There are no halloween parties, no children wearing costumes asking for treats. I'll have to content myself with the certainty that back home my mother will, without fail, offer candles and prayers for relatives that have moved on to the great beyond. Like she always does on the first day of November.
As for me, I grew up celebrating November 1 as All Souls Day. To the religious Filipino, November 1 is the day to remember loved ones who have passed away. Mass and prayers are offered for the dead. Families gather together to go to cemeteries. They clean the tombs, light candles, and keep vigil for a day. Some even bring food and stay in the cemeteries overnight with the whole family.
My grandparents from both my mother and father's side of the family are buried in the province. On the night of November 1, my mother would light candles, one for each relative and then offer prayers. She would place each candle on our doorway and then prepare food. She would place servings on plates at the dining table and forbid us to touch or eat them. Souls of the departed are believed to visit their living relatives and the food and candles are offerings to them. The candles are allowed to burn down and the food left on the table to be discarded in the morning. As a child, the only thing I fear on All Souls Day was seeing a ghost. Looking back, that's far too boring compared to the witches, zombies, headless riders, ghouls and what-have-you's lurking in the halloween night of western culture. (Growing up taught me that there are other, far more fearsome things but that's another post)
There you go our local mix of Halloween celebration. Costumes and parties became popular of late but visiting tombs, lighting candles, and offering mass and prayers for departed love ones is a long and continuing tradition for us Filipinos.
Just finished reading New York Times columnist A.O. Scott's review of the movie 'Babel'. It hasn't opened in Taiwan yet and I'll be among the first to watch it when it does.
J.K. Rowling was featured on Yahoo! 60 minutes. (Sorry I can't work out how to include the links here) So was Sean Penn and I happen to think that he was so full of himself. It's just me so ... But Clint Eastwood's musical talent was a revelation!
Kiran Desai interview on her winning the Man Booker Prize for her novel “The Inheritance of Loss".
I little bit of this and that. I'll write something down tomorrow. 'til then.
Yet again, this piece articulated the currently pervading mindset of most Filipinos living in the country. The overwhelming majority wants to leave; those that have left feel regret and guilt; The families feeling the stress of separation and the silent individuals who suffer the pangs of isolation and displacement.
Why is it that most of us think that living in a foreign country is preferable to staying in the Philippines? I called my parents two days ago and told them that I plan on going home and staying for at least a year. They thought my decision strange. Most of what was left unsaid was distilled in the one question they thought should stop me going home: Everyone is lining up at POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) trying to get out of the country, you're already in Taiwan so why come back?
I wasn't happy being a second-class citizen. I'm tired of being a foreigner. I miss my friends and the simple joy of speaking the language of my birth, something that I used to take for granted. I didn't want to be limited to menial jobs nor do I feel at home here. I realized that living abroad is not for everyone, it is definitely not for me.
Situations and circumstances vary and I know there are many who think that living abroad is better. Still I feel that in exchange of material comfort, we are losing something much more precious as a people.
My digital cam's charger is busted. As it is, the Taipei zoo pictures lay unrecovered within its depths. Okay, for now please bear with me. If you must really see pictures of the Taipei zoo animals go here. Thanks.
Come back again for a different topic tomorrow.
interesting topic for a blog carnival.
The topic is, 'In a former life, I must have been _______. You think of an animal that shares your personailty traits and fill in the blank with that animal's name.
Okay, Let's see - I'm quiet, hates commotions, litter and chaos. I like to keep things orderly and I'm fiercely loyal and protective of my family. I wish I could say that I must have been a cat but I identify more with the flock than with an individual. I love the sensation of flying too - whether on a plane or on a fast motorcycle with the wind on my hair. I consider the great open sky and a strong, steady breeze as pure joy. I like to be free and if I could trade my human legs for anything, I'd get wings. I think I must have been a bird in a past life. A bird that travels with a flock, follows the changing seasons and comes back to its birthplace once every year. Yes, I must have been a bird.
We went to Taipei's Zoo last week and I did manage to get some shots of the animals they have there. It's such a big zoo and they have grouped the animals according to their natural habitat (temperate, arctic, african animals etc.) I'll post the pictures as soon as I can.
Yes, Colin Firth. I first heard of him in Bridget Jones's Diary. Back then, I didn't understand why they got him to play opposite the positively charming, Hugh Grant in the first place. Let me explain. The synopsis of the movie went like this - Colin gets to compete with Hugh for lead Renee's affection. I was like, there's no contest there! (Or so I thought).
But then I got to actually watch the first Bridget Jones. I loved the whole movie and remembered being charmed out of my socks and feeling a bit intrigued by Colin Firth. Several movies and favorite English actors later, I got to see Colin on some other movies - The English Patient, (because I was so taken with Ralph Fiennes), What A Girl Wants (because I was at home flipping channels)and Love Actually (same reason as with the previous movie). His character in Shakespeare in Love didn't actually register with me. (Only became aware he was there ages after) Was too busy on Joseph and Gwyneth to notice the unwanted and meddlesome Lord Wessex.
And with that moustache to boot ..!
Fast forward to the present: Bridget Jones II. Hmmn - There is definitely something about Colin Firth.
It took me that long but this got me started on reading just about anything about the actor.
From what I have read so far, Colin Firth has legions of female fans and that most were converted by that moment when he emerged, wet and fully-clothed from a brief splash he took as Darcy on BBC's made for TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
So I guess I can put a little distance between myself and his post-Darcy fans. I'm not sure why but I want to make that distinction nonetheless.