Thursday, July 23, 2015

Random thoughts at midnight

Twelve years ago, I became a parent. I was not yet due for two weeks, but the baby was ready to pop out. They gave me drugs to stop the contractions but none worked. And when baby came, she was breathing too fast; there was a heart murmur; later, seizures. There was water in her lungs, jaundice, pneumonia, an infection that wouldn't go away.

I haven't written about the things that happened then, and the journey since, because I think it ultimately isn't "my" story, but the baby's. It is with hope that I leave the narrative for her to weave in her own words, and with her life.


Photo from

As I'm suffering from a very bad cold, I'm trying to tire myself out by watching television, which puts me to sleep. I discovered Red Channel on SkyCable and caught the Japanese film "Angel Home" (2013), which was about a father and his daughter, who has a mental disability. (Spoilers follow.)

 Instead of placing his daughter in a nursing home, the father, a manga comic book writer, works in "Sunshine Home" a communal living facility for adults who suffer from similar disabilities. This way, he gets to live with his daughter, who benefits from the assisted living provided by volunteers such as the writer.  It turns out that there are reasons behind the father's decision to live closely with his daughter, who suffers from seizures when she is around men (who are not her father) only. Remarkably, though, she develops a close relationship with one of the residents at Sunshine Home and they make plans to marry. Relatives are not keen on the marriage, and eventually, the groom-to-be is spirited away by his sister.

Complicating matters is the fact that the manga writer is himself suffering from a terminal disease. His major problem throughout the movie is how to ensure his daughter's safety and security after his death. Given the way the writer's thought processes and character were portrayed, the terrible solution he ultimately settles on is the only one that appears acceptable. I empathized completely with the father/writer character, I could see no other way out but his. Yet the last scene, which acts like a sort of epilogue, suggests that the solution might not have been inevitable had the writer been less reticent and more forthcoming. This makes everything that happened even sadder, more tragic.

Still, given how society's attitudes toward persons with disabilities are portrayed in the film (and personal experience), one wonders whether the writer was right after all.

The movie is staged like a play; much (if not all) of the action takes place in Sunshine Home's great room, which overlooks its backyard/garden. There are discussions among the characters that dramatize the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities and their caregivers; the prejudice and discrimination to which they are subject; the fact that the world does not appear to welcome their differences; the fact that there are so few who want to make the world a better place for them.  I wept all throughout the movie. And now I am so unsettled, I can't sleep, though I am very tired.


I've been reading quite a lot, actually. Apart from preparing to teach three subjects this coming August (government & constitution; gender, law & politics; political analysis), I've been dipping into several books. I finished Joseph De Luna Saguid's Loob and liked it a lot; I think about it from time to time still.  I've picked up a few zine-like works at Uno Morato too.

And there's the manuscript I'm working on. I promised myself to get it in better shape before I start on anything new. I wonder how many people decide to do that and then go off and do  otherwise.

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