Monthly Archives: October 2012

That Feeling of Being Infinite: Book Review of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.

—Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Two days ago, I finished reading Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” By the way, you may find this weird, but I haven’t watched the film version yet and probably I will not be able to watch it for a long time because it was last shown in SM Cinemas just this Tuesday. Hence, I am telling you this now, there won’t be any comments on how hot or perfect Emma Watson was as Sam. At any rate, it took me two days to read it.I really could not remember the last time I had read strictly for leisure purpose. As a law student, whenever I get the chance to have that vacation, which usually spans just for two weeks, I try avoiding all kinds of reading materials.  Because my family hardly goes into any vacation, being away from any reading material is the best type of rest for me.

Yesterday, when I was about to finish the review, I realized that I missed the main twist, the most significant part in the story. I tell you it was so subtly and intelligently written that even my intricate sister, who finished the book weeks ahead of me, missed it too. Maybe because I am a law student, my eyes are automatically skipping some parts and trying to search the main idea. I will read paragraphs quickly, and then when I realized that I didn’t get any grasp on what I have read, I will read the whole thing very slowly. Well, sometimes I do that. But there are times when I’d just shrug and tell myself to keep on reading because I might understand what is going on in the next sentences to come. Maybe that’s how I missed it. So now, I’m paying the price by rewriting everything I had written yesterday.

The book promises that it is a coming-of-age novel. The story revolves around fifteen-year-old, Charlie. He writes to “friend” his daily life as a high school freshman his struggles in school and his closely-knitted family. His story tackles on several issues and problems of high school students nowadays like drug addiction, smoking, sex, teenage pregnancy, homosexuality and everyone’s favorite problem—falling in love for the very first time. Who wouldn’t want stories about high school life and angst? Everyone says that the most memorable part of their lives is their high school life. This is where our we know more about ourselves, build our character, first voice out our thoughts, unleash our curiosity in many things, develop lasting friendship and feel that we are living slowly in the center of the world. This is the part of our lives wherein we could say,  “I swear we were infinite.

Charlie seems to be an ordinary high school boy. At first glance, you would find him a very smart, straight-A’s boy who is obviously beyond his years but he still possesses the innocence. He loves reading books, especially the novels his teacher, Bill, gives him as extra homework for his Advanced English class. He is also a big fan of music. All throughout the book, Charlie mentions several songs which I’m mostly unfamiliar with. The story was set in 1991 and I was three-year old then. Anyway, he is also good in mixing tapes and gives them to his friends and family. Charlie is endearing. He is a good son, a supportive brother and a loyal friend. Charlie could be very cool, too. Although he could be small in size and could easily be targeted by the bullies, he is a very good fighter. He is a wallflower, the quiet observer of life.

Nonetheless, one would wonder why Charlie seems to be friendless among his batch mates. All his friends are high school seniors. He is always going to his psychiatrist but he supplies no direct reason why in his letters to friend. You would see how submissive he is. He dated a girl who he hardly likes. He let his gay friend kiss him every night on the time of his depression. He can’t really say no to anyone. It’s also a wonder why he suddenly became addicted to cigarettes the moment he tried it and the next days to come; he smokes ten sticks a day. Later, he became addicted to LSD and marijuana, too. It’s as if he is trying to escape from something but he does not want to express what. Or perhaps, he cannot express it. He seems suppressing something in his memory. But what must it be? He has a good and close family who loves him so much. He is doing so well in school. He has caring and intelligent friends.

One must think deeper in reading Charlie. Stephen Chbosky’s writing style was too simplistic. I am sometimes annoyed with how literal it is written. There are times that you feel like the author is not giving you the chance to use your imagination or think. Charlie is blatant on writing to friend what he sees like his sister having sex with his boyfriend or how he masturbates. But I am telling you this: don’t let the writing style of Chbosky fool you. You must comprehend what Charlie is really undergoing by reading the novel very carefully. Recognize that Charlie is a character full of complexities. He is a broken character yet a very riveting one.

Perhaps, the novel shall be best remembered with the line, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I remember that for weeks, my friends in Facebook and Twitter posted that line as status message or tweet after watching the movie. I understand why those eight words are popular. Precisely, that is the answer why a lot of us suffer in broken relationships or are abused or are settled with very little love received. The love we accept are directly proportional with our self-esteem and how we measure our self-worth. But besides that, I shall not forget this lesson:

“But it’s like when my doctor told me the story of these two brothers whose dad was a bad alcoholic. One brother grew up to be a successful carpenter who never drank. The other brother ended up being a drinker as bad as his dad was. When they asked the first brother why he didn’t drink, he said that after he saw what it did to his father, he could never bring himself to even try it. When they asked the other brother, he guessed he learned how to drink on his father’s knee. So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we came from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”

Powerful lines. It simply states that all of us could be wounded people from circumstances on our past. But one could always choose a better path. And with our choices, it makes who we really are. A weak man shall always blame his past like how his job sucks now because he lived and raised in the slums or how he can never have a stable relationship because he thinks all women are the same because his mother left his father and him when he was little. However, a truly successful man who lived in a similar situation shall be the one who should be working extra hard because he does not want his sons to suffer poverty that he experienced when he was little and would value his relationships more. Charlie taught us that your past should be a story not an excuse. Charlie must live in each one of us.

I recommend this book to anyone. It is a book filled with life’s lessons that would let you reminisce on your teenage year. At the same time, you look back your past and think whether the wound inside your heart has healed and made you a better person or think if the effect is otherwise. You would love the overflowing hope it promises you after reading it.

Remember: You cannot change your past but you can always choose you future.

We accept the love we think we deserve. I think in the movie, it was Charlie who said it to Sam. In the book, it was Bill, his teacher, is the person who said it to him. In any case, those words will live on.

The Truths About the Cybercrime Law (R.A. 10175)

It has been weeks since the controversial Republic Act 10175 or “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012″ has been effective as a law. Netizens were outraged for its passing. Several memes, blog posts and comments flooded my timeline in Facebook and Twitter. They clamor that we entered again the era of Martial Law, electronic that is. But what is it really?

The passage of the Cybercrime Law is intended not to be a burden for us responsible Netizens but it is primarily meant to act as a protection for us against people who are abusing their freedom of speech. A lot of people are downright hurtful and reckless in expressing their thoughts in the Internet especially on celebrities on Twitter. They easily spread baseless rumors that tarnish the images of our celebrities, both local and international. But it is not just the local celebrities who are getting the hurt from all of these Internet fiascos. Ordinary netizens suffers, too. I have friends who were victims of anonymous and reprehensible people who made an account using their pictures. I couldn’t forget my friend who we shall name as “Shirley “(not her real name) who not only used her pictures, but names that fake account with her real named coupled by the word “skanky”. To make it worst, her picture was edited with a drawing of a penis near her lips and there were scribbles of fangs on her mouth and horns on her head. She requested everyone to report to Facebook that fake account as spam. I reported it to Facebook until the day it was officially taken down by the popular networking site.

The list of victims could go on and on. And while I wrote this article below about bullying, there is also Cyber-bullying now. The problem with the old school bullying of physical, emotional or verbal abuse compared to Cyber-bullying is that in the latter sometimes you have no idea on who is your bully. In Shirley’s case, she never found out who made that fake Facebook account. It’s easy to create accounts in the Internet, spread things about a person whether imbued with truth or of complete falsity and just go away with it.

Before we start, please take note on the definition of the Cybercrime Law on what a computer is: “Computer refers to an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other data processing or communications device, or grouping of such devices, capable of performing logical, arithmetic, routing, or storage functions and which includes any storage facility or equipment or communications facility or equipment directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device. It covers any type of computer device including devices with data processing capabilities like mobile phones, smart phones, computer networks and other devices connected to the internet.” Therefore, everything here shall apply not only to our computers but as well as our mobile phones.

Anyway, let us analyze the penal provisions and the penalties one by one.

 SEC. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. — The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this Act:

(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:

(1) Illegal Access. – The access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right.

Downright illegal. Of course who would want their computer accessed by anyone?

(2) Illegal Interception. – The interception made by technical means without right of any non-public transmission of computer data to, from, or within a computer system including electromagnetic emissions from a computer system carrying such computer data.

I’m not exactly sure how illegal interception could be used in computers. I suggest asking the opinion of an Electronics Engineer for this. I do not have a working knowledge of this so I cannot say if the provision is vague. Illegal interception usually occurs in telecommunication devices which is included in their definition of what a computer is. Weird, I know.  Also, would this include people who are making unwarranted usage of their neighbor’s Wi-Fi without the latter’s permission?

(3) Data Interference. — The intentional or reckless alteration, damaging, deletion or deterioration of computer data, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right, including the introduction or transmission of viruses.

Yes, this must be punishable. One of the major reasons for the decline of Friendster is some people ‘phished’ the information of its users. After clicking a graphic or an invite in your wall, you would be directed into a link which is asking for your Friendster username and password again. Thinking that you are accidentally logged out, you supply that information again not knowing that your login information was already acquired by a random person. That’s the Friendster virus everyone was talking about. Definitely, we do not want our information altered, damaged, deleted or deteriorated by a third person especially if we are talking about writings, photographs, videos and the like which are covered by the Intellectual Property Law. For your information, whether you registered your work or not, you already have a copyright for your work created.

One more thing, this probably applies to people who recklessly alter some of the tweets of known personalities like celebrities or newscasters to exaggerate the news especially in times of calamities like typhoons. Please, do not do this.

(4) System Interference. — The intentional alteration or reckless hindering or interference with the functioning of a computer or computer network by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data or program, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right or authority, including the introduction or transmission of viruses.

Similar to the provision on Data Interference but its scope includes computer program. The rest that it mentioned could be understood as included under Data Interference. I believe that it is best to just merge these two provisions together.

(5) Misuse of Devices.

(i) The use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution, or otherwise making available, without right, of:

(aa) A device, including a computer program, designed or adapted primarily for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this Act; or

(bb) A computer password, access code, or similar data by which the whole or any part of a computer system is capable of being accessed with intent that it be used for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this Act.

(ii) The possession of an item referred to in paragraphs 5(i)(aa) or (bb) above with intent to use said devices for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this section.

Wait? What? The law did not define what a ‘device’ is but reason would tell us that device would just mean the computer itself. I don’t know why there are suddenly commercial law provisions for this law but I’m pretty sure that selling of any goods without any right is illegal primarily because of taxation purposes and for fair market play under the commercial laws. Thus, what is this?

Why must there be a provision about the misuse of computer password or access code? I mean how can you access any data without the use of the password or access code? So if I hack one’s account and make use of his data, shall I be liable for both data interference and misuse of devices?

Also, by committing any other act in this law, aren’t you already misusing your device, too? I believe that this is a vague provision that must be removed if ever this law shall be amended.

(6) Cyber-squatting. – The acquisition of a domain name over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same, if such a domain name is:

(i) Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with the appropriate government agency at the time of the domain name registration:

(ii) Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant, in case of a personal name; and

(iii) Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it.

Cyber-squatting. I chuckled when I first read it. Nonetheless, in my humble opinion, this is another useless provision. This is well-covered by the Intellectual Property Laws on trade names! I also assume that they copied this from Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) of the United States which states:

SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress finds that the unauthorized registration or use of trademarks as Internet domain names or other identifiers of online locations (commonly known as `cybersquatting’)–

(1) results in consumer fraud and public confusion as to the true source or sponsorship of products and services;
(2) impairs electronic commerce, which is important to the economy of the United States; and
(3) deprives owners of trademarks of substantial revenues and consumer goodwill.

(b) Computer-related Offenses:

(1) Computer-related Forgery. —

(i) The input, alteration, or deletion of any computer data without right resulting in inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, regardless whether or not the data is directly readable and intelligible; or

(ii) The act of knowingly using computer data which is the product of computer-related forgery as defined herein, for the purpose of perpetuating a fraudulent or dishonest design.

(2) Computer-related Fraud. — The unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer data or program or interference in the functioning of a computer system, causing damage thereby with fraudulent intent: Provided, That if no damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.

I scratched my head reading this. Aren’t all of these a fancy repetition of Data and System Interception? Couldn’t this be just deleted?

(3) Computer-related Identity Theft. – The intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, alteration or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether natural or juridical, without right: Provided, That if no damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.

I was pleased knowing that this is included in the law especially having Shirley’s case at the back of my head. But perhaps, this provision must have some more parameters regarding the use and the right of identifying information belonging to another. I mean, quote people from time to time especially in writing blogs and tweeting but do I really have the right to do so? Also, some people are using the pictures of their favorite celebrities as their profile pictures. I believe that it is also a form of usage of identifying information belonging to another after all damage would just mean a degree higher in penalty. But isn’t that vague? You could be imprisoned by just changing your profile picture of Angelina Jolie is utterly ridiculous.

Penalties: Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated above shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor (6 years and 1 day to 12 years) or a fine of at least Two hundred thousand pesos (PhP200,000.00) up to a maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred or both. However, any person found guilty of the punishable act under Misuse of Devices shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00) or both.

But it does not stop there. If punishable acts in Section 4(a) are committed against critical infrastructure, the penalty of reclusion temporal (12 years and 1 day to 20 years) or a fine of at least Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00) up to maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred or both, shall be imposed. Critical infrastructure is referred under this law the computer systems, and/or networks, whether physical or virtual, and/or the computer programs, computer data and/or traffic data so vital to this country that the incapacity or destruction of or interference with such system and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national or economic security, national public health and safety, or any combination of those matters.

(c) Content-related Offenses:

(1) Cybersex. — The willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.

How about between two consenting adults? Some women ‘reward’ their men by sending them their private photos on-line. I believe that this act consists of exhibition of sexual organs with aid of computer systems for a consideration. Could they be punished under this act?

Penalties: Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts hall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor (12 years and 1 day to 20 years) or a fine of at least Two hundred thousand pesos (PhP200,000.00) but not exceeding One million pesos (PhP1,000,000.00) or both. Good luck to you and your boyfriend in posting your videos.

(2) Child Pornography. — The unlawful or prohibited acts defined and punishable by Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed through a computer system: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be (1) one degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775.

This provision increased the penalty for child pornographers. I’m quite happy knowing that. Those pedophiles must receive all the penalties that they deserve. It breaks my heart knowing how many children are exploited sexually at a very young age. The effect to them is greater in the future. They will have no disregard for their being as a person and would sell their bodies as an adult. Worst, they could become pedophiles themselves.

Penalties: Any person found guilty under this provision shall be punished with the penalties as enumerated in Republic Act No. 9775 or the “Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009″: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775, if committed through a computer system.

(3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. — The transmission of commercial electronic communication with the use of computer system which seek to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are prohibited unless:

(i) There is prior affirmative consent from the recipient; or

(ii) The primary intent of the communication is for service and/or administrative announcements from the sender to its existing users, subscribers or customers; or

(iii) The following conditions are present:

(aa) The commercial electronic communication contains a simple, valid, and reliable way for the recipient to reject. Receipt of further commercial electronic messages (opt-out) from the same source;

(bb) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely disguise the source of the electronic message; and

(cc) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely include misleading information in any part of the message in order to induce the recipients to read the message.

This is useful for people who love transacting on-line. Internet is a source of fraudulent transaction because it’s very easy to advertise goods on-line but it is also very easy to abscond from your buyers. However, this is unnecessary. We already have the Republic Act 8792 or the E-Commerce Act for this.

Penalties: Any person found guilty of under this provision shall be punished with imprisonment of arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months) or a fine of at least Fifty thousand pesos (PhP50,000.00) but not exceeding Two hundred fifty thousand pesos (PhP250,000.00) or both.

(4) Libel. — The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.

Without a doubt, this is the most controversial provision in the entire law. Senator Tito Sotto supposedly inserted this provision when he got offended with the netizens who made fun of his anti-RH Bill speech that was supposedly copied from a blogger and the other speech was translated from the speech of Robert Kennedy. But first of all, what is libel? Libel is defined under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code which states that, “A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.” While penal laws are supposedly prospective, the Cybercrime law may have a retrospective effect because the coverage of the term libel is so broad, it could include all other libelous statements including those you’ve posted on-line a year ago as long as it tends to cause dishonor, discredit or contempt a natural or juridical person or blacken the memory of a dead person. The prescription of the crime libel is one year under our Revised Penal Code. In addition, the truth of your statements is generally not a defense according to Article 354 although your liability could be lessened under Article 361 if you can prove your good faith in posting such statements on-line BUT remember that this is a special law, a mala prohibita. In special laws, good faith is NOT a defense.

Article 355 enumerated the means that libel could be done, “A libel committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means.” Nonetheless, I do not understand why the penalty for libel is so huge and harsh if done on-line. Article 355 continues, “shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party.” Observe how little those pecuniary penalties are and the imprisonment simply means 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months.

Nonetheless, according to Atty. Disini an information technology legal expert, on-line libel under RA 10175 is punishable by a penalty one degree higher than the one in the penal code. In this case, it’s a maximum penalty of 10 years. Because the penalties are cumulative, a single act of online libel can result in a maximum jail time of more than 14 years.

SEC. 5. Other Offenses. — The following acts shall also constitute an offense:

(a) Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of Cybercrime. – Any person who willfully abets or aids in the commission of any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.

Maybe if you helped in carrying the computers knowing it shall be used for the commission of the crimes under this law, you could be penalized under this article? I don’t know. How do you exactly abet a cybercriminal?

(b) Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime. — Any person who willfully attempts to commit any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.

Oh, my dear Lord, this made me LAUGH! Hysterical! So if I typed something like, “Die, you bitch!” on the wall of a girl I really hate BUT NOT actually post this message, I shall also be criminally liable under this law? How would the government play like God in this case? Perhaps they could just include an attempted stage in the Child Pornography. It will just not do in any other crimes included in this law. Anyone else here who had a good stretch of imagination, come suggest something that could be considered as an attempted stage in the Cybercrime law.

Penalties: Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated under this section  shall be punished with imprisonment one (1) degree lower than that of the prescribed penalty for the offense or a fine of at least One hundred thousand pesos (PhP100,000.00) but not exceeding Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00) or both.

SEC. 6. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.

In short, any of our crimes now named under the Revised Penal Code and other special laws shall have an aggravating circumstance if used with [digital?] information and technologies.

SEC. 7. Liability under Other Laws. — A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws.

Uh-oh. I smell double jeopardy here. It means that you could be prosecuted for let’s say, libel, under the Cybercrime Law AND the Revised Penal Code. Good luck with that.

At present, after several protests, the Supreme Court finally issued its 120-day Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) with all the justices voting unanimously to its issuance but the battle is far from over. Actually, as a responsible netizen, I am not afraid of the Cybercrime law. I have my Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression and I give only constructive criticism against the government in some of my blog entries. What I am mostly afraid of is Section 19 of the Cybercrime Law, declaring that “when a computer data is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the Department of Justice (DOJ) shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such computer.'” No court intervention is needed because the DOJ can go right ahead and force you to stop publishing your posts. This is a clear violation of due process but how exactly are we going to be monitored by DOJ? I mean, personally, once I placed my post in an on-line forum, I can’t find it after a few hours especially if we are talking about hot topic here. Who will monitor our posts and how many shall they be? How far can the P50 Million annual budget for this law go?

While I understand the good intentions of the drafters of this law, this must completely be declared null and void by the Supreme Court as soon as possible. Not only because of its vagueness, its killer penalties and it being violative of our right to due process, speech and expression but it is almost completely unenforceable. Should we be afraid of these nuisance law? As the movie, V for Vendetta reminds us,

“”People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

From Facebook
Big Brother is Watching You. Go ahead. Search my posts including my 22000+ tweets. Am I afraid? No. Laughing, yes.

Read the full text of the Cybercrime Law in the Official Gazette.

We Are All Special: Stand Up Against Bullying

No, you don’t know what it’s like when nothing feels all right. You don’t know what it’s like to be like me; to be hurt; to feel lost; to be left out in the dark; to be kicked when you’re down; to feel like you’ve been pushed around; to be on the edge of breaking down and no one’s there to save you. No, you don’t know what it’s like. Welcome to my life.

― Welcome to My Life by Simple Plan

I was chubby and geeky ever since I entered primary school.  But to make things worse when I was a child, I wear these very thick glasses and have this very bad haircut. I have no idea why my parents insisted on imposing boy haircuts to my sister and me but they just do. Besides that, I was freaking tall but with very awkward movements.

In a world where appearance does matter, I’m an easy target of bullies. I do not fight back, I just couldn’t. But I tell you, I was laughed at, poked on, pushed aside, called by names and a girl even plastered, “Baboy ako” (“I’m a pig”) at my back. There were times when some of my classmates hid my books or notebooks because probably it was fun on their part seeing someone go crazy looking for their stuffs. In the end, I just learned how to ignore them until they got tired. But I did this because for the longest time because I was believing them that I was ugly and awkward.

I believe that nobody must be mistreated or bullied inside the school. I hated school and it’s not because I am not fond of doing school works or studying but because I viewed it as hell. I have bullies the moment I entered the school bus and later, I have more by entering the classroom. Although God is kind by sending me good friends in school, still I have to drag myself every day in school.

I guess the bullying on me weakened when I was in second year high school. At that time, we were having our computer class, a subject I especially excelled in that is why I was so focused on listening to my teacher. Then suddenly I saw my classmate sitting behind me rubbing his shoes on my bag like a door mat and throwing his candy wrapper on it. I was shocked. I was filled with obfuscation and wrath that the next thing I knew, I was shouting, “Bag ko yan!” (“That’s my bag!”) and my right fist is already on his face. My teacher told me that she would see me after class but she didn’t. Maybe because I cried after that punching incident and I didn’t know exactly what I did. Well, I knew that gossip spreads like fire in our school. I mean my friend Anthony confessed in class that he is masturbating and the next day, everybody is calling him “Master” even the kids from other class who he didn’t know. The next day, people seems quiet when they see me except my friends though shocked, understood me and hang out with me as if nothing happened.

To you my young reader who is bullied, I want you to fight back. That is the only way to get pass by your own bully. If you are not strong enough handling them alone, find someone who can help you like a teacher, your parents or your counsellor. The problem in my case is that I was raised thinking that if you depend so much on your parents or any adult for that matter, you are weak. That is why I keep everything to myself. I didn’t cry either because I thought that crying is only for the weak. Nonetheless, do not do that. Cry as much as you want. Express your anger. Shout if you want. Break things if you must. But the most important thing is to talk to someone about it especially to people who love you. Feel their love and support to you. This shall strengthen you.

Do not hate your life just because you have some bullies around you. These days, some people are getting so far with their bullying that their victims are ending up killing themselves. Do not let this happen. Life has so much to offer. Life may suck now but it does get better, I assure you of that. Also, Lady Gaga, Adele, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift are all the icons of the music industry now and everyone wants to be like them but you must know that they are all survivors of bullying. Bullying attacked even the little princess of Japan, Princess Aiko. She was severely bullied that she refused in going to school for months. So you see, if you are bullied, you now know that you are not alone. The impact of bullying lingers on even up to now. Sometimes, when I walk on streets and see a gang of students laughing behind my back, I occasionally think that they are laughing at me. Also, it is my self-esteem is something I am working on for years. Psychological tests indicate that I have a very low self-esteem until now.

Yes, I am aware that bullies are probably victims, too. A lot of bullies usually have problems at home. They may also be victims of social injustice, poverty, broken family and just like the bullied victim they do feel unloved and dejected. Nevertheless, there is no reason why one should hurt anyone physically and psychologically just because he is hurt. Rather, one who is hurt must give love and acceptance to a person who is hurt because he understands what another is going through. Bullying others does not make you cool. It doesn’t make you a higher and better person. You are still that broken person inside. At the end of the day, nobody misses a bully.

This month of October is the Anti-Bullying Month. I wrote my experiences to help raise the awareness against bullying. Nobody deserves to be bullied and feel ugly, worthless, helpless, rejected and unwanted. Know your worth, your capabilities and your potential. Know that you can make a difference. Know that you are worthy of love and is very important. Do not let anyone pull you down or harass you.

We must all stand up against bullying.

My experience in bullying did help me became a better person. In the future, I know my experience as a victim of bullying will help me become a good and righteous lawyer because I understand justice because I’ve came to understand injustice at a very young age. As Chris Colfer quoted, “When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.

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Stop Bullying. Speak up. Make a stand. 

UAAP Season 75 Aftermath Random Thoughts

I don’t know if it is really normal to really be a big fan of college basketball even if it has been years since you last graduated. But I am still a big fan of it. I know I have not blogged much last month because I had been busy but if you are following my twitter account, you probably have noticed that I tweeted so much about UAAP. UAAP stands for University Athletic Association of the Philippines. It is composed of eight of the biggest universities in Metro Manila namely, Adamson University (AdU), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU),  Far Eastern University (FEU), National University (NU), University of the East (UE), University of the Philippines (UP) and University of Santo Tomas (UST).

As you all know, I received my Economics degree as well as some units for College of Law in University of Santo Tomas and now I’m pursuing my Law degree in University of the East so in a way, the UAAP is very much alive in me. But you see, both in UST and UE, my classmates care little if not at all about UAAP. In law school, people hardly participate in school activities. Also, there is that big attachment formed in their undergraduate. I was told that your true love is your undergraduate school and not your post-grad school. Personally, I both love my schools so much. I scream equally on the games. I swear you wouldn’t want hearing me scream because it might damage your eardrums permanently. Though I really need to know more about UE—the history, the cheers and the school spirit. Did you know that I just learned today that UE was formerly known as Philippine College of Commerce and Business Administration? Well, I still have remaining two semesters to know my law university better.

Truthfully, it’s kind of depressing having no one to talk about sports in school but thank God for the Internet, I could still discuss the games with my college buddies and also at home because everyone in my family graduated from a UAAP school including my little brother who is a first year engineering student now in UST. Also, in Facebook and Twitter, you can easily air your views and read the views of another. It feels so good cheering for your teams as well as trash talking some schools at times though.  Yes, trash talking shall never be parted from cheering your school.

I did watch a game live this season in the Mall of Asia Arena. It was between UST and DLSU and surprisingly, DLSU did win that game. But although I was sad that UST lost that game, the experience of me chanting UST Cheers and having that adrenalin rush all throughout the game made me feel younger again. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I watched a game live but I’m happy that I relieved it in that game.

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Intense. Often, I am usually noisy when watching UAAP when one of my universities are playing. But I’m very quiet when watching them playing against each other. UST’s Teng and UE’s Sumang are battling it up here.

My UE Team did not fare well this season. They only won 3 out of 14 games in the eliminations. Nonetheless that includes one big win from this season’s champion, Ateneo. I was lucky enough to watch the game with the entire UE community in our lobby. I must tell you that the UE is crowd is one of the most passionate players in the league! Also, I just love it when the even Coach Norman Black’s face turned pale when they lost to the nothing-to-lose UE Team.

UST almost had it all. Almost. I was really sad hearing their loss to Ateneo. I really thought that the 2006 Championship would be repeated. I can never forget that season which some dubbed as a “Cinderella finish”. Why? It the first round of eliminations, all schools except FEU had defeated the lowly UST Team. Probably because of three things: First, they are still adjusting with their new coach, Pido Jarencio. Second, they lack maturity as a team. Third, their players kept on having illnesses. If I remembered it correctly, there was a dengue outbreak amongst the players. But coming into the second round of eliminations, they were a solid, strong team. They defeated all the teams in that elimination round and they were defeated by Ateneo only on the Game 1 of the finals. In the end, they emerged as champions. In this season, nobody is really expecting UST to reach the finals but they did. They were such a great team to watch and I assure you that they are not for the faint-hearted. They are usually lagging behind their opponent in the first three quarters but damn that fourth quarter of theirs. For some reasons, they could easily steal the ball and shoot them effortlessly. Unfortunately, they did not defeat Ateneo this time. So all bitterness aside, I congratulate the Hail Mary Squad, Ateneo de Manila University. Five straight winning basketball championships are not easy to achieve. I also salute the Atenean community for being extremely supportive of their basketball teams.

I hope in the future there shall be more teams included in UAAP. The season feels so short because we only have eight teams. Probably at ten teams, we could have a longer and more intense season. I heard that since San Beda College would be turning into a university soon, they are planning on joining UAAP. I would love that but I don’t like some super proud Bedans ask us Warriors to change our school colors because although San Beda was established way before UE, we were in the league as the fifth member of the UAAP. Also, Ateneo is now campaigning for their sixth title or the ANIM-O. I challenge all teams in UAAP to do something and halt them. I mean come on, five championships are way too much.

I just cannot wait for the next season. Generally, only a few good players from all schools are graduating so I expect a very good and quality basketball next season. I heard that UE have two ‘import’ players for next season and recently, Manny V. Pangilinan donated P5M for the UP Team so in a way, every team is stepping up and prepping up for the next season.

More than the school rivalry and the intrigues and protests this season, what shall linger more is the camaraderie, sportsmanship and mutual respect for all people under the UAAP member schools.  UAAP is one of the biggest reason why I am proud being a Golden Lady Warrior or a Red Tigress. Probably, that is what made me addicted to it up to now. I can see that UAAP will really last for a very long time and could go on even after my death. But for now, I could imagine myself as a grandmother taking her grandchildren into the game and still shouting,”O, Defensa!” even with arthritis on.

Long live, UAAP!

Unlikely Combination. A Red Kitty. Weird but it is what I am in UAAP.