The first time I gave a bum some change, I couldn’t resist running the exchange rate in my head. I’m used to street kids singing on jeepneys, so giving money to strange white men is weird. Doesn’t this usually happen the other way around?

I was exploring Toronto’s financial district when out of nowhere this guy comes up to me. He was frazzled, hair all unkempt, clothes looking worn. “Do you have change? My parents kicked me out because I have AIDS.” I handed him a toonie right quick and headed for the nearest exit. It could’ve been the truth. It could’ve been a line. I wanted to be on the safe side and ensure goodwill in case he was thinking of sticking needles in me. Hey, I’ve seen things.

Continue reading “GoFundYourself”

Glass Houses


Manny Pacquiao dug himself a big old hole last week when he cited his own beliefs. (To say he cited them very badly is the understatement of the year.) The backlash was swift, one of his major sponsors dropped him like a hot potato, and he issued an apology for saying what he said. He really should’ve phrased things with more tact, but we all know Manny is at his most eloquent when he uses his fists and nothing else.

I do not understand why people were surprised. All the gasping, the shock, the vitriol, the clutching of the rosary beads. The Philippines is a nation that reviles its government for pushing birth control on the citizenry because it’s “against God’s will.” If we’re really going to front like everyone in our country is a progressive liberal, we are deluding ourselves.

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True Romance


Valentine’s Day. The annual day of love and (neu)roses, when the world is awash in sweets, the countryside is stripped bare of flowers, and the town is painted pink.

It is simultaneously the best day in the world, and the most awful; you either look forward to it, or dread it and think it’s lame and commercialized. Because I am old and doddering, and have experience with both sides of this particular coin, I am here to tell you what you already know: it all depends on perspective.

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Déjà Vu

Shameless whoring Typhoon Yolanda relief goods

Welp, it’s that time of the year again. People pick sides, a lot of mud is slung and we are once more led to believe that no one will take advantage of the pork barrel ever again.

I used to say my vote was for sale, if only because I just couldn’t see the point of voting. (No one paid me, do stop clutching your pearls.) Things can move so slowly in the Philippines it doesn’t even feel like anything changes at all. Someone once suggested that only people who are employed and pay taxes be allowed to vote. I wonder what the outcome would be. We might actually have a president we can live with. The defenders of democracy will likely be out for my blood, but wouldn’t it be nice for once to not have the sensible vote be derailed by a masa that welcomes election season with glee because they see it as a giant payday and not a chance to make a difference? Continue reading “Déjà Vu”

Netiquette for Dummies


Dear people on social media:

– Give it up. Mark Zuckerberg is never going to pay you for posting something.

– ALL CAPS means you are screaming and is considered bad manners.

– No, I do not have to click “Like” to prove I love Jesus.

– Speaking of “Like,” it sends the wrong message when you’re giving a post announcing the death of a loved one (or something just as tragic) the thumbs up.

– Humblebragging is still bragging. You are fooling no one with your smug hashtags. #blessed #thankful #gymselfie

– Put away the pee stick. While we are excited for you, it is unseemly to wave something soaked in your own urine to announce your pregnancy.

– PS, do we really need to see the inside of your uterus?

Continue reading “Netiquette for Dummies”