In her quest for freedom

I was never fond of international politics. I don’t dote on politics per se. For a simple Filipina like me, international politics doesn’t matter much since it doesn’t affect me as a person.

But there was one international politics matter that caught my attention: award-winning human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi’s fight for liberation – for her country and for herself.

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Suu Kyi is the icon of democracy for the military-ruled Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. She responded to the call for a democratic country, free from the reign of the totalitarian regime, and stood with the people that called and demonstrated for democracy.

She was supposed to be the Prime Minister of Myanmar after their party’s triumph in the 1990 general elections. However, she was subsequently detained and put under house arrest by the military junta, preventing her from assuming office. For over 20 years of her fight for democracy, majority of it were spent under detention. She was even banned many times from Myanmar polls and joining her party since she was serving a prison term.

Contemplating on her unending struggle for freedom made me reflect on how the Filipinos of decade ’70 fought for our own democracy when the siege of Martial Law is upon the Philippines’ bosom and how we’ve been lucky that they were able to surpass that hurdle through the EDSA People Power.

I realized how fortunate we are for having a free country where our voices could be heard even how minuscule it were; where we have the right to choose, to be what we want to be, to do what we want to do provided that we abide by the laws and the Constitution of our country.

But lucky as we are, we tend to take this freedom, this democracy, for granted. Sometimes we think we have so little of this democracy. We search for more; more than what we have, more than what we really need. Not knowing that we are in way better situation because we have what Suu Kyi and the people of Myanmar covet; freedom from oppression.

And what better way can we express this freedom than by executing our liberty to choose our leaders. Come May 2013, our right to suffrage would then again be put into practice as the Filipino people choose new sets of leaders.

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Before the advent of the endless campaigning and before we run to the voting precincts I just want to remind all of us to take in mind how our democracy was reinstituted upon our country and what this election and our choices of leaders would mean to the betterment of our striving nation and the continued observation of our liberty.

However cliché it may sound but we really are the hope of our nation. We hold the Philippines’ future in our hands. Our moves and our choices could make or break our motherland and the democracy, the freedom, we are enjoying.

Vote someone who you think could lead us up and not rout us down. Mark the name in the ballot who you could envision helping retain and respect our liberty. Vote as what your senses, your mind, and your heart deem right and not what others think. May we choose sensibly and choose for the better.

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Rape is not just India’s problem

Rape is an international concern. May the powers that be act on protecting women and men of the world.

British Asian Woman

*Trigger warning* This post contains potentially disturbing material of rape

Picture the scene. A woman in a bar. Dressed up for a night out, drinking and having fun. A group of men at the other side spot her. She leaves her drink on the table with her friend and goes to the toilet. She comes back and finishes the drink. Gradually she becomes more and more giddy, as if going under an anaesthetic.

She wakes up in hospital with sharp stabbing pains in her groin and pelvic area. Her legs and arms are covered in bruises. Her left eye is so badly swollen she can barely see out of it. She has no recollection of the night before, what happened to her or how she ended up in hospital.

It transpires that her drink had been spiked. She was taken outside and gang raped by the group of men that…

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A Never-ending Friendship

Friends are the DNA of society. They are the basic building blocks of life. If you have a couple of good ones, treasure them like gold. There’s nothing better… Your friends help you carry the big weight in life. That big burden we’ve all got called, “What the hell am I doing?”

– Jerry Seinfeld, SeinLanguage

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I was not your typical friendly girl. Many say I look a tad bit snob; that I seem to be unapproachable at first meeting.

I say this is true. I am a type of person who doesn’t give a flying care to anyone I don’t know. I am not the first one to say “hi”, to give a smile, to say my name. I’m not fond of giving out pleasantries except maybe if badly needed. If this is the definition of a ‘snob’, then I am one.

This may have rooted from my upbringing. I grew up sheltered. I never had childhood friends since we were constantly moving when I was in grade school. I grew up alone – my parents were too busy making a living – and secluded with no real friends which I can share my girlish dreams. The only playmate I had was my little brother who was four years my junior, which I think don’t qualify as a friend since he’s my brother and he’s a boy. And maybe because of that I never developed the sense of acquaintance and friendship.

High school was a bit of an improvement because I was able to build core relationships with my barkadas but it never really blossomed into a long-term one given that when I graduated I got shipped to Cebu and lost communication with many of them – except for the only best friend I have.

But college was different. Many say in college you don’t find loads of friends because people are always on-the-go. That may be true to some but it isn’t true for me because in college I had found the friends that made me grow up as a person and made me realize that I could not live alone in my own little world.

The friends I’ve made during college are those that I happen to cherish very much. When I met them I was still a child but in a span of a few years I was able to develop entirely to a person that I ought to be; someone that I never thought I would turn out to be.

They may be brutally frank, sarcastically funny, and highly opinionated but they were also life wise, lovingly caring, and hardcore friends. They made me feel loved – unknowingly – and cared for. They made me laugh my heart out, learn new trivial matters, and understand things in a new perspective. They opened me as a person. To sum it up, they made me mature. And that is thanks to their amity.

Having friends – real friends – is the greatest gift one can ever have. It was the greatest gift I have.

Friends are there when your family can’t. They can be your mother, father, sister, brother. They can be more than that, too. They are the first ones you run to and borrow some when you run out of cash. They share to you whatever they have, whenever they can. They’ll make you laugh with their bottomless jokes. They could also make you think like you are losing your mind. They’re a shoulder to cry on when you are hurt. At times, they’ll scold you when they think you are going out of bounds. But still, they are almost on your side of things.

Your family might be the foundation but friends are the pillars that could make you build up your life in the right direction. They help in cultivating your life and assist you in making the best out of it.

That is what my friends are to me. They light up my path, make me look for the bright things in life, and teach me to face everything that comes my way – either positive or negative – and learn from it. They are the pillars that help me stand and build my life as a mature person.

Check me out on Twitter (@october1486) and Facebook (Ana Lu)