When they Bear Arms

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It was a shooting spree in the United States days ago. And for a guy like me who lives half-way around the world with access to the internet and cable, it’s disturbing for a Filipino like me, to see the news or hear headlines that shooting incidents like the Orlando shooting at the Pulse nightclub and Christina Grimmie getting shot before that. Not to mention the other countless shootings that occurred in the last fifteen years seems to be more of a routine than a crime prevented. Even President Obama’s press releases have become a routine for him as well. The same goes for his predecessors.

It does not matter what drove the killers to shoot those innocent lives. Because whenever this shows up when I switch our TV to CNN, Fox, BBC and many other news outlets; I can’t understand why such incident have to take place.

 

In the Philippines, there are a few mass shootings that truly made our people mad the same way the world is right now towards hate crimes and shootings.

There was the Hacienda Luisita in 2004 in which farmers demanding for the rightful land that they’ve earned after years of planting and harvesting sugar. The massacre claimed the lives of those farmers. No thanks to the outgoing president Benigno S. Aquino’s family who are too greedy to give up a piece of their land to those rightful owners.

Years later the Maguindanao massacre on November 23, 2009. That placed the Philippines as one of the danger zones or hot spots for journalists around the world. The massacre was politically motivated that claimed the life of Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu’s wife and many others in that convoy.

Then there was the Kidapawan Massacre that killed people who only wanted their god-given rice. But instead of that, they were hurled with bullets.

 

When these situations happen, I really can’t understand the United States on why guns are so accessible to some states.

I asked my uncle living in the States, particularly in Texas. He said that owning a gun in Texas is a must and they are living up to the saying that “Don’t mess with Texas”.

I just thought that my uncle, being a veteran and mechanic for the US Army he has the privilege to own a gun but the state of requires him to do so. Not only because he is a veteran.

 

The problem that I see in the laws of the United States towards gun ownership and gun control is that they do not perform a background check towards some people who wants to avail any gun before giving them their desired firearm and making profit for their store.

It is not only in the real world that this problem occurs.

The idea may seem to be far-fetched but in video games like Grand Theft Auto, guns are truly accessible not just affordable if you activated a cheat code. The violence is closer at home and easily adapted when the adrenaline of playing a video gets the better of us.

So for a country like theirs, video games like that reflect what their society really is.

 

If such incident happened in the Philippines, I really don’t know what to do with myself if someone fires a sub-machine like an M4 carbine anywhere possible. Because if someone does; the only thing I know is to hide in the men’s room if it happens in a shopping mall, but knowing how malls have been tight with their security since the attack of the “Martilyo Gang” who stormed a jewelry shop by smashing their glassware and taking the jewelry. The same goes for that group who stormed Greenbelt in Makati years ago, carrying military grade weaponry to rob that jewelry watch store. But some malls have a gun shop located in underground floors. I don’t know how I’m going to protect myself if I’m far away from the men’s room with someone firing at will.

 

Mass shootings in the United States also took place in some schools across the US. But for the Philippines; schools like the one I’m attending, don’t fall in that category. Simply because we are not that “conyo” like those people studying in Taft Avenue, Katipunan Avenue or even that school in Dasma Village. And for the people studying in our institution; to drive a pimped ride and carry a gun at the same time is really dangerous. As for that conyo school in Makati, it school surely made the headlines years ago when some person brought a gun inside the school and tried to aim it towards someone.

More important is the people in our institution who always project themselves like those people would rather show off their automobiles than risk their lives wielding and concealing firearms, now that our incoming president is more than willing to bring someone to jail for any crime committed.

 

As for hate crimes like the one that occurred in Orlando at the Pulse Nightclub, I just hoped it won’t happen in the Philippines.

Hate crimes like the one that is just unimaginable and it’s definitely a nightmare, if it does take place here.

 

No one in Metro Manila can bring a military grade weapon and fire it before a crowd because NCR is no place for extremists. Not unless you are a radical agent of the NPA (New People’s Army) who knows how to hide his arsenal or an Abu Sayyaf agent that knows how to blend with the civilians after years of hiding in the woods to blend with the city.

 

There’s really not enough words and thought to ponder on why did those shootings happened. . .

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Six months down

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It is now the month of June. The year is halfway done.

Schools in all over the Philippines will no longer open simultaneously this month because universities like the University of Sto. Tomas, Ateneo de Manila and all of the UP Campuses from Luzon, Visayas to Mindanao have shifted their academic calendars. Another thing is De La Salle University no longer starts their school year at May, moving the start of their school year to August.

Schools around the University Belt would still open this month if not one day after another, one week after another.  That also includes the schools of Muralla from PLM, Manila High School, Mapua, Lyceum and Letran

The rainy days are coming as well and it’s that time again to prepare rubber boots and raincoats to conquer the floods.

Thank God that some of the students of UST will no longer have to suffer the rainy days of June. But there’s still the onslaught of August all the way to October.

On my part, finally I will be roaming Letran as a full-fledge journalism major because I will now have majors as I enroll next week. I hope to find peace of mind with the program and classes that I will be attending. The best part of this is I only have one 7AM class!

 

In sports, June declares the winner of the NBA if the Warriors get to finish this series next game. In this month, the NCAA begins and the hope of defending the title will soon be witnessed for Letran. In baseball, teams are players are now starting to feel the hardships of the season in order to see if some can make it for the postseason on October. Football in Europe for Euro 2016 has now begun and I hope I get to see Germany and its line up so I could project what their lineup could be two years from now for the FIFA World Cup 2018.

The month of June as of the moment still mourns for the passing of Muhammad Ali. Everyone in the world is really grieving but rather than tears, athletes and different personalities looked on the bright side of his passing.

 

In the Philippines, on June 12; the country does not really celebrate its independence. We do not really celebrate our independence because Emilio Aguinaldo declared our independence prematurely. So premature that we didn’t know the Americans were about to set foot and eventually the Americans would fire their weapon towards a Filipino, igniting the Filipino-American War.

We are forced to commemorate a premature independence that dates back to 1898. For some it is the day of sovereignty. But how could we celebrate our sovereignty if the Chinese keeps on invading our waters?

For a person like me, it doesn’t matter if it’s South China or West Philippine Sea. Point is that this body of water is far away from Mainland China and closer to Hong Kong and Vietnam. Renaming this body of water would just make it harder not only for me but also for the countries claiming, fighting for their rights on some parts of it.

 

Days from now, we will no longer address Rodrigo Duterte as president-elect; as he makes it official by taking his oath-of-office on June 30 together with Leni Robredo as she will also take her oath as vice-president of this country.

I just don’t know what Duterte and Marcos discussed last night. But I think it’s something big. Probably a government position reserved just for Bongbong.

 

For the first one hundred days of the Duterte administration, I do not expect infrastructures just yet. But expect criminals doing their best to go deep, so deep that you will no longer use the term underground for their criminal activities. People like them trying their best not to get caught by the authorities. Because right now, just nineteen days before Duterte takes his oath-of-office the news networks here have been featuring a lot of drug busts, drug pushers and all kinds of criminals, and criminals trying their very best in begging to Duterte before the camera not to rot in jail with the fear of the death penalty that could possibly get back in this government if the next congress would pass it.

Talk about drugs, getting high for the wrong reasons and even getting laid, I was really saving this thought for a different post, on why you can’t make me go to raves, clubs and parties, like Close Up’s Forever Summer or Hydro Manila that gets to enter schools like my school or wherever. One factor that can’t make me come to raves is there’s no real music. How is EDM music, really?! It’s for singles to hook up that they should just wear a shirt that says, “I DON’T WANT TO BE A VIRGIN ANYMORE, I WANT TO GET LAID”, rather than wearing skimpy and revealing outfits for girls. While guys try to wear tank tops making themselves look like f*** boys with muscles jacked up by steroids. Another person should wear a shirt that says, “I HAVE CANDY AND IT’S FREE OF CHARGE.” Then you realize that you just chewed drugs and you end up literally drop dead after inducing those drugs.

 

Events like this and the incident that occurred on Close Up’s event should really get the attention of the very top because as Duterte said from his campaign ads and those debates, he hates drug. In his first hundred days, people working at the Dangerous Drugs Board together with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency should be able to classify the drugs like this as very dangerous and should be labeled for the moment as “Party Drugs” — more dangerous than marijuana and alcohol.

Do not tell that I’m missing half of my life by not coming with you and attending these events.

 

Another expectation in his first one hundred days is that I do not expect the number of trains in the MRT or LRT lines to increase just yet, because the last secretary of the DOTC screwed with the transactions of how things will go for the MRT and the LRT with the number of trains and the improvement of each stations. For example, some the escalators of LRT-2’s Recto Station no longer work. The electronic screen that flashes how long before the next train arrives no longer flashes those red lights. As for the Santolan Station, the x-rays machines for bags no longer work.

One thing I would really like to see happen in his first one hundred days is to ease traffic by regulating the sales of cars from car dealers and their showrooms to second hand dealers. Another thing that the incoming administration should do is to impose a huge amount of tax to car owners that they will be discouraged to pay the tax and take the taxi instead.

 

In this month, we celebrate and honor Sir Paul McCartney and I hope Sir Paul is okay because I am bummed that legends like Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Prince, Maurice White from the hit group Earth, Wind and Fire, Alan Rickman have passed on. I don’t want another legend dying with the year halfway done.

(KNOCK ON WOOD)

 

The worst thing that happened today in music if you’re a fan of The Voice in the US is the shocking news that their alumna Christina Grimmie has died. Sad for her fans and it’s just wrong.

 

Politicians in the United States should do something with their laws for owning guns and gun control. Because no one in the world wants to be shocked with the news that a person fired this gun and these shots towards a crowd in a mall, a preschool, or anywhere, when some in their hotel rooms or homes gets hold of the remote and switch it to news channels like CNN of Fox.

 

I only wish for better days ahead and I only have a few days to go before my school starts on June 29. I don’t even know how to make it last, the way my sister does right now by binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy.

I have a hard drive. But I don’t know what movie to watch with it when I get to plug it behind our TV while she’s there watching Grey’s on our PC because me, my sister and brother share the same room and we do not have a headset so she can intimately binge watch it.

 

I just want her to leave and go to Korea right now together with everyone in her school this month.

The Man Who Made His Last Sting Before Floating Like a Butterfly: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali

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It was Saturday morning here in Manila when I first saw a link posted on Bleacher Report’s Facebook page that Muhammad Ali is in his critical state. Later that day, I was on my laptop trying to find inspiration for something to write and I was thinking of a way express my true feelings to someone, until I switched on our TV and streamed on the channels then I saw a headline on Aljazeera that says “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali has already passed away.

The next day, I didn’t really know how to react towards the photo that Michael J. Fox posted on his Twitter account, in which he wore a boxing gear posing as if he is about to punch Ali, while Muhammad Ali was just standing defending himself by holding his head. Basically it shows two people battling Parkinson’s disease but unfortunately, the other just ended his fight.

 

I was not born yet when Muhammad Ali proclaimed that he is “The Greatest” and also when he said the immortal words “Float like a butterfly sting like a bee” in an interview while he is at the gym — training. And I was not born yet when he beat Sonny Liston and George Foreman in different occasion and even when he lost to Joe Frazier especially when he beat Frazier in ‘Thrilla in Manila’ held at the Araneta Coliseum on October 1, 1975.

As a kid growing up, I got to know Muhammad Ali as a fighter that a gamer can play in Fight Night on PS2 or Xbox. It didn’t matter to me if I win or lose with Muhammad Ali, because back then, my only goal was to make a good hurl of combos and give that knockout punch.

 

As I grew up, I got to know more about Muhammad Ali, as more than just a game character that you get to play in a video game or watch in a highlight reel on YouTube from his best fights against Liston, Foreman and Frazier. Because like Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther Kingmuhammad_ali_dr._king_ap_img; he was also an advocate of civil rights during the civil rights movement, in and out of the ring.

 

In his prime and the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, his sporting counterparts in each sporting league in North America were also fighting for their rights and not just climbing their way up.

 

Jackie Robinson is starting to pave the pave way for African-Americans to join professional sporting leagues, breaking baseball’s color barrier in April of 1947 when he was called by then Brooklyn Dodgers to play in the Major League. But this won’t be as steady as it seemed.

In those days, African-American a basketball player like Bill Russell had to play his best in both ends of the court and if it wasn’t for Boston Celtics legendary head coach Red Auerbach, the Celtics may not have built that Celtic dynasty from the1950s to the 1960s, and many others would soon follow in each sport and in each decade that came by.

 

It has been said that he refused to fight in the Vietnam War, because he does want to be involved in a war that America should not have fought. Since America was fighting the threat that is communism at that time. Sooner or later America ended up losing lives until it gave up in the early 1970s.

Ali paid the price for his refusal which cost him his world title and he was prohibited from fighting, until he got the green light to fight again then eventually reclaim the title that was deprived of him.

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The meeting of top African-American athletes in June 1967. Seated from the left most side; Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, “The Greatest”, Cleveland Browns’ running back Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who was then Lew Alcindor an undergraduate and playing basketball for the UCLA Bruins.

Muhammad Ali is a larger-than-life figure. He is beyond sports.

He did not just inspire fighters that wanted to fight like him and become world heavyweight champion. Muhammad Ali is a life coach himself and we just don’t know it. Even if we do not hire his services, just like how Bruce Lee is often quoted for saying “Be water, my friend” or how others also quote Biblical verses.

Ali and his quotes serve as motivation in all aspects. More important is that it leads us to a certain perspective that we must understand the best way that we can.

 

The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

As an aspiring writer, I try my best to imagine, and create ideas for me to get that wings Muhammad Ali speak of.

I do not just want to write with what I’m really capable of doing right now, since I started writing for this WordPress account. I try my best with my best friend and former EIC to start up ideas, and be able to write short stories that I hope to finish for a certain season later this year.

More important is that we must imagine something that would really give meaning to our lives for us to fly with those wings.

 

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

True enough because Muhammad Ali as boxer has already maximized that. As a humanitarian he has done more than enough through for the marginalized anywhere in the world that made his stay worthwhile. Most important is the help that he provided in finding the cure for Parkinson’s disease.

As ordinary people, no matter what the line of work is, we must serve everyone to the best of our abilities so we can really make our stay on earth truly great.

 

“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

In connection with the previous quote, we must always have a different view of the world as we grow old so we can truly pay for our rent here on earth.

We should not just view the world differently at fifty simply because we aged and reached that particular age. We must always change our views or perspective. So we cannot waste the remaining years that we have before some of us reach fifty.

I’m twenty seven years away from fifty. I do not just want to waste my time and life by writing for this website. Because there will come a time, that I may have to stop and do something else. In which I have to discover for myself along the way.

 

“I know where I am going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

This quote from The Greatest just brought me back to the moment when I was deciding on what I really want to take up before I set foot on college. Also in deciding on what I really want to study in college. Then my issue of shifting or transition from being a psychology major to journalism major.

Other than that, this is also standing up for what you really know is right. It’s giving one’s self that freedom on what they really wanted to be. Or what really want to do with their life.

This is also reflective of how Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali when he decided to change his spiritual belief to Islam in the early sixties. Another is his decision not to join the army after he was drafted for Vietnam.

Lastly, the truth in that quote is that Ali’s war is in the ring, not in Vietnam. More important according him, Cassius Clay is his slave name and as a citizen of a free country like the United States, he had the freedom of changing his spiritual and political belief.

 

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

He did take a risk and again it’s his decision not to join the army after the draft.

He is more than courageous to trash talk before and after his fights, because his fighting style truly back up his trash talk.

He is the grand daddy of trash talking I must say.

The trash talks of UFC fighter Connor McGregor to undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (vice-versa) in any medium are nothing. Even Baron Geisler’s trash talk towards Kiko Matos here in the Philippines,  whether it is scripted or not are nothing to what Ali has said to anyone that he has fought throughout his career.

With all the trash talk that he has said, he did accomplish a lot in the ring.

 

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

I was not really going to include this because it’s overly used, like some song to become a soundtrack for a movie.

Ali truly lived up to these words because of his hand speed, agility, and footwork that many have tried to replicate particularly, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Unlike Mayweather Jr., Ali does not give a lot of hugs the way Mayweather Jr. does when he fought Manny Pacquiao until his last fight. More important is the punching power.

This quote is not only applicable in the context of sports particularly boxing and mixed martial arts. This quote can also be applicable to any team sport like basketball and volleyball. For teams to have that Muhammad Ali state of mind, of course not to the point where players also have to do the trash talking and punching towards their opponent in each game.

Outside sports, we can apply this towards love for both boys and girls. Who seemed to look like wallflowers then one day they become dressed so good, and so beautiful that you can’t recognize them.

That’s really floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.

 

With that, may he inspire more people not only people who dream to become world champion in any sport but also in all aspects of life.

 

REST IN POWER

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