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Welcome to Volume 6 of The Marocharim Experiment. This blog is authored and maintained by Marocharim, the self-professed antichrist of new media.

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Marocharim is a 21-year-old college senior from the University of the Philippines Baguio, majoring in Social Anthropology and has a minor in Political Science. He lives with his parents, his brother and his sister in Baguio City - having been born and raised there all his life. He is the author of three book-versions of The Marocharim Experiment.

Most of his time is spent at school, where he can be found in the UP Baguio Library reading or scribbling notes, and sometimes hanging out with his friends or by himself in the kiosks, or the main lobby. During his spare time, he continues writing. When not in school he hangs out with his friends, or takes long walks around Baguio City to, as he puts it, "get lost."

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The Marocharim Experiment Volume I: The Trial of Another Mind, Subject to Disclosure is Available Now

The Marocharim Experiment Volume II: The Nevermind Chronicles is Available Now

The Marocharim Experiment Volume III: The Sentence Construction of Reality is Available Now


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September 16, 2007

< hmmm... >

   Very recently, I came across one of Shari Cruz's entries that actually had my name on it: apparently, my scatological opinions on Manny Pacquiao where I offered Gloria Arroyo the option of orally sodomizing him got her in a bit of trouble with her peers.

   It kind of reminds me how much trouble I have caused myself just because I wrote something.  The reason why I kicked myself out of the Outcrop (UP Baguio's student paper) was because I wrote an article that completely ran contrary to other people's principles apparently also espoused by the paper.  Back in high school, I almost got suspended for calling the school administration "corrupt," way after the English Department finally understood the meaning behind the irony.  Heck, this here blog caused a hell of a lot of headaches for my activist friends: if anything, I'm a breakaway rejectionist "traitor."

   Never mind all the trouble I caused for writing here about my love life, though.  The thing is, I always manage to stir up a bit of trouble for writing about everything that comes to my head in a given hour of blogging.  Like I said before, I have the same social consciousness as a Lolit Solis: if I write down my piece, people can have their peace with me.  I don't wear my activism on my sleeve, and if I do, I don't give my homily from the pew.  My idea of "dialectic" is not something akin to the shallow misreading of some people: it's not a matter of determining the stronger idea, but a matter of synthesis.  You cannot reconcile contradictions: you can, however, reconcile differences.

   A friend of mine once asked me how I have "moved" through the continuum of ideas: I entered college a Marxist, then I became a true-blooded Marxist, then I underwent so many transformations until I became more of my own man: a Frankenstein of syntheses.  Yet if anything, too many people are afraid of a Frankenstein because there's just too much of you in him.

   Here's an advice for the young: the world is your apple.  There are too many things in this world that you can learn by moving along, by learning new things, by discovering stuff.  You're far too young to know everything, but you're never too old to learn.  Yes, be active in your pursuits.  Do your bit in the streets if you have to.  I know I did, but found that it's not my place.  Maybe it's yours, heck, I don't know.  But whatever it is, don't tread on me.

Posted at Sunday, September 16, 2007 by marocharim

September 15, 2007
Shame On You, Gangsta

< oh boy >

   If anything, I'm pissed off whenever I'm surrounded by these poseur hip-hop gangsters who delude themselves into thinking they're black (like right now).  Not only am I entreated to the unflattering sight of pants worn down so low that I could make out brand of underwear they're using, I'm also entreated to the unflattering thought of what they really are in this society: pests, nuisances, malcontents, the list goes on.

   The state of gang violence here in Baguio is alarming, to the point that the City Government has actually imposed a 7 PM curfew for minors.  Still, such a policy doesn't make me feel safe in the streets: they still terrorize the neighborhoods in a state of fear and alarm.  Just a few days ago, a young man was almost mauled to death at a street corner because of gang violence.  There's just no way anyone can walk the streets of Baguio City anymore without feeling some degree of fear.

   In case these "gangstas" don't know, they don't own the streets at all.  Our taxes paid for the space they appropriate as their "territories:" if anything, they're not only illegal occupants, they're also guilty of illegal assembly.  If there's anything I'm "down" about, it's that I'm very "down" with having each and every gang member in a crowded prison cell doing hard time and living the life of a real "gangsta."  I'm "down" with the citizens of Baguio City getting their parks, sidewalks, and street corners back from these miscreants and malcontents.  I'm down with breaking a branch from the learning tree and whipping some sense and good into these painfully ignorant, law-breaking charlatans.

   If anything, I don't believe in restitution.  I believe that the best way to get rid of these criminals is to round them up and put them to jail.  I don't buy into the solution offered by the government with regard to signing covenants and "educational programs:" if there's any better way for these people to understand the wages of crime, it's to pay their debt to society.  They should be rounded up and sent off in a place where all gangsters from Al Capone to Snoop Dogg spent part of their lives: a good old-fashioned prison.  I would rather have it that they be tortured by a flogging or scaphism (death by insects).

   Maybe I'm too harsh.  But imagine the harshness brought about by living life in fear because of these shameful people.  Imagine the harshness these peons bring upon their parents, upon their friends, upon society.  Imagine the harshness brought about by reading the local Sunday paper and read about another gang-related death.  Imagine seeing a gang violence victim being wheeled into the emergency room, stripped not only of his future, but his dignity and personhood as well.

   I have a message for all you wannabees: you won't go to heaven where the sky is blue, you'll all go to hell for your color ain't true.  Damn right it will rain, damn right it will flood, when I see another rumble between Crips and Bloods.  In words you can understand: shame on you gangsta, try to run game on a gangsta, you buck wild with the trigger, and I know a place where you'll have to submit with your ass getting fucked up, bitch.

Posted at Saturday, September 15, 2007 by marocharim

September 14, 2007
Death by (Friendster) Degrees X

< oooh, number ten >

   The prudent thing to do would be to sit before my home computer, type up the concluding remarks to my 114-page draft, print it out, go to a cheap roadside photocopying place and have them churn out the necessary copies, go inside said cheap roadside photocopying place and avail of their bookbinding services, wait for a couple of days, and then pass it off to the faculty.  Of course, I've never been known for prudence.

   My dossier of public profiles have remained unopened for a couple of weeks, and a few nights ago I had to open all 417 of them again for another round of me vs. Microsoft Excel.  I finally got the hang of analyzing data in the most anal-retentive way, and it took me two hours to do so.  I finally have a one-round knockout win over the spreadsheet.

   Some people at university gave me an odd look when I was humming Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture: it signals that the ghost of Archimedes possessed me, and I just had a "Eureka!" moment that's not enough for me to strip off my clothes and run around campus naked.

   It's the intellectual equivalent of seeing Britney Spears losing an inch of cellulite.

Posted at Friday, September 14, 2007 by marocharim

September 13, 2007
Qualifying the Joma Entry

< hmmm... >

   It's a distinct honor for me, as a blogger, to be mentioned by Mr. Manuel Quezon III regarding my take on Joma.  I've also been quoted by the neoconservative blogger The Belmont Club on that take.  I always thought that whatever I have to say about politics is a hill of beans, but to some people, it's not.

   Unless something happens, I won't be writing about Joma for a while.  But since I've been stirring the proverbial can of beans on Joma inside and outside the blogosphere, I may need to make a few qualifying points on the matter.

   The reason why I think "Joma's movement is on trial" is because of a rather simplistic, but I believe to be very valid, idea: again, to talk about Communism in the Philippines is to talk about Joma Sison.  As a response to Karlo Mongaya's take, I said that someone else would rise up to take up the helm of the movement if Joma gets arrested, if he gets incapacitated, or if he dies: the outcome of the Joma trial at The Hague will determine, in one way or another, the course the movement will take in the future.

   What I need to underscore here, though, is that the diverse opinions on the matter of Joma's arrest only reflects the polarizing effect of a half-century of "protracted war" against "imperialism," among others, in the Philippines.  There are so many opinions, but it only would mean categorizing such opinions as "sympathetic" or "accusing:" there is no middle ground.  This reflects how immature the political system is in our country: we who opine about the matter are not at liberty of where to categorize ourselves in this paradox of a "binary continuum."

   In my entry "The Pink Elephant in the Philippines Nobody Wants to Talk About," and in an earlier entry entitled "Ideological Paleontology," I made clear the matter of "polarization:" the point of divergence is not the theory, but the practice.  The polarity, though, is manifested in that of rhetoric: a Communist could make the government sound so bad, and the government can make a Communist sound so bad.  You need only to scour the blogosphere to compare entries that are "pro-Joma" and "anti-Joma," and you would be utterly confused on determining who the lesser of two evils is.  It's a matter of determining what snake oil cures what.

   It is an unflattering and uncompromising position for Joma to be subjected to the long arm of a system of laws he and his movement fought against for a full half-century.  Basically, we're dealing here with thicker chains, and more than one chain at that.  Joma's trial will basically determine what chain is stronger: noting, of course, that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Posted at Thursday, September 13, 2007 by marocharim

September 12, 2007
Ab Beration

< hmmm... >

   I'm getting a bit round around the edges, and it's high time I considered working on getting myself into shape.  I could care less, but I could only imagine Britney Spears curled up in a fetal position for that horrible-looking paunch in her belly in the Video Music Awards.

   For men, it's perfectly OK to have a big belly.  My brother, for example, is perfectly comfortable with his body even if my relatives are saying that he should start losing weight.  My dad isn't exactly the picture of fitness, either: his love handles quite obvious considering that he tucks in his shirts.  As a man, I shouldn't even have a particular problem with a few tummy rolls.  However, I happen to be one of those straight men who look like women from a distance.

   My sister is particularly bothered about how fat I'm getting in the midsection, saying that given my frame and the rest of my body, the love handles look particularly obscene.  I only became quite attentive when I tried pulling on a pair of jeans I haven't used in quite a while, and I finally became convinced that I need to work not only on my midsection, but also on my ass.  After a deep breath, I managed to zip up the fly and settled for having an open button, but I kind of felt uncomfortable considering all the flesh filling out the jeans.  Yup, I felt like my ass was about to rip out of the seams of the pair of pants, and I can see the outline of my crotch.  So I ditched the jeans.

   Although I wouldn't be particularly happy with slimming down my penis: there's just no exercise machine out there that can tone the phallus in three minutes.

Posted at Wednesday, September 12, 2007 by marocharim

The Six-Year Screwjob

< i'm incensed >

   I always considered the Joseph Estrada plunder trial to be a black eye in the Philippine justice system.  I did my bit six years ago: when I was in fourth year high school, me and a group of friends trooped to UP Baguio to join the cause that was EDSA Dos, miles away from the epicenter that was in Metro Manila.  It was not a naīve desire to skip classes that drove us to join in, raise our fists and demand Estrada's ouster: in our young minds, we were not blind to the utter display of incompetence and buffoonery in Malacaņang, considering that it was our future at stake.

   Erap has been "in detention" for, in his words, "six years, four months and 17 days."  Never mind that his concept of "detention" is in a palatial resthouse in Tanay: what I do mind is that the Sandiganbayan's verdict urinated on the very reason why we did what we did six years ago.  It took six years for the special division to pass its verdict: that Erap is guilty of plunder but acquitted of perjury, and Jinggoy and Atty. Ed Serapio are acquitted of the plunder charges.

   Six years, ladies and gentlemen, six years for that.

   I don't have a problem with Erap being convicted: what I have a problem about is that it took the Sandiganbayan six years to do pass judgment on his case.  This is not a matter of a "conspiracy," as it is a matter of trying a man for six years for a doubtful verdict.  For the first time, I actually feel sympathy for Erap: not because he's going to some arbitrary concept of "prison," but because he was made to endure six years of trial.  Worse, the Filipino people had to stand for this for six years: six years of political crap, six years for a crappy verdict, and more than six years of a crappy President.

   What makes this a screwjob is because the Filipino people definitely got screwed by a (pardon the related innuendo) half-assed verdict.  I need not say more.

Posted at Wednesday, September 12, 2007 by marocharim

September 11, 2007
The Trial

< hmmm... >

   It's not by coincidence that I was reading Franz Kafka's "The Trial" today: it's not that I think Joseph Estrada is innocent, but because Josef K. is the exact antithesis of Erap.  Unlike Josef K., Joseph E. knew exactly what crime he's in the Sandiganbayan for.  Unlike Josef K., Joseph E. wasn't tortured and treated "like a dog."

   I remember joining EDSA Dos from right here in Baguio: along with the throng in Malcolm Square, I demanded Estrada's ouster.  I don't think I was a naīve high school student back then: if Erap didn't deserve to go to jail because of plunder, Erap deserved to go to jail for incompetence.  Looking back, incompetence is not a crime you can go to jail for.

   This is at the root of our whole problem with Erap: we're at that point where we really have to look back.  EDSA Dos promised a whole new beginning: a departure from the prophecy of a political Apocalypse brought about by a rotund, tsinelas-wearing, incompetent buffoon impersonating a mandated President.  The reason why we joined in the spirit of EDSA on that January day in 2001 is because we also joined in the spirit of change that EDSA represented.  However, that change took form in a "departure" no different from Erap: a short, pantsuit-wearing, incompetent buffoon impersonating a President, only without a mandate.  That other buffoon is no less than Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: another person who deserves to be tried at the Sandiganbayan.

   Personally, I'd rather have Erap convicted.  After all, Estrada said that he'd rather go to Muntinlupa, but he never said anything about going to Bilibid.  Second, I'd like to see this country degenerate into a few days of chaos and turmoil.  Third, I really do believe that Erap is guilty of graft, corruption, and plunder.

   But I draw the line at another EDSA.

Posted at Tuesday, September 11, 2007 by marocharim

September 10, 2007
Six 9/11s

< hmmm... >

   "America has acted in recent years as if to be on the receiving end of evil is, in itself, to be good.  That being opposed to wrong is not the same thing as being right, that being a victim is not the same as being an innocent are ideas not warmly entertained of late in the land of the free."

- Pico Iyer, "Move On"
TIME, 8 September 2003

   Tomorrow, America celebrates the sixth year anniversary of 9/11.  It's been six years since that awful sight of an airplane cutting through the World Trade Center.  And it has been six years of awful sights of car bombs and dead bodies in the Middle East over the War on Terror.

   No, I'm not anti-American, but seeing how Americans deal with tragedy and disaster makes me contemplate on Pico Iyer's essay even more.  Hurricane Katrina made international headlines: two years later, CNN's Anderson Copper is still going at it.  The sight of helpless Americans in New Orleans is one thing, but it seems that an indifference is manifested in people not remembering the tsunami that swept through South Asia two years ago.  The difference is very stark: while the tsunami victims have rebuilt their lives themselves, the Americans didn't.

   Yet it isn't just about America's indifference towards the plight of other nations experiencing disaster while showing us a scar in Katrina.  This is about America, six 9/11s after the first plane crashed through the World Trade Center in an act of terror, going on with its war and showing us a scar that we've been so grown to seeing.  A few years ago, we saw Saddam Hussein's statue toppled in Baghdad.  Years later, we're seeing the desert cities of Iraq still under siege: the arbitrary "enemy" looming, but still not there.

   The war that America fought has gone through so many changes that we who are not in America's shores no longer know what exactly is the reason why an American soldier in Iraq dons his fatigues and fires his bullets.  First it was Osama bin Laden, then it became Saddam Hussein, then we're at that point where the "enemy" becomes a vague idea behind a mask that labels him an "extremist," and even to the halls of the US government itself.  Too many of these American soldiers are fighting a war half a world away to protect their people at the expense of innocent civilians who surely have a right to peace.

   For the past six years, there is no "global news" that doesn't revolve around America's war on terrorism: if anything, we non-Americans are learning more and more about the way America is.  As a non-American, there's a part of me that sympathizes with the loss of life in 9/11, and there's a part of me that blames the loss of even more lives in Iraq and Afghanistan because of how America responded to 9/11.  And then there's a part of me that asks if America is still mortally wounded over 9/11, or if it's showing me and the rest of the world an old scar that has already been healed over after six 9/11s.

Posted at Monday, September 10, 2007 by marocharim

September 9, 2007
The Sensible Computer

< hmmm... >

   I'm not exactly a computer expert, but often, people ask me for advice on what computer should they buy.  It's no easy task to buy a computer, especially with all the marketing strategies for really fast processors, loads of RAM, high-capacity hard drives, and so on and so forth.

   Now if you're not that into computing, you would probably spend a lot of money on an ultra-fast PC (or if you're really rich, a Mac) that you only use for basic computing tasks like word processing.  The problem with many computer buyers is that they're drawn to the marketing strategies more than the sensibility of why they have a computer in the first place.

   Selling computers nowadays is a lot like selling snake oil.  I've seen too many people have PC's that have everything, but they do very little with it: an Intel 3.6 GHz Core 2 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, a high-speed DVD-RW, a high-performance GeForce video card, a 5.1 surround sound system, an LCD screen... the works.  I would give my left arm for a computer like that (I won't miss it), but the owner basically just uses it for typing a paper.

   To me, high-end computers are for high-end users: these are people who really need the power.  Hardcore gamers, computer programmers and those who do animation are well-suited for these extremely powerful computers.  If you're the type of person who doesn't do any of those things, you might want to consider buying a cheaper computer: a sensible one that gets the job done.

   If I were you, I won't worry so much about "obsolescence:" there's nothing wrong with a second-hand Pentium III if all you're going to do is to type or if you're not into these graphics-heavy games.  I'm not saying that you should go off to a surplus shop to buy an antiquated Pentium MMX that runs on Windows 3.11, but "obsolete" only applies when you can no longer use the computer effectively.

   "Sensible," of course, depends on your sensibilities.  But here are some tips on "The Sensible Computer:"

*      *      *

   Define your practical purpose.  Buying a computer always starts with the question, "What is it for?"  "Computing" can mean so many things, but it always boils down to what your idea of computing is.  Be practical: with the state of the economy today, we all have to settle for practical computers and not dream machines.  Figure out what you need to do first, then figure out what you want to do by the time you have that computer.  Remember that powerful computers amount to big electric bills, so settle for a computer that will be well worth your money in the long run.

   Laptop or desktop?  To be honest, I'm partial to desktops.  The way I see it, you should only get a laptop if you do a lot of travelling and a lot of computing while travelling: not too many people do that.  Again, be practical: often, the lowest price for a new laptop can get you a more powerful desktop.  Computers are more of practical tools than status symbols: sure, you get some positive reinforcement by carrying a laptop around (an ego-boost), but I wouldn't be surprised if your ego gets deflated by the time your laptop is stolen.  Laptops are also notoriously hard to repair and upgrade: by the time a part gets busted, the recourse is always to get a new laptop.

   "Performance" is what you do with your computer.  What your computer can do is one thing, but what you do with your computer is another.  I'm not saying you should tinker with your computer (but if you can, go ahead, as long as you know what you're doing), but there's nothing wrong with a "slow" computer as long as it serves your purpose.  If all you do is type, there's no difference between a high-end computer, an entry-level computer, and a second-hand computer.  Consider buying a faster computer if you start to dabble into things like animation, graphics, or if you start to be obsessed with computer games.

   Operating systems.  I'm not saying that you should buy a jurassic 386 and use WordStar for your documents, Symphony for your spreadsheets and play retro games (no, wait, I encourage you to play DOS-based games), but all this hoopla about Windows basically boils down once again to purpose.  Sure, Vista is cool-looking, but there's nothing wrong with good-old XP, or even older Windows versions like NT, 2000, NT, or even Win98.  The key is to have your installer CDs ready: never, ever, buy a computer where they don't give you an installer for your OS (with the money you're paying for it).  Also, consider open-source: Linux is a very stable, reliable, and reasonable operating system.  As far as Windows is concerned, all Windows versions since Win95 operate on the same basic principle of the Start Menu, My Documents, My Computer and the Recycle Bin.  Your choice of an OS depends on what programs you use.

   "Obsolete."  The term "obsolete" is a nuanced expression: if you have your installers handy, you won't even need technical support (just re-install your program and you're fine).  There's no shame in having an "obsolete" computer if it serves your purposes: if you can still use it for your pertinent needs like word processing, it's perfectly fine.  "Obsolete" is an exigency applicable to business firms who need the technical support that comes with constant upgrades, updates, and the money to buy new computers.  For ordinary home users, this operational definition does not apply.

   Do you even need a computer?  Yes, this is a perfectly legitimate question to ask.  Computers are commitments as much as they are everything else: weigh your priorities.  "Need" is often mistaken for "want" as it is often psychologically created.  The way I see it, the only time you'll actually need a computer is if you can no longer get by computer rental shops.  Computers are expensive enough as they are: these are things you can't get by on a whim.  If you can't afford a computer, stick by with things you can actually afford (like shoes, for example) or save up your money until you can buy a machine that suits you.

*      *      *

   My concept of the "sensible computer" is one that may raise a few eyebrows, since all those tips arrive at the conclusion that it all depends on your practicalities and sensibilities.  Basically, for low-end computing (like typing papers and such), you can get by with a cheap second-hand computer from the surplus shop.  High-end users (not prospective high-end users) would go for those ultra-powerful computers.  But if you're a mid-range user (the bulk of the computing population), I suggest the most reasonably-priced computer that can boot Windows XP in more or less 15 seconds.

Posted at Sunday, September 09, 2007 by marocharim

High School Musicrap

< oh boy >

   I would rather have it if "Jihad the Musical," where "I Wanna Be Like Osama" could be the next "We're All In This Together."

   Tonight, "High School Musical 2" will make its Asian premiere at Disney Channel.  I'm going out on a limb in saying that I fart in the general direction of anyone who watches "High School Musical:" anyone who watches it has a hamster for a mother and a father whose breath smells like elderberries (yes, I just watched "Monty Python" movies).

   Why "High School Musical" is so popular, I don't know.  I heard in "The Tonight Show" that "High School Musical 2" is the highest-rating made-for-TV movie in basic cable, but to be perfectly honest, I could care less.  The way I see it, "High School Musical" is the populist version of Broadway: it's something you watch if you don't understand "RENT," "The King and I," "The Phantom of the Opera," "West Side Story," "A Chorus Line," and "Chicago."

   That's all.

Posted at Sunday, September 09, 2007 by marocharim
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