Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ang Lady Legislator ni Mother Nature

Dahil sa malapit na ang Philippine senatorial elections, napapanahon din na i-share ko ang blind-item na ito.

Isang lady legislator mula Pilipinas ang bumisita dito sa bayan namin sa Florence. When it comes to legislation, she is one of the Philippine champions concerned about the environment. Hindi lang pang national level, pang international din.

She visited the city, incognito style. Nagbabakasyon lang naman siya talaga at walang official business.

I found out na nag-stay siya sa Four Seasons Hotel, one of the top luxury hotels world-wide. According to my source, standard room (or suite, not sure) daw ang kinuha niya, and not one of the luxury suites. She stayed there for about three or four days.

Hindi ba puedeng pansinin din natin ang bagay na ito? Tanda niyo ba kung ano yung ginawa natin kay Gloriang Pandak nung INILIBRE siya ng isang HAMAK na CONGRESSMAN sa Cirque de Soleil?

Sabagay, the Megalomaniac Dwarf Gloria Arroyo was on official business trip, meaning to say, she was using OUR MONEY. Ito naman kasing kay Lady Legislator na ito, personal vacation, so she’s using her own money.

According to my source, mahigit sa 1,000 euros per day kung standard room/suite ang kukunin don. 1,000 euros. 1,000 euros! Anak ng pating! Gapang na nga ako para makarating ng 800, how much more kung 1,000. Anong gagawin niya doon sa kwartong worth 1000 euros? Hihilata sa malambot na kama, maginhawang ambience, services fit for a queen, at kumikinang na mga inidoro na pagpapatungan ng mga puwit nila. All these for a PUBLIC SERVANT.

Nakakatuwang isipin na mula sa mga entablado maririnig mo silang magsalita ng mga ganito:

“Kaisa niyo kami.”

“Kasama kami ng masa.”

“Nauunawaan namin kayo.”

Ows? Di nga? Magkasama ba tayo nung nag-breakfast ka sa Four Seasons Hotel, habang ako’y nagpalibre pa sa katrabaho ko ng espresso dahil wala ako kahit isang kusing para makapag kape? Kasama mo din bang maghanap ng trabaho ang milyong Pilipino na desperado na sa buhay? Nauunawaan mo  ba ang kalagayan ng isang ina o ama na iiwanan ang pamilya dahil pilit niyong i-export sila sa ibang bansa para magtrabaho SA PANAHON PA NG CRISIS?

Ang talino mo talaga te! May puso ka talaga madam!

At hindi lang ‘yon. Si Lady Legislator ay um-order ng breakfast one morning sa luxury hotel na yan. Due to some misunderstanding, nagkamali ang waiter and he brought the wrong dish.

She was furious. Nagtaas ng boses at sinabing hindi daw ‘yon ang inorder niya. Sa takot siguro ng mga employees, hinanap niya ang source ko na marunong mag-English (hindi lahat ng employee sa Four Seasons ng Florence ay mga fluent sa English). Nabigla si Lady Legislator dahil nakita niya pinay ang humarap sa kanya.

photo from www.funguerilla.com
She became calm and regained her usual patrician composure. Siguro napahiya. At naisipan din niya na malapit na ang eleksyon.

Mapapalampas ko na sana yung fact na nagstay siya sa isang luxury hotel despite na galing siya sa isang bansa na supposedly one of the prevalently developing Asian countries na may mahigit pa sa apat na milyong mahihirap. Pero ang ganong klaseng ugali ay sobra na.

Sabi ng batas (mga kalokohang iniimbento nila sa Senado at Kamara ng mga walang kwentang butete), sa R.A. 6713 Section 4 (h)- SIMPLE LIVING- “Public officials and employees and their families shall lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income. They shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form.”

Mapapatawad sana kung businesswoman siya. Pero PUBLIC SERVANT ang bwakanang babaeng ito eh. Hindi ko na siguro papansinin kung nagpunta siya sa isang 4-star hotel o kahit 5-star hotel na “ordinary” lang dito. Eh sa Four Seasons pa talaga siya pumunta.

Kapal din ng mukha mo na makiisa sa amin gaga ka!

Buti na lang at si Lady Legislator na ito ay maganda ang track record at maraming magagandang batas na naipasa at napatupad. Hiling ko na lang siguro eh itago na lang niya ng mabuti ang kaiitiman ng budhi niya at ang ka-ipokritohan niya.

Sa ngayon, hindi ko lang alam kung iboboto kita o hindi. Just pray that I’ll decide to vote for you para i-promote pa kita, basta magbait ka lang.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Virgin Charlie Challenge Week #7- Recap- Finding Inner Peace While Running on a Treadmill

My teacher once told me that a healthy body makes a healthy mind- if the body is in good shape, so the mind will be.

I thought, perhaps going to the gym would somehow moderate the intensity of my daily cynical cantankerous mood (that’s my way of saying ‘I’m usually in the mood of hating the whole world in the most unreasonable and unexplainable way all the time’). I was really eager to find ‘inner peace’ and get a grip for once, especially in times like this. 

And so here I am, with the treadmill machine inclined to 3% and running at 8.5 km per hour, aiming to burn fats and having all these thoughts of finding inner peace. Going to the gym is perhaps one of the best choices I’ve ever made in my life. Doing work-outs for hours and pumping iron (believe it or not, I pump iron) are said to produce endorphins which are natural substances that put you in a good and giddy mood.

In my pursuit of inner peace, I didn’t just settle on endorphin-producing work-out routines. I also participated in tai chi classes. Tai chi is one of the many forms of Chinese martial arts which is said to be beneficially stimulating to the mind and the body. 

With exercises and workouts on my left and tai chi classes on my right, it seemed that I got the perfect formula of having the nerve to tolerate aggravating anomalous individuals and the capacity to handle emotionally-distressing tricks of fate which we call bad times. I thought I was all right and have finally reached the place of inner peace.


One morning, after doing my work-out routine of the day, I read an article in La Repubblica. It is the story about how a middle-class family lost everything and was buried with debts in this time of crisis. The father had to go to Caritas, something that they thought only the poor would do. They never imagined that they would come to this point. They lost all their savings, and even their jobs. Their eldest son who was also helping in paying up all expenses was jobless since December. Things got even more complicated when they had to sell their small house. They dread the day when they have to go to the streets to beg for alms.

My first reaction was not pity. It was rage, hatred in its purest form. I was enraged at how things are going in this country, how the rich are so blithely ignorant of their social and economic role in times like this and indifferent to the sufferings of those who are under them. I loathed the way political leaders handle the situation. I abhor those so-called leaders who would impose heavy taxes on the common people but are not willing to relinquish at least 20 percent of their 11,300 euro monthly salary so that there will be enough funds to help the people. And instead of distributing the wealth and creating opportunities, the rich and powerful are either benefiting from our suffering or stealing our money from the coffers. I confess that I cherished at the thought of ripping apart Mario Monti, Berlusconi and George Bush with my bare hands, in the bloodiest and cold-blooded way possible. And in my heart, I swore that I will never apologise for such mortal and vicious thought and action.

I lost all inner peace. Such a simple story messed up everything in me. Exercises and tai chi proved to be useless. That fragile inner peace I slowly and painstakingly achieved was shattered into pieces by a simple sad story like that. I thought, that could be our family too. All of sudden, fear got his grip in my heart. And you know what Yoda used to say in Star Wars, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” Yes, the possibility of becoming like this family scared me.

As I read the article further, the journalist asked the mother, “How do you manage to go on? How can you still smile despite your situation.”. She calmly said with a smile, “Providence. When I see that we’re about to run out of money in our wallets, someone would call us to offer help, or someone would come knocking on our door to bring us food. When we are in need to pay the bills, all of sudden someone would call my husband offering him a job to fix a computer. Providence never fails.”

Providence. The word hit me so hard. God’s providence.

All this time I sought for inner peace to shield me from the stress of the world and from annoying human beings. Sometimes we do forget that there’s no other formula or methods of attaining inner peace but sincere prayer and meditation of God’s Word and His promises. It’s about trusting God.

Many would argue and say this and that to save them from financial disaster. In the end, this family hit by crisis simply became more and more dependent on God.

I don’t often say this because I’m the kind of guy who sees the glass of water half-empty. But looking back, as I count my blessings, I realized the greatness of God and how faithful he has been, and how faithful he is. And whether I believe it or not, He will be faithful to me and to everyone forever. That’s how good our God is.

Like what they usually say, when you’ve got a problem or you find yourself in difficulty, you’re a candidate for a miracle, and that really means you’re about to find out how great is the love of God and you’re about to witness the glorious grace of God.

We all want inner peace. We don’t just want it, we need it. You won’t find it on the treadmill. A tai chi master won’t be able to give it to you completely. Close your eyes, whisper a prayer, keep your faith, and in your heart believe. Then you’ll find out something better than inner peace. When true inner peace resides in you, you are not easily moved by the troubles of this world or the most painful insults people hurl at you.

You will discover not a mystery, but the peace of God.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mental Regla

Dito ko na lang pala sasabihin. Hindi ko na kasi kayang pigilan eh. A reply to the comment of a certain terrone who said the Florentines are ugly. Ito ay para sa mga kaibigan ko.

They will rue the day when they directed such appalling statement to the most beautiful people on earth. It simply proves that he's a dim-witted anomalous fungus-faced insignificant anonymous insect. Because of my religious predisposition, i refrained from crushing him with lexical vehemence. 

But they will regret the day they hurled such insult. They just hit a very sensitive nerve. Nobody should mess up with the Florentine youth in terms of beauty. 

The day will come when they will see me... ok fine, and all of you.... in our splendour, and they will salivate and cry out for us to lavish them with attention, and with the most treacherous eyes, i will look down on them as they fall in unexplainable infatuations and agonizing despair. They will definitely regret it.

Boys and girls, remember this- HINDI KAYO PANGIT. Stay fit, develop a healthy eating habit, study harder to be smart kasi wala talagang utak yung mga yon, and develop a good personality and be good Christians. Kasi yung mga yon, pangit na nga sa hitsura, pangit na sa pagkatao, at pangit pa rin sa budhi.


NOTE: I'm having my usual mental regla.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What if Man Had a Price?

Few days ago may nagpadala ng message sakin sa isang social network na pabiro siyang nag offer ng isang indecent proposal, asking how much would it cost him to have me o kung gusto ko daw, hayaan na lang daw niya na gawin ko daw ang gusto ko sa kanya at ibibigay daw niya ang sarili niya willingly.

Dahil sa mukhang biro lang 'yon, eh di I just shrugged it off, tinawanan ko na lang din. Dahil kung sineryoso niya 'yon, ABA EH DI SESERYOSOHIN KO TALAGA SIYA! Hahaha! Desperate much! 

But anyway, hindi naman talaga siguro indecent proposal yun. Masyado lang ako minsang OA kapag may mental regla ako, at masyado rin sigurong maluwag ang turnilyo nung taong yon. But that message reminded me of an article I wrote two years ago sa una kong blog, "What if man had a price?". I did some thinking about this at eto ang price list na sinulat ko-

Magkano ka ba?

Ito na marahil ang naidudulot ng masidhing init ng tag-araw na sinundan ng siyam-siyam dito sa Europa. Pati utak ko bumabaling sa mga katanungan na parang walang katuturan.

Dahil siguro sa init ng noodles at ng naglolokong panahon kaya nalusaw na pati ang aking kaisipan at ito’y nagdulot sa akin na tanungin ang sarili ko- “What if I had a price? How much money does one person need to buy me for a certain purpose?”. Ang unang sagot ko, “Hanep! English! Nosebleed!”

Ika nga, “Every man has a price.” Kung may presyo nga ba ang tao, magkano kaya ako?

Dipende siguro ito sa magiging purpose ng acquisition. I have considered some sort of a price list. Hindi monetary ang exchange kundi barter-style.

For acquaintance/company- I’ll keep you company for one day in exchange of-

Art books, minimum 10 items, max. 20 books- in particular, books about Caravaggio and Dalì. No contemporary abstract art please, except for pop art.

Buffet meal sa isang japanese restaurant

Books by Haruki Murakami, F. Sionil José, Banana Yoshimoto, Su Tong, and Alessandro Baricco

Friendship- I’ll be a “true” friend in exchange of-

A car- either Mini Cooper or Alpha Romeo

Bestfriend- I’ll be your bestfriend in exchange of-

Full financial support for my senatorial campaign.

A Date- I’ll go on a date with you as long as you take me to a chic restaurant, you pay what I eat, and no strings attached after the dinner. No clubbing or going to bars. Coffee at my place or your place is negotiable.

One Night Stand- Ok, ito lang ang papatawan ko talaga ng presyo- around 5 million euros. No crazy stuff, no third party, no role playing or any other sick games others do in bed. Traditional style and positions. If you’re ugly, it will cost you dearly. If you’re sexy, 20% discount!

Boyfriend Material- Dipende kung gaano katagal mo gusto ang isang relationship

One/Two-Day BF- coffee-maker machine!
One-week BF- isang iPhone 4G Blackberry Torch 9800, simple lang naman ako.
One-month BF- limited edition Montblanc fountain pen “Catherine the Great”
6-month BF- iPad Mac Air laptop
One-year BF- a car. See Friendship section.
5-year term- An apartment as big as 90 square meters.

Ngayon, tinatanong mo ako sa screen ng computer mo, “Seryoso ba talaga ikaw sa mga pinagsasabi mo?”.

Siguro. Siguro hindi. Dipende sa pangangailangan. Ahahaha! Mga dialogue talaga ng mga nagpapabayad!

Pero sa aking pagmumuni, dumating din ako sa conclusion na talagang priceless ang tao. Hindi mo puwedeng sukatin sa pera ang loyalty, commitment at honesty sa isang relationship. Hindi kayang i-replay ng ilang milyong piso ang saya at galak na naramdaman sa bawat pagkakataon na may makasama kang kaibigan o minamahal. Iba ang tunay na halik sa binayarang halik. Higit na mas mainam ang tunay na yakap at haplos ng tunay na nagmamahal kaysa sa pagroromansa ng isang bayarang inutil. Hindi kayang pantayan ng ilang milyong piso ang katapatan ng isang kaibigang handang mamatay para sa iyo.

Priceless. Hindi kayang patawan ng presyo ang isang tao, ang kanyang buhay, at ang kanyang pagmamahal.

(Although I wouldn’t mind if people would give me those things I mentioned above... hehehe...)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Seven Down!

A-   Auster, Paul- Oracle Night
B-    Barnes, Julian- Sense of an Ending
C-    Cornwell, Patricia- Post Mortem
D-   Dennis, Patrick- Auntie Mame
E-    Eugenides, Jeffrey- The Middlesex
F-    Follett, Ken- The Pillars of the Earth
G-   Grisham, John- The Last Juror
H-   Huxley, Aldous- Brave New World
I-     Isherwood, Christopher- A Single Man
J-     Jin, Ha- In the Pond
K-   Kelman, Stephen- Pigeon English
L-    Lewis, C.S.- The Screwtape Letters
M- Murakami, Haruki- South of the Border, West of the Sun
N-   Nin, Anais- Henry and June
O-   Okakura, Kakuzo- The Book of Tea
P-    Patchett, Ann- Bel Canto
Q-   Quinn, Jay- The Beloved Son
R-   Rounding, Virginia- Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power
S-    Simoni, Marcello- Il Mercante dei Libri Maledetti
T-   Tolkien, J.R.R.- The Hobbit
U-   Updike, John- The Centaur
V-   Vonnegut, Kurt- The Cat’s Cradle
W- Waugh, Evelyn- The Brideshead Revisited
X-   Xiaolong, Qiu- Death of a Red Heroine
Y-   Yates, Alexander- Moondogs
Z- Zola, Emile- The Belly of Paris

Currently Reading: Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

Virgin Charlie Challenge Week #6- Recap- A Single Man: the Unlikely Literary Piece for the Body and the Brain

Weight: 80 kg. Where did I go wrong?! Why?!

An interesting excerpt from the book that I read, “A Single Man” by Christopher Isherwood:

“How delightful it is, to be here! If only one could spend one’s entire life in this tate of easy-going physical democracy! Nobody is bitchy, here, or ill-tempered, or inquisitive. Vanity, including the most outrageous postings in front of the mirrors, is taken for granted. The godlike young baseball player confides to all his anxiety about the smallness of his ankles. The plump banker, rubbing his face with skin-cream, says simply, ‘I can’t afford to get old.’ No one is perfect and no one pretends to be. Even the half-dozen quite well-known actors put on no airs. The youngest kids sit beside sixty- and seventy-year-olds, innocently naked, in the steam room, and they call each other by their first names. Nobody is too hideous or too handsome to be accepted as an equal. Surely everyone is nicer in this place than he is outside it?

Today, George feels more than usually unwilling to leave the gym. He does his exercises twice as many times as he is supposed to; he spends a long while in the steam room; he washes his hair.”
*          *          *

That’s quite some thought about the gym. No wonder why they call such novels fiction.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Virgin Charlie Challenge Week #5 Recap- The Master of Agony II- The Enlightenment

Weight: 80 kg pa rin! Grrrr…

As time goes by, daily routine becomes more and more lousy and pointless. After a passionate phase of doing 5-day workout habit, a newbie would soon lose faith in his routine. Am I doing this right? Is this really what I need? Or should I try those downloadable phone apps on workouts and exercises?

Behold, out of the wilderness of wandering buffs and pointless routines, the new master of agony emerged!

He was among us, and yet he was never one of us; the prophet and truth-sayer, he who has brought enlightenment. After years of not seeing each other, this friend of mine lost a good deal of fat and was able to achieve a nice set of six-pack abs. Well, I didn’t see them, but he claimed to have abs more defined than those whom I used to look up to when it comes to exercises.

We talked about our routines and he explained to me this and that and the why’s of every exercise. He actually taught me a new exercise routine. Some of the things he taught me were not new to me for I’ve heard about them from other friends who were also fitness freaks. But the thing is, I’m quite skeptical with the things those muscle squad friends of mine teach me. Their teachings don’t appeal to me and I find them impossible for my needs.

But with Prophet of Reasonable Fitness, I finally understood why I should do certain exercises and why I shouldn’t do certain routines. He’s very reasonable. You know that a trainer is good because he knows what’s on your mind. He respects you. He won’t laugh at you when you’re having cramps but rather help you out. And one can identify himself with the trainer because he’s a good example, thus making one believe that he can lift weights and sweat buckets more than the usual and achieve his goal.

From then on, I have started the Secret Society of Salivating Salvanites, in honour of my new Master of Agony who brought enlightenment to his followers.

Salamat sa iyo. After we met, and after doing what you taught me, the following day I felt like all of my limbs and muscles were severely massacred with sheer violence. Maraming salamat!

Virgin Charlie Challenge Week #4 Recap- Mental Exercises or Addressing the Annoying State of Space-Between-the-Head Syndrome of the People and Homoerotic Tendencies

Weight: 80 kg pa rin…

One of the many things I realized in life, ever since I’ve become a ‘gym-anoid’ (noob level), is that most people do not understand the concept of staying fit and healthy and they really do not understand the purpose of the existence of a gym.

It annoys me whenever they approach me to reveal their vulnerable poor mental state. So it was but necessary to address this issue to give them mental exercises and use their grey matter first before opening their mouths. And people should do the same to, to allow them to become better citizens

Here are some of the many conversation I had with some people.

*          *          *

T:“Saan ka galing?”

Ako: “Sa gym.”

T: “Anong ginagawa mo doon?” (is this a real question?)

Ako: “Namamalengke.” (sabay ikot at iniwanan ang kausap)

*          *          *
1 week since becoming a gym member

T: Nag-gym ka ba ? Bakit ang taba mo pa rin?

Ako:  Namalengke kasi ako doon. Eh ikaw? Galing ka ba sa liposuction center? Hindi lang kasi taba ang nahigop sayo eh, pati yung utak mo yata nahigop na rin.

*          *          *
Eto ang mahirap sagutin

T: Pinagpapawisan ka ba doon?

Ako: (turning away from the dim-witted interlocutor and looks up to the sky, shouting out loud to all possible UFO’s) THERE’S NO INTELLIGENT LIFE HERE!

*          *          *
T: Ano nag sauna ka na ba doon?

Two days later.

T: Ano nag sauna ka na ba doon?

Two days later

T: Ano nag sauna ka na ba doon?

Me thinks this one has particular fascination with saunas. Such redundant inquiry shows his obsession. Just run away from him.

*          *          *

And speaking of obsession, here’s a very strange human behaviour I observed among presumably straight individuals- that urgent need to touch your arms or shoulders or abdomen OR be touched by others, after saying this- “I go to gym.”

St. Sebastian's portrayals in painting is presumably homoerotic. Seriously?

These presumably homoerotic tendencies of certain people are quite irritating. I have nothing against gay people. They’re nice, and perhaps, a lot better or just as worse, as straight people. But what I can’t stand is people coming near me and touching me. OA lang ako, weh! hahaha!

It’s not like I’ve already achieved that ripped body that I’ve always wanted to have. I’m still a slob, just leaner now (hehehe!). BUT I DON’T WANT PEOPLE TOUCHING ME!

Then there are those who would like to be touched. Something like, “O kuya, touch my arms and see for yourself.”. KSH ka ba? Kulang sa hipo? Go somewhere else where there are freaks who would be more than eager to rub you! DAMN IT I DON’T WANT TO TOUCH ANYBODY!

Ok fine, I might be exaggerating. Pero to be honest, I really don’t like to be touched by others unless I want them to or touch other people unless they want me to and if I’m comfortable with it. It’s too inappropriate. Call me old school or freak, I don’t care!

Winners of the 10th Florence Korea Film Festival

Winners of the 10th Florence Korea Film Festival

None of the movies I watched during the Festival made it. But anyway, here are the winners of this year’s Florence Korea Film Festival.

Lifetime Achievement Award- Song Kang-ho, actor

People’s Choice Award-

FIRST PRIZE- Late Blossom (2010), directed by Choo Chang-min

SECOND PRIZE- Spellbound (2011), directed by Hwang In-ho

Critics’ Prize-

Sorry and Thank You by Oh Joum-Kyun, Park Heung-Sik, Song Il-gon, e Yim Soon-Rye.

Congratulations to all the winners! 

The Quiet Family: a family that commits murder together, stays together

Dark comedies are simply lovely. They make me laugh out loud and tickle me to the bones. And this one’s simply one of the best. This is a creation of the illustrious Kim Ji-woon, released in 1998.

The story is about a family who runs a hunting lodge in the forest. The patriarch recently bought the lodge despite the fact that he knows nothing in business. Nevertheless, they try their best to keep the lodge running in that virtually godforsaken countryside.

One evening, a strange guy came up to their lodge and stayed for the night. In Filipino belief, buenamano kung lalaki ang unang kliyente, it brings good luck if the first client is a guy. Then bam! Next day, they found him dead. Suicide of course.

They were all scared and didn’t know what to do, and since they’re starting their business, they can’t risk the lodge having a reputation of being damned. So, just like every good business man would do, the patriarch decided to bury the body and making the whole family involved in this little secret.

The next in line was a couple of lovers who stayed for the night. After a steamy intimate evening, they were found dead too the following day. Suicide again.

From one death to another, I was laughing at the peculiarity and the ingenuity of this family in covering the deaths and their murders. It’s true, a lie is simply covered by a bigger one, and eventually it will be covered by another, until it becomes a heap of stinking corpses, emerging to haunt you back.

I know I sound like a sick freak, but I loved the movie. My gosh it was one of the best comedies I’ve ever seen! Hahaha!

Great actors are also in it- Song Kang-ho, and Choi Min-sik the lead guy in Old Boy.

Kinda reminds me of the 1995 movie The Last Supper by Stacy Title.

DA VEDERE! Hehehehe!

Poongsan: Where love makes the impossible, idiotically possible

When love gets you and your lover, not even bullets or governments will be able to separate you from each other. Only death will set you apart from each other.

If you wanna know more about the story, then go to the most reliable source of information of  planet Earth, Wikipedia. Here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poongsan

I really don’t feel like writing plot of love stories. They are sometimes predictable, or stupid, or unrealistic, or all three of them (which make love stories so true).

But anyway, the actor, Yoon Kye-sang, did a superb acting- he just stared at his co-actors, grunts if he mean yes or no, moans if he’s in pleasure or in heat, and shouts when he’s freaked out. No, not one word was emitted by the actor. Excellent also acting by Kim Gyu-ri, though somewhat eclipsed by the absurdity of Yoon Kye-sang’s role.

And yes, it’s very tragic. Not so cheesy, but really sad. Tragic.

And as usual, the lead guy is the semi-immortal protagonist who jumps electrified fences, dodges bullets, tortured to death but lived, hit by bullets and lost gallons of blood but can still run thousands of miles. The impossible guy. Such a classic.

The only reason why I watched this is because of the North/South Korea love/hate diplomatic relationship. I expected too much.

But here’s something really interesting about the movie. It took 25 takes in 30 days.

The movie was directed by Juhn Jai-hong. He was supposed to present the movie during the festival but had to cancel his appearance at the festival due to his other movie project he’s currently working on. But then I wasn’t really interested that much with the film. I was much more interested with him, since he is said to be the protégé of internationally renowned Korean film-maker Kim Ki-duk.

Here’s a trailer to get a glimpse of what to expect…

Thirst: Not Another Vampire Movie

One of Park Chan-wook’s masterpieces, Thirst, is a vampire movie. Yes, you heard me. A vampire movie.

You won’t see a glitter-sparkling vampire with a clumsy average girl (who is, with no logical explanation, is chased by monsters and douchebags from left and right. Is she really that ‘bella’?), and a werewolf who frequently turns into a half-naked douchebag every 20 minutes in the movie.

And no, you won’t see the sophisticated, elegant, and beautiful kind of vampires Anne Rice has conceived in her books.

But you’ll see Song Kang-ho in the role of Sang-hyun, a priest- a kind-hearted and down-to-earth mortal who seeks physical and spiritual salvation for those who are needy. He works as a volunteer in a hospital.

One time he volunteered in an experiment on creating a vaccine against a new kind of virus, the Emmanuel Virus, a cross-breed of smallpox and Ebola virus.

He survived the side-effects but he slowly realized that as weeks pass by, he’s turning into a monstrous being- a vampire. His transformation was also the development of his whole being. He became stronger and healthier, and his defects disappear, only if he would drink human blood.

He keeps on fighting his dark side. However when he met Tae-ju (Kim Ok-bin), his principles of holiness fell apart and slowly succumbs to desperation, depravity and worldliness. He fell in love with the seemingly helpless Tae-ju. His relationship with her quenches his thirst for love, passion, and worldliness.

And talk about such thirst, the former-priest-now-turned-vampire plunges into many sexual adventures, he never thought he’d be able to experience, with Tae-ju, who is a married woman.

Yes, virgins are virgins but when they unleash the sexual creature in them, it is wild. But then, he was wildly in love with Tae-ju. And who wouldn’t be that wild in bed especially if you’re sharing a passionate experience with somebody special, right?

Note: too many passionate bed scenes. Bring an oxygen tank, fan, and a bottle of water to survive.

However, Tae-ju was not all that innocent. She was cunning and he tricked Sang-hyun by convincing him to kill her husband who was allegedly hurting her.

From one frantic situation and crime to the next, Sang-hyun gradually falls deeper into desperation as he was being pulled by his beloved who eventually became a vampire herself. Sang-hyun knew that death was nearing them but he simply had to do something to redeem the remaining humanity in him and the remaining truth in the love between the two of them.

The movie has an interesting plot, mentally stimulating, and that touch of quirkiness in cinematography which is authentically descriptive of Park Chan-wook’s works- elements which will never fail to surprise and move viewers.

Bloody. Sexy. Sublime. Simply Park Chan-wook.

The Show Must Go On: Alternative Steps in Putting Up a Family

So, you’re a man, a father in your late 40’s. You’ve got two kids undergoing the most turbulent phase in their lives- puberty. You’ve got a beautiful wife, nagger, but at least a very supportive one. And life is freakin’ difficult.

Would you deny your family happiness which others achieve undeservingly? Of course not! Every good father wants happiness and prosperity for his family- proper food and shelter, better opportunities, good life and better education.

Others are just blessed to have freaking mental capacities. Others are simply lucky being born into opulent social ogres.

And how about the average people like you and me? Do we just stand in front of life and watch it pass by? Do we just hope for good things, and wait, and be patient, and if nothing happens, shrug everything off?

The principle is that good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. And total surrender and acceptance of fate are the main rule to become good drifting souls.

But for In-gu (Song Kang-ho) in the film “The Show Must Go On”, you don’t just stand there and let everything escape from your grasp.

He cares too much for his family that he would do the alternative way of pursuing happiness.

Alternative principle 1- Determine your attitude and character

Our hero, In-gu, is a sweet and considerate father and husband. He wants a house for his kids, even though, his daughter is ashamed of him because of his job as a kingpin of a criminal syndicate. His wife on the other hand wants him to get a stable job. Though he’s emotionally distressed by these facts, he still tries to keep his composure and whole-heartedly fulfils his job as a loving and forgiving father with great persistence and tenacity.

Alternative principle 2- Serve Godfathers and Mafia Lords

Markets and the economy are continually battered by stupid and inefficient government reforms, political leaders are more on improving their status and appeal rather than improving our lives, and there is simply no decent job around, even one that is enough to feed your family.

So where to go? Criminal syndicates. I mean what’s the big difference between criminal syndicates and your congressmen and other politicians? Nothing. Except that those who are in the government make you pay when you screw things up, and they make you pay also when they screw things up.

Go to companies? For what? To get short-term working contracts with salaries lower than the minimum wage, expose yourself to legalised labour exploitation, and adhere to the ethics of deprive-yourself-of-your-rights-and-kiss-ass-and-sell-your-soul-for-a-dime labour and employment policies and professionalism? Are you really in for it?

Criminals and the mafia are much more honourable than these sanctified bureaucrats and conventional means of making a living. In-gu’s godfather gave him an acceptable house and steady income. All he needed was to be loyal to his boss, and his boss would be loyal to him. You won’t get these things easily in ways that are considered legal and acceptable.

Alternative principle 3- Be watchful of potential enemies

We have said that one must enter a criminal syndicate to survive. And loyalty is not enough, especially when the number one of the gang is also aging and nearing death. There will always be power struggle.

In-gu had to deal so much controversies and conspiracies against him, since he was the favourite of the leader. So you better watch out for back-stabbers- those who do it metaphorically and literally.

Alternative principle 4- The show must go on

You must understand that once you embark in this journey, from being a junior hitman to a numero uno kingpin, there is no turning back. For In-gu, that kind of life was a blessing and salvation. He was able to lift up his family from the murky swamp of mediocrity to a better life with many opportunities.

But such accomplishment of a gangster is never without betrayal, bullets and bloodshed. Loyalties and friendships will be tested, and dark times will reveal who you are and whom you really care for.

Such life is like a labyrinth. To survive and live longer, you must go forward and go further your way. If you stop, you’ll be lost in the darkness and die. One cannot afford to die suddenly. Too much is at risk. You keep on going forward, but your existence becomes even more miserable.

And for In-gu, whatever happens, through tears and very few unlikely moments of joys, the show must go on.

Here’s a lesson for you- watch the movie it’s great. Study harder, if you’re a student. Get a life, if you’re a freeloader. Get back to work, your slacker. Believe in God, if you’re about to enter In-gu’s world. Jump off a building and die, if you’re a delusional corrupt politician.