Supermassive Black Hole

“You can throw television sets, diamond rings, or even
your worst enemies into a black hole, and all the black hole
will remember, is the total mass, and the state of rotation.”

– Stephen Hawking, in a lecture

“I’m sure if Shakespeare were alive today,
he’d be doing classic guitar solos on YouTube.”
– Peter Capaldi, in a meta-diary

As a kid I used to have an irrational fear of black holes. I learned from the I Wonder Why series that one cannot escape a black hole — you either travel faster than the speed of light (highly impractical, according to a nerd called Albert) or you destroy yourself piece-by-piece as you get closer and closer to singularity. Fun stuff.

Black holes also distort our sense of time. Inside a black hole, time slows down and everything else speeds up. Time gets whacked, so to speak, which is also what happens when we spend hours on the Internet engulfed in the cold celestial blob that is YouTube.

But I don’t fear YouTube and I don’t hate it either. I just don’t like myself when I get swallowed by those insipid artista videos like Boy Abunda’s Fast Talk or Darla’s bag raids. Bag raids, in particular, are unexplainably addictive. The attempt to humanize celebrities does nothing to mask the brazen displays of luxury — yet still, I dive in.

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Apatetiko

May magandang sinabi ang playwright na si Bertolt Brecht tungkol sa apathy:

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Ganda, ‘no? Medyo antagonistiko nga lang. Naalala ko ang sinabi sa akin ni Gui noong college: “Masakit kayang maparatangan na apathetic.” I get it, man. Nakakapikon nga siguro ang ma-reduce agad sa “apathy” ang kawalan natin ng tindig sa mga bagay-bagay. Sa dami ng mga inaalala natin — trabaho, pamilya, pag-ibig, etc — minsan wala na talagang oras para magmuni at umaksyon ukol sa mga nangyayari sa lipunan.

Pero may mga tao rin namang sadyang ayaw makisangkot sa kahit anong usaping pulitikal. Karaniwang argumento ang “may iba kasi kaming paraan ng pagsilbi sa bayan.” Madalas nababanggit ang pagbayad ng tamang buwis at pagsunod sa mga batas trapiko. “Being a law-abiding citizen is our way of subversion,” anila.

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On Filipino science fiction

Early this morning I watched the trailer for an upcoming Filipino science fiction movie called Instalado. Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, the film explores the idea of a future in which knowledge can be purchased and installed on anyone willing to pay the cost. The protagonist is Victor, a young farmer hoping for a better life for his family, and the narrative follows his quest to be an “instalado” or an “insta” despite his limited means.

The film is an entry to TOFARM Film Festival, a two-year old fest that specifically aims to “uplift the farmers [and their] personal development.” Set in a country whose economy is still arguably hinged on agriculture, Instalado boasts of a premise that is both significant and potentially radical.

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Sa ngalan ng pangalan

Burgis na kayabangan siguro itong maituturing pero hindi ba’t ang jologs ng mga pangalang may silent “h” sa gitna? ‘Yung tipong Jhasmine o Bhea o Dhonalyn. Naku, isa pa ‘yang mga pangalang nagtatapos sa “lyn” o kaya—dios mio patawarin—lhyn.

Hindi naman ako tumatawa o nangangantyaw tuwing may nakikilala akong Jhonalyn o Gheralyn. May agarang panghuhusga lang na kumakalabit sa isip ko: siguro hindi sila mayaman.

Class-based, oo. Mukhang wala naman sa hinagap ng mga Sy at Zobel at Gokongwei na magdagdag ng silent “h” sa gitna ng pangalan. Khecelyn Zobel o Jhobert Elizalde—parang ang sarap sagutin ng, weh? 

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How To Get Away With Plunder

After the Supreme Court dismissed the plunder case against her, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gamely posed for a selfie with her lawyer Raul Lambino as if to show the world that hey, now that I’m free I don’t have to pretend I need a neck brace.

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Kudos to the makeup artist too! The contour was well done with just the right tinge of bronze on the apples of the cheeks. It’s even poetic, actually. Looks like three or more coats of the thickest foundation have been applied to Arroyo’s face in order to achieve that airbrush effect—truly an embodiment of the Filipino jibe ang kapal ng mukha!

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The romantic appeal of being broke

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Source

Nothing has ever been more offensive than my Facebook feed.

Every day I see pictures of friends on a boat ride under the hauntingly gorgeous stalactites of Palawan or in Insta-poses just right outside the Angkor Wat ruins. The more adventurous ones climb mountains and post photos of majestic sunrise above the clouds.

Hashtags like #travelgoals or #summerlovin trail the end of each long post while I, the ever-broke part-timer, click “like” and begrudgingly give them a thumbs up.

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On Badjao girl, free slippers, and other superficial sympathies

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Original photo by Topher Quinto Burgos | Source

We see a photograph of a scene basked in gold sunlight — and right in the foreground, a girl. She wears a faded pink shirt and slung around her left shoulder is a worn grey cloth tied tightly in a knot. Her eyes are dark and her hair has tinges of brown as golden as her skin.

The picture would be shared several thousand times in social media. A few more days and the girl would star in her own photo shoot. She would be in the news and in lifestyle programs. A politician’s wife would reportedly grant her a scholarship during a show known for handing out libreng tsinelas. And of course we, the audience, would feel elated for the pretty lass.

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