Tag Archives: Debate

Equality and Constant Questioning

When I explain the meaning of my tat, I get reactions like, “Wow naman.” or “Nosebleed.” or “Deeeeeeeep!”, which is perfectly fine. Deep naman talaga. Haha.

But seeing people’s exaltation over the legalization of gay marriage across the United States validates my adoration for the symbols I permanently imprinted on my body.

There is tremendous and blatant inequality everywhere, whether it’s between sexes, sexual orientations, races, economic status, religions and beliefs… We are far from a world of equal opportunity for all – and humanity may never even get there.

Thank goodness for the people that never stop moving toward that aspiration.

2015-06-27 15.50.01I salute you. I stand with you. And today, I celebrate with you in this major milestone!

Then, when the rainbow is no longer in the foreground, I will look at my wrist and remember our personal and collective struggle to question existing norms and break the tricky barriers of inequality.


Charlie Hebdo & Our Right to Speak – Breaking Down My Stance

The Charlie Hebdo massacre has gotten people talking about a whole bunch of different things all at the same time…

So after reading a bunch of opinion pieces, I leaned back and shook my brain around to break things down and figure out where I stand on these issues. (Writing helps.)

#IAmAhmed fo sho.

Freedom of Speech gives people the right to offend. And I’m guessing that’s where people start feeling iffy. It is when statements are extremely vile and completely opposed to the norm that we start seeing where people really stand in terms of respecting people’s right to express themselves. So, are you for it or not?

I am. 100%. Which is why #IAmAhmed for sure; I can be absolutely offended, rattled, even disgusted by someone’s statement and I will still stand by everyone’s right to speak – maybe even die for it.

Let’s keep in mind that the debate on our right to speak is apart and separate from the debate on what are socially acceptable and polite things to say.

Standing by the right to speak doesn’t mean you agree with all statements or condone rude behavior. And it doesn’t mean people should not be held accountable for what they say, which is why you can be fined for libel or get fired for making racist remarks at work. There is also such a thing as verbal abuse and shouting, “Bomb!” on an airplane, which, people have to realize, is
separate and different from the ridiculing and challenging of ideas – including strongly held beliefs.

Jail time or, geez, DEATH should NOT be a consequence of telling people what you think of a religion. Which is why, even though I probably wouldn’t agree with all of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, I would still say #JeSuisCharlie .

Am I or am I not Charlie?

I’ve seen people expressing their condemnation of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons saying #IAmNotCharlie . I respect their opinion, naturally. Their cartoons are blatantly offensive. There are people that have called Charlie Hebdo racist and bigoted. I’m not sure where I stand on that yet. What I am certain of, though, is that the statement “Charlie Hebdo is a racist and bigoted publication” is up for debate. People can agree or disagree, then exercise their right to freely discuss.
Again, sadly, it has to be stated that whether or not Charlie Hebdo is guilty of bigotry, physical attacks, with murder as its pinnacle, is  never acceptable.

With what I’ve seen thus far, I am still on the #IAmCharlie side of the fence. Why? Because humanity seems light years away from accepting and respecting basic human rights, like the right to life, to speak, to be educated, etc.

And if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Charlie Hebdo has brought forth a massive debate on our freedom to speak – what it means and where the limit lies, if there are any limits at all.

The Charlie Hebdo publication was a reminder that, to this day, there is a need to understand further, as well as promote, our basic right to speak. We, as a community of people, haven’t agreed on a Magna Carta… Which is sad and quite pathetic when you think about it. The UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It’s 2015!

I won’t go into other rights, because that would be a whole ‘nother lengthy post. I’ll stick with our right, as humans, to speak. So…

Before we debate what are impolite, racist, insensitive, hateful, or rude things to say… Can’t we all agree that we have a right to say them in the first place?

Apparently not. The debate lives on.

Curtailing people's right to speak based on what is disrespectful or offensive is a very slippery slope. Take Raif Badawi's current case in Saudi Arabia, for example.

Here's a video narrating, quite beautifully, the story of human rights.

“This is madness.”

One of the most wonderful people I know, Misha, suggested I watch this documentary by BBC. It’s about a bus driver from London who goes to Manila with a challenge to become a jeepney driver by the end of the trip – DRIVE A JEEP ALONE IN MANILA (Siya pa nanunukli)! He lives with Rogelio (a jeepney driver) and his family and learns, firsthand, how tough it is to live in our country.

I cried. And cried again. The world is anything but fair. I urge you, if you have a little less than an hour, to watch the docu below – The Toughest Place To Be A Bus Driver. You can watch it now or later. But I assure you, it is not a waste of time. My thoughts and frustrations are below.

I will write about 2 things. You may read one and not the other. Or not read at all. But I’m hoping you read both! :p

Road Rage

I, too, drive through the streets of Metro Manila. I confess that I do scream, curse, and lash-out (in the confines of my car) at pedestrians and other drivers on the road, most specially jeepney and bus drivers. In these moments, I feel I live in a place that is the epitome of inconsideration. And, against all my better judgment, I get sucked into the bandwagon.

Inconsideration, in my opinion, is an extremely huge problem in our society. I’ve always believed that if people were more considerate of each other, lines would move faster, traffic would ease up, mall-wide sales wouldn’t give me a migraine, and stress levels of most everyone when outside the confines of their home would decrease.

But where does this come from? Why can’t most people think of anyone but themselves?

I guess the true questions is, “How can one be considerate when one’s mind is on survival mode? Can I feed my family today?”

Inconsideration stems from this dog-eat-dog world, the reality of day-to-day survival.

What happens to my road rage now? It’s so much easier to be angry, curse at faceless strangers and not care. But how can you be angry knowing what these people come home to? … Knowing they’re stuck in a vicious cycle of suffering they can never get out of?

Rage turns to sorrow.

Life. To live. It is more than just physical survival.

To understand this rant, you’ll have to watch the documentary… Or just keep in mind that millions of Filipinos live in the slums, in their makeshift homes. Many are young married couples with 12-13 children.

How can one truly value life but accept the condition in which so many Filipinos are living?

How can one value life and accept that people eat recooked rotting food from the trash if they eat anything at all?

How can one that values life be OK with bringing a new life into this world only to starve, suffer, and have nothing but survival in mind?

How can one value truth but withhold readily available information, that is common knowledge to most educated people, from the less fortunate with less access?

How can one be against the RH Bill? I really CANNOT understand. What are you afraid of?

More abortion cases? Please explain to me how this happens with less cases of unwanted pregnancy.

Are you afraid that our country will have a problem of underpopulation like other developed countries? Oh my goodness. Do you really think that it’s as easy as the simplest cause-effect equation? There are so many factors that will contribute to that future possibility. Besides, if you have people that value having a family, this will not happen. I am aware of most all methods of contraception but I still want to have my own children one day… When I can actually sustain them financially and emotionally. Values formation and valuing the family as the basic unit of society can be taught and developed.

Please help me understand… Because my brain can’t seem to wrap itself around this.

What kind of person would think that a young married woman living in a makeshift box with 13 (THIRTEEN!) children and barely anything to eat is wrong for taking measures to prevent any more pregnancies?

Would you condemn her to hell? Isn’t she already living there?