What Comes Next

I moved out of my old room.

As I looked around, I saw still images – short flashes of myself as I had lived and breathed in that room. Sitting at my desk. Lying on my bed. Bustling around, cleaning the shelves that I was emptying at that very moment.

How it came from that hopeful youth to the one that was now moving on to a new chapter in his life, I can never quite fully understand.  And even with who I am now, knowing so little of what I should and with absolutely no idea about how most other things in my life should work, I am tempted to simply let things stay the way they are. The bathroom is cleaner, the room is bigger, the people are nearer in the past.

But as I bustle around and pick things up, put them in the cart and wheel them away, I know that my wish cannot be granted, that life moves on and so should I. It’s rather silly to think that things will always stay the way they are – how many people have wished for change? – because they really don’t.

It’s strange, for one with no ties (or perhaps, the more accurate term is loose ties) with all those around him can find difficulty in leaving everything behind for an unknown future. I am alone, as we all are at the end of day. It just so happens that its how my entire days will be, not just the end.

The silence is oppressive, even to someone like me. But it is silence that gives rise to wandering, and in wandering, we find the courage – or it might just be a lack of our usual inhibitions – to ask the questions we’ve never thought of asking before.

In my travels ahead, I hope to find my answer.

Haiyan’s River

So today, I was a little more tired than usual.

I was in our university’s covered courts for a good part of it, packing relief goods for the typhoon victims.

credits to Frances Caluya (our covered courts this evening. Most of the goods have already been loaded on the truck and we’re waiting for the next shipment.)

Most of you who drop by my blog here are international readers. And you may or may not know this, but I’m a Filipino, and I’m currently in the Philippines.

You’ve heard the disaster that Haiyan wreaked here. The earthquakes, the fighting… our country, I will not deny, is a mess at the moment. So much shit has hit the fan that it’s more shitpile now than actual fan.

I’ve been really busy as of late, but this latest thing is the just the series of things that have made me look back and re-examine most of my life in general, and everything else. You know how it is- I just think too fast, too well for my own good. -_-”

My international readers must surely know of the chaos that’s happening right now in that part of my country. Looters. Scavengers. It’s literally the Last Of Us down there, with the only difference that instead of fighting against genetically mutated zombie things, we’re fighting the human condition.

Last night my dorm mates and I discussed if we were willing to resort to what is happening right now to survive. If we were supposed to loot to feed and fend for ourselves. And it got me thinking: in a world of total anarchy, where does one find anything? Do the survivors find peace? Do we know who we are when we are tested or do we understand a little less, each time?

Does this really mean anything?

Those are questions that I know I can’t answer. I don’t know if I ever will. In the face of such adversity, what man or woman can stand against such odds?

And yet…

and yet even now, as I write, people are still packing relief goods in the covered courts. Donations are pouring in from little girls selling lemonade in the streets to world leaders pledging their aid. Having coordinated with the United Nations, I know that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (UN-OCHA) must be working their asses off.

Because it's the world we want, not the world we have.

Because it’s the world we want, not the world we have.

Don’t get me wrong: I know there’s a side here that’s ugly. Misappropriated funds, insensitive people, people who think that they’re helping but actually making things worse, people who are making things worse. There’s always the good, the bad, and the ugly in everything- it just so happens that we take the good for granted, the bad with a little distaste, and pay too much damn attention to the ugly.

In the coming days, I’ll probably write a lot more about what’s going on here in my country. For the UN, for my fellow students helping out in the relief efforts, for the people who read my blog, and myself, just to get it out of my system. But I would like to leave everyone who happens upon this article with a little thought:

that even despite how much clusterfuck has been going on,

that even how fake, how useless everything seems to be,

when the shit hits the fan,

we still try to clean it up anyway.

Credits to my dorm organization (ARSA)

And that’s fucking beautiful.

Because it's the world we want, not the world we have.

sex!

Have you ever heard of this?

5

It’s Millennium Development Goal 5, and it is for the overall improvement of maternal health.

More info on it can be found here:

http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/maternal.shtml

Now that’s out of the way, I’d like to address something that usually comes with the idea of maternal anything. Sex.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the idea of sex education. Despite it being a hotly debated topic, it hasn’t really made any far strides in its implementation, whether good or bad. And there we have a problem. All over the world millions of people are having sex. Sex is fun. Sex is great. Sex has a lot of benefits, but is also fraught with risk. HIV (which I will talk about in more detail soon), STD’s, and of course, getting preggers (as a friend of mine referred it to.)

However, “what’s the big deal?” you may ask. “Sex is like a natural expression of humans. There really shouldn’t be anything to be worried about, right? I mean it’s not a big deal.”

And I stand by this.

You bet your girlfriend (or boyfriend, if you’re female)’s sweet ass it is damn important. Despite us having made a lot of strides solving complex mathematical equations and creating godly (or ungodly, depending on your viewpoint) creations, we always tend to screw (heh) with the natural stuff. Because no matter how much one tries to rationalize nature, it follows a logic of it’s own. That is why we must give a damn about sex.

My main point in this particular article is mainly about sex education. That is not to say, how to have sex. I repeat, according to UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) Ugochi Daniels: “Sex education is not equal to promiscuity.”

And much like him, we tend to be a dick on most occasions.

Please don’t give him more reasons to validate that belief.

In fact, a more correct term would be a comprehensive education on sexuality as a whole. Why do girls have more to lose during sex? What does “safe sex” mean? Where exactly am I supposed to not do it so I don’t get sick? As I say -and excuse my vulgarity- “I do not just fuck. I fuck responsibly.”

(so tempted to put in a “deal with it” meme here but I shall restrain myself for the sake of propriety.)

So what’s the deal with all of that and MDG number 5? Well, despite it being more of a problem with the ladies, the guys also have a say. We do, in fact, have a very big say. I mean look at the facts dudes: Girls are only fertile 3 days or so in a span of an entire month, while we can pretty much have kids on our deathbed. Girls have menstruation, and we have circumcision. It’s easy to get us off, but pretty hard for girls to do it. In terms of sex (as in doing it) we have a pretty sweet deal. (My post on defending how men have been mistreated by women because of that excuse will have to come at another time.)

In fact, there are too many things that I want to talk about on this subject, but I will start and end with this for now:

MDG5 should not just be understood as a goal to make childbirth easier. It’s also something that will allows us to be comfortable with our sexuality. Because as the idiot gave in the example above, sex is really great- when done correctly. It’s also a much more pleasurable experience if it’s done safely, as well. And sometimes, it’s just our mouths that get in the way.

(no, not like that.)

(no, not like that.)

I mean the fact that aside from it being kinda icky to talk about in public, our perception on sex and sexuality is more often than not, blurred. What we need is a dialogue that allows us to get the facts straight and our minds open. Hopefully, this push will start the movement of MDG 5 and to not make things harder (heh heh) than they already have to be.

Be responsible in handling girls like these. In more ways that one.

Be responsible in handling girls like these. In more ways that one.

Because it's the world we want, not the world we have.

“What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?”

A week or so ago, I was in ILO (International Labor Organization) offices to hear a presentation (though as he assured us, a very informal one,) given by its director, Lawrence Jeff Johnson.

This presentation in itself was actually very interesting with lots of points mentioned (which I will probably expand on in some other post,) but one thing that stuck firmly with me is the idea that we are not prepared for the jobs that we take.

How can I say this? Well first of all I see things like these:

scarecrow

It’s a well established concept that school is supposed to help you prepare for the eventual job you are going to take. That is why we have all these courses, all these different schools that specialize in so many different things. And yet, for some odd reason, many of the youth (which *gulp* is around my age range) find themselves frequently bewildered at the simple question: “What do I do now?”

Here’s why I think we find ourselves in that kind of state.

1. Awareness

I’ve noticed that the entire structure of youth working is based on this very, very, unsafe principle: You have to work.

While this is true in itself and certainly sound advice that no young person should ignore, here’s where I think everything went wrong. We keep insisting that they should work. The structure NEEDS them to work in order for it to work. The job market, rather than being a place of opportunity, has become akin to an assembly line where automatons do the same repetitive tasks over and over again. The more automatons you add, the faster the place will run.

 

youth: but how do we do that?

youth: but how do we do that?

 

But what if those automatons aren’t designed for what they are doing?

Lawrence Johnson showed a series of graphs (the links which I shall perhaps put up in another article related to this) that showed the percentage of what kind of automatons are we designing beside the demands for that particular design of automaton. The results are astonishing- and also, a little saddening. The fact is that we still insisting on designs for problems that have already been solved. In trying to solve the problem of work, we may have inadvertedly created new ones. Which brings me to my second point:

2. Social Pressure

We’re conformists. Ideally, that is how the status quo is kept. We must do this in order to do that, for this to function well for us to do some more of what were originally doing.

And that’s precisely the problem, or at least the problem as I see it. We keep thinking that work is a 9-5 job, where you get paid this amount of money at this amount of time, no morre (unless you do really, really, good and even then it’s not a guarantee) or less (there is a minimum wage threshold, anyway.) What I think is that we should stop thinking this way, for it only traps the incoming workforce into a box of restrictions that may just hinder their growth. What the world needs is innovation. New ideas. Something outside the box. Which is rather difficult to come by if from day one, you lock everyone in the same, cramped, dark box of processes and routines. People are different. They may function a lot like each other, but they aren’t exactly the same.

3. Inner Thinking

^As related to the first issue^

From my point of view, it’s a hard battle for my fellow youth up ahead. The system has given us tools and not instructions on how to use them; knowledge but not the wisdom to understand; and possibilites but no freedom to actually choose what we want. What we need, I think, is not only a more responsive job market but a more responsive system as a whole: a system that does not promote “Because everyone is doing it, you have to do it to” way of thinking.

The minds of the incoming workforce right now are filled with worry, doubt, fear, and most importantly, apathy. All which aren’t really helpful.

It’s a small step, really. But the mere fact that we know someone cares- and not just wanting to milk the last of our abilities for profit- is helpful to make the world of work better for everyone concerned. The question of “who do you want to be when you grow up” isn’t really necessary. The question should be “How can we help you to grow up?”

So hopefully we can avoid more cases like this one. It'll take the pressure off, really.

So hopefully we can avoid more cases like this one. It’ll take the pressure off, really.

 

And as always, you can find more about the World We Want initiative here:

http://www.worldwewant2015.org/

Because it's the world we want, not the world we have.

“We live in a world where we shoot at the people trying to help us.”

A few weeks ago I attended an event about World Humanitarian Day. This was an event that remembered the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. A tragedy in itself that seemed to declare to the world that peace was no longer possible.

And yet despite that event, the UN continues to thrive. Despite it being a day of tragedy, the Baghdad bombing was made into a symbol of celebration of sorts: a reminder to remember those brave men and women in the background who work for the good of all.

In regards to this celebration, I was fortunate enough to attend a talk held by the head of UN-OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) David Carden.

OCHA is a branch of the United Nations that coordinates aid effort to countries affected by disaster. Despite having almost no publicity at all (in fact I note with some humor here that some people I asked thought OCHA was a drug, not an organization,) there is no denying the effect of their skilled coordination on countries that are sometimes too affected by disasters to support themselves. David Carden admits it’s not easy: sometimes aid has to go through a lot of bureaucratic red tape before reaching the people it needs to reach: but fortunately, this office gets it done.

Most of the data on this event and the entire movement itself can be found here:

http://worldhumanitarianday.org/

However, what caught my attention about this entire matter is the title for this particular article. Why indeed?

Have we become so utterly consumed by the need for conflict that we would willingly fire on the people that try to help us? Is it really true that peace is the greatest lie of all?

"You see? Hidden, within the unconscious, is a insatiable desire for conflict."

“You see? Hidden, within the unconscious, is a insatiable desire for conflict.”

I admit I do not have the definitive answer to those questions. I am not the world. But I do know what the world is, and what the world wants.

The simply truth is, there are just really bad people in this world who do bad things. (I’m not going to get drawn into the discussion on what makes a person good or bad so forget it.) And there are good people in this world who do good things. It’s unavoidable that there would be a conflict of interest between the two. People are designed to be with people, but we have no design for doing it efficiently- it’s something we have to figure out on our own.

The message of World Humanitarian Day was not that the UN deserves the sole recognition for trying to make everyone get along. Everyone who is doing something for someone else is, by that definition, a humanitarian.

I’m not requesting that everyone pack up and leave everything to become “one of the guys in blue helmets” (as my friends would like to call them,) but to do a little something to make this world a little bit nicer, a little bit brighter… a little more human, for everyone in it.

Tragedies will come and go, but humanity will still remain. That has to count for something, in the end when everything’s been said and done.

You may follow the World Want Movement through here:

http://www.worldwewant2015.org/

Because it's the world we want, not the world we have.

WORLDFLOW

logo

Because this one came too damn late…

Hi there. As some of you readers know, I’m currently working on the UN Blogger’s Initiative for MyWorld2015, in which several goals and initiatives must be met in order for the betterment of… well, the world.

So do my part in this initiative, I’m setting up this specific blog category, which will talk about the initiative and my views on it as a whole. This will be divided into two kinds of posts:

  • MY World: Where I talk about the philosophical, ethical and moral ramifications of priorities (think of me discoursing “intelligently” about the entire initiative. Most of these posts will only concern my outlook on such a thing.
  • THE World: Where I examine the initiatives and their feasibility. As being someone from the Philippines, more often than not I will be talking about the Philippine context, but I will branch out to the global scale every so often.

Posts will be up by next week. If you wish to vote or find out more about the initiative, you may check this website:

 

http://www.myworld2015.org/index.html

And as for how I feel… well, aside from abashed that I took so long to set this up (because of… well, stuff,) I’m looking forward to it. The world concerns everyone, after all. And it’s a chance to make a difference… sort of.

In our little ways, we all feel inadequate. It’s so easy to say that the world is hard and there is no changing it. To worry about a problem is to make it worse. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Let’s all make it easier on the rest of us, shall we?