Saturday, June 4, 2022

Understanding: A Tale of Compassion For The Hardworking

 There was once a family of three: a husband, a wife, and their only daughter. Because both parents were busy pursuing their respective careers, they contracted a meal catering service to serve them home-cooked meals delivered to their home every day.

This was a great setup for a while and the meals were always delivered promptly almost all the except for some days once or twice a year when the meal catering company was doing regular maintenance or when unforeseen circumstances happened, but one day, a new meal catering company entered the scene. The new company was granted exclusive franchise over the meal catering business effectively putting the old company out of business.

Fortunately, the new company promised lower prices but better quality ingredients, more nutritious meals, and more importantly, 24-hour customer service via social media channels; something that the old company had ignored completely.

Without hesitation, the family quickly made the transfer to the new service – and indeed, the new company delivered on all their promises… BUT…

There was a little bit of a problem. At first it only happened once or twice a month, but the company often failed to deliver all their meals during the weekend either on a Saturday or Sunday. Of course, there was always prior notice several days before. Apparently, because they were providing better services, they needed to do routine maintenance “works” for quality control. Since they were taking over the facilities of the previous company, it was only natural. The old company had neglected to upgrade their tools and facilities for so long that they had become dilapidated and even obsolete with age.

Over time, the meal delivery service completely stopped delivering every Saturday – but of course, their customer service representatives were always online to inform the family that it was because of some scheduled maintenance “works” – which was connected to their food supplier from the international community. Everything was proceeding as it should. After all, this is to be expected with better quality of service.

The family had no right to complain. Otherwise, they would only be displaying their ignorance when they had been informed every single time about the scheduled maintenance “works.” They were only one of many paying customers. They had absolutely no idea of how much work the company’s employees had to go through in order to prepare high quality meals and deliver them promptly every day to several different customers all over the city. A little bit of understanding was in order – or they could just go and prepare their own meals. The choice was theirs all along.

Don’t you think?


Saturday, May 7, 2022

A Mother’s Love - by Cynia Mirasol as written by Cymark Ferdinand Mirasol

Things weren’t easy when my husband and I were first starting out as a young married couple. We were in our mid-twenties when we had our 2 year-old daughter, Lovelyn and we lived together with my in-laws. At some point, we decided that it was time to move out and become independent. I was already a teacher back then and my husband had just passed the bar. Therefore, we rented out a cheap subleased apartment near Asilo de Molo for about 250 php monthly. The place was modest in size and had a shared bathroom with the other tenants but it was clean. Also, since we were both working, while my parents could take care of her on the weekends, we needed a steady babysitter for our daughter. We hired a young girl, about 18 years old for this task. We shouldered her college expenses at the University of San Agustin apart from paying her for watching over Lovelyn. All-in-all, I felt like we were doing just fine.

Of course, as the law of the averages go, not everything always goes right. It happened innocently enough. The babysitter, Dahlia started working for us at around May, or the summer before the opening of classes in June.
For some reason, our dear Lovelyn had developed a urinary tract infection. It took some time, but eventually, she recovered. This was when I suspected that something was amiss. Also, at some point, she had become quite clingy. Whenever we had to leave for work, she was always crying and begging us not to go. It broke my heart to see her this way, but it was necessary.
With that said, I dismissed it as just a simple childish temper tantrum. There was also one time when she had a giant lump on her forehead. Dahlia said she tripped over while playing. I asked Lovelyn and she confirmed this story. I began to suspect a lot more at this point because I noticed that my daughter simply did not like her babysitter – but of course, this much was still normal, at least in my opinion.
When semestral break came along, she asked for a leave to come home to her parents and of course, we consented. In any case, my parents could fill in for her during the 5-day leave that she asked for. This was when our landlady and our sublessor came up to me and asked to have a small talk about Dahlia.
This was when I learned the fateful truth: my daughter had been the victim of physical abuse. They had personally witnessed that Dahlia pinched Lovelyn’s cheeks whenever she thought my daughter was being naughty, She slapped her, she slammed her on the bed, she stole the money we left to buy Lovelyn’s snacks, and whenever we were away, she’d try on my clothes and bags and if Lovelyn ever made any protest, she would immediately hit my daughter. Oh she was a shrewd one. She made sure that there were no visible lumps and bumps except for that one time and she threatened Lovelyn that she would kill her if she ever told us about what was happening. I was flabbergasted. Why was I hearing about all of this just now? I was screaming and crying with tears of rage upon hearing all this.
When Dahlia came back from her 5-day leave, I asked her in my sweetest, most saccharine voice to come along with me to have a little chat. Bluntly, I asked her: “Dal, ngaa gina sakit mo si Lovelyn? (Dal, why are you hurting Lovelyn?)” She denied this, and said; “Indi ah, palangga ko na sa. (No, I love her.)”
And of course, this was the tipping point. I slapped her across the cheek and asked: “Amo ni nga pag palangga? (Loving her? Like this?)”
And then the following conversation ensued:
“Ano sala ni Lovelyn sa imo? (What did Lovelyn ever do to you?)”
“Wala day ah. Kay nakapoy lawas ko kay ga obra ko kag ga eskwela pa ko ti palahibi sa. (It’s nothing. It’s because I’m tired from having to work and go to school so I took it out on her because she cries a lot.)
I asked her several more questions, each one followed by a slap. Finally, I asked her to tell the truth about Lovelyn’s giant lump on her forehead. She still chose to deny this – but this time, Lovelyn came up to me and shouted out:
“Si Dahlia Ma, gin haboy yako sang keys nga naigo ko ti sakit sakit. (It was Dahlia, Ma. She threw the keys at me and it hit me right here. It hurt so much.”
There was no turning back from here. I took the same keys with which she hit my daughter and threw it straight at Dahlia. It hit her squarely on the forehead – good. She begged for mercy and asked me to just let her go home – so I punched her on the shoulders about 5-6 times and asked her, “Did you have any mercy for my daughter?”
Then, I took a knife and grabbed her by the cheek. We have a Filipino saying that when you get beat up so bad, only your tongue is left unscathed. I told her: stick your tongue out because nothing on you will be left unmarked. Dahlia was trembling and mumbling like a scared child.
But don’t be deceived. Nothing that I did here actually left any permanent injuries on her. My intent was to scare her not kill her although God forbid that thought did cross my mind at the great injustice that she’d done to my daughter.
Our neighbors eventually came to Dahlia’s rescue and asked me to stop because I’d done enough. So I told Dahlia to go. She was definitely fired. But you know what? She had the audacity to ask me for fare to go back home. Therefore, I took all her belongings and packed them myself and then promptly threw them into the dirty canals that lined the streets outside the apartment building.
In hindsight, I still can’t forgive myself for what I had done – or more accurately, at what I had failed to do. I failed to protect my daughter when she was being abused. Yes, there was retribution and perhaps a little bit more – and some of you social justice warriors out there might even think that this was unjustified and done out of pure ego. I get it. You hate yourselves and you’re not really mothers – because a real mother would know the rage that I felt at that time.
I have no regrets about what I had done to Dahlia. In fact, I think it was barely enough. You might call it vengeful – but I prefer to call it: a mother’s love. That is the extent that I would go to for any of my two children. So tell me, after reading all this and after knowing that your own mother might be capable of doing this FOR you: Do you still love your mother or do you condemn her for being part of a spiteful generation that didn’t know any better?

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Cycling In Iloilo City: An Amusing Anecdote

Here's a rather amusing anecdote -- and if you're unfamiliar with Filipino culture, this might enlighten you on the dark side of the "ordinary hardworking Pinoy."

So, against my mother's precautions, I took my Mamachari bicycle to SM Delgado after lunch this Saturday because it was a cloudy day with little chance of rain and also because I had a few personal errands in that area.

I kinda understood why she didn't want me to take my bike there. It's not the safest area -- in fact, pickpocketers are on the prowl there all the time.

I parked my bike right in front of Watson's near the Fruit Stand in that area by the overpass. If you're familiar with the place I'm describing, you'd know there's a place there where you can chain up your bike. 

Anyway, after securing my bike, a vendor there was selling some pieces of cleaning cloth for 100 php at 6 pieces each. We could always use more of those and personally, if I can help out, I  help out. So I bought a set on the spot and he gave me 1 freebie, one for each day of the week according to him.

Seeing that I was buying stuff from random vendors, a  rather "enterprising" lady fruit vendor came up to me and practically begged me to buy some fruits from her. I looked hesitantly at the stuff she was selling. I knew my mother would probably like the grapes but at the same time, I had stuff to do so I couldn't be lugging around a pack of grapes all the time -- especially since it was getting a bit hot, so the fruits would probably spoil inside my backpack.

So I politely declined her but she kept begging me to at least buy something so she could buy some lunch. I knew that this was a fake sob story (this is why experience counts. I know these types of people because I've seen them in action before. They will rob you blind either by overpricing stuff or actually just robbing you if you're not careful) but I did want to help out somehow, so I offered her a compromise: I'd buy something if she was still here by the time I got back to go home... she wouldn't have it and kept begging me to buy something. At this point, I had to tell her "no" quite firmly.

Anyway, off I went with my personal errands -- delivering a painting, buying some tire caps, getting my PSP repaired, buying a 12x18" frame, buying two pieces of computer mouse from a local store that sold gaming quality computer peripherals at Aliexpress prices, and finally buying something for dinner for my mother and I.

I arrived at the area at about 2:30 PM and it was nearly 5 PM when I was done. So there I was, all ready to go home with my shopping haul in tow when I noticed a creaking sound while I was cycling. Sure enough, when I looked back, my rear tire was completely deflated -- but not only that, it was hanging out of the wheel. Also, the cover of my newly installed shifter had somehow fallen off (fortunately, I found it on the ground nearby.)

Naturally, I brought a pump along so I tried to pump it back up to no avail. Also, I'd noticed this earlier but the tire cap was missing (this is why I bought some extra ones) from the rear tire tube. 

Fortunately, there are always lots of taxis in the area, so I just hailed a big one and had him take me and the bike home. I sent a message to my mother that I was coming home in a taxi. I smirked a bit because it appears she was right all along. People really can't be trusted sometimes.

I dunno if it was that fruit vendor lady acting out of spite or someone else just vandalizing my bike, but I do know that my rear tube was beyond repair at that point and somebody had definitely tried something funny with my shifter. In any case... not really a big loss for me. Aside from having the bike repaired, all it cost me was a 155 php taxi fare back home. (I gave the taxi driver 220 overall for helping me lug the bike in and out of his car.)

The experience though -- priceless. Also, I'll never park my bike in that area ever again.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Kitty Troubles - First Post Of 2022

You can't really judge a book by its cover -- or a kitty by its puffy fur. My younger cat, Michelle Lynne (1 year old 5.8 kg) is roughly twice as big as her mother (roughly 2 years old, 4.2 kg), but she grew up very sheltered indoors. 

Our two cats have a small outdoor enclosure all to themselves where they can sunbathe, jump and play around and do cat things. The enclosure is escape proof, but it also has an open roof area -- which we'll have to fix soon.

Last night, I heard some foreign rustling in the area and saw that a stranger, a black and white outdoor cat had fallen from the roof and into the enclosure -- where Michelle Lynne was happily playing with the insects. The cat frantically scrambled about trying to find a way to escape -- to no avail. I immediately ran to check the situation and saw that my other cat, Misha had her fur all puffed up and was ready to fight. So I had to grab her and put her in my room temporarily. The problem is that with the stray cat running all around, I couldn't find Michelle Lynne.

After a bit of searching, I found her underneath the bed in what has effectively become our guest room -- shivering in fear and curled up into a ball and right next to her a few meters away was the  stray cat, also shivering and curled up into a ball. Fortunately, I managed to call Michelle Lynne towards me and I carried her into my room to be together with her mother. After that, I opened up the front door to let the stray cat out.

When I came back to check on our cats, I saw that Michelle Lynne was still shivering in fear while her mother was licking her all over trying to console her.

It  took her until the next day to get over her fear of even coming near the enclosure for fear of another stray cat falling in from out of nowhere. What's funny is that she's literally the biggest cat in the neighborhood and my mother and I would often talk about how she could easily smother any of the outdoor strays if she ever got into a fight with them.

Turns out she's still just a big baby and isn't really meant to be a fighter... her mother, Misha however, is a different story. She was an outdoor cat before we adopted her and we'd seen her easily dominate much larger males in an all out fight before... now she's also a beeg kitty and would probably be even fiercer in a hypothetical catfight.  Fortunately, she  won't be getting into any. Not on my watch.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas 2021!

Here's a fanart I made for Christmas. Could've done better on the umbrella but I was in a rush to finish before the 25th.

Oh, and check out my youtube channel by the way. lordcloudx - YouTube

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Happy Birthday Nagi Sanzen'in (12/3)

 Today is mai waifu's birthday. Here's a video to celebrate the occasion as well as some illustrations from me.

Still need to make a digital version of the bikini one in watercolors. It's actually painted on 12x18" paper

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Mama’s Story: A Marriage Sealed With A Kiss

(Written by Cymark Ferdinand Mirasol. As requested by Cynia P. Mirasol for her 66th Birthday)

The pendulum swing of values throughout human history is a fact of objective reality – but Marx and Engels were wrong about their prospective vision. The pendulum will never stop because a perfect system does not and cannot exist simply because of the inherently chaotic and indomitably rebellious nature of humanity itself.

On a smaller scale, I have been fortunate enough to experience the dynamic nature of human values as it has swung from one side to the other several times during my 60+ years of existence. It really drives home the reality that in the grand scale of the universe, we are all just microscopic particles clutching onto delusions of grandeur about our own scale of influence and power.

Far detached from these grandiose thoughts, this is a story of a simpler time. A time when the ruling paradigm of human values in the Philippines was ridiculously conservative: this is the story of my Mama a story of marriage from a stolen kiss.

My Mama, Delia Dela Cruz (eventually Paguntalan), was the 2nd child in a family of 9 consisting of 6 boys and 3 girls. She was always considered the kindest and the most obedient and well-respected among her siblings. In other words, she was loved.

This was a time when parents and their children strictly observed the natural order of social hierarchy within the family. The parents, at the very top, were given the utmost respect by their children. Meanwhile, among the siblings, no one ever dared to question the authority of the eldest child. Just as in modern times, sometimes this ultra-conservative setup worked and sometimes it didn’t. In the case of Mama’s family, everything turned out just fine.

Mama lived out her childhood and teenage years during the 1920s and her adult years in the 1940s and beyond. As far as the Philippines was concerned, the pendulum swing of societal values was very much far into the conservative rightmost side – and of course, the Philippines being largely Catholic, this was the norm and was widely accepted by almost everyone. 

Mama and Daddy had known each other almost all their lives. While they were never classmates because Daddy was two years older, they at least lived in the same district of Molo. The truth is that Mama never had eyes for Daddy and only knew him as an acquaintance.

On the other hand, Daddy always had a crush on Mama but he was always too shy to confess. 

Mama would often recall this story to us, her kids and every single time, it never failed to make us laugh because of how ridiculous it sounded to us, who were born in a different decade when women were starting to become more empowered.

One day, while Daddy was playing volleyball along with his buddies, Mama was passing by on her way home from school. It was at this moment that Daddy decided to take his destiny into his own hands and seal his fate with his crush – with a kiss.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, Daddy simply rushed over and kissed Mama on the lips. 

Mama was shocked. She shouted “hudas” at her oppressor and immediately ran home crying. She felt that her honor and dignity had been severely violated – very much like how women would react nowadays to having their virginity taken by force.

For days, she would not leave the house and would spend her time in her room crying and recalling the vivid details of what had happened in her head. Modern individuals would see this as naïve – I like to see it as more of a reflection of the times. It’s hard to foster modern progressive rainbow colored values in your head when you didn’t have anyone to tell you about them and constantly reassure you of the overinflated importance of your own existence. At that time, you had yourself, your real-life friends, and your family – and if they drew from the same experiences as you did, then they would most likely hold the same values that you did.

A few days later, Daddy, along with his parents visited Mama’s family in order to formally propose marriage in order to make amends for stealing Mama’s precious first kiss. Nowadays, people might think that this is an exaggeration. After all, who gets married – staking their lives on a stolen kiss? Hello! It’s 2021 – but it wasn’t 2021. It was sometime in the 1930s and things were very different.

So yes, Mama accepted the proposal and they were married after a few discussions and arrangements. 

In the end, they didn’t have a perfect relationship. Daddy was an alcoholic who was sometimes verbally abusive to Mama as well as physically abusive to us, their children. Yet there were glimpses of a debonair and caring gentleman beneath the constant stench of alcohol and his endless vocabulary of Spanish expletives.

Meanwhile, Mama, despite her brilliance as a well-respected teacher, was always submissive to Daddy no matter what because she wanted to keep the family intact.

Honestly, I am not even certain where love factors in into their relationship. From a pragmatic standpoint, I never saw this. Despite my own misgivings however, they somehow made it work. Their marriage somehow held strong for over 5 decades until death separated them. That’s probably a few decades more than some of you have been alive. I’d like to believe that much is worth something at least.

This is my Mama’s story. A story separated from the reality of the modern world by the barriers of time. An ordinary story of a less than ideal marriage -- sealed with a kiss.