Saturday, October 29, 2011

After LIfe

I wake up on a loft,
On cuddly soft,
lavender fragrant sheets
I get up with ease
On my steadiest knees
And what do you know, no sneeze.

There's no need to pray
For a good hair day
For who else will brother moon give way?
But a kinder sister sun,
Who knows how to have fun.

Then, as soon as I feel it,
Before I can think it
Belgian waffles I see
Golden, gleaming in syrup
Even birds go chirrup,

And what do you know
Not a minute in yearning,
My loved ones appearing
A chorus of awakenings
To their own favourite things.

Now, would you rather count fully
On a good probability,
Twenty four seven
After life, in heaven?

Or you might as well be seeing
Taxidermists making a killing
Stuffing, while whistling,
Our dearly departed,
All hollow,
With nary a soul.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Visit An Occupier

 I met Toby randomly among the hundreds of customers we had at work one day.  I was trying to convince one of our staff to recycle those industrial bubble wraps that came in one of the packages we receive everyday.  She is in charge of keeping our place neat and tidy and she knows me well enough, after seven years, not to agree with me. Otherwise, I would be freaking out if I see too many "recyclables" lying around. 

"Wow, those will make a loud pop," he said.  He was pertaining to the bubble wraps that some people end up playing with.

"Yeah, feel free to take it with you to St. James Park," I replied. I was referring to the place a couple of blocks away where Occupy Toronto has set up a few tents.

It was by coincidence that he was there to print a few copies of this article he wrote about Occupy Toronto.  I told him that I have been following the movement and was in fact at St. James Park over the weekend.

It brought out memories of my own experiences back in my home country.  I used to drive many miles after work to Ayala Avenue, coincidentally the Philippines' financial district, to join the protest against Ferdinand Marcos, the overstaying president of our country then.

We never thought that it would amount to that historic People Power that toppled a dictator with people holding onto nothing but their holy rosaries against U.S. supplied military tanks.

Indeed this world of ours is shared by both good and evil.  The danger is when we stop caring enough to fight the latter, at least for more space.  So Occupy & earn more space for the good of all!

"I go there during my spare time," Toby said. "I believe it is our duty to get involved."

 Here is what he wrote:

Occupy Toronto

By Toby Lake

Occupy Toronto grew out of a recognition around the world that there is something wrong in our society. No single person can identify a specific problem without missing the main issue. As we listen to each person, or group of people, we see a common underlying issue. People do not feel they are being heard.

As we bring all our ideas together concerning why we are here, for what we believe caused systemic problems, we work towards solving the problem of not being heard. We must continue to create a process to follow for ideas, concerns, interests, and narcissistic demands, to give each person the same opportunity to contribute. Each person must take responsibility for their contribution, not only to voice it, we must be advocates for our opinions. We need to explain more than why our opinion is relevant, important, and the impact it has on our society.

The process of creating a system is extremely important. As many of us differ as to what brings us here there we also have our own ideas about what we do, how we must act, if we should use disruptive tactics or not. If we imitate the problem we are trying to solve, we will not solve it. The process we create is what we really can focus on to show there is a beginning for new participants to engage, that there is a process for submitting their concerns and ideas, that there is a result we can achieve and a goal to accomplish, in this we facilitate properly people who want to be heard.

There is criticism concerning the purpose of Occupy Toronto and the effect we wish to have. In my personal opinion, it would be successful if it follows these three goals. It allows people to be involved, it facilitates discussion, and it makes a person feel like a part of society, and not simply as someone who occupies space. In the grand scheme of things, we are developing democracy by creating and demonstrating how it works. It takes time. No one person can decide for everyone else how soon it shows results, or what the process will be. We decide together.

Please take some time, when you have time, to visit each pavilion. We have info centres to get informed, we have a media centre, logistics, food, and medical with speakers corner soon to come. These are where our volunteers help facilitate the needs of our community. We also have a sign post, a place where signs are made and available. There is more I have not listed here, and you can find someone at the info centres to answer questions you may have.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Zero In

I call it my ground zero when reality exploded under my feet a couple of years after 9/11. You see, I had been away from home in New York when I got a call from my sister.  My mother, whom I had not seen for over ten years, died.  Soon, like dominoes, my life came tumbling after.

I left home again and moved to Canada a month after her funeral.  Luckily, I had no problem landing a job.  However, I considered it only to be a stepping stone then, so I resumed my quest for more.  I must have written over a hundred resumes, and even paid a professional career counselor to polish one, in search of that dream job.  Not only that, I took several courses to upgrade my credentials, went through endless job interviews, and even explored joining the lucrative business of health care.  I tell you, I tried everything.  Each time, a door slammed shut.

Summing it all up, it came to that proverbial falling-on-my-knees-to-pray.  Much to my chagrin, it was not a story of answered prayers and this-is-how-I-ended-up-rich like those best selling books we see around.  Instead things only got tougher. 

I became angry.  The question was how to tell someone I feared that I was mad at him.  Then, I had an idea.  I recalled how I would write letters when I wanted to tell someone things that I could not say in person.  So I began writing letters to God whom I perceived to be a great spirit lurking behind the clouds, ready to pounce on me as soon as I sinned.

It turned out to be a no holds barred account of each day of the year-how I felt and what I thought of him.  I was like that errant student who was made to write the same sentence over and over again on the blackboard after class until I got it.  I ended up with a luggage full of letters.

Finally, I began to see God up close and personal.  He, ever powerful, mighty, loving, and devoted Teacher, has a good sense of humor after all. He finally replied, "you never asked me what I wanted you to do in your life."

Indeed, it was his unique, creative solutions that made me zero in on an empty page. I decided to go to school to learn about expressive and creative writing. It was a year ago in October when Fine Looking Island People was born out of my need to express myself to my God.

Only after doing away with a lot of negatives, zeroing in on the more important things in life, that I was able to appreciate what it means to die in oneself to begin anew.  Even Steve Jobs knew that.  He said, "death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."