Veterans and youth (part three)
Yesterday, I got a text message from a good friend in Dili, sharing how exasperated she was about plagiarism amongst the students at the university where she teaches. What seems like a problem in one local classroom reverberates throughout nation-building and democratization processes at a global scale. It is not the students’ fault. As the Malay pepatah goes: “Guru kencing berdiri, murid kencing berlari.”
Twenty years after independence, militarized masculinities continue to dominate. The narrative that the armed front (frente armada) and not the frente clandestina and frente diplomatica) won the war continues to dominate…
Sisterhood and mapping a new city
For my sister, Diosa, with love, respect, and admiration
Yesterday my sister and I drove to Oakland, California to retrace our steps when we first arrived fresh off the boat (FOB) in 1981. She was 12 and I was 14. She is celebrating her birthday and wanted to look back, to examine the character arc…what was she like at 12, what were her dreams then, what adversities did she face, and what lessons were learnt in terms of values, action, and a vision of change?
We immigrated from a quiet town, Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan…
The hierarchy of suffering game
Part two of Music, Art, and Trauma
For my teenaged son and his generation
I don’t know if you remember any of the stories that your father told us about growing up in Manutasi, Ainaro and walking several miles to school barefoot. He used to compete with you all the time saying: “Maura, in my time, I walked several miles to school — barefoot.”
And you’d retort: “You’re the one who buys me sandals and shoes. I would happily walk several miles to school barefoot.”
And, “Maura, when I was 11, I had to run…
My piano was born in Japan (Yamaha), shipped from Indonesia (Surabaya), and migrated by ship to the island port-city of Dili where some people do not usually expect to find a piano, let alone one thriving in a post-conflict environment, and surviving hopefully for…
The caregiver: reflections on the crisis in care
July 20, 2022
Last Friday, July 17, 2022, the Anti-Terror Law under Duterte went into effect in the Philippines. 47 years ago, in 1973, Martial Law was declared by Marcos. What lessons can we learn?
When it comes to understanding the dynamics of power, inequality, and state terror, who else but the caregiver, maid, nanny, houseboy, secretary, slave, minion, nurse, garbage collector, grocery worker, essential worker, survivor — would have the most astute analysis?
Where do our loved ones go when they die? In our hearts? In their graves? In the ocean…
Survival and hope during Covid-19: on vulnerability, uncertainty, fear, and resistance
A few months ago I listened to guest speakers on NPR radio talk about survival strategies during shelter at home. One woman said she was ashamed to admit that she loves isolation. Another man said that he found this quiet time to be healing, once he had his essential necessities. I can resonate. I’ve actually found solitude unexpectedly comforting and healing. …
Dance lessons and social inclusion
I’m fascinated by therapeutic techniques. Walking therapy, writing therapy, gardening therapy, baking therapy, dance therapy, music therapy…All of them have helped me survive and thrive all these years while caregiving for different people. Dance and music are making me realize that singlehood can be a fun, empowering time. Contrary to all the predominantly depressing stereotypes I’ve read about women in mid-life, dancing and playing music has helped me to stay focused, positive, and thrive.
Hard to imagine, but being single is an art and solitude can be a blessing. It certainly frees me up to…