September 19, 2009

rediscovering yoko ono

a lot of people do not really like yoko ono because she supposedly caused the split up of the greatest band of all time, the beatles. as a john lennon fan, i must admit i am one of those who do not think of yoko kindly. and yet, i can't help but be immensely impressed by her whole persona. she is obviously brilliant (not just intelligent, but brilliant) with profound and unconventional views and insights on things. she is obviously a good person, who constantly advocates the idea of loving the world we live in. and yet she does not impose her convictions on people who do not care to listen. 

looking at her pictures and videos with john lennon, she looked dispassionate beside her intense husband. but rediscovering yoko through twitter and her blogs, i realize she is like john lennon himself- -a deep thinker who believes in the basic goodness of people and who constantly dreams of a better universe for us all.

no wonder john fell head over heels in love with her. i've fallen in love with yoko as well. when i grow up, i want to be like her.

here are some of my favorite lines from her yokoq&a blog.

Why did you split up the beatles?
I didn’t.

When will there be surcease of sorrow? 
Don’t avoid sorrow. Sorrow teaches you. And the tears make you stronger and more beautiful.

If you could relive one day over again, what day would that be?  
The day John and I met the first time. I just want to know what was happening. it must have been some miraculous day for us. We knew it, and we didn’t at the same time…

What’s more important: knowledge or faith? 

In your relationship w/ John that was filled w/ so many pleasant moments, what one of those moments stands out to you the most? 
Every day we were together was very, very special.

What do you find most puzzling about the world? 
Things are puzzling only when you don’t understand them. All things are clear and waiting for us to understand.

What is your perception of time? how do you perceive the immediacy of the present moment with the long view of history? 
I don’t separate the two. The present moment can be an eternity in time. History can be a blip in your memory.

How do you deal with the passing of time. I miss being young. And miss people and places too long gone. Your thoughts? 
They are not gone. You are now carrying them in your thoughts. They give you pleasure each time you think of them.

How fast must you move before you reach your top speed and achieve stillness? 
You don’t have to move at all to achieve stillness. Do you?

What kind of food do you eat when you’re depressed / happy? 
I think of eating chocolate, when I’m depressed. And I try not to eat it, because I have enough wisdom to know that it would depress me more if I did. Oh, there’s something I do to get out of depression. I walk about 80 city blocks. That gives me a real high. When I’m happy…. do you want to eat anything when you are really, really happy? I don’t.

Do you feel like you’ve come full circle with the release of this album and working with Sean?  I don’t know what you mean by full circle – sounds like you’re talking about the end of the line. I think it is more like we came to the top of the spiral together- to start again from the bottom.

September 16, 2009


VIEW FROM THE PLANE. Smog. All smog. But the tourist guide who picked us up in the airport said it was….fog. Now how is it possible to have fog on a hot day like that? Somebody explain this to me.

PEOPLE. Charming. Wonderful. Sometimes, the sight of half-naked old men on the streets, in the bus, and even in reverential tourist spots, can jar you. But otherwise, I find them Chinese friendly and beautiful.

FOOD. Peking duck was of course the piece-de-resistance. But the rest of the food we ate was just as divine. You can really taste the difference between the real Chinese cuisine and the so-called authentic Chinese restaurants here in the Philippines. And the food is unbelievably fresh. The restaurants we went to- from the neighborhood hole–in-the-wall to the mall-based fastfood restaurant to the exotic Chinese restaurant- all rated 5-stars to me. To think I’m not even a big fan of Chinese food.

TRAFFIC. Makati-ish. On a payday Friday. Prepare for long walks.

TOUR DESTINATIONS: FORBIDDEN CITY. Magnificent. Although I can’t believe the emperors will go through all the trouble of moving from one building to another for office work, socials, rest, etc. when the distance between buildings is hundreds of steps long!

Don’t go there without a tour guide or a tour bus. Never ever.

GREAT WALL. It is so long you wont be able to appreciate it in its entirety. So the pictures that show the breadth and depth of its scope will always look better than the real thing.

TIANANMEN SQUARE. I just collapsed and settled myself comfortably under a tree in Tiananmen as we went there straight from several hours of traversing the Forbidden City. So I never got to appreciate this much.

THE BIRDS NEST AND THE WATER CUBE. My jaw just dropped at these modern architectural wonders. It’s a shame we have no pictures drooling beside it.

MUSEUMS. We went to the jar museum, jade museum and the silk museum, all showcasing the impossibly meticulous way by which the Chinese do their craft. I left the museums amazed at their handiwork and their tremendous patience.

LAST WORDS. I tremendously enjoyed Beijing because of the rich food and the rich culture. But don’t go there during the summertime. Spring is probably the best time to visit. And brace yourself for the long walks and the steep climbs. You should probably train for it as if you’d be training for your first marathon. Or you’d end up like me, wrecked by a vicious flu strain for two whole weeks after my visit. But all in all, it was a magnificent experience.

star cinema's "in my life": a kind of anguish you've never experienced before

i just had to watch it on day one, at lunchtime, with officemates and clients willingly playing hooky with me. after all, this is ate vi's movie. and with john lloyd yet. and with a gay theme. so this is one movie i cannot not see.

and it did not disappoint. luis manzano is a revelation. you'd really believe he's a pinoy gay in new york. that descriptor alone is hard enough to embody in a film. but to do it while acting with the likes of his mother and john lloyd make it even more challenging for a relative neophyte like him.

let us not even talk about ate vi. she's expected to act well in any movie. she's expected to deliver supremely. so yes, you just have to let her take you along for an emotional ride. and what a ride it is. prepare to experience anguish like you've never experienced anguish before.

now john lloyd. wow. this guy is unbelievable. brilliant. world-class. i walked out of the theatre still in shock at the kind of acting he can wield, even in the presence of a super-actor like vilma santos. 

it's not everyday that you are treated to an extraordinary pinoy film. so i hope this movie makes a lot of money. it sure makes playing hooky worth it. every minute of it.