'I used to be so excited about bumping into Filipinos because they felt like a window to the world I ached so much for'
Someone once said, “Writing a column is like being married to a nymphomaniac. Once you think you’ve finished, you have to start all over again.” I don’t know how many other columnists feel this way, but I certainly do…especially when I’m travelling.
But first, a disclaimer: Nymphomania is the term laymen use, not psychologists. There are reasons for this: One is, it is difficult to agree what exactly a nymphomaniac is. True, the general understanding is that it is a woman who needs/wants more sex than most women do. But who is to say when “more” is too much? And who is to say when needing it “too much” becomes a sexual disorder?
Dr Kinsey underscored this point by answering the question, “What is a nymphomaniac?” with 7 words: “Anyone who has more sex than you.”
The other reason is that there is something pejorative/judgmental about the term. Usually it is more difficult to do effective therapy, or methodologically sound research, when one has a bias against the people one is purportedly helping from the get go.
Speaking only for myself, I find writing columns when abroad an added difficulty not so much because I feel like I’m married to a nymphomaniac, but more because I feel like the nymphomaniac myself. Or, rather, a person experiencing mania (without the nymph part) is more likely to exhibit the following symptoms: more talkative than usual and/or feeling pressure to keep talking; racing thoughts or thoughts that seem to jump from topic to topic, distractibility (e.g., attention is easily drawn to unimportant details).
When I get manic-like, I jump all over the place, literally and figuratively. I cannot really focus because as soon as I think something “worthy” enough to write about, something just as worthy pops up that seems as important and as worthy of comment and, in many instances, probably is.
This always happens to me the minute I walk into the executive lounge of the Intercontinental Hotel Hong Kong. For tightwad me, there is the delight in knowing I can order a dozen cappuccinos and pay the same price I do for one.
Saying hello to old friends…which is made even sweeter because invariably we find these same old friends in better positions than they were when we first met. A lovely Chinese waitress with a smattering of English is, after no more than two years, a more confident employee with a more senior posting. Contrast this with my saying hello to the same waitresses in the same position year after year in Manila. It’s enough to break your heart.
To distract myself, I brainstorm writing about luxury: what comprises luxury, particularly when staying at a hotel? Their toilets flushing so quietly? Their staff responding to a hotel guest's request as if it were the most reasonable thing to ask for, no matter how off the wall it is?
In England, I brainstormed about manners. About how, in essence, it simply means making the other person feel at home, and the more instinctively one does it, the more well mannered one is.
I am, by nature, pretty clumsy. I bump into people and thus am constantly apologizing everywhere I walk. Most smile as if saying, “No worries" but the UK is the only place where people not only accept your apologies, but also apologize in return. It is the only place people answer me back with an excuse me when I ask them to please excuse me. Kakatuwa talaga. (It's really amusing.)
Pero medyo mababaw kung ang buong kolum tungkol dito, di ba? (If my column were just about this, it would be too superficial, wouldn't it?)
Then I saw this:
EAT BULAGA! SHOW LIVE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN LONDON, UK
NEARLY SOLD OUT! BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! TICKET PRICES £35 / £45 / £55 / £65 / £75 AND £85
To purchase your Eat Bulaga! tickets call 020 3174 1894 / 07989 403 904
To book online first CLICK: Left Front / Right Front / Stalls / Left Rear / Right Rear
Then select: Your Seating
CC Auditorium ExCeL London Saturday - 17 November 2012 18.00
One part of me cheered: “At last! Something I can really sink my teeth in!”
But another demanded: “focus, focus, focus, what about the above is worth commenting on?”
Can Sen Sotto be part of an "Eat Bulaga" production in London when he should be working for our country?
But why can’t he do both?...And wouldn’t it be unfair for anyone who told him to quit the Senate and go back to being a comedian now to take him to task for doing so? But then again…he hasn’t quit being a senator, has he? So…am I saying Sen Sotto isn’t capable of multi-tasking?”
Or am I reacting (over-? under-? understandably?) especially after reading “Brillantes to check Enrile 'threat' vs poll officer” on Rappler.com?
The story makes my hair stand on end. True, Sen Enrile didn’t threaten her as he could have done in his good old Martial Law days, but it's antics like these (and one can't help wondering how many others there are that don’t get reported) that make you feel same old, same old. Indeed, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same).
And once again, even in lush, romantic Bali where I am right now, I can’t help wondering whether our hearts would break less because our fellow Filipinos would live better if our politicians did fewer things that made our blood run cold. I can’t help thinking there’s a connection. – Rappler.com