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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 23, 2007
Tubes and Highways

< hmmm... >

   I remember one time when US Senator Ted Stevens once referred to the Internet as, "It's not a dumptruck... it's a series of tubes."  But a couple of nights ago, during the Senate hearing on the national broadband network deal, I heard Senator Richard Gordon say, and correct me if I'm wrong, "The Internet is just like a highway."

   Personally, I think our august and esteemed Senators should refrain from defining and talking about things they obviously do not know.  Much of the ZTE hearing revolved around people wanting to know what "broadband" is, how the Internet works, and Senator Rodolfo Biazon asking if Smart has a wider coverage than Globe.  After a few days of trying to understand what the Senate committee was actually talking about, it turns out (and this is just my opinion) that they understand the Internet in terms of P20-an-hour cafés with broadband... ah, so that's why it's so corrupt.  Never mind that Joey de Venecia III is a marijuana user, that FG Mike Arroyo demanded that Joey "back off," or that, from my understanding the government can't make a contract with telecoms... heck, who understands anything about this ZTE deal?

   I expected the younger generation of Senators - in that of Francis Escudero, the Cayetano siblings, or Juan Miguel Zubiri - to come to the rescue of the older Senators who are still trapped in the days of Telex and save the Senate from the destruction brought about by their ignorance of the Internet.  But no: they were too busy implicating or not implicating President Arroyo in the dubious deal.

   Nope, I'm not going to spend time explaining what the Internet is to the Senate.  If old people want to think of the Internet in terms of dumptrucks, tubes, highways, or whatever other metaphor they can think of, I'm fine with that.  After all, the Senate can start investigating about this "Internet" thing we speak of.


Posted at Sunday, September 23, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

September 22, 2007
Death by (Friendster) Degrees XI

< oooh, eleven >

   First of all, my congratulations to my very good friends Jeronimo Poyaoan and Jezele Lester Esguerra, who have worked so hard and can now confidently put the title "Engineer" before their names.

*      *      *

   Because of a slump in thesis-writing activity, I decided to follow my friend Tano's lead and write endnotes to my thesis chapters.  The reason why I chose to write endnotes is because I needed to qualify myself: suffice to say, I did a lot in the way of qualifying.  Needless to say, my "synthetic approach" has led me to do a lot of endnote-related explanation.

   Like many social scientists, I have this particular paranoia about the "passé."  Since I'm planning to submit my paper to an overseas conference, I feel the need to do a bit of ass-kissing by using more "contemporary" thinkers, following the suggestion of some of my teachers.  For all intents and purposes of pulling rabbits out of hats, though, I could do worse than to go back to the "traditional" thought.  If I'm going to talk about "virtual communities," I'm going to have to talk about "community" itself.  And nobody talks about "community" better than sociology's grand old man himself: Emilé Durkheim.

   This is one of those days where I wished I paid more attention to my classical theory class.  The triumvirate of sociological thought revolves around an understanding of three people: Durkheim, Max Weber, and Karl Marx.  To be perfectly honest, my weakest point is Durkheim.  I could probably be forgiven for having lapses with Weber or having abused Marx in my younger days, but not so Durkheim: for all intents and purposes, Durkheim "invented" sociology.

   Yup, my theory professor would probably drop her Philip Morris, cut off a branch from the learning tree, and proceed to give me the beating of my life if I ever make a single mistake in an interpretation of Durkheim.  Besides, the chapter is due on Monday.


Posted at Saturday, September 22, 2007 by marocharim
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September 21, 2007
The 21st Night of September 1972

< hmmm... >

   I don't remember the 21st night in September 1972 when Marcos declared Martial Law.  I was born during the twilight years of the Marcos regime: my parents say that my name came as a message of hope.  My first name "Marck" came from Macoy, and "Ronald" from the late US President Reagan.  A hope that things would get better one day: some of my grandfathers said that I will one day change the world.

   If only to humiliate and disprove my grandfathers' prophecies, I have yet to do my share of changing the world.  As I write this, Session Road has a dozen students marching on the streets doing their bit to commemorate Martial Law, and here I am writing.  I could join them and make a baker's dozen out of the march, but I've long since been "retired" from the "parliament of the streets."  I'm anything but Mick Jagger's idea of the "street fighting man" in the 1960s.

   Maybe Mandy (as in "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy") was right in saying that "hope is wasted on the hopeless."  But there is hope: a glimmer in the distance that guides us in the grim darkness of our present state.  I don't know what that is.  But to follow that glimmer of hope doesn't hurt.

   Today being the 35th anniversary of Martial Law makes me bound by duty to commemorate it, but truth be told, I can't.  I was but a wee baby during the EDSA Revolution, when Marcos' world collapsed around him when thousands of indignant Filipinos trooped to EDSA to express their disdain for Marcos.  Nowadays, we commemorate Martial Law in terms of the "de facto" form we are experiencing now, only in the form of Gloria Arroyo.

   I don't think so: all this talk about "de facto martial rule" is often the stuff that comes out of a young idealist whose first childhood memory is Partrasche dying with Nelo in "Dog of Flanders."  We were fortunate enough not to have lived through the hell that was 1972: I think that the allusions we make now pale in comparison to what really happened back then.  I could only imagine what the government would do to me if we really are in a state of Martial Law.

   My parents say that I should stop writing about things altogether, on the grounds that I'm often treading dangerous ground in a dangerous world.  I understand that, but I can't get the nagging prophecies of my forefathers that I can change this world into something better than it already is.  It's not megalomania, but if not for the memory of my forefathers, I'd rather do what I do now for the spirit of change.

   It's not a very easy thing to be outspoken and to stand up for what you believe in.  I made my own fair share of enemies and foes.  I've often been criticized to the point of near-crucifixion by everyone from my parents to the people I thought were my "friends."  But to realize that some people stand with me following a glimmer of hope is something better than the self-pitying pains of speaking out.  For all the things I took I stand for, there were always people out there who stood with me: not only in the blogosphere, but also in real life.  I thank them for that.

   I think that's the whole message of why we commemorate Martial Law, even if other people would rather forget the dismal memories of six o'clock curfews, cattle prods on wet floors, and the assassination of Ninoy Aquino.  We commemorate Martial Law because in that 21st night of September 1972, some people took a stand for us that "never again" shall we experience the brunt of absolute power from the barrel of a gun.  Today, as the bulk of us rant and rave about "freedom," we should bear in mind what made it possible for us to be free, and what things were made possible by our freedom.

   If anything, we are free to live, and we live to be free.


Posted at Friday, September 21, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

September 20, 2007
I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Joey)

< oh boy >

   I don't follow politics as much nowadays: the ZTE deal is so boring that you could actually make owls sleep with such a story.  But if there's any humorous thing about it, it's Luli Arroyo's counterattack to Joey de Venecia: in today's Manila Standard Today (which I read because it's literally colorful), Luli says:

   "I don't know if his old drug use has affected his thinking.  I saw some parts of his testimony and he was really grasping at straws as thin as his hairline."

   Man, what a retort!  I always thought of the Arroyo siblings to be as boring as their mother, but that was a stroke of comedy genius right there.  Luli was alluding to Joey de Venecia's confession that he used marijuana before, but claims that his old toking ways has not messed up with his brain.

   I remember that old story where the French philosopher Michel Foucault once smoked marijuana on an interview/debate broadcast over the whole French nation, and rumor has it that he was paid for the debates with Noam Chomsky in hashish.  I thought that we Filipinos don't have an equivalent to a gay American Senator in this day and age, but here we have one: the son of the Speaker of the House confessing on using dope.  It kind of reminded me of when Bill Clinton was grilled over marijuana charges.  His answer is classic: "I used marijuana, but I didn't inhale."  Of course, he didn't: "use" and "inhalation" are very different from "smoking."

   I don't know about the next Filipino, but I think that our table-pounding ways are fine.  After all, all political issues in the Philippines are personal issues.  The moral Right has denounced Joseph Estrada before for being a womanizer, and a reporter has gone so far to ask about Gloria Arroyo's sex life.  Her answer was, "Plenty," but "sex" is a nuanced expression.

   But for all the ZTE deal is worth (absolutely nothing, if you asked me), there's much more enjoyment to be found in Joey de Venecia's toking.  Did he roll his own marijuana himself, or did he use a bong?  Did he prefer sticks and stems, leaves, or flowers?  Nope, I don't use marijuana, but I'm quite interested in why on God's green earth did it come into play into the testimony.

   Yet again, politics.  Ain't that something?


Posted at Thursday, September 20, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

Accidental Scholar

< oh boy >

   If I'm really planning on making a living out of my college education, I would make decent money writing obfuscated articles for an academic journal, or I would end up writing a column for a newspaper telling the government how to do things.  The prospects of teaching are rather glum, since I doubt schools will hire me given my horrifying transcript.  Besides, teaching college students necessitates having a lot of patience: every classroom has at least four talkative students, three antukin, two suck-ups, and one blowhard who tries - in vain - to prove the teacher's ignorance.

   An instructor at the Philosophy department was quite amused that I was referred to as a "scholar" by a professor at another university.  "Scholar" is a nuanced expression: the way I see it, all UP students are scholars by virtue of a string of syllogisms that revolve around the political economy of education.  I find myself embarassed being called a "scholar" by the strictest definition: people who have mastered their discipline.  If anything, I'm a "scholar" by accident.

   I'm embarassed because I haven't mastered my discipline yet.  There are a lot of things in Social Anthropology and/or Political Science that I'm supposed to know and I'm supposed to apply.  It's not that I'm ashamed, it's just that I can't bear calling myself a "scholar" without inwardly groaning and chuckling at the same time to the point of asphyxiation.  There are far too many "scholars" in this world: the bulk of them are scholars by connotation, and very few are scholars by denotation.  The former are often the people who are ascribed scholars, the latter are often the people described as scholars.

   Oh well...


Posted at Thursday, September 20, 2007 by marocharim
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September 19, 2007
User Friendly

< romantic experiment >

   As a political scientist of the bastardizing kind, I happen to think that you can condense every political theory out there at the microcosmic level of romance.  Utilitarianism, for example, is a matter of using people: in a romantic association, you should always determine who has more utility, and as such, he/she becomes the "greatest number."  As such, the "greatest good" is not a matter of meeting halfway between two different interests, but satisfying the needs of the person with more utility.  If you "get used," too bad.  In a Utilitarian framework, the person with more utility has every right to cheat on his/her partner.

   "Utility," of course, is completely arbitrary: not all romantic relationships are created equal.  In fact, there's no romantic relationship that can take place between two people with equal utility, because there is no need (pleasure) to satisfy.  Imagine two people with the same marginal utility getting it on in bed: they would either be fencing with their penises, rubbing their vaginal lips together, making contact with their buttocks, or there would be no sex taking place altogether (considering all possibilities for romance in its engendered form).  In any relationship of whatever engendered form, everything is a matter of a power construct: it's a binary of superior/subjugate.

   The feeling of "being used" sucks, but "using" is only a matter of utility.  The point is, you can rant all you want about feeling so "used," but you're not the "greatest number."  Because you're not married by an institutionalizing factor like marriage, you still are two discrete beings: one is greater than the other, so the greater can do whatever the hell he/she wants and the lesser can either take it or go to hell (heck, there's no difference).

   Of course, you don't seek romantic advice from me.


Posted at Wednesday, September 19, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

September 18, 2007
Fit for Assimilation

< entertainment >

   I don't know what in the hell is wrong with GMA-7 (well, for one, they have Joey de Leon), but what's up with "Zaido?"

   I was watching the trailer to this new show by GMA-7, and needless to say, I spit at their general direction.  The thing is, not only am I a fan of the original "Shaider," I'm also a Trekkie.  Fine: I can "forgive" GMA-7 for ripping off "Shaider."  To mess around with the legacy of "Shaider" is one thing, but Star Trek is another thing.  The similarities to "Zaido" and "Shaider" is one thing, but there's too much in the way of Star Trek in the ripoff.

   You don't create a podunk low-class episodic series of televised fecal matter while ripping off Starfleet, I tell you!  It was enough trauma to know that Hikaru Sulu is gay, it's more than enough to know that Captain Piccard is actually gay but still made passes on Dr. Beverly Crusher.  It was more than enough for me to bear watching Tu'vok succumb to emotions even if he was a Vulcan.  But to rip off the Starfleet uniform and Starfleet badges (OK, fine: universal translators) is high treason in deep space: a thing that makes me liable to kill off Dennis Trillo, Marky Cielo, and Aljur Abrenica, and send their remains to the Cardassians so that they can determine if there's something about us humans that makes us perfectly suited for Borg Assimilation.

   Which begs me to ask, why?  I really don't mind if GMA-7 dubbed Star Trek episodes, even if Mike Enriquez dubbed the Tagalized dialogue for Benjamin Sisko in "Deep Space Nine."  The thing is, I feel that the network abused my people: we can't warp to GMA-7's headquarters armed with phaser guns (the technology has yet to be invented) unless we want Joey de Leon mocking us for being so "uncool" while wearing a t-shirt with a slogan that rubs it in our faces.

   Besides, GMA-7 is full of ripoffs as it is: "Impostora," "Marimar," and they've even went so far as to rip off "Wowowee" (it's just too obvious).  But why?  I think even the Borg would not dare assimilate us.  We're so stupid we're not even fit for Assmiliation.

   Really, resistance is futile.  But beam us up, Mr. Scott: there's no intelligent life on this planet.


Posted at Tuesday, September 18, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

Bayang Magiliw

< hmmm... >

   With so many things going on right now it's hard for "analysts" like myself to point out and elaborate on a particular issue.  First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, for example, flew out of the country at the moment he's being summoned to the Senate for the dubious ZTE broadband deal.  Joseph Estrada, after vehemently saying that he'd rather go to Muntinlupa (but not saying anything explicit about Bilibid), said that he will consider the President's offer for "amnesty" if and only if he reads the fine print (good luck with that).  But if anything, the bit of "news" that made my evening was that Christian Bautista forgot the lyrics to the Philippine National Anthem.

   Here's what Christian had to say, though:

   "I apologize to the Filipino people for the lapse of memory that occurred yesterday during my rendition of the National Anthem.  I was recovering from a cold and the adrenalin and the excitement of the moment got me through it.  Unfortunately, it was at the cost of a momentary lapse on my part.  I promise that my next rendition of our National Anthem will be faultless."

   Let's all appreciate Christian's efforts at an apology: after all, it's much better than the mea culpa we all got from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and it's a heck of a lot better than the excuse made by my ex when she cheated on me a few years back.  But I couldn't be blamed for chuckling inwardly at that YouTube video where Christian forgot a few verses to "Lupang Hinirang."


Posted at Tuesday, September 18, 2007 by marocharim
(1) vomitted  

September 17, 2007
Liniments of Knowledge

< oh boy >

   Whenever my dad is home, the house is not only spiffy clean, but the air hangs heavy with the smell of mentholated liniment.  See, my dad thinks he's old although he's 52 years young, and so far as I know, all old people smell of liniment.

   All old people I know swear by the power of Pak Fah Yeow (note the spelling), the trade name for an embrocation made out of oils from eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender.  I used to keep a small bottle of it in my left pocket when I still couldn't get by my annoying migraines (they're not necessarily painful: but since I always have a migraine, I am more annoyed than in pain).  The problem is, I usually keep my cigarettes in the same pocket, but I don't smoke menthols.  The flavor of a Marlboro Lights permeated with the strong smell of White Flower is not very appealing, I can tell you that.  Because the cigarettes handle the migraines just fine, I stopped using White Flower.  So much for medicine.

   Because I live in Baguio City, I've developed a radar for old people in the absence of red spit and the residue of chewed-up betel nuts on flower boxes: if you can make out the smell of White Flower in the cold air of a weekday morning, there's an old fogey out there somewhere who'll share with you some snippets of life.  I sometimes talk to these old people, because I still very much regret the very little time I spent with my grandmother before she died over a year ago.  Old people can talk about anything: politics, life, showbiz (if you know the likes of Rodrigo dela Rosa and if you appreciate the movies of FPJ), and if you just want to let off steam.

   I've asked old people about their liniment habits, and they would stop short of standing up, raising their left hands, spitting over their left shoulders and swear by the power of methyl salicylate (to use a phrase used by Guy de Maupassant).  Liniment is everything from an antirheumatic to a topical anaesthetic to an aphrodisiac.

   Yes, an aphrodisiac: an old man I talked to once said that applying a liberal amount of liniment on one's genitals heightens sexual pleasure even better than Viagra.  I can understand the erection you're going to get from splashing Efficascent Oil on your penis, but I don't understand the sexual pleasure a woman's getting by using the stuff on her privates.  The old man swears by it, though: ever the playboy, he says that it works on every woman from the old wife to the whore in some random massage parlor.  Talk about stinging sensations.

   But for all that liniment is worth (around fifty pesos, or free if you join "Wowowee," lose, and get Liveraide packs along with it), I think it's better suited as a sign that identifies age.  I always thought of myself as an old man, but I don't splash liniment on myself like cologne (like my dad does).  It identifies every bodily cost that comes with toeing that long gray line to the inevitable conclusion to all our lives: rheumatism, arthritis, hacking cough, gout, the need to heighten sexual pleasure.  It identifies the wisdom we get from living life and paying our dues.

   But then again, I'm starting with the Snow Bear candies.  Liniment, here I come.


Posted at Monday, September 17, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

Devil-Leprechauns

< oh boy >

   I remember the shock felt my many of my elementary school friends and acquaintances when one of our schoolmates, Iris Frances Tan, made the cover of FHM Philippines in January 2007.  I wasn't particularly shocked, given that I never had the opportunity to really know Iris, but I kind of wonder what necessitates shocking a sectarian institution of primary learning.  But looking at those pictures, I'm kind of flabbergasted that someone who already looks pretty enough with glasses, and was actually part of the stratification I was in back in elementary school, could look so hot.

   Of course, I did my wee bit of shocking myself: I was a particularly pious kid when I was in elementary school, until such time that I entered UP a full-blown atheist.  I think our old principal would be rolling over in her grave right now knowing that I once won all those Religion quiz bees, played Jesus Christ in our First Communion play, and put much of my young life in the service of God.  While I've toned down my atheism to a magnified degree of doubt on the existence of an omnipotent divine power, my old teachers are still particularly dismayed.

*      *      *

   Today, of course, is the late first-year anniversary of my life as a schizophrenic.

   My parents think that the lowest point I've sunk in at the time my schizophrenia was elevated to a level of near-institutionalization is a message from God.  Last Christmas, I was whisked off to a very famous faith healer in Pangasinan in the hope of a cure.  I have nothing against faith healers: it's just that I don't have enough in the way of faith.  When my turn came to be healed by this "famous" faith healer, I ended up being possessed by some Devil-leprechauns living under my house protecting a treasure of gold.  Or so he says: he saw it in the little "trick" he does with a 25-centavo coin and an egg.

   The least I wanted to do was to argue with an old man over the matter of elves: I could understand the "message from God" thing, but I didn't think that dwende could metamorphose into demonic beings that take the character of hallucinations that manifest themselves as regular people following you with the sole intent of killing you during those episodes when your subconscious melds with your conscious.  But heck, I was actually willing to debate with the guy over his knowledge of folklore, staking everything I learned and read about in my undergraduate career as an anthropologist.  So after a crappy smoke on a hot afternoon in some hamlet in the middle of nowhere, I returned to receive a bottle of virgin coconut oil and a bundle of herbs I was supposed to boil with bathwater to make a tea-bath.

   Needless to say, that was the last time I swallowed a tablespoon of coconut oil, the last time I bathed with pito-pito, and the last time I ever heard of heathen Devil-leprechauns.


Posted at Monday, September 17, 2007 by marocharim
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