The Wheel and Axle

Let’s Rak Again

by on Jul.19, 2019, under Music & Theater, Society

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I can never get enough of Rak of Aegis. Recently, Season 7 opened, and of course I had to see it again (third time, the most recent being last year).

What I love about Rak is that – like many original Filipino musicals like Zsazsa Zaturnnah, Ako Si Josephine, and Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady – every run adds new spins. Updated jokes that reference current events and pop culture memes are inserted, making each run feel fresh again while retaining everything that made the show successful.

Rak of Aegis Season 7 is such an experience. On top of small reinventions, new cast members are placed into the mix, giving returning audiences the opportunity to see different interpretations of classics.

And so it goes that we once again experience the travails of Bgy. Venizia, which gets flooded for months after a the construction of a gated community nearby prevented proper drainage. Against this backdrop and the backdrop of a social media age where virality is the way to fame, the community’s diverse array of residents struggle to cope with poverty, love, friendship, and ambition. (continue reading…)

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Pluem at 22

by on May.21, 2019, under Film & TV, My Life, Queer

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Happy 22nd birthday, P’Pluem!

I remain a huge fan of this guy. After his birthday last year, I was fortunate enough to have met him in person in Chiang Mai during my own birthday trip. Hoping for that again later this year, fingers crossed.

And ever since both Happy Birthday the Series and Our Skyy ended, I’ve been looking forward to One Night Steal. That’ll be a hoot since it’s also got Krist, even if it’s basically Just My Luck in Thai.

Maybe in 2020, we can finally see a new #InSun-dedicated series. Our Skyy left us wanting so much more; perhaps a series that intertwines the “what happened in between” and the “where are they now.”

(continue reading…)

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Missing The Point

by on Feb.16, 2019, under Snark, Society

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Nowadays, approximately 95% of the time, I avoid the comments section (and consequently, the engagement info) of politically-charged articles because I value my health. The amount of toxic idiocy on Facebook public “areas,” in particular, is astounding. More so when it comes to political articles I write, I try not to look at the comments lest I engage and then get the urge to bludgeon the nearest available moron.

A recent article I wrote for Esquire apparently got about 16.5K shares as of this writing (one of my folks at work sent me a message about it). Not bad. It did kind of pull me in a bit to check what sort of engagement it was getting. Surprisingly, most were positive and agreed with my piece, although as expected there were a few morons here and there.

(continue reading…)

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Maganda Ba? True!

by on Oct.13, 2018, under Film & TV, Queer, Society

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Mamu; And A Mother, Too may seem, on the surface, just another film about the lives of transwomen, one that could either be too inappropriately comedic or else much too maudlin and schmaltzy.

And yet, it carefully avoids these while still retaining humor and heart.

The titular Mamu is a veteran transwoman sex worker living with her long-time partner, Vincent. Due to her estranged sister’s death, Mamu ends up taking her teenaged niece – Bona, who is also trans – into their home. Amidst poverty and growing walls between her and Vincent, Mamu struggles to adjust to having an adopted daughter who is as strong-willed as she is but who is perhaps not yet as street smart. It is the comparison and contrast between Mamu and Bona that drives much of the film, and the question of the repeating cycles of life and the possibility (or impossibility) of breaking those cycles becomes increasingly critical.

(continue reading…)

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Consequences

by on Oct.13, 2018, under My Life, Queer

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All of us want things.

Sometimes, we don’t need things.

But all of us want things.

I remember a time of utter selfishness, when I felt the pain of not getting the wants, of ignoring the needs for the wants, of reaching for nothing else but the wants.

It felt like a void.

A void where the wants multiply endlessly.

The void, I remember.

A thousand needles made their way into my psyche, like a heart that beat faster than the fluttering of a hummingbird. There was hurt, yes, but then surprisingly there was also numbness – one that came from realizing just how insignificant one truly was after it kept on hitting your head with a hammer.

(continue reading…)

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Art

by on Oct.05, 2018, under My Life, Queer

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Sometimes, you just want the rage take you over.

It takes a hold of you.

It builds up within.

And it makes you want to… scream.

But you check yourself.

You keep it in because it may be the right thing to do.

May.

Still, it eats at you from inside, and you realize that there has to be a different way to let it out. There has to be a way to let the frustration take form so as not to let it drown you with it. There has to be a way for you to not let the power consume you and him and every single other innocent that stands in the path towards serenity.

(continue reading…)

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Rapture

by on Oct.03, 2018, under My Life, Queer

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You get pulled in different directions by those imprisoned emotions.

There is a sense of fear and paranoia, of impending pain or loss if things aren’t handled right. As though everything needs to be perfect, and a single  – even minor – lapse of judgment feels like the world falling apart.

Then, there’s the excitement of possibilities, many which may not come to pass soon, but it is intoxicating because of the what might be’s. The what might be’s are a drug, you see, creating a feverish illusion that you know could not be good, but you revel in it, anyway. Illusion is reality in the mind, and mind can shape reality.

You listen to the voices of others whose perception of reality may be more acute than you wanted to give them credit for. Until you realize you want to give them that.

(continue reading…)

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Turmoil

by on Oct.01, 2018, under My Life, Queer

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Recently, I asked my friend Evan whether he’s experienced the desire to just cry, to let it all out in a wave of tears, yet nothing comes out – no matter how much you try to force it all out.

He said yes.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m alone on that one.

I guess not.

The last time I truly wept was a little over six years ago. In hindsight, the reasons were cringworthy and pathetic. It was ultimately not worth the tears, and hell I never even wept that way over the ex with whom I had the most connection with.

But six years is a long time, and since then, I’ve never experienced any kind of major inner turmoil that would warrant a flood of weeping.

(continue reading…)

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Imprint

by on Sep.23, 2018, under My Life, Queer, Society

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The year was 1998.

It was a time darker than I really acknowledged in the succeeding years. I have always considered it past me, that I’ve put it behind me, that I’ve learned my life lessons, that it was something I could easily shrug off, maybe even laugh off.

Apparently, it wasn’t entirely true, and all these years I’ve suppressed how much of an impact that incident really had in my life.

Recently, at the suggestion of my mentor Jessica, we visited Healing House. We did some alternative therapy, and during my session, I recalled that dark time – the only time I have ever really felt suicidal.

It seems so trivial now. I was an immature, barely-21 young man. Then again, what seems trivial now meant the whole world to someone so hopeful in life during that time.

(continue reading…)

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Struggling

by on Sep.04, 2018, under My Life, Society

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The last time that I ever had truly suicidal thoughts that I seriously considered actioning upon was in my early twenties. I was still in college. I was in an emotionally bad place, and when you’re that young, everything is the weight of the world. Even if, in hindsight, I now think about how shallow the reasons had been for my depression, I cannot discount the fact that it was a reality in me at that time.

What makes one think about taking one’s life is never truly shallow. We must always keep this in mind when we deal with people who may be suffering.

I can confidently say that I have not been at risk of such thoughts since the late 90s. I have never seriously contemplated taking my life since I started working and being independent, even in the most trying of times – situations perhaps worse than what I had in college.

(continue reading…)

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