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Jalan-Jalan with Jerwin in Singapore

Jalan-Jalan with Jerwin in Singapore
Photo by Jerwin Allen Malabanan

Thursday, December 18, 2014

F R E E D O M ! ! ! ! ! ! !

[This blog is continued on http://www.tonyperezphilippinescyberspacebook24.blogspot.com.]
For the record, I stopped updating my curriculum vitae three years ago. I was 60 then, and, already, I asked myself what the point of it all was. I could have added a long list of cyberspace publications, presentations, speeches, workshops, and conferences, but I looked at my family members and friends, and saw that none of them were interested in constructing their own curricula. The people I love are not concerned with immortality--why, then, should I be?

Similarly, I lost my enthusiasm to pursue a Ph.D. in anything. I looked at former classmates who are now presidents, deans, and department chairpersons, and what did I see? I saw that, while their knowledge was their happiness, their knowledge was also their loneliness.
Arrived home 5:00 PM.

A glass of Pepsi Max.

"You'll remember the love you found here/
You'll remember me somehow/
Though you don't need me now/
I will stay in your heart/
And when things fall apart/
You'll remember one day . . ./" 

With Julius and JR at separate times this noon

Last view of the sky from the Octagon

1:30 PM Filed leave for tomorrow because the traffic is sure to be worse than the worst. Frankly, the real root of the traffic problem is overpopulation, and that is something that everyone is doing nothing about.

2:30 PM Turned in my Blackberry to Jude. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I have no intentions of enslaving myself to a mobile. The only way I can be reached is through e-mail and Google+.

3:00 PM Turned in my badge at HR. I asked to skip the exit interview; that is only for employees with grudges and gripes and I have none.

3:30 PM Unable to find Mario the tricycle driver, and so I went on board another tricycle with the gift I was supposed to give him.

4:00 PM Took the LRT1 to Doroteo Jose.

4:15 PM Took the LRT2 to Araneta Center-Cubao.

Lunch with Julius at Emerald Garden.

JR, Joy, Richmond, Randolph, and Ej were at another table in the adjoining room.

Meeting up with JR during the holidays.
I don't buy bags that are too small to put all of my things in.
No one in this world will ever be known to everyone in this world, no matter how hard anyone campaigns for it.

The same is true of your gods and your heroes.

Rich Tagalog: Words of Peacemaking

"O sige na, sige na!" spoken in exasperation means, "Go ahead, if it makes you happy!"

A recent, idiomatic development of this is "Ikaw na!", which subliminally means the same thing. "Ikaw na!" does NOT mean, "You're the man!"
It is not enough to know your assets. You also need to know how to put them to good use.
Aubrey's last day of school before the long holiday.
Countdown: ONE work day before my official retirement!
Looking back over the past five years, the single and most memorable event that occurred in my life was my Haring Bakal initiation in Santander, Cebu. Over several months I visited two masters, who gave me sheets of oraciones to memorize. I used three kinds of oil in separate bottles. I underwent a rigorous grilling, after which a ritual called "pandong" (prayers over one's head) was performed on me. A candle was lit on an altar and its flame was carefully observed. The master then struck me with the blade of a katana the requisite number of times on my stomach and legs. (It hurt; my flesh wasn't slashed but bore welts and bruises for three weeks.) I had four "mutya"s (implants) inserted in my forearms. (That hurt also, and the instruments used were a rusty razor blade and a used matchstick to push the "mutya"s in.) I got terribly sick afterward because I forgot to abstain from using anything of metal for 49 days, and my forearms remained swollen for a month--you can actually see them in some of my Album photos. I was required to wear a "bakus" (belt with pouches and inscriptions) and three kinds of "chalecos" (vests) and keep a blessed coconut on my bedroom altar.

There are many other things related to Haring Bakal, of course, that I do not have the liberty of revealing on this blog.

Tony Perez's Art of War

A colleague who practices magic once gave me this piece of advice:

Never set your magical defenses (taladros, panyos, libretas, talismans, oraciones, obras) too high. It is like building tall walls around your castle. If your ramparts are too high, it is true that your enemies will be unable to penetrate them and attack you--yet, the wolves and tigers within your courtyard will also be unable to leap out and devour them.

Rich Tagalog: No Measuring Spoons for These

Did you know that Filipinos have more words for less of something than for more of something?

Here are the words for less of something:

Kaunti = a small amount, a little of, a few

Kalahati = half of

Kapiraso = a piece of

Kakapiranggot = too small to satisfy

Kukurampot = a tiny amount, the rest withheld by another due to selfishness

Katiting = insubstantial

Ga-kurot = a pinch of

Butil = a grain of

Patak = a drop of

Latak = dregs

Bahid = merely a trace of
Three years ago, during a festival in Baguio City, a friend showed me a talisman she'd been keeping for quite some time. It was given her by someone who did not explain to her what it was for. I identified the talisman for her; it was "Kinalulugdang Anak", and she was quite delighted with the name. I did not tell her what that talisman is really for, simply giving her the catch-all phrase "for protection".

"Kinalulugdang Anak" and "Sagrada Familia" are attractive talismans to many because they depict scenes of love, unity, and affection. Unbeknownst to them, such scenes are masks, or disguises, for their real purpose. These talismans, with the correct oraciones and llaves, are actually used for offense and aggression, known by the catch-all phrase "pamatay".
Arrived at the office 5:45 AM.

Wearing Kiehl's Original Musk Oil.
To enlighten the underprivileged en masse, organize museum and art gallery tours for them, ensuring that there are docents who can communicate with them on their own level.
The Philippine government spent millions of pesos to prevent an OFW who killed his employer in the Middle East from getting beheaded.

Why are people surprised that the U.S. government is willing to do the same for a Marine who killed a bar pick-up in the Philippines?

In both cases, I perceive that the real and ultimate issue is not justice but forgiveness.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Checked out a few things at Papemelroti. Their paper bags tear easily and they use staple wires to seal their packages.

Not child-safe.
Visited Aida this evening to purchase a glass case for my Hogwarts Castle model.
The goddess of the storm is my mother. As the sky whips up rain clouds for its dessert, I am done with my mission at Quezon City Hall and am already safely ensconced inside my room.
Samson College of Science and Technology, behind which our house is located, is having its institutional Christmas party today. I can hear the loud music as I sit in the small loggia sipping a cup of black coffee.
I've text-messaged everyone who matters, informing them that I'm turning in my Blackberry to the office. Before I do so I'm deleting everything in it.
Thought of going shopping but at the same time thought that I need to conserve my pocket money through Friday.
It is out of humility, not because of uncertainty, that a talented person desists from entering a competition.
At Quezon City Hall we passed by the Social Services Development Division, and I recalled my "Writing from The Heart" workshop for children in conflict with the law at Molave Youth Home last year. How time flies--I wondered whether most of my workshop participants were still there.

I thought of stopping by to say hello to the director but decided not to.
When a woman's hair touches your face, it's because her body wants to know you.
No one should kill or be killed because everyone has the right to live as long a lifetime as possible.

It is the reason why we heal.
The people who assisted me at Quezon City Hall were very kind.

Now to keep my passport-renewal appointment.
Your e-mail message:

"Dear Sir Tony,

"I am someone you know because of your work at ________________. I am an avid reader of your 'Dear Sir Tony, Dear *****' posts on Facebook. You've given me messages on my birthdays and I tried my best to make sense of them... 

"Recently, I'm exploring the idea of meeting you for a talk. I know you can help me. I have a lot issues or not really issues, just questions I know your perspective on things will guide me. I've always considered your some suggestions and opinion as wise and relevant to me. In fact you've once invited me. But I'm a bit hesitant. I can say I miss your posts on Facebook.

"But right now sir, I think it's urgent. December last year, I met this young man of the same age during an ________________. He was the first person to talk to me in the event. The moment I met him I felt something's different. I like him. He is charming, sweet, gentle and kind. In the 5 days of that program, my focus seemed to be on him. Right after meeting him, I logged on to Facebook to find him. It turned out that he already had sent a Facebook request to me. 

"We've been talking ever since. We have exchanged Facebook and SMSs a lot after the program until I just felt that the liking turned to be love. I love him. And I felt that I should let him know. 

"Funny thing I did was to bought a new SIM card and text him. I created a new persona who admitted this crush on him. Until on my birthday, I decided to let him know that it was me. 

"His reaction is gentle. He said he's looking for a deeper friendship. I reckon before that admission, he offered me unconditional friendship. Despite the admission, we remained friends. I think good friends. We still continue to talk online. We worked on a project that did not materialize. We share our dreams, our frustrations. He has his way of letting me feel I am special. He once told me I am someone special for him. 

"For a year now, my feelings are still the same. I explore the idea of letting him know my feelings. He may not like the idea of us together since it's unconventional. But for what it's worth, I want to open my heart to him. I reached out to him. 

"Right now, we are in the same ___________. It's like God or the Universe is moving. Last day was a crazy one. There was this session where we we partners and we had to do an exercise... While doing that, a love song played. He sang. It's like a movie. Everything is scored.

"But I dunno sir. And I please, if you have time, give me your thoughts. Should I let him know of my feelings? What are the things I need to prepare for? Is this the right time? I'm with him until Saturday. Got a lot of questions I can't formulate. 

"I will appreciate your time and help sir, just like in the past. I also look forward to meeting you again. 

"Maraming salamat po.


My answer:

Hello ___________________!

1. I deactivated from facebook in July this year. I couldn't stand its Sodom-and-Gomorrah ambiance, what with people trying to be as sexy as possible, seducing, lying, cursing, arguing, selling, and character-assassinating. It is also not a creative writer's medium--I could no longer trace my postings from earlier years. Hence I am now on the classier Google+ (where I've been maintaining an account long before facebook anyway, due to my 26 blogs). 

2. I do not go out and meet people. I am a hermit. E-mail and Google+ are the closest you can ever get to me.

3. The "ploy"of the man you are in love with sounds suspiciously gay to me. Are you sure he isn't gay? Gays who desire a "normal" life usually resort to imaginative, melodramatic tactics.

4. If he is gay and if you know it and he knows that you know it and you still love him anyway, go for it. There is nothing wrong with falling in love with and marrying a gay man, if you can still make your happiness absolute.

5. Follow your heart. 
Your Hangout message: 

"I have...(a) personal concern sir, will there be a man who would love me unconditionally? A man who is truly for me ? I find myself unlovable and i think don''t know how to love, I tend to be overly irrational and more on emotions. I would sometimes assume that your posts on love and hope are for me but then I know love isn't here anymore this year.  
"I am planning to change my work and place as what you've advised me because I also think this place is really too small for me and I think things will be better somewhere away from here where I can freely explore life."

My answer:

Hello ________!

Love yourself, and love yourself unconditionally. Everything else will follow.
Countdown: Two more work days to my official retirement!

And yet, I am on leave today because I needed to acquire certain documents from Quezon City Hall for the renewal of my passport.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Good night, Cubao!

I need to swing by Quezon City Hall tomorrow to obtain required documents for the renewal of my passport.
I stop going to the office December 20.

Yet, that is the day I need to resume dramaturgy of plays for Singaporean playwrights.
Liz wants me to paint a cheerful landscape on her future baby's bedroom wall after I retire, but I suggested that I do it on cradled canvas instead.
It is good practice to give others the benefit of the doubt.

It is also good for your mental health.
The moon casts shadows deeper than the shadows cast by the sun.
Even after the rain has stopped, it continues to fall from the leaves of trees.
Never accept "extensions" offered for your e-mail. They are portals for hackers.
In a country with bad roads, it is unwise to invest your money in cars and in shoes.
Went through a two-feet-high stack of calling cards and retained only 20. While looking through each card, I vividly recalled the exact moment that it was handed to me.

Some of the people in that stack have moved on to other jobs. Others have passed away.
There will always be something there to remind you.
I have learned, over the years, that "to work hard" is no assurance of success. You could "work hard" 24 hours a day and it could very well be merely like overplowing a field and not planting anything in it.

Do work hard, but with strategic planning, wise intent, a knowledge of resources, and a realistic timetable.

is actually



The only students of magic I accept are those who are artists as well.

Magic requires en-visioning, in-visioning, re-visioning, intense visualization, and the ability to draw, paint, sculpt, and structure.
As for Grimm, I am deeply disturbed by the too-convenient availability of information in their extremely dubious but ever-present Book of Shadows, evidently faux-antique with rushed, felt-tip pen illustrations. Definitely no woodcuts and no etchings there.

Why don't all of them read the book once and for all and save us the trouble of having to watch those page-flipping scenes?
Watched The Librarians last night. I like the concept, but the show is terribly hampered by the "Nancy Drew-Meets-the-Hardy-Boys-at-Age-29" casting AND acting. The program comes across as a rehash of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which of course it is since one of them was acting like Xander and another was acting like Willow, but it goes farther back than that; it is a 1960s formula. The only thing going for it is the interesting library set.

I'll take Kolchak: The Night Stalker at any time. It didn't seem derivative of anything except for Rod Serling's Night Gallery, though not everyone will see the connection between those two. I wish DIVA/Universal would buy the rights to that.

Countdown: Three more work days to my official retirement!

I've been bringing home my personal stuff and have only two more signatures on my checkout list to obtain!
Arrived at the office 5:45 AM.

Wearing Chanel No. 5.
I have a quirk. Whenever an ambulance passes by, I say three prayers for the sick person inside. I've been doing this since I was 18, and, I believe that I receive health blessings in return for it.

Strangely, by the prayers I spontaneously utter, I have immediate knowledge of which patients will get well and which patients will not.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A co-worker is moving out of her rented house in Bel-Air and moving into a condo unit on Salcedo. She bequeathed to me five, framed, watercolor paintings and a tabletop tableau of the Coronation of the Virgin Mary. I have yet to determine whether the paintings are authentic or are repros. They are old and dark and convincingly real because they are chipped in parts and one of them even has a vertical crack that may have been caused by a past attempt to fold it. Three of them are signed "Bredow", but the signatures are a far cry from Bredow's real signature.
A traitor is an inferior person who deludes himself to believe that he is so much better than you are.
The worst acquaintances of all are people who have rigid, preconceived expectations of what others should say and do. These are the acquaintances who never develop into friends.
Countdown: Four more work days to my official retirement!

(Actually my official retirement date is December 31, but I'm taking a long holiday leave.)
Religious imperialism is the strongest protector of corruption and crime.
Last night was on Chapter 7, Book 1 of the absolutely turgid and long-winded The Book of Abramelin The Mage.
Drink water before urinating, not after.
Arrived at the office 5:45 AM.

Wearing Old Spice Classic by Shulton.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Resetting my alarm, once again, to 4:30 AM, meaning that Night Classes will take one and a half hours.
All of them are gay.
Night classes 3:00 AM

Topic: Magical Shielding

A scandal involving popular celebrities will manifest on December 22.
Iron beds will come back in vogue, and the people who own them will hang sheer curtains round them.
I see a famous artist saying goodbye.
Good night, Cubao!

Tomorrow begins my last work week in the office. This ends my office career finally, and at last!
Your Hangout message:

"Good Morning sir! I have something  to consult about my friend's favor of wanting you to give your insights about her personality and future. Her name is _____________________. That's the photo of her with her husband and baby. Thank you sir for your time. God bless!"

My answer: 

Hi ______!

In the photo I see a woman who cannot save money and who is too much in love with her husband, to the extent that she melts like butter in his hands. She should not be self-sacrificial and self-effacing.She should be more selfish.

On the faces of the woman and the man, I see a desire to go abroad and earn money there. This, however, is not auspicious for their family. The woman should engage in a home-run business; the man should be employed and should be as hard-working as can be.

I see another baby coming.
You are not obliged to give gifts to people. But, if you receive gifts from them, you are obliged to thank then.
If you are a guest at a celebration, know that the true test of both a caterer and the client is the dessert, which should be as superb as all of the dishes. Usually, it is the dessert that both a caterer and a client skimp and save on.

After I retire I will finally be able to catch TV programs that are way after my bedtime, such as Grimm and The Librarians.
Watched Lust for Life on HBO last night, on the life of Vincent van Gogh, with Kirk Douglas as van Gogh and Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin. I totally loved it but can see how the average viewer will find it long, dragging, boring, and depressing.

I am certain that the production was very expensive, and could have been made only by a producer and a director who love van Gogh and the Impressionists. Some sets were painstakingly constructed with great detail only to be used in a maximum of two or three shots.

The most impressive features of that film are the clever interface between van Gogh's paintings and actual scenes in the movie--landscapes, trees, flowers, even people and their costumes. On top of everything, many scenes, body positions, and atmospheric lighting were taken from other Impressionists' paintings.

Not only van Gogh and Gauguin figured in that movie; among the others, there were Cezanne, Tanguy, Pissaro, and Seurat, and, of course, van Gogh's brother, Theo. (Monet was conspicuously absent.) I finally affirmed how names were correctly pronounced. (In the Philippines, people say "van Go" instead of "van Gog".)

The homoerotic albeit subliminal relationship between van Gogh and Gauguin was most intriguing. Their violent separation, not van Gogh's unrequited love for a woman, was shown to be the trigger for van Gogh's slicing off his ear. I never encountered that in any art history book, but the film staff seemed to have conducted very extensive research on the subject.

If you paint, watch this movie.
This coming week, unexpected people will call you and visit you.
We assembled a shelving system made of black, slotted, angle bars this morning and placed it in Aubrey's bedroom. They're not the shelves she originally wanted, but they are just as beautiful.

I asked Aubrey to choose items from our house decor to place on her shelves. She took the Gandalf in a glass vitrine; the Marta Dominadora (after I told her that in any home with an image of Marta Dominadora no man can ever dominate or abuse women); the Hotel California night light; two antique, Persian wooden horses (her father is a Chinese Horse); two statuettes of rabbits (we are both Chinese Rabbits), and the antique, bronze, spirit boat.
There will be new, extraterrestrial patterns on the earth and the sea very soon. Watch out for them.
Good morning, Cubao!

Slept ten hours last night.

It isn't rainy anymore, and so I'll visit my artist friend and stop by another friend's shop today.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Good night, Cubao!

I loved this day--it was yet another preview of my retirement. The day was totally mine--no supervisors, no measured breaks, no commuting in vehicles.

After Sunday, I have five more work days in the office. And then this life will be for real.
Reminders are never gentle. They are urgent. They demand action.

And. sometimes, if people need a reminder, consider that they might not want to do what you want them to do at all.

When people call you because someone hasn't been returning their call despite repeated messages, tell them, "Have you considered that he/she doesn't want to talk to you?"

Everyone has the right to not return calls.
Very rainy noon in Cubao. Looks like the gods and goddesses don't want me to go shopping.
It is difficult to run a successful residence for drug addicts in this country because no one realizes that all staff members should be role models on top of being physically beautiful, intelligent, and truly compassionate.

You don't people your staff with fundamentalists, prudes, secret perverts, know-it-alls, and people who are prone to falling in love with their own patients.
The Tagalog word "tahan" means "keep calm and center yourself". The Bahasa Malay word "tahan" means "remain constant and unchanging".

In Tagalog, "sweetheart" is "kasintahan", which could either be interpreted as "kasIN-tahan" ("both (of us) calm and centered"/"both (of us) constant and unchanging") or "KAsin-tahan" ("My dearest one who is calm and centered/"my dearest one who is constant and unchanging").
When your pet cat saunters into another's house, do not expect it to be loved as it is loved by you.

Unfortunately, the cat expects them to.
One of the restrictions of having a massage is that you really cannot administer one to yourself.

A Dream Two Nights Ago: The Hierophant

What I Remember from the Day:

It is the day before our office Christmas party.

Before going to bed I discover that I have 18 more calling cards in my black container. One of these I gave Mike Macho of JUSMAG, with my personal e-mail address and cyberspace links written on the back, in the Octagon this morning.

The Dream:

The Pope has arrived; unbeknownst to all he is in Stella Maris College, in Cubao. Last year he donated P350,000 to the school. Apparently he placed these in my brown, leather wallet to give the school, which I did. Today he hands me a black envelope. At first I am under the impression that the money is to be split between a friend and myself, but, of course, it is to be another donation to the school. I think of my collection of Italian books on art, and I wonder if the Pope should see them and whether I should donate them also to the school.

Next, I see a scene in which a black-and-white dog is being tortured to death by a group of small boys. It seems that the dog has done something wrong and that the boys are punishing him. Lino Brocka is somewhere in the vicinity and is addressing a group of people with his views on corruption and poverty.

A package arrives at home. It contains a statue of Mary, the betrothed wife of Joseph, which I intend to donate to the school on the occasion of the Pope's visit. It has no shipping list, but I want so much to know how much the statue costs. The Pope is not impressed with the statue and neither am I because it is made of resin, a substance with no value. The Pope says, "This is a bad idea."

My Interpretation:

This is a three-part dream. As I teach my students, when a dream comes in two or more parts, every part means the same thing; it is one message retold in different ways.

The only obvious bridges I find are money = calling cards and black envelope = black calling-card container.

The Pope is not literally the Pope but possibly my Higher Self or Superego.

I believe that my dream's message is that too much charity and too much sharing are not always a good idea. It leads to recipients wanting more and more. One ends up being "punished" by one's ego for giving one's arm as well as one's hand. Excessive charity and excessive sharing, therefore, actually encourage corruption and poverty.

A sunny morning in Cubao
Having intelligence of the heart means that you know who is in love with you without showing that knowledge, without necessarily reciprocating, but exercising total compassion and kindness toward that person.
If a staff member, partner, associate, or group member leaves you, it is because they think that you cannot function without them, and also think that you will desperately chase them and ask them to come back.

Don't make the mistake of wanting them back. They have manifested sociopath tendencies--and it's their problem, not yours.
Watched Gravity on HBO last night. In case anyone thinks it was an acting vehicle, it wasn't. The special effects stole the show--all the way.

It is probably best viewed, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, while in an altered state of consciousness.
When Nonon learned that I intend to be a hermit beginning December 20, he predicted that my life would be simple, silent, and slow, like a Buddhist's.

I wonder if that will be so. I have a wild streak, I take risks, and, if it takes psychological violence to heal a person completely, I go ahead and apply it.
I plan to go out today--truly a rare occurrence. I need to visit an artist, stop by a friend's shop because she set aside some important things for me, and go to MegaMall where a friend's shop has two things I really want.
Good morning, Cubao!

Slept ten hours last night, and then spent another hour lolling in bed. I find that it is the best time to feel centered, contemplate the past from the time you were born, the present, and the future be it the next 12 or 24 hours or the rest of your life,

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cherry finds the way to my heart.

Took a taxi home. Again.
Whenever I have to pass through two or more people in a hallway or between a person (or more) and a TV or slide screen, I look at the people who are there, say, "Excuse me," and simply walk through.

I cannot understand why some people bend over, sometimes with their right hand held up in a karate-chop stance, and tiptoe their way through.

Is this a remnant of slavery?
Experience love only with your heart. Analyze it only with your mind.
There are times when you should not regret having done any embarrassing acts, because those very acts are what set you FREE.
Your e-mail message:

"Hello Sir Tony,

"Can you still give a workshop kahit retired ka na? 

"Willing naman ang school to provide food and accomadation plus transportation?

"Saan ka pwede makontak? 



My answer:

Hi _________!

Yes, of course, I would love to do that.

Use my personal e-mail address. Also search for"Tony Perez Philippines Google+".
It is all right for a master to have proteges as long as no one else knows who they are, because proteges exposed to the public eventually live long lives of resentment.
Blessed Friday!

Countdown: Five more work days before official retirement!
Yesterday at the Octagon an American officer asked me how it feels like to be retiring in a few days, because he is retiring in some three to four years and wants to know what to expect. I gave him my metaphysical version and my practical version. I also told him what a joy and blessing retirement is, as long as you have monthly annuity coming to you. You can do anything you want. The only work you need to do is to stay alive and healthy.
It will take a poet, not an engineer, to unravel and fix the gnarled, electric wiring in the city, for they are nothing more than sentences in black ink that have become uncomprehensible.
A mother cat will fight to the finish for her kittens.
Someone in Quezon City makes great, colorful, graffiti art using spray paint on walls. I wish that all of his works could be documented.
Loving and being loved unselfishly and unconditionally are divine states for as long as both parties are able to sustain them.
Two office Christmas parties are scheduled to take place today, a small one at 12:30 NN and a big one at 3:30 PM.
Orange is the most ausipicious color of this day.
Dawn taxi to the office once again. This is how I've been commuting for a month now. More expensive than the bus or train but a lot cheaper than a car.

I have come to the conclusion that, because of the way I look, most taxi drivers are afraid of me.
Arrived at the office 6:00 AM.

Wearing Brut by Faberge.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Guadalupe Bridge. I've been taking taxis to and from the office for the past two days because, strangely, they've been stopping for me.

A handful of goodies from Susan Roces, whom I wrote Gumising Ka, Maruja for.

My Christmas began today. Card from Dawn with a chocolate, gold coin inside! I haven't seen chocolate gold coins in a while.

Length of service award and pin. I bring home such awards because I reuse the frames to hold my drawings.

Ballpoint pens galore!

My expensive dragon pens and skull pens notwithstanding, I've been receiving ballpoint pens within the past week. There were the pens, of course, from the hotel in Singapore. And then, after our coffee meeting on the campaign for the 70th Year of the Liberation of the Philippines, Lucky, who was sitting beside me, placed his pen on top of my folder before leaving. This morning, while gathering signatures for my checkout, Anton pushed his pen toward me after affixing his signature on my checkout sheet!
Met two young men in the Octagon--one from Hanoi, the other from South Korea--who are here for training. We had a long conversation about their countries.
Finally sent blanket text messages to everyone in my cell phone directory, informing them that they will be unable to reach me next week except by my personal e-mail address and my Google+ account.

Received all sorts of responses. Among them were a message from Mark, who said that he'd been dreaming about me and had just awakened; a "textula" from Frank that he composed; a lot of Christmas greetings; and good wishes from a lot of people whom I hadn't seen or heard from in a while.
Four more signatures to complete my 21-signature checkout list!

The Shower

The Dream:

I am visiting the house of a young man, a student at De La Salle University. It is an old, 1940s house updated to the 50s, and has quite a dark interior. I've been invited to check out the death of another young man, a suicide.

Sometime after I arrive I decide to take a shower in the ground-floor bathroom. There is a huge plastic tub, and I note that it is green. I lift the lid--it contains not collected water but small, white towels tied in bundles.

The young man comes into the bathroom and insists on taking a shower with me. His father and brothers look in through the window that opens onto the garage and garden. I am embarrassed. The young man and I are unable to even commence showering. He leaves, saying we should shower another time. Now alone, I decide to go ahead and shower.

Back in the living room, the young man's relatives gather round me. I predict that a second young man will commit suicide. Much later, indeed, I am told that a second young man, though not related to any of the characters in the dream, has done so.

People trickle in to hold a prayer session for the first young man who committed suicide.

My Commentary:

On the morning of that day I learned that Richmond resigned from his position; we are both exiting the office December 19. Someone remarked that so many people are resigning from the office--as opposed to retiring. Over my 36 years in this office I have seen this happen all too often, and I view resignation as a form of suicide. The towels inside the green tub are the healing possibilities I could have used on these people--alas, I give that only when people come and ask me.

In this dream, I am both myself and the young man. I am the employee who is retiring, and the young man is what I am or was during the entire time that I was employed. Showering is an act of cleansing; the young man's father and his brothers are our spirit guides.

The last part of the dream is precognitive: another young man will resign from his job.

Blessed Thursday!

Countdown: Six work days before my official retirement!

Yesterday morning a female janitor from a building across the office compound came up to me and asked whether it was true that I am retiring very soon.

It's amazing how news travels fast in a huge office.

I was happy during all my 36 years working in this office. But I have often sat in the Octagon and observed the cleaners and gardeners and construction workers at their tasks and, though they often gather in small groups and exchange jokes and banter, I have also often wondered how happy they really are.
Sometimes it is the friend who dares not say "I love you" who really loves you, yet it is that friend who must suffer unrequited love.
Your e-mail message: 

"Hi Sir Tony,

"I apologize for bothering you but I’ve been trying to reach you... the group Spirit Questors. I’ve been reading about your group Spirit Questors for quite some time. I understand how your team operates and what you do but I want to make it clear that I’m not a practitioner just a voracious reader. That is how I came to know about you. Now, I wrote this letter in the hope that you can help me with my dilemma. We just transferred to this new house for about 7 months now and everything was perfectly fine till me and my wife started noticing some very odd and particular things. My daughter who is __ years old keeps on telling us that she dreams about this dark small guy who keeps on egging her to hurt, kick, punch, or do some nasty things to her mother. We didn’t give it any thought dismissing it to be some silly dreams any __ yr. old child would normally have. We told her to pray everytime most especially before she gets to bed and fortunately the bad dreams stopped.

"Things started getting odd this ____________ 2014 till now. Money of various denominations and keys started disappearing for no apparent reason. At first we thought that we had just misplaced it but since me and my wife started having doubts we developed a system and placed organizers on strategic points in the house so as not to lose anything but still it did. The last straw happened just yesterday __/__/2014 were my wife left her grocery money in the cabinet put it in a small jar and sealed it and locked the cabinet. She was about to give me some spare change for my fare going to work and voila all the money in the jar was gone. This is something we can’t understand and fathom hence this email for help. Honestly I feel a presence in the house but I don’t know what it is and I dismiss it all the time but this has gone too far now. I don’t know how this thing works and I don’t want to mess with something which I don’t understand. I’ve been raised as a Christian and was told and warned not to deal with these things i.e. talking with spirits, vanishing them, etc. I was thought to rebuke evil which I do all the time but this thing that is happening in our house is something I need help and assistance. I can’t conclude and I don’t know how to resolve this. I hope this letter reaches you, and reaches you in good spirits. I know you are a very busy group but I hope you will find the time to extend help to me and my family. In case you were wondering, we don’t have anybody in the house it’s just the 3 of us. Me, my wife, and my daughter, so we wouldn’t prank each other just for the fun of it. It’s really happening and I believe there is an entity involved here."

"Here’s my contact: _____ - ___________
"Email: __________________
"Address: __________________________________



My answer: 

Hello _________,

The old Spirit Questors group no longer exists. I as an individual am now the Spirit Questors. I visit places either alone or with only one or two trusted companions. I am able to resolve situations via e-mail, however. Most of the time having to meet physically is a ridiculous game.

Please try the following:

1. _________________________________________________________________________________________.
2. _____________________________________________.
4. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

This should work.

If I do not hear from you again, it means that everything is all right.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unable to understand account statistics. This has happened several times before: page views go up to 2,000,000 and then suddenly go down to 600,000 again.

My office desk is a stark contrast to my Filipino Dumbledore desk at home.

My office module isn't as nearly-vacant as I want it to be, because it is the only space where we can store the 70th-Year-of-the-Liberation-of-the-Philippines T-shirts for a project I am passing on to a colleague.

My office module. I brought most of my stuff home already.

The rings I wore today, because I dreamt of them last night.

Left to right: royal blue sapphire, my aunt's ring; dragon with black onyx from Italy; silver seal ring with my initials; jade, Philippine magic, MephanaiJPhaton ring surrounded with brilliants designed for left forefinger.

Left to right: ruby, Philippine magic, MephanaiJPhaton ring surrounded with brilliants designed for right forefinger; my antique, signature ring, black star sapphire set in silver with vampire bat design; antelope intaglio ring from Afghanistan; and one of my four, claw, silver rings.  

Doing my checkout sheet. I need 21 signatures for my clearance from 21 sections of this huge office!
A person who lives in a matchbox will have stunted growth, and his creativity will not have the necessary space to expand to its fullest.
Last night I dreamt I was wearing eight rings, one of them the royal blue sapphire ring bequeathed to me by the aunt who had the greatest impact on my life.

I am wearing eight rings through Friday, including the royal blue sapphire ring.
Blessed Wednesday!

Countdown to my official retirement: Seven working days!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Good night, Cubao!

Reset my alarm. Back to work in the office tomorrow.
I will always remember 2013 and 2014 as very special years in the Philippines. Within that period of time, citizens and civic-minded institutions made the entire country and the world aware of massive corruption and of an entire range of crimes--and, most importantly, action was and is being taken.

The perpetrators think that they will have a chance to continue practicing their anomalies once a new President is elected.

The perpetrators are wrong.

2013 - 2014 was a point of no return for the Philippines.

Everyone is now observant, vigilant, alert, critical, analytic, interpretive, and willing to act against all odds.
My two scholar's fetishes: the little boy monk is from Shouzan (famous for semi-precious stones that cannot be found elsewhere), the old man with ru-i, Xian-jin (on the border between China and Mongolia). I am told that the Chinese literati collect such stones and that they are highly treasured. The friend of a friend has hundreds and keeps a photo catalogue of them; the little boy monk was part of that collection and was purchased from him by a very close friend for me. Such stones are meant to be touched frequently or held in one's left hand, presumably while writing with the other hand.

It is said that each stone will crystallize with age. I can believe that; note that portions of the little boy monk have crystal quartz.

These stones are jade, not agate. The old man figure is an example of three-color jade, which is quite expensive.

Jade comes in many colors, but, once I got started with red, I decided to stick to it.

I am next scheduled to do workshops for underprivileged high school students and, I think, female residents of a home for the aged. All of this, however, is still tentative.
A company schedules frequent staff meetings whenever it is constantly in fear of being unproductive.
While waiting for our workshop sessions to begin, Sarah wrote messages in Christmas cards to send her family and friends in Canada. Sarah is always on travel status. She is the only person I know of today who sends handwritten letters and postcards via snail mail.

I tried purchasing a box of Christmas cards many years ago but found the cost unreasonably high. Sarah agrees that sending a Christmas card is as expensive as buying a small gift for someone.
As long as they have good housing, clean water, electricity, reliable facilities, excellent transportation systems, safe roads, and no traffic, employees will not mind working 12 hours a day.

That is when progress begins.
A chilly day in Cubao. I am glad I have an iron-tracery firebox that can accommodate six bottled candles to warm my feet while I am writing. It is such a practical and portable substitute for a hearth.
I can't seem to get to retirement soon enough, because I so look forward to doing things for myself on a full-time basis at last.
The two cleaners who alternately worked on my hotel room are from mainland China. The young man intends to go back to China eventually; the young woman intends to get married and settle down in Singapore.
It was somewhat comforting to see the same staff members at the hotel from my last visit. Same faces, same uniforms, same conversations. I suddenly realized, though, that I am never like that to other people--I keep changing, and I wonder if the new personality they encounter ever makes them feel unsure both of me and of themselves. Regular people do make the world feel secure, and irregular people make it feel insecure.

Whenever people meet me again, their typical question is, "What are you up to these days?"
In the Departure Area of Changi Airport, I did my usual ritual, which was peeking into Madame Butterfly. I didn't purchase anything because my red set is complete. The only interesting items were porcelain statuettes of the Three Stars of Happiness and the three men in the peach garden (cf. Romance of the Three Kingdoms). I was actually looking for a cloisssone cigarette case; there weren't any, and the toothpick cases were too short!

The Filipina saleslady was no longer there--either she'd moved on or was on her day off. There was another Filipina saleslady, though, at Cards, where I was so tempted to buy a statuette after Klimt's The Kiss, but it was so pricey and cost the equivalent of P18,000!
Good news from Omar. God bless him!
Good morning, Cubao!

It was a wet night, it is a wet day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The gods and goddesses speak within the silence.
The goddess of the storm is my mother. SQ-916 was a smooth flight. I was able to watch two movies: Ninja Turtles and Lucy.

Arrived home in Cubao 7:00 PM.
Many of the migrant workers who came from Bangladesh to Singapore have dreams of being writers, actors, and singers. They organized a theater group that performs every once in a while in Bangla; I had the rare opportunity to watch one of their rehearsals. One of the workshop participants took a course in Electrical Engineering just so that he could qualify as a worker and get sent to Singapore. His dream, however, is to become a successful visual media practitioner here. I pray that all of them achieve their dreams.

These men are very religious Muslims. They are construction and shipyard workers.

As I was sitting there conducting an exercise, I wondered about Filipino carpenters, plumbers, and such in my own country. Am I failing to see anything in them? Do some of them secretly want to be writers and painters too?
I never say goodbye to anyone or anything. When I leave, I take them away with me in my heart.
Every photograph is a memory of a relationship between the photographer and his subject matter.
Often, when a person apologizes or shows remorse, there remains a subpersonality within him that sits there smirking and has the potential to do the same offensive act, or worse, all over again.
Gave away six office T-shirts to ease my luggage: mango yellow, egg yellow, celadon, powder blue, and steel gray. I gave them away as souvenirs of the Philippines. Besides, I have only seven more work days before I retire, and I don't foresee myself keeping anything of the office in my house or in my wardrobe.
The problem with adaptation and deconstruction as, for example, in Walt Disney movies, is that the clueless mistake them for originals, and, sadly, there are many clueless people in this world.
I loved the Bangladeshi migrant workers, and they loved me! I'll post all the photos I took on my "Writing from The Heart" blog when I get home.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A few nights ago, when I was trudging into the hotel after a workshop at the theater, I passed by the open door of the bar. A female crooner was singing "Dahil Sa Iyo".
A workshop is not a formal tea party. As such it is the proper venue where participants can make mistakes, fail, even be unpolitically correct.
Addendum to my notes on exercising one's body to get rid of nocturnal leg cramps:

Contrary to what your gym instructor will tell you, when doing sit-ups focus on your legs rather than your stomach. You do this by keeping your legs flat, not arched, on the floor. Feel the way the muscles in the back of your thighs are stretched--it is actually quite a pleasant feeling.

Sometimes I Am the Lamb Being Led to the Slaughter

The workshop this evening will be for low-wage, migrant workers at Dibashram. It is in Little India.

I suddenly realized that, on December 8, 2013, "the" big, bloody, riot occurred there, the first such riot in 40 years in Singapore, and that my workshop might be part of its commemoration.
Every evening I watch the shadows of buildings lengthen as the sun begins to set. Then, like a vampire risen from his coffin, I get dressed and walk to the theater for the 7:00 - 10:00 PM workshop.
Full moon and empty arms
It is mating season for myna birds. Their two-note mating calls are haunting, especially before the sun sets.

The male myna hides at the very top of a tree and intones its call. The females perched on the ledges of buildings respond by trilling and nodding their heads continuously.
I have never looked at my own city from the point of view of someone living in a hotel.
Diego has been reminding me to pray for him every night.
Been sleeping 1:00 AM through 8:30 AM. I need to change that when I get back home and adjust to my office working schedule.
Typhoon Hagupit has a two-page coverage in The Straits Times.
Carefully preparing a revised syllabus for this evening's workshop at The Ashram (dib ashram, merged to be known to all as Dibashram).
Dramaturgy in the flesh with Samantha

It would have been too tedious to do this in the theater, and so we did this at the hotel.

I went over the works of two playwrights over the past few days in the cafe smoking area on the ground floor of the hotel.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Workshop done!

Tomorrow is another challenge altogether: another workshop, this time for low-wage, Bangladeshi, migrant workers at Dibashram.
The participants are rehearsing their five-minute, outdoor plays on-site. The actual vignettes will be held in sequence afterward, and passersby will be encouraged to stop and watch.
A series of emotional truth exercises--then all of us had a late lunch.
Full work day and work night
Discovered only today that carrot cake is actually made of white radish, which the Chinese refer to as carrot.

Friday, December 5, 2014

My latest Singapore Albums are on my Google+ Profile Page, but are visible only to my Followers.
There are actually three routes leading from the hotel to the theater: the first going straight through Saiboo Street; the second crossing the Saiboo bridge and then turning right down a staircase to the restaurant areas; and the meandering third through the park and turning left on Alkaff Bridge, Pacita Abad's bridge.

I frequently take the third route.
Lunch in a mall, and then visited a Taoist temple on Mohamed Sultan Street. The priest was very accommodating. We discussed the different Chinese gods inside the temple--I recognized only Shien Tien, Kwan Yin, Pao Kung, Noh Tzah, To Tee Kung and Kwan Kung.

I asked whether there was an image of Chuoko Liong (a.k.a. Chuoko Kung Ming in Manila); there was none. Apparently CL a.k.a CKM is not venerated in this particular temple.

Taoist priests are usually psychic, but I thought it would have been impolite to ask for a reading.
Jerwin called at 11:00 PM last night but I was too tired and sleepy to go out with him for coffee.
On a social media application, mainly your friends look at what you have to say.

On a blog, the whole world can look at everything you have to say.
--The single word "Can" means, "yes, it's possible," or "You are allowed to do that."

--In normal conversations, when someone is telling me something, the phrase "so-called" always crops up. I suppose it is the equivalent of the Tagalog "kuwan". It wasn't easy for me to catch up because it is usually pronounced "sukot", and, at first, I thought it was a Bahasa Malay word.
As in my trip last May, I encountered a lot of myna birds.
Some terms about workshop supplies that led to a little confusion:

--When I asked for a whiteboard eraser, I should have said "duster".
--When I asked for drawing paper, I should have said "drawing block".
--Double adhesive is commonly referred to here as "Blue Tack".

Thursday, December 4, 2014

In terms of men's dressing, there are two things I see here that are not en vogue in Manila:

--It is perfectly all right here to wear rubber slippers as a substitute for casual shoes.
--I note a lot of men wearing "three-quarters" (pants that come down to mid-calf), which they often wear with sandals. Not to be confused with baggy, long shorts, though. In 1950s parlance, these are tight "pedal pushers", the kind you see in old Betty & Veronica comic books.
2:00 3:00 PM, dramaturgy in the flesh with Mayura
Dramaturgy in the flesh with Gabriel 11:00 AM - 12:48 NN. Afterward Gabriel, De Jun, and I had lunch in a "coffee shop".
I assigned the workshop participants a penultimate exercise that I call "Walking Theater", in which they are to write a sketch to be performed by their co-participants in different locations on the park outside the theater, by the river. (If it rains we simply move into the theater.) This will commence at 10:00 AM on Saturday and is free of charge, of course.

Should you happen to be in the vicinity, do come and be with us.

Jezreel wanted to cast me as a one-line grandfather in her sketch, but I can't afford to not see all of the sketches rather than appear in even one of them.
This morning I read in The Straits Times that a typhoon is foreseen to hit southern Philippines on Saturday.
Your Hangout message: "Hi Sir.  I hope your enjoying your stay in Singapore.  I am just wondering if you will be posting your forecast for the month of December?  Thank you sir and take care and enjoy Singapore Sir."

My answer: Hi _______!

I don't do that anymore, because it seems to me that only a few people read them and appreciate them.

Gabriel at 11:00 AM, Mayura at 2:00 PM for dramaturgy in the flesh. In the meantime I left my camera jack at the hotel and can't upload anything!
In Chinatown, I visited the Indian tailor from whom I'd bought a silk Chinese dragon jacket last May. I was hoping he'd have Chinese men's suits in cotton that I could wear through my very old age. He had none; neither did any of the stores in the market area. They are all probably in Hong Kong rather than in Singapore, and are the ones being used as costumes in Jacky Chan movies.
A rainy morning in Singapore, and I mean, rainy as in Manila rainy. De Jun had to pick me up from the hotel with two umbrellas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Teow Li looks on with amusement whenever shopkeepers try to persuade me to make an expensive purchase.
I eat in carinderias called "coffee shops". The food there is quite good and "inexpensive", but, converted to pesos, I spend P300 - P500 per meal. (The real Filipino carinderia food, therefore, is still a lot cheaper.)
Back from Chinatown and lunch on River Valley Road.

There was only one thing that I came back for on Temple Street--a three-color-jade fetish carved as an old man with a beard and holding a ru-i sceptre.

Some years back, Teow Li sent me a jasper-and-crystal quartz Shouzan stone carved as a little boy monk.
According to Teow Li, Shouzan stones are coveted and collected by the scholarly and the literary-minded. They are supposed to crystallize with time.

The old-man stone is from Xingjian, on the border between China and Mongolia.

Both stones are meant to be touched and placed in one's pocket.
The literati of Singapore have made an effort to strike out the expletive "lah" from their conversations. They really shouldn't have--I always thought that it was quite piquant.
I am delighted to have begun gathering my works and posting them in cyberspace. In the far future, when every Filipino has a computer that is up and running, my countrymen will re-discover me and find a slew of my works out there, and I will continue to speak to them--though I may no longer be alive in this lifetime when that happens.
Going jalan-jalan (walkabout) with Teow Li in Chinatown in a few minutes.
Good morning, Singapore!

I have many interesting dreams every night. This is, after all, on one of its planes of existence, the kingdom of Chuoko Kung Ming.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Album "In Singapore (Tuesday, December 2, 2014)" is now on my Google+ Profile Page, but is visible only to my Followers.
Teow Li was on a bus on her way home from buying a few things for me when she saw De Jun and me sitting in the hotel cafe. She alit and brought me apples and the one way to my heart--a box of Almond Roca!
I still haven't seen Teow Li and Jerwin.

The good news is, it seems that I have enough cigarettes to last the rest of my trip.
Sleeping at 1:00 AM every night, or should I say every early morning, and working the day through 10:30 PM.
Time flies by so quickly whenever I'm having fun.
"Writing from The Heart" began yesterday evening. I thought it went on very well, although some participants and staff members felt that it was "too intense."

Frankly, I do not know what "too intense" means at all.

Monday, December 1, 2014

What is so surreal to me here is that the water from taps is safe for drinking.
The interior of SQ-919 was bedecked with artificial poinsettias, holly, pine leaves, and red-and-green ribbon.
On the airplane, was again tempted to buy a Montblanc Princess Grace at S$875 and/or a Montblanc Starwalker Midnight Black at S$420, but I already have too many pens.
It's only Monday but it feels like Tuesday already, because all of yesterday, Sunday, was a stressful travel day.
Jerwin called me in my hotel room last night--once while I was still at Changi Airport and at 11:00 PM when I was in bed.
Traveling without a cell phone as a rehearsal for life without a cell phone after retirement, and it's heavenly.
Sometimes you must assume that people are not ignorant. But, then again, sometimes you must assume that they are, especially if you see that they are incapable of figuring things out for themselves.
I have always envied Singapore for its high-rise condominiums. The units are spacious and have high ceilings, unlike those we have in the Philippines, which are like matchboxes.

No human being deserves to live in a matchbox.