But that is the beginning of a new story—the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended.

From Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment


The body’s been brought out of the fish pond. It was found this morning by his father who went out looking for him because the little guy did not come home last night. They say the cause of death was drowning. The pond wasn’t really that deep but the guy also had another another one of his attacks, seizures, I think, that’s what they’re called. Or so it seems.

I heard about it this morning and, before they even got to mention the name, I guessed it was him. I don’t know why but maybe it’s just because he fits the bill of the surrounding circumstances – like, fishing in a pond that’s not theirs.

When I got confirmation it was him, I thought, “That was probably best for him. He’s not exactly in the best of mental states and no one seems to bother enough about him to try to help him lead a better life. Not even his parents.”

I realised later that those words might just be cruel.

Weissman et al. (1996) found that rates of depression varied greatly among countries, with the highest rates in European and American countries and the lowest rates in Asian countries. These differences seem to be due to discrepancies between individual feelings and cultural expectations about what one should feel. People from European and American cultures report that it is important to experience emotions such as happiness and excitement, whereas the Chinese report that it is more important to be stable and calm. Because Americans may feel that they are not happy or excited but that they are sup- posed to be, this may increase their depression (Tsai, Knutson, & Fung, 2006).

From Introduction to Psychology by Charles Stangor

Despite the progress made since the 1800s in public attitudes about those who suffer from psychological disorders, people, including police, coworkers, and even friends and family members, still stigmatize people with psychological disorders. A stigma refers to a disgrace or defect that indicates that person belongs to a culturally devalued social group. In some cases the stigma of mental illness is accompanied by the use of disrespectful and dehumanizing labels, including names such as “crazy,” “nuts,” “mental,” “schizo,” and “retard.”

Wow. I never thought that “crazy” was actually “disrespectful and dehumanizing”.

From Introduction to Psychology by Charles Stangor

I know it’s pretty normal to have parched lips. OK, maybe not parched but just dry. Point is, I know it happens too often. But I don’t think it’s pretty normal to have an almost bloody one. Like, having a small wound with some blood dripping from it? This must be a result of too much heat. It doesn’t feel nice.

Probably, the best thing to do tonight is to sleep early and give my legs a nice stretch and rest. I mean, really, they’re hurting. More like, around the knees, actually. But it’s to be expected after doing something like what I did.

I really would love if I could bike more than I am able to these days.

Two things I learned from that trip: (1) I really want a camera. There are just some moments that are too precious that they won’t ever happen again and that the only way to preserve them is to capture them. Human memory is so fragile.; and (2) I’ve got much more stamina and endurance than I previously thought I had. I’ve been underestimating my physical me all this time. Then again, I might only have been able to ride that far for sheer stubbornness. But I think that’s good enough.

Opong Fiesta 2011. I biked the furthest distance I’ve ever biked in my life: from our place, the second to the last barangay in the southern border of our town, to the town centre, the second to the last barangay in the northern border of our town. I arrived back at my place at about 3:31pm.

I really didn’t plan to ride that far. I mean, for gear I only had my bike, some keys, three pieces of coins, and a handkerchief. You can hardly call it “gear”. The cash I had, those coins, wouldn’t even be enough to get me and my bike a ride just in case I couldn’t make it. Oh, and, of course, the three pieces of weed’s flowers, if that’s what they’re called, those long stem-like things that look like the groups of seeds in rice or wheat, that I picked up while walking about our place.

I wasn’t really even thinking of riding anywhere. I only picked up my bike and started pedalling. Then, I wen’t to thinking of having a ride to the edge of our barangay just to check out the fiesta scene. Then, I was like, “I don’t feel like turning yet. I don’t wanna do a u-turn.” So, I kept pushing forward. When I was almost at the edge of the next barangay, I was like, “I wonder if I could reach the town centre.” So, I kept pushing. I reached the next barangay after that one. Then, a truck sprayed me some and I remembered it was raining on and off this morning. So, I thought, “Maybe, it’s time to take a turn now. What if you get rained on? It wouldn’t be so healthy… Nah, you’re already too close. All too close.” So, I kept pushing until I reached the town centre. I spent a few minutes at my sister’s grocery store and, after checking the time, chose to wait for 3pm. (Yes, I didn’t even check the time when I left.) Then, I started pedalling back.

Thankfully, there was only one fateful event on that impromptu trip. It was at a bit past the university, in that almost uninhabited stretch of grassy land, on my ride back, when a truck moved to the wrong lane and seemed for all the world to be aiming at me. Now, it’s not my policy to be riding off the concrete road so I stayed on it while looking at the truck and the driver.. But the guy was simply unrelenting so I had no choice. I really don’t want to have an injury while riding so I went off the road. I could have died, too. Maybe. It was one of those big trucks, after all. (Yes, there are no bike lanes for the majority of our roads.) Well, of course, maybe the guy was just avoiding the bumpy road (It was smoother on the lane I was on.) and was trusting me not to be very stupid or suicidal as to collide with a truck head-on. But that’s just me.

Although, I must admit, about three-quarters to the town centre, I felt a wee bit light-headed. It was probably a good idea to take a pit stop at that waiting shed that I chose to ignore. I’m stubborn that way.

You know what I was thinking when I arrived back at my place? “I probably won’t be able to keep walking as I usually would for quite a bit…”

Time capsules. They’re one reason why being forever young is so inviting. It’s very much interesting to see how things change, to get to observe what happens, to have the chance of looking into different parts of human history by experiencing and not simply reading about them or watching about them. The thing is, I’m not sure if it’s gonna be such a pleasant eternity. Then again, there is not yet the possibility of living forever with whatever we have right now. The Fountain of Youth is still so elusive.

‘Why don’t you say at once ‘it’s a miracle’?’

‘Because it may be only chance.’

‘Oh, that’s the way with all you folk,’ laughed Svidrigaïlov. ‘You won’t admit it, even if you do inwardly believe it a miracle! Here you say that it may be only chance. And what cowards they all are here, about having an opinion of their own, you can’t fancy, Rodion Romanovitch. I don’t mean you, you have an opinion of your own and are not afraid to have it. That’s how it was you attracted my curiosity.’

From Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

‘Who am I? I am a man with nothing to hope for, that’s all. A man perhaps of feeling and sympathy, maybe of some knowledge too, but my day is over. But you are a different matter, there is life waiting for you. Though, who knows? maybe your life, too, will pass off in smoke and come to nothing. Come, what does it matter, that you will pass into another class of men? It’s not comfort you regret, with your heart! What of it that perhaps no one will see you for so long? It’s not time, but yourself that will decide that. Be the sun and all will see you. The sun has before all to be the sun.’

From Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

‘Hang it, if you like! You’ve lost faith and you think that I am grossly flattering you; but how long has your life been? How much do you understand? You made up a theory and then were ashamed that it broke down and turned out to be not at all original! It turned out something base, that’s true, but you are not hopelessly base. By no means so base! At least you didn’t deceive yourself for long, you went straight to the furthest point at one bound. How do I regard you? I regard you as one of those men who would stand and smile at their torturer while he cuts their entrails out, if only they have found faith or God. Find it and you will live. You have long needed a change of air. Suffering, too, is a good thing. Suffer! Maybe Nikolay is right in wanting to suffer. I know you don’t believe in it—but don’t be over-wise; fling yourself straight into life, without deliberation; don’t be afraid—the flood will bear you to the bank and set you safe on your feet again. What bank? How can I tell? I only believe that you have long life before you. I know that you take all my words now for a set speech prepared beforehand, but maybe you will remember them after. They may be of use some time. That’s why I speak. It’s as well that you only killed the old woman. If you’d invented another theory you might perhaps have done something a thousand times more hideous. You ought to thank God, perhaps. How do you know? Perhaps God is saving you for something. But keep a good heart and have less fear! Are you afraid of the great expiation before you? No, it would be shameful to be afraid of it. Since you have taken such a step, you must harden your heart. There is justice in it. You must fulfil the demands of justice. I know that you don’t believe it, but indeed, life will bring you through. You will live it down in time. What you need now is fresh air, fresh air, fresh air!’

From Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

The last moment had come, the last drops had to be drained! So a man will sometimes go through half an hour of mortal terror with a brigand, yet when the knife is at his throat at last, he feels no fear.

From Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

The whole place is abuzz with activity. Everyone’s turned up their radios all tuned in to all too different stuff ending in a rather unpleasant mash-up of mismatched music and talk. Cars and bikes are going left and right. People are going to and fro, with them goods for tomorrow’s festivities.

Noontime is usually sleepy time.

Days like these are rare.

Murder is everywhere today.

Or, well, men are slaughtering pigs in a effort to give food to tomorrow’s guests for the Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help as best they could. Most probably, some are giving it their all and are ready to spend a few days with absolutely nothing on their table just so they could give nice food to the guests.

It’s a commonplace kind of scene: the guests are important. And even if the following days will be much uncertain because of overspending for tomorrow, some would even get help from lending companies, it won’t matter so long as the guests have been entertained rightly. It’s wrong, but it’s reality.

And the swine breathes its last…

The weather bureau is spitting out bad news about the arrival of a possible super typhoon. They’re also saying that they now have an hourly update on the weather and are posting them to their channels on the social networks while I am stuck here only too disconnected. I want twitter in palm.