyways.
However, since my cards weren't working, I had no choice but to take the MRT to the venue of Belinda Carlisle's concert and voila - I found out that it's much much cheaper (of course!) to take the MRT and it's not difficult to get around.
It would take twice the time but at around 1/4th the price. Plus, you can see street fashion - and there were a lot of young people dressed up these days!

To Actually Make A Living As A Poet

I met two gentlemen from Myanmar during this trip, one was a draft artist for an architectural firm, the other one was the poet, Han Lynn.
I didn't even know before that there were poets from Myanmar (Burma if you still didn't know), but to actually meet one was in itself a good point of conversation.
I did not ask about the Rohingyas though lest I be given a lecture on Burmese history but I did ask about Aung Sang Suu Kyi.
Han actually works as a translator of international poetry and his English is pretty good.
He autographed his poetry book and he wrote in Burmese, and it was very cute. He's currently based now in South Africa where he is a poet-in-residence in one of the universities there.
To actually make your living as a poet.
Tell that to your Mama!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Reading Choices for this Long Weekend - Who Do You Pick?

The Ultra-Modern and Swanky Terminal 4 of Changi Airport

While our leaders and the opposition are busy throwing brickbats at each other, Singapore has quietly built a swanky and ultra-modern airport terminal - Terminal 4, which has taken international traveling to newer heights.
I have read about the press releases on this new terminal before I left and I feel lucky to have seen it while it's still spanking brand new.
So how different is it?

Well, for starters, I did not encounter an immigration officer.
Since I entered Singapore in this terminal, they already took my biometrics, so when I left, I just had to give that information, plus my passport and boarding pass, and voila, no more long queues!
Second, there is this plethora of chairs, each one with their own phone charger and USB port!
I remember how pathetic the situation was in NAIA, when groups of passengers have to squeeze themselves into these tiny charging kiosks, just to put juice on their phones.
And the poor souls either have to stand, sit on the floor, and keep a watchful eye lest they lose their phones!
You can also take a shuteye if you want since I found some really comfy chairs which can accommodate my size and heft!
I normally cannot lie down on airport chairs since they're pretty uncomfortable and cold, but the ones in this terminal can easily put me to sleep, if I just have an extra shawl or blanket to cover myself.
Finally, I was most impressed by how the airport architects and interior designers merged high art with day-to-day airport functionality.
All those interesting art installations and especially the amazing Peranakan architecture inspired video wall certainly brings bring beautiful art right down to the traveling masses.

I almost died today. By electrocution.

I almost died today. By electrocution.
Imagine that, me being charred to ganda kong eto.....nakuryente lang ang katapusan.
Anyhow, my guardian angel or angels were apparently hovering over me as I plugged the voltage regulator of the computer, which suddenly exploded and the spark was so loud.

I think my fingers were just millimeters away from the spark.
What happened was the plug was separated from its wire! Looks like a China-made voltage regulator! (Picture shown below).
I shudder to think what would've happened if I did connect with the socket!
Anyhow, this talk about death and dying comes at the heels of our talk last night with some friends over some of my health issues.
I admit I have a cavalier attitude towards death. I have a lived a very exciting and wonderful life and if God takes me today, I wouldn't really mind.
The men in the Fabe family (our lineage) all died young as well, so there is always that thought hovering at the back of my head, now that I am approaching the age when Papa died. (He died when he was 49. His younger brother, Uncle Ven, died at 36. Their two 'older' brothers died during World War II at 10 and 9 due to pneumonia.)
So dying young for the menfolk in my lineage is not unusual.
I guess it also comes at the heels of the sudden death of Isabel Granada at only 41, due to brain aneurysm.
That could also happen to me with all my health issues.
Men dying suddenly in their 40s and 50s are so commonplace nowadays nobody gets shocked anymore.
I don't know. I do try to be as healthy as I could. I try to eat as healthy as I could and exercise as much as I could.
I try to ward of stress as best as I could - and I think - in Isabel's case - she had some stressful things hovering over her - which she does not talk about.
I never talk about what stresses me. My problems can as imposing as Mount Everest but I don't show any emotion to anyone to show how stressed I am already about them.
I just keep everything quiet.
How else could I have survived my high school years and college if I were such a cry baby!!
So now that I am much older, I still keep most of my problems close to my chest - and just show a cheerful face to everyone - when in reality - I wish I were dead.
I am just very happy I am teaching right now and my students have certainly given me a lifeline to finding more fulfillment in my existence.
I guess it was not my time to die today.
Right after that incident, I put "be mindful what you eat" an "eat healthier" in my journal.
Maybe that should ward off a potential future heart attack for me - which any guy now in his 40s or 50s has to worry about.

How Do You Train A Neophyte Debate Team?

I have been privileged as a young student to have had excellent coaches like Madam Vidal (Cheve Canlobo Vidal), Sir Reynaldo Detosil and our Economics teacher in high school (her name slips my mind now), because they have helped me and the school's team win in citywide, regional and national competitions.
Now,the tables have turned and it's my turn to coach our school's neophyte debate team for the Harvard Model Congress Asia competition in HK this January.
So I'm a bit freaked out right now.
I am training almost the same team that competed in the Model UN last October and I have seen how more confident in speaking the students have become after they joined that competition.
My background in debate is only limited to what was taught to us in high school so I decided to get these books last night which I feel could help the kids.
I even added The Economist just so it can help the kids form their own arguments and see how analysts combine research and their opinions to form an argument.
Any other tips which you can recommend?