Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Seyma Tap: R.I.P. Rin Ros

As I walked towards the exit of the basketball court, I passed by a group of men. Right as I step out of the entrance, one of their buddies enters.

"... passed away," he yelled out to them. "That n*gga's gone."

As I walked further and further away, I kept trying to figure out the name of the person he mentioned. I wonder who could it have been? Probably an older man. Maybe a gang member? Little did I know that the person who died was actually one of my peers.

Hours earlier, I had heard my mom and her friends frantically speaking about someone who was severely beaten and was bleeding tremendously.

"His face was bruised and scraped." "There was blood all over his shoulders." "His clothing was stained with his blood."

At that moment I thought: It's just another person.

And to this day, I regret ever thinking that.

Because that person was a fourteen-year-old boy. A boy who was only in his second week of his sophomore year at Stagg. A boy who I remember throwing water balloons at. A boy who used to tease me. A boy who I had known since childhood. A boy who was my neighbor. A boy who I had seen standing with his friends just a day before, smiling.

That boy was Rin Ros.

On that day, Rin was severely beaten at Panella Park. After being taken home by his friends, he experienced cardiac arrest. He later died at St. Joseph's Medical Center.

I can't describe how I felt when I read about the incident on recordnet.com. I was absolutely shocked. The average person would've cried the moment that they learn about a friend's death. But I didn't shed a single drop of tear. I couldn't. I didn't want to. I asked myself, would Rin want us too?

On August 8, a ceremony was held at his home. Monks and residents gathered inside his living room where they chanted, prayed, and gave their blessings. Tables were set outside where a picture of a young Rin layed. I glanced at it, but I just couldn't look at it for more than second. That little boy... is gone.

The next week, I sat at my desk in my third period Health class looking through my textbook. After a few minutes of turning pages, I stop. Right in front of me was a chapter about mourning a person’s death and a chart on the different stages of grief. As I instantly thought of Rin, my eyes began to water.

Why, at that moment, was I about to shed tears when I didn't a few days earlier?

The fact that Rin was no longer on the campus just hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like crying then and there, but I was able to hold it in.

His funeral was held on a Saturday a few weeks ago, but I was unable to attend. His friends and family were able to look at him laying in his coffin for the last time, and that will be their last image of him. If I was there, I would have chosen not to look at his body because the last time I saw him was when he was smiling and that will always be my last image of him. It will be a positive and happy memory of him.

I give my blessings to Rin's family and I hope we don't ever have to experience the loss of a youth again even though it's inevitable.

Rest In Peace Rin Ros. We will always miss you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Clearly Claire: Flipped for "Flipped"

We all remember that time. The confusing, strange, messy time when we were just starting to figure out life. We were stepping one foot out of childhood and stepping another into adulthood. We remember the awkward moments, the unstoppable changes, and that first love. The one that stays with us no matter how hard we try to shake it. Rob Reiner's new movie "Flipped" chronicles two young adults flying through that time in their life. As they try to navigate the troubled waters of their youth, they find that they just might be what the other has always been looking for.

The movie starts off with Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) moving to a new town. That's when he meets her. The girl who was destined to spend the next few years stalking him, his next-door-neighbor Juli (Madeline Carroll). To her, he is her one love, the boy walking around with her first kiss. To him, she is an annoyance, one that he must avoid for as long as he can. But what happens when he begins to see her for who she is and decides that maybe she isn't an annoyance, but his one true love. Will it be too late?

This movie is, to say the least, lovely. I loved every moment of this movie. It was beautifully shot and wonderfully written. The actors are phenomenal and I enjoyed every minute of their performance.

The dialogue is genius. The narration keeps switching from Juli and Bryce, who show us the same scene, yet offer a much different perspective. I love how, in one scene, Bryce talks about how he tried to run away from this crazy woman and she grabbed his hand to make him stay.Yet, Juli, narrating the same scene, says that she had to chase after him and when he grabbed her hand, smiled shyly loving every minute. It is just so clever.

The actors in this movie, not only speak the dialogue well, but they add something more. McAuliffe is so good at playing a teen stuck between what he thinks he should want and what he actually wants. He really made me believe that he was a confused kid with a perfection driven father on one side and a crazy yet lovable friend on the other. In one scene he is sitting at the dinner table with his family eating with Juli's family when it dons on him that his father may not be the perfect man he pretends to be. He performance moved me to no ends.

The plot is done wonderfully. The filmmaker took moments in every one's lives, moments we all experience and turned them extraordinary. The scene with Juli and her family sitting and eating dinner together is one that I can see in my own mind from childhood, yet I never truly realized how wonderful those moments were until I saw how Bryce's family interacted at the dinner table. It was unpleasant to say the least. This movie shows you life as we all have seen it, yet I wasn't bored. It wasn't a movie about life so much as it was about the people in our lives that we can take for granted. The people that we see everyday, but don't really see.

This movie made me laugh. It made me cry. It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling that lasted a long time after the movie ended. Unfortunately this movie is no longer playing in Stockton, but it is worth the drive. See this movie, I guarantee you will love it. It will remind you, like it did me, of the crazy eventful time that was filled with first, but none as special as that first love.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That Religious Guy: A long way for an accent

..... My quest for the Philippine Spanish accent started last school year and my, what a journey it has been. I have crossed the jungles of Yahoo! Answers. I have visited the quarreling hermits of Antimoon Forums. Amazingly enough, I have even constructed a home in the thriving online metropolis of the city called "Facebook" just to find Filipino hispanohablantes. I have done all these activities in search of an accent, but I come back with a better knowledge of my heritage and my islands, the Philippines.

..... Contrary to most people's perception of Filipinos, our “hispanicity” (nuestra Hispanidad) extends farther than our last names (i.e. Dela Cruz, Guerrero, Bautista) or the names of our desserts (i.e. Cuchintas, Brazo de Merced, Leche Flan). At one point in the archipelago's history, Spanish was spoken from Luzon all the way to Mindanao. Spanish was the language of the revolutionaries, our ilustrados like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Emilio Aguinaldo. We Filipinos owe our present democracy not to the Anglophone Americans but to our very own native Hispanohablantes.

….. Sadly, Spanish was quickly supplanted in the Philippines with the arrival of the Americans after WWII. America decided that we’d be better off speaking English and practicing Protestantism. After all, the Spanish language and Catholicism were simply remnants of a fallen regime, the last traits of the colonizers that would have to be erased. And so as Filipino newspapers in Spanish were forced to close and the educational system shifted to English, it wasn’t long before the Iberian tongue was slowly fading away.

….. One would think that with more than 300 years of colonization, we’d remember some things those Spaniards taught us. Sure, we may still have the odd Spanish phrase or word preserved into our native languages, but Spanish remains largely unpopular. Efforts like the decision to make Spanish compulsory in schools and courses taught by the Instituto Cervantes, however, are allowing the language to be revived.

….. I finally did learn about the Philippine Spanish accent. Drop by Señora Chavez’s Spanish 5-6 class and you’ll hear my “lisping” voice. The Philippine Spanish accent derives many of its features from the Castellano as spoken by the Spaniards. We regularly use “vosotros/vosotras” and our accent preserves the lleismo and distincíon of old. Therefore, I can be heard saying “conduthir” (conducir) and “otra veth” (otra vez) instead of “condusir” and “otra ves” like my Mexican friends. There also exists a slight short breathy sound (aspiration?) when saying the letter “g” and “j.”

….. The reasons for the Filipino accent being so like the Spaniard one is because unlike in the rest of the Hispanic world, Spanish went largely spoken by the upper-class. It never truly became the common, everyday language even though there were some attempts to educate the masses. Therefore, Philippine Spanish preserved many of the Iberian characteristics.

….. Learning Spanish has ultimately allowed me to understand aspects of my culture I never really learned about. Though the Philippines is in Asia, its languages, cuisine, religion, and customs identify it as the forgetful daughter of Madre España. I have learned where Filipino phrases like “basta kung” and “asikaso” are derived from (Spanish: basta con, hacer caso a), which makes me appreciate the diversity of the language spoken in my family. So if ever you find yourself in the Philippines, feel free to speak some Spanish. You might just feel surprised when someone asks you “Cual es su gracia?” (Which is your grace? / What is your name?)

- Jeremy Dela Cruz