Tag Archive | industrialization

Johnny Mnemonic Revisited

Keanu Reeves as Just-Johnny = Johnny Smith

Keanu Reeves as Just-Johnny = Johnny Smith

When the 2021-setting sci-fi Johnny Mnemonic film came out in 1995 320-gigabytes seemed to have been an enormous amount of data, akin to one’s impression of how much the Library of Congress holds. Of course it holds much much more than that, and 320 GB is paltry nowadays when terabyte external drives are stacked on shelves much like choices of fruits or potato chips in a grocery store. But Johnny Mnemonic will always be something big for me.

I saw it during my getting-to-know-Keanu-Reeves-days many years ago, when I didn’t even notice that the Just-Johnny role doesn’t need much acting skills. Which didn’t make me conclude that Keanu Reeves couldn’t act, thank goodness. Whatever could be said about him what remains is that this actor projects respectable charisma and he’s among my enduring favorites.

Johnny Mnemonic was disturbing to me then, and even now after I rewatched it, for the fact that I felt that it used the most extreme avenue for information transfer: the human brain. It was disturbing to see that it could become possible that the brain encasement be legitimately violently invaded for electronic purposes.

brain functions by studyblue.com

brain functions by studyblue.com

Yet while I was rewatching it I realized that the idea of using the brain for induced memory storage is fantastic (even) without foreign-object implants, like that chip that Just-Johnny had.

The induced-memory/ies would just be existing in the neurons themselves. The human brain has more than enough “space” to hold such extra memories — this with the assumption that we use only about 10% of its capacity. But please excuse errors in my statements here. I’m not a brain expert; just a thought dabbler. What’s sure is that the brain is a little understood organ of our body.

In another way Johnny Mnemonic can be seen as an exploration into the wonder of the human brain, brought into popular media. However, the violence in that film seemed to have downplayed this feature. That’s another thing that imprinted that movie into my psyche — it was violent. Stabbings. Bazooka hits. Big city filth. Monster companies and disenfranchised population. A courier job that traded childhood memories for a brain implant. A strong antagonist is dressed as a preacher, and it’s only now after I discovered that he’s Dolph Lundgren that his scary effect on me has lessened.

Recently I noticed that when I download a video I’d get only images and no sound. Sure enough I found that other people are having the same problem as I do and the discussions on the solutions is replete with jargon that had me jacking up my logic fast or else I wouldn’t be able to catch any of the drift.

TRON 1982

TRON 1982 protagonists

Thankfully I understood enough to realize that there’s nothing wrong with my codecs and I need not uninstall anything. That in fact it’s not my doing. Incidentally I had figured out earlier that the safest choice, for me at least, is the webm file. I used to choose either flv or mp4 but they’ve become more of miss than hit for me. So far so good and I hope there’ll be no more seemingly-malicious hitches anymore, and forgive me if they aren’t malicious at all but most people out there seem to think so. This takes me back to Johnny Mnemonic.

What’s malicious in Johnny Mnemonic’s story is that the big-time company/ies block vital and can-be-easily-had information from getting out into the people. But here’s the third reason why it remained big time for me: a dolphin’s brain is a main conduit for information capture and release. If a dolphin could do that then how much more a human, though there’s the mention of the sonic waves that we can’t detect to consider, which gets me a bit puzzled now because they’re not electromagnetic waves. I could have heard it wrong. Oh, well, at least I took to the dolphin faster than Just-Johnny did.

TRON 1982 poster

TRON 1982 poster

Now my thoughts are threatening to go whichever way, because suddenly while I was writing the paragraph above I thought of TRON and his fight against the Master Computer. But I can’t accommodate TRON here now or I’ll get off my track.

I should be talking about my wonder of the human brain here, which basically is what Johnny Mnemonic has tampered with. Way back during my paperback-novel-reading days I got introduced into the wonder of the travelling bard of the ancient Celtic societies. He’s trained to memorize his people’s knowledge through songs and stories and it is through him that subsequent generations learn of their past. He’s responsible for training one who will follow after him and in this way precious knowledge is not lost. In that story that I read an antagonist hit a bard, causing his skull to be broken (sorry about that, but I had to retell it like that).

The author lamented the tragic loss of all those lengthy sagas and lore, all stored within that helpless brain of a now lifeless mystic. I did cry when I read that and it’s among those paperback-scenes that I will never forget. It’s like experiencing a world where all information within books and libraries have been burned down (which thankfully got saved in Aeon Flux in glass-like panels, but I can’t talk of Aeon now…)

a druid, bard, or poet

a druid, bard, or poet

Going back three paragraphs past, I was about to say that an okay-functioning notebook doesn’t get examined by me until I notice that accessing files and webpages are getting frustratingly slow or something’s not like the way it used to be. By looking for causes and wanting to overcome my frustration I get thrown into a world of fanciful jargon, like my newest vocabulary: splitter. If you’re not into computers then don’t worry if you don’t know what this is, yet. Without anybody to help me with computer troubles I have already figured out that I could survive just by learning from the web community itself. I’ve discovered that it’s not only me who’s having this or that problem and that there are lots of people out there willing to help out. Beautiful beautiful world.

Now, what I was about to say again is this: that as much as a single personal computer is like a brain [!break! I’m listening now to Joe Hisaishi’s First Love and I’m going berserk because I didn’t know it’s his and it’s among my favorite sound tracks, this one in The Legend/Taewangsasingi  🙂 ]… as much as the computer is like the brain the cyberspace is also like a bigger brain. But then I’m a member of the cult of the human brain and I do believe that it’s more wonderful than the web, as much as I believe that human cloning will never be successful.

a  druid, bard, or poet

a druid, bard, or poet

If, just as in TRON, it’s possible to have all the body’s particles be digitized — and that means a one-to-one coding has been achieved — then that means memory locations can also be specified. But my argument is this: the neurons are not fixed entities but are rather, like all the human cells, dynamic. If it becomes possible to be accurate on the permutations of the totality of neural functions then memory functions can also be tracked. I doubt if this is possible, much as I doubt if it’s possible for a successful human cloning. A cloning of the physical parts, maybe yes, but the human is not only cells and tissues. Cells and tissues by themselves will not work unless there’s a “something” else that is added (e.g., in a specifically comatose patient), and then it’s a fully functioning person. I did ask my organic chemist classmate about this and he said, yes, modern technology can now successfully produce a human clone. I did ask my teacher where the soul would come from, and he said, well, God can work in indirect ways. But I didn’t press anymore because I didn’t want to compromise anyone with my fanciful speculations. At least what’s clear is that the manifestation of a genetic trait is the function of groups of genes plus the environment, a topic yet little understood nowadays.

The jargon that computer experts use just throws back at me the fact that information handling is a very specific arena. An mp4 is a world away from an mp3: one engages both my vision and hearing while the other has no visuals at all. This specificity is what our brains deal with all the time, a coordination of visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, proprioceptive, equilibrioceptive, nociceptive, thermoceptive and chronoceptive information handling, and simultaneous reactions, and more. Don’t be stressed about the 6th to 10th terms; they’re also new to me  🙂 . It’s all extended to the nerve system, hence throughout the body, at micro-world speeds. There’s storage and garbaging, filtering and enhancing, recycling, dissolution and recalling — all the complicated stuff happening in just seconds within 1 person, 1 baby, 1 elderly, even 1 dolphin!

Dolphin in Johnny Mnemonic

Dolphin in Johnny Mnemonic

Haah! Now I’m irrevocably lost and can’t return to Johnny. But as this post gets disseminated to individual brains out there via cyberspace then small chunks of sense here and there among the paragraphs above will be perceived by one person or another. Bastante. I’m satisfied with that. As much as I wanted a coherent composition I didn’t exert enough will to muster the will power to do so. Nevertheless, the mind isn’t confined to just logic, the kind that has a neat row of arguments. Intuition and random functions are also important features, and they sometimes manifest in one wanting to stop crazy studying for a moment and go configure into words a collection of recollections, like this one here.

It’s now Yiruma playing with his lovely lovely A River Flows In You. I wish for a river to flow within you. I wish everyone a peaceful day/evening and may you be the blessing that you wish to be.

♥  Muchisimas gracias to the owners of the illustrations above.

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Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be That Glittery

1.  big Chrsitmas tree      If I don’t feel like joining in the extravagance of the Christmas celebrations would I be betraying those who think that the glitters are essential?

I don’t feel like profusely thanking God that I’m forced to stay away from sweets, yet it’s something my folks would call a “blessing in disguise”. The reasons why I wouldn’t buy even a single chocolate yummy isn’t only emotional and mental but physical as well. It seems I now have a safety lock in my resolve to not do the usual things that I would be looking forward to for Christmas — that’s largely involving yummy yummy food and nice new things.

Then there’s also the decorations to be set up even when the Christmas tree is just a plastic imitation, there where I have lived all my life, and Santa with his thick clothes and reindeers in their sleigh are nothing more than just illustrative and illusions. The great majority of my folks have totally no idea what a real cold season means, and are not even aware of the great variety of conifers that exist or ever seen more than one kind.

Then we’d sing “Silent Night” along with “Winter Wonderland” without having the littlest idea of the theologies on Jesus of Nazareth, without the littlest idea of the hazards that snow and other solid forms of precipitation can bring. Would I be betraying those who feel that the extravagance of Christmas celebrations is essential when I say that, well, the great part of it is, uhm, a hoax? When one looks at the disparity between the real reason for Christmas and its popular image, globally, one can’t help but conclude that the bulk of it is irrelevant.

2.  Christmas tree decorsI did more than once heard it preached, by priests and pastors alike, that Christmas is supposed to be a daily celebration. But, man, how can that line of wisdom compete with the overwhelming sights, sounds and smells of the giddy frenzy of buying and cooking and eating and partying by only those who can? What about those who can’t afford to do so and at the same time have no idea that all these are, in fact, dispensable?

Oops, don’t read me wrongly. I do not mean disrespect. I value tradition and culture, in the way they bind communities and affirm living. I do like giving and receiving presents. I love to see my family gathered together in a special meal knowing that other families are gathered as well and that there’s general goodwill in the land and in the ones across oceans. I love the riot of colors and glitter that spring up everywhere many weeks before Advent. But where I have lived all my life electricity is expensive and so the Christmas lights is at the top of the list of things that make me cringe. “Fairy lights” are wonderful in the setting where they originated but transported into my tropical impoverished land they only make me think of unwanted heating and misplaced funds that should have gone to food and health.

3.  Santa in the airIt’ a blessing-in-disguise that I have no choice but to stay away from sweets, otherwise I would not be strong enough to resist perusing the arrays of enticing foodstuff inside an ordinary grocery store, here in the country where I find myself in now, which is one that employs nuclear energy and the best of technology; otherwise I would feel myself heroic in trying my best to be one with many of my suffering countrymen (over the recent hurricane and earthquake disasters). Dang, I really acquired a liking to those Turkish honeyed treats and now I can’t have them. Oh, well, half of my people can’t afford even a pint of ice-cream for years and years so why should I complain?

The issues involved are already much studied, such as poverty and wealth distribution. There’s an ocean of academics out there on these things. But man is man. Unless he chooses to pay attention then he cannot be coerced into engagement. And so life goes on. No one knows exactly where to. Would everything end up the way the movie A. I. (Artificial Intelligence) pictures it out to be, where the bios are no more and the world is run by software? As for now, for me here my comfort foodstuffs are just coconut, salted peanuts, and brewed coffee. With all the facts on poverty that I unearthed today my claim to these “comfort food” has become even a bit embarrassing.

I know I’m not alone in what I feel. I did find a newspaper article that I agree with in this, by a fellow countryman, and I’m glad that he and many like him think of things this way, too.
——————————————4.  tropical Christmas

 

from an article by Mr. Allan S. B. Batuhan (Batuhan: A stolen Christmas?)
(copied from:  http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/business/2013/12/21/batuhan-stolen-christmas-319946)

“Mostly for the simple reason that many people don’t feel like celebrating, in the midst of so much suffering. Yes, suffering. Ordinarily, we Filipinos are accustomed to seeing hardship all around us.

Our political institutions are corrupt, our politicians steal our money, and our people hardly have enough to make ends meet. Contestants join TV shows not for fun, but because they are the only means they have of raising funds for whatever pressing need they have in their lives. Wherever we turn, there are always those who are in need of something.

But the events of 2013 have made even what is commonplace and normal, extraordinary and abnormal. The sight of a beggar on the side of the street is something, but the horror of looking at pictures of devastated homes, and hundreds of dead bodies piled up beside the road is entirely another. Hearts not ordinarily moved by the endless parade of street urchins caroling beside one’s car while stopped at traffic, are wrenched and gutted by the grim footage flashing on the evening news.

So the usual Christmas extravagance goes out the window. And in its place come gestures of generosity hardly ever seen in a country already so jaded by suffering.

Which in the end, is probably just as well, because it reminds us all of what Christmas really ought to be—to share what we have with the least, and the last in life. And as long as we are in this spirit, Christmas will always be alive and well.

Dr. Seuss said it very well indeed: “Christmas Day will always be, just as long as we have we.”
—————————————–5.  Mandela on poverty

[SOME FACTS FROM THE NET:]

 

Number of hungry people in the world
(copied from: http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm)

 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries (FAO 2012).

The number of undernourished people decreased nearly 30 percent in Asia and the Pacific, from 739 million to 563 million, largely due to socio-economic progress in many countries in the region. The prevalence of undernourishment in the region decreased from 23.7 percent to 13.9 percent.

Latin America and the Caribbean also made progress, falling from 65 million hungry in 1990-1992 to 49 million in 2010-2012, while the prevalence of undernourishment dipped from 14.6 percent to 8.3 percent. But the rate of progress has slowed recently.

6.  very hungryThe number of hungry grew in Africa over the period, from 175 million to 239 million, with nearly 20 million added  in the last few years. Nearly one in four are  hungry. And in sub-Saharan Africa, the modest progress achieved in recent years up to 2007 was reversed, with hunger rising 2 percent per year since then.

Developed regions also saw the number of hungry rise, from 13 million in 2004-2006 to 16 million in 2010-2012, reversing a steady decrease in previous years from 20 million in 1990-1992 (FAO 2012).

The above is based on the new estimates of world hunger by the FAO using revised  proceedures. It is worth noting that the new estimates give a different answer than the old estimates as the graph below shows (Lappe, 2013).
——————————————

 

(below, copied from: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats)

 “According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”Source 4

Water problems affect half of humanity:

    Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

    Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day.

7.  Mahatma Gandhi on poverty    More than 660 million people without sanitation live on less than $2 a day, and more than 385 million on less than $1 a day.

    Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25% for the poorest 20%.

    1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometre, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 litres per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 litres of water a day flushing toilets (where average daily water usage is about 150 liters a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters day.)

    Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhoea.

    The loss of 443 million school days each year from water-related illness.

    Close to half of all people in developing countries suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.

    Millions of women spending several hours a day collecting water.

To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit.… The costs associated with health spending, productivity losses and labour diversions … are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5% of GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.”Source 10
——————————————         —————————————–

Regardless that things are always turned inside out and beaten willy-nilly I’d continue to affirm, by the grace of The Almighty, that life is good, and being alive is beautiful. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, wherever you are, whatever it means to you, even if you don’t celebrate it at all. Peace!

♥♥

Thank you to the owners of the pictures.   ♥♥

♥♥

Meditating, After Super Typhoon Yolanda

[This post was created on Sunday, November 10, 2013]

———————–

Today my going to Church and taking communion had the special intention to be in solidarity with my countrymen the Filipinos in the wake of one of the worst land-hitting hurricanes in recorded history. Googling images using the terms Philippines, Haiyan, and Yolanda will be enough to get the whole picture… go ahead, please… because I hesitate to post some here…

Haiyan is the hurricane’s international name, Yolanda is its local name. The Y of Yolanda reflects the advent of this hurricane to us at the end of the year almost, since we name the typhoons alphabetically. Hurricane, typhoon, and tropical cyclone refer to the same thing, which is a type of storm.

I feel like picking up the entire sprawling archipelago and hug it tight, to comfort. The amazing thing is I know that somehow my mga kababayan (countrymen) will get over this because that’s how we are. Generally we’re simply naive that we can’t even think of berating God the way Job did. In Hiligaynon we’d all at once say in a resigned tone, “pag-buot sang Maka-ako”, with a bent head. The will of the Almighty.

The area worst hit by Yolanda had also suffered a magnitude 7 earthquake recently. Philippines is along the Pacific Ring of Fire as well as in the path of tropical cyclones. We are also affected by the El Niño. With these three things, at the least, it is easy to understand why our faith in God is a given thing. It doesn’t ask for philosophical considerations or systematic qualifications. Our faith in God comes as easy as breathing, a constant, so much so that even the worst of disasters is not strong enough to shake us off it. On the contrary, it is our lifeline and so the harsher the experience the tighter we cling to it. [ 13.Nov.13 Updates, below, links to 3 research websites, help elucidate what I’ve written in this post]

Earlier in our history there were those who called out to Bathala, a name that now has come to be heard throughout the archipelago by way of lessons in elementary school. Theologians will argue that this Bathala is not Yahweh or Elohim. This argument is irrelevant in this post, for a special purpose…

… Because I would like to translate Joey Ayala’s song Bathala into English as my way of being one with my people. I need to render Bathala as God in English, otherwise it won’t make much sense. I assume that when Mr. Ayala composed this piece he was referring simply to God, the One that the overwhelming millions of us go to church for on Sundays. I assume that when Mr. Ayala made this song he simply used Bathala to refer to the One whom I believe created everything, the Creator referred to in the Bible. Okay.

It can be argued that the globe is undergoing the cyclic ice ages and so humans have very little contribution to the warming. Okay. I don’t want to argue against that because I’m not an expert in that field. However, humans do so many things that result in the release of chemicals in the atmosphere, whose prevailing presence in turn blocks the escape of heat into outer space — the so-called greenhouse effect. Still, even if the cyclic ice ages is indeed the culprit of global warming it does not follow that we are free to do as we will with nature.

We do not have the freedom to unleash greed. Cutting of trees for profit. Mining for profit. Synthetic compounds for profit. Indiscriminate consumption for pleasure. The worship of ease and comfort. We are so submerged in greed that we cannot anymore tell between it and our skin. It cloaks us. Our souls are so soaked in it we feel like dying without it. We simply must consume frantically. We simply must have money in amounts beyond embarrassment.

The Homo sapiens sapiens is guilty of greed, from the poorest to the richest, from the most ignorant to those with multiple doctorates. So I appreciate it that Bathala is what Mr. Ayala used instead of Panginoon (Lord) or Poong Maykapal (God Almighty) or Diyos (God) because the song is like a confession of my people of the guilt to which we are part of. The mega-conglomerates of the global economy come to my mind as I meditate on this song yet I am reminded of Jesus’ words: forgive them for they do not know what they do.

butterflies The Mahatma Gandhi and Michael Jackson have said to the effect that if we want to change the world then we must start with our own self. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” A little less greed goes a long way. It’s a butterfly effect, like the phenomenon with the storms: a reduction in the propensity to consume will create a chain of events of unimaginable scale. Who knows, it may even prevent more super hurricanes from occurring again. Hurricanes are the collective manifestations of teeny-weeny changes of atmospheric pressures here and there over time, of tiny butterfly-wing drafts so to speak.

In calamities such as Yolanda my mga kababayan are simply too occupied to engage in blame games — that’s far from our thoughts. In solidarity, therefore, with this post I celebrate today’s going-to-church spirit of my country and render into English what sounds to me as our collective confession and supplication. I rest my diwa (inner self) and refrain from pointing a finger. Mr. Joey Ayala, sir, in case you come across this, please tell me on the parts that I got wrong; and I hope it’s fine with you that I have your song here, shared with the rest of the world. Here goes:

Bathala (God)

Bathala

Likha Ninyo ang bawat bagay sa mundo

Lupang kayumanggi’t luntiang bukirin

Alat ng dagat at tamis ng hangin

Oh God,

You created everything,

the brown lands and verdant forests,

the saltiness of the seas and the sweetness of air.

 Ang bawat bagay na nagmula sa Inyong palad

Ay may tungkulin sa mundong kinagisnan

Sa pagtupad nito ang lahat ay tinitimbang

All things that came from Your hands

have their own purposes in nature, the home they were reared in —

— the fulfillment of which entails reckoning to the detail.

 Ang tao

Inyong hinugis at pinaahon sa lupa

Pinagkalooban ng  talino at diwa

Upang mundo’y ipagyaman

Mankind —

him You shaped, established on earth,

provided with intellect and soul,

in order to enrich the world.

 Talino

Naging ararong nagpaamo sa parang

Naging kumpit  na sumagupa sa karagatan

Naging apoy na nagpalayas sa karimlan

Intelligence

became the plow that tamed the land,

became the vessel that battled the ocean waves,

became the fire that banished darkness.

 Sagana

Sa kayamanan ang mundong Inyong likha

At may bahagi rito ang bawat nilalang

Kung susuyuin lang mula sa kalikasan

Abundant

in wealth this nature You have created

and all creatures can partake of it

were the acquisition of them be done mindfully.

 Subali’t

Buhay-dalisay ay ‘di sapat sa iilan

Sila’y nasilaw sa kinang ng kasakiman

Ganid na diyos ang sinamba

However,

simply-living for some is not enough,

they were blinded by greed’s glitter,

they worshipped a selfish god.

 Pinaghati-hatian po nila ang lupa

Karagatan at himpapawid ngayo’y may bakod na

Kapwa tao’t hayop ma’y inaagawan ng tahanan

Walang nakaliligtas sa kanilang karahasan

Kaunalaran at kabutihan daw ang kanilang sadya

Subali’t ang lumilitaw ay ‘sang panggagahasa

They partitioned the lands among themselves,

the high seas and the atmosphere now have fences;

his fellow man and even the animals are robbed of their homes.

None are safe from their cruelty.

They say that progress and well-being is their aim

but what has turned out is violence.

 Bathala

Ako’y hinugis Nyo’t pinaahon sa lupa

Ang aking buhay ay dito nagmula

At dito rin inaalay

Oh God,

You shaped me and placed me in this world,

 earth is my origin/my sustenance comes from it,

and my life is a gift to it.

 Bathala

Bigyan lakas itong inyong tanod-lupa

Upang umiral sa mapagsamantala

Panalangin ko’y Inyong dinggin

Harinawa, Bathala.

kalabaw _Filipino farmer plowing a rice paddyOh God,

give strength to this earth-ranger of Yours

so to prevail against the opportunists;

may You hear my prayer;

so be it, oh God.

maraming salamat po sa mga may-ari ng mga litrato (thank you very much to the owners of the photos)

13.Nov.13 Updates:

Bourne, Tarzan, et al as Chemical Compounds

The Berlin File _2013 Recently I watched the 2013 South Korean movie Berlin File because my favorite Han Suk Kyu is in it. I was very impressed with his Great King Sejong portrayal in Tree with Deep Roots and I wanted to see how he’d look like in a modern setting.

The Berlin File is about two North Korean agents who are a husband and wife stationed in Berlin and were set up for treason by a powerful father and son team taking advantage of the transition of governmental power in their country in order to protect their private agenda. So they worked on changing the personnel at their embassy in Berlin. The plot starts with an international deal involving the Mossad, Arabs, the CIA, and South Korea. There are bits of English, German, and Arabic in the dialogues, and the musical score as well as the action shots reminded me of the Bourne movies. But the flavor of the movie is over all akin to the South Korean films and dramas I have watched. I sort of felt at home with it, so to speak.

To compare-&-contrast and for old time’s sake I looked up on the Bourne films, initially just thinking of re-watching them at some time maybe, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith did a Bourne Identity in 1988, with a tiny part shot in Regensburg. I will take the time to watch that in full and check out how faithful it was to the Ludlum novel, as some accounts claim.
Bourne _1_ Identity 2002

The Bourne Legacy was the only sequel that I wasn’t able to watch (’til this week) despite having learned that part of it was shot in Manila, so I decided to watch it right away. I felt good when it got to the Manila part, which was nearing the end, because it was done true to the everyday street scenery. I heard Filipino distinctively being spoken, the laughter in the streets, the automobiles willy-nilly. One of my favorite actors, Lou Veloso, is there with just a tiny part and projecting a familiar Filipino aura without over-acting. It was as though what I felt while watching the Manila scenes is similar to Katsuhiko’s pleasure at seeing his face on the screen, in that very charming Japanese movie The Woodsman and the Rain. The Manila scenes reminded me of Bourne in Tangiers. So in order to compare them, especially that now it’s Cross and not Bourne in there, I decided to rewatch all the three prequels, stat. Legacy is in fact not a sequel but, in the timeline, it is at about the end of Ultimatum. There’s a short part in here shot in Seoul.

Ah, so desu ka. There’s always an exciting street chase in each film. Paris, Moscow, Goa, Tangiers, Manila, I forgot the rest. There’s always a pretty and competent female character, and Bourne/Cross consistently provides a way out for them, out of his personal business. Good for Bourne, and Cross, too. I have nothing to complain about them especially that their ruthlessness as assassins are not played up in the plots, and they never display aggression towards the non-enemy.
Bourne _2_ Supremacy

Yesterday Orabeoni Jung (older brother Jung) finished with his doctoral studies and in the course of the conversation, during the lunch celebration with our teacher and his guests, his friend Mr. W. said he really likes action films. I had to keep quiet at that point because I didn’t want the attention to be directed to me. Slightly earlier I caught my thumb at the car door, immediately treated it with ice, and everyone had already given me sympathetic words and feelings.

Near the end of the drive home to the dormitories with Orabeoni and Mr. W. (in his car), Orabeoni was heartily thanking him for having been his “driver” the whole day to which Mr. W. jokingly responded as having been his “transporter”. Otoke? (what-to-do?) Whenever I can I have been babbling to my Korean friends about the Korean dramas and movies I’ve seen so far and so without thinking twice I blurted right away, “Orabeoni, Transporter is good, you must watch it.” (Earlier I had been recommending Berlin File to him at the lunch table since we were seated next to each other and it was easy for me to do so.) Mr. W. then added to my remark, “Yeah, and I have seen all of it.” But I couldn’t talk anymore because we were already getting out of the car. Belatedly I realized that he may also have meant the recent Transporter series on television, and not just the three films. I haven’t seen any of the ones on television because I had cut my television addiction about a year ago, and so I wouldn’t have anything to say about it after all.
Bourne _3_ Ultimatum

Since I couldn’t do much with my sore thumb, when I got to my room I simply decided to re-watch the remaining Bourne film I haven’t gotten around to do, and then continued on to the Transporter ones.

I’d say the current action films are not much different from those since of the 70’s… they’re on the masculine prowess, attraction to the feminine, human capacity spectrum physically and mentally… Berlin File, Transporter, Bourne stories, The Saint, Hitman, and a hundred others feature the male physique glorified in ancient Greece and Rome, and the female form glorified since the advent of the popularity of corsets and eventually of the runway-hanger body shape. They’re about the alpha male unbelievably overcoming aggression that are stationed at a perimeter of decreasing radius enclosing him. Precise movements, always. Like the way Dae Gil (Jang Hyuk of Chuno) could gracefully orchestrate his disciplined mucles. Frank Martin (of Transporter) reminded me of Lee Bang Ji, Ddol Bok’s Sonsaengnim (Teacher) in Tree with Deep Roots. Aaron Cross’ (of Bourne Legacy) instant improvisations reminded me of McGyver. Simon Templar/Vincent Ferrer (Val Kilmer in The Saint, 1997) is a mathematician and a painter. Tarzan is like all of them: handsome, smart, quick, strong, sleek, and wealthy. The alpha males of the jungles of trees and of concrete, and the Janes who are at the same time weak and strong though preferably ‘complicated’ like in the way the French Inspector Tarconi (of Transporter) would want them to be.
Bourne _4_ Legacy

Wahnsinn. Not Everyman can have the resilience of David Webb (a.k.a. Jason Bourne) and the accomplishments of sweet Dr. Emma Russell (physicist in The Saint, 1997). Not Everyman would stay sane after the behavior modifications experienced by Bourne and Cross. Not only that Bourne undergoes psychiatric crises, a memory yo-yo from brainwashing to amnesia to recovery, but Cross moreover undergoes a viral-induced evolution jump not dissimilar to what happened to the X-Men.

Although I could now chide myself at having loved all of these action films I could not help recalling that, in the academic discussions I’ve come across, this proliferation of adulation for the Tarzan-like prowess is integrated in the way the human psyche copes with the changing times. It’s an offshoot of the way the heads of families, especially in the West, perceived as emasculation, along with the rise of female independence, during the economic upheaval at about the advent of the industrial era. There’s got to be an image that the psyche can hold on to against the encroaching panic at the helplessness over the rise of the huge conglomerates and the societal havoc that result. Thus the popularity of Wild West heroes at first and then of the strong men in popular media. The way Frank Martin can leap and grab at things while falling remind me of Superman sans cape, not that it’s the cape that makes him fly.
Bourne Identity_1988

I like these films because, well, for one, they transport me back home to where my father’s copies of Robert Ludlum et cetera paperbacks are stacked together on the shelf, with the Encyclopedia Americana and the Reader’s Digest Comprehensive Dictionary that were our school-homework staples. Wilbur Smith. Frederick Forsyth. Peter Maas. Robert Ruark. I can’t remember the others and of course I didn’t get to read all of them because I had difficulty in sustaining my interest over plots that I couldn’t visualize, the works that make up the bulk of these novels like high-profile espionage and sophisticated weaponry plus tactical language. Even so then, I did finish the first novel that my father handed over to me to spend away time with while I was not feeling well. It was William D. Wittliff’s Raggedy Man and I was only ten years old so I didn’t understand all of it (it’s about a disfigured ex-soldier coming back to secretly look over his family, so there was lot of emotional undercurrents). But I will always remember that book.
Tarzan of the Apes

The familiarity of reading such paperbacks eventually led me to James Clavell, hence Eiji Yoshikawa’s Musashi, to one of Kobo Abe’s, one of Masuji Ibuse’s, and to several more of differing genre that included those of Edward Rutherford, Tolkien (who led me to take a peak at Irish folklore), C.S. Lewis, R. Tagore, K. Gibran, and Pearl S. Buck. Then maybe a couple each of Stephen King’s, Alice Walker’s and Maeve Binchy’s, one from Chaim Potok. Others I can’t recall anymore. Roots. On the U. S. Marines. About a tribe in prehistory Alaska, My Sister the Moon. Earlier than these there were Nancy Drew and Sweet Dreams, which led me to Agatha Christie and Mills & Boon — light ones that could be finished in a day. (I did plow through Jane Eyre, Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and attempted The Scarlet Letter. Wahnsinn. Of course I couldn’t understand them the way they should be understood because I had no idea of the pomp of Russian nobility, of the coldness of the prevalent weather there until Siberia, and of the sensibilities of the English gentry. I couldn’t appreciate their literary peculiarities. They were of worldviews at the other side of the globe.) Anyway, simply Wahnsinn. So many words eaten, not properly digested, I simply cannot remember the majority of them. They happened in another lifetime and I was a different person then. However they did teach me the love for the dictionary and hence erased my apprehension for the English language.

With which, all of them, led me to conclude later on that any other paperback fiction on action, fantasy, or love story out there will just be similar to what I’ve already come across. That cured me of fiction addiction and I wasn’t tempted to go back even after more wonderful authors came out. Of which, furthermore, I was not surprised in my conclusion that Bourne, Cross, Martin, Templar, and Tarzan are almost just the same guy. These kinds of films are made of the same stuff. I could say that there’s nothing really new in them. Seen one, seen all.
The Saint _1997

But still why do I like these films? Okay, so, I guess the sound tracks are very good. The Saint and Bourne led me to Moby, of which reading up on him made me better understand his song Extreme Ways (Bourne theme song). It’s one of my favorites and once while listening to it I got really serious. It came to my mind to ask who in the world could afford to say “I’ve seen so much in so many places… So many heartaches, so many faces… So many dirty things… You couldn’t even believe” — where are these people, what are they going through, and could I ever have a very good idea of what they’re talking about… like Jason Bourne who actually retraced his path and owned up to the killing of a girl’s parents, in Moscow, thereby freeing her of the sorrow of living with the thought that her mother shot her father and afterwards commits suicide.

There it is. It’s because these films sit on the boundary between what’s possible, and the dream zone. What’s possible is the caring for children and women, at which Simon, Aaron and Jason do a better job than Frank. Templar, Cross and Bourne can argue reasonably with women without grabbing at their wrists and dragging them forcibly. Except that in the 1988 Bourne film he and Marie (R. Chamberlain & J. Smith) behave the way Frank Martin and his girls do to each other, similar to Tarzan and Jane of the first book Tarzan of the Apes. Seemingly Tarzan’s attraction to Jane overpowers him, but actually it comes out that it’s always Tarzan who has the upper hand. The dream zone is right there: power over someone and something and everything that comes along. That’s the fantasy there: that the odds don’t count. That if one just acts decisively enough, fast, then whatever it is, it is possible. However, in real life reckoning the odds do count.
Transporter 1

More importantly on the other hand, it’s not just the odds against safely landing a car on top of a speeding train, but the odds against surviving a severe  drug dependency, like Aaron Cross. Like getting free from mind manipulation and struggling at forgiveness, like David Webb. Like leading a hopeful life after so much tragedy, like Simon Templar. Like producing almost costless energy source, like Emma Russell. For Frank Martin, well, although he just cares about the money, several times he’s shown to choose ethics that value the person…

…nah, they’re not really nasty guys… they do have soft spots… But how would all these ingredients wrap up in real life? Do such persons really exist, and how many are they? It would be nicer for the world if it were so, and it doesn’t hurt to hope that it were so. That’s the dream part of it. Though, not to be blinded by the nice part, consideration must also be given to the “backgrounds” of the fellows who are “bad” in these movies, the antagonists. If the movie was about that “bad” character then that person could be very well ethically defensible, too… right? … ah, but this is already a quagmire I wouldn’t know how to navigate over… I haven’t read Fletcher’s Situation Ethics. Ajik.

… however, for the simplicity of the plots, to be palatable to the viewer who must not be scared away from watching films in the future, who the good and the bad are among the guys must be simply put across so that there’s no ambivalence at the end of the show. Schluß. Weiter. The same formula with Wonder Woman and Star Trek. Things have to be neatly wrapped up in the end so that viewers will keep coming back for that good feeling they get after every show. If I continue with this ramble it will continue onto economics, and I’m not yet ready to explore that. Ajik.
Transporter 2

There’s nothing really new about films of the masculine-prowess genre. Remington Steele. A-Team. Knight Rider. Stingray. Misssion Impossible. McGyver. Airwolf. James Bond, of course. T J Hooker. Even of the procedural genre, like my favorite CSI: Miami reminds me of Hawaii Five-O in my childhood, and Grey’s Anatomy of Doogie Howser, M. D.  But I see, though, that their charms can be found in the tiny human issues incorporated within the plots, in the decision-making parts, in the outcomes of such decisions, in the coping of crises, and in the perception of the individual viewer. This is the facet that has endeared Star Trek: The Next Generation to me. There’s always freshness found in these parts. I’ve actually learned so much from Capt. Jean Luc Picard’s team.

I’d like to think of it as similar to the atoms, at least all the naturally occurring ones, basically known to science, and they’re all just the same everywhere whether be in stars or in the bloodstream, but these few atoms neatly named in the Periodic Table of Elements are able to form the countless number of compounds existing, making up the countless variety of objects around us, in solid, liquid, and gas forms. They’re all the same intrinsically — the same protons, electrons, neutrons, and binding forces — but they do come out differently depending on the combinations and permutations of such parts.

Or, viewing it from another direction also applies: the human dramas, or affairs/concerns, have basically been of the same stuff ever since — fear, doubt, redemption, revenge, bliss, rage, tranquility, want, need, naivety, security, passion, understanding, empathy, camaraderie, love, obsession … — and these basic ingredients are packaged in different ways and come out as the stories that are continually churned out. The action films, fiction paperbacks, and television series will never run out of customers.

Seriously, though, I don’t have a film genre that I would label as favorite. I don’t go gaga over action films as much as I don’t go gaga anymore over the Disney and Marvel ones. I treat them on the same level now. If a film can talk sensibly about the real human situation then it’s fine by me, and it could be fantasy even, either of the fairy kind or of the scientific kind, both of which I also like. However, they shouldn’t be made as lamp posts for morality and ethics because they are heavily influenced by the love for money.
Transporter 3

Stories in the mass media could serve as societal mirrors. But I’m not coming back to my paperback fiction and television addictions anymore. I’ll be content in re-watching, in case I miss them, the American-made movies I’ve already seen. Aeon Flux. Blade. The lot. Only when there’s really lots of extra time will I then indulge in the newer ones, at several years from now. Hopefully, and more importantly, I’ll have the chance to explore those that are popular in the countries immediately surrounding mine — Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the rest nearby. Definitely I’ll go back to R. Tagore and K. Gibran, then take the time to get to know Thomas Merton side by side with the Mahatma Gandhi…

But what I’ll do now, right now, is listen to Moby while I enjoy this marinated duck that Orabeoni gave me, a Korean recipe ready for the pan. I’ve learned from Dae Jang Geum that ducks are good for the health. Ducks are also a delicacy in the Philippines…

This post was especially written as a gift to Orabeoni, who’s going home soon and I’m not sure if I’ll ever see again. It’s a sort of a memory marker for his last day as Herr Student, which is the reason for some events of the day being mentioned here 🙂 Congratulations, Dr. Jung! I pray for God’s blessings to your plans. Stay healthy and live well! Ganbei! Banzai!

  (Thanks to the owners of the posters.)

Dear Actor/Actress, I Respect You

tree with deep roots posterDear South Korean Actress/Actor,

A very warm hello from an admirer. Please stay a while and read what I have to say from my heart.

I have been watching your projects, dramas mostly, for quite a while now and you have never failed to solicit my admiration. Painter of the Wind posterI have always found you amazingly competent in your portrayals of the many faces of humanity. You have provided windows for me from where I could see glimpses of that part of living that I may have a blind spot on, or that I am barred from seeing by reason of points of perception.

Yes, I have not been drawn to your projects for the purpose of entertainment alone. You might say you don’t understand my point since, after all, entertainment is your business. But please understand that audiences do vary greatly. Not all of us are up for the sole purpose of being “entertained”.An official poster of the drama. From left to right: Bidam Sangdaedung, Mishil Seju, Deokman Paeha, Kim Yushin Chamgun, Princess Cheonmyong Besides, there are many other media for ‘entertainment’. Well, okay, your colorful clothes and your music accompaniments have entertained me, and many a time the funny portrayals, too, but they’re not really the meat of what I’m after. I’m really after the story of humanity.

Please take my present post with a bright perspective — chuno posterthe reason why I had the urgency to write this NOW is that I have just Googled “dark side of Korean film industry” and the first three entries that came up confirmed my suspicion. Of course these things do not happen in your country alone. I suspect that it’s worse with another actor/actress in another country. However, it’s you that appears on my screen most of the time nowadays that I feel compelled to do something about it.

dae jang geum posterYou see, for quite a while now I have marveled at the quantity and quality of dramas produced in your country. They are very good and there simply are so many of them. Then I noticed that you, dear actress/actor, appear in so many projects so that if your role was evil in a ‘previous’ project I had to re-program my perception of your face (not you as a person) as someone who is very likable in this ‘newer’ project that you are in.damo poster I am forced to adjust to your new persona fast, and it’s not really nice for my psyche. I have this feeling, therefore, that the projects you appear in are devalued as works of art —- instead of being rendered the proper respect as expressions of human creativity, like paintings and classical music/theater, your dramas/movies are being treated like mass-produced commodity, cheapened.

jumong poster  Actually it’s the historical stories that I’m more fond of. I do appreciate how difficult it is to make these. The costumes are heavy, or sometimes too thin for winter. In some there has to be rough horse action. In the fights you have to risk your bones and skin. Even the speech is not familiar to you. And even if you’re just a face in the background, without a speaking part, I really could see that you give a very convincing performance. crime squad posterAlthough I would forget your name I would still be able to remember you because I see you again and again as I watch another and yet another drama. And when I see you in a modern-day setting I will suddenly give a yelp of delight because your face will look different now that you don’t have a gat or a hanbok or a slave’s clothes on.

Honestly I value the stories that you appear in, that you act on, and I do spend time in digesting them. I analyze them. I think about the events. I reflect on them. dongyi posterI do so because they make me think about my life, about the life of my friends and acquaintances, about the lives of those who live similarly to the situations in the story that you appeared in, on screen. Your stories make me reflect on the human situation. As I said earlier, I do not value them for entertainment’s sake. I value them for what they can teach me about life.

Mandate of Heaven PosterSo, okay, what do I really want to say to you, dear actress/actor? I want to say to you that I really wish for you to take care of your well-being. I don’t want you to be pressured into ‘entertaining’ me so much so that you don’t get enough sleep anymore. It could happen that I would really start crying for you, as a person, even before your face is shown on screen on your next project because my suspicions were confirmed that you are being constrained by the business side of entertainment. Please, if it happens that you already have enough money to live a healthy lifestyle then don’t push yourself to overwork for my sake. Freeze posterI will not be happy if you do so. Just seeing that you are working hard to be a good performer is already inspiring for me. I would already appreciate it that you are someone who is serious about your job and your responsibilities. I respect you as you are, even if I saw you in one project only, and my respect and admiration for you will not lessen just because you did not have a good project this year, or because other fans did not like the way you looked in your last appearance.

Please understand that however your face is structured you are handsome/beautiful to me. phoenix posterYour original face is beautiful. I’m your fan, and I know that you are also a human being like me. I am your fan because I admire the way you could get into a character’s shoes after just reading about him/her merely days or hours before filming. I bet many of the roles you were able to excellently portray you did them without consulting encyclopedias or psychiatry journals or historical accounts.

kingdom of the winds posterPlease take care of yourself. Next time I see the eye bags heavy under your eyes I would know that it was not because you stayed out late drinking with friends, but it was because most likely you pushed yourself to work too hard, for me. Sometimes your paleness is obvious despite the make-up and lighting. I would really hate it if you got sick because you overworked for my sake. Instead of making me happy to see your face again, it would make me sad, even if your role is funny.

Thank you very much for all your hard work. taewangsasingi 4 guardiansYou have already given me so much. You have shown to me how beautiful Korea and its people is. Your drama stories have encouraged me. The goodness of heart that I could see in the characters you play have inspired me, in my living. I owe you so much, so I thought it’s my turn to extend my support for you. I wish for you to find real happiness in life. I wish for you to love yourself, too, much more than I love the characters that you bring to life on screen.

gye baek posterthe great seer posterIt’s gotten into a long message now, and it’s already midnight so I have to say goodnight. 🙂 Goodnight, dear beautiful person. Have a lovely new day tomorrow. May God bless you.

——————

added on 9March2014:

I felt that I needed to say more about this matter.

Running Man _coreThere are video clips readily available online about almost anything in the known universe. Among these I came across one that gave me a glimpse of a world that I did not suspect existed. It’s an in-house training establishment for entertainer wannabe’s. This particular one I found was of Eric Mun’s, which made me feel awed at the intensity of dedication he gives to these training periods. That’s the first time I became aware that behind Kpop’s glamour is also a world of sweat and tears.

Joong Ki + Ji Hyo + Kwang Soo _ep21

Joongki, Jihyo, Kwangsoo _ep21

Lately, which makes me quite late into the game, I discovered that aside from Song Ji Hyo there’s also Lee Kwang Soo (and Song Joong Ki in the past) in the South Korean variety show Running Man. I never bothered with variety shows because they always made me feel like I waste my enthusiasms in paying attention to them.  But since it’s these three, whom I belatedly discovered to be close friends, and who are favorites to me individually, that are in this show then I watched one episode. That was Episode 2. That was memorable because I had not been able to laugh that loud and long about anything for many years now. For a Filipino this phenomenon is unusual — not having laughed hard for a long time — since we always have opportunities to laugh our guts out with family and friends.

Running Man _by 2011In watching a bit more of that show I gradually found it irksome that the true personalities of the members are suppressed during the show. For instance I hate it that Lee Kwang Soo is being projected as inept and stupid, because he clearly isn’t. I hate it that Song Ji Hyo is being made the “female” to the “male” of whoever that will guarantee continuous high ratings to the show. I somehow feel that it’s a disrespect to Song Ji Hyo as a person because if she were not a female then she wouldn’t be paired off like this, just an object, to one guy or another. I am frustrated that she and the guys are not free to express themselves during the show. Somehow I feel cheated by the fact that though I’m anticipating to witness true camaraderie among personalities that, I’d like to believe, by now have become real friends in the real sense, (yet) what I see are faked interactions.

A show has to be scripted, obviously. But the question of to script or not to script, or how to script, is not what I’m touching on here.

Running Man ep3 (1)    I’ve become this affected (!hahaha) because I have come to like each of the members of Running Man. I do not see Kim Jong Kook as frightening. I can sense his finesse and gentleness. I do not see Haha as inept. He has a solid sense of responsibility and self confidence. Song Joong Ki comes across as an intellectual to me, a sort of an academician, someone who loves learning but just happens to have a beautiful face. Though Kang Gary is constantly teased of his looks he actually oozes of sexuality, and he is totally far from being ugly. Same with Lee Kwang Soo.

Ji Hyo + Kwang Soo _ep21

Jihyo & Kwangsoo

This guy is smart but he suppresses it. I saw him only once, in Dongyi, and I thought of how he amazingly could pull off that character. He’s just good at making silly faces but actually he’s handsome. (Whew… I am a bit disappointed with myself in having to use the handsome-ugly categorization here because I feel strongly against this mass media gauge that is used in the distortion of humanity’s sense of beauty, and hence all values that are related to this sense, like self-acceptance.)

Running Man ep3 (2)But the fact is that the entertainment industry is a reflection of humanity’s greed for sensual gratification. That is, involving the senses. The term is already mentioned: for entertainment. Since the market potential is huge then the greed for unprecedented profits is also boundless. That’s what humanity is like.

The reason why I felt the urgency to add to this post is because I found additional information relevant to the topic. If you’re interested at what is going on, at the real situation, the one that is hidden from those who are not willing to dig deep, then I would like to share these three links with you:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13760064

http://xypherfarrell.hubpages.com/hub/KPop-JPop-Why-are-People-Hating-it

http://xypherfarrell.hubpages.com/hub/REAL-Bad-Boys-of-Korean-Entertainment

Running Man ep3 (3)(I’ve bookmarked the bad-boys page because I’m now ready to get acquainted with them, to see for myself these ones who are admirable for their courage. Also, Kang Gary is there.)

I’m sorry that it’s only these that I can share with you for now. I know that it’s as bad in other countries (e.g., USA, India), but I don’t have time yet to look for the specifics. I don’t exactly know how it goes in the Philippines but it’s safe to assume that it’s also messy and bloody. It’s a lucrative livelihood, after all. Where greed is great, corruption in corresponding levels is also present. Myself being a Filipino, I could easily imagine how it is plus allowing that fact could be stranger than fiction here.

Running Man ep3 (4)Though I will remain enthusiastic for film productions I will not stay blind on the struggles of the small people who are involved in it. They are the ones whose faces are peddled on screen. They are the ones who touch my life, even bring me needed courage at times. I will not be like a pimp for them, raving about their work and selling it to the world by my praises, without being aware that I as a fan am also responsible for the pressure that constantly hounds them. Only a few of them are lucky enough to be born or be granted with the privilege of choice, like Kaneshiro Takeshi and Lee Seo Jin. Most of them are just struggling artists. Most of them are just bread winners who are stuck in a job that is actually a prison to them.

Running Man ep3 (5)I’ve decided to just choose first the Running Man episodes where only the core members are interacting amongst themselves. I now see them as close friends.  — The Filipino equivalent is the barkada. One’s barkada are the people that one hangs out with, each one being an important part of the others’ lives, to share laughs and other emotions with, a venue for self-expression, to grow up with, to explore reality with, a quasi-family. — Of course, I will watch all episodes that has Song Joong Ki in it and I will especially cherish those where he, Song Ji Hyo, and Lee Kwang Soo are on the same team.When I’m done with all those episodes I’d choose again from the episodes where artists that I admire have come as guests, like Jackie Chan, Cha In Pyo, Eric Mun, and Ji Jin Hee.

Running Man ep21 (1) Running Man ep21 (2) Running Man ep21 (3)Each time I watch them I will especially be alert for spontaneous interactions, the ones that bring out their unguarded emotions. In this way I’d feel like I’m having fun with them, too. Because this is how it is among barkada — just being with each other’s company is a guarantee for an opportunity to celebrate life, a partaking of well-being.

Thus, I will not watch Running Man merely for my entertainment and doses of laughter. I will watch it because I want to celebrate life through friendship, though vicariously for now.

♥♥

many thanks to the sites that made these pictures here available for everyone; all enlarge, some much, some a bit, when clicked on

♥♥

[added April 3, 2014] Kwangsoo enthusiastically greets Jihyo upon seeing her as she joins the gang late in the games in episode 189, tired as she is after more than 10 hours’ travel to Melbourne. Much younger Kim Woobin, Kwangsoo’s teammate, respectfully looks on and laughs at his elders as they end up squabbling.

Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (1) Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (2) Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (3) Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (4) Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (5) Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (6) Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (7) Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (8) Jihyo - Kwangsoo warm greeting _Running Man ep 189 _Melbourne (9)

We’re supposed to live with dirt

A classmate once told me that had germs been visible to the naked eye none in our face-area would be visible at all. It’d be so covered with bacteria there’ll be no part of our faces left to be seen.  I remember how we laughed over the ghastly picture it presented to our imagination, but at the same time sobered by its truth.

I once again put off the the urge to transform my room into a spick-and-span condition. I’d just have to  continue hoping that no one come to visit me for now — my room’s state of disarray is embarrassing. (In case an unexpected visitor does drop by my saving grace is that my room doesn’t smell. Aside from maintaining ventilation I’ve followed some people’s tip to leave coffee grounds in open containers at a corner of the room. Also whenever I remember to do so, which isn’t too often, I wipe portions of the walls near the stove with vinegar-and-water solution. I don’t use air fresheners.)

Gye Baek ep11 (1) Gye Baek ep11 (2)Gye Baek ep11 (3)Gye Baek ep11 (4)Gye Baek ep11 (5)Gye Baek ep11 (6)Gye Baek ep11 (7)Gye Baek ep11 (8)Gye Baek ep11 (9)I have too much clutter. The books are all over, piled or stacked, on shelves and on the floor. Binders and folders line up on the shelf and on the floor. Boxes are under the table and stacked over the door. Condiments and pots and pans are beneath the teevee table. Of my 2 tables, only one-third of one has a cleared space, the other has one-fourth only. The window sill has an array of plants on big yogurt canisters. I don’t conceal the trash containers (1 for general trash, 1 for plastics, 1 for metals, 1 for paper). Since I have to be non-dependent  I decided it best to save little things that might be useful for “emergency” situations, like strings and bottles and card-boards and canisters. (However, I recently decided to discard some and resolved to not add into the collection anymore.)

I feel I ought to get more organized but the truth is that for me it’s less stressful to let things be than to go against the law of entropy. I just haven’t thought much about it but I may be “lazy” by nature — because the decades of academic discipline (waking up at 5 or 5:30 AM on school days since 8 years old) have not really “disciplined” me. I procrastinate. I focus according to interest and mood. I must have an inner motivation otherwise I yawn every minute. My brain now refuses to take in lists of vocabulary because I don’t have to take quizzes anymore. I can sit up for 8 hours straight on an interesting topic I’m surfing about but I have to get up from my seat, out of impatience, after every page of reading from a book that I “must” look into in preparation for a class.

I remember the saying “cleanliness is next to godliness”, the one drummed into us by our elementary school teachers. I guess for us then the bottom line of that was self-discipline. Whoa. I haven’t thought of that one for a long time now. So, what of it now, have I gone far from being “godly”? Hahahaha.

I learned from a Bavarian senior that even until today the Hausfrau (housewife) isn’t as looked-up to as the Karrierefrau (career woman). For many the housewife is someone “lazy”. I’m inclined to think that this absurd belief stems from the industrialization era, when concepts of just-in-time and bundy-clock precision had to be catered to in the name of “development” and, of course, profit. Hence, money. Hence, prestige. How can the housewife be associated with laziness? That’s absurd. By common sense argument her job (or the househusband’s) is the most crucial in any society.

What I am sure, though, that for now I find myself agreeing with Brian A. Haggerty’s “…there remains the fundamental question of why efficiency should occupy such a place of importance in society.”* He’s discussing a bit on how we are obsessed with, among other things, efficiency — so much so that we discard those that we find “inefficient”, like those who are of no use anymore in the industrial arena, specifically the aged.

I am inefficient in organizing my room so that it stays visitor-presentable all the time but then I think of my intestines that need bacteria in order to function. To what extent do I “clean up”? I think of the decomposers of the rotting things in the soil, and in my large intestines. I think of the ever-present germs in my oral cavity. I think of faces I’d meet on the streets (and mine in the mirror) had bacteria been non-invisible. Dirt is part of life.

In my part of the world body “odor” is suppressed. We’re efficient in it so much so that a breaking of this norm, to a certain generally accepted intensity, is considered an act of misconduct and is reprehensible. The morning full-bath is an understood must, and if possible one can’t be found to not have taken a bath before going out of the house for the day’s business. One isn’t free to smell bad. Everyone seems to disapprove of it.

I didn’t disapprove at all at Cho-young sniffing after Gye Baek (episode 11). Humans do smell. — Why shouldn’t Gye Baek smell? Why am I not free to be smelly? When and how and where did it ever start that the scent of a human is associated with negativity? How has it happened that something as natural and as “common sense” as the smell of a living human body be an avenue for discrimination? — It makes little sense to me. Each one has a particular smell and it is a mark of individuality, of particularity, of personhood — why should it be suppressed? Why are we so obsessed with the efficiency to not-smell/smell-“good”?

Which reminds me of my none-too-white teeth. Hahahaha. The craze to make the teeth white is frightening. I put turmeric in my food. I drink coffee and tea. I’m afraid I’d be punishing my enamel if I brush too hard and too frequently. I’d rather have “colored” teeth than stop using turmeric. Then there’s the matter of shampooing the hair everyday. Crazy. Even the prestigious maiko (geisha-in-training) washes her hair once a week.

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*”Out of the House of Slavery: On the Meaning of the Ten Commandments” (1978) p.81.

Note: Thanks a million to the site where I got my snapshots from.

I’m In Experience-Society?

I would never have heard of it had I not come here.
Here, where it is being discussed, a long time ago, already.
Here, where it exists.
Though I haven’t read the book yet — by Gerhard Schulze…
Yeah, intuitively, I understand a bit. It’s talking about the post-modern lifestyle centered on thrill-seeking, in intensities that, of course, vary, from person to person, from inner-culture to inner-culture, the one that has evolved from the affluence derivative of industrialization.
As for me, and the rest of the sacadas, we have not even got into the smack of industrialization yet, we have not been “modernized” yet, so to speak. Some of us still make our lamp-oils by hand.  It seems I’ll have a bit of an “understanding-leap” to traverse before I can integrate the sense of this present-day-society-description.

The other week I read of this phenomenon termed “Risk-Society” (from Ulrich Beck’s book), still another description of the present times.  This one is “global” because the potential affectees is everyone around the globe, and this one is “borderless”, because we all share the same air molecules, which never cease to circulate in the atmosphere, and “borderless”, too, in the sense that it describes a situation where class distinctions have been transcended: no more rich-poor, educated-uneducated, whatever-whatever — and this one evolving from the result that Industry-Modernization-and-related-Concepts, that’s supposed to make lives better, has caused the creation of horrendous risks (nuclear leakages, carcinogenic chemicals sprayed on food-plants, stressed-out animals’ meat for staple, proliferation of prescription-at-the-same-time-lethal drugs) plus the fact that there doesn’t exist a rational way of plotting these risks, yet, like the way Newton taught us to plot forces.

In our town one can still harvest one’s sweet potatoes from the yard garden, boil it over a wood fire, a few minutes more be bathed in the heavenly steamy aroma of this tinanok-nga-kamote, broken into half by hand, and ever call it to be one of the best meals in the world… One can still continue to live-breathe-sleep-work-laugh-play without having read even the tiniest Shakespeare, and still be perfectly alive.