Sunday, December 26, 2010

Angela gets well but they had to move.

This is going to be my last post about the book.

Things had been busy since November.  I was reading bits every now and then but not posting.  I think I got tired of writing, too.  I couldn't get myself to sit down and write, even in my two other blogs.

But anyhow...

Malachy the father was home for Christmas.  I didn't know whether I'd be happy for them or what.  But I know Frankie was happy to see his father.  He got them some chocolates, but that's all.  On that same day, the night of Christmas, he also left for England.  I don't really know what's on their father's mind, but I know that in more ways than one, Frankie and the kids were happy, even just for this day.

They couldn't pay their rent and they'd be locked out if they didn't move out.  Frank's grandma got them a place to live, about two miles outside town, in a place owned by a guy called Laman Griffin.  I think Laman was somehow a great help for Frank in getting access to the library and having the opportunity to read.  Laman sends Frankie to go to the library and get him books, and Frankie had the privilege of access to books.

But things weren't good.  I couldn't describe it.  You will have to read it yourself.

Frankie left Laman's house and never wanted to come back.

Now that his grandma is dead, he asked his uncle if he could stay in her place.  There was no problem.  He got a job and was saving his way to get to America.  He was determined and was blessed to get jobs that helped him support himself, give a little to his family and save some for his ticket to America.

He got the money by the time he turned seventeen and told his mother the day he bought his tickets.

Frankie left his mother and two brothers.  His father and another brother, Malachy, was both in England when he left.

He got a word from the Mr. Sliney, the guy his mother is taking care of.
Never smoke another man's pipe.
I know what this means.  But I don't exactly what Mr. Sliney was trying to tell Frank.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Angela snubs her Woodbines

Now, it's Angela.

She lied down one day and never got up to smoke her Woodbines.  She moans and says lemonade.  Frankie didn't know how to get her her lemonade because they don't have money; they don't even have coal for the fire. So, Frankie goes out and plans to ask Mrs. O'Connell if she can loan him a bottle of lemonade because his mother is sick and would pay them as soon as his mother gets the dole.

But, Frankie didn't have the courage to ask.  He saw the delivery truck of lemonades and saw Mrs. O'Connell having tea and bread and Frankie thought this isn't a great time to ask her.  So, he figured out a way to get more than a bottle of lemonade and a loaf of bread for him and his brothers.

Since Angela couldn't get up in the morning to wake them up, Frankie and his brothers started to miss school.  This went on until the officer from the school goes to their home and discovered what was wrong.  He immediately asked Frankie to go to her grandmother, who, later on, went to get a doctor.

Angela has pneumonia and was brought to the hospital.

However, the kids got to stay at their Aunt Aggie's until Angela gets out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"My father in the morning is mine."

Since I started reading the book, I feel remorse for Malachy, the father, for not being able to be the father to Frankie and his siblings.  Oftentimes, I had to put down the book and stopped reading - even if I still want to read - all because I feel angry with their father.

But that is only half of my feelings.  Because half of my feelings go out to the kids.  Pity, pity and more pity.  Especially when Malachy the father left for England to work.  He left with a promise of sending money to his family, but up to this point, they haven't gotten anything and I feel and I fear that they wouldn't get anything at all.

In the middle of all these, Frankie finally expressed his feelings.  He said he know when his father has done bad things.  I know that young as he is, he does know these things.  But I felt sad with how he felt towards his father, bad as his father was.
"He lights the fire and makes the tea and sings to himself or reads the paper to me in a whisper that won't wake up the rest of the family.  Mikey Malloy stole Cuchulain, the Angel on the Seventh Step is gone someplace else, but my father in the morning is still mine."
I wish there is a way I can tell Malachy his father about how Frankie felt; about how much he love his father, after all those things that he had done and didn't do.

Initially, I felt like questioning Frankie about how he felt about his father.  But who am I to do so?  I grew up with a father that is far different from his; in an environment more convenient that his, and in a life that is way more comfortable than how he lived.  So, who am I to question his feelings towards his father?

But, still, I feel sad about all these.  How I wish I could sit down with Malachy his father and tell him how his kid feels about him.  How I wish I could tell him how lucky he is to have a child like Frankie, who loves him in spite of.  But I could only with and write it down here.

Then, I begin to wonder.  Frankie is still lucky tho have a father.

How many children whose wish would only be to have a father?  A father like Malachy who builds fire in the morning to make their tea and read the paper.

A father even if it's just in the morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Girl Next Door

Her name is Patricia.

They never really met.  But Frankie had conversations with her while they were both confined at the hospital.  Frankie stayed in a room next to Patricia's, where she stayed in isolation because of cholera.

She recited a poem to Frankie, but never got to finish it.  Patricia died several days later in the lavatory.  She was to use a bedpan and didn't.

They were not supposed to talk to each other in the first place.  That's what the nurses told them.  And I asked why?  Are they going to communicate the disease to each other just by talking while in two different rooms?

I can relate to this.  There are a lot of things that our folks thought and thought wrong.  In our child's minds, we question but never really asked.  Because asking will lead to something else that, as children, looks like a punishment for having questioning minds.  We shouldn't question them adults and their ways.

I said Patricia did not finish the poem for Frankie.  So, Frankie asked the room cleaner if he can find it out for him.

Will Seamus find out?  Seamus doesn't know any poetry at all in the first place.  So, how would he?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Things Became Even Harder

Malachy didn't send anything at all.

Now, my fear came true.

Angela can't get the dole because Malachy wasn't there.  And besides, who would give the dole to the family whose father is in England?  They argued that they can't give money, and Angela almost begged them to consider since Malachy didn't (and I think wouldn't) send any money at all.

Life became even harder for the McCourts.

Frank had to be in the hospital because he had typhoid.

Should we thank God that it wasn't pneumonia?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fortnight came and went...

I asked the question:  Would the change of environment totally change a man?

Apparently not.

The mailman came and went on the fortnight.  Them neighbors already had their groceries, their coal for the fire, and spent the afternoon at the cinema.

Frank and Malachy (the son) were still waiting.  The mailman had no news for them.

They asked again.  And the mailman was irked.  But, he said he understood, and that he'll ask his office just in case their mail was misplaced.  But, there weren't any.

They don't have tea nor bread, and the fire is losing coal.

Malachy (the father) did not send money from England.

That's why I didn't like Malachy going to England.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

He left and I didn't like it.

The McCourts' neighbors have their fathers leaving for England.  Because England needs people to work for their factories.  To make guns and munitions (as Mc Court said it) needed for the war.

Most of the families in the lane have more than bread and tea.  On Saturdays, when the mail arrives, they have money from their fathers to buy food and watch movie at the cinema.  And the McCourts don't have tea and bread, not even coal to warm their home.

Suddenly, Angela asked Malachy if he wanted to go to England.  And Frank seconded the idea.

Then, he left.

It would take a fortnight before he can finally send some money through the mail.  That's because he would have things to pay there like rent and all.

I don't like this.

Would the change of environment totally change a man?

I couldn't wait until the fortnight comes.  When the money is supposed to be on the mail.

Friday, November 12, 2010

From The North

If you read about Malachy, you'll probably hate people who came from the north.  Because that's where he comes from.

He is Frank's father.  Full of pride and shit.

He lets his pregnant wife pick up the coal from this street because he can't do that.  He could sit down and have tea while his sons suffer from fleas in the bed.

He doesn't want to stoop down and do something that the poor does.  But, aren't the poor his equals?

He lets Angela ask for charity from St. Vincent de Paul.  Aren't the poor their equals?

He depends on the money given by the government.  Aren't the poor their equals?

When he gets a job, he loses it a week after fortnight.  Why?  Because he spends the week's salary drinking pints at the bar and wakes up late in the morning for work.  Misses his work, and loses his job the following Monday.

This is why I fear when Malachy gets a job.  This means that it will be the end of the dole from the government.  And this means that all his salary will be spent in pints at the bar, leaving nothing for even just bread and tea for his three sons.

Instead of praying for a job, I pray that he doesn't get any.  For without the job, Angela can always go the St. Vincent de Paul and at least ask for some of the things they need, like the boots for their sons.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Knock and...

They went back to Ireland.

But no one wants them.  There was no space, no spare money for food.

To top it all, even Frank's Aunt Paggie is not happy.  She can't even let them have porridge in their house when they were so cold and hungry.  But Frank's Grandma showed her way around Aunt Paggie's house:
Jesus, says Grandma, 'tis a good thing you didn't own that stable in Bethlehem or the Holy Family would still be wanderin' the world crumblin' with hunger.
The doctor says Eugene died of pneumonia.  Angela says she didn't know.  Malachy says he didn't know, too.  The doctor says, see that's the problem, you didn't know.

But what the fuck?  All Malachy knows is to drink the pint.  He drinks when Eugene is dead.  He drinks while Frank waits for him outside.  He drinks with the glass on top of Eugene's coffin the day they were supposed to bury his body.

What kind of life is this?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Four... No... Three... No...

After Margaret, I thought it was it.

But no.

Frank didn't know, and I didn't, too.  But there was another one.  Another one that we didn't get to see, didn't get to know.

Then Oliver.

Then, six months after, it was Eugene.

That was so many... gone in only within a year.

How do you take this kind of life?

I want to learn from Angela.  I need to learn from Angela.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Then There Were Four

Margaret was only seven weeks old.

And for that entire seven weeks, Malachy remained sober.

After that day the doctor took Margaret, Malachy was gone for several nights.  Angela stayed in bed, lying down facing the wall.

Frank took charge of his brothers.  He tried to feed them.  Tried to changed their diapers.  But Frank was so young.

Good thing they have such kind neighbors.  Mrs. Leibowitz gives them soup and Minnie MacAdorey gives them potatoes.  Also, Minnie taught Frank how to clean his twin brothers' soiled diapers.

But things can't go on like this.  No, not in New York.

Angela's cousins came and talked to Mrs. Leibowitz and Minnie.  This just can't go on.  So they borrowed the fountain pen of Mr. Leibowitz and wrote to Aunt Margaret.

The next thing Frank knew, they were on the streets of Ireland on an Easter Sunday.  They got to the McCourt's house and were able to get some sleep.  But Malachy's parents told them they don't have an extra room for six.  They told Malachy he can get something from the IRA in Dublin and can start something there.  They gave him money for the bus ride to Dublin.

But his service wasn't in the book so he didn't get anything.

Where She Came From

Angela came from a family that's poor.  Before she reached the age of seventeen, she tried several jobs back in their village but she just couldn't hang on.

So, one day when her mother couldn't take it anymore, she pushed her to ride one of those boats and get to New York where she can try other jobs and work for someone other than the Irish.

But, just fresh from the boat and into a bar, she met this charming man and ended up doing it with him that same night.  It didn't take long before her two cousins learned about it.  They looked for Malachy and insisted that he be responsible for what they did.

A wedding took place.  This is a day like any other for Malachy because an ordinary day for him is when he's had some whiskey flowing down his veins.

Malachy never stopped his drinking even after four kids.  He also never held on to a job for a long time.  He said that he lost one of his jobs because Angela went there and wondered if she can have part of his salary so that he won't spend it all buying whiskey.  But the company said that they don't care as long as their workers come to work sober.

Then came their fourth child, Margaret.  This is the time he stopped drinking.

For how long?  I have yet to know.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Book By Frank

I've read 'Tis by Frank McCourt.

The book gave me a lot of inputs about Ireland and the Irish.

I have heard much about "Angela's Ashes" even before I heard that it was also a book by Frank.  I never got the chance to see the book when I was out of the country.

But I managed to get this book from a sale in one of our local bookshops.  To tell you honestly, I was surprised to see the book there at all.  I couldn't put it down even though I know that I didn't have a budget for books this month.  But it was such a good price that I couldn't resist.

By Frank McCourt
Type of Cover: Trade Paperback
ISBN: ISBN 0-684-84267-X
Purchase Date: October 2010
Place: Pandayan Bookshop, Philippines

     The smoking brought on Nora's cough and she told Mam the fags would kill her in the end, that there was a touch of consumption in her family and no one lived to a ripe old age, though who would want to in Limerick, a place where you could look around and the first thing you noticed was a scarcity of gray hairs, all the gray hairs either in the graveyard or across the Atlantic working on railroads or sauntering around in police uniforms.

     You're lucky, missus, that you saw a bit of the world.  Oh, God, I'd given anything to see a glimpse of New York, people dancing up and down Broadway without a care.  No, I had to go and fall for a boozer with the charm, Peter Molloy, a champion pint drinker that had me up the pole and up the aisle when I was barely seventeen.  I was ignorant, missus.

Down For The Second Time

Well, I really tried.  And I tried again.

But it seems that there are so many books still on the shelf or for whatever reason, I again ended up putting "The Last of the Mohicans' down after the first five pages.

With the next book on hand, I managed to hold on to it (looking forward to the story) until page 26 and it was just the first time.

I know that there is more to the story of the "The Last of the Mohicans."  But I just don't know why I keep on putting it down.

Sometimes, the long sentences made me grasp for air, as if reading it aloud.  Maybe the book is too deep for me.  I guess this is just one of those books that I cannot finish.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting Back To Where I Stopped

So, this is the book that I put down for a while and started and finished "In The Presence of My Enemies," by Gracia Burnham.

The Last of the Mohicans
by James Fenimore Coopers
Edition: Penguin Popular Classics
Type of Cover: Mass Paperback
ISBN: ISBN-0-14-062045-1
Purchase Date: June 2010
Magrudy's Bookshop, Dubai

"Wtih joyful pleasure do I consent," said David, adjusting his iron-rimmed spectacles, and producing his beloved little volume which he immediately tendered to Alice."What can be more fitting and consolatory, than to offer up evening praise, after a day of such exceeding jeopardy."

Alice smiled, but regarding Heyward, she blushed and hesitated.

"Indulge youself," he whispered. "Ought not the suggestion of the worthy namesake of the Psalmist to have its weight at such a moment."

There Was More of Chapter 21

That was 376 days in captivity.

Although I have always known it, it was a different thing reading about their ordeal and getting out of it.  Especially the last parts of their journey.

I won't forget about one of Gracia's wishes when she was finally rescued.  She wanted to meet the family of Ediborah.  She wanted to tell them, especially Ediborah's children, what a brave mother they have.  It is always difficult to be the bearer of the bad news, but Gracia's intention of meeting her children was of different nature.  I'm sure Ediborah's children made them proud of their mother.

The end of the book led me to the Gracia's website.  It was only then that I learned that there were parts of Chapter 21 that were edited from the book.  You can read about the rest of the chapter in her website.

After The Ransom

The last three hostages had a hard time during the last part of their capture. At one point, the three became four when, as they trekked toward their freedom, met a civilian who the Abu Sayyaf couldn't let go because he had seen too much.

Before they 'mobiled' towards their freedom, their food supply became good that they realized that their stomachs already forgot how to accommodate big servings. When the Abu Sayyaf got their ransom, they feed the hostages somehow. Gracia said the the rumors of the ransom was true, disputing the news that it wasn't.

Since they came into this island that was more of a logging town than an agricultural town, Gracia knew the hazards of spending too much time on the road than hiding in the foliage of the desert. But, she also knew that the Abu Sayyaf couldn't do anything even after she tried to confront them suggesting that they shouldn't walk too much on the road. But what happened was they spent most of the night walking, since the AFP are all sleeping at night.

Then, that rainy morning came. They heard gunshots and being a hostage in the forest for over a year, her instinct told her to duck down, as most of the others did. She heard Ediborah shout, "Mart!" which was the last word she ever heard from Ediborah.

A second after that, the gunshots stopped.

She looked around and saw Martin lying with his eyes closed, and blood starting to soak his white shirt.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Last Few Chapters

Finally, I am just at the last few chapters of the book, "In The Presence of My Enemies."

I said it was tiring to just read the book and read about the Dos Palmas hostages ordeal.  At this point, only three of them remain, Martin, Gracia and Ediborah.  Reina, earlier, was 'sabayaed' by the leader Sabaya and no mention of her being with the group as of this last chapter.  See, time and again, the hostages were to be divided into two groups and then meet again and then divided again.  This is a strategy that the Abu Sayyaf did to confuse the AFP.

So, right now, I only read about Martin, Gracia and Ediborah.  Lately, Ediborah has been bothered because one of the captors is also 'proposing' that they get married when Ediborah is already married.  Just like what happened to Reina, she has left with no choice and I think, although she's been able to avoid the circumstance, it was just like her lover was just waiting for the mangoes to ripen.

Looking at the other side, the book wasn't about the ordeal at all.  I think Gracia wrote it to serve as a model of faith and trust.  I am overwhelmed every time both of them would come up with a good thing out of a bad situation.  Although I said the book was tiring to read, you put it down after a few pages, tired.  But after all, you emerge with a stronger faith after reading about the couple's positive outlook.

At this point, they have been receiving a lot of food.  They wondered and later on found out that the captors are coming up with the deal with the AFP.  The AFP was negotiating as to how much percentage they will get once the Abu Sayyaf people gets the ransom money.  Can you believe that?

But somewhere along the way, their food supply went scarce again.  This time, they discovered that the deal was off because the AFP wanted to do it 50-50 with them.

I leave you with this thought and this maybe one of the last few posts left of this book.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Promise

The hostages have never been this hopeful.  Someone made a promise that they will be ransomed for $3 million dollars.

The Abu Sayyaf was just as excited because the situation is not favorable to them, too.  Like their hostages, they were also suffering from hunger.  In fact, some of them will ask permission for a sort of a day's off and never came back.  Some even went AWOL.

As the promise seemed to be true, they 'mobiled' and moved towards the place where they had been instructed. I guess by this time, all of them, captors and hostages, were hopeful that this will be the end of their ordeal.  Then, as they moved, the news of the 9/11 bombing came.  For some reason, I never read anything about it anymore.  They continued to move only because they are avoiding being tracked down by the AFP, but now, not towards the agreed location.

They got through the end of the Muslim Ramadan season and spent Christmas sleeping somewhere in the woods.  Gracia said that in the States, it was a custom that people ask each other how's their Christmas after the day.
"Yes, Martin and I had a good Christmas.  Why?  (1) We had something to eat, and (2) We didn't have to pack up and hike.  In our minds, that made the day positive."
Eventually, the promise of ransom was said to have fallen apart.  But I guess it's not a surprise for any of them at all.

The Only Way

The sat-phone broke.

It's a good thing there was a cellular phone that they could use to communicate with President Arroyo.  But of course, before this transpired, Martin was briefed of the complaints of the Abu Sayyaf.

Within the conversation, Martin pleaded for the AFP to stop the raids because it only puts the lives of the hostages on the line.  He made sure that it was known that only negotiations will stop all these.
"The Abu Sayyaf is going to survive this operation, but the hostages will not.  Eventually, the hostages are going to succumb to sickness, and eventually some of the hostages are going to be killed."
But that same day after the conversation, the firefight with the AFP and the Abu Sayyaf continued.  This is something that even the Abu Sayyaf people did not want and did not expect.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pressure Is On

The bad weather and my satisfaction on the way my three blogs look like gave me more time to read.  This book has been long overdue.

Last night, I realized that maybe another reason why I have been putting the book down more often is that I easily get tired with the story.  Tired in the sense that I feel for what the hostages are going through.  They spent most of the day walking with no definite destination.  They stopped when it's night to get some rest.  But sometimes, they also had to walk at night because they had to get away from the soldiers.

But what the book has made me realize so far is the awesome faith that both Martin and Gracia have.  They find goodness in every situation, even though how hard it was.  It's not easy having to deal with what they were going through and Martin and Gracia knew it wouldn't be easy.  But as they went along, every hard time is an opportunity for them to see God's grace.

Somehow, no matter how they kept on walking, they are being tracked down by the AFP soldiers, forcing them to be 'mobiling' most of the time.  Meanwhile, the third of the three Americans, Guillermo, was taken by their captors and haven't been back.  They weren't sure if he was killed or what, but they definitely haven't seen him so far.

I don't know if this was every Abu Sayyaf's dream, but one of Gracia's guard told her that his dream was to die in a holy war in Afghanistan.  Because he believes that dying in a holy war is the only way to get him to rest in paradise.

One of the hostages seems to have suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, and I have yet to find out if Gracia will be able to persuade her that what she feels might just be temporary and might not be the same feeling once they are rescued.  For some late bloomers like me, Stockholm Syndrome is when the hostage gets sympathetic with the his/her captor and/or even falls in love with him/her.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Encounter

After their first night at House 125, the Abu Sayyaf people seemed confident that they will not be tracked down in their present location.  There weren't any soldiers so far.

This is good because House 125 seemed perfect place for them to stay while they do their negotiations.  It was near a village where they could get all the things they need and not very far from a river where they can do stuff that need water.

Here in this house was where they talked to ex-President Arroyo for the first time.  I believe this is the first talk they had with the president.  Previously, two of the hostages were ordered to talk to ex-President Arroyo to stop the firefight.  But I didn't think there were any contacts between the Abu Sayyaf and the president before this time.  On the sat-phone was Sabaya, the leader.

He asked ex-President Arroyo for one million dollars in exchange for the release of Martin Burnham and his wife Gracia.  He also asked for the Malaysian citizen to be the mediator and not anyone else.  If the Malaysian will not be the mediator, he will kill one of the three Americans they have in captivity - Martin, Gracia and Guillermo, who was a Filipino who just got his citizenship thirteen days before they were captured.

Gracia was totally shocked hearing this in the conversation.  Not only because of the fact that one of them will be killed, but because she knows what the word 'kill' means to these people.

The Abu Sayyaf has a trademark procedure of taking someone else's life.  It's not just a bullet in the chest, as Gracia said, nor a knife through your stomach.  They are known to behead people.

Monday, October 11, 2010

House 125

By this time, I have observed that the only way for them to survive was to keep on moving.  Along the way, they happened to find two huts which were good enough for them to stay for a long time, but whenever they stopped to spend the night, the soldiers get to them the very next day.

On the second house they found, the firefight led to the death of three AFP soldiers.  They were all beheaded.  From these soldiers, the Abu Sayyaf found a medical bag which might be useful in the future.

But the most important 'loot' they found was a set of paperworks, which outlined all the military's plan against the Abu Sayyaf.  These paperworks was complete with a map that details all of the AFP's plans and the list of all the battalions that were deployed in connection with this effort.

They again continued 'mobiling,' the term that their captors used in moving around.  Again, they found a hut which Gracia came to call House 125.  The term, Gracia said, came from what remained of the census sticker she saw in front of the house.

House 125 is a typical hut.  It stands five foot off the ground because of the bamboo stilts that they were built onto.  It has two rooms but no electricity nor plumbing.  Between the ground and the house flooring should be the place to grow chickens and the pigs, but this time, it was a perfect 'room' for their captors.

It seemed to me that they would be staying here in House 125 for a while - at least longer than those two huts.  They were able to make sleeping arrangements at the order of the Abu Sayyaf - Martin and Gracia, being a married couple, is to sleep in the middle, thus, creating a divider between the men and women hostages.  This was done 'to preserve descency,' Gracia said, because the Muslims believe that men and women who are not married are not to sleep together.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hospital Attack

The firefight compelled them not to stay in one place.  As their first and supposedly only stop, they chose the hospital somewhere in Lamitan.  Their captors strategically picked out a hospital to stay in and start their negotiations.  The Abu Sayaff people believed that the government would not fire at them or the hospital where they stay.  I also believe that it's a logical decision for them.

But they thought wrong.  I was as surprised as Gracia when the armed forces of the government started firing at the hospital  Gracia could not believe that this was happening.  That the government didn't even think about the welfare of the patients in that hospital.

Again, their captors ordered one of the hostages, this time a lady, to call ex-President Gloria Arroyo - using the Abu Sayaff's sat phone - to tell her to stop shooting at them and the hospital.  And then, again, when the shooting stopped, they also couldn't tell if the president heeded to their call or if it was something else.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Didn't Know Where They Were

The road to Lamitan was bumpy, due to either the inexperience of the driver or his over-confidence on his skill. Sonny, Eldren and Armando - the employees of Dos Palmas Resort - were all left behind when the hostages were ordered to ride that jeepney (a local means of transportation for us, Filipinos).

Later on, it was told that two of the men were beheaded:  Sonny and Armando.  They also tried to behead Eldren, but for some reason that wasn't told, he survived and escaped with wounds on his neck.

Before they left Basilan, they were caught in a firefight.  Ironically, this was how Gracia found out where they were.  Members of the CAFGU (Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit) were able to intercept and discover their location.  The firefight ceased when Sabaya asked one of the hostages to radio then-president Arroyo and asked her to stop the men.  Although it couldn't be confirmed whether the radio message was what made the men to call off the shooting.

I wanted to know what stopped it.  But it seems that that's all there is.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Martin's Role

Martin Burnham was a key person for the missionaries serving here in the Philippines.  He was a pilot and his main task is to transport all the goods these missionaries need from as basic as food to books.  He makes sure these things get to these missionaries who live in different parts of the islands.

From ketchups to mails to fuels, he picks them up and delivers them, hopping from one island to another in the course of a day.  Without him, these missionaries will have an even more difficult life than the already difficult life they are living as missionaries in these islands that are sometimes isolated from the city.

Martin and Gracia lived here in the Philippines for eight years.  And during the course of time, Martin learned how to make do of what he has.  This means that he sometimes have to land a plane on strips of only about three hundred meters, with trees on both sides.  This needs a lot of skills and practice to get used to.  At times, he does this not because of any reason except that he had no choice.

Funny how I sometimes think that creativity manifests itself at its best during difficulties, if not poverty.  We discover a lot of things from having less.  We learn things from not having enough.  We do not have to do more because we simply have to do something to make our lives worth living.

The Sounds I Wake Up To

Gracia woke up to the sound of roosters crowing.  She was even a little surprised that she can hear these sounds in the city of Manila.  And she didn't like it that well when she first came, I guess.

But for me, it was the other way around when I was out of the country.  I was looking for this particular sound.  I am used to and amused to waking up to the sounds of nature, like the roosters crowing, the birds tweeting and other sounds most birds do.

This morning, I woke up a little earlier than my usual biological clock.  A lot earlier.  As I lay down still hoping to find a little more sleep to take advantage of the cold weather before daylight, I savor these same sounds, and I thought, "even if life is not that easy, it's still very fulfilling to wake up to these sounds."

"That happiness is not dependent on our circumstances but on our attitudes."

Friday, September 24, 2010

To Someone Else's Eyes

I have been reading the book on and off these days. I am too preoccupied with this project that I am into. Something that I want so much to work. Updating my other blog is not hard since it's not as demanding as a book blog.

I took note of this back on my pad so that I can at least keep the idea. But right now, I am already somewhere a few chapters off this topic.

The Burnhams, together with eighteen more people (mostly Filipinos) were captured at the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan in the first hours of the morning. It was twilight and almost everyone was still in bed or was just about getting ready to get off and rise.

Martin didn't have his shirt on, probably complaining about the heat in the country, when armed men banged on their door and forced them to get out of their cottage-by-the sea. Gracia, on the other hand, was wearing a sleeveless blouse or a thing of that sort.

The hostages and their takers rode a motor boat that took them somewhere. Afterwards, as Gracia observed that the boat was too small for them, they had to transfer to another boat that was highjacked by the rest of the group.

In the early part of the ride, realizing that the hostage-takers are not only men, but Muslim men, Gracia felt awkward. She knows that Muslims require women to be 'properly dressed.' with her sleeveless blouse, she felt uncomfortable of what she had on.

I couldn't help but think about Gracia's high respect for their religion even though these men are her captors. I know that Gracia was not even thinking malicious thoughts about these men. Being properly dressed is a major thing for Muslims. I know this because having lived in Dubai for two years, I saw how these people take this a serious matter. In the cooperative supermarket established by the locales of Dubai, you can see signs that require women to be properly dressed or face apprehensions.

I am not a Muslim but I know how they feel about the issue of being properly dressed. Whenever I see women wearing small pieces of clothes anywhere, I am the one who feels embarrassed. Because even the priests from the catholic church talk about being properly dressed even if it's just attending the Sunday mass service.

After all, this issue about proper dressing in women is not of religious nature.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another True Story For Me

Type of cover: Paperback
ISBN: 0-8423-8589-4
Purchase date: Borrowed from a friend
Date started: 4 Sept 2010
"By the next morning, I had it all ready and boxed up to fly.

The approach to this particular jungle runway was about as exciting as the best roller-coaster ride at Disney World. Martine followed the tree-lined river, edging lower and lower. We all gasped as he accidentally spun off into a sharp curve at the last minute to drop onto the grass. But as always, his technique was flawless.

The Rices were in a huddle with a group of villagers at the edge of the runway."

Friday, September 3, 2010


I don't know why I am finding it hard to sit down with "The Last of the Mohicans."  The truth is I already started a few pages but that's it.  It seems that after two or three pages, I lose the grasp and stop reading.

That was some times last week. 

This afternoon, a conversation with a friend led me to this book.  It was actually an article about a local writer that I read last week.  We touched the article she wrote about this incident and hence, the book.  Incidentally, my friend has the book and she had it at her shop and allowed me to borrow it. 

"In the Presence of My Enemies" by Gracia Burnham.  This is actually a true story of a hostage-taking that happened here in the Philippines a few years ago.  The writer, Gracia, was the one who was caught by the rebels together with his husband, a priest and a few more people.  I know it was long ago but I got curious about what she had to tell and it's good to know that my friend has a book.

So, I decided to just start with this book and continue or restart with "The Last of the Mohicans" after I'm done reading this.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Little More About Just After Sunset

All the thirteen stories have something to do with health, sickness and something like that.  Either the protagonist is sick, or someone he knows, or someone he hates.  I think if the title of the book is not to be taken literally, sunset could mean being at the last few decades (because days will be too short) of their lives. 

I have read a few short story compilations of Stephen King but it was too long ago for me to recall those books.  But if I remember it right, this is different from all of those other books I have read.  I couldn't remember in which compilation does "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" belongs (I'd be glad if you can tell me at the comments the book where it belongs), but that is the most memorable short story for me amongst all of them, "Stand By Me" being the second.

In this book, the story that got stuck in my head up until now is "Stationary Bike."  Please refer to my post about the story.  It is striking in as much as I wanted my best friend to read about the story even if I know that she doesn't read Stephen King books.  Not to mention the fact that this is the first time I urged her into reading something. 

It took me a while to finish this book.  One of the major reasons is the number of distractions around.  But the other reason is that I find it not too engaging as compared to his other books, to make me sit and really read and not bring down the book. 

But after all, Stephen King's style still amazes me.  Sometimes, it is not necessarily the story but those little things inside the story that makes me wonder how can someone think about that piece of a thought. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Between Neighbors

This is the last story in the book.

Grunwald and Curtis became neighbors because of this guy who sold them adjacent properties.

Because of certain developments, they became foes, with each wanting a certain part of the land that lay between them and were claiming ownership of this piece of land.

With Grunwald being diagnosed with cancer and his wife leaving him, he seemed to be in a very tight situation, which includes needing money not just for his medications.

Curtis, however, was living his life a little comfortable as compared to Grunwald's. But this seems to be just in his point of view.

One day, Curtis received a phone call from Grunwald which was obviously an invitation for them to meet at a certain place, a construction site nearby, which Grunwald knows that Curtis is familiar with. For Curtis, this is enough for him to conclude that Grunwald will definitely ask for a settlement, which he knew will put him on top of the situation. He thinks Grunwald will probably ask him an out-of-court settlement just so to make things easier in his part.

The situation proved otherwise when he finally get to the meeting place and had a few words with Grunwald. With a gun pointed towards him, Grunwald asked him to get into one of those Porta-o-Sans that lie on its side [the door side] with nothing but his clothes on. At this point, you might ask: Who, now, is in a very tight place?

After about more than a day of desperation inside that place - stinking from the smell of that shit hole and losing hope - he saw light at the end of the hole. The situation shifted on his side and on this note, it seems that his dog, Betsy, saved his life.

Curtis got out.

What happened next was of course, between neighbors.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ayanna Does

For some reason, I can't seem to remember what the name of the guy with cancer is.  Neither the son who tells the story.

But let me just tell you something about this short story.

Many people would not believe this until there is nothing more to believe.

The guy who wrote the story has a dad who was dying of cancer.  His condition gets worse until one day, a mother and child went to their home and kissed the father on the cheek.  After this happened, the father started to get well and began living his life as a normal being will.

Yes, it was a miracle.

Yet one day, as we all will in our own time, the father died.

But the son (who tells the story) believed it wasn't of cancer, but his siblings and his wife do not agree.  They told him he shouldn't tell. 

But how couldn't he, when he is a miracle worker himself?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whose Sin Is It?

He came into the confessional box, not sure if it was even the right thing to do.

He picked up a hitch hiker who was deaf and mute (as the sign that hangs on his neck says) because it was raining hard and he did it out of pity.  He normally does not pick up hitch hikers, but he didn't know what hit him this time.  Being always on the road as a sales representative, he can almost call his car and the roads as his home.

The reason was probably he was lonely and devastated.  He was in the process of divorcing his wife and was going through his toughest.

Because we all know that misery loves company, he began telling his story.  He was confident that it will just be almost between him and himself since as I said, the guy he picked up was deaf and mute.

He came into confession because his wife and her lover were killed.  He thinks he was guilty and after telling the priests what had happened or what he thought happened, the priest asked him to do this as his penance.

"Ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys."

But before he left the confessional, the priest asked him one last question, and his answer was, "Of course, I do."

As a self-imposed penance for what he thinks was a guilty answer, he added two more Our Fathers and two more Hail Marys.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Love Transcended

I don’t understand why the title is “The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates.” Certainly, there is something else. Maybe it’s just that I am having some information overload, that’s why I couldn’t get myself to ‘dig in’ like I used to when reading his story.

Or could it be…

The plot was not entirely new.

Maybe this is why my mind refuses to ‘dig in.’ A love that transcended, but it looks like one of those movie series where the boy could see what the future holds – what evil the future holds. I am trying to remember the title. Oh I just did… but am not sure… I think it’s ‘Final Destination.’

But in this case, someone is telling someone else about the things that would happen… that would happen in the future but without definite time.

It took years before what he told her will happen, happened.

Long after he was gone.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I am Looking for Depth

I just read the story yesterday and totally forgot the name of the cat - in the story "The Cat From Hell."

I guess this morning when I woke up, I knew what I was looking for and never found in this book... so far.

I read SK books only not because of the horror, but because of the depth of his stories. You may not believe it but I see that in those old novels like "Needful Things," "It," "Dolores Claiborne," "Misery," and also the short story, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption."

At first, I thought it was because the stories in this book are short, therefore, not giving SK the opportunity to explore depth. But then, I just realize that "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" is also a short story from the book, "Different Seasons" which also includes the famous book-to-movie, "Stand By Me."

Well, for me, there is this emotional side of Stephen King that I found in those stories. The way he brings a situation down to where it touches me deep inside my heart. The books/stories I mentioned were those that I consider having emotions that are totally touching. I think only Stephen King could be both scary and emotional at the same time in one book.

Although two of the stories came close to my category, "Harvey's Dream" and "Graduation Afternoon" which share one common thing. They are both very short (about two pages and a half on a trade paperback) and both can do some more development, although both stories didn't really have the 'novel potential.'

I have yet to read four more stories, and I still long for the depth.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Accountant N. and Dr. B

I am still with the book, "Just After Sunset." Running a little slow these days because I have a freelance writing job to do on weekdays, which is something good for me.

I found a few interesting quotes that is worth pondering, but not when you have lots of things in mind.

I'm with the patient, N., relating what he saw when he visited Ackerman's Field. I think N. just thinks he has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or if Dr. B said so. But whichever, these are two of those interesting musings.
"Counting, touching and placing works for a while - it's ironic that behaviors we consider neurotic are actually holding the world in place - but sooner or later, whatever protection they offer decays."
Then, this was Dr. B's thought:
"It only exists in his mind, but that doesn't mean that it's not real."

His Two Soul Mates

"The Things They Left Behind" actually was a story before "N." But I couldn't manage to write anything about it until today.

My friend and I got to visit the tombstone of a very good friend from high school. I haven't been there yet. He passed away three years ago and I was out of the country until October last year.

I never knew how I would feel, just because I didn't think there would be anything unusual. Having gone to too many wakes, too many funerals and too many tombstones, it pretty much gets so trivial that you won't notice any difference at all.

But, the moment we were entering his mausoleum, I felt strange - I felt like seeing an old friend again. It wasn't happy, nor was it sad either. I just felt like that... "it's good to see you" was actually the first thing that popped into my mind.

If there was a thing he left behind, it was the friendship we shared, and the friendship all three of us shared. We were up to so many things during the last years of his life. Up to too many things that what he left behind was his two soul mates who still keep the friendship in spite of too many things.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Happens in Vegas...

I thought I was the only one who has issues on stationary bikes.  Richard has, too, but he did something different about it.  What I did was stop using our probably-twenty-year-old bike and started walking.  I stopped but just got back about three for four months ago.

His doctor told him a metaphor about the cholesterol inside our body.  He says that they are like, say, four people working outside the street.  That they also get tired, and that they also need to rest, and that if they won’t rest, they will eventually die one by one.

But anyway, as with anyone else, Richard started biking because his doctor said so, and his cholesterol [workers] said so, too.  But eventually, he got bored and decided to move it somewhere at the basement of the building and did a “forced perspective” painting on the wall.  Boy, did he enjoy that painting.  This reminds me of the virtual golf thingy where you hit the ball and the gadget tells you how fast, how far your ball is.  Now I am thinking if it is really possible to have “virtual biking” where you can actually go places and there’s a gadget that will tell you your mph and the distance you traveled.  I think I’m going to buy one of those if ever there would be.

Richard started to love biking the moment he did that drawing (SK said it can never be called a mural). It made him lose weight, allowed him to do his freelance drawing work, where he eventually made good.    He bikes for two hours in front of  that ‘painting.’ He even has an alarm set which meant that it makes him feel so good that something had to remind him it was time to stop.  How I wish I get the same thing if I get back to biking.   But what I wouldn’t want to get is how he began to feel see, and eventually, what began to happen.  What happened changed his life again, and he doesn’t know how to get it back.

He continued to bike just the same, because he tried to stop, but once he did, he also stopped working and the workers start working, rising his cholesterol level once again.  He knew it had to stop because it’s not doing him any good.  So, he started biking again, and he began working again, and the workers well, he did meet some workers when he tried to map out his bike routes.  Four people who looked like construction workers doing some work at the side of the street.  But Richard doesn’t know whether these people wants something from him or wants to do something to him.

All I know is, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

But what happens inside Richard’s body, our body… well, that’s another story.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I've Had Harvey's Dream

I think it was two days ago – or maybe it wasn’t – that I dreamed about snakes. Yeah, not just one of them, nor two. There were a lot. I don’t know what triggered that dream. It might be the vacant lot in front of our house that is now being filled up with soil. Or maybe it’s something else.

I have had dreams about snakes. One of it was so many years back, but I remember because it was sort of funny, the snake being a colorful cartoon character. The next that I remember was probably a month back and couldn’t come up with at least the scene, if not the story. Then this one. I was walking on a soily road (just like the filling material from the lot across our home) and was about to step on a snake when someone snatched it to keep it from biting me. He told me to take care because there are many snakes. And as I walked along the road, I saw people passed by me carrying snakes that as if they are catching them for some reason. I walked and another snaked I nearly stepped on. Nearly, because someone scooped it, looking as if he was really catching it as a prize for a game. Then, I continued to walk and then woke up. So, do you think the soil triggered the dream?

But whichever it may be, I just hope it’s not like Harvey’s dream. Shit! I really hope it’s not like Harvey’s.

This is, I think, the third of the thirteen stories in this book; the shortest of the three. It was only ten pages, which is really quite a short story. But this is the scariest so far. Or… was it scary just because I had a dream about snakes?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just After Sunset

She lived in her Toughskins and shell tops, hair scrooped back behind her in a ponytail.  She and her best friend Becka watched old Eastwood and Schwarzenegger movies on TV instead of the Olsen wins, and when they watched Scooby-Doo, they identified with the dog rather than Velma or Daphne.  For two years in grammar school, their lunches were Scooby Snacks.
And they climbed trees, of course.  Emily seemed to remember her and Becka hanging out in the trees in their respective backyards for one whole summer.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Micaela is the second wife of Robert Saviano's father. She is a lot younger and comes from Romania. Saviano described her as a Romanian who left her country without knowing what she would be up to. All that she knows is that she is leaving her country; and that just by leaving Romania is fortunate enough. This is true with other Romanians.

In the Philippines, there are also a lot of Micaelas. Micaelas who leave our country, not to mention their families, to seek fortune somewhere else. But, is it fortune enough that they have this chance? A lot of Filipino women also ended up like Micaela, married to a local guy from that country and have kids, too. Is it fortune enough to be married to a local guy of that country? A good many of them left after signing a teaching contract, only to find out that they will end up as nannies and/or domestic helpers, but they do not complain: is it fortune enough that they have a job? A job that pays a little more than what they get in our country?

There are so many of these fortunes that I would rather not talk about. Probably, it is still fortune enough.

I guess sometimes it really pays to read about someone else's fate. Like to read something else about other country's. I don't know if it fortune enough to know that our country is not far from different from Micaela's. But does it really make it any different to know that your country has something in common with another country? Even if it is with regard to these same situations?

Well, I guess it is still fortune enough to know that these people - whether from my country or somewhere else - are fortunate enough to always look into the brighter side of things.

It IS really enough fortune to not lose hope that everything would be better than not doing anything at all.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Cut, The Visitor and The Kleenex

The cut is essential: caffeine, glucose, mannitol, paracetamol, lidocaine, benzocaine, amphetamines - but in emergencies even talc and calcium for dogs are used.  The cut determines the quality, and a bad cut attracts death, police and arrests.  A bad cut clogs the arteries of commerce.
What I read today is really something that I would not forget.  The thing is, from the wholesalers, 30 kilos of cocaine can become 150 kilos or even 200 depending on the cut.  The cut is very important to drug dealers.  A good cut will bring profit, will make you famous.  A bad cut will, like Saviano said, attract death, police and arrests.

How do you test a cut?

You test the cut with the Visitors.  They are the addicts desperately in search for cheap hits.  The men of the clan organize a meet up with these Visitors and give them hits for a very cheap rate.  On this particular day, the Visitors got suspicious about the cut that everyone started to stay away from the men.

A couple was there waiting.  The man looks desperately in need for a hit.  His girlfriend took the syringe from the men and jabbed it on his neck.  After a while, the man started to sway with his mouth frothing, then jerked and fell to the ground, stiff and closed his eyes.

One of the men called someone and said that he (referring to the man on the ground) looks dead to him.  He then started to do a violent cardiac massage, thrusting his foot on the man's chest.  The girlfriend started shouting, telling the man to stop what he's doing and that he's doing it wrong, told the man to stay away from them or she'll shoot.  The man made another call:  Oh, the Kleenex, he said.  He laid a piece of Kleenex just under her boyfriend's nose.  This is to test if her boyfriend is still breathing.  He started to move, and again on the phone he said, "He's dead."

The man left, and the rest of the Visitors started to follow.  Saviano stayed behind and was surprised with what happened.

The girlfriend moved on top of her boyfriend, put her pants down and peed on his face, making th Kleenex stick on his nose and face.  After a few seconds, the boyfriend started to move, regaining his consciousness.

Is it because of her piss?

This is how they test the quality of the cut.  The bring it to the outskirts of Naples and sell them cheap to the Visitors.  If it is a bad cut and brings someone dead, there would be no investigations because they see it as a case of overdose.  If a bad cut goes out to the market without any testing and it kills someone, it will entail an autopsy and an investigation.

So it's better to it this way.  The Visitors are the guinea pigs.

Monday, June 7, 2010

More Business

The System revolves not just around the textile mafia.  It also maintains a vast empire on drug trafficking where many people are getting rich dealing with drugs.

But there came a point when they saw the opportunity to do business with the Chinese. The high-tech market was tested and when they proved it to be genuine, digital cameras, video cameras and power tools with brands such as Bosch, Hammer, etc., were marketed all over Europe.  The Secondigliano System has actually foreseen this opportunity even before their government did.  I am wondering if this is what started the global demand for cheap digital and video cameras around the world.  Back then when I was in Dubai, I got the chance to go the the Chinese-dominated place they call the International City.  It’s like a big warehouse-like supermarket where you can find almost everything that you need and want, made in China.  Mobile phones are everywhere as well as cheap clothes, mobile accessories, furniture and appliances.

Everything was doing fine and everyone was getting along very well with The System.  Until one of the bosses initiated transformation.

I actually lost track of this transformation that somewhere around after the middle of the story, I began to think of how it was shifted to drugs and all its structure that I had to go back to the first few chapters to find out and refresh myself.

It all pointed back to the suburbs of Secondigliano and Scampia, under the hands of one of the families, the Licciardi family.

La Scimmia – the monkey – was the one who started the metamorphosis.  He transformed the place – Scampia, a place without a shopping center, or even a store, yes, this awful, into a drug sales hub.

One of the strategies they implemented to get this place started was getting almost everybody to be in the business.  They even have a plan suited for pensioners: if you invested your 300 euros worth of pension, you’d double your money’s worth in only a month’s time.  I was really surprised that they were able to even tap this segment of the market.  You might think that this is a little risky since you don’t have anything to hold on to but their word.  But in an economy that has grown sick and tired of trusting banks, this proves to be more of an advantage since, as Saviano said, the profit outweighed the risk.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Around here, there is The System. But as Saviano said, it is a mechanism rather than a structure. It is how the clan operates the criminal economy. The economy that they started to dominate. Operating at the outskirts North of Naples, almost nothing is impossible there.

In this place, you can find what they call true fakes. If you are looking for a brand and quality for a cheap price, you can get what you are looking for right here. The only thing missing is what they call the authority of the motherhouse. But who cares? Does anyone ever asks you when you’re walking in the streets if that Gucci you’re wearing has the official authority of the owner?

Around here, true fake is one word short of the original. Where it came from, nobody knows. Or should I say somebody knows but chooses not to talk about it, to just keep quiet at all.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Saviano became friends with one of the common people. His name is Pasquale and he is connected with the textile industry, or textile mafia, if you like to put it that way. I would not go into details as to how the textile mafia works around here, but I am telling you, you would be surprised if you read and find out. One of the things I found out is how it was possible that there were so many surplus production of signature brands in the market that looks as good as the original. I couldn’t believe at first but having thought about it long after, all I could say is, “Yeah, sure, that’s really how it is. That’s why how it comes to that.” The fact that so many of these clothes are closed to if not equal to the original one.

Pasquale is a very talented man. But like a lot of people all over the world, he wasn’t given a chance. Or should I say, the chance was taken away from him. He remained poor and his talent unrecognized. He works as a designer for one of the textile businesses in Italy, who in turn sell their business to big brand names in the U.S. and some place else. What he gets out of this is a little more than enough to feed his family, and, he lives in one of the poorest areas of the country. So much the same with Emmanuele, you could say. But in spite of this fate, he still loves what he does. It showed in his work.

Until one day.

He was watching t.v. It was the Oscar’s. His jaw dropped with what he saw. It was Angelina Jolie.

Two months later, he was a driver, driving legal and illegal stuffs for a certain business.

He never was the same after the Oscar’s.

Remember, this is a true story.

Friday, May 28, 2010


I think writing about death is not a spoiler for this book. I read about death in almost every chapter. So, let me talk about Emanuele. He is 15 and his death touched me the most so far, in the story. He was shot by the police while doing what he does best, while doing the only thing he knew that would put food in his and his family's mouth.

My mind questions his death. As Saviano wrote:

The fact remains that he was fifteen years old. At that age, the sons of families born in other parts of Italy are going to the pool, taking dance lessons.

Emmanuele, however, waits for his time to rob someone for a living. He sits there until the right time comes. Until one day, what he thought was right was actually wrong. A wrong that caused him his life, his future.

But come to think of it, what would he be at 20? Would he be someone else other than a thief? Would his life change at 25? Would he be an entrepreneur at 30? I would like to think so.

I would want to believe so, because it could have been possible. But in a place like this, change is almost inevitable, especially if you are living within The System.

Emanuele's funeral was well-attended. The priest who did the service said:

The fact is that the only thing you learn here is how to die.

Mind you, this is a true story.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Other Mafia

I bought this book I think while I was reading "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo. Or, maybe after reading it but was still intrigued by the story. At the same time, this book was posted on a blog that I follow which talk about books. I thought that those were signs that I should buy the book. Finding it wasn’t difficult although I had doubts that it might be banned in the country that I was in when I thought of it.

But the hardest part is yet to come. I think this is the first time that I have read a non-fiction book. Actually, I can't remember ever reading a true story. A movie based on a true story, I have read a lot. But not a book.

On my note pad, it said I started reading this book over a month ago. But I never posted anything about it. Well, one of the reasons is that I wasn't motivated for some reasons I couldn’t understand. I just stopped. The other is it was so hard to bring myself down to write about the book or something about the story, or something at least related to the story, which is primarily why I started this blog.

Now that I've had the winds back and brought myself to write, it was so hard recalling those instances and scenes that I want to write about. But I am now trying to. One of the things that hinders me is I might lose the chronology of the story and messed up the entries that's why I must do my assignments.

Anyway, this is Italy's other Mafia, as the subtitle goes. I am already half-way with the book, and it's a little hard for me to make myself to read it at times. It's hard to relate with all those names. And it's even harder to relate with all those bloodsheds.

But I'm keeping up. Because this is the underground where I never thought a lot of people were involved. With Mario's, I just thought it was the Corleone's and the underboss, the consiglierie, capo and their soldiers. I never thought a 15-year old would be involved.

Let the stories begin… on my next post.

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