Saccharine Irony

This site is a compilation of fluid thoughts, a collection of poetry, random glimpses of humor and tragedy, spontaneous notions of an extremely sensitive mind.

A Plea from My Heart to Yours October 2, 2009

Filed under: Events,Mortality stuff,Weather — Aimee @ 3:58 am
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heartbroken-clouds-rain-image

There has been nothing worth writing these days. I haven’t written in this blog for weeks. Caught up in the haste of trying to make a living and trying to live a life, I had no time left for creative pursuits. But now I have a reason to write and perhaps even to make a simple plea.

After typhoon Ketsana pummeled Manila, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, and Rizal and left thousands of families homeless, penniless, starving, and lost, it’s difficult putting up an indifferent countenance, pretending as if nothing is wrong with this country.  And now, typhoon Parma is already heading toward the same ravaged cities and municipalities, just when many of the homes are still submerged in murky flood waters. It’s disheartening, yes, but with the number of Filipinos helping each other out, it’s easy to be hopeful despite all the loss.

If you are reading this post, and if you are a kababayan, please don’t forget to offer your prayers, and maybe a bit of the contents of your wallet too. You can donate in cash or in kind– bottled water, powdered milk, noodles, dried beans, rice, and even extra clothes.  I have heard that SM is willing to ship grocery donations to Manila, so if you are in the provinces, you can shop for groceries and ask for SM to transport your donated goods. Aboitiz and Negros Navigation offices are also willing to accept donations.

If you are somewhere near Manila and its neighboring cities, and you have some time to kill, don’t hesitate to volunteer at relief centers and do what little you can to help. No, we don’t need to do great things, we are only asked to do small things with great love.

And if you have some extra cash to spare, please feel free to make cash donations and pledges. If you can put off buying that pair of shoes for another payday and give the money as a donation, may you be blessed a thousandfold. The collective sum can be used to feed more people should this recent typhoon intensify and should relief goods begin to run out. And if there is anything left, the cash donations will be used for the rehabilitation of villages and the reconstruction of homes and buildings ravaged by the catastrophe.

The environment needs your help, too. Accordingly, clogged waterways and garbage-ridden river ways have contributed to the heavy flooding and may very well be the reason why some of the villages in Pasig and Rizal have remained submerged in water, more than six days after last Saturday’s typhoon. If you have the time, do some research about proper waste segregation, garbage disposal, and environment conservation. It is never too late to start our awareness on the environment. The time is NOW.

Lastly, please don’t forget to pray. Pray even during odd times, and ask that the people who suffer be given enough strength to endure everything — loss of lives, loss of loves, loss of living. Go to Church and light a candle for those who are hungry, cold, disoriented, and those who have started to give up. If you are a practising Catholic, please pray the rosary for the whole month of October.  And to the rest who are free spirits, ask your God, whoever you conceive him to be, to heal this land and its people.

We can always help. 🙂

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China, How Could you Break my Heart so Bad? May 16, 2008

Filed under: Events,Mortality stuff — Aimee @ 3:10 am
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This photo from Reuters tore my heart into a gazillion tiny splinters. I never knew China could pain my soul so bad.

If you look closely you will see a pair of shod feet peeping under a huge amount of rubble – the sad and horrifying aftermath of the earthquake that left approximately 50,000 dead in China’s Sichuan province alone. These are a young student’s feet. An entire middle school collapsed when the quake hit the hilly areas of Sichuan, burying nearly 900 of unwary students, who for all we know had actually been doodling notes on paper or sharing dreams with their classmates. At least 50 were confirmed dead, and others declared missing. Another children’s school buried more than 150 students, later confirmed dead, while more than twenty cannot be accounted for. The students who were buried dead in this school had reportedly been taking a nap when the quake hit. As I write this, my hands are shaking and tears threaten to blur the screen anytime.

The earthquake was so devastating that even huge chemical plants were reduced to gray rubbish. A road was blocked by mountainous debris, and as it was impossible for rescue workers to get through they had to resort to explosives to clear the way. Parents, sisters, brothers, were seen weeping in front of schools, searching for life signs amidst the heap of ruins. Doors were utilized as makeshift stretchers in the hope of speeding up the rescue procedures and in saving as many lives as possible. Mickey mouse backpacks and water bottles were all that was left, and a collective grief that was too inconsolable for words. Countless bodies were lined inside morgues covered in white linen, little feet peeping through the cloths, or stubby fingers stained with dried blood. Parents could only kneel and weep, for there was nothing else left to do.

Look closer above, and you will find a tiny butterfly captured fluttering near the plastic bottle and the pastel colored shoes. I can only hope it tells us something. Something that resembles hope and faith and better days that lie ahead, in spite of the monstrosity of past events. There won’t be happy days for years to come, as far as the parents of these children are concerned. There won’t be joyful birthdays, homework nights, sports practice, and graduation days. There won’t be long kisses goodnight.

For all of the beauty and greatness that is China, little did I know this nation could actually break my heart so bad.

 

Lucky, lucky Worms January 25, 2008

Filed under: Mortality stuff,Strange Men — Aimee @ 5:34 am
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v9m7u9-brad.jpg 20080123ledger_ag8888393611.jpg Yeah, this is kind of old news, but there are days when a girl just has too much on her plate that even the deaths of two heartthrobs cannot afford her to make an early reflection on such unexpected tragedies. Again, I was sacrificing sleeping hours for writing, and exploring the sunny world outside when lethargy strikes. Anyway.

Ten days ago, on the 15th of January, Brad Renfro died in his sleep. His Hollywood star sort of waned over the years, but he had such a brilliant career in his youth. He was unforgettable in The Client (1994), and I remember watching a few of his movies in the mid nineties (Sleepers, The Cure, and Tom and Huck) with only as much as a perfunctory interest in his acting prowess, because I was to busy swooning over his lovely brown eyes. Anyone will excuse me for doing so, I was a dreamy adolescent back then, and Brad Renfro was one of the few swoon worthy icons of his time. Then, as most disturbed young actors are wont to do, he grew drug dependent and his movies have become few and far between. Up until his death more than a week ago, my closet still had a few magazine cutouts of his boyish gorgeousness, an outdated remembrance of my silly-shrieking high school years.

Then Heath the sensual Ledger died seven days later, again in slumber. This guy had jawbones that’s to die for, and a burning stare that makes you want to strip down to your underwear and soak in an ice cold bathtub. Brokeback Mountain established his acting skills. He was always excellent in period films. Then, all of a sudden he was reported not to have woken up one gripping afternoon. Sleeping pills overdose, perhaps.

The price actors had to pay for all the glory and red-carpet attention. When people are blown-up to such larger than life proportions, it’s quite hard to believe that they can fade away just like that, and then we are reminded again of the flimsiness of mortal existence.

Such youth, such beauty ought not to be wasted inside rotting mounds of earth, I should say. But it just might as well, for all the grandeur and eminence and possession that one life can hold. Brad and Heath have had their share of the best, so everything is not really wasted. Dying in your twenties however is not a thing worth celebrating, when there are people in their fifties who are just starting on the rosiest time of their lives.

Such a huge regret, whenever those lucky earthworms get their fair share at a most ill-gotten time.

 

Cryonics – Death as an option November 16, 2007

Filed under: Mortality stuff — Aimee @ 1:34 pm

This is creepy news, but in the western world there are people who do not bury their dead, but preserve them in chemicals within minutes from the onset of death, so that they can resuscitate them in the future, when nanotechnology and molecular biology are already possible. Or simply put, when science finally allows us to grow back body parts we have lost through disease, or death. This process/scientific breakthrough/futuristic fiction stuff of rising from the dead is called cryonics.

But is cryonics really a viable scientific breakthrough? Can death (clinical, legal, brain, information-theoretic) really be reversed? According to the people at Alcor Life Extension Foundation, death is actually a process, not an event. Members of this foundation or cryonicists (people who are strong advocates of cryonics, or the low temperature preservation of humans and other animals that can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine until resuscitation may be possible in the future) actually allow clinically dead bodies of their loved ones to be shipped to the Life Extension facility for cryopreservation, wherein the whole body or parts of the body specifically the brain are preserved by cooling it in liquid nitrogen, or vitrification, and treated with cryoprotectants to prevent freezing.

Creepy. creepy. creepy.

If death is actually a process, then when does a person actually die? Advocates of cryonics argue that when a physician declares a patient to be dead, the patient is actually not yet dead, but that the brain has just ran out of oxygen. Which then translates to the premise that a “dead” brain can still be resuscitated through timely and proper intervention, and thus be preserved, until such time that a reversal technology is widely possible.

So is this argument just short of calling our present doctors murderers or advocates of euthanasia? Are there really people who wish to be revived at a later time (no one knows when), knowing that the world they once lived in will not be the same decades or centuries after? Is death just a disease, like cancer or diabetes and one day can be cured permanently? Does cryonics really translate to immortality, or does it merely seek to cure one human body one disease at a time and that eventually, no amount of resuscitation or cell regeneration can obstruct the human body’s death?

Meanwhile, the present day tells us another story. People die of cancer or heart disease everyday. People smoke and drink to excesses everyday, people crave for the fast life, for fast food, for an unhealthy existence. Our waters have become more contaminated, our air have become impure and rarefied. When there are people who deliberately want to kill themselves, then will cryonics be a lost case in the end? If at this point, our earth is slowly deteriorating, where shall these future immortals tread on? And do we really want to live perpetually, to be resurrected a hundred times over? For all we know, cryonics may just be another hype of our times, a scientifically structured ambition to be gods of a lesser heaven.

But then again, it may as well be the future order of things. Science has never failed to astound us, after all. If Hitler were alive today, he’d be above rejoicing.

 

I’m heartbroken because November 14, 2007

Filed under: Mortality stuff — Aimee @ 5:58 am

Lola Cuning finally left. Just a day after we were kidding around by her sickbed. Jimmy, the vermin, did not even drop by with the roses. And I can’t even see her for the last time because I’m away for work. I’m just consoled by the fact that she’s now with Papa, and all her siblings. May the angels give her wings, and may the stars lead her home.

And I hope she’d tell Papa I said hello.

 

Tragic Comedy

Filed under: Mortality stuff — Aimee @ 1:48 am

-This account may seem heartrending, but read on. It’s a perfect example of how Pinoys always make a joke out of an otherwise sore situation. Or maybe, my family is just one demented bunch.-

Last weekend, my family went to visit a very ailing Lola Cuning, bedridden from the complications of diabetes. Her feeble condition has made her unable to utter coherent sentences or to even make out our faces. When she woke up from her sleep, and realizing that we, her apos were already inside her house, she called my mother’s name, and promptly, my sister and I followed her into the bedroom. Lola was a heartbreaking sight to behold. Her body had shrunk to almost half her normal size. She had always been fond of taking trips to the hairdressers, but now her tresses looked as flimsy as paper and cropped too short like a little boy’s. Keeping the authority of a grade-school teacher even after her retirement many years ago, she was a steely character all her life, and always had very loud opinions on everything. But there was nothing loud about her that afternoon. She could not even speak a simple hello.

Much as she hated scenes, mother started to weep like a child. Seeing her aunt swathed in diapers and shrunken like a raisin, perhaps, tore at her insides. And the fact that the old woman was twisting around the bed and staring at walls did not help at all. Whether she was in pain, or that she wanted to say something but was powerless to do so, her discomfort was palpable. Mother wept and wept, talking to her like a child, while Lola tried to stare at her with bulging, gray eyes, and then closing them again, as if in agony or lament.

I was never much for scenes too, but my eyes soon began to water when the sick woman also failed to recognize me. How I hated it when she kept glaring at me for a full three seconds, as if her very eyes wanted to grow tongues, only to close them in complete resignation, perchance telling herself the effort was to no use. My sister, the spineless one, stayed outside the bedroom, not even wanting to smell the antiseptics, occupying herself with the cats and the old wall pictures.

Mother stopped crying eventually, and after a while she went out to talk with my other titas. Two cousins came, including Ton-ton, the favorite apo. For some reason, five cousins including my spineless sister and myself, found ourselves together around Lola’s deathbed. As we all were  trying to make light of the situation, bantering with one another and trying to talk about anything except our grandmother’s impending death, Lola Cuning suddenly made an audible sound. This prompted Ton-ton, who slept beside her on her sickbed every night, to make a joke on the situation.

“Who’s going to bet with me that if I mention Jimmy’s name, Lola Cuning will open her eyes?” he addressed all of us suddenly.

Jimmy was the only boyfriend Lola ever had, at least as far as we all know. They have one lovechild, Ton-ton’s father. I am not certain who left who but they had never been a married couple. I think it was Jimmy who left Lola Cuning when she was already with child.

True enough, the favorite apo executed his dare.

Lola, Jimmy is here. Shall we open the door for him? He has some red roses too, Jimmy. Uuuuuyyy.”

Startlingly, the ailing grandma opened her eyes, raised her hand as if to say hush, and moved her head sideward as if to say no. She was also suppressing a smile, and if we just imagined it, I am in doubt.

Our group roared with laughter. She knew we were just joking, and in her labored-breathing condition, she gamely played along.

La, do you want some lipstick?” I playfully suggested. “I know you love red lipstick.”

“If she could speak, she’d tell you to shut up.” My spineless sister replied. Then imitating our grandmother’s curt voice, she said, “You animal, I didn’t ask for your suggestion right?”

The group doubled over with amusement. Then addressing my sister I said, “Well, if she could speak, she’d tell you how much you’ve gained weight since the last time.”

And faking Lola’s brusque, straightforward manner of speech, I said. “Hoy bruha, how did you become so fat all of a sudden? What ever happened to you? Dios mio! Have you been left too long in the kitchen?”

Everybody laughed. My sister laughed too, but stared at me with dagger eyes.

Suddenly, Lola Cuning raised both of her hands to caress the favorite apo’s face. It was an emotional, tender moment, but it lasted all of five seconds. My sister, apparently in need of vendetta, abruptly cut the drama.

Hoy Ton-ton, don’t think that she’s trying to do drama with you. If she could speak, she would have told you to please have your hair cut, because it’s beginning to resemble a thick weed bush!!!”

And then continuing in a doting grandma’s mushy tone, “My dear apo, please, cut you hair na, ha? It’s so thick na. You’re gwapo pa naman. Sayang.”

We all could have died laughing.