Here we go again

My last post was about myself talking about how lucky I was and how I’m supposed to be in Melbourne right now drinking obscene amounts of flat whites, watching gigs of obscure bands and also studying for an important, potentially life-changing postgraduate degree woah. But I got a bit of a problem with my visa, so a few weeks before I was supposed to fly out, I learned that I had to be screened for tuberculosis because the doctors at the medical panel found something funny in my lungs. Australians are understandably horrified by tuberculosis, so I had to be subjected to a test that’s about two months long – to find out whether or not I have TB or it’s just a bunch of weird non-TB stuff in my lung. Regardless, I had to miss the first day of school, and right now I’m just hoping I get cleared and will have the chance to still study abroad. Hopefully next year.

Shut up, Anne.
Shut up, Anne.

Fortunately, the initial results of the sputum test turned out negative, but I still have to wait til August to be really, really, really cleared. I am currently drowning in a pool of existential uncertainty but this is somewhat familiar territory anyway so bring it on, motherfathers. Loljk help me Papa Jesus.

Surprise!

I’ve always wanted to take graduate studies abroad, so two years ago, I started sending out applications to various universities and scholarships. It’s not always fun coming up with lengthy essays detailing how unique and deserving I am (lol) to get a grant, and satisfying the long list of requirements was very challenging to say the least. I’m poor, so there’s no way I can go to universities without a scholarship. That’s why when I got accepted to universities I wanted but got rejected by three scholarships, it hurt a great deal. It’s like getting the grandslam of self-doubt and disappointments. It’s also quite humbling.

So I tried again, this time for an Australian scholarship. I made it to the interview phase, and a month later found out I got in, but as a reserve candidate. I was in scholarship limbo and it was frustrating, because I really wanted the scholarship but I was unsure if I could make it. At that point I just decided to wait for the universe to do its job. The waiting game was a bit torturous, so when I found out a while ago that I made it and will be leaving this June (and that I need to basically sort my life out in two months), I was shocked and stressed out. In a nice way.

*five-second koala dance*

So this post, aside from being an obvious humblebrag, is basically a huge thanks to people who have helped me from Day 1. Thanks Ma’am Chua, thanks Neeks for my recommendation letters; thank you Jess and Claire (see you soon!!!) for your scholarship tips; and thank you to all my close friends who’ve been very patient sounding boards. Thank you to everyone who told me I’d get it even if in my head I was saying “How do you know?” and most of all, thank you to the Australian taxpayers who are basically paying for my education. Long live mighty Australia, tbh.

I’ll be leaving in two months so if I suddenly get clingier than usual and ask you to have coffee or dinner, see a movie or play Resistance please know that: it’s not a date and I’m not a multi-level marketer trying to recruit you to sell products. Hopefully I get to see all of you friends before I leave.

Lastly, if you’re planning on getting a scholarship abroad, it isn’t always easy. I got rejected thrice but decided to try it out one more time. Try and try and try; cry a little, then do it again. It will work. 😉

Millennial pains, simple pleasures and a metaphorical lump of coal: My 2014 in review

In the future, when I get really, really old, barring Alzheimer’s or dementia, I’d look back at one particular year, equal parts tumultuous and agonizing, but nonetheless full of insights that will make me nod meaningfully while I stare blankly across a porch, gingerly clutching my urine bag. Gross.

2014 was, for me, an ECG chart, a roller coaster, a mercury in a thermometer, or a dick. It went up and down, up and down, and it made me want to scream at God while I cry and dramatically pull weed from the ground. 2014 was life’s harsh way of telling me that I’m already an adult, and that I needed to experience more adult things aside from watching porn if I were to grow up into a proper man.

Pondering some serious shit
Pondering some serious shit

Starting the year with a heartbreak, because life
In February this year, just weeks after I posted on Facebook a post that read ‘February: no doubt the best month of the year,’ my father died from prostate cancer. It sounded like something straight out of a tv series that involved angsty millennials and divine irony. It was the ultimate buzzkill to end all buzzkills, because February is also my birth month. And Facebook’s algorithm had the gall to tell me ‘It’s been a great year; thanks for being a part of it.’ Fuck you, Mark Zuckerberg. Continue reading “Millennial pains, simple pleasures and a metaphorical lump of coal: My 2014 in review”

Chocolate ice cream and Jesus Christ

My ice cream was already melting when my mother started her talk about how our holiday vacation of sorts in Cebu is reminiscent of that time in 2002, when I spent summer at my uncle’s house in Laguna. My uncle is a church minister, which meant I had to attend services every Sunday during that summer.

chocolate ice cream by Kanko
chocolate ice cream by Kanko

I thought, no, mother, this isn’t like that vacation, because now I can choose not to go to church even if someone older than me wants me to. She wants me to join them in their service tomorrow morning, and I said no. I told her I do not want.

My mother asked me why I stopped going to church eight years ago. She told me about the importance of putting God above everything else and all those things one would normally hear from bus and television evangelists.

I asked myself, oh my god, is this it? Is this the moment when I can finally talk to my mother about everything I hate about organized religion? Is it finally time to tell her that even though I believe in the idea of a god, I’m more comfortable being a skeptical agnostic than a blind follower of some faith, that I find it hard to find the meaning behind rituals and mythologies? Is it time to tell her that it’s perfectly okay to be an ethical humanist who cares more about reality than a potentially nonexistent afterlife? Is it finally time to tell my mother that heaven and hell are places on earth, and that certain people are predisposed to pin their hope on religion while others like me are not?

I looked at my ice cream bowl and pondered. The ice cream was already melting, and I thought finishing a bowlful of rocky road was easier than engaging faith with logic.

Movies and suicidal teens: Why Cinemalaya’s #Y makes me feel uneasy

Back in college, I was once forced to defend the moral acceptability of suicide in a debate. In my effort to win for our team, I said there’s an unwarranted social stigma against people who are just exercising a legitimate solution to their problems, and on the basic level, killing yourself doesn’t impinge on the rights of other people anyway, so really, it shouldn’t be an issue at all. I argued that there’s a need a demystify the very personal decision of taking one’s life, that there shouldn’t be a problem in ending it because it’s yours anyway, like a personal property no one should have an opinion about or power over. If you have a car and your neighbor blows it up, you can sue him, because it’s not his. But if you blow up your own car without any collateral damage, you’re perfectly fine. It’s the same with life, if you can accept the crude analogy.

In some countries like Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Colombia, and some states in the United States (Oregon, Washington, Vermont, New Mexico), assisted suicide- the one where a physician usually administers a lethal drug to the person- is legal. I’m alright with the idea of killing yourself, but if and only if you’re terminally ill. If it’s about suicide of an otherwise healthy individual who seems resigned to his/her sad life, I think the government should err on the side of prudence and focus on the value of promoting life and positivity instead of telling its citizens it’s okay to be defeatist.

I was never a fan of killing one’s self, and I still am. At that time, though, I had to win a debate round, so I tried arguing why it’s okay, even if you’re healthy. But it’s not, okay? Killing yourself when you’re not terminally ill is not cool.

Two years later, still in college, I had to write a paper on suicide reporting, and it was then that I learned more about suicide. Contrary to popular belief, suicide isn’t caused by a singular event, say, losing a bet in a casino or having your humiliating sex tape leaked into social media. Suicide is caused by a confluence of factors: toxic environment, unhealthy family dynamics, bad friends, lack of support systems and a host of other things that only need a trigger to blow up. That is why the Society of Professional Journalists reminds reporters not to attribute a person’s suicide to a singular event, because psychology shows that motivations behind killing one’s self are way deeper and more complex that what we usually think. What separates the suicidal people from the normal ones is that the normal ones are capable of overcoming problems because they are free from the lethal combination of external factors that drive them to their breaking point. Suicidal people have it differently, which is why I was slightly disturbed after seeing #Y, one of the entries in this year’s Cinemalaya (Philippine independent Film Festival).

#y

See the movie’s trailer here.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Continue reading “Movies and suicidal teens: Why Cinemalaya’s #Y makes me feel uneasy”

Woke up to this horrible news today

The Hollywood Reporter reports that American Idol alumni Michael Johns, 35, died from a blood clot from his ankle. Reports are still hazy on the details, but multiple sources have already confirmed his death.

Michael joined AI Season 7, and he was one of the best voices in the history of the competition, as far as my opinion is concerned. Here’s his audition video:

Continue reading “Woke up to this horrible news today”

On protagonists with secret pains but are totally cool about it

If you’ve just seen Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and raved about how fantastic it was, I want you to know that you’re not alone and there is no shame in your enthusiastic appreciation. It’s so good, no?

guardians-of-the-galaxy

Continue reading “On protagonists with secret pains but are totally cool about it”