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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 17, 2007
¿Pedirías Una Más Ocasión?

< romantic experiment >

   Qué si tenías la relación perfecta... y entonces, de pronto, ella rompe tu corazón, y todo cae abajo en pedazos.  Ella te amó en tu peor, ella te tenía en tu mejor... y ahora, tus búsquedas desolated del uno mismo para la otra oportunidad para el rescate.

   ¿Pedirías una más ocasión?

*      *      *

   Everything that involves a modicum of passion sounds better in Spanish: consider Ricardo Montalban hawking the "Nativity Cross" on home TV shopping networks.  Vicente Fox criticizing American policy on immigration and border control.  That voice-over in brandy advertisements.  Antonio Banderas.  Yes, for all an online English-to-Spanish translator is worth (because Spanish is either infinitive or imperative, and I didn't take Spanish), the paragraph above is the spiel for "One More Chance," starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.  Oh yeah, I have my own "One More Chance" story.  But heck, I don't look like John Lloyd.

   Let me begin (well, that's a long introduction) by saying this: romance, not love, is all about chances.  To me, there's no such thing as a "chance at love."  In the first place, love is unconditional.  Love is the nirvana of relationships: it is the perfect state where chance is not a factor.  When it comes to love, you can't gamble on anything anymore because it is impossible to gamble.  In conditions named rightly and aptly as "love," someone always looks out for you every time you roll the dice.  You always win.  "Chance" itself is a linguistic limitation: pardon my being a Platonist at this point, but for something as perfect as love, our words do not suffice.

   Romance, on the other hand, is different: it is, for all intents and purposes, "pseudo-love."  In Dr. Evil's terms, it is the margarine of love, the Diet Coke of love.  It is a distortion of the genuineness of love.  Thomas á Kempis calls love other than a love for God an imperfect one.  I'm not a religious man, but he's right: because we are imperfect, everything we do - especially our relationships with other people - will always be imperfect.

   As such, romance is all about chances.  Romance, in the first place, is grounded on chance.  It's called "falling" for a reason, that reason being that it is a chance - to be exact, a risk - taken.  Romance is so distorted that you take a chance in trusting a person whom you are capable of trusting, you take a chance on something that is perfectly capable of being perfect.  Romance metamorphoses to love: romance is not love.

   The truth to the matter is that the number of chances you take when it comes to romance are chances of and for so many different things, not just a second shot at establishing a romantic relationship.  Topping that list is pain.  Even the most avowed of masochists will reconsider the kind of pain that there is in having a second (or any other ordinal) chance.  Be it a betrayal, a falling-out, immaturity, or whatever causes the decay of a romantic relationship, the relationship will never become as whole as it is before the chance.

   But I'm a hopeless (OK, hapless) romantic: because nobody's perfect, everyone's entitled to the imperfections that there are in taking second, third, fourth, fifth, whatever chances.  It all depends on how many chances you are willing to take, of taking the chances that come with the chances.  That is the spirit of chance.

Posted at Saturday, November 17, 2007 by marocharim

Homophobic Hokey Pokey

< hmmm... >

   Is there anything remotely offensive about gay people?  I admit to being homophobic, all right.  I'm a bad judge of character because I'm quite prejudiced when it comes to gender issues involving alternative engenderments.  I thrive on the comedy that demeans and offends gay people, and it's not in the interest of satire or humor.

   There were a few people who came to me once and said that I should stop using my "gay analogies" because they found my anal-phallic references "bastos."  I won't make promises: when it comes to political correctness and gender sensitivity, I'm a bit of a laggard.

   Gender sensitivity is not an "awakening:" it's more of a "learning process," and I take an awfully long time to learn things.  UP is full of openly gay people as it is, and exposing me to all the gayness in the world won't make a gay man out of me.  The truth is, in six years in UP, I never really had a full understanding of alternative engenderments.  To be honest, I'm still very, very homophobic that at this point in my life, I'm still offended by cross-dressers and people who flaunt their gayness through means of exteriority.

   Now is there anything wrong with that?  Yes, but only if you don't exert the effort to learn about alternative engendering.  But it's all a matter of what "understanding" is: I cannot put myself in the shoes of the Other.  That's just the way it is, and that's the way it will always be.  My understanding of being gay will always be a second-hand understanding: we can't set aside a day of trading places.

   So there.

Posted at Saturday, November 17, 2007 by marocharim

November 16, 2007
Extreme Papaya

< jolography once more >

   I have the sudden urge to turn on this here webcam and shoot a video of myself dancing to the tune of Urszula Dudziak's "Papaya."  But not today: not ever.  Edu Manzano's "dance moves" are viral, in that they speak of a certain resurgence of jologs.  The other day at GMA-7's morning talk show "Sis," a dance step as familiar as an old sock was performed: the steps made by the Universal Motion Dancers for Erasure's "Always."

   I remember how Wowie de Guzman once described UMD's "philosophy" of dance moves: "Yung ginagawa naming moves, yung madaling masundan, para masayaw ng lahat ng tao."  Trust me: I have long since tried to imitate the "Butterfly Step," but I never really got it.  Having "two left feet" is an understatement: not to be judgmental or bigoted or anything, but a blind deaf-mute paraplegic with the intelligence of a lima bean can dance way better than I could.  Given the chance, I would be thrown out of the "Wowowee" set because I do a horrible performance of Willie Revillame's populist dance moves for "Boom Tarat Tarat," "Iyugyog Mo," and heaven forbid, "Sayaw Darling."

   Granted that we all can't be a Vhong Navarro or an Iya Villania (in the case of aged folks reading this, consider Vilma Santos), but I know a few dance moves.  While my brother is a more able dancer than I am, we pride ourselves on such moves as the Butter Churn, the Overhand Hammer, the Underhand Hammer, the Robin Gibb, the Rope Pull, the Electric Banana, and just about every dance step you can get from a bad disco movie.

   Pressure me enough and I'll probably demonstrate them.

Posted at Friday, November 16, 2007 by marocharim
(1) vomitted  

Quiet Dignity

< go ahead, send me hate mail >

   Summing up everything I have read on the suicide of 12-year-old Mariannet Amper led me to a poem written by Prestoline Suyat, entitled "Para sa Isang Batang Martir."  Even if I don't understand Filipino as well as I should, Mariannet was privy to the indignities of life.  But to proclaim her a "martyr," I don't think so.

   Indignity caused Mariannet's suicide: to beg for cold rice from her neighbors, to skip class because of hunger, the last straw being that her father didn't have a hundred pesos for her school project.  Depressing, yes: but I've heard that story before.  The common denominator is that it's a poverty caused by unemployment.

   All too often, there's dignity to be found in poverty, albeit a quiet one: something you won't find in a black-tie dinner party or a speech by a politician.  There are things you cannot pin squarely on the government: there are crimes the government are perfectly innocent of.  Unlike Pilate, they can freely wash themselves out of spilt blood.

   There are scenes out there of quiet dignity: there's nothing wrong with taking up laundry, skewering bananas and fishballs, or peddling cigarettes from open packs.  There's nothing wrong with borrowing a hammer to nail down a plywood board, or smoothing out cement.  There's nothing wrong with being poor as long as you keep your dignity intact, that nobody has to suffer from the indignities of it.

   One of our national heroes, Andres Bonifacio, is an example of that quiet dignity: he sold fans and bamboo canes at the entryway of a Church.  Say what you will about Diosdado Macapagal (or his daughter, for that matter), but there was a quiet dignity that he brandished despite going to school barefoot.  There is a quiet dignity in children who skip class not for the computer shops, but for peddling plastic bags at the market to earn tomorrow's snack money and to put an extra viand on the dining table by day's end.

   One of the biggest things we lack as a nation full of poor people is an understanding of poverty.  We deprive the poor of their dignity by showing them another kind: a kind of pecuniary dignity that comes with ribbon-wrapped gifts under a glittering tree on Christmas morning.  We show them a kind of dignity that comes with our ability to go to a Starbucks for a hundred-peso café au lait when the bulk of our poor would understand coffee to be water with a smattering of instant coffee grounds to make it pass for one.  We silence the spiritual Stoicism of the poor and uphold the materialist Epicureanism of the rich.

   We are a capitalist society: "making it" here means "making" it.  The rewards of what our society has to offer can be reaped the easy way or the hard way.  Since we can't all have it the easy way (like run for office and take gift bags of bundles of money from wherever), we all have to do it the hard way.  Success through hard work is the rule, not the exception.  The Philippines is full of rags-to-riches stories as it is.

   Here's one for you.  I have a high school classmate - the son of a laborer - who never really stood out for our rather paltry and petty canons of early-evening Counterstrike games.  He's now an electrical engineer - a board topnotcher - who earns P42,000 a month for Meralco.  He's reaping the benefits of working hard because he did: no government handouts because he studied in a private university.  He was a consistent scholar.  Now if I had the same initiative he did I would make a lot more than the zilch I'm making now.

   That's what's lacking in our country today: initiative.  We look for incentives in working, then if we don't, we hurl out invectives.  That's what made - and makes - progress in our society, where expectations are something you make for yourself than laying it upon others or some grandiose version of "The System."

   Those who work hard are the real martyrs of our society: those who fill the public coffers for some corrupt politico to pilfer by day's end.  Mariannet Amper is a victim: a kid who committed suicide for the lack of a martyr.

Posted at Friday, November 16, 2007 by marocharim

November 15, 2007
Net R Us

< hmmm... >

   Since I do much of my writing in Internet rental shops, I have long since developed an understanding of children who cut classes.  I've long since stopped going to the nearest Net café in UP (the one behind the Baguio Convention Center), since I'm continually being pestered by kids.  Boys, in particular, who after crowding the terminal beside me where a friend of theirs is playing a game, crowd behind me and read aloud what I'm writing, then murmur about my mad typing skills, and to a certain extent, ask me for ten pesos to tide them over for a round of games.  You see, you won't type as fast as I do if you're only used to shortcut keys in computer games, and if you don't do your own fair share of schoolwork that requires typing.

   You'd see all sorts of people in Internet cafés: in some Internet shop here that I won't mention, when the mood hits you on exploring hidden files, you'd see a hell of a lot of short pornographic video clips in stuff named "New Folder."  I don't, and I won't, moralize: I've browsed and downloaded my own share of porn.  But the bulk of porn in that shop are homosexually-inclined.  It's one thing to tout "gender equality" until your biases show: in my case, lesbian videos are arousing, but when your "exploring" leads you to an interracial gay porn video where you hear grunts instead of purrs, your blogging energies - like your growing erection - deflate like rocket balloon.

   Back in UP Diliman, where I wrote some rather sporadic blog entries a couple of summers ago, I wouldn't head on over to Philcoa: I've been long warned about how bad the service at ALVA was (and boy, did I ever know: the one time I've been there, I was sandwiched between two guys watching porn).  That stretch of cafés at the Shopping Center - that one with the high chairs and the cold airconditioning and the colored neon lights - was where I blogged back then.  Anyone know the exact name of that place?

Posted at Thursday, November 15, 2007 by marocharim
(1) vomitted  

State of Anomie

< hmmm... >

   First there was Mariannet Amper, the 12-year-old Davao girl who killed herself because of poverty.  Just this afternoon, some friend texted me to say that yesterday, a man committed suicide at Trinoma.  It only necessitates a recollection of certain foibles in recent Philippine history - like Elly Pamatong scattering caltrops in major highways, and Jun Ducat holding 40 children hostage in a bus - to know that we are, if anything, in a state of anomie.

   As a passing "sociologist," I consider anomic behavior as a red-light, a ward of caution that there really is something really wrong with this country.  Anomie, for the uninitiated, is something akin to "social depression:" that because of a decay of and in social integration, people commit to such deviances as suicide, crime, and so on and so forth.  While it was Emilé Durkheim who first articulated anomie as a phenomenon located immediately as sociological, I think that it was Talcott Parsons who provides for a proper scheme into what leads to anomie.  It is a matter of lack: a lack of adaptation, an inability to attain goals, a lack of integration, and the absence of latency all lead to anomic behavior (pardon the bastardization).

   Suicide, or crime for that matter, is not something that you can pin squarely on anomie.  However, one thing that must be noted about anomie is that it is not exclusive to the agent: from what I can recall of functionalist theory, manifestations of anomie are manifestations that the whole of society is suffering from it.  Consider the ULTRA stampede: while the finger of blame could rightly be pointed at the organizers of the "Wowowee" anniversary special, another finger could rightly be pointed at how poverty led to anomic behavior.  The hopelessness of situations have led people to abandon hard work and their trust in the government, turning to game shows for their salvation.

   Hope is, of course, wasted on the hopeless.  Hopelessness is itself anomie.

Posted at Thursday, November 15, 2007 by marocharim

November 14, 2007
Virtually Governing

< politics >

   Baguio City Mayor Peter Rey Bautista has a Multiply account.  In many senses of the word, Mayor Bautista is "virtually" running the City Government of Baguio (yes, I am of the belief that the Mayor is virtually in his office at City Hall: i.e., he has the potential to be there, but in actuality, he's on another engagement abroad).

   Now as much as I like the idea of "cyber-governance," that would lead us to endless political debate that starts with the ZTE broadband deal, and to figure out how many people in government actually know how to manipulate a computer.  "Cyber-government" is something I will leave to our generation, where negotiations are done along the lines of Civilization and meetings are done through instant messaging services.  Now that's how you run a government.

   The ramifications of Mayor Bautista's Multiply account gets me thinking: why in the hell would he want to do that?  Multiply, to me, is for angst-filled teenagers where they take pictures of themselves through camera phones, perhaps blog entries that would be given failing marks if they were ever passed off as secondary-school formal themes.

   That's unless the Mayor falls under that category.

   Nope, I wouldn't go as far as to "critique" the Mayor's blog: that's none of my business.  But blogging sort of "belongs" to a particular generation of people: a particular social milieu.  I kind of feel a bit like Wowie de Guzman nowadays, knowing that people like Miriam Santiago also have blogs of their own.  What's up with that?  I'm not talking about "fashion" or "trends," but look at it this way: it's like going to a nightclub to dance the "Macarena," or for an 80-year-old wheelchair-bound hacking old fogey auditioning for "Extreme Papaya" in "Pilipinas: Game KNB?"

   Grotesque, yes.  Maybe the Mayor should figure out a better way on how to use his Multiply account outside of obligatory rah-rah entries.  He doesn't have to be all political about it.

Posted at Wednesday, November 14, 2007 by marocharim

November 13, 2007
A Study on the Machine

< ah, deleuze and guattari >

   The nursery rhyme goes:

   The toe bone is connected to the foot bone,
   The foot bone is connected to the ankle bone,
   The ankle bone is connected to the leg bone,
   The leg bone is connected to the knee bone
   The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone,
   The thigh bone is connected to the hip bone...

   There is no "the" machine: machines are not singular wholes.  Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari write of "couplings:" there are machines connected to other machines.  The inclined plane that is the cog of a gear, connected to other gears, connected together to form a bigger machine that is coupled to a bigger machine.  Everything is connected: I am a set of machines coupled to another set of machines as I write this, and the connection reaches an infinity.

   The paradox of it all is that while the whole is stronger than its parts, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  We live our whole lives in a series of marrying machines and divorcing machines.  Breakdown is the inevitable: the watch only works when it breaks down, when the gears wear out and the springs lose their bounce.  The record player only works when it breaks down: when the vinyl record is scratched out and the needle is worn into a stub.

   The same is true for your average run-of-the-mill human being, one among many biological machines: it only works when it breaks down.  A realization of mortality is that breakdown: when you grow older, when your heart beats the billion or so heartbeats and your lungs go over the billion or so cycles of respiration, when you are perfectly capable of committing suicide to terminate your machine, and perfectly capable of committing homicide to terminate the machine that is the Other.  The human machine is no different from a television set, a hair dryer, a toaster, a vaccum cleaner, a water dispenser.  It breaks down.  The difference is that there is no warranty card to the human appliance.  If anything, I hold Jean-Paul Sartre to be self-evident: "Man's life is what he makes it."  There is no 30-day money-back guarantee to meet a human soul sent back to wherever it came from because it failed the lifetime guarantee.

Posted at Tuesday, November 13, 2007 by marocharim

Renegade Academic

< hmmm... >

   I've heard that line before: "renegade academic."  It's a term so often used to describe me: an irreverent academician.  I'm not a straight-edge, level-headed academic with the intellectual ascendancy of a summa cum laude: I'm a crooked, passionate academic with grades that run the gamut of the 12-tier grading system of the University of the Philippines.

   Next year, I don't only have graduation to look up: 2008 is rife with international conferences where I have at least three prospected projects to look forward to.  The most realistic prospect is that of a paper I am writing with a senior professor for Baguio's Centennial Year.  There are two international conferences where a completely truncated version of my thesis are to be submitted: with luck, I would deliver papers abroad.

   Leave me to worry about having to condense a 400-page thesis into eight pages for purposes of double-blind peer-review, passports and visas, and the funds to get plane tickets and suitable accommodation (I won't mind sleeping in park benches, but UP deserves a bit of dignity).  I'm worried sick about a possible future in the academe: I'm a bad teacher.  Teaching requires lucidity, which I am lacking.

Posted at Tuesday, November 13, 2007 by marocharim

November 12, 2007
Hot Penis

< not sex, but profane >

   I hate coffee crowds.  I'd gladly work at a Starbucks if it means stirring a cup of macchiato with my penis just to spite the pecuniary canons of the leisure class.  I'd even crush the ice for mocha frappés with my testicles if it means defiance against coffee drinkers.

   What is it with coffee, anyway?  Coffee is just that: a caffeine source.  The whole issue with coffee being somewhat of a standard for taste is a connotation, a mythologized signifier, a signifier of a signifier.  It's not something new, but gourmet coffee is an embarrassment to agriculture: what's so French about "French Vanilla," and what's up with "Cappucino" variants of instant coffee without the foam?

   I'd blame the Europeans, but that would be "racist" in this politically-correct world of ours.  Gourmet stuff will pass out as feces at the end of the day: I don't understand why foam has to be sold as a gourmet dish nowadays.  I would happily dispense foam out of my penis and serve it as a meal to those who score restaurants.  Depending on whether or not you make me have sex with a herpes-infested piranha, you'll get many different kinds of foam from my penis.

Posted at Monday, November 12, 2007 by marocharim

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