Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘social media’

Selfies Are Made For All Ages

Narrowing her eyes before the smartphone screen, my mom tried to take a picture of our Vietnamese lunch.

I chuckled at the sight. I thought selfies are for millenials. 

She then faced the screen towards the two of us.

“I can’t make a selfie. My hand is a bit shaky.”

For the first time, I did not instigate this picture-taking session. It’s her idea.

My mom belongs to the 70-year-old and above demographic who are thought by many to be slow, outdated and boring. When I encouraged her to use a smartphone, she was scared she would never ever catch up with the wonders of technology. But lo and behold, she has learned how to post and share a video without the technological wisdom of this Facebook guru. 

And millenials like me find it fascinating.

I could still remember the days when we were enthralled with the magic of text messaging. Our first phone was a walkie talkie-like Ericsson (yes, not mine, ours). It was heavy and bulky but I will never forget our fascination of having a handheld phone, especially we never had a landline at home. My mom used it to connect to fellow teachers but most of the time it stayed home. I then had my own Nokia 3310 phone in my last year in high school. It was a luxury then, even though it only had three games (Snake was my obsession, though). This is my very mode of communication with my mom, until my thumbs have mastered the art of fast texting. Fast forward through GMs and unlitexts, many people are relying more on social media messaging because it is easier to send voice messages, documents and pictures. It is also easier to use when reaching loved ones working overseas. 

I don’t know why most moms (and even dads) are more excited than millenials when they own their FB account. I have heard stories of friends who sometimes find it weird when their parents try to be groovy on their posts (like posting 10 shoutouts about household matters in a day, yep). Some of them have shared horror stories of parents berating their children through social media. I can’t help but laugh out loud when a fellow hiker told us his mother threatened him by posting on his FB page a news article about a mountaineer who died while hiking. His mother did not understand why he’s enjoying what she called a dangerous past time. It had surprised me that Parenting 101 could sometimes be attempted on social media (even for a 30-year-old guy like him). I guess technology has a way in revitalizing everyone. Perhaps, it’s a chance for our parents to try to relate more to us children. It could be their moment to express themselves through social media. 

My mom would tell me she only want an FB account so she could communicate, especially with my sister, who’s working overseas, and me, who would only come home on a weekend. She wants to see pictures of her grandchildren while commenting how they have grown. She would send me cheesecake recipe videos and watch out how I am doing by looking at my posts and my hiking pictures. Seeing her pop-up on social media from time to time is like being home. It’s communication on a higher level. But it still carries the same message of love. 

Soon enough, the evolution of messaging may take another major shift and the next elderly generation would have to grapple it again. I believe text messaging, social media and even selfies are not made for the young at all. That’s why it should never take it for granted. Let’s be thankful we have technology that can connect with everyone, even though we are ages apart. 

 

​Keeping Real Friends

I was on a mission to sort out my list of friends on my Facebook account to remove clutter: the non-existing account, the one-time friends and the total stranger. I was surprised to find over a thousand names linked to my account. Most of them were colleagues, former colleagues, relatives and former classmates (including that crush and that bully). Truth is, I could only count my closest friends with my fingers. But I was hesitant to remove most of those in my list because I’ve had acquaintances with them in the past.

When Facebook was first introduced, I hoarded tons and tons of “friends”. Social media became a platform to connect and reconnect. But it also became a tool to make us feel “closer” to our secret crushes (too bad if your crush only posts once a year). 

Because the longing to make friends is an inborn quality in young millennials, we easily add to Facebook anyone – just anyone – we meet for the first time. That kind of friendship, I realized, is platonic because they vanish overtime.

Even without meeting them personally, some people kept on adding to their list anyone who’s connected to a mutual friend or who belong to the same affiliation as theirs. At first, I accept their friend request out of courtesy. But I realized later that might not be helpful.

My former colleague told me once she would always accept a total stranger’s friend request because her purpose is to inspire. I argued back then it would be too risky to accept them because I don’t know who I would be dealing with. Now, there’s more risk at accepting friend requests of unknown and sporadic characters. They might be spies to the Dark Force *Wears 3D glasses. Eats popcorn. Star Wars theme blasts in movie house.*

But most of all, they could be assets to the gossip world, especially when they read posts such as this.

“Monday. Office drag day. Only your smile can turn it into a happy day.” Forward ko ito kay boss para di sya pumasok. Haha!

“Jeepney makes a wrong turn to Shaw Blvd. I need a detour to go to your heart.” Tse! Lalagyan ko ng barricade at barbwire ang dadaanan mo para di mo ko makita (as if ikaw yun…)

And worst yet…

“I only have 100 left in my wallet. But I have a thousand more reasons to love you.” Pare, may pangmaryenda na tayo! Aabangan natin sa kanto!

Ok, that sounds too exaggerated but sometimes, stalkers are really born out of social media. 

Having a thousand friends on social media does not mean you are the universe’s Ms. or Mr. Congeniality. Sometimes, they are just there to taunt you (because of a bitter feud you’ve had with that person), to make business with you (“open-minded ka ba? Kasi ako hindi harhar!”), or to linger in your memory. As I grow older, I realize my truest friends don’t go beyond a thousand…even a hundred. A few of them don’t even have Facebook accounts. The rest can only like and comment with flattering words but those who really matter are willing to go out of the social media world to see you face-to-face.

Social media has created a universe that is different from the real world we belong. It gives us the capacity to become perfect in everybody’s eyes by acting like a star on this virtual universe. But only real friends know you for who you are. They follow you not because you’re an internet sensation but because they love you are you are. That’s why I need to clear up clutter because I only like to keep those who matter to me. Besides, Facebook was originally meant to connect with friends, so why not just keep the real friends that you have?

Movie Perspective: Revealing the Reeking Societal Cancer in “Heneral Luna”

heneral lunaI was never been a fan of General Antonio Luna. Known for his infamous temper, I ever wondered why he was enlisted in the roster of Philippine heroes. At the first week of the “Heneral Luna” screening, I dismissed it as another average period film. Until the social media buzzed with endless accolades for the film.

Although oozing with curiosity, it took me four weeks before seeing it. Notwithstanding the fact I watched it without a date (which I never ever had yet), I got more than what I’ve bargained for.

Much of the movie plot revolves on the Philippine revolution, which coincided at the close of the 19th century. Here was General Luna, pompous and ready to defend his principles — in a defensive move. Not the wimpy kind of general who would shrug his shoulders when the government was ready to deal with the American conquerors, Luna was stubborn to push the Westerners off the newly instituted Philippine Republic.

His ways in disciplining his soldiers, mostly the cowardly ones, and his laid back fellow generals was offensively harsh to many of them. Those who resisted his orders were immediately slapped with Artikulo Uno: those disobedient to the general’s orders can be subject to punishment and death without undergoing military court.

His defense on his stance offended many of President Emilio Aguinaldo’s cabinet members. This had triggered a conspiracy to eliminate the headstrong general. But one thing made Luna’s name forever etched in the pages of history was his love for his Motherland. Never mind the women that he had, the rough way he dealt with his enemies and even allies. Until the end of his life, he was brave enough to stand as a man for his country’s freedom and not for his selfish priorities.

With the the film’s quick plot, I was surprised when it ended after almost two hours. In a short span of time, every historical personality became much alive, and even personal, by the way the actors portrayed them. John Arcilla, who played the role of Luna, convinced me that the general was more than a rash character from my school textbooks. His eyes had this hint of madness that made Luna look much like him (add it with the general’s mustache). Yet, he had also embodied the other dimensions of his character very clearly.

No need to impose how realistic this film should be, as the facts in this part of Luna’s life was well narrated even with a few symbolisms, especially his assassination. (Oops, sorry for spoilers) Jerrold Tarog, the director of his film, had been ingenious in weaving history and relating it to our social consciousness. He had reintroduced a tragic but praiseworthy figure once forgotten in our classes. With that he brought an awakening to a demoralization that has never been cured until now.

This film showed us more than Luna’s character. Though it was not proven in history who killed Luna (though most viewers had implied it to be the president himself), his death had shown how much we are still dealing with the so-called cancer of society: treachery, greed, and selfishness. As Luna was eliminated by Filipino soldiers, the film revealed how his own countrymen was ready to put away unity for the sake of their own selfish agendas. So it is with our society today. I’ve seen this scene many times with our leaders, eliminating one another through character assassination. But I believe it’s not only hitting the political arena, but it goes out to all of us, as well.  Luna’s question echoes to many, “Kaya natin magbuwis ng buhay sa pamilya pero para sa isang prinsipiyong makabayan? (If we can sacrifice our lives for our own families can we not do it for our country?)”. What I got was more than a story, but a reality that we have to tackle and address.

I once thought that Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Jose Rizal (1998) was the best period film my generation could see. Jerrold Tarog had proven himself a genius in recreating a period film, making it worthy for Oscars. It brought back my faith that we Filipinos can create noteworthy period films that can be entertaining, mind-opening, and worth the sacrifice to see it.

The Hole On the Wall (Short Story on Twitter)

My first attempt to write a short story on Twitter. But not as good as those made by the British novelist David Mitchell. I was inspired by writers like him to put into social media creativity in literature. I was inspired by the gloominess of the weather and the silence in the kitchen. But I think what I’ve done could not keep the momentum I’ve placed on the first tweets for the story. Oh well, I’d be glad to have suggestions and tips on writing a good story on Twitter.

The ChairThe skies outside was becoming gloomier, covering the last hope in her frail, gaunt physique. #storytime

Lauren’s colorless eyes looked beyond the window, hoping for a knock on the door. Instead there was a scratch on her wall. #storytime

She turned and saw nothing, except for a pair of two glass-like eyes through the hole behind the chair where she was sitting. #storytime

As the pair of eyes glistened in the faint light of the dusty, yellow bulb, Lauren clutched the table beside her in shock #storytime

“Why are you afraid?” the voice coming from the hole asked. “I am your friend. I have been watching you.” #storytime

The elderly woman, now trembling, shuddered even more as the cold wind blew through the window. She braved herself to look closer #storytime

“Who…who are you?” Lauren asked, her raspy voice rising from her parched throat #storytime

The eyes drew away from the light as she tried to come near to see them. “I am…a friend.” It answered, its voice almost hallow #storytime

The thunderstorm roared outside. But Lauren’s attention was drawn to the strange hidden creature. “Come nearer.” She pleaded #storytime

“I have seen your tears and your fears.” the voice, hallow just like the hole where it was hidden, echoed in a bizarre tone #storytime

Lauren can’t shove off her attention the strange pair of eyes. Her fingers,like needles hanging loosely on a sewing machine,touched the hole

“Why are you here?” Lauren asked, trying not to hold her breath in her weakened lungs. #storytime

“To set you…free.” The creature said. “I have seen your struggles as you have nothing to pay this house. But I have a deal” #storytime

Oh, yes.Lauren has too old and weak to pay for this old house. They want her out so they can have her house and sell her property #storytime

“What is the deal, then?” Lauren asked, eager to hear the deal she might get. For the sake of freedom #storytime

The voice answered, its voice becoming more eerie, “Give me your reflection.” #storytime

Lauren laughed, struggling for breath in every snicker, “I won’t give youy relection. It’s too beautiful for you to have.” #storytime

The voice snickered in its eerie, hallow tone. “That is the best that you can give. If not, they will come and get your house.” #storytime

“I ain’t got money, I ain’t got anybody, so don’t get mine only face.” Lauren said. But then the pair of eyes slowly vanished. #storytime

“Wait a minute!” She cried, desperately trying to catch the creature as she plunged her fingers into the hole. #storytime

“The deal is done!” The creature said, vanishing from sight. Desperately, Lauren grabbed the kitchen knife. #storytime

For years, Lauren kept care of this reflection admired by the men around her. She would not let anybody have her reflection #storytime

Old as she was, tried to break down the wall as the pair of eyes sunk into darkness. She must force it for a better deal #storytime

But when she tore open quite a large portion of that wooden wall that housed the hole… #storytime

…not a pair of eyes but a piece of a broken mirror, reflecting a sagging, sad, bitter reflection she did not realize to have #storytime

The voice that she had heard was her own. And the eyes were the eyes of the unknown creature she had become. #storytime

At last the knock came upon the door. It was the lawyer she was waiting for. The only hope and salvation to save this house. #storytime

And when the lawyer entered she was nowhere to be found. All that was there was a torn wall and a broken mirror. #storytime

Love Off the Virtual Space

‎”Do you already have a boyfriend?”
I know there is nothing wrong with this question but it irritates me at most times. It’s OK to ask it if you’re really curious and we’re familiar with each other.
Rather, it’s being asked by not-so-close people…and they’re boys.
For me, it implies something, especially through social media. It’s an off question. And it find it as a really strange question.
Asking other single lady friends, it seems that most of them encounter boys who ask (and even court) on social media. That question is an introduction. The biggest turn-off is when they ask you if you this next question:
“Can you be my girlfriend?”
Girlfriend? Do we know each other that well? Are you sure we’re meant to be? And why ask through social media and not personally.
Why should I entrust my heart through someone who proposes through virtual space? How sure am I he’s true on his word?
The Internet can be used as a mask to hide one’s fears while pretending to be brave enough. Rather, I’d appreciate those who take time and courage to tell his feelings personally.
You can say I’m a very idealistic woman. Let me just say that I don’t have time to flirt. I pursue real love through commitment.
For me, a sign of a committed man would really pray about his relationship and would not try to pry on single ladies through social media.
Love is not a betting game. Which lady bites the bit is his. That is the game of most men today. But this is not true love.
True love goes hand-in-hand with commitment and sacrifice.
To go into a relationship requires these two elements, as each one has to give up something from themselves for the sake of their partner.
As I’ve heard in a testimony of a couple on TV, “Love is not only a feeling. Love is a commitment.”
Indeed, it is not a fleeting moment, just like a shoutout or a status on FB or Twitter.
And I can’t afford to take time on fleeting moments.

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