Monday, June 13, 2016

Some Pasckie Random Thoughts: The goodness of Facebook. What do we know so far? What's behind wars.

SOME people who don't find any sense in being part of social media have to realize that the world doesn't just revolve in or around them. I am not a huge follower of electronic gadgets or computer technology myself but I see a far more sublime reason why some people turn to Facebook than what non-believers don't see. This is a global community that, quite logically, isn't just speaking/talking with one or two sociocultural environment. Other people have other reasons. Like an open market, grocery store or flea market—or the world itself—Facebook is replete with negative stuff as well as positive things. It's your choice—grab one or get out. Get upset and distracted, get pleased and inspired. Like television, like a book.
          Yet if an individual expects that the universe is all love and Namaste, and their rationale why they don't do Facebook is it's all negative—better build a sweet dungeon and stock up on organic jerkies. For sure, that person will find ways to whine about the unavailability of sunlight and rainfall in there anyhow. Among other reasons beyond engagements with bored trolls (which also happens out there anyways), I do enjoy Facebook for one singular benefit: Connection with family, relatives, and longtime friends—including buddies in my youth's neighborhood, grade school and high school classmates. I am also able to seriously discuss and/or joke around with ex-college professors and writing mentors/editors and media colleagues.

          My two most recent “discoveries” were my aunt Concepcion, my dad's sister, who now lives in Japan with her family, and my cousin Ella, just few towns away from some of my siblings' house/s in Baguio City, the family's second home-city, north of the Philippines. Most of my childhood in Quezon City was spent with Aunt Chit (Concepcion's nickname) around. She was a teenager when I was a child. The songs that I share here remind me a lot about people in the past, including Aunt Chit, because music played a huge part in my upbringing when she was around.
          Ella was the only child of my (late) Uncle Tony, my mom's brother. They live/d in a little farming barrio called Balaoan in La Union province in the north. I used to spend some of my summers there when the rest of my eight other siblings were enjoying city life on school break. I enjoyed the quiet escape—meditations on the woods, picnics beside the river, harvest of escargots on the side of muddy rice plots, easy naps on bamboo beds, fresh vegetables and the smell of moist grass after rain. Because I located Ella, I also located other cousins Nida, Emily, Manuel, and Lito and their families.
          Hence, to me and many other people, Facebook isn't just funny cat videos and fiery political rants. It's more significant and valuable than a mundane distraction.

I HAVE been reading thoughts and discussions/debates from FB page/s of friends and acquaintances—mostly former professors, writing mentors, editors and media colleagues, emanating from four corners of the universe. Facebook, thank you for this one-click wonder... Interesting, intriguing, endlessly enlightening. I recall those days of yonder as a zealous youth hungry for knowledge and adventure, reading up on stuff from Freire to Nietzsche to Thoreau to Sartre to Camus to Mao to Toffler to Dylan to just about anything that is worth food for thought, chased down by a bottle or two of scrounged cerveza. It's always cool to sit down over a drink, whatever drink, with anyone who knows some—not simply a smartass agitator or trickster devil's advocate. Even in heated and intense joust, lessons are harvested. I learned a lot from those...

          Meantime, it is kind of easier now to engage in a discussion since words and stuff are easily double-checked via google. Yet if a prospective conversant reasons, “I don't believe in Wikipedia anyways...” or “I don't google...” and we ask, “So what do you know?” and get, “I don't need to know...” then what is the point of a talk, right? I say, what we get in the internet are all 2nd or 3rd or 4th hand data. However, it is a common progression in knowing stuff and things to follow through—get out, go to the library, talk with people, visit places. But who wants to do that these days? Ah! Still though I like talking with someone who has a baseline info about anything. Where did CD originate, are the Bee Gees British or Australians, what is Treaty of Paris, how significant is WTO, who is Sylvie Legere, was Genghis Khan really a jerk, how dumb was Columbus, how powerful was Isabella I of Castille, who is Tom Joad, how good was Duane Allman on slide guitar, what makes Ho Chi Minh a military genius, does fortune cookie exist in Beijing? But it is sad that today's humanity is generally interested with cryptic, 3-word lines only—short attention span earthlings who are so busy yet they haven't left their seats in the last 14 hours. Anyways...

WHAT's behind wars? Apparently, these go beyond body counts, avenging furies, and macho posturings. EXAMPLE (in history): Following the defeat of Spain to the United States in their war more than a century ago, the Philippines—along with four other stretegically positioned countries, previously under Queen Victoria's rule—were ceded to the US. Treaty of Paris, 10 Dec 1898. Zoom in: The Philippines. This archipelago of 7,107 islands is nestled right on the heart of South China Sea, a marginal body of water that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 1,400,000 sq miles. This extremely significant sea is the second most used sea lane in the world, while in terms of world annual merchant fleet tonnage, over 50 percent passes through the Strait of Malacca, the Sunda Strait, and the Lombok Strait. Over million barrels of crude oil a day are shipped through the Strait of Malacca. The region has proven oil reserves of around 7.7 billion barrels, with an estimate of 28 billion barrels in total. Natural gas reserves are estimated to total around 266 trillion cubic feet. HUGE SHIT that the world that enjoys drinking oil mojitos and watching cable TV nonstop surely relish! This, aside from the fact that the area is a very important defense strait and refuelling base for the US (and any other superpower) in case of a war.

Hence, the two huge US bases in the country. (Check as well details behind the Battle of Bataan and Corregidor, return of Gen. Douglas McArthur via Australia etc in World War II)... America is an impregnable fort due to the physical barriers of South China Sea and the bodies of water that the other countries in the ceding deal—Cuba, Puerto Rico, parts of the West Indies, and Guam—offer the Mainland. When whispers of war heave through the air, we ask, WHY? What's going on..

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