Showing posts with label thoughts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thoughts. Show all posts

On Miss Universe, Rabiya Mateo, the President and Politics

Friday, May 21, 2021

Rabiya Mateo has been talk of the town leading up to the 69th Miss Universe and following the issue around her was like a walk down memory lane for me.

When I was young, I used to love watching the Miss Universe pageant and every year, I look forward to it together with my girl cousins who were about the same age as me.

One particular year I love and remember was the 43rd Miss Universe in 1994. It was held in Manila so you can imagine the hype. We had our eyes glued to the TV for the whole program and we just couldn’t get enough of it.

When the competition was over, my cousins and I replayed it over and over amongst ourselves. Dressed in our mothers’ dusters and old party dresses modified by belts and pins, we’d take turns answering the famous questions, “How many islands are there in the Philippines?” and “What is the essence of a woman?”

We had our own favourite countries (mine was Miss India) but naturally, we all rallied behind our home country candidate for the win.

Miss Universe was the epitome of empowerment to a little girl like me. It encompasses all of the good aspects that make women beautiful: looks, brain and most importantly, the heart. No other word was more befitting to describe it than beautiful.

But then I grew up. I got busy with studies, then work, and later on, with my own family and so Miss Universe was a forgotten thing. Except for the occasional glimpses such as the famous fiasco by Steve Harvey and whenever my home country ended up in the finals, I wasn’t as keen about it as before.

Only this year, there has been a lot of hype over Miss Universe that it was hard to miss it. What considerably intrigued me was the endless bickering among the lot of Filipinos. Traditionally, I would expect my fellow Filipinos to be 1000% supportive (extra zero intended). So I was really curious why the nation was divided into two: fans vs bashers.

Needless to say, the whole thing caught my attention, so I did a little digging on what the commotion’s about. At the centre of this outburst was Rabiya Mateo, the Philippines representative for Miss Universe 2021.

Photo source here

At first glance, I didn’t see anything wrong about her. In fact, I thought she was a rather good representative for our country, with beautiful Filipina features and an inspiring backstory. What caused the divide was something not even related to the competition: her disagreement to the President’s stance, which had thrown her in the middle of this heated discussions among Filipinos.

That was the reason. Just like all the other things turned into a political issue, she was asked a controversial question taken out of context and all hell broke lose.

The President’s Remarks

In January this year, President Rodrigo Duterte declared, “My daughter is not running. I have told Inday not to run because I pity [her] knowing she will have to go through what I am going through.” His statement was for his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, after the latter came #1 in Presidential surveys and polls.

Photo source here

I am not an expert in politics and I actually shy away from this topic now after witnessing its ugly effects personally (which I will share later on). To me, politics is analogous to Midas’ touch, except that everything it touches turns into battle ground.

The President’s remarks do not necessarily equate misogynism, even if he added that, “This [Presidency] is not for women. You know, the emotional set-up of a woman and a man is totally different. You will become a fool here.”

Firstly, if one is to analyse the layers of his statement, it ensued from whether his daughter was running for Presidency or not. As a parent who loves and cares for his daughter, he could have simply meant that he did not want her to undergo the same resentment hurled at him, which is inevitably part of the job.

Second, as a political analyst wrote on his Facebook post, perhaps this was just another diversionary tactic that the President made to protect his daughter from attacks that could potentially arise after she became #1 in the presidential polls.

Whatever the real reason was, I seriously doubt it was a sexist statement. As pointed out in the same Facebook post, President Duterte was a good friend of former President Gloria Arroyo and clearly believed and respected her administration the most.

Besides, if we are to remember the 2016 Presidential debate, President Duterte opened his speech by saying, “It’s good that Ma’am Miriam is here. She’s one of the two only qualified to run this country as president.” It was clear that he had utmost respect and high regard for the only woman among the candidates, which was strikingly in contrast to his supposedly misogynistic behaviour.

Rabiya Mateo’s Remarks

In February 2021, Rabiya Mateo was placed in the hot seat during a virtual interview on the Missosology YouTube channel. When asked about the President’s remarks that “presidency is not for women,” the Iloilo beauty queen answered, “I do respect the President, but I completely disagree with this thought.”

For Rabiya, women are as capable as men in handling a nation and I couldn’t agree more. She then cited female leaders to back her point. For the sake of understanding how the chaos ensued, I write here the other statements she said:

I am a woman and I believe that my emotions do make part in my leadership skills. And I have so much heart and I have so much calling in being a leader, actually.

We live in an era in which we need to treat men and women equally. We need to give them the same opportunities. And I won’t agree with something like this because I know my capabilities and my strength as a woman, and I know I can make a difference.

Sometimes, you really need to put your emotion and to be the mother of your land.

I agree and honestly think there was nothing wrong with what she said. For me, these were the answers expected in a beauty pageant where saying things like, “world peace,” and “with a heart” almost always captures the audience’s attention.

But if linked back to what the President actually meant, I don’t think her words were even relevant. Not to demean her (again, I agree with everything she said) but they just don’t apply in this instance.

Moving on, the media feasted on Rabiya’s statement and when shown side by side with the President’s claims, it would appear that she was anti-Government and pro-Opposition. Although it shouldn’t have mattered (as Rabiya, just like every Filipino citizen, is entitled to her opinion and political affiliation), her statement irked some of her followers and instead of supporting her, did the exact opposite. 

This is what happens when someone or something becomes politicized, and Rabiya was caught in the middle of this non-sense argument, attacks and hate.

Whether this has been the intention of the people in the media or not, it definitely had a toll on Rabiya’s chances of winning the Miss Universe competition. This toxic polarization even spread across to affect the other candidates in an effort of one side to outdo the other.

Sad to say, because of politics, I struggled to see the beauty in this year’s pageant.

Politics and its “Midas” touch

It’s not at all bad to voice out what you believe in but most times, I find it better to just keep my beliefs in private. Not because I am embarrassed of my beliefs (I think it’s ridiculous to believe in something you’re embarrassed about) but because experience taught me that it causes rifts and arguments.

I know there are people who would feel strongly against what I stand for and I respect that. But if one is to challenge (and even more so if it was meant to mock) my beliefs, I can’t promise to just shut up meekly and raise my white flag.

But while some people are quick to jump at other people's beliefs, these same people also find it impossible to live in peace and accept differences. They start to hate you when you don’t agree with what they have to say. Whatever happened to healthy discussions?

This was the lesson I learned about 4 or 5 years ago.

It was during those times when my Facebook newsfeed was flooded with good news about insfrastructure and developments in my home country. Of course, I was happy about it. Although I have lived overseas for a long time now, I still have friends and family in the Philippines.

I can’t fully recall the exact news I shared but it was along those lines. It wasn’t meant to be for likes by the way. I just had a habit back then of browsing and then sharing the posts I plan to read later as a way of "bookmarking" them. Don’t worry, nowadays, I just use the SAVE option and share only cute cats.

Anyway, a friend privately messaged me to say that what I posted was wrong and that the credits were supposed to be for the past administration. I did a little snooping around to see if I was sharing fake news but almost all reputable websites shared the same info.

In my response, I told her that and thanked her for her information. However, whose credit it should go to was less of my concern and that the knowledge that the projects were now tangible and beneficial to the people were more important to me. I was just happy for my people.

I ended my response with a friendly, how are you (as it was more than a year since we last talked) but after that she completely ignored my message.

Then just recently, Facebook suggested memories with the same person, which I forwarded to her with an affectionate greeting (because she was one of those persons whom I have a high regard of). Seen-zoned. Oh well. I knew what that meant but it was just shocking how a single political discussion had caused her to cut ties.

It’s incredible how powerful politics is in dividing people which is why I have stopped being vocal about it. What happened to me was just one person who hated me for that reason and completely turned a blind eye on the other things we shared as friends.

It doesn’t matter if it was one person, it still hurt. But can you imagine the pressure Rabiya had to deal with when people bashed her for that? It wasn’t one person, it was a whole mob hating on her. All her hard work and everything else she had to offer were completely overshadowed.

And to think that Ms Universe was supposed to be about beauty and heart. There was nothing beautiful about what happened to Rabiya Mateo at all and if it’s true, as people say, that Miss Universe and these pageants are just political vehicles now, then I seriously doubt I will ever be keen about it as I had been when I was just a little girl.

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We're Not Everyone's Cup Of Tea - And That's Okay

Thursday, March 25, 2021

This morning, I was surprised by a lovely email from my colleague. She's a dear friend who's a lot older than me and she's so motherly that it's hard for anyone not to love her at all.

She remembered me because recently, there were 7/8 positions advertised and she encourages me to apply because she wants me to make my mark now. How sweet, I was emotional after reading her message.

However, promotions and studying are the last things on my mind now. Besides my hands being full with a toddler, work and side hustles, I just don't feel very capable and confident right now. 

I told her so and coaxed her to give the opportunities a go. We both got promoted at the same time, but I'd be very happy to see her advance ahead of me. Then she can mentor me hehehe.

But then she replied that she wasn't interested because she's retiring soon. Then she further said, "You are very smart Jenny - there is no need for any one to mentor you. I have told your [TL] that." Her message really lifted up my spirits.

I was flattered, of course, but mostly just thankful because she gave me some self-confidence when I felt like I am failing at everything at the moment. 

I'm a bad mom, I am slow at my work, I am this and that... that's what I think most of the times recently. But mostly it all boils down to me being a very unpleasant person. I don't why, but my mind has been mostly occupied with negative self-talk lately.

Then it dawned on me and I realised that our circumstances have a great impact on what we think, but we can change that. It's hard to say things out but the reality is, there will be some people in your life who wouldn't like you or hold grudge and have something against you and they'd make a point of making you feel that. 

I know I should do myself a favour and live the life lessons I often share on my Page - focus on the good and forget about the ones who make you feel bad for no reason - but it's just so hard.

I think a lot about these people. I think a lot but mostly the "why's." What's so abhorrent about me? I know I am not perfect, but is there ever one? I could be quiet most times but I think a lot, to the point of sometimes hurting myself inside.

So my friend's message was like a gift, a blessing. Peace to my exhausted mind. It reminded me that there are people - silent and distant as they may be - who secretly wishes us well. 

Sometimes, we forget about them because we don't see them a lot. We don't live closeby or they aren't in our social media. But they're there.

Think about these people instead. People who build you up instead of talking ill about you behind your back. They are the ones happy to see you succeed and they cry with you when you're down.

I think I should add in my crafting list to make a Photo Book of Lovely People. I'll include everyone's faces, starting from my husband, my children, my relatives and then the friends who I can trust my life with. This shall help me shift my wondering mind from asking too much WHYs because the truth is, there might not even be an answer.

It just so happened that we are not everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. The good news is, there will always be some people who will secretly pray for you too despite your flaws and shortcomings. Think more of them and make them your role model. Actually, a better idea would be to secretly pray for them too... 💗

Cup of tea inspirational quote
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What Does Coffee Have To Do With Personality?

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Photo source here

Is it true that how you like your coffee says a lot about your personality?

According to the internet (a very reliable source which I often times consult when I'm desperate) it does.

Here's what I found out:

Black coffee - It means you're an introvert, or you are pretending to be one but deep inside you're actually a psychopath. You identify to your coffee because it's as dark as your soul. You're a bit poetic too.

Cappuccino - You're elegant and you do things including drinking coffee with the finesse of a royalty. That or it's the only coffee you're familiar with on the menu.

Mocha - You're the darling of the crowd, charming and charismatic. Actually, you want hot choco but everyone else ordered coffee and because you don't like being left behind, you get something in between. 

Latte - You're a natural born leader. Just like latte, you like to soften the bitterness of life. But really, you're just confused which is which and you can't even tell the difference anyway so latte it is. And make that very extra hot. Like your temper.

Iced Coffee - You're simultaneous, reckless. You don't make sound choices. So when everyone else drinks hot coffee on a scorching burning sunny day, you decided to take iced coffee. Not sound at all.

Frappuccino - You're a trendsetter! So when you saw your newsfeed flooding with photos of your friends' frappuccino from Starbucks, you had to go and get one yourself, so you can also post it online.

Sometimes I like my coffee black without sugar, like today. Because I was pairing it with a choco muffin, so I wanted something bitter to offset the sugar.

Sometimes, I like a lot of milk too, when I'm on a rush and I don't want to wait until the coffee cools down a bit. So I put cold milk in my coffee.

Most times though, I don't even go for coffee. I go for black tea with milk and chia seeds (a downplayed version of bubble milk tea).

And I'm not one who'd say no to a frappuccino either, with cream on top please. I would drink it even in winter hahaha.

So what's my personality now? I'm an introvert, a royalty, a leader and a trendsetter but mostly just a blank slate, a walking zombie without personality (on days I prefer tea?).

I'm so fickle with my coffee I don't know myself anymore... 😓
Image source here

Kidding aside, it's just for fun and I don't really base my personality on what kind of coffee I like. Sure, some people have a go-to coffee (or drink) but if you're anything like me, who's not very fussy with my food choices, you'll probably agree that you just go with whatever you feel like for the day.

While it's true that some have a "sweet tooth," some prefer savoury food and others like bitter taste too, at varying degrees, does it really speak a lot about our personalities? 

According to a professor of psychology who reviewed a study about taste preferences and personality, there's a very small association between the two. Interested? You can read the article here.

So relax... if you're drinking black coffee right now, rest assured, we're normal people hehehe.

It's just that today is gloomy and cold, perfect for hot coffee. Whatever your preferences are, make sure it's the one that makes you happy.

As for me, large coffee, no sugar and black please... like my soul. 😎😈
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The Horse Whisperer Review: An Illicit Love Affair

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Overall, The Horse Whisperer (by Nicholas Evans) had been a fresh novel to me, a diversion from my usual preferences of suspense crime stories and heart warming inspirational dramas. The novel left me a bit reflective afterwards, if not a bit disappointed for it did not serve my expectations. In fact, as I was reading the book’s synopsis, I was trusting that the story would fall under my second preference, an inspirational, and that I’d pick up a few values when I’m done. It was a bit frustrating to discover that the novel was actually more of a love story, a genre I liked least. Nevertheless, credits are given to the synopsis provider who effectively disguised its real contents and to the film maker who made the book a little more interesting to readers than it should be.

In fairness, the novel did start grippingly. What was supposed to be a relaxed no-school winter day for teenager Grace and her horse Pilgrim ended tragically in an accident maiming both of them drastically and killing her friend Judith and her horse Gulliver. I started the book with much hankering as to how the story would be resolved for the girl and for the horse as well, whose crucial mending was linked to his owner’s. I believe that this is the most emotional part in the story, for although both girl and horse were recovering physically, they were both disintegrating internally.

This was the matter which Annie, a strong-willed woman whose success in career is substituted for her gradually failing role as a mother, struggled to resolve. And so she readily gave up a few weeks on work, bringing her daughter and the horse along, to camp in the horse whisperer’s ranch in Montana.

Tom Booker has the expertise with horses that has got problems with their owners, with an emphasis that the problem is the owners not the horses. At first, he was hostile towards Annie although he was also able to patch things up a little between her and her daughter. But a sad turn out of events caused Booker and Annie to fall in love with each other, damaging the mother-daughter relationship before they were even restored. This reduced my enthusiasm towards the end.

Anticlimax number one, the story would never be resolved for Grace and Pilgrim after all. Sure, they mended and were able to face a resurrected future. But the price was great and the recovery wasn’t even attributable to the troubles they underwent with camping at the ranch. Personally, I believe the healing part was because Grace realized that there were no resolutions to her tragic accident except acceptance, just as Pilgrim was left no choice in the end except to give in and let Grace ride again. 

Number two, I learned that Robert, the loving husband and dedicated father, had not been explored fairly as a character because in the end, he would just be dumped without good reason. His being urban should not have been blamed for being replaced forever by country man Booker. 

Number three, their illicit love affair could not be excused by Annie’s re-discovery of life or for Booker’s second chance at love that he nonchalantly threw away with his first wife. And the antagonistic way Booker’s sister-in-law always tried to get in between them should not have displayed the character as disdainful, no matter if her reason was jealousy.

The story and characters twisted in an unfashionable way however it made the story very authentic. Its realistic approach is in itself a credit, nevertheless, just as a person would react to the situation, perhaps he would not also like the turn of events. In the end, one’s anger towards Booker would subside when he offers his life to save Grace. But Annie, having Booker’s son, had been permanently tainted slightly but may be pardoned for her character somewhat softened in the end just as a real human being tends to become humble when he commits an un-willful sin.

So overall, I was left pondering by the novel, trying to level and reason things out as if I had been the one to commit the infidelity. Perhaps, this is actually acceptable to me, forgivable in some sense, but its effect on the characters and the story itself made me want to go back to the beginning of the story and change major things including a weekly visit from Robert or perhaps forcing Pilgrim right from the start to just let Grace ride again. 

But then again, I shouldn’t have expected something different if the synopsis had hinted that this was an illicit love story… I was thinking, I may not have read this book at all if that had been the case.

Overall rating: ⭐⭐ out of 5

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The Secret House Book Review: A Childhood Secret

Almost a score ago when I have first encountered this book and yet its story still holds a special part inside me, prompting a certain crave now to read the book again, even though at my present age, the delight in this experience had probably faded to a great extent. This book is special in a class of its own in that it marks the shift in my reading trek from the cozy picture books to a more complex and wordy short novel (it has chapters). Thanks to The Secret House by Carol Beach York for making the shift experience a gratifying one.

Early in primary school, we used to have library hour wherein we get to choose up to 4 books for weekend mind consumption. In one of those instances, I decided that I’ve outgrown the familiar characters and comfortable hard covers of the Puddle Lane series I usually borrowed. Instead, I started to look out for books from the shelves where a few students were gathering.

I pulled out a book in scrutiny: a black cat eyeing two scared girls in uniforms; behind them an incongruous wooden fence and a leafless tree; farther behind the fence was a rundown house that’s apparently haunted. Quite interesting, and the word “secret” added to the air of curiosity. Usually, it’s always “The Haunted House” and its commonness almost always kills the interest. I looked at the back cover, it says “Miss Plum's scary stories soon start to seem very real to the girls at the Good Day Orphanage, and soon Phoebe and Tatty begin to believe that the house down the street really is haunted.” 

By then, I have decided that this is worth a try even as I browse the pages. It had chapters, the first novel I’d ever try; nevertheless, gauging the text with a few illustrations thrown occasionally throughout the pages, it couldn’t have been very lengthy for me. Thus, the book was chosen singly, to give myself the whole weekend to concentrate on it.

I can hardly remember the event I have been reading the book, but I know I loved it. It’s very easy to be the adventurous and curious Phoebe who was the only girl to notice the house down the street and share the secret with her friend Tatty. She saw the black cat in Miss Plum’s story, the wizard’s canary, the red head behind the chair in the wizard’s parlor who was presumed to be the wizard’s first victim, and everyday, as Miss Plum’s story unfolds, Phoebe discovers new evidences.

In the end, the wizard got bored with the potions he had been trying out and decided to build a spaceship to rule other wizards in the outer space. But he found none and got lost in space forever. Phoebe and Tatty found clues of something built in the backyard the next day, but nothing concrete could verify their belief that the house was indeed the one on Ms. Plum’s story.

Soon afterward, a pleasant family with a baby moved in. Both girls knew that asking Miss Plum would confirm their belief but they were afraid that the question would be suspicious. 

And then one night, a girl at the Orphanage asked this hanging question to which Miss Plum replied, “By and by, a nice family moved in. They have a baby…” and both girls, including the readers are left to contemplate whether the wizard really did live in the Secret House.

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