Thursday, July 13, 2006

In Medeas Res

In the last few weeks, most of the entries in this blog were about political stuff. A friend emailed me to chide me for having become this "wannabe pundit" (thanks, Linky for pulling me down back to earth) and told me he missed the times when this blog did not labor under the weight of other people's expectations. He also accused me of having imbibed the pomposity of the people he detests.

Perhaps he is right, so what the heck, today, I am going to blabber about anything and everything that comes to mind, and the hell with coherence. If you are expecting more of the usual political stuff, do both of us a favor, stop and read other blogs.

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In medeas res (which appears in the upper right corner of this blog) is a phrase that appears in greek plays. If memory serves me right, it means "into the midst of things" which situates the action of the play right into the, well, the midst of things. This blog labored under that banner for a few days until I decided a more playful and less cumbersome title would be more appropriate - thus, out of my mind. And now it is too late to change that even if I want to. But them again, who knows. I have also been thinking of moving to wordpress, but well, I guess some things can still wait.

I also toyed with that title when I was offered the column by the Manila Standard Today (actually, they were not the first to offer, but I thought it wasn't the right time when the other paper asked, so I declined. Manila Standard made the offer at the right time and dangled the sweetener I could not refuse - I could write about anything- anything at all, even disagree with the other columnists and the editorials). I asked my friends for their suggestions. The top three I considered were In Medeas Res, A Fine Balance (after a favorite book by Rohinton Mistry) and the one that eventually won favor - Are We There Yet. It was suggested by my good friend Angelo. So for the first time, I would like to acknowledge his contribution. Thanks, Angelo.

"Are we there yet" is Bart's annoying dialogue in one episode of the Simpsons. They were going on this trip and he was bored stiff. He kept saying "are we there yet" every five seconds or so. My friends and I do a good Bart impersonation whenever anyone among us is having difficulty expressing himself or has trouble seeing a point.

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When I started writing this blog, I never intended it to be anything else other than a chronicle of my personal thoughts and a venue for me and my friends to know about what was happening in each others' lives without having to exchange emails. But then that letter happened, and as they say, the rest is history. Since then, everything I write has become open to various interpretations and sometimes what I say often gets twisted out of context. There are now people who insist on foisting on me some kind of job description about what a responsible blogger and columnist should be. I am still trying to get used to the attention.

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But I must admit that there are some dividends to be had from being semi-infamous. Getting positive comments from some people is one. I still get starstruck everytime some famous blogger like MLQ quotes my blog or my column (and it seems he does read me for reasons I still can't figure out because to be honest I look at what I write and cringe because it always looks inchoate - there are just days when the connection between mind and fingers is faltering and well, it's been like that almost every day lately. But maybe that's exactly why he reads me). When Michael Tan or Howie Severino or Carlos Celdran or Sassy made it known that they also read my blog, whew, I nearly flipped. Deep down inside, I think of myself as just this person with pretentions to being a writer who wrote one letter and got noticed.

Which is not to say I am an insecure person because I am obviously just as capable of being this insufferably pompous person. I don't take myself seriously all the time, so you shouldn't. And if you think I just shot myself in the foot, well, you obviously missed the point. We all come with a little bit of this and that and we are all works in progress, so let's just cut each other some slack every now and then.

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I am a human resource management practitioner by profession and I keep an 8-5 job as First Vice President of a major private universal bank - so all those innuendoes about me being a Malacanang paid hack is all hogwash - the bank pays me well enough and quite frankly, keeps me on a very short leash time-wise, so even if had the inclination to work for the government, I just don't have the time.

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Keeping this blog has been a roller coaster ride, but if there is something that I truly treasure, it is the "community spirit" among bloggers. We bullshit each other every now and then, exchange harsh words, take sides, make up, and disagree again. But we continue to read each other and support each other because, well, blogging is a new media frontier and there's a social glue that binds people who are forging a new path. Besides, some habits are truly hard to break even if they make blood pressures rise and destroy appetites.

Along the way, I guess some of us have "tamed" each other somehow. For example, one of my harshest critic (cvj) and I rarely see eye to eye on issues, and I am sure we get on each others' nerves every now and then, but we stay in the communication process and I would like to think that along the way, we have learned to respect each other. So strange as it may seem, I do look forward to cvj's comments precisely because I know they are written without any other intention than to present a divergent opinion. There is room for civility even among those who disagree.

I wish though that others can be civil too. But like I always say, some people have some growing up to do and no one can force it on them.

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And then there are those really marvelous moments when someone you've lost touch with suddenly comes out of the woodwork to say hi!. In the end, it's really those seemingly little things that validate our existence that makes our day.

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So there, Linky. I just rambled on. Happy? And by the way, I hope you are okay. Let's have dinner this weekend.

11 comments:

cvj said...

Thanks Bong. This medium is after all, a web *log*. As far as i'm concerned, when it comes to matters concerning politics and other social concerns, it is more important to log the interplay of ideas. It is these ideas that we present, that are actually communicating and contending with each other and, if we're lucky, will probably be the only ones that people will care to revisit in the future long after we've left the scene.

almabien said...

I don't always agree 100% with your opinions but I take the stance that anyone who can sensibly articulate a position and engage in civilized debate or discourse always has that basic right in a free country. I have come across so much pomposity, incoherence and fallaciousness in many blogs that I cringe at the sheer waste of it all. Thankfully there are a number of blogs worth looking into even if these do not mirror my sentiments or beliefs. This is one of them.

BongA said...

cvj, that was quick. but thanks! i concur.

bong

BongA said...

almabien, very well said, and that i think sums up my position as well. people just need to be reminded constantly that just because we disagree does not mean we have to be enemies. thanks for dropping by.

bong

Jego said...

Your blog, your house, bong. You dont have to write about politics everytime and Im glad that you dont. Just goes to show life goes on and it doesnt have to stop just because we dont like the prez.

benign0 said...

In any case, politics is only the tip of the iceberg of the issues that plague the Philippines. Underneath all that exciting Fiesta Politics run the the silent serious fundamental issues -- no, ideas -- that many Pinoys cannot -- or will not -- fathom (probably because real critical thought -- not to be confused with political intrigue and speculation -- is not trendy enough for most Pinoys).

That is why for all the hundreds and thousands of political solutions, political rigodons, political exercises, and political etchas that we have seen in the last 20 years, it is obvious that our society has not fundamentally changed at all.

As one of your earlier commentors noted:

[...] it is more important to log the interplay of ideas. It is these ideas that we present, that are actually communicating and contending with each other and, if we're lucky, will probably be the only ones that people will care to revisit in the future long after we've left the scene [...]

Coming from the above insight, it is plainly obvious that many other bloggers have lost sight (or have never seen it) of the whole point of blogging. Most of the other blogs around there (and many of the high-profile ones) are all about politics. Politics politics politics. We are a society that finds no merit in exchanging, developing, and communicating ideas.

Instead we find pleasure in intrigue and cheap laughs. Many blogs have logged events, but not the ideas behind these events from which useful insight can persist.

BongA said...

jego, i think i read an entry somewhere about the "living room" concept in blogging. you invite people into your house and into your living room for a warm exchange of ideas. and then you kick guests who trash you in your own living room. hehehe.

bong

BongA said...

Benigno, i don't really mind the politics and the bad writing; it is the high-handedness and the pompousness of some bloggers who think they are of a higher order just because they can quote Kafka or write compound complex sentences. they think they represent the new intelligentia. puhleez.

bong

jher said...

bong, i remember the first time you discovered that i blog as well. your earlier posts allowed me to be updated to what has been happening to you, considering that our group has kinda lost touch. so im glad you are, in a way, doing something like that again. of course you are free to do whatever you want in your blog. i think you got the living room concept from one of the commenters from my post on blog comments and moderation. anyway have a great day ahead. hope makalabas ulit tayo ng barkadang inisa-isa. :-)

BongA said...

jher,
oo nga, blogging used to be a lot less complicated then. but well, i guess it is all part of the maturing process. eh kelan ba ang housewarming? i think that's the most convenient excuse for the group to come together again.

bong

Bob Burns said...

Hi Bong. What do u think about the VOIP law being stuck in the senate? http://www.mb.com.ph/INFO2006071669363.html..I'm an expat and just reacquired my filipino citizenship. High cost long distnce charges eat a portion of remittance that overseas workers send to their folks back home. So goes for businesses that do business in the Philippines..Thanks a lot