So you’re gonna vote? Don’t fuck it up…

Given the lackluster performance that our beloved senators have exhibited as of late in their pursuit of justice and freedom for the Filipino people that they so duly represent, I can only find the voters themselves guilty for such disappointing leadership. The upcoming senatorial elections are very critical in determining our country’s legacy over the next few years. With crucial issues like reproductive health, graft and corruption, an infant-like educational system, poverty, and so many more unresolved affairs of the state, we are in dire need of legislation that is progressive, rational, research-based and pro-people. We have the opportunity to rid our government of plagiarizing bigots, know-nothing action-stars, conservative dinosaurs, money-driven businessmen and church puppets. 

”..however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it” -Manuel Quezon

It is our duty as the electorate to educate ourselves on the leadership that we hope to acquire for our great nation. Come campaign time, do not be content with vague radio jingles, television spots and slogan-stamped posters. Research on the platforms of your prospective leaders and analyze the differences in their approaches to leadership. Behind every right that is inherent to you is a corresponding duty in the practice of that right. In your right to suffrage, in your right to cast your vote, you have a DUTY to be an educated voter; one that is grounded on principles and will vote based on those principles. Your votes ARE NOT for sale the same way your rights to life and liberty are not for sale. 

But it doesn’t stop at casting your vote…

I learned from a great man named Henry David Thoreau that a citizen’s duty during election season goes beyond casting an educated vote. He rationalizes his claim by likening an election to that of a game of chance, a gamble. Casting a vote is merely casting your bet. But we shouldn’t leave the future of our country, the leadership of our people up to chance, should we? No. We do everything in our power to weld the odds to our favor. We don’t stop at deciding on who to bet on. We make sure that our bets are the right ones. We can’t stop at casting our vote, we campaign for our vote. We engage in political discourse with our fellow constituents. We provide perspective. We debate. We educate. We sway. We do everything in our power to make sure that our vote was not cast in vain. That’s what it truly means to protect one’s vote.

The power of government emanates from its people. We must realize that our government is merely a tool, a means to an end. Do not be swayed by the convenience of an inexpedient government that is permanent. We must all strive for a society wherein governance will be obsolete and meaningless. We must strive for balance and equality within our country. We must strive for a nation wherein our rights to justice and freedom in the pursuit of happiness are respected and upheld by all . And it all starts with your vote… don’t fuck it up.

List of some senatoriables:

1. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel (PDP LABAN): 

http://www.kokopimentel.org/

2. Melchor Chavez (KBL):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melchor_Chavez

http://philippinesfunwall.wordpress.com/tag/melchor-chavez/

3. Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr (NPC):

http://www.jackenrile.com/

http://www.i-site.ph/Databases/Congress/12thHouse/personal/enrile-personal.html

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/281060/enrile-jr-chance-to-clean-up-bad-image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Enrile

4. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II (UNA):

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/former_senators/gregorio_honasan.htm

http://www.i-site.ph/Databases/Congress/12thSenate/personal/honasan-personal.html

http://www.gringohonasan.ph/

5. Juan Miguel Zubiri (UNA):

http://www.migzzubiri.org/

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/zubiri_juanmiguel_bio.asp

6. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito (UNA):

http://www.jvejercito.com/

http://www.pep.ph/news/36005/election-watch-congressman-jv-ejercito-estrada-talks-about-ldquoimproved-relationshiprdquo-with-half-brother-senator-jinggoy-estrada-wersquove-both-matured-but-wersquore-not-buddies

7. Ernesto Maceda (UNA):

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/former_senators/ernesto_maceda.htm

http://www.i-site.ph/Databases/ElectionFiles/Senatoriables/KNP/maceda-personal.html

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/ernesto-maceda

8. Richard “Dick” Gordon (UNA):

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/gordon_bio.asp

9. Maria “Mitos” Magsaysay (UNA):

http://www.congress.gov.ph/members/search.php?congress=15&id=magsaysay-m

http://www.i-site.ph/Databases/Congress/13thHouse/personal/magsaysaym-personal.html

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/mitos-magsaysay

10. Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco (UNA):

http://opinion.inquirer.net/tag/margarita-tingting-cojuangco

http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/13199-tingting-on-senate-bid-i-consulted-pnoy

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/09/27/12/tingting-cojuangco-vp-binay-asked-me-run

11. Loren Legarda (NPC):

http://www.lorenlegarda.com.ph/

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/legarda_loren_bio.asp

https://twitter.com/loren_legarda

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/loren-legarda

http://www.youtube.com/channel/HCAVtK5P23zxc

12. Francis “Chiz” Escudero (Independent):

https://twitter.com/SayChiz

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chiz-Escudero/18915649574

https://www.facebook.com/senchizescudero

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/francis-escudero

13. Cynthia Villar (Nacionalista Party):

http://www.villarfoundation.org/

http://www.cynthiavillar.com.ph/

14. Teodoro “Teddy” Casino (Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan):

http://myteddycasino.com/

http://www.congress.gov.ph/members/search.php?id=casino

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/teodoro-casino

http://www.i-site.ph/Databases/Congress/13thHouse/personal/casino-personal.html

15. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV (Nacionalista Party):

http://www.trillanes.com.ph/

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/trillanes_antonio_bio.asp

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/antonio-trillanes-iv

16. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (LDP-LABAN):

http://www.sonnyangara.com/

http://www.congress.gov.ph/members/search.php?id=angara-je&congress=14

http://www.i-site.ph/Databases/Congress/13thHouse/personal/angara-personal.html

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/juan-edgardo-angara

17. Samson Alcantara (Social Justice Society):

http://www.ustcivillaw.com/?page_id=2815

https://www.facebook.com/samson.s.alcantara

18. Maria Ana “Jamby” Madrigal (Liberal Party):

http://www.jambymadrigal.com/

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/madrigal_bio.asp

19. Rizalito “Lito” David (Ang Kapatiran Party):

http://ph.politicalarena.com/rizalito-david/profile

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/05/25/11/debate-over-rh-bill-gets-physical

20. Marwil Llasos (Ang Kapatiran Party):

http://bromarwilnllasos.blogspot.com/

21. John Carlos “JC” De Los Reyes (Ang Kapatiran Party):

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/research/05/13/09/profile-john-carlos-jc-gordon-de-los-reyes

22. Greco Belgica (Democratic Party of the Philippines):

https://www.facebook.com/greco.belgica

https://twitter.com/Greco_Belgica

http://www.philstar.com/opinyon/2012-11-17/867589/greco-belgica-councilor-senator

23. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. (Liberal Party): 

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/magsaysay_bio.asp

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/ramon-magsaysay-jr

https://www.facebook.com/ramonmagsaysayjr

https://twitter.com/RamonMagsaysayJ

24. Paolo “Bam” Aquino (Liberal Party):

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/bam-aquino

https://twitter.com/bamaquino

https://www.facebook.com/bam.aquino

25. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros (Akbayan):

https://www.facebook.com/hontiverosrisa

https://twitter.com/risahontiveros

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/research/2010-candidate-profiles/senatorial-candidates/05/05/10/profile-ana-theresia-%E2%80%9Crisa%E2%80%9D-hontiveros-baraquel

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/283420/hontiveros-to-push-advocacy-for-women

26. Christian Seneres (Democratic Party of the Philippines)

http://www.congress.gov.ph/download/cv/13th/senerescv.pdf

27. Alan Peter Cayetano (Nacionalista Party):

https://www.facebook.com/apcayetano

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/cayetano_alanpeter_bio.asp

http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/cayetano_alanpeter_resume.asp

http://www.rappler.com/nation/special-coverage/corona-trial/87-cast-of-characters/1196-sen-alan-peter-cayetano

28. Nancy Binay (UNA):

http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top-stories/32546-nancy-binay-una-s-12th-bet

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/tag/nancy-binay

https://www.facebook.com/nancy.binay

Will update you with more information on the lesser-known candidates soon…

Blast from the past

Wrote this one way back in Highschool. I don’t really write romance pieces anymore so savor this one for its rarity :)

"In the days of my fleeting youth, I took upon myself the task of classifying people; putting them into categories and other such things. But since I have met you, the concept has been radically concretized. The task has been reduced to the simple feat of distinguishing . You see, since I’ve met you, I only see two categories. On one hand, there is you. Beautiful, enchanting, unfathomable you. And on the other, there are simply those who aren’t you. And I’ve grown to rather despise the latter for their inability to belong to the first."

What were they thinking?

Today, as is customary every Sunday, I browsed through the week’s newspapers to update myself on the current events of this country and world. I came across a disappointing article in the Philippine Inquirer entitled, “How to help departed loved ones go to heaven”. Now, I am not exactly what you would call an expert in the field of journalism but I fear that this article should have no place in a national gazette in ANY country, be it Catholic or not. If this article is an exemplification of what one of our better known national gazettes thinks is valid “news”, then I have little faith in our national journalists’ abilities to fulfill their responsibilities of ensuring a well-informed Filipino public… 

This is a call for a higher standard of Filipino journalism, one that is rooted in facts, reason and logic. One that is committed to ideas, perspectives, and the search for truth.

Photo courtesy of Filipino Freethinkers

Brace yourselves. The Long Halloween is coming… 

Brace yourselves. The Long Halloween is coming… 

A La Sallian’s reply to a deluded Lemon

My main point of contention is not with The Varsitarian’s stance on the RH Bill for it, indeed, is a controversial issue. A decade’s worth of debates have been exhausted for the matter, so I choose not to engage with the Lemon on that level. Instead, I am determined to address The Varsitarian on another matter: Intellectual Freedom.

Mainly, I would like to address this point made by The Varsitarian in the latter parts of its article because I feel it sums up the whole thing:

"In short, over and above academic freedom, the Catholic university exists for evangelical purposes. By going against the stand of the bishops, the Ateneo and La Salle professors are saying they don’t agree with the Church’s mission. If so, they’re free to leave. In fact, they must leave. They must resign if they have the courage of their conviction."

Surely, this is a very bold statement regarding a very controversial topic. It is very critical that we dissect before we digest. How is academic freedom de-prioritized in favor of evangelical pursuits within Catholic Universities? Where is the logic in this? The very term “Catholic University” in itself is a paradox. Wherein “Catholic” means to be orthodox and dogmatic, whereas “University” means to be intellectually free to discover. It is to no one’s doubt that some of the best schools available to Filipinos are Catholic Universities. And in order for one to be competitive academically, one tends to seek out these Catholic Universities, but NOT for religious education. That is NOT a university’s purpose. If we turn our catholic universities into havens for evangelical pursuits, then what will differentiate these universities from the hundreds of churches, orders and ministries located around our country? If I wanted to learn about God, I’d go to a church, not a school. In De La Salle University, and most probably in Ateneo as well, there is room for intellectual debate and political and moral disparities. There is no such thing as moral impositions. The Green and Blue believe in the values of perspective and allowing their students (and faculty) to grow in these academic areas however they see fit. Apparently, in UST, it’s “Believe or get out”. And The Varsitarian refers to ADMU and DLSU professors as intellectual cowards?

Who’s the bigger coward here? The one who stands his ground firmly and shouts his beliefs at the top of his lungs knowing full-well there may be repercussions? Or the one who refuses to be questioned about his beliefs on the grounds of some deluded sense of religious gratification?


In DLSU, we don’t welcome argumentative pursuits with hostility. We engage in intellectual sparring because we know that a different perspective is key in academic success. We do not squander a person and propose he leave just because he has a different opinion. We believe this is what our country needs right now. The Varsitarian seems to believe in its Catholic mission of unity through uniformity. DLSU proposes that we be united, albeit not through uniformity, but rather, united in diversity through a toleration for each other’s differences. 

In the end, I’d rather make moral mistakes as a human being, rather than succeed in life as a church’s puppet.

Of Archers and Arrows

What is it about the UAAP mens’ basketball competitions that evoke a seemingly exaggerated sense of school spirit? How does it manage to consistently galvanize the Animo within us? Can’t we proudly be La Sallian in other areas of excellence? I can’t explain it either. This is an irrational love and desire we share for our school to succeed in basketball games. It somehow manages to transform itself from a simple sporting event to a spectacle of epic proportions. This irrationality, this desire, this love… is something I embrace with open arms.

Not since UAAP season 70 has the La Sallian community been so animated and riled up about Archer basketball. There’s just something about this year’s set of Archers that exudes a scent of confidence and excitement that has been lacking in La Salle basketball in recent years. Is it the complete overhaul of the coaching staff? Is it the acquisition of an All-Star Rookie? Is it the emergence of a dominant big man and a sharpshooting assassin? It is difficult to pinpoint just one major reason for this new-found confidence in DLSU basketball. But hey, why do we need to rationalize it?

Coach Gee ended his first elimination round as head coach for the Taft-based squad on a high note. It seems as if the team has accepted and even thrived on the new system he has brought to La Salle. For years and years, Archer basketball has been run under the Pumaren system of blitzes and presses. Coach Gee successfully buried the stigma and fear of the Archers losing its defensive edge along with Pumaren’s exit. The Green team finished the elimination rounds ranked first in both Points Allowed and Field Goal Percentage Allowed. The Archers also seem to be running more smoothly on offense utilizing off-ball screens, weak-side cuts and snappy ball-rotation. It also doesn’t hurt when you have a 6 foot 2” ambidextrous forward who can power his way into the lane at will and destroy defensive walls. I’m talking about our prized rookie, Jeron Teng. Never has an Archer made this big an impact on the league since JV Casio laced up for the Green and White. And that’s saying something. Somehow, La Salle’s future in UAAP supremacy looks secure as long as Jeron is dawning that Archer jersey. Let us also not forget about Norbert Torres’ impressive albeit inconsistent performance in this year’s elimination round. Coming off a big game against the FEU Tamaraws, “The Bear” has filled a void that hasn’t been occupied in Taft for so many years. La Salle has a big man who they can rely on down the stretch to rape the boards and devour paint defenders. No doubt in my mind, Norbert is this year’s most improved Archer. And finally, let’s talk about a guy named Almond. He’s not necessarily the most physically gifted player on the team, nor is he the most athletic. But hey, to be a good basketball player, the real key is finding a system and playing style that works for you… and this guy knows what he has to do to be effective. LA Revilla’s injury has somewhat helped the Archers in a way by invigorating Almond to take up the scoring burdens for the team. And boy, can that guy score. I can only hope Coach Gee fixes up plays for Almond where he can murder the opposing team from the three-point line with consistency. We saw that in the FEU game, Almond struggled with his shot and there were no adjustments. But with Vosotros, Teng, and Torres running the show for the Archers, the future looks bright. 

Now I get it. Now I can rationalize it. Archer basketball has been a very commercial aspect of La Sallian excellence throughout the years. And for the past seasons, this brand of excellence just wasn’t evident. This year, the team gave us something to be proud of. They added fuel to our Animo. That’s why we love them so much. That’s why we go through the hardships of scourging for tickets. They are an exemplification of La Sallian excellence. 

Whether it be Jeron’s gamewinner over UST or that 35-point explosion over NU. Whether it be Almond’s 3-point onslaughts. Whether it be Norbear’s inside annihilation or AVO’s dunkscapades. The Archers have definitely given us something to be proud of this season.

So win or lose at the game this Saturday…

I’ll still be singing “HAIL HAIL HAIL” in the end.

Photo courtesy of Believe LaSalle

Sinotto

I’ve tried to keep my blog free of political statements on national issues as of late, thinking that perhaps this isn’t a proper venue to discuss political convictions; thinking that perhaps it would be better to do something about issues rather than blog about it. In this instance, I believe that blogging will help my political cause. And it is this: SOTTO Resign!

The Philippines is a country that inherently hates bullies. Our history is comprised of moments and events that talk of overcoming bullies and toppling regimes. And I truly believe that it is high time we fight to oust another bully, Senator Vicente Sotto. 

Some of you might think this to be merely a ploy to oust an Anti-RH voter in the Senate, or an opportunity to have a smoother passage of the bill into law. That may very well be the case, but Sotto’s actions as of late have warranted more than just political agenda, but more of a personal hate. This is no longer political, it’s personal. When you go about yourself with such arrogance and an exaggerated sense of audacity, you are not fit to be a leader. You are a bully. 

Defending and substantiating your political and moral convictions are fine. I applaud it, in fact. But when doing so, please carry yourself with grace and intellect. When your constituents challenge your ideas, do not welcome it with hostility. YOU are accountable to us. Everything that comes out of your mouth is considered a representation of my ideas, and frankly, I am ashamed of this kind of representation. You may very well have been hounded and overwhelmed by the media and social networking users, but you failed. You cracked under the pressure and showed that you are not the right man for the job. You are an idiot, bullying, misinforming, sexist, plagiarizing senator who should just go back to cheap television exploits. 

So my fellow Filipinos, if you feel as I feel, sign this petition and help me pass it on. Although the Senatorial Elections are right around the corner, this is an issue of justice… and Lady Justice waits for no one.

We deserve more.

http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/1-million-signatures-in-30-days-to-oust-tito-sotto-from-the-philippine-senate?utm_campaign=action_box&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition

JUST TO CLEAR THINGS UP

This story has become a very popular article of interest on the internet. And I am just DISGUSTED at how this Christian propaganda insults Einstein’s memory like this. I am all FOR freedom of religion, but please do draw the line at falsifying a person’s spiritual beliefs. Einstein was in fact NOT a Christian, but rather a deist who believed in a higher power that chose not to meddle in human affairs and whose sole purpose was the creation of the universe. Einstein didn’t believe in a god per se, much less the Christian God. In addition the logical paradoxes in this story are quite insulting. If you have read the story, proceed to my arguments below on why I think it still doesn’t prove God’s existence. If you haven’t read the story, I have made it available for you below.

Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor: So, you believe in GOD ?

Student : Absolutely, sir.

Professor : Is GOD good ?

Student : Sure.
Professor: Is GOD all powerful ?
Student : Yes.
Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?
(Student was silent.)
Professor: You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, young fella. Is GOD good?
Student : Yes.
Professor: Is satan good ?
Student : No.
Professor: Where does satan come from ?
Student : From … GOD …
Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student : Yes.
Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?
Student : Yes.
Professor: So who created evil ?
(Student did not answer.)
Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor: So, who created them ?
(Student had no answer.)
Professor: Science says you have 5 Senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen GOD?
Student : No, sir.
Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?
Student : No , sir.
Professor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any sensory perception of GOD for that matter?
Student : No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.
Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?
Student : Yes.
Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student : Nothing. I only have my faith.
Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.
Student : Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Professor: Yes.
Student : And is there such a thing as cold?
Professor: Yes.
Student : No, sir. There isn’t.
(The lecture theater became very quiet with this turn of events.)
Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.
(There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)
Student : What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?
Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it is, well you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?
Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man ?
Student : Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Professor: Flawed ? Can you explain how?
Student : Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.
Student : Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)
Student : Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?
(The class was in uproar.)
Student : Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?
(The class broke out into laughter. )
Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
(The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)
Professor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.
Student : That is it sir … Exactly ! The link between man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

P.S.

I believe you have enjoyed the conversation. And if so, you’ll probably want your friends / colleagues to enjoy the same, won’t you?

Reblog this to increase their knowledge … or FAITH.

By the way, that student was EINSTEIN..
First of all, the arguments the professor made are completely valid and are not even close to being debunked by the student. Let us put things in perspective. The student’s whole argument revolves around the premise that evil, hatred, poverty, death, suffering and whatnot are all just a result of the absence of God. I’m not so sure about this anymore, but has the Church changed its stance on God being omnipresent? Does that mean it is in fact, possible for God to be absent somewhere? If so, why call him God? 
Let’s say that the flaws in the student’s illogical assertion go unnoticed. Let’s say that these unfortunate aspects of society are, in fact, a result of God’s absence in a person’s life. Is God not omnipotent? Does he not have the power to correct all this wrong? If he doesn’t have the power, then he is not omnipotent. And if he is not omnipotent, why call him God?
Again, for argument’s sake, let’s operate on the assumption that God is omnipotent and that he is capable of fixing all things bad. He refuses to do so because of his rule about “Free Will”. But wouldn’t a benevolent, omnipotent being be able to break his own rules for the common good of the society he “loves”? If god is all powerful but turns a blind eye on the world’s suffering in spite of that, then he is not benevolent, more of apathetic I think. And if he is not benevolent, why call him God?
On the point of the student comparing the teacher’s brain to God. He claims that just because no one has ever seen the teacher’s brain, there is room to doubt it’s existence. I’d be inclined to believe in him, but as studies and BASIC LOGIC will tell you, if you split a skull open, a brain is likely to be there. Whereas people have been searching for tangible evidence of God’s existence for thousands of years (and thousands of gods for that matter) there has been no trace of god whatsoever.
But after all that, the point I have problem with the most is the student’s assertion on the necessity of Faith. Yes, science may not have all the answers yet, but this student chooses to fill those gaps with Faith. I am only thankful that Galileo didn’t get the chance to hear this fictional boy speak. If he had, we’d all probably still believe that the sun revolves around the earth. We can not substitute our lack of an answer with faith. That is a recipe for disaster, ignorance and delusion. 
I fully acknowledge everyone’s freedom of religion and I apologize if this post offends any of you. But if you have the right to make posts like this viral on the internet, I have just as much right as you to refute posts like this. This is me practicing my freedom FROM religion. 
Just trying to give another perspective.

The Dark Knight Rises (CAUTION: Spoilers!)

"Superheroes fill a gap in the pop culture psyche, similar to the role of Greek mythology. There isn`t really anything else that does the job in modern terms. For me, Batman is the one that can most clearly be taken seriously." -Christopher Nolan

The time is 3:23am and I have just settled in after finally, succeeding 4 years of waiting in anticipation, I procure the chance to experience the epic conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Since a while back, I had promised myself to blog about this film regardless of how I would feel about it. At the moment, I am compelled to scribble my thoughts immediately and embed my ideas on my blog while the memory of the experience is fresh and vivid. This, quite simply, cannot wait for tomorrow. The Dark Knight has risen… and so must I.

Christopher Nolan once said (and I am merely paraphrasing here): “I don’t make films to entertain, I make films to send a message”. With all due respect Mr. Nolan, you were simply shooting for the stars with this one (which isn’t a bad thing). He sent a message, most definitely. But along with that message, he gave us an experience with a certain intimacy that only Batman could provide. I have long regarded Batman to be my favorite superhero and this film only fueled that affirmation. The sheer beauty of this blockbuster masterpiece was enough to move me to tears towards the end. Tears caused not by the emotions the film sought to evoke, but tears caused by the sense of humility that inhibits you when you witness something that transcends the natural levels of beauty. The storyline, script, and character development in the film is like watching poetry in motion. It didn’t feel forced, leaving me at the edge of my seat for all 162 minutes. All this coupled with mind-blowing acting and astonishing musical scoring by Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight Rises rose to the top of the list of my all-time favorite films leaving V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Fight Club, The Dark Knight and Batman Begins in its trail. Christopher Nolan’s visionary genius is evident in this film and I most definitely endorse it. But in order to fully appreciate this film, I offer this simple piece of advice: Don’t go to the cinemas expecting a typical superhero movie filled with action-packed scenes and heart-stopping effects that Spidey’s web-slinging and Ironman’s flying provide. The “Spiderman” or “Avengers” brand of superhero films doesn’t even come close to the exquisite experience that The Dark Knight Rises will give you. It’s in a class of its own and my only regret is that it is highly improbable that any film will give me this kind of euphoria again.

Character Analysis:

In all fairness, the only reason I believe TDKR has completely trumped its predecessors in terms of plot quality and downright awesomeness is because of the cunningly impressive character development. The lives and journeys of these characters all come into place in a way that completely blows your mind but at the same time, doesn’t feel forced. It is, in a way, a natural weave of a rather complicated web. TDKR gives you a sense of closure with the story and this is why I also think that Nolan’s Batman Trilogy is the best movie franchise to ever graze the face of the earth.

Alfred:

Perhaps the character that audiences will most connect with on an emotional level.  In this film, Michael Caine delivers another heart-warming performance portraying the superhero world’s favorite butler. In any series-concluding film, it is integral that characters’ life-purpose and motivations are revealed. In TDKR, it is shown that Alfred’s relationship with Bruce Wayne goes beyond that of a butler’s duty to his master. Alfred’s emotional attachment to Bruce was evident in his show of defiance at the idea of Mr. Wayne giving life to his alter-ego. And I have to say that Alfred’s apologetic conversation with the tombstones of Bruce’s parents showed that he saw himself as more than just The Dark Knight’s servant, but his guardian.

Commissioner Gordon:

James Gordon’s character in TDKR, I felt, was overshadowed by Officer Blake’s emergence in the story. Considering the circumstances and Blake’s vital role in the plot, I believe that it was perfectly acceptable that Nolan chose for Gordon not to compete with Blake’s character for the limelight. But nevertheless, Gordon remained to be that trustworthy cop that Batman fans have grown to love and as usual, Gary Oldman’s acting prowess goes without saying. One scene worthy of a mention is when Batman discreetly reveals his secret identity to Gordon. Gordon had asked Batman who he really was because he felt Gotham deserved to know the real identity of the hero who would inevitably sacrifice himself to save the city. I am unsure of how the dialogue EXACTLY took place so please bear with the inaccuracies of this recantation. Batman’s reply went something like this: “Anyone can be a hero. Even a man who put a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know the world hadn’t ended.” ”… this was a reference to when Gordon had comforted a young Bruce Wayne following the tragic death of his parents.

Lucius Fox:

Along with Commissioner Gordon, Mr. Fox’s character in TDKR is rather uninteresting. Other than his contribution of Batman’s new toy, his role flails in comparison to the others on the level of vitality. But hey, it’s Morgan Freeman we’re talking about. He makes any movie he’s in simply better.

Selina Kyle/Catwoman:

Catwoman’s participation in Nolan’s trilogy is one I honestly did not expect from the get-go. And considering Anne Hathaway’s track record, I felt uneasy about casting her to play this role. Cast all those doubts out your nearest window. Anne was perfect. She deserves high praise for her performance. She fully embodied what Catwoman should truly be: A perfect balance of bad-ass… and sexy. I feel that the vision Nolan had for this character was one that perfectly coincided with the theme of the film. It was about overcoming the pain of a dark past and rising to the occasion. And Catwoman did just that, just as Batman expected her to do. 

Miranda Tate/Talia Al Ghul:

This is a perfect example of Nolan’s trademark for making stories come full-circle. Ofcourse we hadn’t heard the last of Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Shadows. I had had my suspicions about Miranda Tate’s secret identity of being Talia Al Ghul for a while but that didn’t fail to make Nolan’s surprise any less surprising. How perfect the way Nolan connected the characters of Talia Al Ghul and Bane. Talia’s vital role in fueling Bane’s motives could not have played out any better. I must admit that Marion Cotillard’s acting wasn’t exactly what I would consider stellar. Although considering the brilliance of her colleagues, possibly, her performance was merely overshadowed.

Officer Robin “John” Blake:

What was I thinking? A Batman story is never complete without Robin. I was dead-set on the idea that Robin would never surface in any of Nolan’s films, but this filmmaker just happened to have one more trick up his sleeve. Despite the fact that he isn’t revealed to be “Robin” until the latter parts of the movie, the character fulfilled its purpose in the typical “Robin” fashion by aiding Batman but only from the sidelines. His fulfillment of the symbolic “Rise” theme of the film was shown when he had taken the challenge of inheriting the thought-to-be-dead Bruce Wayne’s batcave. What does he do with this inheritance? In the comics, it is Dick Grayson who takes up Batman’s mantle when Bruce decides to retire. Could John Blake be Nolan’s Dick Grayson? Well, like any other Nolan film that leaves you hanging, it’s up to you to decide.

Bane:

Dare I say it? I do. Bane is my favorite Batman villain, not The Joker. Yes, the Joker presented himself in a manner that no other conceivable villain ever has. That’s what made him special. His complexity and insidiousness were fueled by his lack of a motivation. And that’s what separated him from Bane. It was Bane’s motivation that made him a more interesting villain. Bane lived for an idea and it was evident from the beginning in the scene on the plane when Bane threatens the interrogator by saying: “It doesn’t matter who we are, what matters is our plan”. Bane knew that it wasn’t about him. It was about the cause that drove him. In the comics, Bane is the only villain to ever really defeat Batman AND discover his true identity. It was in the “Knightfall” graphic novel where Bane and Batman first meet at Wayne manor and things go horribly wrong for our Dark Knight when Bane defeats him in battle and breaks his back leaving him paralyzed. I was elated to see them replicate the scene in the film for it was undoubtedly an epic moment in comic history. The Joker may have had the complexity and unpredictability that made him an interesting villain. But Bane possessed the skills, both physically and mentally, to give Batman a challenge like no other villain could. And that, for me, makes him the perfect antagonist. Not to mention, Tom Hardy gave, in my opinion, an Oscar-worthy performance. Despite having more than half of his face covered for the entire duration of the movie, as a viewer, you experience every emotion as if you were Bane himself. He exemplified the true essence of Bane: a physical powerhouse with the brains and eloquence to match it. Bravo.

Bruce Wayne/Batman/The Dark Knight:

This is it. Where do I begin? What words can I use to analyze our hero? Our Dark Knight? Well, I think it would be fitting to first start with analyzing the idea that is Batman. You see, that’s what makes Batman so special. The Batman is more than just a person with unbelievable strength, cunning wit, and seemingly infinite monetary resources. The Batman is an IDEA. And that message has been reiterated numerous times throughout the trilogy. Bruce claims that the mask was merely a means of protecting those close to him. But we all know that the mask was so much more than that. Bruce chose to become Batman because he knew he couldn’t fight crime and injustice as a mere person. A person is corruptible, a person is vulnerable, a person can fail, a person can be killed. But Ra’s Al Ghul articulated it perfectly in Batman Begins when he said “If you make yourself more than just a man, and devote yourself to an ideal, then you become something else entirely… Legend”. And that is exactly what Batman is: A Legend. And Bruce’s devotion to that ideal is what brought Gotham out of its misery. “Anybody can be Batman”, he says. And it showed in TDKR, Catwoman was Batman, John Blake was Batman, Commissioner Gordon was Batman, the policemen who stood up to Bane’s army were Batman. Batman is all about rising beyond your limitations as a human and transforming yourself into the embodiment of an idea. In this film, we saw more scenes of Bruce Wayne than of Batman. I believe this was so we could see more of the fire that kept the idea burning and in turn, it made us savor the rare appearances of the idea itself. To a regular person, the Batman is just another superhero and The Dark Knight Rises is just another superhero movie. But that’s why he’s a mere regular person, because he only saw a man in a mask. I saw an idea. 

To sum it all up, the film served its purpose. I liken it to the scene wherein they unveil the statue of Batman in Gotham to remind its citizens of everything that Batman stood for. A simple reminder that we can find greatness within ourselves and rise from our darkness and stand tall in the face of adversity; that in our own little ways, we can all be Batman.

The Dark Knight has risen… and so must we.

"… she’s back in the atmosphere"

This is my favorite go-to song on my iPod and I have high reason to believe it will go down as my favorite song of all time. I am one who has always likened musical expression to storytelling. For me, the better the story behind the song, the better the music becomes. Each musical experience is a transformation and a discovery. 

This song’s metaphorical poetry flails in comparison to the beauty of the story that binds the harmonies together. Pat Manahan (writer; vocalist) exposes his vulnerability in this song in a way that just tugs at your heartstrings. For years and years after this song’s release, he had refused to comment about the story that drove him to compose this timeless piece of musical art. That, however, did not prevent various theories from surfacing regarding the emotions that this song seeks to evoke. The accepted theory at the time (and it may still hold true for some today) was of this song being about a girl who had chosen to abandon her romance in an attempt to discover herself, only to end up returning to her lover. After giving the lyrics some thought, it is unlikely anyone would be compelled to disagree with this theory.

But in an interview conducted a few years back, Pat Manahan brought to light the true motivations that drove him to create this musical masterpiece. He revealed that it was his mother’s loss to lung cancer that inspired the song. For months before his mother’s death, Pat would constantly find means (cellphones weren’t popular at the time) to phone his dying mother while his band was on tour. When the day came that his mother finally succumbed to her battle with cancer, Train just happened to be under a lot of pressure from their record company to create a new hit song. Days after his mother’s death, Pat dreamt of his mother returning to him in his sleep as they spent their precious final moments together in a cerebral experience that would inspire him to write this song. The words “…she’s back in the atmosphere” is a reference to his mother returning to his world.

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere 
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey 
She acts like summer and walks like rain 
Reminds me that there’s time a to change, hey, hey 
Since the return from her stay on the moon 
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey 

Tell me did you sail across the sun 
Did you make it to the milky way to see the lights all faded 
And that heaven is overrated 

Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star 
One without a permanent scar 
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there 

Now that she’s back from that soul vacation 
Tracing her way through the constellation, hey, hey 
She checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo 
Reminds me that there’s room to grow, hey, hey 
Now that she’s back in the atmosphere 
I’m afraid that she might think of me as plain ol Jane 
Told a story about a man who is too afraid to fly so he never did land 

Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet 
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day 
And head back to the milky way 
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind 
Was it everything you wanted to find 
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there 

Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken 
Your best friend always sticking up for you… even when I know you’re wrong 
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance five-hour phone 
Conversation 
The best soy latte that you ever had… And me 

Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet 
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day 
And head back toward the milky way