Alex Maskara

Thoughts, Stories, Imagination of Filipino American Alex Maskara

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Four Students

Four Students




It is quite clear to me that I pursue blogging because I get excited in doing it; as excited as I was in my youth when I first delved into writing. I delayed writing for decades and worked a different job to support my family but I am very free now. I have time. I have better control with my time.

Today, I will meet up with the code lady at 10:30 AM to inspect my rental condo and issue my license. After that I will proceed to the healthcare facility to complete some paperwork for some of my patients. That would probably take me 2 hours more or less. From work I’d go straight home. I will continue my blogging and updating my websites since I gather a few readers now and then. My blogging is very low-key, I write my ideas whether they make sense or not. I bear no grand delusions about what I post. The only reason I blog is due to the lack of resources I am interested in reading about. I observed there was nothing in the old country discussing the things I wanted to be discussed. I want to read about ordinary Filipino lives, how their regular lives are spent in ordinary times, in ordinary places, in ordinary crowds. Based on my superficial research, most bloggers in the old country, for want of income perhaps, join the bandwagon of lifestyle and luxury and travel blogs. Otherwise they fill the digital space with vlogs. This is where their audience comes from, and thus, their income. And as far as Filipino technology is concerned, it looks like they are more users than creators.

It is worse in social media where Filipinos are its greatest users based on world data. And I don't see Filipinos creating frameworks or venues or hosts for self creativity. They are great content-makers using frameworks created by others. This is not due to lack of brain capacity, it is the lack of an environment conducive to creativity. Worse, creativity for most of them is content that is mostly confined to visuals; not ideas. It is likewise lamentable that people mostly rely on their looks, their bodies, or comedies debasing themselves to earn that dollar. Exposing themselves to the public and relying heavily on gay-driven events and competitions are sure ways to lose respect and not be taken seriously.

So, (and I am NOT claiming any expertise on politics and society or anything I talk about), I am sharing with you my own 2 little cents. That’s all.

The Filipino society failed to put emphasis on what is most valuable in human development. The value of curiosity, learning, thinking, creativity and initiative. First, however, is the importance of housing and health. No amount of mental exercise will create anything of value in a person that faces hunger, lack of sleep and lack of a quiet place to enjoy the task of learning. I have been there. When I was in college, no amount of studying improved my knowledge on my empty stomach. I was always on the brink of failing my exams.

It is imperative to work on a few things first.

Poverty and hunger should be alleviated especially among children whose brain development is at its peak. This will involve everybody: parents, community, social services and welfare, non-governmental organizations, and the government itself.

BUT the most basic and fundamental here is the role of the SELF.

Housing is a must. A person can never advance towards any high-level endeavors without the security, peace and comfort of a home or place to call his own. A person who moves from place to place, who lives in an environment full of noise and distractions, who cannot listen to his own thoughts due to the constant barrage of social engagement and conversations especially in a crowded house or room, cannot be expected to focus on whatever idea he likes to focus on. There is nothing more important than quiet and peace and single minded focus in learning and creativity.

Housing is mainly the responsibility of the self.

A person must plan his life around self-sustenance and housing for himself. It would be cruel for a parent to subject his children to an environment of hunger and displacement when he should have avoided having children in the first place. Once a child is born without food security and stable housing is already a predictor of that child’s bleak Dickensian mental capacity.

It is likewise wrong to rely heavily on external resources (or blame them) when a person fails his own family and children and self due to lack of insight and discipline. I have never married nor have I produced children because I knew I have a great responsibility in life that may become difficult to fulfill by having a family of my own, or a lover or something. It puzzles me to see people who are already in dire straits yet keep on producing children they could not feed or house. Existentialism refers to a person who is responsible for his own self. You are born as a matter of existence. It is your freedom of choice how to manage that existence. And yes, life is difficult because of this freedom. Existentialists compare life to a man who is standing on a cliff with heavy winds blowing. The world around you is fogged and you cannot see the depth if you jump. In that state, you become confused and tempted to either take the plunge and die or to keep existing. It is called existential anxiety. Everyday we are all confronted by this anxiety which is nothing but an unwanted side effect of freedom. Do you want to live or die? Do you want to direct your life towards poverty or wealth? Do you want to trust God or trust your own self? Do you take this or that course of action? Do you want to be alone ro surrounded by people? Do you want to make love that will produce a new life or avoid it because you know you cannot support a new life? Do you want to blame all your life’s miseries on others instead of owning them and correcting them all on your own?

And once you’ve secured your food and health and housing, it is time to look into your high-level wants. You go to school and study what you want instead of taking courses because that is the trend. I have made a decision long ago that I’d take a healthcare-related degree because through it, I would earn dollars abroad to help my family. And many Filipinos in the past did the same thing. We abandoned our personal passions and interests to favor economic survival. I wanted to be a journalist but that would not support my family. Many are passionate about Engineering, Architecture, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Medicine. Nursing, Law, Business, Accountancy, English PhDs or even skills that require only apprenticeship and training - plumbing, electricals, carpentry, construction, welding, etc but instead took college courses that were more in line with making the most money to support families, mostly healthcare. There is nothing wrong with that so long as you will find the chance to get back to your original passion (which requires being healthy and financially stable).

I still see that misprioritization among the young. They take college degrees with half-hearted desires. Millions who take courses that will give them work abroad instead of giving them personal satisfaction. Some call it sacrifice. But this self-sacrifice may not stay for long. Life is much better now in the old country. Most people can choose what they are good at, the gifted ones. Follow your gift, that is what I say. Follow your bliss. As for me, I am truly blessed and excited that I can now afford to follow what my heart desires. I want self expression through writing. It is a delayed satisfaction, it took me 30 years to return to it. But it is never too late.

It is time for Filipinos to rebalance himself by shifting their reliance and blame from and on outsiders (powers that be, politicians, bureaucrats, working abroad) to themselves. It is time to say to oneself: I am in this state because I chose this (yay, that is so existentialist). Saying that to oneself will produce a new way of reasoning and thinking. You start looking into your own self, your attitude, your perspective, your thinking, your past mistakes and corrective measures in the future. Focus on the self, consider the rest as distractions.

This does not acquit the people and government being paid by the people to
A). Address the social and structural problems that inhibit people from their desired self development.
B) If there is no food, the government and infrastructure should provide it in the best way it can to sustain a healthy society.
C) If people are homeless, and I am talking about real homeless people driven by misfortune and ill luck, then the taxes should be used for providing housing.

Tax is the fund given to the government to address people’s needs and even-out the playing field. To house the legitimate homeless, to feed the hungry, to take care of the abandoned children and families, to reduce the corruption that impact the economic development, to reduce abuses such as business monopoly and to remove excesses such as overfunding things that make no sense, to regulate and legislate reasonable rules to advance the nation in economy, peace and order and providing the environment and resources so each person, no matter his social status, can have access to his own self improvement. Without sustenance, access to resources, a good environment, there will be no self improvement no matter how intent a person is to develop his SELF.

Schools and universities should focus more on developing the innate capacity of students to analyze, critique, create, learn what interests them the most, to engage them and give them the freedom to speak out and ask questions and form their own thesis and theories and opinions no matter how stupid they may sound. I personally disagree with the current emphasis on board exams. Every university in cahoots with the media are so overly concerned about who topped a board exam in any field as if it is the only criteria for each university's success. A board exam, according to an American educator that I met, only tests a new professional's minimal skills in the field he sits an exam for. It doesn’t matter whether he topped it or not, everyone is on the same boat whenever they start a career. They all possess the same set of minimal skills.

Is it any wonder the Philippine universities lag? Take the number of Filipino academic outputs in professional journals, how many do we submit and successfully publish each year? How many academic papers? How many books do our academic specialists produce? Anyone? In Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Medicine. These are the best criteria of a university’s power. I remember taking a Computer degree at a local university in my state. I thought it was hard to complete an assigned computer project each week (mostly software). Until I learned that Stanford assigns six each week. I remember taking Calculus ( which I never took in highschool or college) and despite taking days off I was glued to the computer screen solving at least 100 problems each week. Good thing I was a diligent student. I took College Algebra advanced placement and aced it. I took 2 college Calculus and got A's on both. I don’t mean to brag about it, but I can tell you that the Filipino brain can still learn even after decades of non-learning. But first, I had food, I had a home to study undistracted, I had money to pay my tuition, and the university and community have enormous resources whether it is a computer or libraries. I can spend my entire day in a library (which closes at midnight) and the university lab is open for almost 24 hours so one can spend his time with his team (doing a software project for example).

I dream of the day when the Filipino will have all these wonderful resources available in the future to develop himself in whatever area he is passionate about. At the end of the day I still turn back to what I love doing since I was young - sharing my thoughts through blogging/writing. I don’t have grand illusions about writing anymore, all I know is that I am happy doing this. And whether I am good at it or not, only time will tell.
2024-07-03 14:06:54


Mod Dream


Sunday Thoughts and Book Review

Lazaro Sembrano

Manila in the Dark

Boy Luneta

A Night at the Luneta Grandstand

Migratory Bird (circa 2005)

Manila Travel 2022

On Bad Blood (Part 1)

Understanding my unique Self on my way to Retirement

Intramuros 1

Pasig River


A Visit to Quiapo with El Fili2

Visiting Quiapo with El Fili

The Very Thought of You


Visions of St Lazarus 1

Popong 9

Diary of A Masquerade


Brother, My Brother (Ben Santos)

Popong 8

F Sionil Jose

Four Students - 2

Popong 7 - Meditation

Popong 6 - Meditation

Friday Night Thoughts

Current Interests

Bulosan Syndrome

Maid of Cotton

Popong 5

Popong 4

Current Readings 2

Popong 3

Reading: Name of the Rose

Current Readings

Popong 2

Web Projects

Getting Back in the Game – Technology

Four Students


Last of the Balugas

Introduction To Popong