Saturday, January 30, 2010

Life's bright side is in The Blind Side (2009)



At first, I really wanted to watch Avatar in 3D. I feared that having been released in the Philippines before the Metro Manila Film Festival, by the time we were back home from the States, we’d no longer be able to catch it in local cinemas. But then, thinking about the 3D thingamajig and how it may be a bit too dizzying for, um, some of us, my sister gently nudged us into watching The Blind Side.

All we knew about The Blind Side was that Sandra Bullock was starring in it and that it was a sleeper hit. Reason enough to go see the movie in our book.

We chose to watch the mid-afternoon screening. We arrived rather early, the drive to the cinema not taking more than 10 minutes I think. Good thing, though; the queue in front of the food concessionaire was a wee-bit kilometric. The food was worth the wait: the tub of MEDIUM popcorn and MEDIUM drink were enough to feed our entire family of five.

But what the concessionaires ought to be selling was Kleenex, and loads of it, especially if you are to watch The Blind Side.


So why is The Blind Side worth your time?

It speaks of the universal theme of the triumph of the human spirit but said in the language of American football. Listen carefully to the narration at the beginning because it sets the literal and figurative premise of the story. I think I understand enough football now to actually be interested in the Super Bowl. Or score a touchdown. Or avoid being tackled. Or not. But I digress.

You can look at the film as the (re-)telling of the story of your typical poor, underprivileged kid getting a break courtesy of a white savior; but that would be a great disservice to the film makers and actors. The film is definitely, definitely more than that.

It is about talent housed in an unlikely vessel: Big Mike and superior athletic skills, both unpolished, yet tiny shafts of glistening hope shine through the muck and the grime of life lived in a dysfunctional household.

It is about taking chances: a coach with an untested prodigy, a child with a friendless gentle giant, your stereotypical socialite with a stereotypical rejected, dejected teen.

It is about family, replete with a doting mom, a permissive father, a happily obtrusive younger brother, and slow-to-warm-up sister, and how one cannot live with them but cannot live without them.

It is about opportunity: how an initial look, a second glance, a third chance, and an infinite hope in humanity in general and genuine care and concern for one person in particular can spell the difference between life soaked in drugs or life lived amidst adoring fans and schools falling over themselves trying to get you to grace their football fields.

It is about hard work, doggedness, tenacity: to play the cards dealt by life; to shatter the glass ceiling of money, skin color, and societal expectations; to remain true to oneself while trying to become a better version of you.

It is a believable story that is a version of any viewer’s life struggles, set to motion by a collage of aptly cast actors and simple but stabbing one-liners. Sandra Bullock is a a little disconcerting as a blonde but she is (re-)revelation, wonderfully immersed and hardly visible under the veneer of Leigh Anne Tuohy. Quinton Aaron plays Big Mike so well you’d want to bring him home and adopt him yourself.

Watch The Blind Side and see how anything, everything is possible- even if hope seems out of sight.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stories of Her-oism (2): The 'woman dressed in sunshine'

She could have just stayed at home and mourned her husband quietly. But she did not.

She could have just let other more seasoned politicians take up the cudgels for fighting for Philippine democracy. But she did not.

She could have just allowed bigger icons to rally the people towards ejecting the Marcos dictatorship. But she did not.

She could have exacted revenge with impunity on those who hurt her family in the darkest years of Martial Law when she became president. But she did not.

She could have just retired after her presidency and let relinquished any and all responsibilities she has towards caring for the Filipino people. But she did not.


We could just stay at home and mourn our country quietly. But we shouldn't.

We could just let the more seasoned politicians take up the cudgels for sustaining Philippine democracy. But we shouldn't.

We could just let the outspoken critics and militant groups single-handedly eject the country's faux leaders. But we shouldn't.

We could just forget about the Philippines and leave, given its helpless, hopeless state, with its leaders acting with impunity, while its citizens forever mired in poverty. But we shouldn't.


We can and should always choose to pray, to hope, to act and be grateful, as Cory Aquino was grateful, that we are born Filipinos.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Help Haiti through UNICEF USA


I learned about the efforts of UNICEF USA for the people of Haiti through the Twitter account of Anne Curtis just hours after the earthquake struck. Wanting to *somehow* help, I checked out the site. It didn't take too much to convince me to give via UNICEF: the name of the organization speaks for the quality of their humanitarian efforts. Aside from its credibility, the fact that UNICEF will absorb all administrative costs of sending assistance to Haitians tipped the balance further in their favor. This means that 100% of all donations will be used for food, sanitation kits, among other needs. After making my small donation, I promptly received updates about where my donation will most probably go as well as what they have done so far through pictures and field workers' reports.

Images of Haiti and the earthquakes's aftermath in the eyes of UNICEF staff shown above can be seen here. Stories of Baby Girl, Paul, Sean and others helped by UNICEF in Port-au-Prince as related by front-line UNICEF workers like Tamar Hahn can be read in the UNICEF USA blog.

A lot of help has already been extended, but a lot still needs to be done. Our small bit, when combined with a million other small bits and pieces, does matter.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Help for Haiti NOW and the FUTURE





CNN.com/IMPACT lists the various organization through whom we can all send help NOW from whatever part of the globe we maybe. If you wish to help by sending funds, basic needs, medical help, food, etc- click the links there NOW and be a blessing, no amount is too small or insignificant to matter.

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To help Haiti NOW and FOR THE FUTURE

Sign the ONE.org petition for the cancellation of Haiti's debts. Sign the petition which reads-

Dear Finance Ministers, IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and bilateral creditors,

As Haiti rebuilds from this disaster, please work to secure the immediate cancellation of Haiti’s $890 million debt and ensure that any emergency earthquake assistance is provided in the forms of grants, not debt-incurring loans.


The last thing Haitians need to worry about is shouldering the cost of the "generosity" that can be extended by some unscrupulous governments to take advantage of a country in need, a task that can further derail their recovery, growth, and development.

Please sign the ONE.org petition for the cancellation of Haiti's $890-M debt to help give it a lifeline that will liberate the generations of Haitians to come.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not quite -30-

Frank and Ernest by Bob Thaves


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Journalists, especially those writing for dailies, used to type -30- to signify to the editor that s/he has reached the end of the submitted piece and that nothing follows. Hadass Kogan's November 2007 article in the American Journal Review offers a variety of explanations for this practice. One possible explanation: often observed in articles written in longhand was that "X" usually marked the end of a sentence, "XX" marked the end of a paragraph, and "XXX" indicated the end of a story; XXX is the Roman numeral equivalent of 30. I guess that is also why newspapers would headline the death of a writer-colleague as "So-and-So writes 30."

I turn 30 today and if it were entirely up to me, I hope I will not be writing -30- today (hence this post's title!). This year 2010 is unraveling to be a major turning point in my career and professional life; hence, I am beyond excited at the opportunities-strewn path ahead. Lest I jump the gun, all I can say at the moment is that I've lived a charmed life, not necessarily devoid of drama and pain, but nonetheless replete with blessings unimaginable.

I just pray that when the time's right, I'll leave the earth in a much better state than when I arrived on it. I strive to live by this mantra daily. By God's grace, I'm inching closer to this goal, even if only in my puny sphere of influence.

So far, so good, indeed.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Now thawing


I'm still trying to get back to the groove of churning out regular updates. A brief, happy sojourn to the US ought to provide enough inspiration =]

Excuse me while I try to regain the use of my frozen fingers and brain =]

May all those who happen to wander into this obscure nook of the blogosphere have a fantastic 2010!