Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Strength of the Colony Lies in its Larvae

Anak na ngayo'y 'di mo paluin,
bukas, ikaw ang paluluhain.
(The child you will not spank today
is one who'll make you weep someday.)

-a Filipino proverb

Children. I love children! They make great firewood!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not usually nasty towards children. Heck, I wouldn't even dare frighten anonymous kids unless the situation gets really dire. Anyway, allow me to divert your attention away from those nasty little creatures for a while and introduce you to a movie I just saw.

Fangirls of Johnny Depp have probably already seen Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. To tell the truth, it is also a movie I've been waiting to see, my anticipation making my body itch. No, thank you, I'm not a Johnny Depp fangirl 'coz I think the guy's too wierd. Anyway, I really got hooked on by its movie trailers.

I'm not particularly kind to people who narrate spoiler stories to me so allow me to refuse to give the plot away, for the sake of those who may still wish to see it. Instead, let me just introduce to you five kids who star in the movie. Of course, you probably have already guessed Charlie. After all, why would the title be such if there wasn't any guy named Charlie? All kidding aside, Charlie is the main protagonist. He's a kid who is surprisingly well aware of his family's current financial situation. Very insightful, yet not too grown-up, Charlie seems to embody the perfect kid parents want their children to turn out. Unfortunately, he has a flaw: what does a kid do when he finds a stray dollar bill on the ground? Let honesty prevail? Heh, too bad, Charlie used the money to buy himself, er, something nice.

Augustus Gloop, another kid, is a very fat glutton who is well versed in the art of eating, manners or no manners. He is almost always seen munching on something, most often Willy Wonka's superb chocolate bars. His father is a buthcer while his mother stays at home and cooks. He likes to eat everything that is edible and his parents have no qualms about spoiling him. He's not a very complicated brat for his needs are simple: food.

Veruca, on the other hand, would not stop at food. It has to be good food. Most of all, it has to be something she likes. She had made it a habit to ask her loving dad to buy her what she wants. Fortunately, her father is a very rich businessman. Still, there are some things that cannot be bought with money. Love and friendship? Nah, Veruca doesn't want them. She's having a difficult time acquiring Willy Wonka's technologies, which she has taken a liking to. She is a classic example of a rich spoiled princess; what Veruca wants, Veruca gets, or else...

Violet, another female, is not too altruistic like her best friend, Veruca. She knows she had to work for what she wants. Unlike her friend, there is only one thing she wants in life: be the number one. An over-competitive brat, she joins all competitions she can, constantly emerging as the winner. Never to be outdone, she goes out of her way to seek contests and trains rigorously to prove that she is indeed the best kid in the world, in all respects.

Mike, on the other hand, would be nothing more than a couch potato, a sharp contrast to Violet's zeal and enthusiasm. However, unlike most lazy people, Mike is pretty smart. How come? Well, watching TV all the time does have certain strange effects. It seemed like Mike was a grown-up trapped in a kid's body as he constantly mumbles, according to Willy Wonka, globs of nonsense gibberish about anti-matter, space-time and teleporters.

With the possible exception of Charlie, different kids with various personalities they may be but one word is enough to describe them all: brats. Let's face it, a lot of parents would want their child to grow up healthy and free from hunger and starvation, which is why some kids end up bloated. Others want nothing less than the best for their kids so these brats end up having their own way, all the time. Some of them even go out of their way to acquire for themselves nothing but the best.

I am not saying that I am free of these flaws. The point is not to ridicule the movie or infer anything from it. The movie itself only serves to illustrate, in a hyper-exaggerated manner, the main statement: beware of kids. Unfortunately, that's life: without children, there would be no grown-ups either.

Lastly, have some words of advice. When taking public transport, avoid being seated next to kids, especially younger ones; they have flawed puke control. ^_^

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Clothos, Lachesis and Atropos

My mother is a very practical down-to-earth woman. She rarely buys toys for me or my siblings, yet she knows no limit when spending on good food. We were very well off yet I didn't have the usual luxuries of children my age. I never played with any gaming console and, were it not for computer games, I would have gone geeky. My parents didn't even bother to have cable channels installed; after all, they said, we have more than enough channels to keep us busy. Any more than that would be deletrious to our studies. I got my first cellphone two years after typical kids get theirs.

It would seem that I have been living in a convent all my childhood years, living the life of an ascetic or aspiring to be a martyr. I certainly did think so then. However, now that some sense had been knocked into my head at various times using various means, I have come to realize that I'm actually slightly thankful that I'm who I turned out to be. Where before, I would look on with envy everytime other kids show off their new toys, talk about the latest game on PlayStation or chatter about a recent episode of whatnot on Cartoon Network, I now learned to shrug, knowing well that such things don't really contribute anything significant to myself as a person. I learned to frown upon parents who indulge every whim and fancy of their children, already seeing them growing up into spoiled superficial brats. In a way, I turned up a better person.

However, that is only one side of the omelette. Sure, the potatoes and onions on top have turned out fine but the rest of it has been burnt underneath. As I grew up, I forgot what fun really was. I kept talking to other people about things that, I thought, really mattered like mathematics or the sciences. I rolled my eyes whenever they talked about music, dance or their childish dreams. I soon found myself alone.

When I stepped into high school, I found someone who understood my definition of fun. He knew how tor elate when I talked about blackholes, airport signboards, delta waves or cloning. It was through him that I discovered the fun of playing computer games, chatting online or just surfing the net. It was with his help that I began to appreciate music and technology. I came into contact with the luxuries I had been forbidden in the past. He was my best friend, if not more; then he was gone.

In his absence, I soon became aware of the large void he left. He was so integrated to my daily life; it was not easy to ignore the fact that he's missing. Along with him, other aspects of my social life have also fled. I began to notice how very few my friends actually are. I began to hesitate hearing music, knowing that almost all CD's and mp3's came from him; he was a very generous person. It was also the reason I stopped playing computer games. It seemed to me like I owed him a large part of my current definition of fun.

I returned to square one. I found my old self: geeky, indifferent and not so confident. I was plagued by doubts, I drew back from social events and, generally, curled up back inside my old shell. It was quite a long time before I opened the portcullis to let in some music. Alone.

When I stepped into my second year in college, I stumbled upon a new friend. I thought he was one of my upperclassmen in high school so I smiled at him when we meet, just for the sake of courtesy. He never smiled back so I assumed I have mistaken his identity. When I got into third year, he became my classmate. More specifically, we became groupmates on an academic project.

I soon got to know bit and pieces about him. He always carried this friendly smile; I could feel sunshine everytime I'm near him. He was a very bouncy person, it's hard to be depressed when he talks to you. You may well imagine my surprise when I have gotten to know him a little more. He is someone who looks for something that I thought he already had. I guess it was wrong for me to assume that nice people get the nice things in life.

Anyway, he was the one who re-introduced me to the world of computer games. I relived my fascination with the computer screen as my atrophying muscles relearned the art of hand-eye coordination. I was once more submerged into a familiar environment, filled with various noises yet nowhere as loud as the deafening silence that had consumed me before. I should be thankful and I am, but there's something that bothers me. I keep losing the game.

Had I been playing by myself, I would have just shrugged it off and laughed at myself. However, I think I'm beginning to annoy him. After all, we almost always end up as teammates in the game. I'm also worried that he might take my losing as an insult to him for, after all, he was the one who taught me the game. Think of it like an insult to your mentor. Yet, these clouds still come to pass for, after a while, he would smile again and I'd forget my blunders.

I don't really know what I'm trying to say. Maybe I wanted to be righteous and let people know that I am grateful for how my parents raised me. Maybe I feel rebellious and blogging is one way of letting out all the jealousy and envy I felt as a child. Maybe I'm seeking to make others understand why I'm who I am today. I hope that they do because I can hardly fathom the reasons myself.

Life can be so confusing sometimes. I need something to hold on to, something I know is there and something that is not some smoke in a bag.

Something nice has entered my dreams
Yet I cannot get it out, it seems.
There is always a smile upon its face.
There is something fun in whatever it says.

It is something I am quite glad I knew.
Who knows? That something might be you.