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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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November 10, 2007
A Hundred Pesos for Mariannet Amper

< pardon me while i rant >

   As a passing "social anthropologist," I would call the death of 12-year-old Mariannet Amper a suicide of the acute economic anomic form.  But why she killed herself baffles - and at the same time depresses - my usually incompassionate self: she hanged herself inside her family's barong-barong after her father said that he can't give her the P100 she needs for her school project.

   One hundred pesos is the sum of my daily allowance: I have a hard time budgeting it for the necessities of fare, photocopied readings, lunch, and my own excesses.  Mariannet killed herself for what I already have: a cost that her jobless father would find beyond belief for a school project.  What that school project is, I do not know: maybe it's a diorama, or to pay for the tocino some incompetent teacher hawks to her students.  I do not know, and I don't want to know: to think that what's in my pocket is what Mariannet's life cost is something that burns a hole in my conscience.

   I can only imagine the kind of poverty that Mariannet has to go through before she hanged herself, and I piece the stories of so many other children who have gone through the sheer, utter indecency of poverty and hunger.  They are indecencies that go beyond pornography and sexuality.  I've heard stories of children's lunches being nothing more than a two-peso pack of fish crackers and a box of cold rice brought from home.  I've heard stories of children preserving old, battered shoes by walking to school barefoot, negotiating kilometers of muddy roads and forest trails.  I've heard stories of children forced to cut school to sell newspapers in the afternoon.

   Mariannet adds to that story: because of a P100 sum that she needs for her school project but her father cannot give, she hanged herself.  I can only imagine how: maybe she tied together some blankets, maybe she fashioned a noose out of an old yoke.  Maybe she found a length of rope somewhere.  We can only speculate what went on in Mariannet's mind that All Souls' Day when she found herself in that room with her hand clutching a makeshift noose.  Maybe the poverty was too much to bear that she decided to end her misery once and for all.  Maybe she couldn't take it anymore.  Maybe she cannot have any more than what she already has, so the grim future was to be found at the loop of that noose.

   Like I said before, poverty is something made more poignant when seen through the eyes of children.  We try to protect children from the grim and harsh realities of life that would strip them of their innocence.  Poverty is one of them: I'm reminded of that sandwich spread commercial where the line says something about imagining a ham sandwich, or how many poor children have to imagine that the lowly plate of pancit bihon has more toppings than the small bits of meat that it already has.  Or that old Vic Sotto movie where he and Rene Requiestas sniffed a piece of dried fish suspended above their rickety dining table.  Seeing poverty is one thing, but experiencing that poverty first-hand is different.  There's nothing funny about it.  It's enough to drive you to the very edge.  That's what happened to Mariannet.

   Blame is a luxury of those who feel like pointing fingers: I'm not in the mood to do so.  I can't blame the government, if only because they have already accepted the blame for Mariannet's death.  I can't blame society at large, because I don't have enough fingers.  I sure as hell can't blame myself, because that's a burden will drive me to commit suicide.  It's a vicious cycle, and we're all caught up in it.

   This blog entry cost me a hundred pesos to write.  It's the least I can do, to immortalize the memory of 12-year-old Mariannet Amper, who killed herself because of a hundred-peso school project.  I write this with a kind of shame I hope I will never feel again for so long as I hypothesize, test, and conclude.

Posted at Saturday, November 10, 2007 by marocharim

November 9, 2007
In the Name of the Father

< oh boy >

   (First off, today is the third year anniversary of The Marocharim Experiment.  Yup, it's been three years.  As much as I would like to write about three years of Marocharim today, I would postpone celebratory entries for next time, when I'm in a better mood.  Today, I'd like to talk about something more personal.  P.S.  Happy TMX Day.)

   As a matter of "policy," I don't write about my family here.  These are times, though, when I just can't help it: when the dam that I've tried to keep strong has burst.  It's a dam - perhaps even a damn - that I've always had for my father.

   No, I don't hate my father.  As a child, I've always looked up to him as a man with the strength of an ox and the heart of a lion.  I idolized my father.  Whenever relatives come by, they compliment me on how much I am the spitting image of my father.  Yet as we both grew older, the road got rockier.  If anything, two spitting images of each other are coming so close to spitting at each other's images.

   I have nothing against my father, but he has every axe to grind against me.  The kind of shame my father always rants about is that his children failed to graduate on time.  My self-respect dwindles every time he humiliates me and my siblings for "failing him."  The weekends he spends at home are no longer fun times, but a life spent in Hell for me.  I can't bear to give my own father a piece of my mind: as much as he cannot stand his failure for a son, I cannot stand that shell of a shadow of a man that is my father.

   The soonest that my father lost pride in me, I've sought every measure in the world that there is to earn his pride back.  I wanted my father's respect so bad that if I can't earn it, I was going to take it.  But I realized that can no longer happen: my father is a man who has shown his true colors to me: as good a provider as he is, it becomes a business of owing.  The love that he always professes is nothing more than a ledger of debts I've racked up in 22 years of burnout and failure.

   It's now that I realized and recognized that my desperate search for his respect is in vain, that in a way, I've lost respect for myself in the process.  I'm in no position to please my father because nothing I do will please him.  Ever.  Everything I do will only be counteracted by the cons that he will think up if you give him five minutes.

   Yet at the back of my mind, I see my father: his sickly form, his propensity nowadays to be profane, the fact that he shouted at my siblings.  Maybe he has every right to do so.  Maybe he's got every right to cry out to the heavens for having no shoes, when the rest of the world has no feet.  Maybe I should put every complaint and sickness I also have because my father thinks he's entitled to complain.  I'm anything like what I see in my father right now.

   As much as I still love my father, it's about time I started doing things not for my father's respect, but because I want to earn my own respect.  It won't be in the name of the father anymore.

Posted at Friday, November 09, 2007 by marocharim
(1) vomitted  

November 8, 2007
Bears in a Can

< romantic experiment >

   A story about Ferdinand Marcos goes that when he was courting Imelda, he gave her two roses: one with an open bloom, and one with a bud.  It was a symbolism of whatever there is with a bunch of roses that I do not rightly remember.

   Not that ikebana is a bad gift to give to girls, but everything becomes a symbolism nowadays.  There's simply no gift you can give to a girl that is pointless and meaningless: people have this tendency to overcomplicate stuff they give to people.  In her most pa-cute voice, Girlaloo asks Boylet: "Mahal, anong ibig sabihin ng gift mo sa akin?"

   If it's a box of chocolates, talk about your sweet love for her.  If it's one of those Chinese nougat candies that have formalin in them, talk about your undying love for her.  If it's cigarettes, talk about your burning love for her.  Heck, give your girl the gift of bottled diarrhea, and talk about being relieved that you met her.

   I don't get it: couldn't you give your girl a completely meaningless gift?  After all, it's the thought that counts.  Why must you think of "perfect gifts" when any gift will be perfect as long as you make it very meaningful with your complex, overwrought, complicated explanations on something as meaningless as a banana peel picked out of your neighbor's compost pile?  Nope, you'd look for meanings in it: the banana peel itself is a treasure trove of meanings.  You slipped, and fell head over heels in love with her.  Bang!

   Of course, for people who are too lazy to think of "meanings," there's always the most meaningless - yet most sought-after - gift that there is in any given gift and curio shop: Bearhuggz.  Teddy bears that come stuffed in those cans.

   Compared to rotten banana peels and bottled diarrhea, there's no need to look for meanings in Bearhuggz.  After all, it's pointless: it's just a teddy bear (which girls like) and it comes in an aluminum can (which girls need).  It's the perfect gift: you don't have to say anything to your woman.  Isn't that what all men need?  It's so convenient that you can give your girl all the Bearhuggz in the world and she'll still love you "for what you are."

   I would suggest buying one of these big drums, dress yourself up as a teddy bear, and roll your way into her house.  It's pointless, but all girls love Bearhuggz.

Posted at Thursday, November 08, 2007 by marocharim

November 5, 2007
Ring Rust

< ah, we're nearing the third-year anniversary of tmx >

   It might interest you to know that my first contributions to online writing are strategy guides for the Tekken games, some of which I think are still online.  In retrospect, I don't think that anyone interested in having a really good game should take cues from my strategy guides: I'm no longer in a position to talk strategy.  You see, nowadays, I suck.

   While I was waiting for my 86-page chapter to be printed out, I decided to while away the ten minutes by buying a couple of tokens to play Tekken at the arcade machines at Quantum in SM City Baguio.  Granted that I put up a fight, but I haven't played the game for over two years now.  Ring rust and mental-blocks took the better of me, considering that I was playing my best character (Steve Fox).  I did manage to pull off a 72-point juggle that I never thought I can do, considering that I have been a voice against juggling back when me and my friends played the game religiously.

   Just so you know, no "mercy rounds:" it was an all-out six-round fight against a Korean who was awed that I proved to be a legitimate threat with my back to the wall.  Needless to say, though, he scored one perfect round against me: a lot like what my friends did to me back when I was a newbie in the days of Tekken III.

Posted at Monday, November 05, 2007 by marocharim

November 4, 2007

< hmmm... >

   For all intents and purposes, yes: the Internet is capitalism, as it is a consequence of it.  This statement does not come from a hard-line progressive: I admit to having a few shreds of activism in me, but I wouldn't admit or concede to being one.  I know it's kind of shallow, but if I ever were to become a real progressive, I would give up cheeseburgers from McDonald's.  And I would stop blogging altogether.

   This is, of course, following the logic of Teo S. Marasigan of Kapirasong Kritika, who some weeks back has created a blog entry on the blog as a threat to the progressive cause.  Karlo Mongaya of Postcard Headlines has written his peace, and Mong Palatino of Mongster's Nest has also written a response.  I don't know how much more I can contribute, but here goes...

*      *      *

   I appreciate certain points made by Mr. Marasigan: true, the Internet is exclusionary to people who have access to it, and those who can use it.  There is such a thing as a "digital divide," and yes: the bulk of Internet users (by perception) are online gamers, not necessarily bloggers like myself.  The blogosphere itself is a boiling cauldron of bourgeois decadence: take your average run-of-the-mill Multiply account.  Yet the strongest point of Mr. Marasigan's article is that progressives are at a disadvantage when it comes to the Internet: pardon the bastardization and the oversimplification, but the Internet is the most "capitalist" thing in the world.

   Indeed, a critical re-appraisal of the Internet is necessary: I don't think that the Internet should end in accessing Friendster accounts.  But to be perfectly honest, I think Mr. Marasigan's article is progressive claptrap that fails to acknowledge that the medium is the message: the message of blogging means that information can now be freely produced by anyone who is able.  Information does not discriminate between "good" and "bad," between "progressive" and "reactionary."

   The pitfall of Mr. Marasigan's argument is to argue along the ideological lines, where "because it's capitalist, it's wrong."  Needless to say, you'd be hard-pressed to find a hardcore activist playing Ragnarok.  But the inability of leftists to use the Internet to sow the seeds of their ideology through the Internet, to me, is a prophecy of its doom: it is a reflection of its inability to ride the waves of change, so to speak.  Because he exhorts progressives to condemn the Internet, he condemns change, and thus condemns the movement to criticism without understanding.

   Yes, I agree that we need to critically examine the Internet, and change it for the better.  Yet Mr. Marasigan implies that we should pay a blind eye and a deaf ear to the ideas of others and blindly embrace, venerate and lionize a "progressive" ideology, while rendering the rest as "class enemies."  The implication is that we should not listen to change, because change is bad.  The inability to recognize change is a disability that has paralyzed progressive discourse.

   Strangely enough, Mr. Marasigan blogged about it, considering what he has to say.  It's not what you say, it's what you do: the medium is the message.

Posted at Sunday, November 04, 2007 by marocharim

November 3, 2007

< entertainment >

   After passing by "Zaido" on GMA-7 all too often during channel-surfing, I have come to the conclusion that it is not a "clone" of the classic Japanese action series "Shaider."  The way I see it, the intergalactic police of "Zaido" are the masculine versions of the Jewel Sisters in ABS-CBN's "Pangarap na Bituin."

   Of course, yesterday's buzz has been the ending of "Kokey."  I try not to watch an anthropomorphic alien with a face that screams Botox treatments, but there's only one TV at home that faces the dining room.  Kokey seems to be the alien that every Kapamilya loves: the kind of alien that doesn't bring the secret of world peace or a message of trans-planetary domination.  Nowadays, Kokey has become a celebrity figure: people know Kokey more than former senatorial hopeful Koko Pimentel, former 1980s porn star Coca Nicolas, fashion icon Coco Chanel, or "Batibot" monkey mascot Kiko Matsing.  Tomorrow, at "Sharon," Kokey's mother Kakay will be a special guest.

   Shows us how much we have changed/evolved/devolved in our taste for entertainment icons: not too long ago, Taiwanese pop group F4 was an icon, and every girl wanted to be Shan Cai in "Meteor Garden."  Now, we have a lovable dancing alien with the same gravitas as Leatherface in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as the TV icon of the first decade of the twenty-first century.  I kind of figure how many couples will name their babies "Kokey" after this.

   At least "Kokey" has brought us the return of Redford White from the stigma of his role in "Buddy and Sol," more of the antics of Eugene Domingo, and that Ruffa Gutierrez can recover so easily from her tumultuous marriage with Yilmaz Bektas.  "Super Inggo 1.5: Ang Bagong Bangis" will replace "The Adventures of Pedro Penduko," and Pareng Jomar returns.  "La Vendetta" is not "V for Vendetta," and we're a nation doomed.

   No, not really.

Posted at Saturday, November 03, 2007 by marocharim

November 2, 2007
Directed at the Karaoke Singer Next Door... The Return

< vintage tmx >

   It's only now that it occurred to me that this is the exact Internet shop that I first wrote the "Directed at the Karaoke Singer Next Door" series back in The Marocharim Experiment Volume 1.  These songs include:

   In keeping with the tradition of bad singers from Singgles Bar who make the John Lloyd Cruz song sang in ASAP '07 sound good, here's the long-overdue installment of "Directed at the Karaoke Singer Next Door."

*      *      *

(From "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses)

When I look into your eyes, I can see a voice restrained
But darlin' when you're singin', don't you know I feel some shame
'Coz nothing lasts forever, and you're running out of change
And I'll burn you with a candle, ff you sing like that again

We've been through this such a long, long time
And my ears cower in pain
And singers always come and clients always go
And no one's really sure what you're going to sing today
Oh, today
If you can take the time, to keep your notes in line
If I could rest my head, knowing that you're drunk with wine
No, wine

So if you want to sing to me, then don't sing the refrain
Or I'll just end up listening, to your Karaoke Pain

Do you need some time, on your own
Listening to you sing, all alone
Everybody needs some time, on their own
While they sing to you, all alone

I know it's hard to name that tune
When all the people seek to harm you
But if you know how to carry a tune
No one's really all that charmed by you

Sometimes I need some time, on my own
I can't listen to you, on the phone
Everybody needs some time, with a stone
So that you can die, all alone

And when the notes subside, and only scores remain
I know that you're so bad boy, that you're the only one to blame
And Akon's next on the roster, and so is my lifelong bane
You sing just like a blister, with your Karaoke Pain...

Posted at Friday, November 02, 2007 by marocharim

Death by (Friendster) Degrees XVIII

< eighteen >

   The long, arduous, ten-month-long walk down the road of thesis-writing Hell has just taken a turn for the better: in a few weeks, I would finally be done with it.  My target is approximately 400 pages: replete with tables, pictures, screen-captures, diagrams, discussions, and just about everything.  It would probably be bulging at the seams of its bindings by the time it heads off to the bookbinders' in a week or so, which makes me consider The Articulation of Self in Virtual Environments, Vols. 1 and 2.

   I was reading some of the complete chapters last night, and found myself at the verge of tears.  Ten months - from inception to research to writing - has led me to the masterpiece of six years of undergrad.  I didn't necessarily shed blood, sweat and tears, although I have missed out on a lot of things because of my workaholic attitude towards my work.  But if anything, the realization that I'm almost at that point of distilling my chapters into a single document ready for proofing and printing makes it all worthwhile.  I don't know what will feel better: graduation, or passing copies of my thesis around.

Posted at Friday, November 02, 2007 by marocharim

November 1, 2007

< a sexist romantic sexperiment >

   If you watch pro wrestling, current WWE Women's Champion Beth Phoenix defines her "Glamazon" tagline as "the perfect combination of beauty and strength."  OK, so is that extensible to girls who can't wrestle?  Is it possible for a woman to be a "perfect combination" of anything, like say beauty and brains?

   Leave that argument to a man: excuse my sexism, but such a statement will be prone to feminist claptrap and the rhetoric of "empowerment" that disregards the fallibility of women.  Because I'm writing this as a sexist, we men have long admitted our inability to be "perfect combinations," if only because the cars we own say a lot about how hopelessly imperfect we are.  Big car = small penis.  Expensive car = ugly wife.  Two-seater coupé = STD.  Car with wood trim = erectile dysfunction.  L300 van = impotence.  The list goes on.

   Man is imperfect.  We men cannot possibly be perfect combinations of anything: one testicle has to be lower than the other, the penis cannot be engorged in a perfectly straight line.  Ejaculation, being a projectile motion, is never a perfect line or a perfect parabola.  Outside of the genitalia we are inevitably reduced to, we become wife-beaters because of our being gentlemen, and sexists because we won't give up our seats in buses.

   Yet you won't hear anything about women being imperfect: while we men write our love letters explaining our inadequacies in eloquent poems, we almost always insist on the perfection of the significant other of the opposite sex.  No matter how much a woman will attest to being "imperfect," that old country song still applies: "My only prayer is that you'll realize / You'll always be beautiful in my eyes."  Never mind that left breast hanging lower or that horrific, cancerous growth in her face.

   Nowadays, every woman with a Friendster account will always be the "perfect combination of beauty and brains:" I have six Friendster profiles to back that up.  In the case of men, it's a categorical imperative of being either an idiotic hunk or a smart dork.  George Clooney is the exception to the rule.

   Here's the thing: as much as I would claim that an unnamed sexy voluptuous woman is an idiot, I can't say it out loud, unless I want to be branded a jerk-off jackoff.  But for professing that the lot of men have the intelligence of an extra testicle, people would have no problem with that.

   Equality, my ass.

Posted at Thursday, November 01, 2007 by marocharim

Greenwich and Ham

< hmmm... >

   Because it's All Saints' Day, nobody at home cooked anything.  So by the time the family came home, they were carrying a Greenwich pizza for lunch.

   As you may well know, I don't like pizza.  It's just a personal quirk: I have nothing against pizza lovers, but I just happen to be one of those really quirky people who have irrational fears of food other people like (that short list includes cake, chocolates, and marshmallows).  It's not like it's my first pizza, but I never really acquired or developed a taste for it.

   It's too bad that I consumed the lot of the tuna sashimi (a more gourmet term for kilawin) in the fridge for breakfast.  I was damn hungry: working on my thesis without the benefit of a video game break made me consume my calories rather quickly.  So it was either the pizza, or delay my lunch break further.

   David Bowie, the Storyteller in that Cinemax classic serial drama "The Hunger," said it best: "The hunger inside you will take over... you'll do everything to satisfy it."

   Left with no other recourse but to eat pizza, my whole life flashed before my eyes.  Wouldn't it be outright hypocritical for someone like me who has been so public about his disdain for pizza to be found eating it?  Am I paying penance, or it's just a matter of cruel fate?

   Not that I take life lessons from Dr. Seuss (of course I do), but pizza is not like green eggs and ham, and I definitely am not Sam-I-Am.  I won't eat them in a boat, with a goat, or in an overcoat.  But if I ranted like that in front of my parents who probably queued up for so long at the pizza parlor, I would probably spend an eternity sitting on a pizza stone laid on the molten brimstone of Hell itself.

   I won't lie about it: I still don't like pizza.

Posted at Thursday, November 01, 2007 by marocharim

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