The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Monday, January 31, 2005

'A History of Writing' by Steven Roger Fischer (Part 1 of 2)

Photo taken on January 23, 2005; in the living room, which also serves as my nest

Reading A History of Writing in its entirety took me about three weeks—at least an hour or two almost every other night before sleeping. Stuck in the house practically every day, I have lots of time to read ponderously and write rigorously. I can afford the leisure of lingering on a particular page and diving deep into the details, taking down notes as if making a reviewer for an examination. I also tried to write a few of the exampled scripts for some of the writing systems featured in the book, like the Japanese Hiragana, the Chinese Zhōngwén, and the Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs. A difficult feat indeed it was; but having the leisure of time, I enjoyed creating with my homemade stylus such ornate scripts, which I'd be posting along with the second part of this article.

Oh, the prospect of studying again here in Canada, as soon as I become eligible, really excites me. But until then, I have to content myself with serious self-studying. My willingness to learn is at its usual potency.

The book enlightened me about the "evolution" of alphabets and syllabaries and other writing systems and scripts. This controversial claim also intrigued me: that all writing systems are perhaps derivatives of a single original idea that emerged about 6 000 years ago in Mesopotamia (an ancient region of southwest Asia between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates in modern-day Iraq).

Without further ado, here are the highlights of...

A History of Writing
Steven Roger Fischer
(2003, Reaktion Books Ltd.)

1. What now distinguishes modern Homo sapiens sapiens is a global society based most importantly on writing.
2. Only minute vestiges of one of the most ancient [writing systems]—Egyptian hieroglyphs—live on, unrecognized, in the Latin alphabet in which English, among hundreds of other languages, is conveyed today. (Our m, for example, ultimately derives from the Egyptians' consonantal n-sign, depicting waves.)
3. The Latin alphabet has become the world's most important writing system.
4. Writing is much more than [the French philosopher] Voltaire's "painting of the voice." It has become human knowledge's ultimate tool (science), society's cultural medium (literature), the means of democratic expression and popular information (the press), and an art form in itself (calligraphy).

CHAPTER ONE: From Notches to Tablets
1. Communication of human thought in general, can be achieved in many different ways, speech being only one of them. And writing, among other uses, is only one form of conveying human speech.
2. Human beings have a fundamental need to store information in order to communicate, whether to themselves or to others, at a distance in time or space.
3. One unspecific definition of writing is "the graphic counterpart of speech, the fixing of spoken language in a permanent or semipermanent form."
4. Complete writing must have as its purpose communication, must consist of artificial graphic marks on a durable or electronic surface, must use marks that relate conventionally to articulate speech (the systematic arrangement of significant vocal sounds) or electronic programming in such a way that communication is achieved.
5. Writing systems do not change on their own accord in a natural process; they are deliberately elaborated or changed by human agents.
6. Before complete writing, humankind made use of a wealth of graphic signs and mnemonics (memory tools) of various kinds in order to store information.
7. One of the ancient world's commonest mnemonics was the knot record, which dates back to the Early Neolithic (the last period of the Stone Age).
8. However, knotted strings do not comprise writing. They are memory prompts. Though the knots' purpose is communication, they are not artificial graphic marks conveyed on a durable surface, and their use has no conventional relation to artificial speech.
9. Tally sticks belong to the oldest forms of record-keeping. The earliest known knotched artefacts themselves might have been such tallies: marks on bones to represent different people, a passage of time, or hunting success.
10. Complete writing was doubtless born out of the need to record the things of everyday life.
11. Goods were perhaps tallied for many thousands of years in the Middle East using small clay tokens, 'counters.' Why clay? It is an abundant material in the Middle East, easy to work with, easy to erase, and just as easy to preserve: simply let it dry in the sun or bake it. Most importantly, clay can easily be impressed with graphic marks representing stored information.
12. Various people of various times could have exploited the few geometric shapes that are relatively easy to make in clay and used them as counters for whatever purpose they, as individuals, chose.
13. Most scholars still prefer to believe that writing originated independently in many regions of the world as an expression of a society's having attained an "advanced" level of civilization.
14. However, others believe that all other writing systems and scripts are perhaps derivatives of one original idea—a systemic phoneticism—that emerged between 6 000 and 5 700 years ago in Mesopotamia.

CHAPTER TWO: Talking Art
1. The Greek Clement of Alexandria, writing some eighteen hundred years ago, was the one who first called the Egyptians' writing hierogluphiká, 'sacred carvings.' Few writing systems in the world have been as beautiful or as captivating. None has had such far-reaching effects on humankind.
2. Ancient Egyptians believed that "writing" was the gift of Thoth, the ibis-headed scribe of the gods and patron of scholars.
3. One reads hieroglyphs either from right to left or from left to right. Signs always "face" the start position of each line: if one should read from right to left, then the bird's beak for example, is facing right. Right-to-left reading was the "default" reading direction. Most writing in northern Africa and the Middle East has maintained a right-to-left reading direction ever since.
4. Egyptian hieroglyphs constitute perhaps the world's most beautiful writing sytem. Most writing systems or scripts are functional, not beautiful. The calligraphy of Arabic and East Asian (Chinese and Japanese) writing, indeed, displays a graceful form seldom attained by other scripts; however, Egyptian hieroglyphs are both decoration and script at the same time.
5. An important social reflex of writing's elaboration along the Nile was the development of an extremely influential scribal class. Scribes were more highly regarded in Egypt than in Mesopotamia, where they were mere clerks; Egyptian scribes could attain great wealth, prestige, and position. The most highly regarded were priestly scribes. As Egyptian bureaucrat Dua-Khety sailed south along the Nile around four thousand years ago, he told his son, whom he was escorting to a school for scribes:

"It is to writings that you must set your mind...I do not see an office comparable with the scribe's... I shall make you love books more than you love your mother, and I shall place their excellence before you."

6. Each scribe owned his own writing kit: a slate pallette with two shallow cups for holding red and black ink cakes, and, on a connecting thong, a thin wooden brush case and small water jug.
7. The most ubiquitous writing material was 'papyrus' a kind of paper fashioned by pounding strips of the plant Cyperus papyrus into sheets. Egypt's writing had a great material advantage over Mesopotamia's bulky, awkward clay tablets.
8. Though the idea of complete writing may have arisen in Sumer, the way we write and even some of our signs, which we call "letters," are the ultimate descendants of ancient Egyptian founders.
9. Cuneiform writing ended around two thousand years ago; Egypt's consonantal hieroglyphs, though unrecognizable, are still being written. The contrast also obtains with writing materials: for millennia, wedges impressed with a reed stylus on soft clay competed with ink brushed on papyrus; the ink won, and remains the basis of printing today.
10. Writing systems and scripts actually perish far less frequently than the languages they transmit. Latin has long been extinct as a living language, yet its script, a descendant of Egyptian, is today's most common one.
11. Throughout history, the ultimate fate of writing systems has been determined more by economics, politics, religion, and cultural prestige than by the immediate requirements of language and writing.

CHAPTER THREE: Speaking Systems
1. Initially, writing had been an instrument of power in the hands of small groups of priests, soothsayers, and scribes serving deified monarchs. With the diffusion of writing, however, writing could no longer remain the monopoly of the rich and powerful. It now served everyone.
2. The hundreds of past and present scripts of the Indian subcontinent and their numerous Asian and Pacific derivatives—the world's richest treasury of scripts—cannot be sufficiently described, indeed even listed, in a brief history of writing. Nonetheless, over 50 percent of India's population remains illiterate, and hundreds of minority languages there still have no script. Oral transmission has commonly been preferred in this region. The Brahmins, India's priestly class, long viewed writing as inferior to speech.
3. Indian folklore credits the elephant-headed deity Ganesha with the invention of writing.
4. The Indians were antiquity's finest linguists; the West did not begin to approach the level of linguistic sophistication until the early 1800s, in some cases the early 1900s.
5. The efficiency of a writing system or script seldom determines its longevity and influence, but rather the economic power and prestige of those using it. A powerful society's writing system will mark history, while a weak society's will perish.
6. No writing system is intrinsically "better" than another, even those of rich and powerful peoples. As in the natural sciences, the success or survival of a system does not entail superiority but adaptability.

CHAPTER FOUR: From Alpha to Omega
1. A phoneme is a speech-sound considered in respect of its functional relations in a linguistic system, like b and p in English bin and pin. This brilliant way of writing—one, and only one, sign for each consonantal phoneme—spread to Sinai and Canaan and revolutionized writing in terms of flexibility and economy. One no longer needed to learn hundreds of signs; usually, fewer than 30 "letters" (signs in an alphabet) were needed to convey the consonantal phonemes of any given language. In this way, writing became available to everyone.
2. The Greeks learned the art of writing from the Phoenicians at least as early as the ninth century BC; and it is not improbable that they had acquired it even one or two centuries earlier.
3. A seamless writing tradition has always empowered the Greeks, who never did lose writing completely and who, having acquired writing c. 2000 BC from the Levant, have been writing ever since. No other Indo-European people has possessed writing for so long.
4. The Greeks were the first in history to represent vocalic phonemes, systematically and consistently. Nonetheless, they just did what many had done millennia earlier in similar circumstances: borrow someone else's system and then adapt it to the immediate needs of the local language.
5. The earliest Greek inscriptions are written in Semitic fashion from right to left, or in boustrophedon, 'as an ox plows,' in which the lines are inscribed alternately from right to left and from left to right. By the sixth century BC, however, most scribes preferred to write from left to right on each successive line. This method eventually replaced all others.
6. Greek inspired several scripts on the Italian peninsula, the most important being the Etruscan, which in turn inspired the Latin script – the world's most successful.
7. In the third century BC, Rome; Rome's first headmaster of a private school, Spurius Carvilius Ruga, observed that the Roman alphabet needed a /g/, so he took the Etruscan C and gave it a hook – G – to supplement their alphabet with this sound.
8.The Latin alphabet became the vehicle of one of the world's major religions, Christianity, just as the Arabic alphabet became the vehicle for Islam from Spain to Indonesia at the same time. The Latin alphabet, first because of Christianity, later because of colonization and then globalization, has spread "further and to more languages than any other script before or after."
9. The runes are the Germanic peoples' only indigenous script in that, unlike Gothic, they don't copy any known alphabet.
10. In the Northern Saga of the Scandinavians [Edda], the invention of writing is attributed to the god Odin.
11. Unlike most of the world's scripts, the runes never became literary nor utilitarian. As the name implies – Old Norse rún meant "secret or hidden lore" – the runes remained socially restricted to a limited domain of usage: mostly memorial stones, but also rings, weapons, and other treasured objects. Because of such restricted use, the runes never contributed to the creation of a literate Germanic society.
12. Society, as we know it, cannot exist without writing, granted. However,

"Writing is an effect of society, not a cause."

[To be concluded in Part 2, forthcoming...]

Friday, January 28, 2005

Butterfly Fairies

Photo taken on October 31, 2004, at SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Charlotte with her nieces Lyte and Sandra, nephew Jun-jun, and Tia Norma. I'm the butterfly on her shirt. Posted by Hello

Butterflies (mella / de jesus / paggao / aznar / ballesteros)
by half life half death
(Pymyth Prahn; 1994, VIVA-Neo Records)

The sky is blue

The sky is cool
Cool as your eyes
Rainbow smiles

The prairie's soft
Soft as your skin
Fuschia dreams

There they soar high in the sky
The only hope for flowers now to bloom
You're the only reason for my existence
So fly, fly me high with all your love and persistence

siahl frettåb, o'lieh
butterflies die in silence

Sweet caress touching dreams
Far away they may seem
Gentle strokes of your wings
Seven-eleven, heaven

There they soar high in the purple skies
The only hope for flowers now to bloom
You're the only reason for my existence
Fly high, butterfly, against all resistance

Blue is the sky
The sky is your eyes
Smiling rainbows

Blushing dreams
Touch me to sleep
Transcends me
Away from here

There they soar high in the sky like dreams
The only hope for dreamers now to fly away
You're the only reason for my very existence
Fly high, fly me high...with all your love and persistence

©1994 half life half death

Thursday, January 27, 2005

'My Dozen Animal Friends'

Photo taken on January 27, 2005, Thursday, in the living room: I and my six-year-old niece Amberlyn Posted by Hello

The first gifts I ever gave (for their birthdays last year, March 20 and July 9, respectively) to my nieces six-year-old Amber and five-year-old Julie were books: Firefly Pocket Guide: Birds (1995, Dorling Kindersley London Ltd.) and Firefly Pocket Guide: Mammals (1998, Dorling Kindersley London Ltd.). They are my way of influencing them into developing a fascination for animals and a love for books; for I myself, as a child used to, and now continues to be fascinated with the peculiarities of animals and to be smitten by books.

I delight in the fact that, among Amber and Julie's books, Birds and Mammals have become among their favorites. They usually bring these every time we go out; and how, in the van, the three of us would marvel at the different kinds of animals featured in them. I also take pride in the fact that it was from me whom my nieces learned about obscure animals like the narwhal, pangolin, and sea dragon; that monkeys and apes differ from each other because of the tail or the lack of it; and that the beaver (Castor canadensis) is one of Canada's national animals (the common loon [Gavia immer], a bird, being another).

Amber's seventh birthday is approaching, so I've been thinking of what book to give her this time. Then, voila! I thought of making a children's book about animals. What nicer gift could I give but an animal book authored by myself!

After several days of finalizing the book concept that has long been playing in my mind, I took my journal and started to scribble the words for the book. I was able to profile at least twenty animals, but I decided to feature only a dozen. I used to work as an editor/writer of Science and English books and magazines for elementary and high school; so I know that, for a children's book, the simpler and shorter (yet precise) the textual content, the easier for the intended readers to understand it.

Yesterday I googled for animal pictures which will accompany the children's book I entitled My Dozen Animal Friends. Today I'm finishing the cover and the entire layout; I expect to be able to make a printout tomorrow, a copy of which I'd be posting separately under eLf files.

Here's the textual content of the children's book I made.

My Dozen Animal Friends
by aLfie vera mella

I have a friend anteater.
She lives in the forest.
She has no teeth,
But she has a long snout.
She feeds on ants
And on termites as well.

I have a friend seahorse.
He is a caring father.
He has a pouch on his belly,
Into which the mother lays her eggs.
He takes care of their eggs
Until these hatch into baby seahorses.

I have a friend platypus.
She lives near the river.
She has webbed feet and the beak of a duck.
She lays eggs, instead of giving birth.
She is a mammal;

Not a duck nor any other kind of bird.

I have a friend mudskipper.
He is a kind of fish.
He is named mudskipper
Because he loves skipping in the mud.

I have a friend sea dragon.
He lives in the ocean.
He looks like a seaweed.
He is good at hiding among the plants,
Every time big fishes are around.

I have a friend ostrich.
She is the largest bird
And lays the largest egg.
She surely cannot fly,
But she is the fastest-running bird alive.

I have a friend panda.
He lives in China.

His fur is woolly.
His fur is white and black.

He looks for bamboo shoots and leaves
When it is time for his meal or snack.

I have a friend koala.
She lives in Australia.
She stays atop the eucalyptus tree,
Feeding on eucalyptus leaves.
Just like a kangaroo baby,
Her young is called joey.

I have a friend carabao.
He is the Philippines' water buffalo.
He has a pair of large spreading horns.

He is a cousin of the cow.
He is a hardworking mammal,
Helping farmers till their lands.

I have a friend orangutan.
She lives in the jungle.
She has a shaggy brownish-orange coat.
She has very long arms.
She is an ape—not a monkey—
Because she lacks a tail.

I have a friend pangolin.
She is also called scaly anteater.
She lives in the forest.
With its long sticky tongue,
It feeds on termites and ants.
It rolls up into a ball,
When it is frightened or alarmed.

I have a friend narwhal.
He lives in the Arctic.
He is the kind of whale
That has on its head a long spiral horn.
He has also a spotted pelt.
He is sometimes called sea unicorn.

©2005 eLf ideas

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What! Flashflood in British Columbia, Canada?

Photo scanned from the front-page of the newspaper The Leader, January 19 issue: "The drenching continues" Posted by Hello

Not that I'm sweet lemoning, but I'm just letting my family and friends in the Philippines know that flashflood also occur in the first-world country where I am.

Staff reporter Sheila Reynolds writes:

"The relentless downpour that drenched the region Monday and extended into Tuesday caught some motorists by surprise and snarled traffic in many areas of the city.

"Localized flooding was reported in many parts of Surrey, including on 152 St. near 76 Ave., by Surrey Lake, where cars were unable to make it through the more-than-foot-deep waters Monday afternoon——"

Pardon My Ambivalence

An ad scanned from The Now newspaper, January 22, 2005, Saturday edition Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Seventh of a Dozen Verses

January 14, Friday
Why does it have to be me?
I would no longer delve on that question
I'll just get on with my task
To free my family from bondage

Why does it have to be me?
I would no longer try to figure it out
I'll just endure such hurtful words and finish
This obligation that fell on my shoulders

Why does it have to be me?
I would no longer ask them
I'll just think of my loved ones who
Truly love and know me

Why does it have to be me?
Oh, may I soon live my life on my own accord
Away from those who to reason cannot afford

January 15, Saturday
Every passing moment narrows the gap between far and near
But my head continues to throb in uncertainty and fear
The bliss I'm hoping for is radiating yet still unclear
Lights flicker in the same fashion a firefly would shed a tear

The song of the crickets is fading in the rain
As if the Doppler effect of a leaving train

Colder than the coldest Winter home my heart is
When all is fin'lly over I'll remember this

I yearn to return; it will surely be a wham
Home sweet home—warmer than the warmest welcome hum

January 16, Sunday
Midnight was bright, amber were the streetlights; I stared at the snow on the ground and at the stars in the sky
In a flash of hallucinatory flight—or was it a split-second moment of near-slip to regressive lunacy?—I felt I could levitate and fly

Pale and plaintive, inattentive and uncommunicative; I'm preoccupied with my pathetic plight
Weak, sullen, and numb; my brain is spiraling, my senses whining on this Winter silent night

January 17, Monday
His hurtful words uttered lucidly
My respect and affection they had dented

His disloyalty and defection
Had earned my distrust and resentment

January 18, Tuesday
To them a box is just a box
To me it is a container of various wonderful things

To them a ball is a round object
But what about a rugby football?

To them the igloo is the Eskimos' home
To me it is the symbol of the Inuit's resilience and adaptability

To them the Philippines is a land of banana plants and coconut trees
To me my homeland is an epitome of a developing country

To them an alphabet is just a set of letters
To me it is the cradle of most societies

To them a song is just the voice and the melody
To me it is a symphony of various harmonies

To them a home is but a house
To me a house is not a home if devoid of respect and love

January 19, Wednesday
Languages are indeed the transmitters of cultures
While writing systems and scripts their loyal preservers

I will continue to transmit the cultures I've been learning
Persevere in preserving them through writing and by sharing

January 20, Thursday
The branches of the trees were waving at me, as if they were hands
A hundred fingers glistening, pointing me to unknown and mysterious lands
Reflected on my eyes, as lucid as those of the clearest and quietest ponds

My eyes are droopy
My hands wobbly
Words no longer rhyme
Don't tell me 'tis sublime

Slumber is calling
The water is splashing

Blinded by darkness
Deafened by silence
Blanded by numbness
Anesthetized by the sameness
Of everything and nothing

January 21, Friday
The day I left my dear Motherland
I thought I'd fin'lly earned my freedom
"I'm free, at last!" That's what I said
From poverty my hands unbound

But stepping on a foreign land
'Twas exile; or was it martyrdom?
Fearful; my sense of freedom fled
Uncertainty was what I found

To wonderland I though I'd escaped
Instead, my pride and rights were raped

Can I still rise after this agony
With my rights regained and an intact pride?

My heart is bruised and my spirit tired
May I survive for my matrimony

January 22, Saturday
The earth is where I stand on
The sky is where I stare at
The birds' song is what I listen to
The fishes' patience is what I believe in

My thoughts are what I make love with
My dreams are what 'tis all about
My heart is where I'm keeping you
To home is where I'm coming back

The future is what I'm living for

January 23, Sunday
Greet me and I'd quiver
Kiss me and I'd shiver
Leave me, oh please, never
Stay with me forever

Hug me and I'd tremble
Caress me and I'd stumble
Words I could only mumble
Thoughts in my brain they jumble
Yet my heart is as always humble

January 24, Monday
At lumípas na namán ang panibágong kaarawán
Dagdàg na namán sa mga áraw na pinaháhalagahán
Subálit karaníwan pa rin ang áking pinagkákaabalahán
Di bale, may mga pláno't pangárap namán akóng pinagháhandaan

Salámat namán at kahìt sa símpleng handáan
Áking kaarawán sa áki'y nagdúlot ng kasiyáhan
Subálit kundì sa mga pagbáting nagdàgsáan
Hindi sána sapát ang tinamásang kaligayáhan

January 25, Tuesday
Muli na naman akong mangangarap
Sa k'waderno'y sisipi ng panibagong mga karanasan
Daragdagan ang mga alaala't nakaraan
Tatahak ng panibagong mga daan
Sandata'y pluma at tibay ng isipa't kalooban

Kaagapaý mga mahal sa buhay at kaibigan

Nah, Not Anymore

One of the several birthday gifts I received from cousin Mike and his wife Marivic (January 23, 2005, Sunday) Posted by Hello

Yeah, you can say that again; but always emphasize the was....for I no longer am. Yes, used to, but not anymore. Passed that phase. But, of course, I'll still wear this shirt in remembrance of my adventurous past.

I Could Never Ask for More (At Least, Not Yet)

On my last birthday I received gifts consisting of useful things enough to give me smiles and delight: clothes from cousin Mike and his wife Marivic and their children, Amber and Julie; blue jeans from Tita Mely; a Chapters-bookstore gift card from Dickson and family; phone cards from Marivic's cousins Jennie and Elena; money from my grandfather; postal cards from Cha and my family; and countless messages from many friends. (January 23, 2005, Sunday) Posted by Hello

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Rana Family at My Birthday

Janet, Racquelle, Dickson, Marissa, and Jordan: my friend family here in British Columbia, Canada, who has always been appreciative and regardful (January 23, 2005, Sunday) Posted by Hello

The Well Wishers

My nieces Juliana Rose and Amberlyn Deanna and Jordan and Marissa, children of my friends Dickson & Janet (January 23, 2005, Sunday) Posted by Hello

My Cake in a Box

Cousin Mike surprised me with this beautiful birthday cake, the design of which he handpicked believing that it would doubtlessly delight me. Well, it did! This is certainly one of the best birthday cakes I ever had. (January 23, 2005, Sunday) Posted by Hello

The Bold Little eLf Banishes into the Bowels Of

Staring childlikely at this birthday cake of mine, I pained to realize that the kitchen knife would soon slice it into several pieces to be partaken by eager mouths, eventually banishing the bold little eLf into the bowels of the digestive system; and all I could do was immortalize him with my magical camera and literary pen. (January 23, 2005, Sunday) Posted by Hello

Shēng Rì Kuaì Lè

The delicious Chinese food Marivic prepared and cooked for my birthday dinner at the house: pancit, beef steak with ginger, dumplings, gyoza, buttered shrimps, fried rice, and spicy tripe soup (January 23, 2005, Sunday) Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Latest Treasures of a Bibliophilist

Posted by Hello

Here are the latest addition to my book collection. Except for A History of Writing which I bought sometime late last year, these books I was able to acquire online through Chapters bookstore's Web site.

Joseph Campbell's The Masks of God consists of four volumes; I am yet to buy volumes 3 (Occidental Mythology) and 4 (Creative Mythology) to complete the tetralogy.

As regards Steven Roger Fischer's "A History" trilogy, the final volume, A History of Reading, is all I need to buy (when budget permits) to complete the collection.

1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (2005, Shambhala Publications) – I've long been familiar with this popular classic book, but only now did I have the chance to acquire a copy of it. The Art of War is regarded as one of, if not the most influential book of strategy in the world. It is believed to have been authored by Sun Tzu, a mysterious Chinese warrior/philosopher who lived in sixth century BC; although, some scholars conclude that Sun Tzu's work was actually authored by unknown Chinese philosophers and that Sun Tzu was just a semimythical figure who—in fairness though—might have at least been based on a real Chinese warrior. Regardless, The Art of War is doubtlessly a rich source of military strategies and principles which the reader may apply to all the challenges and conflicts of life. Despite having been written centuries ago, the wisdom of The Art of War is timeless; many contemporary books about management and leadership would pale in comparison.

I am yet to finish reading half of The Art of War, but I've already picked something worth remembering: "An unreliable ally is more dangerous than a clever opponent."

2. The Masks of God Volume 1: Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell (1992, Penguin Books) – In this volume, Campbell discusses the primitive roots of mythology, examining these in light of the most recent discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, and psychology.

3. The Masks of God Volume 2: Oriental Mythology by Joseph Campbell (1992, Penguin Books) – In this second installment to The Masks of God, the author offers an explanation of Eastern mythology as it developed into the distinctive religions of Egypt, India, China, Japan, and Tibet.

4. Selected Poems by John Milton (1993, Dover Publications) – So far, I've already amassed around 25 poetry books published by Dover Publications; primarily because these are thrift editions, economically priced—C$1.50 to C$5—yet they are unabridged.

John Milton (1608–1674) is the English poet who wrote: "A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured upon purpose to a life beyond life."

5. A History of Language by Steven Roger Fischer (2003, Reaktion Books Ltd.) – After I've finished reading A History of Writing, I was compelled to own as well the remaining volumes of the trilogy. As a lover of languages and writing systems, I found A History of Writing very useful and enlightening; thus, I'm already looking forward to reading this second installment.

A History of Language charts the history of language from the time of Homo erectus to the nineteenth century, analyzing the emergence of linguistics as a science and the development of language as a written form. It also investigates the rise of pidgin, jargon, slang, and dialectology, as well as the relationship of literature and literacy to language. Finally, it demonstrates the effect of media on language today.

I Miss You

Ano nga ba ang "I miss you" sa Filipino?

Maraming beses na ring naitanong sa akin ang mahiwaga't mapanubok na katanungang iyan. Ultimo mga bagong kakilala ko na, dito na tumanda sa Canada ay para bang sinusubukan ang wikang Filipino sa tuwina itatanong nila 'yan sa akin. May badya-ng-tagumpay nilang sasabihing "wala" nga raw katumbas sa wikang Filipino ang salitang miss sa pangungusap na "I miss you." Siyempre, hindi ako makapayag nang basta-basta; subalit anumang pilit ko sa aking isipang mabigyan ng kahulugan sa Filipino ang "I miss you," hindi ko magawa. Magsasabi ako ng mga pangungusap na, bagama't hawig ang ibig sabihin, kung iistimahin kong maige ay sablay pa rin. Halimbawa,

"Dama ko ang kawalan mo sa akin."
"Dama ko ang pagkawala mo."
"Ako ay nangungulila."

Sapagkat, ang katumbas (o kahawig) ng mga pangungusap na 'yan sa English ay

"I feel your absence."
"I am solitary."
"I feel alone."

Na, may kalayuan pa rin sa "I miss you."

All Languages—Spoken or Written—Are Imperfect
"All writing systems and their scripts, no matter how revered or innovative, are imperfect and conventional, being an approximation—not a reproduction—of speech."—Steven Roger Fischer, A History of Writing (2004, Reaktion Books Ltd.)

Ano nga ba ang dahilan at maraming salita, parirala, at pangungusap na Ingles na mahirap isalin sa Filipino? Dahil ba inferior ang wikang Filipino sa wikang Ingles? Pero, marami rin namang salitang Filipino na mahirap hanapan ng katumbas sa wikang Ingles, di ba? Gaya ng mga katagang-padamdam (interjections) na tulad ng "Sayang!," "Hala!," at "Lagot!"

Bakit nga ba? Pagsasalin nga lang ba mula English tungong Filipino at vice versa ang nagkakaroon ng ganyang problema? Hindi. Ang katotohanan ay nararanasan ng lahat ng lenggwahe ang mga ganyang problema sa pagsasalin, hindi lang ng mga wikang Filipino at Ingles.

Chinese, Japanese, Mandarin, Yemeni, Cypriot, Abenaki, Punjabi, Nimanbur, Oksapmin, Bisaya, Lakhota....
Naku, aabutin tayo ng hindi lang pitu-pito o siyam-siyam, dahil ilang libong lenggwahe lahat-lahat iyan, na ginagamit ng bilyung-bilyong lahi't kultura sa buong mundo. At sa tingin mo ba, may bukod-tangi sa mga wikang 'yan na kayang tapatan o tumbasan ang bawat salita sa ibang lenggwahe? May bukod-tanging wika ba na masasabi nating "perfect and complete"?

Ayon sa maraming linguists, wala. Ultimo ang English, na naturingang isa sa mga gamit-na-gamit na lenggwahe sa buong mundo, ay depektibo at malaki pa rin ang kakulangan sa aspetong iyan; sa simpleng kadahilanang "Language is a living thing"—patuloy ang ebolusyon nito, dahil patuloy na ginagamit ng mga tao—may nababawas, may nadadagdag; lalo na kung ang spoken language ang bibigyan ng pansin (at hindi lamang written language). Araw-araw ay may salitang nalalaos o naiimbento, sa halos lahat ng wika in their spoken forms. Subalit, hindi rin naman nangangahulugang puwede na nating gamitin nang agad-agad sa written form ang mga bagong dagdag na mga salitang iyan. Kinakailangan munang ma-legitimize officially ang mga ito. Kaya kung formal writing ang pag-uusapan, para sa isang manunulat na gaya ko, dalawang media ang pinagpipilian ko: English o Filipino. Karagdagan, unti-unti na ring natatanggap ang Taglish (kumbinasyon ng Filipino at English); pero hindi nangangahulugang wala nang susunding pamatakarang balarila (grammar) kapag Taglish ang napiling gamitin; at minimál lang dapat ang gamit ng mga banyagang salita.

Oo, sa spoken language (Filipino man o Ingles), madaling makalusot ang grammatical errors, lalo na s'yempre ang pagbabaybay (spelling), tense, case, voice, parallelism, punctuation, at kung anu-anupang elemento ng balarila; subalit hindi nangangahulugang maaari na nating palampasin ang mga 'yan pagdating sa written language.

Ayon nga sa isang Filipino linguist, hindi raw dapat ituring ng isang Filipino na napakadaling gamitin ang wikang Filipino—kumpara sa English language—dahil, gaya ng kahit anupamang lenggwahe, ang Filipino—naturál!—ay may sarili ring balarila na dapat pag-aralan, sundin, at respetuhin—balarila na, tulad rin ng sa anupamang wika, maaaring malusutan ng mga kamalian, lalo na sa spoken form, kung babalewalain. Sabagay, huling-huli rin naman (at hindi katanggap-tanggap) kung sa written form lilitaw ang blunders na 'yan—lalo na kung formal writing ang pag-uusapan.

Kaya, kung ikaw ay Filipino at nais mong magsulat na ang gamit ay hindi English (at wala ka rin namang alam na dayalekto, lalo na at magiging limitado ang iyong mambabasa kung dayalekto ang gagamitin), dalawang uri o antas ng sariling dila ang maaari mong pagpilian:

Una, Filipino (kabilang rito ang mga hiram-na-salita [loanwords] – mga salitang hiram sa banyagang wika o sa mga lokal na dayalekto na officially legitimized o naturalized na sa wikang Filipino).

Pangalawa, Taglish [tulad ng istilo na gamit ko sa lathalaing ito] – wikang Filipino na hinaluan ng mangilan-ngilang English words; lalo na kung ang mga banyagang salita na kinakailangan mong gamitin ay hindi mo agad mahanapan ng katumbas sa sariling wika o sadyang wala talagang tumpak na katumbas, o kinakailangan mo talagang gamitin para sa emphasis. Ngunit, hindi ibig sabihin ay maaari mo nang pagsamahin ang Filipino at English (o kahit anupamang lenggwahe) sa iisang komposisyon na para kang gumagawa ng fruit salad o halu-halo. Ibayong ingat pa rin ang nararapat; hangga't mayroong salitang Filipino na tutumbas sa English word na gusto mong isulat, iyon ang nararapat mong gamitin.

Isa pang karagdagan, ang wikang Ingles ay hindi rin naman puro. Tulad ng Filipino, ito ay mayaman din sa mga hiram-na-salita. Haiku, yurta, skáld, avant-garde, cañon—mga salitang bagama't nasa diksiyonaryong Ingles na ay orihinal na galing sa wikang Hapones, Ruso, Icelandic, Pranses, at Español. Ultimo ang salitang 'bundok' ay tanggap na rin ng diksiyonaryong Ingles: boondocks – a remote and undeveloped area. Isa pang pagpapatunay itong isinulat ni Steven Roger Fischer sa librong A History of Writing: "English spelling is hybrid—the product of Anglo-Saxon, French, and classical traditions with many outside influences."

"Teka, ano na nga ba ang 'I miss you' sa Filipino?"
Wala nga ba? Wala nga bang katumbas ang "I miss you" sa wikang Filipino? Sa tingin ko, meron. Oo, siguradong may katumbas 'yan. Sige, subukan natin...samahan n'yo 'kong magpaliwanag.

Mangyaring gamitin muna natin ang pangungusap na "I love you" bilang halimbawa.

Kapag isinalin iyan nang literál sa Filipino, heto ang kalalabasan:

"I love you" = "Ako mahal kita."

Subalit dahil hindi naman nararapat na laging literál ang pagkakasalin sa bawat salita o pangungusap—upang hindi lumabas na katawa-tawa o alanganin sa pandinig—lalo't ang mahalaga, at ang habol naman natin, ay ang mapanatili ang kahulugan nito,

Ang "I love you" sa Filipino ay mas tumpak kapag tinumbasan ng

"Mahal kita" – kung spoken (dahil active ang preferred na voice kapag spoken Filipino)

"Ikaw ay mahal ko" – kung written (dahil passive voice naman ang preferred kapag written Filipino); di tulad ng English grammar na ang preferred voice ay active, spoken man o written.

Ngayon, i-apply na natin sa "I miss you" ang ginawa natin sa "I love you." Dapat ay halos ganyan din ang maging istraktura nito.

Dahil ang 'miss' ay verb, nararapat na hanapan natin 'yan ng katumbas na pandiwa...hindi kinakailangang eksakto, subalit hangga't maaari ay iyong pinakamalapit ang nais ipakahulugan. Gabay natin ang tinuran ni Fischer na "writing systems being an approximation, not a reproduction...."

In English, miss, in the sense we are discussing, means "to feel the lack or loss of." Its synonyms include crave, desire, feel loss, long, need, pine, wish, and yearn.

Kaya, tama pala yung naisip kong katumbas kanina: "Dama ang kawalan o pagkawala." Subalit dahil mahaba nga, bukod pa ay pinipilit nga natin na halos eksakto ang salin, ang naisip kong pinakamalapit na katumbas ng miss sa Filipino ay HANAP-HANAP.

Kung gayon, ang "I MISS YOU" sa Filipino ay

"Hanap-hanap kita." (spoken)

"Ikaw ay hanap-hanap ko." (written)

Naalala ko tuloy bigla yung kanta ng bandang Rivermaya na "Hinahanap-hanap Kita" (Atomic Bomb; 1997, BMG Records). Ano ngayon ang eksaktong salin sa Ingles ng titulo ng kantang 'yan?

Kung ang "Mahal kita" ay " I love you";
ang "Minamahal kita" o "Iniibig kita" ay "I'm loving you";
therefore, ang "Hinahanap-hanap kita" ay "I'm missing you";

Dahil napagtanto na nga natin na ang "I miss you" sa Filipino ay

"Hanap-hanap kita!"

Saturday, January 22, 2005

'Private Edition (Sonnet and Other Poems)' by Trinidad Tarrosa Subido

Photo taken on January 21, 2005, Friday, in my sleeping place Posted by Hello

Ang tulog ay nakalilimot;
At ang makalimot ay
isinusumpa.”—Virgilio Almario, Peregrinasyon at Iba Pang Tula (1970, UP Press)

Admittedly I have not been [and not yet] a big fan of Philippine authors and poets, not because I didn't [or do not] like them but mainly because [save for the traditional Philippine myths and tales my father had orally transmitted to me] English Literature was what he and my mother had introduced to me as a child: Robert Browning, Lewis Carroll, Daniel Defoe, Walter Disney, Arthur Conan Doyle, O. Henry, Rudyard Kipling, Jonathan Swift, and the list went on and on. Besides, back in the early Seventies, almost only Jose Rizal and Francisco "Balagtas" Baltazar were who would come to mind when regarding Philippine Literature; especially that my parents were ordinary people.

Even in late high school, I still didn't have the chance to explore the literary chest of the Philippines—for what then began to catch my fancy were, again, foreign writers and poets: e.e. cummings, Sigmund Freud, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Danielle Steel, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, and a lot of minor writers behind the book series Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High, which were a craze in the Eighties.

I was already in College when I discovered a contemporary Filipino poet in the person of Virgilio S. Almario, whose poetry anthology entitled Peregrinasyon at Iba Pang Tula I highly regard as the potent piece of literary work that singly compelled me to finish, in 1992, my first poetry anthology, Pag-aalay ng Bulaklak sa Mga Lumipas at Lilipas (Poems in Filipino, 1988–1992). Captivated by Almario's playful style in using the Filipino language in poetry, I tried to find other similar Filipino poets but in vain; perhaps because their works were elusive, hard-to-find—especially that the Internet – the greatest reference tool humankind has ever developed – was at the time still unavailable to the masses.

So, to foreign literary treasures I continued to turn my heart...fantasy fiction, poetry, music, languages, cultures...

Then came Charlotte, who, last Christmas, had gifted me with books that included two poetry anthologies: Private Edition (Sonnets and Other Poems) and Sonnets from a Gardener (And Other Poems) by the Filipino couple poetess Trinidad Tarrosa Subido and poet Abelardo Subido, respectively. Their works have opened again my heart; they rekindled my old, familiar yearning to plow the rich literary pasturage of home; and, most importantly, they inspired me to make love again with the Muses of poetry—my poetic pen is prolific yet again, a prolificacy in poetry which I somehow lost during the years I was heavily immersed in prose and scholastic writing as a part of my professional work.

And now, as a tribute to Trinidad Tarrosa Subido (1912–1994), whose book Private Edition I finally finished reading ponderously, I am sharing the particular verses which made their marks in my mind.

Tarrosa Subido—bold, sharp, and honest, considering the "conservative" Philippine era and society in which she lived her youth and indited her mind.

from "Filipina":

I have made Speech and Song,
I have tried Silence, too,
But all interpret ill thoughts
My heart would speak to you.

from "Complaints":

My love, so near me on the grass—
What cowardice!
Dares not to melt his mouth upon
My waiting kiss.

from "Be Fair, Belovéd":

Be fair, belovéd. Is this all you offer
For my long wait: one moment's ecstasy——

Where is the justice, lovéd one, in this:
The worried wait too long, too brief the bliss!

from "Why Fear the Gods?":

Why need you fear the wrath of Heaven, why?
The gods are understanding, so they say;

from "Poem for Tomorrow":

After you’re gone,
There shall be starlight still
Shimmering silver o’er our trysting hill;
There shall be music yet,
Flute from leaves and reeds and grasses wet;
There shall be flowers, fragrances releasing.

from "And the Wound Bleeds Anew":

My pride I know would sudden falter, for
I am not one to hide true feelings long.

from "Poem to the Other Woman":

My heart knew only hate for you at first,
Seeking your laughter pricéd at my pain,
The sating of your spirit at my thirst,
Sun of your heavens, at my heaven’s rain.

from "Renascence":

Your kiss feels fresh, but once I felt your lips
Waken on mine; I trembled at your touch,
At the least contact of your fingertips,
My pulses leaped… O, I adored you much!

from "Speak Up, Love":

Were it not folly to conceal from Heaven
That which than Heaven is more heavenly?
So call it whim, caprice, which’er you may,
I want your love as plain to all as Day.

from "Sonnets to a Gardener":

Fancying, Love, my fevered lips are fanned
By the same breeze that ‘round about you plays;
Fancying, Love, the moon above you is
My face, the dewdrop on your brow my kiss.

from “To My Native Land”:

O my beloved land, whose air I breath,
Whose bounty is my daily sustenance,
How sad to leave with nothing to bequeath,
Thy weal to serve, the glory to enhance;
How shameful, finally, to dare to rest

from “Paganly”:

God to me, and prayer,
is as song to bird, and air;
not sacramental.


Your taste is good—your writings show it;
Your words are poetry, I note.
You merely fail (or do you know it?)
To give them credit whom you quote.

from "To an Airy Fan":

Your endings match, your meters scan;
The whole hath symmetry;
A well-nigh perfect work it is,
Excepting that it lacks in this:

Finally, the poem from the anthology that, like my own Belovéd, has singly smitten my yearning heart:

They Tell Me, Love

They tell me, Love, prose is more precise
To speak the soul of an enamored maid,
And ask me why I choose to lyricize
My feelings to the very subtlest shade.
I could explain… but will they understand
How much a secret thing the Reason is?
Like why I’m pliant only in your hand,
And when I thirst, turn only to your kiss.
Thou knowest it is thus: when I create
Verses none else can dedicate to thee,
I feel I do surrender to my mate
Two loves to own: my Self and Poetry…
And when our spirits freely fuse in art,
O how the intimacy thrills my heart!

*Private Edition (Sonnets and Other Poems) is published in the Philippines in 2002 by Milestone Publications Inc.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A Poet to His Father

Photo: I and Daddy, on August 10, 2003, during my déspedida at our home in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines Posted by Hello

A Poet to His Father

I tried so hard to understand
Why did it have to be us?

Your gift that year was a broken home
Gone in our lives then you were suddenly

I remember the tales you used to tell
There in my crib I would listen so well

An ode of forgiveness now gently plays
From me and them and her to you

Out of sadness and gloom into brightness and heaven
For so many years, for your return I'd yearned

Wounds, healed; scars, gone; a fresh new start
An unbroken chord on the guitar is set to be strummed
A brighter chapter in our lives has long begun
Pains and tears are now once upon...

— Written sometime in 1988
Rehashed on Thursday, January 20, 2005; Surrey, British Columbia
While listening to "Evade the Pain" by Budapest
(Too Blind to Hear; 2002, Easy Street)

A Poet to His Mother

Photo: Mommy and I, on August 2, 2003, during my déspedida lunch for my family, at W Grill at Ayala Center in Makati, Philippines Posted by Hello

A Poet to His Mother

I may have not been too vocal in the past
Of my respect and love—for they are so vast
An old ballad sings: "Some good things never last"
But in me, O Mother, may you put your trust

My childhood memories with you and Father
Are in my heart well-kept—be lost they'll never
Our countless strolls in Luneta and Ongpin
Were magical as the lamp of Aladdin

Your well-cried tears and heartily shed laughter
Till my twilight I will always remember

To be happy for and love one another
You taught us how—my lovely sisters and me
Forgiveness in our hearts, you said, should be free
The reason we persevere to be better

The pains and sacrifices that you've been through
I shared them all with you; you know it is true
Every ups-and-downs, you're always there beside
Me—believing, comforting, reassuring

Like a hen, you reared us single-handedly
Like chicks, we followed you affectionately

I might have pecked and scratched you from time to time
Whatever pain I'd caused you...pardon my rhyme
For you, I will always be...hoping...dreaming

I may have not been too vocal in the past
Despite, you knew my love and respect are vast
A few years more must pass—oh Time, such a tease!
Yet from yearning to go home I'll never cease

— Tuesday, January 18, 2005; Surrey, British Columbia

While listening to "Ode to My Family" by The Cranberries
(No Need to Argue; 1994, Polygram Records)

"Loder, eLf!"

Hey! Who's that peeking out of Charlotte's bag? Posted by Hello

That lucky little alien traveled from Canada to the Philippines aboard a balikbayan box, sans a plane ticket, a passport, nor a visa. I wonder if I could do the same...hmmm.

The Convertible Nest

Living room during the day, sleeping place at night or whenever the Muses are in the mood for an orgy Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Sixth of a Dozen Verses

January 2, Sunday
Hinalughóg ko ang baúl ko ng alaála
Isa-isáng hinalungkát, naitabíng mga pangárap
Malumánay na pinagpág, nangágsikápit na alikabók
Ibáyong íngat, baká sa rupók untí-untíng matúpok
Natuyóng mga dáhon, púgad ng báwat pangungúsap
May panibágong siglá, dúlot ay pag-ása
Bahagyáng ginigísing, nakatúlog nang mga gunitá
Pinipílit buháyin, tilà namatáy nang panatà
Nagbabakasakáling makalikhâ ng bágong kabanatà
Dagdág na páhinà sa kódikó ng áking bayógrapíya
Umaásang hindi pá ubós ang tinátamasang biyayà
Ah, malínaw pa namán ang súlat ng áking plúma
Dumádaloy pa sa áking dugô ang áking pagkámakatà
Íhip, pagpàg, hágod, sulyàp, tanáw, lipád, lakbày—diwà

January 3, Monday
Between each pair of blue lines is white space
Which can give birth to a thousand touching things
Depending on the glide on it of the writer's quill

Between a pair of eyes is the memory nest
Which can nurture a million magical memories
Depending on the potency of the writer's mind

January 4, Tuesday
New days, oh here they come
I'm ready to delight on some

New obstacles are sure to arrive
With rekindled spirit I am alive

January 5, Wednesday
Chilly nights don't scare me anymore
Solitary nights don't kill me anymore

Every day my patience stretches its limit
Every moment my love strengthens, oh feel it!

January 6, Thursday
Another Winter has just arrived
Reminds me of those for whom I yearned
My childhood awe about snow has returned

Gloom and woe I left behind
Bloom and glow permeate my mind
Summer indeed is in my heart alive

January 7, Friday
The whiteness conjures serenity
The serenity gives birth to peace
Peace enfolds my spirit
My spirit is in contemplation
Contemplation illuminates my mind
My mind wanders
Wanders off from where I am
I am flying!
Flying silently to where you are
You are dreaming!
Dreaming deeply in your bed
Your bed is soft and warm
Warm and soft as your body immaculate
Immaculate, conceive what I have in my heart
In my heart you move to wake me up
Up beyond so we could return
Return to where slumber starts
Starts to dream our spirits as one

January 8, Saturday
Ñebe ang táwag sa ákin
Nginíg at gináw ang priméro kong háin
Bugá ng putî ang áking ngitî
Lamíg at lumbáy ang áking batì

January 9, Sunday
Sentences in my brain derailing
Woes and headaches so much pain giving
When will disappointments ever wane?
Until when will people like them reign?
Hopelessness, don't drown me yet again!

January 10, Monday
A hundred glyphs and scripts are lucid in my mind
Time to decode them will I ever find?
Fossilized memories refurbishing their worth
From despair to hope I'm bouncing back and forth

January 11, Tuesday
How the follies of others compel me to be better
How their anger makes me more controlled and sober

Their indifference intensifies my compassion
And their blindness stirs my sense of direction

January 12, Wednesday
Which is easier to cure: the sickness of the mind or the illness of the heart?
Which is milder to bear: physical pain or emotional strain?
Whom is harder to forgive: a friend who betrayed your trust or a relation who ripped your heart?
What could be sweeter than true love?

January 13, Thursday
Journeyed farther than my age could have allowed me
Been to seas, to mountains; flown the skies in slumber
Sung songs which I could have never heard of
Told tales and lore which could have been lost and forgotten
Loved and cried; loved and cried again
Failed and fell; wallowed in sorrow and pain
But I am brave, I had to rise again

Visions of grandeur forming in my heart, so lucid
Nothing could blind me—not even the arrows of Cupid
No one could trick me—not even Loki
Even to my deities from time to time I do not answer
That's how proud I am in times pride and strife wouldn't falter

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Snow Biking: A Dream Adventure

A picture scanned from the front page of the January 13–20, 2005, issue of the newspaper Georgia Straight Posted by Hello

We were at Central City Mall in Surrey when the front-page article of The Georgia Straight caught my fancy. Since the newspaper was free, I got a copy. The article, written by Jack Christie, "Snow Bikes the Latest Toy on Local Slopes," was indeed captivating. Here is an excerpt.

"As a sign that creative minds never sleep—particularly here on the West Coast, where there seems to be a constant parade of innovative methods of enjoying the outdoors—get set to snow bike, the latest way to play in the white world. The good news is that this sport is as easy on the knees as it is on the rider's central nervous system. Just sit back and enjoy the trip.

"If you can ride a bike on pavement, you can ride one on snow. It may feel odd at first, but it's easy on the muscles and knees."

Last year, I got to experience snowboarding, which was really fun and exciting. And then, upon reading the article about the latest trend here—snow biking—I felt that my snowboarding experience would surely pale in comparison with this new trend. Unfortunately, having such an adventure is very costly. So, I guess I'll just include snow biking on my list of future adventures, which I wish to realize someday, when I finally have my dream job and my own life back.

The Fourth and Youngest

Photo taken on December 24, 2004, at our home in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines: My fourth and youngest sister, Niña Rica, and my fourth and youngest nephew, Kali Lorenzo Posted by Hello

In Spanish, niña means "girl" and rica means "rich."

In Greek, kali means "good." In Italian, lorenzo meant "an honored man."

Even Fathers Delight In

Photo taken on December 24, 2004, at our home in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines: My father's adopted son, Brian, and Daddy himself (with Mommy) Posted by Hello

Even fathers delight in sharing their children's joy.

Wala Nang Hihigit Pa Sa

Photo taken on December 24, 2004, at our home in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines: My first nephew, Algae, and his loving mother, my sister Karen (with Mommy) Posted by Hello

Para sa tunay na mapagmahal na magulang, malamang ay wala nang hihigit pa sa kaligayahang nararamdaman sa t'wina nakikita n'yang masaya ang kanyang anak.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I Told You Nothing Is More

Photo taken on December 24, 2004, at our home in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines: My third nephew, Aki, and his devoted mother, my sister Lovelle Posted by Hello

I told you, nothing is more delightful to a child than to see his mother's delight in opening for him his Christmas gift.

Nothing Is More Delightful Than

Photo taken on December 24, 2004, at our home in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines: My second nephew, Akev, and his beautiful mother, my sister Kim Posted by Hello

Perhaps nothing is more delightful to a mother than to feel her child's delight in opening a Christmas gift.

Home Is Where My Heart Dwells

Photo taken on December 24, 2004, at our home in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines: My lovely, lovable, and loving wife-to-be, Charlotte, with my equally wonderful sister Karen Posted by Hello

Chance makes sisters
Hearts make friends
Sisters and friends are there for each other
Not only to share laughter
But also to wipe tears