World War Two Memories

dear mang boy,
nakakita ako ng maraming mga bandila sa harap ng mga opisina at kabahayan ngayong umaga. di ko alam nung una kung bakit nang maalala kong bigla ang petsa – ika pito ng disyembre. pearl harbor commemoration.
bilang pag-gunita sa araw na ito, lumabas ako kanina sa bahay at sumigaw ng pagkalakas-lakas: “mga kababayan, magsilikas kayo – nariyan na ang mga hapon!”
unkyel batjay

David Domagas, Notre Dame of Manila Batch 83

kaklase ko si david domagas simula pa nung kindergarten. sabay kaming lumaki at nagkaisip – marami kaming mga masasayang ala-ala dahil tunay siyang masayahin na tao.


di kami nagkita ng matagal pagtapos ng high school. sa katunayan, dito na kami ulit nagkita sa amerika at nung nagkita kami, mayroon na kaming mga kanya-kanyang hanapbuhay. isa siya sa mga sumalubong sa amin nung kami’y bagong dating. inasikaso niya kami ng husto, tinulungan na makapagsimula sa california. pero pagtapos ng mga unang pagkikita nung 2005, bigla na lang siyang nawala. na miss ko nga siya at parating tinatanong sa mga iba naming kamag-aral.

nung isang linggo, bigla na lang siyang nagparamdam. kinamusta niya ako at nag-ayang makipagkita ulit. natuwa nga ako dahil matagal ko nga siyang gustong makausap.

nabalitaan ko kaninang umaga na pumanaw na ang aking kamag-aral na si david domagas. nalungkot ako ng husto. nanghihinayang na hindi ko pinursige na makita siya man lang. sayang. sayang. tangina, sayang talaga.

the prize we sought is won

oh captain my captain, by walt whitman – i first learned the poem in 2nd grade english class, 43 years or so ago. my english teacher, miss patao, asked me to join the school declamation contest after she heard me recite a few verses. i won gold.

i am now 50 years old and to this day, i can recite every line.

well, almost every line 🙂

I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you

last night’s #SNL opening was epic in so many levels. first, it was a tribute to #LeonardCohen who passed away this week and what a way to calm a fearful nation with a song that’s ambiguous but hopeful. finally, i have to say, #KateMcKinnon has the fucking chops.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

here’s my take 🙂

the orange faced pussy grabber won… now what?

so the orange faced, pussy grabber won and gave the biggest FUCK YOU to the entire establishment and the whole world.

i wish him and the country well. i hope he brings in the smartest people he can find. i hope he governs decently. i hope the lives of the people in the rust belt who voted for him gets better. i hope he moves to the middle. i hope all the racism was just campaign rhetoric.


on the positive side, for the next 4 years, rock and roll and comedy is going to be subversive again. plus, recreational pot is going to be legal in california 🙂

i’m going to wear my brown asian helmet and give out a few observations:

  1. seems like folks in middle america wanted to reassert themselves after eight years of obama. what does it mean for us minorities? hopefully nothing dangerous or life threatening. i know after this cycle is over, we’ll come out stronger and in bigger numbers.
  2. there’s a large group of people in america who are hurting who have spoken out quite powerfully. these are the people who see life moving on without them as technology and automation make them redundant. they feel alienated in their own country as they see large groups of hungrier immigrants who don’t look like them at all, speak with strange accents who are willing to work more for less pay.

election day 2016

this is the first time i am voting as an american and i am so excited. i am 50 years old, an immigrant, just given US citizenship over a year ago. i come from a country that’s had its share of political bad luck. the philippines has shot its collective foot so many times by electing the worst leaders so i know what could happen when people are careless, subscribe to personality cults or don’t give a shit.

most americans don’t know how lucky they are to be born in the united states – a country that is generous, kind and values freedom and individuality even as it strives to be a perfect union. a country that is open to people who can be successful if they work hard. i chose to be an american and i don’t take this day for granted.

i’ve always been pragmatic and practical

i’ve always been pragmatic and practical in my life choices. with my politics, i’ve even been more pragmatic. i think i know where it comes from. in the philippines, where i was born, a lot of people still haven’t given up on the idea of complete devotion to their feudal lords. we follow our leaders no matter what and believe in what they say even if we know they lie. i didn’t buy in. i am a rebel at heart and have never subscribed to blind loyalty

in the presidential election, i will be extra pragmatic. i know what happens to a country when its people don’t think things through.

#Election2016 #Elections2016

how does it feel to be an immigrant in the USA?

i feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to be an american. i wasn’t born into it: i chose to be one. it’s different, i guess, when you go out of your way to be something. there is intent and there is purpose.

this is probably the main reason why i take the election seriously.

broken thoughts on election 2016

the first time i voted in an election was in 1986. cory aquino, ninoy’s widow, was running against ferdinand marcos. millions of people were on the streets during the cory rallies, all dressed in yellow, all flasing the “L” hand sign. L for Laban. fight. and fight we did. it eventually took a four day revolution to kick marcos out of the country. but that’s another story for another day. in the meantime, here i am… a veteran of countless elections. countless coups. dying a million times of heartache for a country i used to be a citizen of and still love. now, a citizen of a country that seems in a fight with itself. confused and in a lot of pain. i am voting for the first time, at age 50. i am still thrilled.

why aren’t asian americans mentioned in the campaign as much?

i keep hearing clinton and trump campaigning to minorities a lot lately. but i don’t hear them or their surrogates mentioning asian-americans. it’s always muslims, latinos, african americans and mexicans. why is that?

is it because our demographic doesn’t matter? that we’ve integrated so successfully that we’re almost invisible? that we’re so stoic and not as vocal as the other minorities that politicians don’t give a shit?

Voting in the US elections for the first time at age 50

i became a US citizen on the 11th of august, 2015. that december, i turned 50 years old. this coming november, I will be voting in a US election, for the first time, at 50 years old. it thrills me no end.

it’ll be exciting. the presidential elections is historic in so many ways and here i am, an immigrant, an asian-american, born in the philippines, a radical rabble-rouser, subversive, troublemaker, loud, incendiary, provocateur, rebel. i can’t wait to vote.