Showing posts from November, 2013

In the Philippines, you can’t spell typhoon without a capital T for tragedy


My mother’s family is from Tacloban. A few days after the typhoon we had no idea where they were and what has become of them. It wasn’t until last Monday did we know for certain that they were safe. My relatives may have survived the typhoon but my grandmother wasn’t able to survive the aftermath. There was no insulin to be found in the shattered city. She died last Tuesday.

My relatives and I aren’t really close. I grew up believing that the only family that I have are my parents and my brother. However, since receiving the news day by day grief has surprisingly overtaken me. Not just for my grandmother and my relatives who are still trying to survive but for all the victims of the typhoon. We have been reduced to nothing but rotting corpses in body bags. We are reduced to looting and begging the government to come and help. I thought we shouldn’t beg though. We should demand because after all the government should be on top of things. The government should always look out for it…

My smile is just a frown turned upside down

Does anyone know Joyce Vincent? She was this pretty girl with a flirtatious voice who once lived in north London. I didn’t know her either and probably neither did her neighbours who also did not seem to care about her. In 2006, she was found dead in her apartment. Her body was so decomposed that her remains almost melted into the carpet. She has been dead for almost three years.
Joyce Vincent is the subject of a documentary that came out in 2011 entitled Dreams of A Life, which tried to piece together Joyce’s existence. The main mystery, apart from the manner of her death, was how a woman who was perceived to be friendly and lovely had gone unnoticed for three years. “What about Christmases?” asked one of her friends interviewed for the documentary, “didn’t they notice she was missing?” In this day and age of virtual connectivity, one of Joyce’s former friends marvelled at the fact that people can still fall into a crack and disappear. Fleeting was the word floating inside my head as …

the squid and the whale

About the nasty dissolution of what seems to be a happy, smart family, The Squid and the Whale serves wit and humor with equal dose of sadness and desperation. What I liked about the movie is that the scenes never devolve into melodrama. As a viewer one is urged to read between the lines and to observe the characters on screen: the subtle competition between the parents who are both writers, the loyalty of the kids, the father’s struggle to keep afloat and put up a front, and the mother’s emotional aimlessness. The effect of the divorce also proves to be disastrous for the children as they suddenly learn about the miserable life of their parents. In the beginning, they both look at them with awe but by the end, armed with details of cheating and deprivation, they finally see them as flawed human beings.

Much of the discussion about the movie, I eventually found out, revolve around the title The Squid and the Whale and its significance to the story. The squid and the whale in the tit…