How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book”

This is how i planned on studying my law books. Maybe I could come back to it. We’ll see. So far I’m satisfied with marginalia and getting my notes digital rather than on paper. We’ll see. But I like this. Hey, I might even read Robert Greene. I usually don’t trust anything that attracts a crowd no matter the kind that it draws, but who knows. Someone told me once that taking chances is a good thing. Fine. I’ll buy one Robert Greene booke and see where that goes.

Thought Catalog

The other day I was reading a book and I came across a little anecdote. It was about the great Athenian general Themistocles. Before the battle of Salamis, he was locked in a vigorous debate with a Spartan general about potential strategies for defeating the Persians. Themistocles was clearly in the minority with his views (but which ultimately turned out to be right and saved Western Civilization). He continued to interrupt and contradict the other generals. Finally, the Spartan general threatened to strike Themistocles if he didn’t shut up and stop. “Strike!” Themistocles shouted back, “But listen!”

When I read this, I immediately began a ritual that I have practiced for many years–and that others have done for centuries before me–I marked down the passage and later transferred it to my commonplace book. Why? Because it’s a great line and it stood out to me. I wrote it…

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Faerie Girl: dancing on a candle

Faerie Girl
dancing on a candle

Lit cigarette
tracing smiles
in open air:
rhyme of firebugs
and
wishes on stone.

Bright, pulsing, embers
in the dark,
these lights
dance
and fill the night.

Like this pen, searching for
colors
on empty pages.

For fire seeks fire and
I give way;
the matchstick trembles and
I sway
at the edge with the
will-o-wisps
that call me
and
cold air
that beckons.

I listen, I jump, I
kiss
the deep, still lake.

Mixtapes

I grew up making mixtapes  So, imagine this, some punk kid still in highschool poking around with a boombox and staying up all night recording what songs he could from the radio. lol. I had to time it just right and more often than not, NU107 only got the good music out after 10, not too sure though cos it was a long time ago. Now, when I finally got my own cd player off an aunt of mine (it’s a pattern you’ll notice the better you get to know me: me waiting for handouts before i get to enjoy any luxuries in life). In a way, it was all so very primitive. While everyone else already had MP3 players by then I was still living off of the 80s lifestyle, pirating content off radio waves rather than Napster, Kazaaa, and Limewire. It had its appeal, to think that I unwittingly developed a connection with the malcontents of the 80s while stuck in the year 2003. And nothing could quite compare to having a tape in your hands, winding it up with a pencil, hoping you cued it just right. Sometimes I feel I was born in the wrong era, or that I achieved awareness much to late in life. I was born in 1989. I could have already been listening to Echo and the Bunnymen at the age of 2, but I was a little too stupid then to understand what I was missing out on. Which, of course, brings us back to mixtapes. Right now, I doubt whether anyone could ever relive the experience of making a mixtape. There were rules, dos and don’ts, it as an art of its own, poetry within poetry: yours within others; for all intents and purposes, a mixtape is a love letter you make out of other people’s poetry and the songs you choose are the feelings you want someone else to understand. See, mixtaping is the way of the awkward goof with little to no social graces. A mixtape was how you told someone what you felt about them and how you would like to ask them out, but still expressing how you don’t know how to ask them out, without actually talking to them in person. You just drop the cheap looking plastic in their Jansport, purse, or whatever and cross your fingers  Now, I don’t know. Would a mixtape still be an honest way to tell someone how you feel, or is it cowardly? Would that someone else even have a tape deck lying around to play your music on? Again, I wouldn’t know, not until I’ve tried it. Would I try it? Hide a mixtape with my heart and soul in it in some beautiful girl’s bag and hope she finds it and not laugh? Maybe 🙂

SOLFED Official Statement on the Expulsion of 3 Students for speaking Ilocano

10 August 2013

SOLFED Official Statement on the Expulsion of 3 Students for speaking Ilocano

We, members of Save Our Languages through Federalism Inc. (SOLFED) would like to call to attention an incident in Saviour’s Christian Academy, headed by Rev. Brian Shah, in Laoag City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, on 31 July 2013, in which three thirteen year old students (Samuel Respicio, Carl Andrew Abadilla, Kleinee Bautista) were “advised” by the school principal to “transfer to another school” for speaking in their native tongue Ilocano. We believe it was a call for expulsion albeit phrased in an euphemistic manner. Below is a copy of a school Memo for documentary and legal purposes.

 

memo-expulsion-20130806

The above incident may be regarded as a violation of some of the provisions in the Philippine Constitution.

Article 3, Sec.4 of the Bill of Rights

“No laws shall be passed abridging the Freedom of Speech, of expression, or of the press..”

Article 14, Sec.7

“The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages of the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein.”

Article 14, Sec.17

“The state shall recognize, respect, and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions, and institutions. It shall consider this right in the formulation of national plans and policies.”

In addition the school may also be regarded as violating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights as elaborated in the Barcelona meeting of June 1996. The Philippines is a member of the U.N. and should be implementing this declaration. In the annex are listed some of the provisions in this Declaration.

In view of the above Save Our Languages through Federalism Inc. (SOLFED), condemns the school action and petitions agencies of the Philippine government and the United Nations to reprimand and level sanctions on the above school, and condemn any similar future actions of Philippine schools. Such actions include imposing fines on students who speak their native non-Tagalog languages especially on the so-called Month of The Language (annually in August- Buwan ng Wika) in which this perverse practice is encouraged by many schools, and other discriminatory and racist actions designed to ethnically cleanse the Philippines of its natural multi linguistic inheritance.

DR. JOSE P. DACUDAO

SOLFED President

Annex:

Some provisions from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights as elaborated in the Barcelona meeting of June 1996

 

    * the right to be recognized as a member of a language community;

    * the right to the use of one's own language both in private and in public;

    * the right to the use of one's own name;

    * the right to interrelate and associate with other members of one's language community of origin;

    * the right to maintain and develop one's own culture;

    *the right for an ethno-linguistic people for their own language and culture to be taught (in their schools, governments, homes);

    * the right of access to cultural services;

    * the right to an equitable presence of their language and culture

in the communications media;

    * the right to receive attention in their own language from government bodies and in socioeconomic relations.

 

Other pertinent provisions of this UN declaration:

 

*This Declaration is based on the principle that the rights of all language communities are equal and independent of their legal status as official, regional or minority languages.

 

*All languages are the expression of a collective identity and of a distinct way of perceiving and describing reality and must therefore be able to enjoy the conditions required for their development in all functions.

 

*All languages are collectively constituted and are made available within a community for individual use as tools of cohesion, identification, communication and creative expression.

 

*All language communities have the right to codify, standardize, preserve, develop and promote their linguistic system, without induced or forced interference.

 

All language communities have equal rights.

 

*This Declaration considers discrimination against language communities to be inadmissible, whether it be based on their degree of political sovereignty, their situation defined in social, economic or other terms, the extent to which their languages have been codified, updated or modernized, or on any other criterion.

 

*Everyone has the right to carry out all activities in the public sphere in his/her language, provided it is the language specific to the territory where s/he resides.

 

*Everyone has the right to use his/her language in the personal and family sphere.

 

*Everyone has the right to know the language specific to the territory in which s/he lives.

 

*Everyone has the right to be polyglot.

 

*All language communities are entitled to the official use of their language within their territory.

 

*All language communities have the right for legal and administrative acts, public and private documents and records in public registers which are drawn up in the language of the territory to be valid and effective and no one can allege ignorance of this language.

 

All language communities have the right to communicate in their own language with the central, territorial, local and supra-territorial services of the public authorities and of those administrative divisions which include the territory to which the language is specific.

 

All language communities are entitled to have at their disposal and to obtain in their own language all official documents pertaining to relations which affect the territory to which the language is specific, whether such documents be in printed, machine-readable or any other form.

 

Forms and standard administrative documents, whether in printed, machine-readable or any other form, must be made available and placed at the disposal of the public in all territorial languages by the public authorities through the services which cover the territories to which each language is specific.

 

All language communities have the right for laws and other legal provisions which concern them to be published in the language specific to the territory.

 

Public authorities who have more than one territorially historic language within their jurisdiction must publish all laws and other legal provisions of a general nature in each of these languages, whether or not their speakers understand other languages.

 

Representative Assemblies must have as their official language(s) the language(s) historically spoken in the territory they represent.

 

Everyone has the right to use the language historically spoken in a territory, both orally and in writing, in the Courts of Justice located within that territory. The Courts of Justice must use the language specific to the territory in their internal actions and, if

on account of the legal system in force within the state, the proceedings continue elsewhere, the use of the original language must be maintained.

 

Notwithstanding the above, everyone has the right to be tried in a language which s/he understands and can speak and to obtain the services of an interpreter free of charge.

 

All language communities have the right for records in public registers to be drawn up in the language specific to the territory.

 

All language communities have the right for documents authenticated by notaries public or certified by other authorized public servants to be drawn up in the language specific to the territory where the notary or other authorized public servant performs his/her functions.

 

Education must help to foster the capacity for linguistic and cultural self-expression of the language community of the territory where it is provided.

 

Education must help to maintain and develop the language spoken by the language community of the territory where it is provided.

 

Education must always be at the service of linguistic and cultural diversity and of harmonious relations between different language communities throughout the world.

 

Within the context of the foregoing principles, everyone has the right to learn any language.

 

All language communities have the right to decide to what extent their language is to be present, as a vehicular language and as an object of study, at all levels of education within their territory: preschool, primary, secondary, technical and vocational, university, and adult education.

 

All language communities are entitled to have at their disposal all the human and material resources necessary to ensure that their language is present to the extent they desire at all levels of education within their territory: properly trained teachers, appropriate teaching methods, text books, finance, buildings and equipment, traditional and innovative technology.

 

All language communities are entitled to an education which will enable their members to acquire a full command of their own language, including the different abilities relating to all the usual spheres of use, as well as the most extensive possible command of any other language they may wish to know.

 

All language communities are entitled to an education which will enable their members to acquire knowledge of any languages related to their own cultural tradition, such as literary or sacred languages which were formerly habitual languages of the community.

 

All language communities are entitled to an education which will enable their members to acquire a thorough knowledge of their cultural heritage (history, geography, literature, and other manifestations of their own culture), as well as the most extensive possible knowledge of any other culture they may wish to know.

 

Everyone is entitled to receive an education in the language specific to the territory where s/he resides

 

The language and culture of all language communities must be the subject of study and research at university level.

 

All language communities are entitled to have at their disposal all the human and material resources required in order to ensure the desired degree of presence of their language and the desired degree of cultural self-expression in the communications media in their territory: properly trained personnel, finance, buildings and equipment, traditional and innovative technology.

 

All language communities have the right for the language specific to the territory to occupy a pre-eminent position in cultural events and services (libraries, videothËques, cinemas, theatres, museums, archives, folklore, cultural industries, and all other manifestations of cultural life).

             

All language communities have the right to preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage, including its material manifestations, such as collections of documents, works of art and architecture, historic monuments and inscriptions in their own language.

         

All language communities have the right to use their language with full legal validity in economic transactions of all types, such as the sale and purchase of goods and services, banking, insurance, job contracts and others.

 

All language communities are entitled to have the documents required for the performance of the above-mentioned operations at their disposal in their own language. Such documents include forms, checks, contracts, invoices, receipts, delivery notes, order forms, and others.

 

All language communities have the right to use their language in all types of socioeconomic organizations such as labor and union organizations, and employers', professional, trade and craft associations.

 

All language communities have the right for their language to occupy a pre-eminent place in advertising, signs, external signposting, and all other elements that make up the image of the country.

 

All language communities have the right to receive full oral and written information in their own language on the products and services proposed by commercial establishments in the territory, such as instructions for use, labels, lists of ingredients, advertising, guarantees and others.

 

All public signs and announcements affecting the safety of the public must be written at least in the language specific to the territory, in conditions which are not inferior to those of any other language.

 

Everyone has the right to use the language specific to the territory in his/her relations with firms, commercial establishments and private bodies and to be served or receive a reply in the same language.

 

Everyone has the right, as a client, customer, consumer or user, to receive oral and written information in the language specific to the territory from establishments open to the public.

 

Everyone has the right to carry out his/her professional activities in the language specific to the territory unless the functions inherent to the job require the use of other languages, as in the case of language teachers, translators or tourist guides.

On SOLFED

I don’t speak for SOLFED nor do I represent the entirety of the Federalist movement here in the Philippines. I am, however, a member of SOLFED and I am a Federalist. I’ve been both for roughly seven years now and my experience with both has always been this: the simple understanding that we are as diverse within the movement as we are outside of the it. This is why our activism has always required hard work, persistence, and single-minded determination. When you’re dealing with people as individuals with complete and utter respect for their idiosyncrasies rather than against it, you’re bound to face a lot of brick walls in the process. This is why most people take the short cut and treat people as part of an amorphous mass as if they could be coddled along like sheep. I am not sheep, I will not be treated like a lost little lamb, and this basically means that I will not treat others like helmet-wearing retards. We’re all well-adjusted adults here, Mr. Cerda, so let’s discuss this like adults.

Your opinion, Mr. Cerda, needs a response and I am here to defend my activism and my work; not the movement, not SOLFED, but every drop of sweat and blood that I’ve invested in pursuing this idea and fighting the good fight.

Because it is the good fight.

So, do pay attention, not because I want to change your mind, but because you have no idea who we are and what we do; ensconced as you are in the hallowed walls of the Ateneo.

SOLFED is grassroots and is as decentralized as its ideology. To say that we are Cebuano-centric belittles the work we do throughout the country. Think of us as self-sufficient little cells of activity, low-profile, and dedicated. Each of these cells is responsible for fighting for its own culture and language yet there are no prohibitions against extending other cells assistance. Case in point, my own little cell here in Iloilo City. We have a fledgeling cell in Pampanga at the moment, still in its relative infancy, and we extend what assistance that we can to facilitate its growth and maturity. Yet, our goals are largely independent of each other. Our coordinator in Pampanga fights to secure the survival of Kapampangan. I fight to secure the survival of not only Hiligaynon, but all of the dialect associated with it as well as the distinct languages of Kinaray-a, and Akeanon. We have plans on expanding as well, but as I’ve already said, our work is slow but doggedly stubborn.

You must understand, our advocacy isn’t built on violent and sudden change, but gradual and nurturing encouragement. We persist in meeting people halfway, being open and inclusive to all those who turn to us, and we focus on building on what is already there.

To say that we are Cebuano-centric implies that we exist to introduce some kind of Cebuano agenda on the people’s of Panay rather than what I just said, building on local situations.

I am Ilonggo. Our president is a staunch advocate of the Butuanon language. We have advocates of nearly every “non-Tagalog” language group in the country. To say that we pursue a Cebuano-centric agenda is to belittle the hard work we’ve invested on fighting for our own respective languages. Cebu can take care of itself. It doesn’t need me. It doesn’t need you. It certainly doesn’t need Manila.

I simply serve Iloilo and her interests, not Cebu. The idea is to turn this entire island, Panay, into a boom town. The only reason why Cebu gets mentioned a lot is because it’s an example to follow, a place that managed to secure its own prosperity in spite of Manila and not because of Manila. I want that for Iloilo and the rest of the island, wealth and progress independent of Manila. This needs political will, investor confidence, and plenty of creativity on the part of our leaders, but if what’s been happening so far is anything to go by, I’m quite optimistic. To say that we do not need Manila is a truth I work hard to build.

Only slaves need masters. Iloilo is not a slave. Neither is the rest of the island.

And that’s another thing you don’t understand about SOLFED: to argue that we intend to divide the country along ethnic lines is simplistic and stupid. The goals of SOLFED have always been to oppose Nationalism as an oppressive force, the kind of Nationalism that is built on fascist tendencies and ethnocentric exclusivity. To say that we intend to divide the country along ethnic lines, thereby destroying the country (as you’ve insisted) would be the very definition of oppressive. Who are we to tell people who they are without due process? That’s basically what you’re doing when you draw ethnic lines, you define people without their opinions on the matter.

This is what Nationalism and the KWF is doing everyday, why would we do as our enemies do? How is this an intelligent choice, to mirror the enemies of our advocacy?

What SOLFED wants is to bring people to the table and secure for everyone a piece of the pie called Philippines Politics and Power, true, but how that pie is going to be sliced should not be a one-sided deal. That’s how some people want it, advocating a devolved unitary government while misleading everyone else by calling it Federalism, but I digress. A devolved central government is still a central government: no dice.

This is why we want Charter Change and ultimately, a Constitutional Convention. This is what we call due process and this is where the experts who, represent us, gather to discuss the matter of a Federalist Philippines soberly, intelligently, and decisively. SOLFED isn’t here to make the hard choices for anyone; it’s here to create situations within which everyone get to make an independent choice for his or herself. It’s about accountability and responsibility, about due process and a more inclusive society. This is how you oppose marginalization, not through the creation of a multitude of centers, but by securing everyone a place at the table, asymmetrical rather than this pyramid scam you call a Unitary Government.

That is what I’m here to build: an inclusive society, and Federalism is built on inclusivity. Federalism isn’t just a system of government, it’s a situation in which everyone has the inherent right to a fair share of the Power Pie. This is democracy, empowering ourselves at a grassroots level.

To say that we want to divide the country along ethnolinguistic lines antagonizes our pursuit of inclusivity. I invite you to take a closer look at our paraphernalia and maybe even pay our various cells a visit. I invite you to pay Iloilo a visit. There plenty of Ilonggos in the Ateneo. Why not pay CERSA and ARSA a visit, make some friends, have people in Iloilo to visit–because you are not getting a clear picture of the situation here from where you sit.

And besides. Ilonggos are proud. What makes you think we’ll even ever serve a Cebuano agenda let alone a Tagalista one? Some have, of course, like Virgilio Almario, a Kapampangan who spells the doom of the Kapampangan language and culture.

These must be the very people you alluded to, the non-tagalogs that pervade our national consciousness. So be, I might be making a sweeping statement here as well, but only because the stimulant was just as vague and sweeping. Who exactly are these individuals and in what way are they a part of the national consciousness? Manny Pacquiao? In what way is his being from Gen San indicative of being part of the national consciousness? If there even is one, a national consciousness, it’s because he’s a boxer, a man who built himself up from the dregs of life, and succeeded. This has nothing to do with his being a non-Tagalog. Who else, the Lopezes who were formerly of Iloilo? What has their roots in Iloilo have to do with being part of the national consciousness? The Yulos? The Basas? The Aranetas? Who are these people and what has where they came from have to do with being part of the national consciousness?

“Should we continue to see them as such, in their regional affiliations, or see them as Filipinos?” is a question built on the premise that Filipino is an is an organic indicator of identity. To categorically assign people a label created by a Spanish-colonial social class that marginalized indios and envied the Peninsulares is to be simplistic and unjust. Simply because the word underwent a corporate rebranding with the advent of Nationalism and Commonwealth politics is not enough to legitimize its purpose.

So, no. There are no Yulos, or Basas, or Lopezes (Kapampangan branch) in Iloilo anymore. Iloilo is where their dead are buried, so be it. These people belong to Manila and its homogeneity. Their first language is probably Spanish, the mexican mongrelization of it (probably), and not even Tagalog. Their second is English. And what Tagalog/Filipino they speak are for their maids, drivers, gardeners, cargadors, and overseers working their assets.

National consciousness is a melting pot where unique cultures go to die and be assimilated by the Borg empire. Like one amoeba ingesting and digesting another, the former lives at the expense of the latter. Homogenized and uniform, that’s is nation building from the Nationalist perspective.

I would rather not get eaten. I would rather not have my flesh melt into the Nationalist body and lose my consciousness to the national one.

I simply refuse. This is dissent.

SOLFED is all about dissent as well.

Would I be fighting Imperial Cebu as well had history been different? Of course I would. “Some things cannot fully be lost and cannot fully be held,” which is why I refuse to submit. To lose something simply because it is inevitable is to submit to defeat. What becomes inevitable is still a choice.

The Filipino Identity is an artificial phenomenon created by Quezon to replace the Commonwealth government with one built in his own image, aristocratic and arrogant; and appropriated by Marcos to build an empire, fascistic and violent. For one whose comforts and well-being are buttressed by these politicians, Mr Cerda, I can understand your love of Nationalism. Nationalism is the reason why you are safe and prominent within the hallowed walls of the Ateneo.

That does not mean I should work to sustain your security at my expense.