Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for August, 2014

Movie Perspective On “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno”: Clashing Political Woes

I couldn’t wait to get into that cinema as my friend and I were antsy at that line to get our hotdogs and popcorn. We have waited to see the second part of Rurouni Kenshin movie for weeks. And the day has finally arrived.

I have been an ultimate die-hard fan of the anime series since highschool. To prove it, I have a few Kenshin collectibles like posters and soundtrack CDs (and I’ve memorized every song!). I never got tired watching the English/Tagalog-dubbed series over and over, regardless of being replayed on-air for the nth time. And when the live action series came out on silver screen last year, of course I did not miss it.

Just like for most Kenshin fans, both films did not disappoint, as they captured the very essence of the original series. Though there had been some changes in the storyline in order to crunch it to cinema time, the films remain faithful to the series, which was retitled then as Samurai X. The actors, which I believe were well picked, captured the very soul of the characters we had so well-loved, and the well-choreographed sword fights brought back my nostalgia of excitement.

Though the Rurouni Kenshin remake sticks to the original, the difference it made is how I viewed the story now from when I watched it more than ten years ago.

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno depicts one of the series’ darkest yet most significant battles. Kenshin was called by the Meiji government to eliminate Shishio Makoto, who was a former assassin like him at the fall of the shogunate. Seeing the dangers of Shishio’s backlash against Japan’s reformed government and to the innocent lives of its constituents, the former Battousai had to make a hard decision to take the assignment given to him. That means, leaving his newfound friends and the possibility of returning of becoming a killer once more.

When I was younger, this part was like a linear battle of good and evil. But if I would see it again at this point of age, I’d see more of its political point.

Though the story’s set up is in 1878, the political woes operating within its government reflect what could be happening right now. When Home Minister Okubo Toshimichi sought for Kenshin’s assistance, he gave him a truce to be rewarded and to acquit the atrocities they might have faced — like Megumi’s involvement in the opium operation. Though the public officials asked Kenshin “in good faith”, it is a cover up of the consequences they had committed. In the first place, Shishio had been serving them before the shogunate fell. But Okubo admitted that they had him eliminated because of the horrible murders he had committed, which were actually done for the sake of the Meiji government. Now, they did not expect for Shishio to be alive and was planning to take over the government that once betrayed him.

So, who’s right and wrong? Seems easy to answer when I was 16. But what complicates here was Shishio’s poisoned viewpoint and bitter hatred was just the result of another’s betrayal.

Today, I could see how those who want to remain in power try their best not to let their enemies have a seat in the government. If one dynast or administration loses its power in the government, their enemies who take their place can have the power to put them in jail or just get rid of them. They had to make sure that no one can stand against them so that their atrocities against the country would be kept secret and to remain in power. Heads of state would call this reform. But, actually, this is revenge.

The reformed government in Kenshin’s time reflects this fear in most of our present leaders. The terms of diplomacy they have as their weapon appears useless to a militant force who uses war as its strategy. Apparently, both sides could not meet, so they had to hire someone like Kenshin who has the skill for battle. Though the political perspective is not highlighted in both anime and film, it was made clear they the government is one of the binding forces that try to shape destiny, trying to pick on soldiers and ex-soldiers like chess pieces for their own purposes.

So, who’s the victim? Each becomes a victim when a vengeful decision was made against the wrong done to them. Even Shishio himself was a victim — to the hatred he kept against his enemies.

Kenshin himself had a different viewpoint from these political leaders. He saw the changes of the times, which are made by the choices those in power and the simple people, as well. He’s no politician, and never vied to be one. But, as an ex-soldier turned civilian, he was moved to fight Shishio when he saw innocent lives being trampled by these clash of powers. Here is a man who forsake the way the sword for peace and exchanged bloodlust into mercy. His character sounds too good to be true, but that’s the Kenshin we love. And this is the positive viewpoint he wanted to impart and leave in this bloodstained world.

So far, we left the cinema with a cliff hanging effect in us. Oh, yes, it’s a cliff hanging film, so as not to spoil those who have not seen it yet. But, I can’t wait for its third part The Legend Ends which will be on September! Right now, all I want to do is revive that Kenshin nostalgia by listening to my CD…um, anybody got a CD player? ­čÖé

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Awaiting A Life Mission

It’s been late of when I started to pray for my lifetime prayer partner. Like a blossoming teenager, I’m excited to fall in love, have a man to care for, and someone to share my life with. I wondered how it would be (and how I’d look like).

But there are days that I can’t help think if I’m really meant to have a lifetime partner. I contend with what I see to what I’m asking in faith.

When I shared my frustration to a friend months ago, he only said, “Ask God first what’s your assignment…”

What am I really meant to do? I was even more awakened when my mom —the woman who’s been praying for me to have a lifetime partner — told me, “Seek for His will first. Set aside your desire.”

No pressure. Just wait. Enjoy the coming thirties.

Then, I realized that to get married is to be a good steward of a Godly family.

I don’t desire to have children, yet. Actually, I can’t buy the idea of having my own family. Besides, having children means to have the assignment of becoming a good parent — the assignment of passing down a legacy. It would be a time of getting ready to pass by this world, by raising a new generation carrying your calling, wisdom, and anointing.

Many people are telling me to get married before thirty. Seven months to go.

But sometimes, the real mission comes after thirty.

I am in the cocoon stage. I am not quite definite with my assignment on earth. It’s like running after the wind and using your discernment as a compass in the nothingness. Remembering a word given to me that I am a late bloomer, I could see how true it is.

I’ve been given hints. I got short term plans. I have ambitions. But none of them are concrete yet.

Perhaps, my real assignment will come at the age every twenteener feared. And outcomes will not go as expected.

I know that God got a plan that I’d be surprised. If I just follow Him, it would be better than any adventure or any love story in the world. ­čÖé

Wisdom From the Meager Things

IMG_20140803_084516_editI’ve been quite bothered lately about money. With the meager salary I receive and the enormous bills to pay and needs to buy, I tried to balance myself to survive…until the next payday.

Somehow, I regret the time I wasted my money on useless things like excessive eating when I was in my former work in a BPO company. I saved, but a little. I used this up when I was jobless for a year. I could have invested it instead in a reputable insurance company. Gone are that first ten years of saving. Now, I am getting to the next decade my career as a faithful worker.

So, now my salary’s not as prestigious as my former job. I’m not complaining. But, this is my time and age that I am learning to budget and save well. Even I am still on loan, I can monitor my savings. I am considering other ways to invest, as well.

But right now, I am at my lowest point. This affected my enjoyment to be a part of an extra job that I am doing. I love my job and also the extra writing assignments I do on extra time. But, I felt greedy to do more so I can be paid more. Having this kind of mindset disrupts the very purpose and the quality of the job I do.

Here’s one truth that pacifies me. In Philippians 4:19, Paul prayed, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” The moment I received my salary, I just sighed, breathing this prayer to myself. Somehow, I can discern that in my meager finances, I am taught to be fully dependent to the God who has everything.

What we see affects our thinking. When we open our eyes and see that God is at work providing our needs, we’ll be surprised we have plenty, even if they are not financial gains. This is not the first time that I received more than the less I gained. Times before, I have received worst, which in the last week before the next payday, I was short of budget. Surprisingly, I survived without borrowing from anybody (not even from my mom).

And so, this truth encourages me. My God will really provide all our needs, because He knows them, and has the compassion and grace to sustain us when we fully trust Him. With this, I cling on to Him, as He teaches me to be a good steward of wealth. In this way, I gain more wisdom in choosing where should I spend my expenses, and in budgeting the rest for the coming days. Good stewardship is the lesson here and it’s a hard one to learn.

I guess the wisdom I am gaining at such a time as this is greater than the wealth I can ever accumulate (even if I get a million bucks). I believe when I learn to be a good steward of the little things, I can take care of bigger things that will be entrusted to me at the right time.

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