Monday, March 21, 2011

The Office Barong

Last December, I bought two office barongs in Manila. The office barong is the cheaper version of the pineapple Barong Tagalog, the traditional shirt for the Tagalogs. Filipino males wear them when they go to work and that includes teachers as well.

I decided to wear them to school to set an example to my students that they can have fruitful lives in Australia while not losing their original identities. I also encourage them to wear their own clothes if they want to.

In buses and trains, Caucasian people do stare and hesitate to be beside me. When I go to shops, Caucasian attendants are also taken aback. Those are the only times that I am reminded that I am wearing something that Aussies have not seen before.

Unfortunately, it is getting colder here in South Australia and such a shirt is very unsuitable as it is made to be worn in a muggy and hot climate.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

When the system fails

Yesterday, Australians were swamped with videos of a year 10 student being bullied and punched by his attacker. And there are tons of videos out there of a similar nature but this one stands out because the victim fights back--he wrestles his attacker to the ground and ending the ordeal...for now.

The victim has allegedly been bullied for years and the school system has not done enough to stop it. Perhaps, the poor kid has had enough and decided to protect himself when the school system should have prevented it from happening.

As a consequence, the bully was suspended for four days and so was the victim. The abused kid has been tormented already and I do not understand why the system has not only failed him but is also causing more damage.

I know the government does not give much power and tools to the school and the teachers in stopping bullying. It is a fact of life here for Australian kids and unfortunately, we cannot see an end in sight.

All my friends know that I was bullied as a kid, too. It was not really physical (physical bullying is not really common in the Philippines) but psychological. I knew I had the strength to fight back and I wish I had the balls to do it.

So I am glad that one victim fought back.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Thai in Me

When I moved to Australia from Thailand, I did not know how to cook Thai food. I spent a lot of time (and very little effort) consuming Thai cuisine but I did not take the time knowing how to make it myself because the food is available 24/7 on the streets of Bangkok.

My first few years in Australia was spent on remembering Filipino dishes and learning Australian ones which was very easy. Ingredients are also cheap and readily available. Unfortunately, both food are very fatty so I gained a lot of weight--8 kilos!

Last December, I bought a small Thai cookbook in Manila and I was really impressed with myself. The taste brought me back to Bangkok and it also gave me a chance to show Steven the things I really miss about Thailand. Then I bought an Australian-published Thai cookbook and it has a lot more recipes.

It is very expensive to buy the exotic herbs and spices but with our combined salaries, we can afford it. I am also slowly getting leaner so I am sure I will be able to show off my body next summer.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lost Dog-Lovers

I am not really sure how Steven and myself smell but it seems we attract a lot of lost dogs. All around Australia, these canines appear out of nowhere.

The first incident was at a park in Woodville, South Australia. It was a black dog that was trembling with fear. It would come to me but then as soon as it got near, it would hesitate. Unfortunately, it walked away and disappeared in the dark as most parks in Australia are not lit.

The second incident was in Queanbeyan, New South Wales. It was a slender brown dog begging food from the McDonald's restaurant. It was very tame and it actually smelled nice. A pity that we had to leave it.

A few days ago, a male Border Collie-Kelpie came to our very doorstep. He was very excited to see us and wanted to play so it was difficult getting any information from his collar. We found out that his name is Jet and he lives right around the corner from our unit. We managed to get hold of the owner but before that, Steven took a photo of me with this 13-month old cutie.

Obviously, Steven and I desperately want a dog but like I mentioned, we only live in a unit. Perhaps, in a couple of years, we will be able to purchase a house and start a small gay family.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Born This Way

I saw Lady Gaga for the first time in 2008. It was in the Miss Universe contest swimsuit part and I thought her music really did not go well with the image that I had in my head of the competition. I thought I will never hear about her anymore.
And I was wrong.
She has hit song after hit song. She has a growing number of fans--men, women, adolescents and even kids. She has now become a gay icon as she made very public statements in supporting gay marriage and the fight against bullying.
And she has come out with this new song "Born This Way". I was very ecstatic when this came out because it paints being gay in a very positive way. In fact, it has to be celebrated.
I can't help but think of the younger gays and lesbians in my family. I am proud to say that it does run in my family. I hope they will have a very productive gay life like mine.