Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Virginity - is it a big deal?

While riding the MRT going to my appointment, I happened to gazed a tabloid column read by a guy seating beside me. My attention was focused on the theme of the article, which expounds on the concept of virginity. I wasn’t able to capture the idea of the entire article. However, fresh on my mind, it simply tells the cultural perception of Filipino people to virginity.

I don’t usually find it shocking when people talked about a losing virginity of someone or gossiping about a bold star actress stressing with pride that she is still a virgin regardless of how many movies she had made making love with a man or a girl (in the movie). What actually shocked me is the behavior of these people, their intellectual immaturity in coping with the issue of virginity.

Is it a big deal if when a girl or boy losses his/her virginity out of matrimony? Is there any ethical issue about this? Or such perception is simply a cause of cultural conditioning? What matters more to me is to understand why people especially Filipinos were so resolute with regards to virginity – although I find this as a trivial matter. I wanted to expostulate the behavior of Filipinos who predispose to become ultra moralist and fanatically judgmental to someone who losses his/her virginity.

The concept of sex took an evolutionary path during the early years down to our present time. Even the expression of romantic feelings also resembled the same pathway. If I will look down the history of the Filipino people, the concept of sex and virginity has never been taken so casually and lightly in comparison with the western world. The old people will never talked sex as an object of discussion. It is not decent to do so. It becomes a taboo to discuss about sex thus even parents are inhibited to tell this to their children. As they said, we are a society that is not open let being conservative plays the role.

The sanctity of sex intensified to the mindset of the Filipino people when Christianity as a religion took the role to play as their conscience, their moral driver and judge to what is right and evil. According to God, based on Bible of the Church, sex prior to marriage (fornication or pre-marital sex) is a grave sin, not even sober confessions will save the sinners from going to hell. This teaching becomes so ingrained to the heart and mind of the people. It becomes a communal moral guideline, thus all become God that judges his/her own neighbor. When someone committed the sin, everybody will condemn the sinner – as in all in that community who knew the news. How would they treat the sinner? They mock, curse, and inflict physical pain even by his/her own family. Religion had taught chastity but never modesty and compassion to someone who committed the sin of fornication.

The concept of virginity is the same with the doctrine of chastity and to soon-to-be priest – its celibacy. It also becomes a norm to remain virgin before getting a lifetime partner. Even the expression of romantic feelings has been restrained to unmarried couple. Old movies normally projects actions that manifest love without much intense show of physical affection. We have observed that actors commonly hold the hands of their lovers and the extreme act is just an embrace. In our town, people even mock lovers that hold each others hand that just a holding hands will lead to pregnancy. Although it’s a joke but it magnifies the culture of the people, how they deal or treat couples that show affection in public without even have any sexual contact. This kind of treatment will caused lovers to suppress their feeling of expressing romance when in public. They usually coined the actions of expressive lovers as a public indecency. A kind of cultural conditioning that inhibits deeper understanding on the nature of human emotion and his basic instinct.

If people have been mocked just having so romantically showy, how much more if they learned that the girl is pregnant out of wedlock? Or if they learned that she lost her virginity? Well, this caused a social outburst and condemnation. In order to pacify and please the people, the parents will immediately set a date of wedding. Respect of public is heavier than self-respect, as they say it to reclaim the lost “family dignity”. Thus, whether the girl is pregnant or not, she and her lover must tie the knot.

When the Americans has made wide influenced on the culture of the Filipino people, the strict and ultra conservativeness of the society has loosened a little but not much because of the strong influence of the Church to the government as well as to the media. As we can see, they are the staunch advocate of censorship on media products like films and magazines that displays sexual icons. But this doesn’t stop the increasing number of youths getting into pre-marital sex. However, majority of the matured population is still dominated by the old, conservative, hell fearing people who have still the guts to dictate what is moral and ethical to the young. They are the blinded guardians of morality, that it seems moral values is a public possession rather than individual choices, whether it doesn’t matter if the individual is religious or not.

As secularism and commercialism becomes dominant in the society, the moral judgment of the people is less driven by religious dogma. With the spread of activism on women egalitarianism, religious influence and male domination has also gradually declined. Openness and rationality is the major product of such cultural movement (feminism) but not to mention some invalidity of their claims, which come to a point of extreme denial to some facets of reality. However, as more young people has been exposed to liberal thinking and lifestyle of the west, some has been trapped to hedonism, motivated just to seek physical pleasure and forget the true meaning of sex and intimacy. But majority had has still the sanity to refuse or immerse themselves to that kind of lifestyle and these people has been motivated by true good reason to abstain pre-marital sex or most likely jolted with fear.

Many young people have been engaged in pre-marital sex for reason of love, pleasure or because of some psychological problem. Power of their emotion is overridden by their capacity to think to the consequences of their action. And even their conviction of retaining their virginity prior to marriage is weak to overcome their emotions that engulfed their senses. The power of love is so strong that religious conviction cannot reach the tip of their rationality, that making choices is no longer possible. This human quality of love is difficult to quantify in moral sense, to the extension of sexual intercourse. Thus, religious people who staunchly persuading people not to engaged in pre-marital sex did not understand or have myopic view of human psychology.

How about the case of sex for the sake of pleasure or out curiosity that people engaged in sex? In western world, this casual treatment of sex is becomes a norm that even parents encourages their kids to get sex at young age. This is a classical example of a society that doesn’t give much a damn to virginity. Virginity is not a big deal to them and not even important when a girl is engaged to marriage. Not like in the Philippines, Filipino women were very much ardent in terms of retaining their virginity until they tie the knot. I guessed they are two reasons to this, one is religious and the other is expectation. Filipinos are religious people and their religious beliefs are much embedded in their consciousness. But the heavier cause is the expectation of the society to a Filipina girl, their parents, relatives, elders and the man she will going to marry. This is the hypocrisy and mediocrity of Filipino society especially to Filipino men. They expect that the girl they will marry should be “physically” virgin, but they themselves are not virgin. Another, Filipino men are also living in expectation to their fellow men that they will get mock if they marry a girl that is no longer virgin. And Filipino men will leave their women if they found out that she is not virgin. Thus, this is the greatest fear of a not a virgin Filipina who is engaged to a mediocre Filipino man.

When a Filipina girl lost her virginity, she found guilty to herself. If she is religious, God might forsake her. If she didn’t marry the man whom she lost her virginity, she gets anxious to her future husband. She is guilty to give her life to man she will marry because she is no longer pure. This kind of thinking has a negative psychological impact. Thus a Filipina girl will lose her self-respect, self-esteem and self-worth. Until they will come to deny that they don’t deserve a decent and single man to marry them as they see themselves undignified and filthy. Some would prefer to be a mistress to a married man.

In a society where the consciousness is dominated by thinking that virginity is imperative, it is expected that individuals are living with so much expectations and fear. And in a society that is dominated by man, it is apparent how the treatment to virginity of women is so suppressive. And in the Philippines, it is obvious that there is an inequality of men and women by just the dealt of virginity, where Filipino men “demands” to have a future wife to be virgin while Filipino women never demands that to be their future husband. Majority of Filipino women are still living to the whimsical appetite and mediocrity of Filipino men. Filipino women in particular are living with fear.

I might admire a Filipino girl that even she lost her virginity she became responsible to her action, and never inflicted herself with so much guilt that eventually caused her to lose self-esteem and self-respect. And more importantly, a Filipino girl who is not living with expectations and fear, that whatever her action is, it must be built with respect, willingness, honesty and love to herself.

Back to the question: is virginity a big deal? To an educated, cultured, rational, intelligent and sensible person, virginity is important but when it was lost out of matrimony, it must be caused by willingness, honesty and love and not by forced or fear. And this must not be a caused of losing self-respect and self-worth because of guilt. To mediocre and narrow minded individual, virginity is such a big deal as they are living with so much expectations and fear. These people who haven’t established their own minds are the one who were victims to somebody else’s mediocrity. To hedonistic, pleasure seeker, virginity is nothing. I guessed these individuals have nothing in differ from animals.

Whether a society value much or less about virginity, this must not be a caused of indifference to others in terms of treatment that cause people to somehow lost their self-respect and dignity. And not be a caused of inequality among the sexes. And not be a caused of mockery from religious fanatics.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Lovely Country Song

Four months ago, I happened to browse a music site in the net and I picked up a country song entitled, “Mississippi Girl” to play in the homepage. It’s a song by Faith Hill, as they said a comeback in the chart after her last album flopped in the hit chart. Well, it’s true though I never played any Faith Hill songs before. I guessed I heard some of her songs. Fortunately, I got her music video downloaded to my PC hard disk just now. Thanks to recorder software, though I still used it in trial version, as new released songs were tightly protected by copyrights. No more pain and waiting to get connected online just to peek it.

I guessed this song if my judgment is right will be included to great songs, remembered, appreciated and can stand the overnight changes of music style and composition. Its country taste plus moving tempo are the finest ingredients that hook music lovers stick to their ears. Well, its lyric is momentous, justified by history and trend, flashes back origin and shown present leg, encompasses triumph and joy, and most important, a humble heart even at the height of achievement. It’s quite inspiring though.

As I love this song, I hope to share this one even to somebody who happened to heard this before and reciprocate my inner joy as manifestation of my appreciation to this moving music. Hopefully, it stays long in the heart.

Try opening this site:

Friday, September 23, 2005

Happiness and Essentials

It is really difficult for me to withhold when I felt inside the fire to express my thoughts. So whenever I have an idea and try to explore, it is likely that I’m competing myself to what extent could I able to reach my potential. And because of my inherent inquisitiveness, I never expostulate to challenge myself. The biggest challenge is to explore about mankind’s greatest goal in life that is happiness. The question: how could I achieve happiness?

While reading inspirational books, I never missed to come across words that discussed about happiness. The authors simply put their ideas based on their personal life experiences and experiences of others. While others courteously borrowed their ideas from the wisdom of the old age. If I sum up all their cognate words, happiness is describe by the words such as living your life to the fullest, making a difference, contentment, sharing, loving and so on. These words fittingly describe the query on what is happiness, as simplest to define.

However, happiness as illustrated by others is certainly subjective, if ever the heart could grasp and if ever the mind could conjure into concrete form. The result of such is a generalised or fragmented understanding. Examples are people who find happiness by power of emotions, carried by words in reality they don’t understand and people who desperately found that happiness is ephemeral, they thought such specific actions could guarantee their never ending happiness.

I understand that to be fully happy is to achieve what is essential in life. If I say essential, this pertains to human well being. However, this definitely subjected to one’s own opinion what is essential. But such volitional action invokes a person into state of full awareness, hence he might reside in illusion. A mind overpowered by emotions is clouded and curbed to be fully aware. And a mind that is too occupied to a particular thing is equally a victim of unawareness.

What essential I am reckoning? I don’t mean the essential of Saint Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, which is invisible to the eye and those essentials that popular to parents and other great admirers of worldly materials like fat bank accounts, luxury cars, and big houses. I presupposed that I wouldn’t commit a mistake here if I totally disagree to the common belief to those above essentials. If I say that what is essential for me are appreciation, respect and financial security, I guarantee, I won’t be happy. I absolutely don’t achieve happiness because I am eventually attached to these things. If I am attached, I always try to please people so that I could gain their appreciation and respect. This is absolutely contradicts to what I believed is essential. What is essential to me is I am. If I live to seek approval of others, I won’t be living the way I supposed to live my life. God created me as a unique individual and it is only me who could define what is important fro myself. It is only I who knows my interest. It is only I who knows my potential. It is only I who could reach my potential as what God has given me. And this potential is the ability and the power to create. The power to create is the only way that I could achieve happiness. If ever I used this God given power, I won’t mind if people around me admire or disgust me as long as I respect their rights to live. What is important is that I was able to manifest this God’s gift to its purest form.

If I make a formula about achieving happiness, this must be happiness is equals to create plus to build up that creation by constantly seeking quality. Entrepreneurs could easily understand this. In fact they are living to it. These happy people that created or innovated products or services will agree that they don’t stay too long in the business if they don’t build up their businesses by means of constantly seeking quality. They constantly seek quality in order to satisfy their clients. But here is the culprit, many so called entrepreneurs are not happy because they put up businesses for the sake of just having it and to gain more wealth, and not because this where their heart is.

I emphasized that if ever I involved in the act of creation this must satisfy and feed my soul. And I will always seek quality so that such creation will not sink perceptibly and thus give me frustration. Quality means doing all my best.

Love is the reason why should I create, like God who created me because of love. And whenever I am in the process of creating something, I see to it that I am in full awareness. I should be aware of the events that are happening. I believed that in between and within these events lies the mystery. And this mystery invokes real living. So I need to be opened and experienced those events freely.

If ever I planned to create, I should first be healed from my ugly past experiences. I would be able to experience fully and feel the joy of creating if I am not harbouring negative emotions. I should learn to forgive those who hurt me and I should forgive myself as well.

They are many areas in my life where I could able to create. If ever I felt alone and I need a solace, I will try to create relationship. I look for a person that could able to share not necessarily of the same values with mine. I will try to build up this relationship by seeking quality. Quality here means depth. If I felt that my life is swirling down, I think I need to create relationship with God. I must try to have a close personal relationship with Him. I will try build up this relationship by constant communication with Him through prayer, knowing Him more by reading His word, the Bible, and trying to live His words by doing His will. If ever I felt the need to help others, I will try to create a way where I could help these people like building a foundation. I will give all my best to serve the needy. If I have a brilliant idea and I want to share to others, I will try to write a book. I will put all my effort in bringing and building up a very fine work. If ever I don’t satisfy the people whom I involved to, I’m not upset as long as I already did my best.

Whenever I created anything that is good for me and to others, I resolutely celebrate and let my soul be satisfied. However, my celebration will not only confine to enjoy the big things in life but to small things as well.

But I must understand that it is in the creation and building up that creation by constantly seeking quality itself that I gained my happiness and not in the results. I will detach myself to results. If ever people admired me because I created something that gives benefit, it doesn’t affect me. If ever I earned considerable amount of money, it doesn’t affect me too. These things appreciation, respect, money that sought by many that are ephemeral. But the joy and happiness I gained from creating is not fleeting because this is the expression of my potential that God has given me and where love is fully expressed.

I believed that to create and to build up that creation by constantly seeking quality could transform people’s lives. These people will love and esteem themselves. They are neither superior nor inferior to others. They don’t carry destructive emotions like hatred, envy, jealousy and insecurity. They are in action. They are alive. They are the ones who really share. They live their lives to the fullest. Finally, they are the ones who really make a difference.

Mitch Crazy Thoughts: file2
Home: 2:46 AM: December 5, 2002

Sober grief

Regret crosses the consciousness
Though it is for the parting being
Will this be an affliction or windfall?
Twain causes to win the freedom
By living the real self of the abandoned soul.

A chance to rekindle the past
Never flicker within the spirit
Hence the moment is a living
Where a true self is reborn
Painful past is a perfect storm that enlivens the soul.

Spread the wings and see beneath
Within the heart a glow
Like a firing sun that radiates
A hope that rally for a perfect faith
Believe for a new soul will heal the grief.

Mitch Crazy Thoughts: file1
Home: 11:21 PM: November 23, 2002

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Coffee and Friendship

When dawn flicker at twilight,
Precluded tranquillity is at sight.
As the weary finds their sanctuary,
In a piece of book, music and poetry.

Three cups seat to art that thread
Saddle that clasp doldrums to dread.
It is an irony that morning is a night,
To friendship was never been tight.

Friends can be delved in a coffee,
Frocked with aroma, fringes with a tea.
Art and sophies are brought in a sip,
That binds friendship truly and deep.

As the coffee poured in a cup of three,
Scent and savor, let the spirit be free.
Recites the wisdom and even the folly,
Until the blithe eyes comes to weary.

What is coffee but make souls awake,
Open the self but no secrets to break.
Embrace the truth, essentials been met,
Inclement memories should too forget.

As the coffee chalice comes to empty,
Yearning souls of thoughts need no worry
By the coming daylight is a new brew,
As coffee and friendship stays to grow.

March 3, 2005
1:30 AM
Starbucks moment with Tet and Rayts

Last Full Show

Rushed to path, swayed away
Avoid traffic, break the time
Hush, push and grip
Show will flash in a moment.

Pick a ticket, pay a garble
Sit, annoyed, yawn
Peek at the seat mate, smiled
Ads never ends until it’s time.

Grin a while, the show starts
Amazed, confused, irritated
Hard to grasp, will it be the show?
No, as it minded the row.

Laugh as loud, cry as in pain
Shriek as afraid, love as romance
See around, never look a fool
Aware to belong as bandwagon.

As show bid to end
A tearful eye, wide smile
Proud to seen, glad to share
Like reading books as blind.


Death and Lost

I happened to write this piece of essay as I was touched deeply by the death of our good old lady neighbor. This is a sad story in our neighborhood as she was caring to her family and we missed her happy face as she kept on throwing an unpretentious smile to us when we came across to her. Death of someone good and happy person is really a profound lost.

As a popular saying says, ‘there are only two things certain in this world i.e., tax and death”. Death is unavoidable but we get away from tax if we are savvy enough to deceive the government. But both are emotionally burdensome, as death makes us down under into emotional abyss while tax makes us feel foolish to share a fraction of our hard earned money to crooked politicians. Both in one way or another are lost value.

Death is a strange phenomenon to me. Good people suddenly die for whatever reason. Others die young while others reach a retiring age until the physical body losses its luster to hold the spirit of a person. Many have died to sickness, murder, accident, and even the lost of will to live as many have killed themselves. Death is a shadow that haunts every human being. It will trigger people of having fear to live. People will know that surely they will die but they are afraid when this could happen and how.

I myself have fear to death not only for myself but to people close to me. I fear death because I felt that I haven’t done the things I wanted to do. I fear it because I was uncertain how it feels to die and what happen afterwards. To seek the causes of dying is less important to people than to comprehend the kind of spiritual existence after death. Death neutralizes true living and living in delusion. If I will live my life truly and fully, I should not fear death. I fear it because I live a delusional life, a life that I still see in the future. That’s make death strange, the emotional and mental effect to each and every living human creature and not its physical element that end every breath.

We are certainly facing this haunting question: are we ready to die or are we prepare to die? Everybody will surely answer, no. A more philosophical argument to this is, I am ready to live or I am preparing myself to live. Why should I think of dying if I have a better prospect of living? Death and living are not archenemy. In fact they are complementary. Death is the reason why we live our life to the fullest. Living is the reason why we are not afraid of dying even though we are certain that we will die after a few moments, after an hour, tomorrow or after tomorrow, or the second tomorrow and so on.

Sometimes people who are uncertain about their life course will think that living is more fearing than death. The reason is that struggling to life’s hurdle and burden is more potent killer than death itself as it kills the spirit and the passion to live of the person. Most will opt to end their lives and embrace death than facing the difficulties of living. Death is the judgment of their living. Death becomes their savior – saving them from their miserable and meaningless lives.

Why does death so devastating to a grieving person? It is because the person felt a very profound lost of a being with having a high value to his life. We not only value high regards to life but we felt the significant lost of a person that treat us with so much love, care and respect. The degree of lost is perpendicular to the degree of grievances. The spectrum of human intelligence and understanding is the same with the spectrum of human emotions. A death stricken family has more intense emotional grief than their friends. Likewise, a lover is grieving more than the family of the dead. But this is not will not always the case as more emotionally touched individuals; much closer than the love ones of the dead has deeper wounds in their hearts.

More often, grief and lost is shown by the intensity of the emotional outburst of a person. While others, it can be observed in their prolonged grief, which took weeks, months or even years of grieving. Some religious organizations that have doctrines about life-after-death significantly influenced the perception of their members about death and grieving. A certain religious group believes in the resurrection of the dead. As majority believes the parting of a soul from the dead physical body and if the dead person is righteous during his earthly course, his soul will go to heaven and join his Creator in living blissfully. These doctrines will sometimes affect the life behavior of their members and their concept of dying. I even observed during the interment, the close family of the dead person has never grieved so much as if they never had lost a very significant person to their lives. And I see this behavior as an abnormal and unrespectable attitude. As I heard, they believed that their dead love one will certainly be resurrected when the right time comes and why should they grieved much if they have faith of seeing him again in the near future as a living resurrected person. I think this is quite logical but not a normal response of an emotional being. I even think that they are losing their emotions. But whatever their belief is and their responses to dying, I should give them respect.

Death, lost and grieving has become a normal part of human existence as laughing, smiling, and crying of joy has been a manifestation of a great life. In this world composed of anti-matters that build on-going evolution favorable to human life, same with death and living as vital elements for a beautiful and wonderful existence. As we embrace life, we should also embrace death. Life must go on.