The Mirror (Early Draft)  

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This is an excerpt from a series of experimental novels that I've been working on. It's barely a rough draft, but I'm thinking of including parts of it in the book that I'm trying to write. Tiny steps people, tiny steps.

The old antique mirror propped up along the wooden southern wall of my room has been in our family for as long as anyone can remember. Worn down, dull and tired, it has stood witness to much of our family's history.


The young boy stood in front of the mirror, with his mother struggling to flatten his wild boy hair. "Mommy!" yelled the boy in utter annoyance. "I will not have that tone in this house young man. You better be in your best behavior when the guests arrive, your grandfather has very important friends you know. You don't want to embarrass the Congressman." she replied, just as she managed to hold the last bit of hair down with pomade. In his miniscule barong tagalog, the young boy now looks like the spitting image of his father, without the thick-framed, dark-rimmed glasses.

It was like any other night in 1975. Martial law forestalled any resurgence of democracy, and the incumbent leader was at the dawn of what history deemed as the last few years of his regime. Despite the political turmoil enveloping Manila during those times, a family manages to celebrate a happy occasion.

I know it's not much but it's a start. Ideas have to come from somewhere, right?

Taking the First Few Steps  

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Inspiration is taking over me like an overly extended orgasm. I am a writer not by profession, but by choice.

- Anonymous
I am living a great fantasy. These past few days, I have been constantly overpowered by an immense feeling of inspiration and nostalgia. Recent events in Philippine history have spurred on in me a seemingly insatiable desire to take part in history's unfolding. I have decided that I want to write a book that will immortalize the life of a great man, my grandfather, Marciano Lim.

I was barely a year old when Papa died. According to the stories that Mom and Dad told me when I was little, Papa was a war hero, whose exploits had led to him being elected into a position in the House of Representatives, serving as a Congressman in the 2nd District of Samar from 1953 to 1957. I intend to gather as much information as I can about Papa's legacy, even travel to Samar if I have to, in the hope of finding any historical reference documenting the period in which Papa held office.

It is such a wonderful feeling to receive support from the family. While a few of our relatives have already expressed their approval, for which I am truly grateful, I also wish to get the nod from our family's patriarchs and matriarchs - Papa's surviving sons and daughters, who happen to be my aunt's and uncle's.

I don't think I've ever been more motivated about anything like this before. I'm sure there's likely to be a psychologist's definition for what I have been feeling lately, but I could honestly care less. I do not aim to garner awards and recognition for literary excellence. All I want for now is to one day see college students doing a report on the life and times of Congressman Marciano Lim, using my book as reference. I know this arduous task will be slow and lengthy, but I think it will be worth all the effort.

Here's to hoping that I'm not setting myself (and my family) up for another disappointment.

Dead Lock: The Taking of Quirino Grandstand  

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I was in the middle of writing my next Nobel Prize winner when news about a hostage-taking situation erupted from the telly.

Former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza held a bus load of Hong Kong tourists captive for nearly 12 hours before the hostage drama reached its bloody end.

Senior Inspector Mendoza was killed apparently by sniper fire when the situation seemed to have reached its inevitable climax. The situation started when Mendoza boarded the tour bus and commandeered the vehicle towards Quirino Grandstand. The former cop demanded that he be reinstated, and he used the hostage situation as a means to attract attention. He wanted to clear his name after allegations of drug-related crimes and extortion were filed against him in 2008. He was subsequently discharged from service and was forbidden from seeking employment in law enforcement.

Details of the hostage situation can be found all over the web, and I don't feel like recounting the terrible sequences of events that led to Mendoza's demise. I would rather talk about the future. What will this international nightmare mean for the country? As early as now, mere hours after the hostage drama ended, the Hong Kong government has already issued a Black Travel Alert warning residents against flying to the Philippines. This is more than an international embarrassment.

What will this mean for the Philippine National Police? If anything, the situation highlighted our law enforcement agency's inadequacy at handling high-risk situations such as a hostage-taking. We can make all the jokes that we want about our SWAT teams being more like SQUAT teams, but the reality of it is daunting. There will be other Rolando Mendoza's out there. How can we be sure that our tax money goes to the enhancement and improvement of our local law enforcement system?

How does the PNP feel about one of their own causing one of the most tragic international incidents the country has ever seen in years?

How will President Noynoy Aquino respond to this threat to his competency? People have begun pointing fingers and having one of those accusing fingers pointed at the country's leader cannot be helped. Noynoy will have to take part of the blame from the PNP. He may not have been the person directly responsible for our law enforcement agency's incompetency, but he is the nation's leader and should respond as such. Then there's also the issue of smoothing out internal relations with the Hong Kong government. How he will continue to receive the people's respect, one can only speculate. One thing is certain, President Aquino will never hear the end of this from his detractors.

Finally, how will the typical Juan dela Cruz feel? Watching various news coverages from ABS-CBN, GMA7 and even international news agencies like CNN, I saw that there were more than a few onlookers at the scene. They had absolutely no business being there, they were just watching the drama unfold. When the police rushed in after Senior Inspector Mendoza was shot, the onlookers rushed in too. It was embarrassing as a nation to see a hostage situation look like a rock band concert, with all the spectators clamoring to get a front row seat to the spectacle.

Forgive me for saying this, but with the cops' incompetency and the utter lack of crowd control, I was seriously half-expecting the bus the blow up. I blame NCIS and Criminal Minds for the barrage of dark subliminal expectations in my head.

Conspiracy theorists will talk about this for years.

One versus an entire battalion. Did we really get the bad guy here?

Paint My Car Black  

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I don't usually write about silly Facebook games, but this one really caught my fancy. I know everybody's either icing Mafia bosses, planting potatoes on their Farm, or building Restaurants in their City, but not me. I've played some of these games and I either get bored and tired of it after some time, or something important yet uninteresting comes up (such as work, LOL) that I have to let go of the mouse and stop playing.

This time however, I find myself enthralled by this game called Car Town. The gameplay is pretty much like any other Facebook game, in the sense that you have to perform tasks and interact with other players in order to collect coins and obtain the necessary experience points to level up. What I personally like about he game is the ability to create my very own custom car designs. I'm at level 20 now and I still look forward to finishing that paint job so I can get the coins I need to purchase that sleek Viper or Camaro.

I know I'll get tired of the game too eventually, but I will always have these unique car designs to remember it by. For now however, let's race!

My original designs, all made with MS Paint: (clockwise) DX Army 2005 Ford Mustang GT, Red Horse Muziklaban 2007 Chevrolet Silverado, San Miguel Beermen 2007 Cadillac Escalade, Bumblebee Prime 1967 Volkswagen Classic Beetle

Back on the Wagon  

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Get rid of the iPod and uninstall iTunes, I'm working for Zune baby!

Well technically, I'd be working for another reputable call center in the Philippines, but we would be supporting Zune. After all these months of me being dangerously addicted to unemployment, I am finally back on the wagon again.

So I spent the entire day yesterday acing the new hire exams and interviews at one of the more tenured call centers in the country. While I am happy with the results of my application, I know I've not even won half the battle. There are tons of paperwork to be filled out and requirements to be secured, and on top of that I also have to undergo the obligatory medical examination. These days I've been more nervous about taking medical exams than possibly taking a board exam. I'm afraid I might be pregnant. Hehe.

Seriously though, I worry that my deteriorating health condition could once again get in the way of me receiving a comparatively meager amount of income... although now that I've read it out loud it doesn't seem like much of a dilemna. Huh.

Health conditions notwithstanding, I also have to secure clearances from the NBI and from my previous employers. Luckily, I had asked for a certificate of employment from them right before I jumped ship. I also need to go back to school for a copy of my grades. Really, I don't understand why these companies need them, I aced the exams and interviews didn't I?

The worst part of it is that they expect me to have all the paper work ready by Monday. I would've gone out today to process some of the requirements, but I really don't feel so good. Blasted toothache kept me up all night, and i didn't think there was much to accomplish this late in the afternoon. So tomorrow's gonna be a really - and I mean REALLY - busy day for the Binchee.

Wish me luck, will you? And oh, I don't really have an iPod. I am secretly thinking about buying one, though. The Zune is just simply way out of my budget.

Writing Blanks  

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I don't know about you guys, but I've always thought of writing as a manifestation of life. It's how writers like yours truly convey thoughts on what used to be a simple blank sheet of paper. In time, pen strokes became key strokes and ink blots became pixels, but the basic concept remained the same. One could think of writing as a way of turning moments into mementos, and worlds into words.

These days however, I find myself writing blanks. Inspiration is a commodity that all writers thrive on. Without inspiration, the writer would might as well put his pen down for good. The problem is inspiration springs forth from life experiences, and there simply hasn't been anything in my life worth writing about recently.

So until I find enough reason to pursue this elusive dream, I will temporarily put my brush behind my ear, put the palette down on the ground, and just watch the sunset for a little while longer.

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Stories from the Simian Crease by Binchee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.
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