Wednesday, April 30, 2008

didn't forget,i just didn't care

i felt neither shock nor dismay when she was booted out of american idol i simply didn't care about her and was only reminded that she was the latest idol cast-off when i saw her at ellen's talk show last night. so i thought i should write a post on carly the shouty one in american idol's season 7. while she may not seem to be the one who deserved an exit on idol on andrew lloyd webber week, she should be booted out some time or another. so whether it was a rather premature exit or not i really couldn't care less this time.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

i should share this

i wrote this essay several months ago with the intention of entering a writing contest in a daily broadsheet. i did send it as an entry but i think it wasn't as good as i thought this was so it wasn't published. i ended up buying every sunday edition of the broadsheet for about three months hoping that it will be that issue that i will see this essay on print. since it didn't get published there, i thought, well there's always a different platform and what very convenient platform than my blog.

By Lalimarie D. Bhagwani

As I am once again preparing for another foreign trip, I am once again reminded of how my surname always merit me a second look or sometimes the more extreme grilling questions and double frisking at NAIA immigration. It’s always that one question if whether I am who my passport says I am or if I am Filipino at all. My features look more Spanish mestiza which greatly contradicts my distinctly Indian surname. A surname I acquired not by marriage, as I am very much single, but by being born into it.

The Indian part of me ends in my surname. We were raised as Filipinos and more specifically “Bisaya”. That would have been different if the man to whom I got this surname was part of our lives, but he wasn’t and never will be.

My paternal grandfather was an Indian national who came to the Philippines before World War II. I’m not quite sure if he really does have movie star good looks or is it just because of how black and white photos always makes anyone good looking. My paternal grandmother though swears he is a drop dead gorgeous man. A very old photo reproduced through the help of modern technology is the only image that I know of my grandfather. What I know of Leilaram, his name, is limited to what we have been told by my maternal grandmother. My paternal grand parents separated a long time ago. My father was about a year old at that time and my grand mother was pregnant with their youngest child. He may seem like the biggest slack for leaving his family and going back to India but that was their story and that was a lifetime ago, marriages fail and what we got is a name, a surname at that. He left but quite contrary to the very common idea of not looking back, he looked back and tried to reach out to the family that he left. During my childhood I remember my aunts and uncles fussing over the idea of my grandfather writing and asking for reconciliation. I vividly remember how adamant they were at refusing to let him reconcile with them. My grandmother by my reckoning was too proud. I didn’t get to read that letter of reconciliation, what I did get to read, with the help of my very conscientious mother who gave me a glimpse of who and what Leilaram is, she kept a letter my grandfather sent my dad when he got married to my mom. I cried when I read that letter it was the sum of all that I could ever get to know of him. He seemed to have a very active imagination, he was a story teller from what I could tell, and he seemed to have a very kind heart; all my impressions of him from a yellowed almost tattered piece of paper that somehow helped me fill in the gaps of my history. While my father secretly held a desire to seek a reunion with his father, he like the rest of the family was swayed by pride and abandoned that desire. A desire I too was holding close to my heart. I almost wish at that time that I had a great persuading power to change everyone’s mind because I know that reuniting with Leilaram is an integral and essential part if not for my grandmother or my father and his siblings but for us the grandchildren. It would have been our chance to decide whether he is what he is from all the stories we have been repeatedly told or was he an entirely different person that we could have had the chance to find out.

Growing up surrounded by the stigma towards Indian nationals living here in the Philippines, I would be teased by the very common racial slurs hurled at every “Bombay who’s into 5/6 and selling payong riding in a motorcycle with a turban in his head”. While I have been teased about all that, I was never traumatized because at the same time being teased as “Bombay” I was also teased as “mestizang bangus”. I just thought that all those who teased me were plain stupid in the head because they couldn’t even see the irony of their teases. Besides I’m not so scared of punching anyone who didn’t know how to stop teasing as a matter of fact my mom has been called to school because I did punch someone in grade two once, we eventually became friends though, after she has forgiven me.

In my teens while teasing still came my way once in a while I was saved from that by going to a bigger school where the population was a bit more diverse and pure blooded Indian schoolmates came a lot more than my elementary school. If teasing happened in my elementary years, questions arose in my high school years and for most of my adult life. I would always be asked about India. I would always end up openmouthed. What I know of India, I learned from the travel channel, from what I read in history books and travel magazines, and from what I heard from people who have been there. I don’t know much about half of my origins because of some unfortunate family events and I keep getting asked about that other half.

As an adult I have a great responsibility to learn about that other half of my story. I don’t have an identity crisis, I know who I am Filipino and Proud, but to fill the missing pages of my story I will have to someday pack my bags to go to India. Not just this trip yet but someday. It will be for me to learn, to see, to taste the flavors of India, and to experience both beauty and chaos. That trip will not include reunion plans anymore as my grandfather died years ago. It will just be a trip to help me answer some questions and help fill some pages of my life’s story, the least of that story will be about where my surname came from, the country not the person anymore.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

i didn't get paid for this

i know that this blog may appear like an informercial of some product i was paid to promote, but i didn't get paid to blog about this product. i am almost done with one bottle of olay body creme ribbons with almond oil and i can't help but rave about how great this body wash is. by far the most moisturizing of all that i have ever used, not even dove body wash or bliss spa's body wash can compare. i never really thought much about this olay product since i have used olay creme soap and it wasn't as good as this one. it was worth all the hype when it first came out and i first read about this on cosmopolitan magazine in u.s. in 2005.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

and finally america got it right...

more than overdue, kristy lee has finally left american idol season 7. in my opinion she should have long been gone when she wrecked the beatles "8 days a week". well better late than never america. kristy lee is pretty and she sure seems to be a very pleasant person but she isn't really my type of performer or her music isn't just for me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

top 5

it may seem too early to decide on my top five performances of american idol season 7 but david cook's version of "always be my baby" has inspired me to think of the contestants' performances that has been stuck in my head and performances i have repeatedly been listening to.

my top five american idol performances as of now, april 16, 2008:

1. david cook "always be my baby" click here to view...
2. david cook "hello" click here to view...
3. michael johns "queen medley" click here to view...
4. jason castro "hallelujah" click here to view...
5. ramiele malubay "you don't have to say you love me" click here to view...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

lions for lambs

i have been on a dvd marathon since last january. most of the films i have seen were rather forgettable but i have managed to acquire some new favorites. the latest dvd i have seen was, lions for lambs. i was anticipating this movie ever since i read about it in time or was it newsweek, i forgot my new diet has managed to make me forgetful these past couple of weeks. i kept coming back to the video store to inquire about when it would come out for sale or for rent. i don't subscribe to piracy so i have to wait and i haven't seen a movie at the cinema for more than a year except for "the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford", which i won invites to watch its advance screening. for a movie buff like me who used to watch a movie or two at the cinema weekly, watching movies at home has lured me for the sheer pleasure of having the remote to pause, rewind, and watch the entire movie again anytime i want to.

lions for lambs isn't quite as long as i had expected it to be. just a little bit over an hour and a half, which helps by the way because 26 minutes into the movie felt like an hour to me. it's not boring, the movie had that effect on me because the conversations in the movie were so packed with details i didn't want to miss every line. i watched the movie twice, that was how much i wanted to pay attention to this robert redford film. this movie is very apt and very timely. it successfully mixed the current state of american politics with the war they are fighting in afghanistan and iraq and how it transcends to other aspects of american life. of course just like any other movie more than that magazine article, what spurred my curiosity over this movie is the all star cast of meryl streep, tom cruise, and robert redford both starring and directing the film. it didn't do well on the box office despite those details and most critics giving it a b/c rating. i can't dispel that but i liked this film and i even have moments where i actually felt like what this film is saying is relevant and true and yes maybe it can only be just another hollywood film trying its best to be introspective of the current reality, but this is the best that hollywood has produced to mirror that introspection. this movie has a point and a message. my opinion is that americans are only nostalgic of the wars that they fought but they never want to be reminded that they currently fighting a war against terrorism right now. this maybe the reason why this movie wasn't as successful as it should be or it could be that i may be one of those few who didn't get bored through all the dialogue and i am alone in my opinion that this is worth watching. the reasoning is that it's worth the time because it is politically rousing.
after i watched the movie just like andrew garfield's character, todd hayes, right at the very end of the movie, i was left staring at the screen long after the credits has rolled. i was thinking, this movie made me think. after thinking, i watched it again, and i was able to feel what made me think in the first place. afterwards i can't help but wonder how many are like arian and ernest, the characters played by michael pena and derek luke. how brave they were while their politicians in washington were deciding their fate based on policies, while the media takes their stories as commodities to be sold to the public, and how most of us are just indifferent to the cause.

Friday, April 11, 2008

america made some big mistake on this one

the announcement that michael johns was the one leaving american idol was such a big shock. it was one of those moments that i have to say that this one america made a a huge mistake. michael is one of the most talented and sexiest american idol contestant ever. it's one less reason to watch the show.

everyone at home is still recovering from the shock of michael being eliminated. my mom was driven to a cleaning frenzy even if she really doesn't have to. yes that is how upset she was and she broke a couple of champagne flutes in the process. so she got more upset. then she just blurted out that she's banning american idol at home, more like she's not watching anymore. we still would be watching and cheering for david cook.

Monday, April 7, 2008

pet care

i don't want to preach but i was browsing through books at national bookstore in glorietta during one of those saturdays, when my sister has to go and get some art supplies for her art classes, while waiting for her i found this book. this book has to be mandatory for every pet owner. i own seven dogs and i find this quite helpful when trying to decide whether they need professional help or they could have home remedy instead. it's quite tricky since dogs can't talk and when they are a bit under the weather they just either mope or growl when disturbed. it doesn't take away the role of a veterenarian but somehow it has increased my knowledge as a pet owner and has also given me the power to ask and not just nod at whatever the vet says.

while this one has been very interesting and helpful as well. this pet care companion series i was able to get from the bargain table of national bookstore in greenbelt for just P95 last december. this book has gone to more than health issues to include grooming, behavior, and dietary concerns. it eases the burden because having pets is like raising a baby and whatever choices a pet owner decides the pet is stuck with it since it is on the mercy of its humans.

i am for responsible pet ownership and against animal cruelty. this blog is dedicated to my cute and cuddly furry, four legged friends; lulu, princess, labli jane, legolas, arwen, aragorn, and patricka star.

Friday, April 4, 2008

that pinoy pride

it was inevitable, it has been quite some time since ramiele had a performance that impressed the judges. i just never thought that she would be booted out before kristy lee cook. ramiele has a great voice that wasn't showcased enough in american idol. i felt very sad last night. i guess i would only have david cook and michael johns as my reasons to watch american idol.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

earth day 2008

april 22nd of this year will mark the celebration of earth day which reminded me to search for that article i happen to have scanned on the front page of the philippine star a couple of weeks ago. it was a worrying headline for every filipino who hasn't left the country or for every filipino who has always dreamt of settling back in the country. that headline stated that the philippines is the 38th most polluted country in the world. i tried searching for that article in the philippine star's database but to no avail. i might not have searched well enough but interestingly i stumbled into some interesting facts along the way. for one i stumbled upon this fact of the 50 most populous countries in the world. coincidentally, population is one of the biggest factor of climate change and global warming. it's that spike in the world's human population that has propelled us into the critical levels of pollution and global warming. to take a closer look in the list, the philippines is the 12th on the list, for such a small country to have so many people for sure it has had its toll environmentally. our government should re-think their policies on population control and for once think sensibly minus the pressure of the catholic church against contraception and sex education. to discuss further on this issue is entirely another blog entry.

World's 50 Most Populous Countries: 2007



United States

















Congo, Dem. Rep.


United Kingdom


Korea, South




South Africa















Saudi Arabia




Korea, North




Source: U.S. Census Bureau, International Database.

still looking for that philippine star article, i clicked on this study done by the blacksmith institute which has sparked not just headlines but strong contradictions from politicians some time back. on its list is meycuayan, bulacan and involving a river on its municipal territory. it also has marilao as another municipality in this country which is primarily polluted by SME clusters on its areas.

it really is worrying, i think my only consolation is that the philippines isn't on the top 10 or even top 20, but still out of about 200 countries the philippines being a small country has managed to be in the 25% of the dirtiest and most polluted. what's sad is that unlike some countries, the philippines won't have the resources to help it's environment to heal and to repair. it can't even deal with social services, road building, and education because the whole country has been focused on its politics and the politicians are busy trying their best to stay in power and to pocket more money from every opportunity they can.

since pollution has already been always equated to the looming problem of global warming, on a personal note, i have taken steps to at least lower my carbon footprint. at home we have switched to energy efficient light bulbs and more than helping the environment, it has greatly helped lower the electricity bill by almost 15%-20%, i also always unplug everytime i go out, or am done with the tv, pc, or whatever appliance it is. trash at home is carefully segregated to minimize what ends up in the dumpsite and what gets sent out for recycling. most of the time i take public transportion, it's not so bad as long as you know the area quite well. even in my shopping habits i have applied eco-friendly principles into it, i would only buy if i need it and the want to have is so strong it has made me sleepless, because whatever purchases that ends up to be useless could later end up in the trash that could very well end up in the dumpsite. i also like the concept of ukay-ukay since it is a great way to recycle things that don't easily biodegrade and it's such a haven for great bargains and high fashion stuff in most times. of course i have things in my wishlist that i wish to be able to do and have to be more eco-friendly, maybe when i could afford a greener lifestyle, hopefully soon.