Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Rejuvinated Blog Rounds (Yes!), And A Nice Poem

Some two or three years ago, a fellow named BoneDoc plucked me off my indifference to the virtual world by inviting me to The Blog Rounds. If you are wondering what the green banner at the side rail was all about the whole time, then your answer is finally here. The Blog Rounds is an aggregate of local (Filipino) doctors who took to the cyberspace to express their sentiments on a common topic, which is decided upon the week's host. The blog posts are then collated in a single article where the end-user (i.e., the reader) is treated to a melange of opinions coming from doctor bloggers of various backgrounds, exposures, and upbringing.

The Blog Rounds seemed to have gone into hibernation the past year, but it is now back, and hopefully this blog can participate as much as possible. I have had the pleasure of hosting TBR a couple of times, and it was fun, really, to be reading the posts (ditch the stereotype: many doctors are eloquent and introspective, and yes, creative - they're not all seriousness and science and boring stuff) and seeing the similarities and contrasts of opinions and such. TBR is yet another avenue for healthy forums, medical or not-too-medical.

If you are a Filipino doctor living in the Philippines or elsewhere you may want to participate in The Blog Rounds. It would be cool to have fresh faces! The mechanics for participating can be found in BoneDoc's site. Click HERE. Do drop a message that you are new and would like to be part of this lively group. Trust me, it is going to be fun. ^^


My classmate in medical school, Lenn, a person I have come to know as tough and yet sensitive underneath all the trappings of a toughie, showed me a door to an opportunity to explore the works of Angela Manalang Gloria. She was said to be Jose Garcia Villa's rival in poetry, and her works were radical during the colonial times (in other words, feminist). I will write more about her next time.

For now, a poem by her.

WORDS (1940)
by Angela Manalang Gloria

I never meant the words I said,
So trouble not your honest head
And never mean the words I write,
But come and kiss me now goodnight.

The words I said break with the thunder
Of billows surging into spray:
Unfathomed depths withold the wonder
Of all the words I never say.

(Mots. My gift. my curse.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You :)

A few hours ago, I implored my friends to give me poetry books.


Not only does this seem to be a sign of boredom, it appears to be the handiwork of someone whose skull is thick. (I think I heard someone say, "Ang kapal mo talaga!")

But you see, I do not mean to be makapal (*laughter*); it is more like, lambing (**more laughter**), and it is not too often that I (pardon the colloquial term) "make lambing".

It is just that I have this increasing urge to read more and more poetry lately, and much of the good stuff cannot be found in commercial bookstores here.

Take for instance, Wislawa Szymborska, a Polish poet who in 1996 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. I only came across a few of her works online, and the wit and irony that characterise her poems are both endearing and thought-provoking. I am, once again, hit by a compulsion to get hold of a physical collection of her poetry.

While I still try to figure out the best way to get a copy of this poetess' works, please allow me to share a favorite piece. Enjoy. :)

A "Thank You" Note
by Wislawa Szymborska
translated by Joanna Maria Trzeciak

There is much I owe
to those I do not love.

The relief in accepting
they are closer to another.

Joy that I am not
the wolf to their sheep.

My peace be with them
for with them I am free,
and this, love can neither give,
nor know how to take.

I don't wait for them
from window to door.
Almost as patient
as a sun dial,
I understand
what love does not understand.
I forgive
what love would never have forgiven.

Between rendezvous and letter
no eternity passes,
only a few days or weeks.

My trips with them always turn out well.
Concerts are heard.
Cathedrals are toured.
Landscapes are distinct.

And when seven rivers and mountains
come between us,
they are rivers and mountains
well known from any map.

It is thanks to them
that I live in three dimensions,
in a non-lyrical and non-rhetorical space,
with a shifting, thus real, horizon.

They don't even know
how much they carry in their empty hands.

"I don't owe them anything",
love would have said
on this open topic.


More about Wislawa Szymborska HERE. Photo also comes from the said site.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Unholy Thoughts and Deeds On A Good Friday (Re-Reading Brave New World And Such)

History has shown us, time and again, that some of the most prominent thinkers - Archimedes, Plato, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Galileo, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzche, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein to name a few - dared to go "against the flow". These people went contrary to popular opinion, at the expense of reputation, physical comfort, even life. As Marx would espouse, however, conflicts - dissenting opinions - are very much necessary for evolution.

To make the concept less profound and more appealing, thinking like the majority can be really really boring in several instances. To accept things as they are, being lazy to even ask a few questions is downright unacceptable, as far as I am concerned.


Today is a Good Friday, the day that the Christian World commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. I plan to finish re-reading Aldous Huxley's Brave New World today.

Brave New World happens to be a cult favorite. Many people I know (hm, myself included) swear by this book. When I was younger, I enjoyed reading Brave New World more than I did George Orwell's 1984.

It has been said that Aldous Huxley, himself a frustrated doctor, had made striking predictions of the future of the world. In the 1930s, his book was deemed by many critics as shallow and some kind of a joke. Many decades later, Huxley becomes one of the names to quote when a person wants to be "cool" (haha!).

What I really like about this book, however (aside from the highly plausible scientific and medical allusions), is the way conflicts were illustrated even in a so-called radical world. Bernard Marx, the out-of-place alphan, is a grave reminder of how it is to be a lone dissenting voice and what a person would do to want to be accepted.

The self amidst the sea of humanity and a need to go against the grain to EVOLVE: valid subjects for reflection on a Good Friday. (Selfish thoughts? Then sue me.)

(After all, isn't The Christ the grand proponent of going against the flow?)


A nice quote:

"I know quite well that one needs ridiculous, mad situations like that; one can't write really well about anything else. Why was that old fellow [Shakespeare] such a marvellous propaganda technician? Because he had so many insane, excruciating things to get excited about. You've got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can't think of the really good, penetrating X-rayish phrases... No, it won't do. We need some other kind of madness and violence. But what? What? Where can one find it?... I don't know." - Helmholtz to John The Savage, commenting on William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", Chapter 12, p. 185, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World

Have a well-spent Holy Week to all.