an act of random kindness

https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=1392936030935563

This made me feel uncomfortable in the best possible way. I’m not sure if I can ever make that big of an impact on anyone but I sure could try. You can never really tell whose life you can change by one random act of kindness so make a habit of it.

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doing the right thing

A fellow blogger, who also happens to be a really good friend of mine, shared this on Facebook a few minutes ago. I thought it was a story worth telling so here I am on my blog, writing about it.

Photo from Brent Tzu’s facebook account

Meet 98 year old Dobri Dobrev, a man who lost his hearing in the second world war. Every day he walks 10 kilometers from his village in his homemade clothes and leather shoes to the city of Sofia, where he spends the day begging for money.

Though a well known fixture around several of the city’s churches, known for his prostrations of thanks to all donors, it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has collected — over 40,000 euros — towards the restoration of decaying Bulgarian monasteries and the utility bills of orphanages, living instead off his monthly state pension of 80 euros.

Sometimes you just know you’re doing the right thing even when no one else affirms it.

Because we live in a world where meritocracy is the rule of thumb, we forget the greatest contributions that we make to society, to people we hardly know are the things we do out of selflessness and utter disregard for social image. Here is a man who may have little financially and in material possessions but he chose to live a life that still cares about others. I’m not encouraging the rest of the world to crowd the streets and beg for money they can donate rather I’m hoping I can convince you to care. 

Our gestures don’t have to be big. They don’t have to change the world. We at least have to care enough to move towards a gesture, an action, a vision that involves making other people’s lives easier than they are now. This has a very special place in my heart because I’ve done humanitarian work since I was 13 and I’ve loved every minute of it. Because I love it so much, I thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday, the 18th of this month, with my dad on a gift giving mission. It will be my little contribution to world.

I hope one day helping others out will be a part of everyone’s habit, something they do not as a burden but a vocation even when there are no cameras snapping, no cover stories and no obvious reciprocity other than fulfillment.

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the root of my faith

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I ran.
I hid.
I screamed.
In anger, I renounced him.
In sorrow, I left him.
In pain, I blamed him.

For he who does great things, I choose to see the bad.
For he who gifts with love, I decide to focus on the hurt.
For he who never left me, I accuse indifference and cruelty.

I am a sinner and he is my God.
I am not perfect and my faith is far from that
but today I decide to surrender my life and my heart
to my Creator who dwells above.

(A. Relloso)

*This poem I wrote a few days back was featured in a friend’s photo blogging site yesterday. I thought I wanted to share it with my readers too.

Three Wishes

I refrain from posting depressing messages and pictures on my blog thinking this was originally my happiness haven but I just really had to post this one. It reminds me of why I love humanitarian work and why I do what I do. If I can help kids like these, foster them off the streets and into a more promising future then I will have exceeded my own expectations.

In Flow with Otto

The story of Sasha and Roma is heartbreaking. Two boys living on the streets of St. Petersburg. Sniffing glue the only comfort in their young life. This is a story Øystein brought back from a visit to Russia some years ago. Read the whole story on Øystein’s & Otto’s Blog

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you KNOW how YOU VOTED

While on the line earlier, waiting for my chance to vote, I overheard a conversation between two guys behind me.

Guy in a RED shirt: Pare, kuanon mo na sana tapos dai iboto. Pwede man baga. Alangan man maglaog sinda diyan tapos basahun ang balota mo.

Guy in a WHITE (almost cream) shirt: Iyo ano? Saen ngani sinda nagaabang?

Guy in a RED shirt: Diyan baga sa may luwas. Itong nagtatao ning sample ballot.

(English translation)

Guy in a RED shirt: Just get it then don’t vote for the candidate. It’s doable. They won’t go in and check who you shaded on your ballot anyway.

Guy in a WHITE (almost cream) shirt: That’s true. Where are they again?

Guy in a RED shirt: Outside, they’re   the ones giving away the sample ballots.

It’s frustrating because quite frankly this seldom happens in my city, most of the voters are learned and have high respect for the system. Compared to the rest of the country, we were as safe as a walk in the park. I was so close to coming up to them and telling them off; I was that pissed (partly due the heat too) but I decided against it. Today I’ll let them make that decision for themselves. I cannot keep coaxing people to do the right thing when they themselves are not convinced they should do it.

But just to get this off my chest, here’s what I would have said:

Yes, people will not know who you voted for. Those who paid you off will keep their fingers crossed that you stay true to your words and they get the votes they need. Those who process your vote will be oblivious to the fact that you sold out.

They won’t know but YOU WILL.

You will know at that very moment that you lied, you sold out and you gave in to a broken undignified system. While  a hard earning construction worker refuses for his vote to be bought despite his obvious need for money, here you are squandering your chances to make a difference. Granted, you may think, “What is one vote?” How is it going to affect your country? I can construe a dozen arguments why it does but that won’t matter as much as HOW YOUR VOTE CAN AFFECT YOU.

You have a chance to prove to yourself that you are worth more than a few hundred pesos. We don’t get chances like that very often.

If knowing that you just sold your vote isn’t torture enough, then you have a bigger problem. You are numb to people trampling on your dignity, callous to overglorified politicians walking all over you and treating you just like any other purchase he’s made- disposable and insignificant.

You’re better than that. WE are better than that. Once every 3 years we get to prove it. 

Love is without guarantees

Love is without guarantees.

They say that love is one of the many endeavors of man which isn’t calculated or rationalized. It’s more than a feeling; it’s an iniative fuelled by human will. Because it isn’t with reason that we love, we cannot justify why we have it or why we’ve lost it. It simply happens and when it does we say that it was never guaranteed to work or last anyway.

But then I ask, “What guarantee are you looking for anyway?”  

The security that he will not find another

A vow that you will live in eternal bliss

A promise that you’ll wake up everyday knowing it will never end

If that is what you believe guarantees in love are then you are right, there are none.

As for me, I find love provides a different guarantee, one which is more personal- more for the self than for the partner or your relationship with him. Love warrants humanity, that moment of absolute vulnerability you are willing to take to be with another. It assures you of an experience that transforms you or at the very least, reveals to you your deeper, more unguarded self.

When you are in the a happier stages of a relationship, one depicted in romcoms and chick flicks, you realize you can be happy and that you deserve it. Even when you lose him, you continue to find happiness for yourself because you’ve discovered how uplifting and empowering it is.

In the darker pre and post break up stages, you feel pain and learn to deal with it. It does not matter how, through beer, parties, writing, painting, eating or ranting, as long as you acquire that resilience we all need to get ahead in life.

You’ve won, not that it ever was a competition.

Love may not last. It may not be entirely of bliss or with one guy but it comes with a guarantee. You will learn and you will grow and you will have at least loved. Isn’t that takeaway enough?

here’s to GAY RIGHTS

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Ad by Stonewall, a gay rights campaign group

I am not shy nor reluctant about my stand on gay rights. I believe that respect is due to this sector as they pursue and demand for the rights they so rightfully deserve.

Most critics would say that destruction of traditional morals start when we accept changes that do not agree with the norm. I do think, however, that we, as rational human beings, should be capable of assessing which of these beliefs are worth keeping and which are fossilized errors worth reviewing. Once, women were accorded with much lesser rights than men. This fosters the then accepted patriarchal idealism. Men are better. Men rule. Men are important therefore we women have no say in matters that are as important as men. We can’t vote, have political inclinations, be sexually satisfied or be powerful in the workplace as these offend the rights and in my opinion the ego  of pre-gender equality men.

Gay rights are human rights.

Today, we support feminism and its consequences like affirmative action in the workplace and shared responsibilities at home. Society accepts that although men and women have different niches and functions in the society, they are to be considered equal and therefore, awarded the same rights and ability to pursue them. The errors of the past were corrected by a more progressive and open-minded community of individuals who are not afraid of deviating from a set of accepted norms to find better ways of looking at things, ones which are fairer and more respectful of our shared humanity.

The same principle applies to offering the same level of respect for the orientation of our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. Beliefs and traditions are time-bound and should continue to progress as the humanity that abides by it also progresses. Although I do not wish to offend the traditional moral institutions and lobbyist groups which believe in eternal damnation for this sector, I hope that you recognize that the respect you require of us in terms of honoring tradition is the same respect required of you for the change in society that supports gay rights.

We have seen the effects of bullying gays into becoming something else, not respecting them and stripping them of their rights to be with their partners. It’s never going to get better. The mudslinging and hate will continue unless the we decide that it ends now, unless we promise to foster respect despite our opposing beliefs. We can agree to disagree, refuse each others belief without the hate and obvious disregard for the other’s dignity.

Some people are gay.Get over it. 

As for the population of this world who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and everything in between, hang in there. Change comes with opposing views, thesis and anti thesis. Sooner than later, more people will realize that you guys, like women, also deserve to be treated respectfully, equally and humanely. Until that time, know that you have at least one supporter right here who promises to press on and support you.