30 things I learned in life

  1. This is the only life you have.
  2. Having too many choices is paralyzing.
  3. Although the past can and does influence the future, much of what you do in the present counts.
  4. It’s OK to feel bad and let people know that you do.
  5. Resist change only if it is worth the resistance.
  6. What you see is what you just see or choose to see. There are other perspectives.
  7. People come and go.
  8. Understanding is the foundation of amity.
  9. It’s OK to leave people who don’t treat you well.
  10. There are bad people. No sense pretending they’re all good, but you still need to treat them right.
  11. Life is not a competition.
  12. It’s OK to make mistakes.
  13. Never stop learning. Read, travel, talk, whatever… but never stop acquiring knowledge and wisdom.
  14. Don’t put anyone in a pedestal.
  15. Reward loyalty.
  16. If you don’t know something, you must know at least that you don’t or have the means to know if you know it or not.
  17. Forgive but never forget. Keep the lessons, and pursue fairness.
  18. There is no justice without compassion.
  19. Success is not purely hard work and much luck or opportunity. Be humble.
  20. Embracing death should make us appreciate life more.
  21. Expect the unexpected.
  22. Life is more meaningful when we dare to make a difference or be different.
  23. Mind your own business.
  24. Smiling can make you feel better.
  25. Value health. You’ll have to be well to live life to its fullest.
  26. You don’t lie when you take refuge in silence.
  27. Rules are actually suggestions – you don’t or shouldn’t follow them all the time. What lasts are principles and instead of rules, you should educate yourself with the former.
  28. My belief in freedom and dignity is not up for debate.
  29. Be generous with time, praise, and even money.
  30. There is danger in always, never, all, or none. Always reserve something for yourself, and for doubt. Find balance.

A happy thought on a depressing day

“Have you ever been depressed, sir?”

Of course. And I had my share of suicidal thoughts and even attempts. But now, whenever my mind drops into an abyss that I can’t see, I just remind myself that I need to pull myself up to eat ice cream because a tub of Double Dutch is pure bliss. (But yeah, any ice cream will suffice.) Depression is a disease of thoughts, and though modern medicine has developed a panoply of interventions to treat mental illness, it is never bad to help one’s self. One happy thought can be a lifeline enough to drag one’s self from the dark side of the mind. I’m not sure if this remedy is for everybody, but I don’t think there is any harm in reminding ourselves of a moment of happiness. Cling to anything that can make you smile, and work it.

On temptation

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Why the revolt in Mindanao would never end

It is because the Philippines continues to delude itself that Bangsamoro is part of the country. The reality is that there are more than one nation in Mindanao, and that only one is favored by the establishment in Manila. The majority of Mindanao’s Christian residents are interlopers, occupants of a land that refuses them. They have never treated the Moro and the lumad people with fairness and with respect to their culture and rights to the land. Maybe this is why Duterte’s fanatics are so “nationalistic” and crazy about their numerical superiority and order – they need to suck national resources to keep the peace, gloss over the immorality of their propositions, and quell dissent from both the mountainside and the mosque. The only way the imperialists can feel “safe” in Mindanao is by reframing the Moro’s desire for self-determination as a glorious war of good against evil, by invoking the “oneness” of the national polity, and by using the military to tame the “indolent,” “heathen,” albeit historical, people of Mindanao.

The occupiers of Mindanao should be guilty and not gloating regarding the unjust imposition of Martial Law – poor guys from some god-forsaken northern province are dying for them when they should be the ones defending the land their grandfathers stole. There can only be one sun in the sky: the Moros, lumads, and Christian interlopers in Mindanao can never live in peace if progress for one means the oppression and suppression of the others, if the government continues to pander to institutions antithetical to secularism and humanism. Rebellion and terrorism dwell where there is injustice and hopelessness. There’s no room for “national unity” if people do not belong to the same nation anyway. Blood to the end – that’s the price of the Philippine state’s dreams of Lebensraum und Drach nach Süd.