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Monthly Archives: September 2009

if-you-can-dream“Dreams are born in the heart and mind and only there can these ever die.” I’ve been holding on to this belief since time immemorial. Such is the core reason for my rather pensive nature – I’ve never stopped dreaming. And if truth be told, the feeling of having a dream come true cannot quite be translated into words.

It was more than twelve years ago when I first knew how it was to dream. Like every little girl, I grew up with stories of princesses with their princess living happily ever after. But it wasn’t the princess who I wanted to become. I particularly preferred being the fairy godmother – one who dramatically transforms a simple maiden’s life into a crowned princess living in a splendid castle with the man she so deeply loves. At that time, I didn’t know how such post got me interested. Maybe I was awed by the way fairy godmothers maneuver their wands while exhibiting feminine grace. Maybe I wanted to possess magical prowess. Or maybe– this might sound exceedingly humanitarian for someone so young– I just liked the idea of touching people’s lives. Whatever reason I had then, I couldn’t be more certain. This childish reverie, however, did not last for long.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I just blurted out to my parents that I wanted to be an agriculturist. I was then eight years of age. Recovering from the initial shock of my announcement, my dad sympathetically patted my head and smiled while, contradictingly, my mom’s arched brows went into thin line. Next was a clash of ideas– a battle of wills– featuring me as the stubborn daughter insisting on what I wanted and mom as the antagonist who opposed every word I said. This was with the distinct participation of my dad as the non-partisan caught between crossfire. So began World War III. Authority prevailed. Mom won.

It was a good thing though that we had those arguments. I realized later on that I didn’t really want to be an agriculturist. I was just drawn to it because it was something different. And that was what I had always wanted– to be different.

For me, it was about taking risks. It meant saying no when everyone nods their heads and says yes. It signified optimism against all mishaps. It implied taking a stand when the rest seemed passive. It raises one’s spirit when numerous people remain frail. Above all, it was about going through the road less traveled.

When I advanced to the fourth grade, I promised to be a dancer. But the promise was immediately broken when I started giving awful remembrances to my dance partners– sore feet!

The pursuit for that ideal dream seemed so elusive. It took three years before I began to seriously contemplate on grown-up aspirations. I decided to be a surgeon. Suffice it to say that I was blinded by the prestige and financial gain the profession brings. My parents would be jumping in delight, I even reckoned. It was that line of work which they wanted me to grab hold of. Such career path was like an established norm that I ought to follow. It could be because it was what I thought I wanted. Or it could be because it was what my parents wanted more. I just compelled myself to believe that it was what I should really pursue.

I’ve proven that being a surgeon was genuinely less to my liking when our biology teacher required us to dissect a frog. We were asked to submit specific parts of the dissected frog. (I guess this was compulsory in almost every sophomore high school student’s life.) Que horror! I couldn’t even stand a minute holding its lumpy body. Staring at its protruding eyes made me hold back in pity. It might even be incredulous that I felt like the poor creature was pleading for my sympathy. The result? It took me as generous amount of effort before I was able to comply with the project– care of a specimen stall at Divisoria.

With such incident, who would still want to be a surgeon?

For another two years, I was too lethargic to even think about what I would be in the future. I was restless and felt like I couldn’t bring myself to care anymore. But this didn’t mean that I became totally unreceptive about things. My nostrils were often flaring with annoyance because the government hadn’t done much to make our country progressive. The masses were still struggling to eat three full meals in a day, still patiently lining up at agencies just to get a job. Then again, I realized that I had no right to get mad when I myself hadn’t changed much. I was like in the uncertain stage in my life– more often lost than found.

After secondary school graduation, I didn’t really know what to do. My classmates were going to the country’s most prestigious universities while I was still undecided where to take up college and clueless about the course that I truly want.

However, people more or less had an idea what would suit me well. My teachers and comrades had been saying that I better go for something coherent with writing. Well, I couldn’t blame them. They all knew that writing had become sort of a hobby. But I had never really considered it as a profession. It was something I do for fun.

After some deliberate thinking, I finally decided to take a noble line of study with fairly magnanimous causes. Far from memorizing its intricate and rather lengthy definition, it was a course which I learned to love and still learning to love in a myriad of ways.

It was where I met people who don’t lose hope in times of adversities, who value friendship, who sacrifice for their families, who help other people despite their meager budget, who assist others with their studies while prioritizing their own, who go to mall in groups just to window shop, who know how to have fun with twenty pesos, who catalyze change and above all, who pray and stand by the word of God. With such high regards, this is where I am devoting what little wisdom and energy I have.

Currently, I am in the process of discovering my Personal Legend, the continuous search for my life’s purpose and fulfillment of a yet to be distinguished dream. Whatever that is, I still have no idea. What I have are residues of childhood dreams and the will to carry on, to fight life’s tough battles. Dauntlessly, I’ll keep on fighting. And of course, I’ll never stop dreaming!

The search for that dream no. n has begun and for sure, its realization will come later.

by Anjenelle Amante

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natureI was never an environmentalist. I never advocated those clean and green projects some concerned folks would reiterate at seminars time and again. Issues of pollution just made me tired. Nitrogen loading reports didn’t ring a bell. Distress about biomass burning didn’t stop me from absorbing every detail of an exhilarating flick I was watching. When scientists were under discussions on how to counter incessant ozone layer depletion, I was probably inside the confines of my room – scanning the pages of my favorite novel.

With all these accounts worth thousands of dismay, people might think I was a complete environmental dope – an excess ecological cargo. Maybe I was just another passive citizen, like the majority of the earth’s inhabitants. Sad to say, that fact is exactly what the problem is. Nothing could be worse than that – being passive, I mean.

My trivial concern for our environment was so alarming that it made me cling to introspection and eventually do something dynamic for this generation. I did some researches, compounded by the things I already knew but had been taking for granted. With these, the quest for unpolluted air, clean waters and majestic surroundings began…

For everybody else’s knowledge, the remarkable biodiversity of the country is directly threatened by deforestation. Water pollution, in addiction, has damaged the fragile marine ecosystems of the nation’s coastal wetlands, mangrove swamps and coral reefs. Aside from this, serious air pollution is another environmental concern.

Certainly, many of us know how at risk our lives are these days due to the innumerable problems facing the environment alongside its hazardous effects. Are we just going to sit back idly until such dilemmas reach critical proportions? An astute answer? No!

Indeed, we are blessed to live in a country well-suited to fit our needs. Consequently, we are inclined to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible. Then again, this is not so. The mineral wealth of the country – copper, gold, silver, nickel, lead, chromium, and the like, does not reproduce itself. These are firmly believed to be exhausted ultimately. Failing to address the problems today means that our descendants will feel the exhaustion a generation or two before they actually would.

In response to the increasing rate of deforestation, I recently joined a tree-planting scheme led by a friend. The thought that a single tree that I plant could create an immense difference in the earth’s biodiversity thrilled me. It took me less than a minute to plant a single tree. But it took me seventeen long years before I finally took part in the planting. Nevertheless, it was gratifying to have one brief liaison with nature that could possibly guarantee our environment’s immortality.

Mother Nature is a picture of a patient nearing death. Definitely, we could not just watch her hurried demise for it is the human race that would be drastically affected. With this regard, is it too much to for us to unite and take actions to nurse her?

Really, I was never an environmentalist. But I could be one! In our own right, we could all be!

by Anjenelle Amante

angels_and_demons

“Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand.”

For several years, scientific researches have always been in contrast with spiritual convictions. While some scientists proliferate weapons of mass destruction and clone living creatures, religious advocates beg them to use restraint and likewise consider the moral implications of such actions.

Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons proved that these two disciplines, though engaged in a seemingly endless ancient warfare, could indeed transcend all differences and come together to reinforce one another and rectify all faults. Aptly plotted and intricately paced, the novel weaved together the secret nuclear research of Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) and the archaic and modern secrets of Vatican.

The thrilling turn of events started with the introduction of Robert Langdon, professor of religious iconology and art history at Harvard University. He was awakened at an unholy hour in the morning via a phone call from Maximilian Kohler direction of CERN, the world’s largest scientific research in Geneva, Switzerland. One of their top physicists, Leonardo Vetra, was murdered with his chest branded with the word Illuminati, considered to be the symbol of the world’s most powerful satanic cult which stood as an adversary to the church. As someone with an adept knowledge on this secret society, Kohler summoned Langdon’s help to solve the murder.

Ironically, the murder victim was a Catholic priest turned physicist. What’s more peculiar was he adopted a daughter named Vittoria, also a scientist at CERN and resident guru of Hatha yoga. Accepting these mind-boggling circumstances sets the entire story in motion.

Through Vetra’s invention of antimatter, he wanted to simulate the Big Bang and prove that God exists, being able to create new matter and antimatter in the same way God created the universe. He and his daughter used the world’s largest particle accelerator to create antimatter, and then suspended the antimatter properly in canisters so that it wouldn’t interact with matter. If a canister was removed from the electrical system which kept the matter and antimatter separated, backup batteries would serve the same purpose for 24 hours. When these 24 hours expire, the two would collide in an instantaneous explosion of unprecedented power.

With Vetra’s death, the canister was stolen and became a threat to Vatican City. However, they didn’t know where exactly in Vatican was the canister placed. Langdon and Vittoria were quickly sent off to Rome and Vatican City to help find the canister and return it to CERN before it explodes at midnight.
Langdon and Vittoria raced against time. They dug through archives and ancient mysteries to find clues, which required an extensive background in art history and religious symbology. This made Robert Langdon the expert tour guide who did his best to educate without seeming superior with his own intelligence. The two of them were constantly one step behind the Illuminati and death stalked them at every turn, in one form or another.

With the intense suspense that never seemed to wane, the story ended enthralling, without casualties from the explosion of matter and the antimatter collision.

Angels and Demons was packed with twists and shocking events that could make the readers wired right up until the last page. The author really excelled himself in creating intellectual forays among readers because of the intriguing information rationally and critically presented.

The novel was an insightful and lucid examination of the ever present dichotomy of religion and science. It also served as a tangible proof that both could serve as vessels through which man could understand God. Science has technical proofs. Religion has immaculate logic. Both aim for man’s goodness. Both are genius. Thus, a halt to intellectual clashes by accepting each other’s views will prove to be advantageous. After all, genius accepts genius, unconditionally.

by Anjenelle Amante

The GiverA gripping story that draws readers into an exceptional world with unnervingly close echoes of our own, the Giver delineated a community in which every individual and his or her experience was precisely the same. Competition was eliminated in favor of a community where everyone worked for the common good– conflict, fear and pain were nonexistent. With a Utopian-like atmosphere, such world offered no choices to its inhabitants and even assigned them with specific roles in the community– roles to which they were cosigned for a lifetime.

Jonas, the main protagonist, was apprehensive about the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve wherein he would be given his official assignment as a new adult member of the community. He did not really have a career preference though he enjoyed the freedom of choice that volunteer hours provided. He wasn’t really prepared, however, when he was given the highly honored assignment as the Receiver of Memory. This was because such role would center on taking the collective memory of his society– people’s past and present. He knew it was not an easy task.

When he began training with The Giver, a man he grew to love, he became extremely sensitive to beauty, pleasure and suffering. He became deeply affectionate of his family and The Giver. Also, he learned to be intensely passionate about his acquired beliefs and feelings.

Jonas’ inherent concern for others and desire for justice made him yearn to advocate changes in the community for purposes of awakening other people to the richness of life and putting an end to the casual cruelty that was practiced in the community. At twelve years old, the main character was too young to control the powerful emotions that his training unleashed. It was indeed of great aid that The Giver, with all the guidance and wisdom he could muster, helped Jonas keep all of his new experiences in perspective.

The Giver, the novel’s personage, was responsible for preserving memories using the wisdom they gave him to make decisions for the community. It is distressing that he was forbidden to share his knowledge and pain to anyone else, thus transformed him into a distinctively quiet, deliberate person. He then realized that he couldn’t change the community, though it badly needed it. This irrefutable fact describes what exactly is wrong with our society at present.

Reading the above accounts would make clear that the themes interweaving the various chapters of the novel were the importance of memory, the relationship between the pain and pleasure and the acknowledgement of individual differences.

Giving up the memories of their experiences in the society did not only allow the people to forget all the pain that had been suffered throughout human history, it also prevented suffering. However, the Committee of Elders knew that memory is essential and recognized its practical application— if you do not remember your errors, you might repeat them. When Jonas underwent training, he learned that there might be no pain without memory, yet happiness was also impossible to exist.

Related to the theme of memory is the idea that there can be no pleasure. No matter how delightful an experience was, you cannot value the pleasure it gave you unless you have some memory of a time when you suffered.
As implied, the novel also encouraged readers to celebrate differences instead of pretending not to notice such disparity. People in Jonas’ society ignored his unusual eyes and strange abilities out of politeness, but those unusual qualities ended up bringing lasting positive change to the community.

In this Newberry Award winning science fiction novel, author Lois Lowry managed to make readers cling to contemplation and intrigued them with The Giver’s deliberately ambiguous ending with allegorical connotations, leaving them with the decision of what they wanted to believe. It made us realize that sometimes, books don’t require a set ending to be appreciated. The author obviously did that on purpose: to leave the readers’ mind in an oblivious wonder. How she came up with the idea of using a very unusual society as setting proved how boundless her imagination was– a trait seemingly lacking to some science fiction writers.

A story of an almost perfect future world which turned out to be a hostile one and with numerous societal and ethical values incorporated into 179 pages seemed unimaginable, but Lois Lowry just went beyond imagination and proved it possible.

Appropriately plotted, The Giver certainly is thought provoking and riveting– an enthralling probe on the confusing meaning of life.

by Anjenelle Amante

hello world

Wow!=)

I really am taking a peek into the world.

Not only am I so overwhelmed, I’m also fidgety yet really excited.

Maybe because this isn’t just an average blog post meant to reflect the scrambled words in my diary.

(Don’t me wrong though. This is spontaneous writing, I assure you.)

More than anything, this is meant to bridge the gap among our breed, popularly known as the “youth” and the rest of the world.

Well, it’s a common knowledge that most people see us as rebels. It’s been a too familiar trademark for our kind. We’re the deviant group. Or so people stereotype. Now, we’re bound to make them feel guilty of their judgment.

As Borbonians, we are a microcosm of the youth. Our thoughts and actions are pretty much a result of being part of that group. We might in some ways act a little radical for other people’s views, but that doesn’t mean we’re designed to paint graffiti on every public wall and join rallies on streets anytime.

Significantly, we personify Rizal’s words (being hope of the fatherland and all that). This might come as a grave responsibility, but we’re all set to take small steps. We’re more than just emos and rappers. We’re nonfiction novels filled with thoughts and insights. Our stories are much like yours.

Hello world!

Now, we’re ready.