There is no such thing as “talent”.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as talent. It’s just that some people are fast learners. Others are just naturally interested or drawn to something. Some people have extreme brain power. And yet others are lucky enough to have all of the above. But there is no such thing as talent.

“Talent” oversimplifies something that is so incredibly complex. As if you can make music or art or dance or ANYTHING by magic. It takes so much effort and so many hours of work for someone to get to the level that ordinary people would consider “talent”.

Lack of talent is used as an excuse for those too lazy to try. It’s a big loss that some people just give up because after two or three tries that they didn’t do too well, they conclude that they don’t have any talent. Even when the “talented” are so because they’ve failed thousands of times.

I wasn’t born drawing. I liked it, I persisted, I tried harder even during the times when I didn’t like it so much. I could probably learn to sing and dance too, if I put as many hours in it as I did drawing. But I’d really rather not. That I don’t know how to sing and dance is nobody’s fault but mine, and not that of some simple construct called “talent”.

Pork-clogged arteries

When you’ve seen countless people go through discomfort, suffering and death just because they can’t afford even the most basic medical care, it’s so hard to sympathize with a “sick” person who took part in stealing what could have saved all those lives and more.

I still maintain that everybody deserves quality health care. But not all the goodness in the world could stop me from feeling vindicated if Janet Napoles (and all those senators implicated) would just be able to feel what thousands of other Filipinos go through. (And many of those ordinary people even go through it gracefully).

I’ve tried not to post about this issue because it’s horribly political and so stupid I want to bang my head against a wall. But I just feel strongly about this because health is seldom given priority ANYWHERE when it is, in the end, our biggest asset and the lack of it is one of the biggest sources of human suffering. And here, Napoles’ health is all over the news when all the patients that I’ve had who couldn’t afford laboratory tests, or antibiotics, or other life-saving treatments remained invisible, with hardly anyone to listen to their pleas for treatment funding.

Looking back at all the deaths I’ve witnessed, especially when I was still working at a now-extinct place that was basically a poor man’s ICU, I just feel that all those people deserved much, much better than all the attention they’re giving Napoles now. But they never got it because free samples (not to mention trying to hoodwink the hospital pharmacy into giving the meds on credit) and ward-like staff ratios can only get you so far.

Happy to be Ordinary

On the jeep today, I couldn’t help notice all the billboards and banners for schools lining the street: “WE MAKE FUTURE LEADERS.” “PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR SUCCESS!” Things like that.

That’s education for you. (Probably the product of delusional parents who think THEIR children are – no, SHOULD BE – the best of all.) While in school, there was such a fixation and attached glamour on being the best and the brightest, being better than all your classmates, and just being special. This was then egged on by comparisons from parents. “Oh, you’re so much better than so-and-so.” or “So-and-so scored better than you. You should work harder.”

And sometimes we go along with it, thinking that our parents would be less proud of us or we would be less successful in life if we didn’t get on the honors’ list, have a college degree (and a masters degree, and a PhD), or a bunch of initials to add to the end of our names, or to have some pretentious job title at some pretentious-sounding institution, or to make it to the A-list of the beautiful, rich and famous.

It leads to a lot of frustration. The wide array of intelligence, talent and beauty is not measurable by standard school tests. Because of failing or mediocre grades, a whole lot of smart and talented people begin to believe themselves stupid when it just so happens that their sort of gift is simply not the kind that schools are looking for.

And it doesn’t consider the fact that not all of us really want this deep inside. We end up chasing big dreams for the sake of them, when they won’t really make us happy.

For all you want to train us to be leaders, some of us simply just want to be followers.

For all you want us to be special and successful, some of us are happier being ordinary people.

I’m exasperated.

Silly lady from Luzon, at this day and age, still thinks that the root cause of conflict in Mindanao is “Islamization”. Whatever that means. She even went as far as to waste her time and write a thesis about it.

Did not say anything because, as someone who grew up in diverse Cotabato City, it’s kind-of hard not to be condescending when you hear this (which is obvious from above statement). But also because she will soon be meeting a Moro who has worked hard on promoting inter-religious dialogue. Hopefully that will correct this misinformation.

(By the way, the root cause of conflict in Mindanao is poverty, injustice, and getting f*cked up by Spain, America and Manila. It’s a long story. I will tell it some time soon.)

FATAYIN ANG ‘PILIPINAS’!!!

Refublika ng Filifinas
KOMISYON SA WIKANG FILIPINO
Gusaling Watson, 1610 Kalye J.F. Laurel,
Malacañang Comflex, Maynila

KAFASIYAHAN NG KALUFUNAN NG MGA KOMISYONER BLG. 13-19 SERYE NG 2013

FINAGTITIBAY ANG KAFASIYAHAN NA FAGBABALIK NG GAMIT NG “FILIFINAS” HABANG FILIFIGIL ANG FAGGAMIT NG “PILIPINAS”

IFINAFASIYA, gaya ng ginagawang fagfafasiya ngayon, na ibalik ang gamit ng “Filifinas” habang finifigil ang faggamit ng “Pilipinas” ufang mafalaganaf ang ofisyal at modernisadong katawagan ng bansa na kumikilala sa kasaysayan at fag-unlad ng fagkabansa nito;

IFINAFASIYA pa, ang unti-unting fagbabago sa isfeling ng mga selyo, letterhead, notepad, at iba fang kasangkafan na may tatak na “Pilipinas” tungo sa “Filifinas”;

IFINAFASIYA rin, na himuking baguhin ang ofisyal na fangalan ng mga institusyon at kafisanang may “Pilipinas,” ngunit hindi safilitan lalo sa mga entidad na naitatag sa fanahong wala fang “F” sa alfabetong Filipino, habang ifinatutupad ang fagfafagamit ng “Filipinas” sa lahat ng itatag na organisasyon fagkatapos fagtibayin at falaganapin ang mungkahing ito.

FINAGTIBAY ng Kalufunan ng mga Komisyoner sa Fulong ng Kalufunan ng mga Komisyoner na ginanaf ngayong 12 Abril 2013 sa Silid Fulungan ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), 2F Gusali Watson, J.F. Laurel St., Malacañang Falace Comflex, San Miguel, Maynila.

IFINAFASYA nga fala na ang sunod naming froyekto ay ang fagsulong ng faggamit ng “Refuvlika ng Filifinas” sa halif ng “Refublika ng Filifinas” ufang magkaisa na ang ating vansa.

KOM. VIRGILIO S. ALMARIO, Tagapangulo AT IVA FA.

(Context: Kill ‘Pilipinas,’ language commission says)

Bakit kailangang gamitin ang pangalan na binigay sa atin ng mga Kastila sa halip ng pangalan na binigay ng mga Amerikano? At bakit pinipili pa itong pangalan ng Kastila sa halip ng pangalan na binansag natin sa ting mga sarili?

Hindi naman tayo dayuhan na kailangan pang palambutin ang dila sa pag-F-F pa. Pilipinas na kung Pilipinas. Mas mainam pa siguro kung tanggalin na lang ng lubusan yang si Haring Philip sa usapan.

Opinyon ko lang. Pero bahala na kayo kung anong gusto nyo. Kayo na man ang may kapangyarihang magbago ng ating bansa at hindi ako.

Yun lang fo.

(Edit: The Professional Heckler says this waaay better than I do. You can’t get any better than F-Noy, y’all.)