Tales From A Parallel Universe

I feel that I was living in a parallel universe this weekend.

My date with Pyromaniacs

Saturday afternoon, I drove over to Quezon City to join in an "atang" ceremony to welcome the coming of the lunar new year. A friend, who runs the company for a Chinese couple, has been holding the
ceremony for five years now and wanted me to come over and experience the annual tradition. So off I went. I was a bit surprised to
see everyone was wearing red - in our company, we wear red to honor the boss (who happens to be Chinese too) on his birthday, but I didn't know wearing red on Chinese new year was also obligatory.

The ceremony essentially involved offering "lucky" food to the gods, lighting incense sticks (they could not agree on how many sticks should be lighted) and bowing three times in every direction possible, burning pieces of paper, and feasting. The pieces of paper were individually rolled and had individual printing on them - golden inscriptions, silver marks, even green illustrations of what I thought were material things. The employees said that their free time in the last three days prior to Saturday were all spent rolling those papers and I believed them - there was a truckload of these rolled papers which had to be burned individually. Apparently, the pieces of papers represented money and other things that would please the dead ancestors.

The pyromania lasted two hours and then it was feast time. We all had to partake of the feast - tradition dictated that we taste each of the food offering from lechon, to crabs, to shrimps, to fish, etc. What an excuse to fill one's self to the gills.


Very seventies

Saturday evening was even more surreal - I found myself tagging along against my will to a private party that is best described as very seventies. I will leave you to your imagination to figure out what happened in that party - but it did involve many things illegal.


The News

Naturally, I was in bed for most of Sunday. However being cocooned in one's room doesn't mean being insulated and isolated from the outside world. There's nothing like your Sunday paper and the idiot box in your room to jolt you to the reality that you do live in a surreal country where everything illogical happens.

GMA 7's cheap antics

Pacman was still very much in the news. GMA7, which was shut out from the actual boxing coverage in light of the fact that ABS-CBN had exclusive rights to the match, did something totally ludicrous last Friday during the victory parade for Pacman. Watching it on TV made me cringe with embarrassment. The Pacman's float was passing through the GMA building when they were asked to enter the compound (the TV footage actually showed people running around trying to get the float to enter the compound and shouting "papasok nga, papasok! Dito! Dito kayo!"). Thereupon, Arnold Clavio actually made Pacman wear a GMA7 jacket and cap (as in pinilit talaga isuot!). Naturally Pacman's handlers immediately tried to take off the jacket and cap. Had it not been for the fact that it was respected broadcast journalist igan Arnold who was involved, it would have been totally hilarious.

Simply out of tune

I do not know what to make of the repeated airing of that duet between Pacman and the President. I do not want to add to the histrionics surrounding Pacman's alleged abuse at the hands of politicians who are clambering all over themselves in the hope of having Pacman's luster rub off on them. But for crying out loud, enough already. Contrary to what many think, I do believe that the President, or whoever is in power, has every right to stand next to Pacman onstage. The people who are rabid anti-Gloria seem to be forgetting one thing - Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is still president and she represents the Filipino people. It is but proper that the President takes time from her busy schedule to be with Pacman. But my beef is more valid - this is a president with a baaaaad, really baaaad singing voice. I actually dread what Simon Cowell will say if he hears her sing. Listening to her duet with the Pacman makes that terrible song more horrid than it actually is (okay, okay, it is far worse than being horrid. That song should be banned!).

Caught in a wig

And then Magdalo leader Faeldon was captured in Malabon along with a lady military officer who turned out to be one of his prosecutors. The lascivious implications of the story was naturally given more play than the details of capture. It seems mediamen were more interested in the relationship between the two military officers. And just for the heck of it, here are two more surreal bits of information about Faeldon. This is the guy who, while on the run, would visit military camps and have videos of him taken as if to taunt the authorities. During the weekend of his capture, one of his supporters was actually distributing the cds of his latest "film" which showed him reading a newspaper, right on the steps leading to the Cebu headquarters of the military. And he was captured while posing as a woman - he was wearing a wig and a woman's clothes.

And how was your weekend?



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