Shedding Skin

I always dream of living alone.

It’s not because my housemates are less than pleasant – my parents, bless their hearts, have been nothing but generous to me in the past eighteen years. Still, I dream of the day I break away from this perpetual dependence on the provisions of others and fly out into real world.

Perhaps it is because I have yet to experience the burden of being fully independent that I am so optimistic about getting a taste of what it’s like to be an adult: money can only be earned by getting a job, and what you earn will be given away to pay your loans and your bills. Occasionally, what you spend will cost more than what is left after you’ve paid it all off.

Earning a job isn’t exactly a walk in the park either. No matter how good you may seem on paper, there will always be someone smarter, faster, and more qualified than you are. And when you finally land yourself a job, the pay will not always be good from the get-go – at times, you may even find that it isn’t enough.

Despite this, I still dream of independence. I see it in a modest apartment that makes me feel as at home as I would be in my hometown, my refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, in the heart of the city; and when I’ve committed the local routes to memory, known the street names by heart, and saved up enough money, a car may be on the way to sate my usual urges for short-distance travel.

I dream of being content with myself: the person I was, the person I am, and the person I will be. I want to know the feeling of being unbound by my regrets, to be genuinely satisfied by what I have accomplished in life, and yet still having the drive to strive and achieve more.

I dream of a good career, with a pay enough to sustain me well past each payday. I can only hope that what I do for the rest of my life will be what I’ve always dreamt of doing, despite my perpetual indecision about what I want to do in life.

And lastly, I dream of being able to present myself to my friends and family as a woman who has grown into the shape she has always been meant to occupy, someone capable of performing the duties she is expected to fill. I want to give back to those who have given so much and supported me through thick and thin.

Image source: Thought Catalog


Painting the Town Red

“400 terrorists died as security forces battled terrorists,” says the Burmese government, as if completely blind to the severe manifestations of discrimination sent by the people in power to plague what most would call the world’s most persecuted minority, the Rohingya.

This minority group has borne the brunt of Myanmar’s violent campaign to cleanse the nation of its unwanted inhabitants. Being excluded from the list of 135 minorities that are recognized by the Burmese government, the Rohingya are forced to remain essentially stateless, having been denied citizenship since 1982 after a series of amendments made to laws concerned with citizenship in Myanmar.

The current law has established 3 levels of citizenship – in order to qualify for the most basic level, evidence proving that one’s family has lived in Myanmar before 1984 is needed, as well as fluency in one of Myanmar’s national languages. For the Rohingya, who have never been given room to stand beside the Burmese as Myanmar natives of equal stature, their hopes of becoming recognize as citizens of Myanmar were ultimately crushed by these prerequisites; despite their historically supported claim to having settled in Myanmar since time immemorial, many Rohingya lack the necessary paperwork to satisfy the first requirement, because these were either unavailable or denied from them.

The aim here is not homogeneity – a nation will never be fully homogeneous, not in a world as globalized as ours – but to force the Rohingya into submission through violence. If the government wishes to call anyone a terrorist, it would be in the form of their own military forces – that is to consider the authorities in power guilty of such acts as well, seeing as the military serves as one of the many limbs a government possesses.

There are a variety of possibilities that people consider as contributing factors as to why the Rohingya are so unwanted by the Burmese in their land: the Rohingya are primarily Muslim, while the most Burmese people identify as Buddhists; they are not considered citizens of Myanmar, and are often labelled by state officials as “terrorists.”

Frankly, the Rohingya have done nothing wrong. This, however, has not stopped the Burmese from their ethnic cleansing activities. They subject the Rohingya to inhumane treatment: troops would burn their homes to leave them without shelter; their women, if not killed, are raped by military men; and they children are not safe from this treatment either – some have yet to learn how to walk on two legs and yet are plucked from the arms of their parents to be murdered.

The Burmese are not gods, and nor will they ever be, no matter how many times they try to supply useless reasons for their actions. What they are committing is genocide, which is defined by the United Nations as the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” by means of “Killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group,” – what bothers me most if their adamant denial that this is what they are doing. They can call the Rohingya “terrorists” as much as they like, but that would not erase the fact that the only terrorists here are the Burmese themselves.

As for the Rohingya, they deserve equal rights and opportunities in Myanmar not only because they have lived there for who-knows-how-long, but simply because they are human beings, just like any person living in Myanmar, regardless of their ethnic group. This is what the Burmese must learn to acknowledge and respect, and amend their laws accordingly for to give the Rohingya people the courtesy and equality they have always deserved.

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I learned what it felt like to be tired of someone at thirteen.

Adults often tell the kids that they have a lot to learn – madami ka pang kakaining bigas, or may gatas ka pa sa labi are just some common idioms I myself have heard from my elders. In their eyes, we are considered too young to fathom the complexities of life, too inexperienced to fully comprehend anything about maturity.

But I was thirteen when I fell out of love, after months of trying to win someone’s affection and finally basking in the unknown euphoria of being welcomed into the arms of a person I have come to treasure so deeply – perhaps that was where I failed to be mature, in my selfishness and inability to move on from a past that continues to haunt me to this day; I fell out of love, and something had to be done.

Realizing that a relationship is not working out is not an easy experience. Perhaps it is even harder to acknowledge that there are faults when everything seems to be going smoothly, that there are cracks even when you think you are whole. But knowing that this person was not the love I was looking for made me arrive at a question: what would my ideal lover be like?

I could think of a million things I’d appreciate seeing in a lover: tall, wise, and mature, graceful and eloquent in all aspects of life; a good conversationalist who possesses a mind that is open and free of prejudice; someone who understands the balance between giving and taking and walks their talk. Someone who makes your days brighter – someone you can return to after a tiring day, a presence that reminds you of home.

Perhaps this is not how you would describe your ideal half, and that is perfectly fine. Because love is not about finding a person who fits your ideals or standards – love is about finding someone and learning to love them despite their imperfections. It is about growth and support and loving your partner enough to make them love themselves and grow as a person.

A partner is only ideal when you are the other half. The concept of perfection, in its entirety, is merely subjective. A true standard does not exist, and nor will it ever come to be. What does exist is love – true, genuine love, may it be for a person or something else entirely. All it takes is acceptance.

Image source: PxHere

Indoor Sweeping

Sweeping is essentially a method of cleaning. It involves the use of a dustpan and a broom — a typical Filipino household would have two types of brooms, the walis tambo which is used indoors, and the walis tingting for outdoor use. This particular essay gravitates towards the use of the walis tambo, for it revolves around the act of sweeping indoors.

Sweeping indoors maintains the cleanliness of one’s home, and with it the appearance of the environment — guests commonly prefer clean spaces than rooms that feature grandiose decorations but are poorly maintained. Hygiene is of utmost to most as it translates into comfort and ease of relaxation. After all, who would enjoy lounging in a pigsty? Dirt and dust may also increase the risk of acquiring illnesses and irritations, the latter being especially prominent in the case of dust-induced asthma.

There are, of course, other methods which one may practice to clean their houses — there is dusting, dish-washing, or even washing clothes, or even washing clothes, but there is no other method as fundamental as sweeping, which exhibits the most visible results of one’s hard work; even chores such as dusting must resort to sweeping in order for dust to be disposed of properly.

Sweeping also encourages one to be diligent and disciplined in its demand to be done religiously to effectively maintain cleanliness. Cleaning is inherently useless if not done repetitively and without care as to whether one has cleaned all the nooks and crannies of his home. Of course, there could be alternative techniques in learning the art of hard work and discipline, but sweeping could easily be done in one’s abode, with so little effort required in obtaining the needed instruments.

As unlikely as it may seem, sweeping is also capable of providing its practitioners a few health benefits, particularly in keeping the arms and back tones. It is especially helpful to those who have too little time to partake in any sports or anyone who, for some reason, may not be allowed to do anything physically y sports or anyone who, for some reason, may not be allowed to do anything physically taxing. In the arms, the biceps and forearms are particularly affected, because both are involved in supporting the walis tambo, which requires strength to maintain the position over an extended period of time.

Image source: Pinay Home