Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Manila Improv Fest That Was

.:A Belated Look Back:.

I hate the word "Sepanx," but what could be a more appropriate thing to say here?


Admittedly, looking back at the recently-concluded Manila Improv Festival well over a week after the fact seems rather too late the hero, but I don't really mind. When it comes to this blog, I've been writing for myself for a long while now instead of for an actual audience. And that's fine.

Anyways, I think what really stood out about this particular festival is that the sense of community has really brought the people together more than ever. Were there woes and cares within each group? Yes. Were there anxieties about the quality or lack thereof of certain performances? Absolutely. Did that ruin the festival? Not by a long shot.

At the end of the day, everyone came together. Everyone gave it their best shot. Everyone had memories to recount about the Festival, and most of all, everyone is absolutely looking forward to the next one.

I could give you a blow by blow account of my favorite moments from the entire thing, but given that I'm the 8List guy, I may as well boil it down to 8 things that really stood out for me, on a personal level...

8. The Music Workshop

I will never forget Dave of the Beijing Collective for as long as I live, and one of the main reasons is probably this particular workshop. There's nothing like taking a bunch of people with a ridiculously wide range of musical skills. I have to say it was pretty memorable to be creating great music on the fly, and I can't wait to put that to use.

7. The Non-Performers

Random pictures I still managed to find. Yayyyyy.


Made a few new friends within the Festival among people who went to watch or cover the whole thing, or at least to take part in the workshops, but wasn't actually part of any of the improv groups. In fact, when it came to getting to know them, Dave (he figures a lot in my Festival memories this year) actually spurred me on to do something I don't normally do. Jury's still out on the outcome of that one, but needless to say, I've gotten that monkey off my back, at least.

Also, Tomato Kick was an awesome venue for all our crazy after-parties. No doubt, no doubt!

Special mention to Miles, who kept me company for most of the Festival during the latter half!

6. Reconnecting!

Two years ago, the Manila Improv Festival allowed me to make a lot of new friends. Seeing them again in the Festival allowed us to pick up where we left off. Whether it was enjoying the comedy stylings of the Pirates of Tokyo Bay, or just catching up with Taichung Improv who really got me into improv wayyyy back in the day by giving me my first taste of performing it, to the fact that Dennis of Taichung is a dead ringer for Jeremy Renner, to PLI's insanity, to finally hitting it off with Dave and Liz and Jay of the Beijing Collective, to seeing a super-polished Zmack! to... man, I'm bound to forget people here, but whatever. It was awesome!

5. New friends!

The Improve Company from Singapore! Bacolod Improv Group! Dulaang Ateneo from CDO! These guys are just a few of the new people I had the pleasure of getting to know over the course of the Festival, and I can't help but think how great it would be to see them again soon. Who knows? Maybe I could swing by SG sometime this year...

4. SPIT continues to lead the way!

It's easy to say that without Silly People's Improv Theatre, this entire thing would not even have existed. With 13 years of experience under their belt, I can't help but be thankful for the kindness they have shown Switch Improv over the years. Thank you, SPIT! We couldn't be more grateful for everything you've done to bring improv to the people.

3. The PiP Show

Now kiiiiissssss!!!


I never heard of "slow comedy" before these guys came along. They pretty much defined it with their performance right off the bat! While most groups can get frenetic and that pace works wonders for them, these guys were just so chill. It was really just something for the ages, and every lady in the audience was practically screaming when the two of them actually kissed onstage. And yes, one of them certainly looks like Heath Ledger. Glad you noticed.


2. The Impromafia

Making me an offer I can't refuse!


Whether it's their two-man show or their three-person Disney-esque musical that they actually debuted at the Festival, Brisbane's pride and joy, the Impromafia, were simply phenomenal. It's hard to determine which I liked more: the fact that they brought something we've never seen before to the table, or the fact that Luke reminded me so much of G.R.R. Martin. Well, let me choose both, then!

1. My home team

Still making a scene wherever we go.


It's been three years, but let's face it: when the chips are down Switch Improv has always had each other's backs. There's pretty much nothing I could ask for more in this world of entertainment, where years of loyalty can be forgotten in an instant because of petty egocentricity and ridiculous entitlement. I get none of that from Switch Improv. All I get are a bunch of people who care. Who care too much than to stay complacent. Who care too much than to say nothing. And it's that caring I've come to associate with the world of improv, and why no matter what, I get sent to a happier place when I'm there. 

I don't need perfection or unbridled harmony. All I need are people who care. And that's why this team came together in the first place.

While I wish I could have been far more detailed in recounting my fond memories of the 2015 Manila Improv Festival, all I know is that it was definitely one for the ages, and it reminds me why I've always loved the improv community that Switch has been a part of for the past three years.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

That Sinking Feeling...

.:That Sinking Feeling:.

There was so much I wanted to talk about. With how the Manila Improv Festival ended the other day, I was still feeling this kind of elation that was all over me, but I guess these things really weren't meant to last, were they?

Now that I've snapped back to reality, I realize I have to get away from it all for a while. I've been burnt out by the world of standup. I've worked too hard in the world of improv. I have very little left in me to keep going, and I know that I have to stop. Breathe. Think. And slow down.

There's so much I have to do next. There's so much I have to cover next. But ultimately, the great equalizer is the fact that I have hope, no matter what the circumstances are. Or I had it. I don't know. It feels like it really refuses to stick with me, so here I am, just dealing with another fallout I never counted on.

I've always been awkward. I've always been shy. Despite being a performer by trade, there's just something about trying to approach people and making myself known, that attempt at breaking the veil of anonymity, that terrifies me. Because while I like being applauded when I'm onstage, I also like my moments of quiet when I need them. Approaching people tends to jeopardize that.

So it came to pass that I saw a moment enter my life, and I didn't want it to pass me by. With a knowing nod from my friend Dave, I made a leap of faith. I said some things I don't normally say. I did some things I don't normally do. Not for any hope or agenda. Not for some misguided sense of entitlement that this would yield results. But only because I wanted to make sure I didn't let the moment pass me by. I didn't want to sit down there and ask myself if I could have. 

I had to, you see. I really had to.

It seemed right. It seemed like it was the best way to go about it. And as I've always been, I was wrong. In as quickly as it began, it may have fizzled out just like that, too. And I don't even know where to begin picking myself up. Not for anything, but because once again, I blew it. I ruined it for myself. If I ever wonder from time to time why I'm not happy at a particular point in my life, the reason usually just so happens to be myself. And it disgusts me.

So where do I go from here? Do I get a do-over? Or are we simply going to go with "no take backsies," and that's that? The worst part of this whole episode is I can't even blame anyone but myself for it. I blew it. I screwed it up. Because as always has been the case, my stupid mouth has got me in trouble. I said too much again.

So I'm sorry. I'm sorry I blew it. And if this chapter has to end as abruptly as it begun, I guess I just have to live with that.

Is it too soon to say these things? Is it too soon to feel this way? I can't help but have that sinking feeling that it isn't. This is merely just the latest in a successive string that affirms the pattern. It's not too soon: it's in fact too late.

But please... if you ever asked me why I did what I did, I just need you to know one thing: when something comes into your life and you feel something you've never felt before, when it inspires you to do something you've never done before, when it calls you to say something you've never said before, then there's something there.

I may no longer ever find out what that something was, but it was there.

Bakit ko iaasa sa hangin? Bakit ko ipapaubaya na lang sa tadhana? Sa bagay na hindi ko makita o mahawakan? Bakit hindi ko hahabulin, aamuhin, lulundagin, kung maaaring pagsisihan ko ang paglampas ng sandali?

Pasensya na. Sawa na akong kumiling sa kapalaran.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

After The Dust Has Settled From ToyCon 2015...

.:Didja Miss Me?:.



Well, I missed you.


I haven't blogged in months, and it's easy to understand why, what with all the places I'm writing for professionally. Recently saw my work not just in the 8List, but even in UNO, my consultancy, and a few other places I didn't expect to end up writing for. It's been a whirlwind. A whirlwind that went undocumented like a huge gap in my life or something, but a whirlwind I really have to be thankful for, regardless.

Toycon 2015 is pretty much the perfect point for me to (try) jumping back on the blogging wagon, because it was definitely a great experience hosting Toycon after being out of circulation in the cons circles for a while. And what a way to come right back! First off, I was paired with a debuting host in Rence David, who is a natural onstage!

Something about this year's Toycon was just so positive, so smooth-sailing, that it really felt so easy to just jump onstage and do our thing this year. The audience was unbelievably hot even after Alodia and the cosplay competitions were already long done, which is something I don't think I've ever experienced before.

On top of that, the segments really did bring the goods to the crowd! You had something as simple as the Minions showing up onstage causing an immediate feeding frenzy...

Banana.


You also had the dance number by Doraemon, and the rambunctious Damulag...

The mascots were pretty huge.


Then you had, of course, the cosplay competition(s), and even I got in on the fun, for once...

Follow the buzzards, 'Arry.


Considering that this was Toycon's swan song in Megatrade Hall, it was pretty clear sir Cholo, sir Vic, Az, and the rest really pulled out all the stops to make it a very memorable event. It was pretty fun when Alodia even went and challenged the audience to beat her in Mortal Kombat X at her booth. I would've taken her up on the challenge, but alack and alas, hosting duties were in the way.

And, oh, a couple of fun facts:

1. Ashley's "Thinking Out Loud" cover was played a total of 12 times on Saturday and Sunday. This was still significantly less than the amount of times you would hear the Ed Sheeran original on the air during its peak.

2. "Watch Me Nae Nae" was used onstage for skits and performances a total of 7 times in two days. I learned to hate the song about the second time in, although the metal version almost makes up for it. Too bad nobody used that.

It was a great time reconnecting with old friend and even making a few new ones. It's also fun to note that #TitoJokes were all the rage over the weekend, and pretty much anything we did during Saturday and Sunday went over well with the crowd. Heck, I even went back to basics and did some magic for that evening.

But my personal highlight that didn't involve cosplay at all? It must have been when the boys from Philippine Wrestling Revolution showed up.

Ken Warren has better things to do than pose for the camera.


So yeah, it was definitely a great ToyCon, and something I'm very proud of, as far as hosting gigs go. I'm really grateful for the opportunity, and catching up with old friends like Kristell (who gave me an awesome Superman Hoodie!) and Lizette really only made things even better.

.:And The Rest?:.

It feels like I'm in a state of flux, what with my consultancy wrapping up, and having people question me after years upon years of consistent behavior. I would laugh if it weren't so pathetic.

There's so much going on behind the scenes in my life lately. It's hard to sit down and write about it all, if only for the fact that over the years, I've learned to keep more to myself, but I've also decided not to really care about my Livejournal nearly as much while doing it. There's a whole host of things to look forward to, and the future is bright. Ultimately, if people are going to burden me while I reach for the stars, then I would only find it easier for me to just unburden myself of the people and things holding me back.

For now, I'll leave it at that. It's a wonder I even got to blog at all this month, so that's something to be grateful for, at least.



Monday, April 27, 2015

Whoah. It's Been How Long?

.:So... Life:.

I haven't been writing here for so long, and it's a bit embarrassing already.

Anyone still reading this probably knows what I'm up to, though: I'm still doing comedy at Burger Company every Thursdays (alternating between standup and improv), and I've also been doing consultancy work for the past couple of months. It's been very good, and I've found myself really discovering that after years of shying away from it, I am not half bad at management work at all. But yeah, that's neither here nor there.

There's still the 8List, too. That's been pretty fun. And when I find the time to breathe, you just know the Cracked thing is looming in the wings.

In the meantime, I've discovered that I really, really like wearing Erick Rowan's sheep mask...

I follow the buzzards.

That creepy-looking sheep mask has been getting me so much mileage lately. I don't particularly think I'm gonna end up wearing it for my website when it finally goes up, but whatever. I really, really like it.

And, oh, that shot of Ludo: Boardgames Bar and Cafe there was taken during their second Murder Mystery night, where I came as a Space Captain.

Of the Space Loveboat, I guess?

It was a great event, although for the second Murder Mystery in a row, the murderer managed to get away with the crime. I even did a bit of rules lawyering that night, just to see what would happen, and it's pretty funny how Jay Mata set the precedent that he was going to willfully ignore people who did that when it comes to awarding achievements. At least, we don't have to worry about people doing that to "win" in future installments of Murder Mystery, right?


But yeah, I've been talking about Ludo: Boardgames Bar and Cafe mainly because one of the biggest shows of Switch Improv is coming up there soon. It's something that is near and dear to my heart, having been a huge fan of "House Of Cards" for the past three seasons it's come on. After all, 2016 is coming. We have to choose wisely.

Move over, Winter!

So yes, if this premise interests you, please, please, please, come on down this May 19 for one of the most ambitious shows Switch Improv has ever done. We're very, very proud of this.

Overall, as you can see, life has been pretty good. Just... don't ask me about my lovelife, if you know what's good for you.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spanks, But No Spanks

.:Spanks But No Spanks:.

So sometime last week, I conducted an interview with a former member of the local BDSM scene, and put the story up on the 8List. It wasn't really a comedy article in the strictest sense, but I tried my best to put a balance between telling people BDSM isn't a sick and perverted activity in and by itself, while fully recognizing that it isn't exactly a low-risk endeavor, either. The funny thing is, I didn't even bother naming the community, even if that's far from a secret. I wanted people to make up their minds after being given information that was neither mollycoddling the lifestyle nor outright condemning it.

Next thing I knew, I was suddenly informed that I have ruffled some feathers. And based on what the FetLife thread had to say, a lot of it had to do with the fact that I interviewed only one person, and I painted a lot of broad strokes based on that.

Funny, you would think they would say none of this stuff happened, rather than to say it doesn't happen as often as I make it "seem." It's almost like someone there looked at the #GamerGate playbook for defending themselves against accusations of harassment and misogyny, and decided that those guys were doing such a good job.

I figure it's pretty safe to say that I didn't destroy the local scene's reputation that, based on their reactions, was apparently sterling before I wrote my list.

"There's more to us than meets the eye!"


After all, everybody just wants to do their own thing in peace, and that's cool, but when not an insignificant number of people are inspired to get in on the action thanks to Fifty Shades Of Grey, I find it necessary to put up even just the most rudimentary of introductions to what goes on in the community. And I would be loathe to give just a positive piece when there are so many risks people need to be made aware of first.

You want a positive-slanted version of my list? Go to Cracked, and they'll have you sorted out by most of the unfair mischaracterizations that the subculture has to put up with on a regular basis. Inasmuch as they laugh at how someone as thoroughly uninitiated in their subculture could look at what seems to be the simplest things to them and just find them "shocking," I guess it's safe to see that they're equally uninitiated with the 8List and Cracked culture of having titles that don't 100% match the content of the list. Not every Pinoy-themed list on the 8List will deal with things that are exclusively Pinoy, but neither will every list in Cracked even make sense in light of the title they end up getting after their fickle-minded title guy changes the article's title around thirty times in the day.

Be thankful we haven't found the need to resort to Buzzfeed-style clickbaiting, where we tell you "8 Things You Couldn't Possibly Have Guessed About The Pinoy BDSM Community (#3 Will Blow Your Mind!!!)." Yet.

I can make jokes all I want about how the BDSM community wants to hurt me now, and not in a sexy way, but that would be me overestimating the significance of what I've done. With less than 2,000 views on the list as of this writing, I think it's safe to say that more people cared about what I had to say about Gloria and Amal Alamuddin, which, admittedly, thoroughly surprised me.

To me, it's rather simple: you can argue with me all you want that it doesn't happen as often as I make it seem, but given that I never gave actual numbers, that's a matter of perception, and you never disputed the validity of what I had to say, merely frequency. And with that in mind, if a single instance of rape ever happens because of the lapses that exist that clearly weren't denied, if trust and consent are turned into punchlines instead of the most important foundations for any relationship and especially for a BDSM relationship, then that is one rape too many, and those are two punchlines too tasteless, even for me.

Does every single writeup need to be this happy-happy joy-joy fluff piece about how totally fun and welcoming the BDSM community is? You can get that stuff in so many places! You can also get the polar opposite: the ones who decided to condemn the BDSM subculture as "immoral," nearly everywhere else. I didn't want to offer either extreme. I wanted to offer something a little more even-handed than that.

"Don't mind me. I'm just hanging around."


And just like the Xian Lim fans who think I didn't defend him hard enough because I pointed out that his fans insulting Governor Joey Salceda and calling him names wasn't helping anybody, I don't think I could have pleased everybody unless I decided to go full submissive and write a piece singing the praises of the BDSM community. But why would I do that if doing that meant I would have to ignore the things I find very problematic about the current situation?

Is my source "unreliable?" Why? Do you think my source would feel the need to lie about her experiences and how unpleasant they were? You might say that her experience isn't representative of the entirety of the community, and even I would probably agree with you, but you can't dismiss the stuff she felt and experienced as fiction, because it did happen around her and to her. Argue about degree or frequency. But you clearly are in no position to argue about validity, and by extension, reliability.

Or maybe I'm just after attention? Oh, please. I have all the attention I could ask for when I poked fun at PNoy's mishandling of the Mamasapano encounter. 250,000 views as opposed to what? Under 2,000 views for the BDSM article? Please. Don't flatter yourselves. I wrote it because I saw it was worth writing about, and you can keep trying to shoot the messenger, but that only adds "argumentum ad hominem" to your litany of logical fallacies, starting with "no true Scotsman," moseying off to "ignorantio elenchi," all the way to rampant strawmanning. And leave us not forget the countless non sequiturs littered in those arguments. All because you think I "generalized" when it was pretty clear that if you read past the headings, all those conclusions are qualified and not left to stand without further clarification.

And sure, you can call me a "bad journalist" all you want, even if at no point do I purport to be a journalist. And you can call me a "narcissist" all you want because you decided to take my writer profile on the 8List at face value (Hint: my dogs are named Cassie and Furby. My cat is named Boris.) instead of realizing I was being facetious. You're entitled to all of those. In turn, I'm perfectly within my rights to point out that I have every right to interpet the data I'm presented with in a way that is appropriate, which I can say without trepidation I have done.

'Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it.

Nananananana come on!


This isn't the first time I've been given pretty stern feedback about one of my 8Lists, even someone messaging me privately to warn me that I really got some people riled up. I've received death threats before, which does make you wonder if it's only a matter of time before I end up telling one dick joke too many. That's got to be an achievement of some kind, being killed over a sorta-comedy article, right? I'll at least have that on my tombstone or something.

Straight to the point.


I'm not here to tell you whether or not the BDSM subculture is for you. All I could ever do is tell you the experiences of one person who opened up to me, and you can see for yourself whether or not those risks are acceptable to you. Obviously, everyone's experiences will vary. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with consenting adults engaging in BDSM. But like I said: if your only foreknowledge about BDSM came exclusively from Fifty Shades Of Grey, then you know as much about the subculture as much as an elephant knows how to do a backflip.

Nice try.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Micetro: Survivor Meets Whose Line Is It Anyway?

.:The Micetro:.

If I moved a bit closer, I would look even fatter than I already do.


I don't think I've ever felt happier to be in the improv scene than I did during last night's Micetro.

It wasn't because I came in second, with the extremely talented Ariel Diccion rightfully winning the Micetro that night. It wasn't because I had a breakthrough night where #hugot became the order of the day, and in telling the truth, I was connecting with audiences in ways I never have before as a comedian, whether in standup or improv.

It was because after the first elimination of participants to the final six, four of them were from Switch.

And therein lies the rub: as Gabe Mercado himself put it, even winning the Micetro doesn't necessarily mean you're the better improviser. But getting that far in Micetro means that Switch Improv is here to play, and here to contribute to this burgeoning improv community in its own way.

After all the growing pains of Switch Improv, the most important statement we could make is "we're here to play." Whether it's within the group or with the rest of the improv scene both here and abroad, it's that willingness to just throw yourself out there that really marks the turning point for our group, and I couldn't be happier.

There were times where playing was something we feared. Oh, no! Could we remember the rules? Could we memorize our lines as we're asked to reverse our scenes? Could we make a scene without just standing around like aimlessly talking heads?

Recently, though, a lightbulb collectively went off in our heads, and we realized that asking "could we?" was the wrong question. The right question to ask was "why couldn't we?" and then we proceed to not answer the question. Ever, because apparently, we could.

And yes, it's obvious we have a lot more growing to do as improvisers, but the growth we've managed in recent months really showed how hard work pays off. A few months ago, I was never comfortable with making myself feel so vulnerable onstage, with everyone seeing me for the bag of issues I can sometimes be. But that's my truth. I am a self-aware Reader's Digest, with possibly even more issues, but it's that self-awareness that allows me to learn from it, and impart what I learn from every misadventure my life inadvertently finds itself in.

You had to be there. Even if I put the entire show on video, it wouldn't do justice to the moment that has already passed, when a chance reference to "cheesecake" in the middle of a conversation about Sugarfree led to a perfect retort. Or when "sexism" gave way to "gender racism," because improv isn't about being always correct. Or when a person who only took improv workshops debuted in impressive fashion in front of a live, appreciative audience for the very first time. These were moments that you could never quite recapture again, but they will remain in the memories of everyone in that room for a very long time.

SPIT. Switch. One And A Half Men. The Katipunan Improv Collective. Anthony from New York. It was a night where improv utterly lived up to its own name, as nobody watching that night knew if the people playing onstage have been playing with each other for years or only for the first time in their lives. Everyone was in sync. Everyone was about making their partners look good. Everyone was about building something. The so-called star players weren't just scoring 30 in a night. They were dropping 20 dimes and collecting 20 boards, triple-doubling their way to making everyone onstage look great, and not just themselves. And yes, I can safely say there were 13 star players that night.

But allow me to dwell on my #hugot night, not because I managed to become the runner-up Micetro for the night, but because everything I drew from that night came from, believe it or not, a good place. It came from a place of hurt and hope. A place of shadows because you need light in your life to find shadows. A place of despair and optimism. And it was through Switch improv that I felt a kind of trust in laying it all out there with my improv partners and the audience, without fear of rebuke or exploitation, but only in perhaps touching someone's life in that manner. Maybe they would laugh. Maybe they would hold back a tear. Either way, that connection comes from something deep within all of us, and that is the magic of improv.

When I was left heartbroken earlier this year, I was hurt. Angry. Devastated. But it was the first time in my life, where I looked forward to rebuilding myself instead of just wallowing in misery and self-loathing. So each time I drew from the most bitter of moments in my recent history, it wasn't me reliving the pain so I could just stew in self-pity. It was me laughing in the face of it, because I knew I was better than that, and I deserved better than that. It's in all of us: the pain. The pessimism. The cynicism. These are part and parcel of us, but in channeling that energy towards telling the truth, towards telling the world, "this is real, this is me, and I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be now," we create something beautiful from that morass of wretchedness.

So thank you. Thank you, Switch, thank you, SPIT, thank you, Ariel, thank you, Agnes and JR, thank you, Katipunan Improv, thank you, One And A Half Men, and thank you, Anthony from New York. Thank you, "One More Chance," thank you, "English Only, Please," thank you, "Starting Over Again," and thank you, "That Thing Called Tadhana."

And yes, thank you, to the people who broke my heart, and I don't just mean that romantically. The people who have hurt me have only proven the saying that what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, and I will keep on keeping on. And I say this with no hint of regret or even ill will towards these people. For the chips on my shoulder, for the monkeys on my back, for the fire in my gut, thank you.

If there was one thing I have won last night, it was my never-ending battle with being my own worst critic. That, in and by itself, is something I treasure from Micetro night.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

"Microscopic"

.:Microscopic:.

Insert penis joke here.

It's easy to rage and to hate the president not for what he has done, but for what he has not done. To say that the legacy of President Noynoy Aquino is one of omission would be a massive understatement.

For the longest time, I have been nothing but even-handed with how I would critique the president's performance. He was handed a huge responsibility, practically on a lark, after his mother died. Mistakes will be made. This is natural and par for the course.

What I never expected, though, was his apparent inability to correct these mistakes. And his uncanny talent of repeating them throughout his term. And true, nobody will probably ever accuse him of the same kind of horrors Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was routinely battered with, but his obstinacy and refusal to do even the most common-sensical of things in the face of crisis speaks volumes about his woeful lack of leadership qualities.

There is an upwelling of outrage against PNoy lately: one that simply cannot be handwaved any longer. It is an upwelling of people who felt betrayed after they were told that they were the boss. It is an upwelling of people who believed with all their heart that the son of Ninoy Aquino and Cory Aquino could not possibly be so backwards that he would practically disgrace the not-even-blameless names of his own parents – despite the fact that Kris Aquino is already running around as a realization of this possibility.

And in the infinite wisdom of the palace, they decided to dismiss this upwelling as “microscopic.”

Microscopic.

Tiny.

Insignificant.

Which leads me to ask... what the hell are you smoking?!? Let's assume for a minute that this anger fomenting over the president's sins of omission truly were microscopic. Does this in any way invalidate that anger? Does saying only “a few” people were peeved at what PNoy did or did not do mean that these few are absolutely wrong? Do we not protect the majority and the minority alike? Or do we only give a damn what most people are saying?

It didn't matter at all if only one person felt put off by what PNoy did, if that one person had a valid point. Especially not if that person were one of the men who almost did not live to tell the tale of what happened to the #Fallen44. Or if that one person were a family member who did not choose to wait for the president anymore. Or if that one person was someone who was supposedly the “boss” of this president, as his own words indicated.

To this very moment, there is this sense of impunity and even smugness emanating from the Aquino camp that you can't help but notice. After all, even at his worst approval ratings, he is still leaps and bounds better off in public perception than Gloria ever was, once she assumed the presidency. But therein lies the rub: setting Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as your bar is so ridiculously and insultingly low to the Filipino people.

We expected better than that. Much, much better. And let's not mince words here: we were promised that by the president himself. “Daang Matuwid” was supposed to be a battlecry to right the wrongs and to change the system from within, but it became clear early on that this attempt at righting the wrongs affected only those on the wrong side of the party line. If somehow, you were on the president's good side, you can be every bit as terrible as you want, but a slap on the wrist for you is already pushing it.

So when the Palace says that this anger is “microscopic,” it doesn't change the fact that this anger is valid. Neither does this change the fact that the anger is not microscopic, by any means. When my 8List alone gets 200,000 views and an unprecedented number of outraged comments whether or not they understand the real intent of the list, then you can't just ignore numbers like those. And that's just me. Imagine how much more mileage other more established writers had as they eviscerated the president for a job not done.

To put this in perspective, only about 5 of the 400 or so 8Lists currently published on the site have ever broken the 100,000 barrier. When something hits that number on the site, you just know it hit a nerve somehow, for whatever reason. When 200,000 people direct their outrage towards one venue, nobody would ever call that microscopic.

What is microscopic, though? Is it the viewpoint of the Palace? Is it their “mercy and compassion,” which only highlights how utterly meaningless the Pope's visit was to them, no matter what they ay or do? Is it Mar Roxas's chances of winning in 2016? Or is it PNoy's odds of finding a date this February 14?

I don't give a damn. Because all I know is that this anger and this outrage is not microscopic and to dismiss our grievances so cavalierly is a slap in the face of the people our president claims to be his “boss.” And I will keep on harping on that point until I turn blue because he said those things himself, and no matter how much he can try to handwave that statement as merely a figure of speech, he can never undo going back on his word as unequivocally as he has when the Palace decided that there is no need to care what a “microscopic” number of people feel – not because their points have no merit, but only because they aren't “significant” enough.

This is something you would never say to your boss, no matter how small the power she holds over you may be.

And ultimately, when you say that hundreds of thousands of people being angry is merely “microscopic” in scale, do you not subsequently imply that the deaths of a “mere” 44 policemen is even more “microscopic?” Do these lives somehow not count?

If so, then there is no discussion left to be had: this is not the mentality of a statesman. This is simply the kind of thinking of someone who has successfully fallen for his own hype.

A Few Good Men

A Few Good Men
by Kel

“We live in a world with walls, and these walls need to be guarded by men with guns,” said he.
Who's gonna do it? You? You? Me? Me? Do we?
And in the middle of every bribe and abuse and indiscretion we see
We forget that when push comes to shove, a few good men will rise inevitably
Forty-four lives lost! Forty-four, forsooth!

And so the least their noble leader can do for you is to honor
That none may forget the #Fallen44 and the horror
That only comes from strife and the unavoidable human error
Yet instead, absence. Neglect. A cavalier sort of tenor
Forty-four were discarded, belated balms can never soothe

We use words like honor, code, loyalty for a life spent defending
And now, one of you wonders, “was the sacrifice worth making?”
Where was he, o great one, when the forty-four were needing
Little more than your compassion; a few good men lost to politicking?
Forty-four lives, microscopic? Ridiculously uncouth!

We are not he. We cannot pretend to be great, but we benefit
From rising and sleeping under the protection of your blanket
And though from time to time, we may question it,
Today we forget for a moment and instead thank a few good men, we cannot ever forget:

To the forty-four we thank you; we can handle the truth