Friday, May 05, 2006


'Father and sons'
Photograph by Dylan Yap Gozum
Manila Yacht Club, Manila Bay

Had a meeting with my editors yesterday regarding the Grade III Science textbook I was writing. I was prepared to be scared to death about major revisions I might be asked to do. It turned out, they just wanted me to tone down the language I used because it was far too advanced for Grade III students. Funny enough, the consultant asked his Grade III son to read the draft and asked him if he understood it. 'Not quite', says the kid. The kid is from the Ateneo.

I wouldn't pass judgment on the Ateneo Grade School education even if I was a product of the good old public school system. In fact, I spent my Grade III in an Ateneo, too. Somehow, it continues to boggle me why we haven't raised the level of language used in elementary schools. This must be due to the declining profiency of teachers in the English language. And don't even think of blaming this to text messaging!

Another thing, why is science so weak in elementary, even in High School? The fact is, DepEd's Basic Education Curriculum (BEC), supposedly a work in progress started by the now-dead Raul Roco, has practically erased all science subjects in Grades 1 and 2. The thing is, this particular BEC has failed miserably.

Why do I say this? Because ever so consistently, the profiency level of public school students in Mathematics, English, and Science have continuously dipped into dangerous levels never before seen in the system's history. I have seen this myself during provincial visits to schools, and the data gathered during the annual National Achievement Tests say the same, too.

I have nothing against the order to tone down the language of my work. I have been paid to do a good job on it and I will deliver. After all, this Grade III textbook will be the children's first formal science subject. It might pay to be a little gentle on the poor things. Unfortunately, it appears that earlier level textbooks (Grades 1 and 2) are baby talk books, so shifting to a formal language in Grade III would be a shocker. There's the problem.

But since we Pinoys just loooooove to babytalk our children, maybe we should do this in advancing levels up to Grade VI thereby rendering our graduates incompetent for High School. Believe it or not, there's now talk of revising the BEC and returning Science to Grade I.

When will we ever stop experimenting with our children's education?!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Photograph by Dylan Yap Gozum
Baywalk, Manila Bay

I've been so preoccupied lately. Drained, too. I am an emotional wreck, that's what it is all about hence the eerie silence in this corner of the blogsphere. First, I just realized that it's been three years since I stopped progressing in my medical career. "Progressing" is so wrong the word here. I feel like crying whenever I am reminded of this. I know I can be an excellent physician but now isn't just the time.

Second, I just realized that in a household of four, I'm the only one earning a living. The rest watch TV all day. Wait, make that five. I just bought a dog nga pala.

Today, my left foot has started to hurt again. Yes, I am gaining weight again despite Fitrum and a faux resolution to cut down on carbs and meat.

After Mom's chemo session this morning, I found myself unable to go to work anymore because I was already late. As is the case, I had to find a reason pronto for not coming in today hence the specter of a medical certificate hovered over my head like a lighted bulb, a deus ex machina coming to my rescue. However, a few hours after one was issued me, true to form, my left foot started to hurt to fulfill the 'assessment' written in my instant MC. Dr. MTA, my willing accomplice, said that it was karma. Nasty! One Arcoxia 60 mg after, no effect. I should have taken two as loading dose.

It didn't stop me however from going to Baywalk kanina to catch the Manila Bay sunset for the very first time. Four years in Manila and this is the first time to see it! Next, went to Divisoria to look for a certain green fabric I need for a client this May 28. I didn't make it to the shops on time. The traffic was just horrible. It has all but stopped near the Binondo church and I ended up having to walk so far. By the time I got back to Avenida, I was already limping.

Nevertheless, I still took photos of the Binondo bridge, the Post Office, the National Museum of the Filipino People, Luneta, Mehan Gardens. Wala lang. I just wanted to lose myself in Manila's darkness. Just wanted to be on my own today. To get away. Disappear. Yes. At 9PM in the evening when everyone else wanted to go home and sleep.

I've complained before to SB (I owe you big time!) that I feel like I'm just floating, getting by at not feeling anything at all. Because of this, the things that are in need of acting upon - all urgent - have been left unattended for months. I just want to snap out of this daydream state that I am in. Parang catatonia and anhydonia put together! Bad enough, these two are signs of depression. The flat affect I always have, but C + A?! Maybe I should check out a Hamilton Rating Scale to confirm. Maybe it's dyspnea-related depression because I'm too fat and I can't breathe well? Should I see a shrink na? I think I need help already.


Good news and bad news. Bad news first: Mom's chemo burned her veins last time but they have started to heal. Her skin color has returned from the blackness that it was 15 days ago, but the veins just look like they've been seared. We opted to do the infusion on her operative side today, which is a no no, but we didn't have much choice. 2nd, I haven't returned to my regular blood-donating activity yet for 2 years now since my Lap Chole in July 2004. 3rd, Mom seems to be lapsing into catatonia, as well. She was drawing last week but stopped. Maybe she ran out of flowers to draw. All she does is watch TV and DVDs all day. I am glad she has finished transferring her handwritten diary to the PC before it is all erased by time because it was written in pencil. I am hoping that that consultancy work comes through so she can travel again. I'm sending her away to Bohol this October because she loves it there. She can rest for a week or so at Manang Pacing's, the former cook in The Teacher's House back in her happy DMS days.

Good news: The work on that long-delayed Grade III Science textbook is moving again, no thanks to DepEd. We writers are suppose to meet with the editor this Thursday. Next, the Vatel Manila business is picking up. I thought I'd be resigned to having only 2 clients this year! Thanks to MS, 2 more has joined the elite list of to-attend-tos (ha! ha!). My design styles are changing but I need to learn more, invest more (grrr....), learn more (wait, I said that already). Dearest God, I honestly do not mind a few more. Please.

Before I end this entry, allow me to thank everyone - you all know who you are - who have been my strong walls, my light, and my guides in this very difficult period of my life. Prayers go out to JGC's sister and to a dear friend, GP, who hasn't been spared the Big C despite her youth.

Thank you, all, for being there for me and my Mother. I promise to become a normal person again soon. If I have, you guys will be the first to know.