Thursday, February 09, 2006

Of guerrillas and wanderers

Just realized this is only my second post for the new year. It must be some kind of blogging inertia. A brain spewing out all these crazy ideas will continue to do so unless acted upon by an outside force. And a brain at rest will continue towards stagnation unless stimulated again by an external event. With my apologies to Sir Isaac Newton. I wonder how that would translate in terms of thermodynamics. But somebody really ought to write something about it one of these days. Anyway, in between those eye-straining and finger-stiffening work in front of the office computer, and those back-breaking chores at home, this 1,300-gram (more or less) chunk of gray matter calling itself "the martian" has also been busy making some mental notes of possible blogging topics and filing these for future use. (Got this "mental notes" image from James Clavell's Shogun. I always get a real kick out of imagining myself as Lord Toranaga, that cold, calculating Japanese daimyo who ended up as shogun in Clavell's novel.) So the past four weeks or so have not been a complete loss. Lemme see, where to start ...

Blogs, blogs, blogs. Surfing through the blogging world, unlike writing in my blog, has not yet petrified into a hobby for me. But I do take a peek at other blogs from time to time. Boredom has this almost mystical quality of stopping the flow of time, during which a numbed human consciousness can take stock and try to restore its dynamic and creative quality. (Wow, where did that come from??) Guided by blogspot's Blogs of Note, I recently chanced upon these interesting blogs during such boring enigmatic moments at my work station:

The Dormitory Boys These guys remind me of Roberto Benigni's existential stance in La Vita e Bella (Life is Beautiful). Life sucks but it doesn't mean you can not have a really great time.

Tales of the Freeway Blogger I really admire this guy's passion and artistry. Boring Filipino leftists can learn a lot from him.

David Baldinger: Cartoonist & Photographer Nice political cartoons and personal pictures. And another Gormenghast and Dune fan.

A guerrilla in Bolivia. Walking into an office at night on a Sunday, a paperback copy of the great Argentinian doctor's diary, its pages all yellow and almost crumbling to the touch, found its way into my hands. Been reading it since then (alongside Brian Aldiss' Helliconia novels). The Ramparts Edition of The Diary of Che Guevara from November 1966 up to the honorable doctor's final days in La Higuera, Bolivia in October 1967, includes photographs as well as reproductions of the original notebooks and Spanish transcripts. Had the chance to read other books on Che, written by people who knew him. But reading his own diary, with its terse entries written in the thick of battle, is quite a different experience altogether. This comes at the heels of watching the equally memorable Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries. Coming to my own office late on a Monday morning, this Yahoo News item on a socialist winning the presidential elections in Bolivia and the challenges facing him (with more than two-thirds of the 8.5 million Bolivian population in extreme poverty) greeted my eyes. It has been almost four decades since Che's death. I wonder how its meaning resonates among Bolivians today. (Read this interesting article by David Rieff in Truthout.)

The wanderer. Marshall Sahlins considers hunting-gathering groups as constituting the original affluent societies, notwithstanding their poverty. Among Pinoys, the descriptive acronyms NPA (no permanent address) and TNT (tago nang tago, always hiding), have come to be associated with different kinds of people who are forced to move from place to place for various reasons. Walking out of this fastfood joint close to midnight, and again sometime way before dawn, I had this thought of me being a kind of wanderer. Which, following Sahlins' ideas, may not really be a bad thing at all. Well for one, you see and experience more things than the average sedentary guy. Plus you have a crack at these precious insights on life. Like, you realize that you can actually manage with just a few belongings (in my case, what's inside my backpack). As Sahlins puts it, affluence is not always about owning more, but also about wanting less. As a wanderer, you are also constantly reminded of the transitory nature of things. That there is really no permanent "home", just as there is no permanent "here" and "now".

I went out walking
Through streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones
Saw the skin and bones
Of a city without a soul

The Wanderer

1 comment:

Daisy said...


We had a blast listening to the dormitory boy's rendition of the back street boys song--the boy band should thank these guys...

wandering is such a good thing to stumble upon things, people and thoughts.