Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Random notes not so random...

while reading Pedagogies of Crossing...

immorality of empire
oxymoronic "armies of compassion"
requirements of citizenship for empire are disturbingly antithetical to these requirements of citizenship for collective self-determination
empire requires sacrifice - the sacrifice of consent
itineraries of violence that are given names such as democracy and civilization
displacing collective self-determination with corporate institutional allegiances
freedom to betray freedom through gratuitous exploitation
empire makes all innocence possible
diffusion of globalized power variously called postmodernism or late capitalism
integration of corporate academy into the practices and institutions of the state at this moment of empire
psychic products fossilized deep in the interior, forcing us to genuflect at the altar of alterity and separation
limits of secular power
personal is not only political but spiritual
power is not owned by corporate timekeepers or by the logics of hegemonic materialism
make different conversations and solidarities possible
imagine collectivities that can thrive outside of hegemony's death-grip
what is the academy's role in an age of globalization?
transgenerational memory. Memory not as a secular but rather as a Sacred dimension of self.
knowledge comes to be embodied and made manifest through flesh, an embodiment of Spirit
spiritual labor and spiritual knowing is primarily a project of self-knowing and transformation that constantly invoke community simply because it requires it.
majority of people in the world...cannot make sense of themselves without it.
need to engage the Sacred as an ever-changing, yet permanent condition of the universe
ceremonies of reconciliation that are premised within a solidarity that is fundamentally intersubjective
burning patience to choose freedom so as to bettter build archeologies of freedom

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh, Seafood City!

I was craving soul food today so we decided to drive to Seafood City. I didn't have breakfast in anticipation of Max's crispy fried chicken for lunch. Well, when we got to Max, I ended up ordering bangsilog instead because my craving for garlic fried rice, crispy bangus, achara, fried egg took over. I also ordered lumpiang shanghai because I wanted that crunchy morsel dipped in sweet and sour sauce.

When my order arrived, I got steamed rice instead; the egg was half-cooked, the bangus was cold and tasted "maumuk" -- I don't know the direct translation of this word in English but it means that the fish isn't fresh and leaves that taste in your mouth that makes you want to burn your taste buds with something sweet to mask the fish taste. The lumpiang shanghai would have been okay were it not for the watered-down sauce. There was no achara on the side.

I don't know what I was thinking. I knew that the bangus won't be fresh. I knew that the food is never as good as I make it at home. Blame nostalgia.

At Valerio's I bought hopia mongo and whole wheat pandesal. I was tempted by the kakanins but I resisted. At the supermarket, I walked each aisle looking at all the familiar stuff from childhood - Skyflakes, otap, butul pakwan, polvoron, chicharon, sardines, spam - and I caved in and bought one of each. A part of me was overwhelmed by all the packaging, the processing, the thousands of miles these items have travelled to get on the shelf.

The meat and seafood section had selections that my local supermarket doesn't have. Good price on shrimp so I bought two lbs and had them put in an ice bag (it takes an hour to get home). I bought tilapia that's been cleaned. I wish I lived nearby so I could get my fish fried there. No need to do it at home.

Because I've been trying to change our consuming and eating habits (eat local, minimize packaging, buy fresh), I felt like apologizing for today's excursion. Too much plastic. Overpackaging. Overprocessed food to make it last. Oversalted. MSG-saturated.

What to do when the craving for tastes and memories of home kick in? I know that it's better to satisfy these cravings at home but why didn't I? Well, maybe I just wanted to breathe the air of Seafood City, like a whiff of the open wet markets of my childhood treks with my mother.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Remembering NVM Gonzalez

Today belongs to NVM Gonzalez.
Can the West 'read' us well? Can the words we offer it become an ennobling vision of life? In light of its long acquaintance with themes of alienation and despair, do the West see our books as celebrations of continuity and endurance?
As I writer I have no ready answer. But, as a reader, I keep firm my faith in language and the imagination. I am proud to be counted among the wounded.
NVM Gonzalez, The Novel of Justice, 144
You can now view photos from Spirit Breath here.  Note the accompanying text to the photos which are equally poetic and stunning. Thanks again, Lizae.
To Eileen and her beautiful daughter, Francine!
To Tera's newly minted Phd from U of Texas in Austin.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Post-event musings

Post-event musings:
As we drove home from the event, I mused about Lizae's comment -- "it's like creating a mandala" -- and how apt it felt. Like the recent visit of Tibetan monks on my campus and the destruction of the Tara Mandala at the end of four days of creation, we "dissolved" Lizae's mandala with kapwa jamming, gift offering of flowers and poetry to the attendees, picture-taking, and long goodbyes afterwards. 

The evening began with kulintang music and dance in the front garden and then we moved to the garden in the back where Maite offered a dance to the spirit of spring. As she greeted the blooming rhodies and other blooms in the garden, my little Noah was mesmerized by the dance. We all were. The sound of gongs, the color of malongs, the grace of dance, and the silent meditation ushered us into the the sacred space where we would receive the gifts that will be offered by volunteers after we had moved indoors.

Indoors, every corner of Lizae's home was beautified with flowers, water fountains, candles, art work, rock art, flowing luminous textiles.  As the offerings unfolded, we savored dance, chant, poetry, song, drum, harp, cello, kora, visual images, trance dance, food, and kapwa jammin. Afterwards - beaming faces, nourished souls. 
Time stood still. 

As I returned to my books, theories, and to the classroom, I kept thinking of how to awaken the senses, the soul, the light within each of my students. How can I enliven the work of the mind with the work of the body and spirit? How to swim against the grain of what has become normal but stale and tepid? How do I tell my students about my experience at this event and will they get it? Will I be able to adequately articulate why this work (of CFBS) is transformative and can I connect it with the syllabus content I have laid out for them? In the white concrete walls, no- windows-classroom, how can I speak of sacred geography and of the nourishing warmth of spring's sun, the soft drizzle of petals from the cherry trees around campus, the swallows's nest in Salazar Building?  But I do. I try.

With help from Wade Davis and his recent work on the importance of ancient ways in the modern age, I usher students into the importance of paying attention to the ethnosphere - the legacy of our diverse human repertoire on the planet that is now threatened by the power of domination that has been unleashed by the modern ideologies of progress and development.

We leap from the small particular stories to the Big Story. What is the story we tell ourselves and that we live by? Is there a story more compelling than the story of the free market and the American dream? Yes, there is. And it is Indigenous.