Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Blog Rounds 22: A Legacy

More often than not, I get to receive beautiful gifts that come straight from the heart. Even those so-called "generic gifts", I consider as heartfelt; it is a lot better to look at it that way. I love opening gifts, but at the same time I do not mind not receiving any gifts. This is just one of the many paradoxes of my disposition.

I remember someone whom I used to think was the worst person to ever receive a gift. I am talking about my late mother, who always left me exasperated during Christmas and her birthday. Not once did I see her happy with my gifts. In fact, I could hardly remember any instance when she was completely satisfied with what I did, ever. My mother was probably the most generous person around, lending help in any form to her less fortunate friends, unconditionally. I received some of the best material gifts from her, and so did my siblings. My mother was a very beautiful person, but she was also the worst recipient of gifts that came specifically from me. And for many years, I was, in a way, sore....

Mom and I, Recognition Day, many many years ago

Then again, my mother was not one to openly express her appreciation. This I would fully learn and understand weeks after her death, when we were fixing some of her stuff.

My mother kept all the things I gave her, all the letters I wrote her. She kept all my awards when I was still in primary and secondary school, and all clippings that bore my name. My sister, who lived with my mom during the last few years of her life, told me that she talked about me with pride to her young grandchildren. (No wonder these kids initially wanted to be doctors. It was brainwash!)

My mother, it seemed, gave a lot of herself, and kept a lot to herself at the same time. And for me, this is probably her last and best gift - her legacy - that she left before she stepped out of this world. Love, definitely, goes beyond the act of physical gift-giving ... and yes, it is best expressed without words.


This is my submission to The Blog Rounds 22nd edition, whose theme is The Gift, hosted by the rising star Merricherri.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Last Song Syndrome 2: Ace Of Spades (Motorhead), On Perpetual LSS

"You know I'm born to lose
and gambling is for fools,
But that's the way I like it baby,
I don't want to live forever,
and don't forget the joker!"

- Motorhead, "Ace Of Spades"

Ace Of Spades, arguably Motorhead's signature song, is one of those tunes that would figure repetitively in my life's confused soundtrack.

When I was a lot younger and wet behind the ears, I could not - pity my sparse exposure and knowledge - tell the difference between punk and metal music. They all sounded the same to me: furious guitars, furious tempo, furious vocals. Not wanting to risk ridicule from friends listening to these types of music, I embarked on an arduous self-study, getting hold of music magazines, fanzines, cassette tapes purchased from the bowels of Recto, or fringes of Kamias ...

... and during my research, I chanced upon a video on television. You see, during program lulls, RPN-9 would show pre-MTV videos of artists the likes of Billy Joel, Blondie, and Queen. It was a hot summer afternoon, and on the TV was Motorhead.

Motorhead. Didn't I read somewhere that the late Dee Dee Ramone counted Motorhead, and the Ramones of course, as the only two bands that are " any good"? Dee Dee must have meant it in earnest, for here was a band that was tearing my eardrums to smithereens. A man named Lemmy was spitting word after word as he grimaced on the mic, his bass guitar pounding ominously in the process. The guitar was blaring, creating a sense of alarm throughout the song. I was practically blown away.

Fantastic song, kick-ass band. I never forgot the video.


Many years later, I listened to a good deal of Motorhead songs, but Ace Of Spades will always be one of my most enduring LSS.

Recently, it has been playing in my mind over and over, once more.

One early evening, I came home from work. As I was getting off my car, I heard someone talk.

"You have been busy lately."

I turned and saw a fiftyish graying but hefty gentleman walking his tiny terrier. He was smiling as he spoke, lighting up his dark eyes and lifting the corners of his moustache in the process.

"Yes," I acknowledged. "Workload is getting heavier."

He nodded, and we both muttered "Good evening" as I walked towards the building where I live.

But I had to walk fast, because I was afraid that the gentleman - my neighbour - might see that an impish grin was starting to spread on my face. I tried not to think about it, but it could not be helped.

The crazy thought?

My neighbour, it seems, once armed with a mic and a bass guitar, bears a striking resemblance to Lemmy of Motorhead.

(Dear Sir, if ever you come across this piece, please forgive me. Take comfort though in the fact that you resemble a great musician.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hong Kong, One Year After 1: A Repeat Visit

Sunset, harbour area, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hkg, Oct 2008

It was an email from a former roommate that started it all.
"Dear Gigi,

When will you come back to Hong Kong."
Suddenly, I found myself booking online. Four days, three nights in the city that, contrary to popular opinion, sleeps - at around 3 am, that is. It is getting to be a yearly habit, this trip. In my mind are thoughts that dart to and fro.

This is a long-overdue return.

Is it ok to bring dried mangoes to my Hong Kong friends?

Finally. Xiao Long Bao to die for.

Need to load my Octopus card.

Oh no. People will come up to me and talk in Cantonese, thinking I'm a resident. (It always happens 99% of the time.)

Will my colleagues welcome me?

And many more concerns that reveal my insecurities anchored from last year's trip.

Last year, I started a Multiply account where I loosely documented my prolonged stay in Hong Kong. Those were both happy and pensive times all put in a collage of pictures, music, and words.

Now I have returned (again) to the city that has been generally kind to me. How has it been? The economic climate is quite different now, and personal situations have been altered. The great city appears to be the same, but I felt some hints of change, as I will write about later....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Blog Rounds 21: (Almost) Driven To Tears

Say, what makes me cry?

Many things. Each reason meriting a post, or two, or more. There is loss, frustration, disappointment, rage: all valid reasons for me to shed tears.

I have not cried in recent memory. Of late, however, are circumstances that left me overwhelmed, to say to the least.


A few days ago, I flew to Hong Kong out of what seemed to be a caprice. In reality, this is far from being a holiday trip. I want ANSWERS to the many questions gnawing in my heart after I left Hong Kong last year.

I got more than just answers.

I received the warmest welcome I have ever had in years. I was brought to places I used to frequent, like it was old and happy times. I was fed with heavenly food like hargow and xiao long bao ("We will order your favorite dimsum!") in one of the newest restaurants that side of

More than these, however, were assurances, kind words, and encouragements. "People can only talk ... they only have mouths," I was told. This statement spoke volumes.

I never expected this trip to come out this way; for months I have been putting it off. I am very thankful that I gave in to my "whims".

I can only castigate myself for doubting, and shake my head for my lack of faith. For many months I paid attention to so many rumours, nurturing my bruised confidence in the process.

And now that I took that leap of faith, I found that the answers are all very clear. I am overjoyed, so overjoyed, that I am beyond merely shedding tears - of happiness.

[Thank you is not enough, my dear friends.]

This is my submission to The Blog Rounds 21st edition, whose theme is M*U*S*H, hosted by the indefatigable Dra. Ness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Last Song Syndrome 1: Heroes (David Bowie), Monday, September 8, 2008

"Though nothing
Will keep us together
We could steal time
Just for one day
We can be heroes
For ever and ever
What d'you say?"

- David Bowie, "Heroes"
I have a recurring preoccupation on heroes, heroics, and heroism of late.

It did not help that one morning, as I was wandering in a lovely place called Astral Dreams located in a virtual island, I heard this tragic love song playing in the background.

David Bowie's song "Heroes" has been remade many times over, and one of the covers is that of The Wallflowers, which was used in the remake of the movie "Godzilla". The story behind the lyrics of this song has been told in a good number of texts and forums, such as this.

And so I left the world with this tune playing in my head many times over throughout the day....

I think about all the people wanting to be kings and queens in their own kingdoms in spite of resistance coming from all fronts, and I wonder how it is like for lovers to kiss "standing by the wall" while "the guns shot above our heads". It seems many would like to be in precarious situations and eventually be heroes for the sake of romance....

Are you one of them?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Before Everything Else, The Redux

Hi, I am Gigi, known to my friends in The Blog Rounds as Lei Si of Beyond Borders: The Lei Si Chronicles. To others, I am Marika, currently holding fort at Trash Radio Manila along with some friends. I am also called Marika in this very magical world I have gotten myself involved with of late. I used to scoff at the thought of maintaining multiple sites in the web. I still do. But.

My (rather puny) involvement in The Blog Rounds, spearheaded by BoneDoc, for a good number of months have made me realize that a blog maintained in a network site like Multiply is rather limited in its function. I have talked about this concern here, and after many months of ruminating, I finally resolved to move all the contents of The Lei Si Chronicles here in this platform. Some of the pictures and music will be migrated as well.

I will do this at my own pace, taking time to learn. Please be patient: I am a work in progress. Thanks, and join me in both my restless and listless endeavours if you wish...but be warned ;)