The Stages of a Booklover's Grief

>> Sunday, May 10, 2009

While I was reading the newspaper this morning, I glanced upon an article about the Bureau of Customs revising a previous interpretation of a law that granted tax-free importation of foreign books. As I read sentence by sentence, feelings of disgust, indignation, and dissension slowly surfaced. This preposterous idea could soon make international best selling books scarce in local bookstores, importation of foreign titles has virtually stopped so to speak. It has started since a couple of months ago. Now, international best-sellers might be out of reach of ordinary Filipino booklovers like me.

Ofcourse, the first reaction was denial. No this is not true. This cannot be happening. I told myself, no this won't push through. Over and over again, I tried to convince myself but when it all failed, I suddenly became angry, outraged. This government is really damned! How can they snatch the one valuable thing in this world? How can they not realize what value books have in ordinary people like me, who finds utter bliss in reading cheap but quality books. As my outrage soon escalated, i saw this name, Espele Sales. he, allegedly, is the one behind this absurdity. he should be burned at the stake I thought. This anger cannot be quelled and was even aggravated when he said that novels and reading books are "not educational". WTF!

This supposed RA 8047 had no provision granting tax-free book importation according to Sales. but critics said that this violated the 1950 Florence Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Materials. This treaty has provided for duty-free importation of books to guarantee the free flow of educational, scientific, an cultural materials between countries. To this Sales retorted that novels are not educational, giving him the right to put tax on novels. This is truly unimaginable. To say even that novels are not educational is like blasphemy. Who and what kind of individual of sound mind would say that novels are not educational? While it maybe fictional stories, I can say that I learned a lot from the novels that I have read. From grammar, to vocabulary, to facts of life, novels are a whole lot more than being informative and entertaining. Must he be out of his mind? To belittle the worth of novels is like profanation to booklovers. he must not be a booklover I thought. he cannot fathom the disappointment of not having a most cherished book, or of the sudden gasp of breath upon seeing a most wanted book for sale, and conversely for standing aghast on a high price tag for the same, or of the fleeting emotion of the touch of paper in ones fingertips, of the enthusiasm, vigor and thrill to leaf through every page, or of the hypnotic smell of paper and ink, etc. etc. In short, the joy of reading a book or a novel. Then suddenly, i felt pity for him, sorry even for not having felt the same emotions we booklovers feel.

My anger was soon overshadowed by sadness. Now that the Department of Finance has declared that its all been a mistake, that books should've been taxed all along, books will now become more expensive and even further beyond the reach of the likes of me. It will even take books longer to arrive on store shelves. Dire it is indeed.

Jessica Zafra, on her article emotional weather report, said "What's tragic is that in our country, decisions are always based on expediency." As I went through anger, sadness and pity, I cannot help but think, living on a third world country that's focused on making more money as more of it goes to the pockets of corrupt officials, where the autocrats and the elite rule and where oppression is preponderant, what would happen to us then if we do not know what value a book has? It is no less than our national hero that taught us how powerful books can become. have we become oblivious or just plain apathetic?

Zafra said "Books are the repository of human experience. They tell us what being human is all about." It is sad indeed that most of us Filipinos do not really know what being human is all about, and even more frustrating that we do not know its worth.


30 Random Things About "Paul"

>> Saturday, May 9, 2009

*This is an actual entry from my facebook account. I just decided to post it here because I can't think of new topics to post. So here it goes. Don't worry Ill shake my head for more topics in the future.

I actually first saw this listmania from my friend Che but didn't really took notice until I stumbled upon Celine R. Lopez's article on the Sunday Lifestyle section of the Philippine Star. So here's my shot at the list craze...
1. I love music and I listen to every kind of genre but it all depends on my mood. I usually look for the right melody and the lyrics should be cleverly written.
2. I used to think that I am the center of the universe. I resort to complain about every bugging detail that doesn't tip to my favor until I read Paolo Coelho's Brida.
3. The most profound book I've ever read was "The secret" by Rhonda Byrnes, although I find the principles it taught me hard to actually practice.
4. I love chocolates. Among my favorites are Cadbury Dairy Milk and Nutella. I used to take a teaspoonful of Nutella after meals and its just plain bliss after, but lately I'm cutting it down and is paying more attention to GIs (Glycemic Index).
5. I love to watch anime and read manga and I don't care if somebody tells me that it's for kids only because it's not. Among the animes that I religiously watch and read their mangas are naruto, bleach and souleater.
6. I consider myself an escapist. I am fond of escaping from reality once in a while through reading, watching and playing computer games.
7. Vertigo is the most terrible thing for me. It's close to near death. I'm effing scared of it and that's why I so hate it.
8. I love to read. The most engaging book I've ever read so far was the Twilight Saga. Recently I've been looking for a book that would beat the record it set for me.
9. I love the glorious combination of honey and mustard. Salads would not be salads without it.
10. Strawberries are to die for. Strawberry ice cream, candies and everything made from it.
11. I have a predilection for everything sour (those that are edible of course) from fruits to delicacies especially pasta dishes.
12. I dream of having D&G, John Galliano and Dsquared2 in my closet.
13. I think of myself as a writer and dreams of making my own fantasy novel but hasn't really conjured the guts to make it happen.
14. I believe that I will one day have the freedom to travel the world.
15. I find it hard to speak sometimes. Speaking eats a lot of my energy and makes my mental faculties work a lot harder.
16. I constantly edit what I think, say and write because I am my biggest critic.
17. I love my friends but I am not a showy type of person but I know they know that.
18. I will someday have a tattoo. I find it manly and that's why tattoos are a plus for me.
19. I am not much of a coffee fan but I like caramel macchiato (double espresso) with whip cream (non-fat).
20. Some of my high-school friends and I think that we're still stuck in high school. We still do the same things like before. They're like my philosopher's stone and keeps me young at least at heart.
21. I still wish that David Beckham was gay (how I really wish) he's so freakin' hot. grrrrrr. (^_^)
22. I love Brazilian men, and their brazen bodies. They are a sight to behold and I wonder, why did God create brazilian men to be so beautiful. Makes me wish I had a brazilian boyfriend. hahahaha!
23. I'm not much of a starwars fan but between star trek and starwars, I'd choose starwars. (but the latest star trek movie is interesting).
24. I prefer cats over dogs and hates to see caged birds. Birds are created to fly in the open.
25. I don't believe in religion but I believe in God (sounds cliche but my friends know about this) and I'm usually the skeptic, I always have doubts about everything, scientific inquiry makes me sound like intelligent. hehe
26. I love the adrenaline rush that roller coasters can only give. It scares the hell out of you before the drop but excitement builds on after and when its all over you feel proud of yourself for overcoming your fear. SF Magic mountain you just wait I'm coming there. harhar
27. Will and Grace and Danielle Fishel (The Dish) never fails to make me laugh when I watch them.
28. The farthest place south (In the Philippines) I've ever been was in Boracay, the farthest place north was in Pagudpud.
29. The beach, the moon, stars and the feeling of rain spattering in my skin is just something I would never trade for anything.
30. Finding a cheap and yet good book at Booksale is just plain utter bliss.


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