Friday, February 26, 2010

Look Ma, no bruise

I've been thinking on whether to write something about the Olympics, as it's held here in Canada, and it is one of the main events this year (or month). This is also a part of history that would be read and learned by students every year as well (By the way, I congratulate all the winners in the competitions, most especially the Canadian athletes.). But then again, I wanted to remind myself that in February 1986, Filipinos gathered at one place to free themselves from the terror of the late and former President Marcos.

It's a shame that I haven't been born when this event took place. I could only savor the feelings through books, videos and stories of my parents and the elders who were a part of this revolution. 

Being the dictator and the former President of the Philippines for twenty years, Ferdinand Marcos ruled the people and kept them in fear through arrests and assasinations one after the other. Those were very dark times. The citizens had no choice but to follow orders for their family and themselves can disappear all at once. Marcos controlled the country just like how a master controls his puppet. For his first term in 1965 though, he was able to establish the Philippines as one of the richest countries in South East Asia. Unfortunately, power prevailed in him when he tried to run for the third term, thus declaring Martial Law in September 21, 1972. However, when Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. went back to the Philippines in August 21, 1983 after a three-year exile in the US, he was assasinated after stepping out of the airplane. Aquino was the only person brave enough to fight back that caused his imprisonment and banishment from the his beloved country, so his death was a huge impact to the people, losing more of their faith on the Marcos administration. Snap elections were held in early February 1986 to see if Marcos still has his 'loyalists' who support his regime. One result had him winning against Corazon Aquino, Ninoy's wife, while the other result favored the latter. People were appalled; and in the 22nd a resistance started where hundreds of thousands of Filipinos from all walks of life gathered at EDSA (Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue), protecting the military officers who rebelled against the government. Masses and prayer vigils were held everyday. Unarmed civilians kept coming in, supporting this massive revolution that would hopefully oust the dictator. There was no trace of any violence except for a soldier that was accidentally killed due to a discharged gun. Hours turned into days. Young women handing out flowers to the soldiers in tanks as they were about to pass through them. People flashing the "L" sign using their thumb and index finger (L means laban or fight in english).

And then, at the night of February 25, a miracle occurred. The first family and his allies left for Hawaii. Earlier that morning, two inaugurations for Aquino and Marcos were held. A nationwide celebration was about to happen.

Here's a video that I'd like to share with you regarding the EDSA revolution in 1986: 

Twenty-four years sure feels long, but for those who were a part of it, it is definitely a memory worth reliving for.

And in the words of Ninoy Aquino (who will never be forgotten and forever remembered),
The Filipinos are worth dying for
I hope everyone would make a wise decision this coming election in May.

First image was taken from People Power: An Eyewitness History, The Philippine Revolution of 1986. © 1986 Monina Allarey Mercado, Manila, Philippines

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I was browsing a realty magazine my mom took after stopping by a bank, and when I reached this page, I scoffed. Seriously? They're actually selling these t-shirts? So let me show you what it looks like so you can understand what I mean (Please pardon the feeble attempts, whatever you think they are.). 

So the advertiser is a local radio station, and I have nothing against them, for the record. Red Cross is also one of the best organizations in the world, so contempt for them is not felt either. But what irks me is the shirt. I mean, really. Whoever thought of designing the shirt like this must be joking. I ♥ Haiti? I HEART HAITI? Are you serious? Why would you even print something like this, when most North Americans (okay, probably the world, as it's applicable) don't even know what their situation was before the earthquake. I admit, I have never even heard of Haiti in my whole life, but I do have some knowledge in geography that some people don't (no offense, but that's true). I think this is a very good cause of course, selling clothes with the money proceeding to the Canadian Red Cross. But selling it with this design? It's just stupid. Like what I blurted out after seeing this ad, "This is BS. This is complete and utterly BS.". Pardon the language, but that's what I feel. Okay, for me, I would never wear this shirt, even if someone paid me a hundred dollars, or if someone bought it for me, for it would make me a hypocrite. A country I've never heard of before in my whole life undergoes a terrible ordeal, and for helping them, I get to wear this shirt that proclaims my love for them. *sigh* To you, whoever thought of doing this, I'm disappointed. Another print could've been better, like, "Let's help Haiti", "Give some love to Haiti", "Haiti needs you", or "Stop saying FML, think about Haiti", that sort of message. It doesn't come as patronizing and hypocrisy, which I think is what the message "I Haiti" implies, especially if you're not a Haitian.

What kind of message does it convey when you wear a shirt that says " I a certain country or place" anyway? Doesn't it mean that you're showing your love for that country? That you're trying to be nationalistic or patriotic of your own country, that you're proud to be one of them, to belong in this race or nation? Or, if you're from a different race, you still have the freedom to wear a shirt about another country because you like it's culture, people, and history. That you're very interested, and would like to know more about them, to be a part of their people. You care for their welfare, and your love for the country is the same as how much you love yours. So for wearing this shirt that they're selling, you would like to know more about them, you're trying to be a part of their culture, a nationalist who appreciates the country of Haiti, when you've never even heard of them before in your whole life until the earthquake happened. I would understand if a person who's wearing (or buying) this is aware of Haiti, of their situation, and is concerned of them. But, if you really want to help them, there are millions of ways to do that as we all know, not just by adding another piece of clothing in your bulging closet. I just can't see the point in doing this, unless you really want people to think you're a humanitarian. 

Now, I'm done with this matter, I've released my rants and frustrations, so I can be at peace and get on with another. Oh hey, now that I think about it, they probably designed this just in time for Valentines day. It is after all, today, and it might just mean that you want to show your love for Haiti, with no underlying meaning whatsoever. Please. Who am I kidding. And who are you kidding. 

Kung Hei Fat Choi to everyone. Tigers, its your year. Dragon, I'll be waiting for you in two years. And Canadians, wasn't the Winter Olympics opening last Friday night awesome?