LAKOMPAKE! by Senyora: A Book Review

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You are found  ” OA” as in overacting if you grumble that you were loveless  last Valentine’s Day. You are not far different from people who are likely to experience seasonal  depression  during holiday seasons, especially  on Christmas holiday. We tend to feel blues and idealistic when we   find that others luckier in life  we think of than us have  a good time with their loved ones. So, many   loveless people are bitter. Here are  their common lines:

“When it is the last day of January , some  wish it were March when they woke up. “

Hahahahahah

They seem to be allergic to February.

” Happy Single’s Awareness Day.”

Ouch! I was!

“Some turn sour and grape  saying  that although they are single on that day, they will get a salary the following day. “

Hahahahahah … Money is  love.

But, the most common bitter line is :

” Walang Forever “

Hahahahha

In short, we are  all “ ampalaya” ( bitter gourd).  Oops-a-daisy… in effect, we should be sensible. Let us not teach  ourselves to be   off our rocker. Otherwise, we will be labeled stupid love. Surround ourselves with rational friends, or someone who will knock the living daylights out of us . Also, read self-help books to understand our selves.

Senyora Santibanez‘s posts on her Facebook fan page are highly-recommended and timely. But be ready to  be  culpably insinuated. I am pretty sure you would be guilty for her head-bashing  reality-checks.

Senyora Santibanez  or  known now as Senyora is an anonymous Facebook fan page which has now  approximately 2 million followers. In effect, it is just for fun because the admin intends to  publish derogatory posts  about  everything  under the sun  which followers and  readers might find witty and jocular. In light of its sensational popularity on social  media, it successfully published a book LAKOMPAKE  and has been  sold  like a cake.

The title of the Facebook fan page was inspired by the villainous character of Angélica de Santibañez  ( Chantal Andere )  in Marimar,  a Mexican telanovela which became sensational among televiewers around the world. The character  is known for her pouring scorn on the main character.

LAKOMPAKE is short for Wala Akong Pake.( I don’t care.) ,  a  colloquial, vulgar in effect , Filipino  expression to  retort  something what a person says. It is synonymous with the English expression ” I don’t mind.” in a rude way.

Since Senyora is known for her insulting and disapproving remarks , I should be upset about the book. In fact,  most of its contents could be  found cringing and annoying such as that the book, according  to her , is dedicated to  all those tramps whom she has fooled into agreeing with her  megalomaniac and pulchritudinous  hubris. However, rather than be upset about her  narcissism, I found the book hilarious. Yes, I was so convulsed with laughter by her eye-opening thoughts that I fell off my chair and wanted to  hit my student  with it. Therefore, her book adds up: It makes sense. Don’t underestimate it if you are not much fond of this kind of read. I was exhilarated by her effort to rectify us about dealing with love and social status.

Senyora’s famous derogatory   word  is “ Pwe!” It is an onomatopoeic  word to figuratively describe the sound of spitting  at a person you look down on.

Pwe , if you are stupid at love.

Pwe,  if you are a kind of a lover bitching around with someone you like.

Pwe, if you pretend to be rich.

And …Pwe, if you still pretend to be a ” paminta” ( peppermint). (laughs)

In short, be yourself and sensible. That’s what Senyora wants  us to  learn from her book. There is a method to her madness. (laughs)

To do justice to her delusional beauty, with no offense, Senyora made sure that her pieces of advice are scholarly, factual , and empirical as what the book suggests. So, readers can not just refute her derogatory tirades. Laban? (Fight?)

For the past four  months LAKOMPAKE  has still remained  one of National Book Store’s best-sellers for  Philippine Non-Fiction . In short,  Senyora’s beauty is still  “kabog”  (ostentatious) .  Her too much pride in her beauty  has something fierce.  (laughs)

For Senyora, I rate it 3/ 5 stars. I liked it.  Is it fair? 🙂

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Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong: A Book Review

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The first book written by Bob Ong  that led me to the portal of his idiosyncrasies is Bakit Baliktad Magbasa Ng Libro Ang Mga Pilipino?  I was impressed by his ways of writing out his ideas or opinions in a conversational way. Reading it was like an editorial article full of facts but funny, intended not only for young but also old adults . Besides, I sensed his  hidden blaze of nationalism. Amused, I borrowed Macarthur from my cousin who happened to be his avid reader. After that, I was magnetized again because the theme is not that as deeply  and humorously academic and journalistic as the former one but, instead, it is a simple story that young readers may never forget because it reflects the social problem with illegal drug. The story is so worth remembering. No wonder when you ask a young avid fan about which Bob Ong books his/ her favorite is. I bet my boots that it is one of them. And please, count me in. The  very thought of the sachet of  crystal meth floating  in the pooped bowl  repulses me!

I was in university when I got the opportunity to read another Bob Ong book. Another Bob Ong fan lent me some of his other works. I got the good chance of reading Stainless Longganisa . But I admit that I found it pretty boring. It is just a story of how a writer struggles with completing his book or having it published.  If it is so, why did Bob Ong make it more complicated with his satirical dramas?  He could have just written it in the other way around. But who am I to cast aspersion on his writing style? Walang basagan ng trip.This is his trademark.

I was disappointed more after reading his other books such as Ang Paboritong Libro ni Hudas  and Kapitan Sino .  They almost have the same pattern. The situation is like all Bob Ong has to do is to strike up a witty conversation with me ,with his satirical sentiments and dramas. Thereafter, I got sick and tired of Bob Ong. Nakakasawa na. I promised myself then that I would not read another Bob Ong books.

I tried to read another Bob Ong when  friends of mine  gave me an intriguing  idea of Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan . My friends said that it is a scary one. HmmmAnother friend tampered with my febrile imagination claiming that she could not sleep it off. After burying myself in it for the whole night, yes!  My friends did not prove me wrong. I was horrified. Somehow, it scared me so witless that I would it put down when I did not want to read what would happen next. I did not want to picture how the scenes look like. Then, my hair stood on end when I patched all the puzzling parts together. Gee, that’s why?  A typical reaction when you have come to understand everything. Who won’t forget the scene when the grandma who is supposed to be dead gets up from its bed to approach Galo, the protagonist? Who regretted reading the Latin phrases at the end of his each diary? How about the secret room in where the human –sized saints are kept ?

The story is clearly manipulating because Bob Ong intended to play our imagination. All the settings are mixed. He intended to lead us in some parts which turn out to  be the  linchpin of the  horror. For instance, Galo also makes us  read the Latin phrases he reads out of curiosity. Even though I didn’t understand the words, I still kept on reading them. But , in the end, I deeply regretted doing so. You should not read them if I were you. It is a warning. Plus, the twins, Jezel and Niko .Potek,I thought they were just ‘saling pusa’.

I was first confused with some information with which Bob Ong padded in the story. For instance, the date of the setting is in 1998. But MTB, a famous noon-time show ,was not aired in that year yet. Another thing is a high-tech computer. As far as I know, high-tech computers were unveiled in the 2000’s. There are some more happened in the 2000’s Bob Ong played back in the 1990’s. Thus, I inferred that Bob Ong loves to scrabble all the things that happened from different generations.

My friend speculates that Bob Ong may have written it off the cuff. He may have dabbled in writing it in a corner without any specific theme on his mind. So, his publisher may have ignored it and still seen its potential to give his readers the creeps knowing that he has established a name in the market.  Or she may have meant to say that the story begins with Galo’s “nega moments”; then, all of a sudden, it segues into a horror part. Thus, the book appears to be inscrutable because she is not sure what Bob Ong may want to imply in this book since all his books appear to have satirical meanings. But apparently, one of the insinuations could be that anyone can have a Cinderella life. Of course not! Galo does not have a Princess Charming.( laughs)

Somehow, there are good points in the story that caught my interest aside from the “katatakutan” moments. I liked the philosophical conversations between  Mama Susan and Galo although I find them obscure and irrelevant to whatever Bob Ong wants to preach to us. Besides, if it were not Mama Susan’s revelation about Galo’s past , I would really have demoted Bob Ong to all  wannabe writers (like me)  by giving it one  out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  Fiddlesticks! I wish I read books literally.

As a matter of fact, after reading it, I don’t want to give it a try again nor flip through its pages  given that I found it not that really scary . Perhaps, I just don’t want to read the Latin phrases anymore. Gee, it is the impact on me!

Warning: Please, don’t read the Latin phrases.  Just skip them.

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

 

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett: A Book Review

alanbennetYou may not be such a voracious  reader if you could not relate to this novella.

The story is simple but interesting. It  is about the queen of England, an UNCOMMON READER (look its meaning up in Wikepedia), who will fall to reading books when she meets across a travelling library. There she meets Norman, the kitchen boy, who will introduce her to different writers she has never met yet. The queen will completely immerse herself in books, derelict in her duty as Her Majesty of England. Ad nauseam because of her special advisor, Sir Kevin, she will be in a quandary over whether reading affects her duty or not.

Like Her Majesty, I prefer to be left to my reading. I don’t want to be disturbed. I don’t want to procrastinate reading, but I do procrastinate doing the job I must do.

Like Her Majesty, I make excuses not to do anything else because I want books be under my nose all the time.

Like Her Majesty, I’d rather read a book on a vehicle or whenever I travel, carrying a stack of books I try to catch upon than watch a movie or strike up a conversation with my friend/s.

Like Her majesty, I sleep through my books because they keep me awake, but half awake with the books I find kitsch, so I lay them aside until they get caked with dust bunny.

Like Her Majesty, I read a book with a pad and a pencil close at my hand to take notes the words I haven’t known yet and to underline the quotes boggle my mind at the same time.

Like Her Majesty, I love frequenting my favorite stomping ground to check upon the unknown in my world.

Like Her Majesty, I am brainwashed by the totally ridiculous opinions of the significant others, unenthusiastic about books. To them, reading is time killing.

Like Her Majesty, it is too late to learn a lot of things more since she had been up to her nose with her duty, in my case, poverty. Thus, we are both OPSIMATHS as she puts it.

I bet my boots you bear complete resemblance to Her Majesty, don’t you?

But unlike Her Majesty, I will never give up on my “natural or learned’ inclination till Kingdom come despite my demanding job. ^___^

Out of 29 authors mentioned in the novella, I should proudly say that I am very familiar with 17 of them such as:
Anita Brookner
Thomas Hardy
Winifred Holtby
Henry James
Alice Munro
The Brontës
Marcel Proust
Philip Roth
• Vikram Seth
William Shakespeare
Charles Dickens
William Makepeace Thackeray
• Jane Austen
George Eliot
E. M. Forster
• Ian McEwan
• A.S Byatt

Well, could I be an uncommoner in the world of literature? (wink!)

Rating : 4 / 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket #1) by Roald Dahl: A Book Review

IMG_20150116_225754Upon seeing its movie adaptation, there were two distinctive flavors combined remained in my tongue and caused me to crave its book:

(1) Bitter. I savored Mr. Wonka’s bitter childhood story – how he was motivated to build the best chocolate factory in the world.

(2) Sweet. It was sweet of Charlie Bucket , the hero, not to leave his family despite the big opportunity to be a legatee of Mr. Wonka. However, I was disappointed when these parts are not mentioned in the book. In other words, the original story could have been padded , probably to make it more substantial. Anyway, it is neither here nor there. I still liked it. There are still three reasons it raised a notch.

(a ) I enjoyed its prose- magical. Every sentence was well-written. I believe that it could be a reference or part of studies in English and Literature. Besides, the story is tinged with too much emphasis on comparative degree as well as synonyms of the adjectives.

“ He’s crazy!” they shouted .
“ He’s balmy!”
“ He’s nutty! “
“ He’s screwy!”
“ He’s batty! “
“ He’s dotty!”
“He’s daffy! “
“He’s goofy!”
“He’s beany!”
He’s wacky!”
He’s loony!”

Hahaha! Presto! I loved it! The sentences are lusciously melting in my mouth. Writing such style could be a piece of pie for students.

(b) R. Dahl is witty and ingenious. He used chocolate as the instrument in teaching moral lessons, not only for children but also for parents.

Some critics said that this is not much of a good read for children. Not that I know of ! On the contrary, those critics may not know how to think of like a child anymore. Only genius children-in my opinion- have the apt to do so.
Sometimes we have to bear in mind about what the American psychologist,
Erik Ericson said: “ Try to become a child again.”

At last I have read it. Ready for the BFG! ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars

Stupid is Forever by Miriam Defensor Santiago: A Book Review

This is my review of the best-selling  Stupid is Forever by  beloved Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago that I wrote on Goodreads  in 2014  prior to her sequel Stupid  is Forevermore.

miriamTo my GR friends,

The woman in the paperback pointing both her forefingers at each side of her forehead is the author herself, Miriam Defensor Santiago, our very own Filipino senator- politician, Ramon Magsaysay awardee- equivalent to Nobel Prize- for her moral leadership in cleaning the graft-ridden government agencies. She is not only well- known for her brave character but also for her sense of humor and witty remarks, which endeared the Filipino youth and is absolutely absent among politicians in the Philippines. To know her more, you can read all about her in the Wikipedia.

This book is a collection of the beloved senator’s jokes, one-liners, pick-up lines, comebacks, and speeches.

As an avid fan of the beloved senator, I always keep track of her personal and political life through magazines, newspapers, especially through her official website. Gee, I must be enchanted by her so-called “Miriam Magic”. Thus, for an arm chair reader , there is nothing new to this book. I am almost familiar with her epigrams and speeches. So , I was almost close to giving it 1 star forgetting my passionate support for her. hahaha

Another thing that adds to my disappointment is the latent intention of the book. ( It’s just as well that it did not let me down. ) If I were a political analyst, I would opine that this book must be intended for political reasons. There are some parts the beloved senator expressing her presidential aspirations in 2016. For instance, at the end of the ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“…Her complete resume can be found at the end of this book.”

Usually, the senator is in the habit of bragging about the records of her academic excellence and professional achievements when she attempted to run in 1992, or whenever she locks horns with her political enemies. No doubt the title of the book bespeaks the beloved senator’s intellectual hubris.

In her resume, an anonymous writer seems to be putting her name on the pedestal. He/she briefly states her brilliant life as a law student in the Philippines and abroad, as a competent government official in the Congress. I find this part “apparently defensive”.

Despite the mesmerizing hidden political propaganda, I teased out the good intentions of the beloved senator, which predisposed me to giving it 4 stars. The beloved senator wants to educate voters about the incoming presidential election in 2016: She wants us to vote wisely . Reading it is like as though we listen to her speeches on the stump. But before that, she has to regale us with her pick –up lines to catch our full attention. At that time, all the kidding aside, we have to take her at her word seriously.

The book is divided into three speeches with different pick-up lines. Her first speech is on social media encouraging the students or all Filipinos to use social media as a weapon against any means of electoral fraud in 2016. The second part is the real meaning of leadership ( which caused me have a rude awakening) , how the youth should apply it to choosing our next leaders. Finally, of dreams , how it is not a “ mission impossible” to gain our shared goals.
All the rage at the end of her speeches is her inspiring poems she must have selected herself.

The beloved senator is an accomplished writer. She has written 19 books in law and social sciences. As far as I know, she is still finishing the new edition of her law book. Also, she has written two of her autobiographies. Alas, I have not read them yet. In fact, this book is the sequel to her well-received The Miriam Dictionary.

My hat is off to you ma’am. I may not know the real political circus in the Philippines, but whatever decision you will have made by 2016, your fans and I will absolutely support you. Mabuhay! ^_^

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it. )

Stupid is Forevermore by Miriam Defensor Santiago : A Book Review

stupid-is-forevermore-cover_This is the sequel to   our  beloved Senator Miriam  Santiago’s Stupid is Forever ( 3 stars ) as  it was launched on her 70th birthday celebration on June 15. The title is still the same; it was only added with  the word ” MORE”  to imply that the beloved senator   has another sack  of jokes and epigraphs. But the color of the paperback  is now reddish as one of the common colors  of her attires she wears when she attends the senate meetings. As a rule, the contents of the books are more on her jokes  , epigraphs, and speeches which had been earmarked for this sequel. In the end, I find it somehow redundantly entertaining but worth reading in disguise.  Thus, I have been disappointed for the second time except  her short story , The Exorcism of the Ghost, an excerpt from her well-received then The Frabjous Days and other Short Stories.

In effect, if you are such an avid fan of the beloved senator  like me , obsessed with her  on a daily basis, wanting to know everything she does , it  may be in politics or in her personal life as though you are a cyber stalker  , you are undoubtedly  familiar with the contents  from  cover to cover. You have read all her witty jokes and political tirades, speeches ,  and her bio data just by means of internet access. Definitely, you  check  her website . Here you can read all the statements  she makes  in the press since she  became a senator. If you want another blown-by-blown details , you can visit the site of the Philippine Senate. There you can check the senator’s archives .  To pick the newspapers commentators’ brains  , just type  Miriam Santiago  and search it  by clicking News on Google or Yahoo. All the information you want to keep track of  is accessible in the internet. Tataaan! You are now undoubtedly a Miriam freak. ( laughs)

The pattern used in  writing this book is the same as the opinion I teased out of  her Stupid is Forever. First, before  she delivers her speech  on the stump, the senator as a rule will regale you with her witty jokes to break the ice. For sure, you will be knocked out off the aisle. Then, just  all the kidding aside, you will listen to her inspiring and educating speeches although a little steeped in political issues. Finally, she will leave us  some lines of quotes she must have selected herself. Her speeches I have read but still worth reading  have something to do with life.  

A  DATE  WITH DESTINY

Here I cottoned to William Arthur Ward’s quotes:

“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.”

THE PARADIGM FOR HAPPY LIFE

Here I learned her philosophy:

“Life is a consequence of our moral choices.”  

What  sparked my interest is her preface and short story The Exorcism of a Ghost, a selected story in her autobiography The Frabjous Day. I have always wanted to read her autobiography as I was wondering how she is  as good at writing a story as she is witty at her speeches. To my astonishment, our beloved Senator Santiago’s intellectual hubris, indeed,  reflects in the above-mentioned short story. Now I understand. “ “Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life here“ ( laughs )

Her preface:

The Moron

See the Happy Moron,

He doesn’t give a damn!

I wish I were a moron –

My God! Perhaps I am!

-Anonymous-

I also opined in my review of her Stupid is Forever that the book is intended for her  hidden political agenda to run for presidential aspirations in 2016. Obviously, this book – in my humble opinion- still completely resembles the former ,  hyping  up her records of  academic excellence  and professional  achievements; at the same time, with some pictures of hers showing her aura of bold and moral character as well as her massive intellect in the legal fields.

The beloved senator has not been in the press for a few months as though she had faded into the night like Batman , nor has she been able to attend the senate sessions ( despite the fact that she has the highest number of bills passed in the higher congress.) In fact, she was not able to attend the  launching of this, her second book; rather , it was launched on the market on her 70th birthday.  She must still be struggling with her stage- 4 lung cancer as she is dog-determined to recover, for she might plan to run in 2016.

Dear our Beloved Senator:

Whatever your plan in 2016 is , we,  your fans, will always  give you our all-out support. But for the sake of your health, we had rather you did not plan to do so; we had rather you took a rest, enjoyed  in your 70’s  by spending time with your family and grandchildren , or sat in a rocking chair crocheting as you once joked before when asked whether you would run or not in 1992. Politics  as you are aware of is  dirty. We may not know your personal intention why you want to become president, but what you have  done for the Philippines is enough to awaken us, your disciples you have intellectually enlightened by means of your political idiosyncrasies  beyond  the hoi polloi ‘s understanding.

To look cool, it is about time you wrote your own literary piece  as what you wanted to do when you were still young. May be when you make one, it could be bound to being  a short list in any  international literary awards as what you flaunted  whenever you got into an international  event. ^^

Get well soon, our beloved Senadora. We, your fans , miss you a whole lot.

Rating: 2/ 5 stars ( It is ok. )

The Talk Of The Town by Ardal O’Hanlon: A Book Review

There he is, my neighbor, a waste of boy, fashioned himself into an innocent look, an obvious look of teenage: lankily immature but cute and good-looking, his flawless fair complexion is no longer indelible, but still he takes after his father’s charisma. Poor boy! His father abandoned them. There he is playing an arachnofight with another waste of boy bending over his shoulder.

It was a scene of gross negligence.

talkJust finished this book did I notice the boy across from my house. He could resemble the man of this book, Patrick,a teen-ager,in a blue funk,lost his father and dreams of taking after his father’s job as a security guard. Alas, when his father kicked the bucket, he started to get criss-crossed which path of his life he should keep up with. He eventually learned the rocks of life. He got into drugs, sex, riot, and immature love which caused him to commit a sin he had never thought of.

This was renamed  Knick Knack Paddy Whack for publication in the United States.

I did not like it at first; its writing style is not my cup of tea. I could not get the settings of the story. The sequence of events is  even confusing. Eventually, there is the method to the narrator’s, probably the author himself, madness after all: It could be a teenager’s testimony- he probably wants to vent his spleen. As I reached its climax, I got choked up, rendered speechless. In fact, its ending helped me clear all the clouds overcast my mind since the beginning. Poor Patrick!

I realized then that sticking to traditional writing styles has nothing to do with what meaningful messages writers want to imply. Sometimes the good intentions of writers qualify their books to be worth reading.
Alas, I can not bring myself to give it more than two stars. I may be used to my standards, or still overwhelmed by its aftereffects.

It is Ardal O’Hanlon’s first novel. He is lucky that this is included on the list of 1001 Best Novels in the World You Must Read Before You Die.

Rating : 2 / 5 stars