Monday, November 11, 2013

Surviving Yolanda: Disaster in the Philippines

Unknown source


How can one community survive from a disaster called the worst to ever hit the country? How can one recover from overwhelming devastation?

Typhoon Yolanda with its Category 5 winds slammed into the islands of Leyte and Samar in Central Philippines last November 8. 2013. The disaster left a path of destruction which flattened both the concrete houses and nipa huts, and left dead bodies in its wake. The storm surge swept away homes and people. Nature gone mad. A poor community was rendered helpless and hopeless.

Right now, the roads are impassable due to debris and collapsed buildings and fallen electric cables. Misery is everywhere. Even as donations pour in and rescue efforts are underway, there are still some survivors sheltering in makeshift structures, bracing for the next storm, even as they mourn for their dead loved ones. A whole family torn apart; sometimes single survivors left to pick up their shattered lives on their own.

The images posted on the intranet are horrific to behold. Thousands of humans and animal lost, properties destroyed ; the once beautiful coastal areas transformed into a wasteland of rubbles and dead people and animals.

A whole community struggles, waiting for food and water from rescue groups unable to reach the isolated areas fast enough. The lack of electric power makes it difficult to communicate on the whereabouts and destinies of the people of Leyte. The fate of some loved ones are uncertain.

There is an outpouring of sympathy from people around the world. And yet, there are some heartless individuals who begrudge the help that the US government had sent to the Philippines and had demanded that monetary aid be redirected to help domestic people first. Self-entitlement and selfishness sometimes rear its ugly heads.

The rest of the caring world can only watch helplessly as heart-wrenching stories of loss are recounted by the survivors. Prompted by desperation, men and women sought out television cameras to plead for help and to connect with loved ones outside of the affected areas, mostly to tearfully announce which family member had passed away. Good or bad news, those who were left behind just wanted to reach out to anyone who may listen.

Filipinos are known for their resilience. The country had been plagued by natural disasters over the years, but its people had always bounced back from the trauma, made stronger by their faith and the optimism for a brighter future.

Could it be that most of the affected victims have been empowered by the harsh realities of life and that they have learned to live in the moment because the thought of thinking far beyond the present is inconceivable? When there's nothing in the horizon, one can only try to treasure the fact that their lives were spared then give thanks for another chance of redemption.

This latest tragedy had shaken us to the core and had rendered the future bleak and unimaginable. But there is no other option but to survive. To just take each day as it comes. To just hold on to the flicker of hope that there is still something worth living for. To just keep the Filipino spirit of resilience, against all odds.

To find something to smile about. To just find the courage to live again.

My heart bleeds for you, Philippines. Be strong.

All I can offer (aside from my donations) is a prayer that our countrymen in the Visayas will pull through yet another tragedy. Mabuhay.












Please donate:
http://www.redcross.org/charitable-donations
https://www.wfp.org/donate/typhoon
http://www.childfund.org/emergency/
http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate
http://www.care.org/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan
https://secure.unicefusa.org/site/Donation2?df_id=16500&16500.donation=form1





Filipino Global photo- Amidst the destruction around them, these kids still managed to find something to smile about. A testament to the resiliency of children


Thank you, Anderson Cooper, for the brave reporting. You bared the ineffective rescue efforts in the country and incurred the criticisms from those who were offended by the truth. There are lessons to be learned in a disaster; it's just too bad that these lessons came at the expense of the victims.




“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
-Confucius

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Carole King Moment




I am having a Carole King moment. I have started reading her book "A Natural Woman: A Memoir" where she chronicled her remarkable journey from young mother to a much-awarded musical icon with far-reaching influence to more generations to come.

Her songs had transcended the passage of time by weaving beautiful rich hues in the tapestry of life. Her songs are timeless and powerful often speaking to simple yet deep emotions. With passion and chutzpah. Vulnerable and strong.

This November, her musical “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" opens in Broadway. This is a much-awaited musical of a passionate Brooklyn girl who followed her dreams into securing legendary status in music history.

She is one-of-a-kind, a prolific singer-songwriter who had given the world countless musical hits. She had been revered as the most successful female songwriter in pop history. A Songwriters Hall of Fame awardee and Lifetime Grammy awardee, she is also slated to receive the MusiCares 2014 Person of the Year in January in recognition of her amazing body of work as well as her charitable works here and abroad.

My favorite Carole King songs: A Natural Woman, I Feel the Earth Move, Now and Forever, You’ve Got a Friend, Tapestry, and of course Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

Carole King was honored at the White House as the recipient of the 2013 Gershwin Prize for Popular song. King is the first woman to receive the award, which was created in 2007 by the Library of Congress to recognize "the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture". http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/07/02/honoring-carole-king-white-house


Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow


Carole and Gerry Goffin (her first husband) penned a song that became a no. 1 song for the Shirelles. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow was covered by several artists. Here are my favorites:

Carole King (with James Taylor)




Carole King (with Willie Nelson)





Shirelles





Lorrie Morgan




Amy Winehouse





Leslie Grace- a native New Yorker born of Dominican parents had a bilingual, bachata cover which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Radio Airplay,




Gloria Estefan, Trisha Yearwood, and Emile Sande at the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize show





Jocelyne, a French singer recorded this version- Reviendra-t-il encore?





Lil Malmkvist recorded a Swedish version called "Hur blir det i morgon" in 1961.





TRIVIA:

Neil Sedaka went to Highschool with Carol who he claimed to be as his girlfriend. Years later, he wrote this song for her.




Carol’s then-husband Gerry Goffin wrote a humorous answer.





Now and Forever




Tapestry



My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold




And I started to sing her songs again. Which would be a disservice to her. But I have a feeling she wouldn't mind at all. :)



Addendum: June 16, 2014. Carole King's first husband, Gerry Goffin, passed away this week. It is a testament to his greatness as a lyricist that music lovers still vividly recall the words to the songs of that bygone era. His partnership with Carole King had produced countless hits that had survived the test of time. He was indeed the poet laureate of teenage pop.




Monday, September 2, 2013

Learning the "Cup Game"




There I sat in front of my computer completely mesmerized by the repetitive rhythm of hand clapping and plastic cup banging on the table. The video tutorial looked easy until you have to contend with uncooperative plastic cups with minds of their own.

My son was impressed when he heard me use the word “twerking” after the Miley Cyrus debacle on the VMA awards show. This time, I was trying to raise my 'hip factor' status in my son's eyes, just to dazzle him more that I can learn new tricks that I can show off at the next party. But it seems easier to teach our dog Boomer to stop being psychotic when he sees other dogs in the street.

My hand-eye coordination had been used up with the Tetris games of my youth. With too much neurons that I have to conserve for my real work, I cannot seem to match the singing and hand routine in sync.

Singing the “When I’m Gone” song while performing the Cups routine is proving to be a major challenge for me. Ugh. I know it has something to do with muscle memory but it's difficult to concentrate when I'm still struggling with a perfect pitch. It’s something similar to knowing the next Gangnam style dance step by heart without looking like I’m flailing like a mad woman.

My childhood game of Penpen de sarapen should have prepared me for the dexterity needed for this Cup game. But it’s not working for me so far. I am hesitant to admit that the Cup routine is maybe two generations too late for me. Fail.



“Cups/ When I’m Gone" is a radio-friendly remix of the song that Anna Kendrick performs in Pitch Perfect. The title takes its name from Kendrick's percussion instrument: a plastic cup, which she shuffles around like a person playing the Cup Game.

http://www.vulture.com/2013/08/comprehensive-history-of-the-cups-phenomenon.html





Performed by 600 Irish choir kids-




Accapella cover









Just a hint of nostalgia...

Pen pen de sarapen,
de kutsilyo de almasen
Haw, haw de carabao batutin

Sipit namimilipit ginto't pilak
Namumulaklak sa tabi ng dagat.

Sayang pula tatlong pera
Sayang puti tatlong salapi


Monday, August 19, 2013

Rainbow




Driving home from Brooklyn on the Belt Parkway, I was thankful that I witnessed the magical display by Mother Nature. The bright colors of the rainbow triumphed in stark contrast against the backdrop of gray, angry clouds; its full arc high up in the dark sky.

The setting sun's fierce rays behind me turned the drizzling rain into silver on my windshield and transformed the waters of the Narrows Strait shimmering like gold. There was a calmness in the air as if everyone is held spellbound by this beautiful thing in the sky.

And as I was coasting along the Belt, right where the "Fuhgeddaboudit" sign clued me that I was leaving Brooklyn for Queens, the majestic rainbow loomed right in the middle of the road, beyond the horizon. The colors were so distinct and the rainbow so amazingly near that it took my breath away. The cars slowed down and I could almost hear the collective "ahhs".


I vaguely remember the scientific explanation about the rain as the prism that creates the spectrum of colors. How the lights are refracted when the sun light hits the raindrop at an angle. ROYGBIV. In grade school, I hardly paid attention to the science behind this phenomenon.

As a child, I was more interested with the story of the pot of gold over the rainbow "where troubles melt like lemon drops and happy little bluebirds fly". It was our magical bahaghari from those innocent times where skies are blue,and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true, just over the rainbow.

And if you just look closely, there's a second rainbow! With blue on the outside and red moved to the inside. Double reflections, double pots of gold.

All I know is that I am grateful for the simple joys of a rainbow. As Maya Angelou wrote, “God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us- in the dreariest and most dreaded moments- can see a possibility of hope.”



King James Bible- "And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth".












Nov. 2013- A rainbow after Typhoon Yolanda






Sunday, July 21, 2013

LSS: Just Give Me a Reason


Last Song Syndrome. LSS.

It’s when the song sticks like pudding in your brain and you catch yourself humming it wherever you go, even blurting it out loud at the most inopportune time. You think about the song while you work, drive, eat, bathe, even before you go to sleep. Sometimes, the song burns itself into your memory and you wake up with the musical imagery.

It’s like an earworm with the catchy melody staking its hook into your mind. According to the trusted (snark) Wikipedia, this musical earworm is a “common phenomenon and should not be confused with palinacousis, a rare medical condition caused by damage to the temporal lobe of the brain that results in auditory hallucinations.”

This syndrome can be embarrassing, especially when the song happens to be the pathetic (although catchy) Justin Bieber song. Ugh, my face turned red when one of my students caught me singing "Like baby, baby, baby, oh. I thought you'd always be mine, mine". This song is as embarrassing as my obsession (thankfully gone) with Britney Spears' "Hit me, baby, one more time".



“Just Give Me a Reason”- released October 2012

"Just Give Me a Reason" is an original song written by the irrepressible PINK with Nate Ruess from the American band Fun. It was a conversation between a couple as they tried to hang on to their relationship, pleading with each other to find a reason to love each other again. The pop ballad barreled its way to number one in the Hot 100 chart.

This is one song that I'm proud to call my LSS.






Covers- The hit song had spawned countless covers, as posted on Youtube. Even the Chipmunks joined in the fray.


Rhap Salazar and Shane Anja Tarun




Michael Henry and Justin Robinett




Back Track




And as a bonus, I discovered Nate Ruess, an indie rock singer/songwriter from Arizona, formerly of the band Format and now the lead vocalist of "Fun.". My new favorite.





I had written about Pink before. As a latecomer to Pink’s musical genius, I was totally taken under her spell. At a time of a major change in my life, Pink gently nudged me to celebrate my inner rock star. Now, she had just given me my latest LSS.


http://jcerrudocreations.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html

Saturday, April 27, 2013

True Friends




Along the way I had been blessed with wonderful friends, those special people who had accepted me for who I am, warts and all. These were friends who knew me when I had nothing else to offer; who saw me at my worst.

We may have lost touch along the way as we built our own separate lives. But once we meet again, it is so uncanny and really marvelous that the long years in between just vanish in an instant. They are treasures measured in hugs and smiles and kind words.

There was no need for major declarations of love. Friendship was offered, and in turn, accepted.

In just a span of two months, I had to say goodbye to three special people.

When the bond of friendship had been rudely interrupted by the cruel twist of death, the loss seems much more acute and incomprehensible. When someone special had enriched your life and had touched your heart, the sadness comes from missing the grace of their presence.

Uncle Alex, you formed a special friendship with my father when you worked overseas together. You were two decent men bonded by your fierce love of wives and kids. You have brought two families together, forever bound with deep respect and love for each other. You're not a blood relative, but you are "family." These are legacies that have enriched those who have been left behind.

Phyllis, you have surprised me with your loyalty and true friendship. As a nurse for forty-eight years, your fortitude and perseverance had inspired me. And I miss your quiet concern and support through all the years.

Dear Amy, you’re gone too soon. We started our nursing journey together in Coler Hospital. Those were special times spent as we stretched our wings and discovered our independence. We shared our many firsts as young nurses in America. We pursued our own dreams and went our different paths. And after all these years, we've reconnected again in Roosevelt Island in October 2012. Then, to lose you again. :(

We can only hold the memories closer to our hearts and give thanks for the gift of knowing them. Their footprints remain in our hearts, long after they were physically gone.

As the song goes,"friends are quiet angels who fill your life with grace."

True friendship transcends the barriers of time and distance, and death. True friends live forever in our hearts.




"Only the heart knows how to find what is precious."- Dostoevsky




Friends are quiet angels
Who lift us to our feet
When our wings have trouble remembering how to fly
They stand by us and give us
the strength to try

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Twww..twespassing!




Another Brownie story... dedicated in memory of a special and beloved dog.


Liam…

Liam woke up to the sound of the outer kitchen door banging. It took him a minute to orient himself to his surroundings. His mother had sweet-talked him into home-sitting their old house in Queens to tend to the plants, the cats, and the parakeets.

So, for the whole month that she vacations in Florida, her son was ordered to abandon his swank condo in Manhattan and to commute from his job as a successful surgeon in the city.

If only his residents could see him now. His reputation as a tough task-master would definitely suffer. His gruff talk usually caused his surgical residents to buckle and fumble, and he took great delight in it. But he could not say "No" to his dear old mama.

As luck would have it, the blizzard came and blanketed the city in 3 feet of snow. His body ached from shoveling the snow on his mom’s front yard, as well as the adjoining neighbor’s house, as per her mom’s latest phone text. He had expected his neighbor’s thank you but had not seen anybody in their house as yet.

And to top it all, he almost hit a lady jogger just a block from his mom’s house. His Expedition braked just in time, its tires squealed in protest.

He had right of way, so of course, he yelled at the jaywalker, and she promptly gave her a middle-finger. She also cursed her out in whatever language it was.

Liam got a glimpse of the woman, and found her attractive enough despite her belligerent attitude. Her lovely almond eyes flashed in anger, and her brown, smooth skin glistened from the sweat. Her beautiful face captivated him. A spunky, feisty woman. Over the years, Liam had to fend off advances from subservient, fawning females; this woman is so much different than them.

His physical reaction to the woman surprised Liam. He wanted to reach out to her and to know her more, but she was fuming mad. Just before she walked off, she threw a snowball towards his SUV, directly splattering his license plate. Liam shrugged it off; he really didn't care about his customized licensed plate that his teenage nephew had ordered online for him.

A muffled sound from the back of the house brought him to the present. Liam went into full survival mode and ran to the kitchen door. Through the kitchen window, Liam saw tiny footprints leading away from the house.

Armed with a bat, Liam gingerly followed the foot prints to the side of the house. The culprit was a medium-sized dog frolicking in the snow while a little boy was putting a carrot nose on a small snowman.

“Stop! What are you doing here?”, Liam shouted, startling the little boy.

Both boy and dog froze in their tracks. Liam's hulking presence was intimidating. The boy's brown eyes were wide with fear. When Liam approached, the boy grabbed a slat from the wooden fence that separated the neighbor’s property. It looked like that was to be his escape hatch.

Liam was out in the yard when the dog growled at him, in full protection mode for his owner. The dog’s brown fur gleamed in the sunlight, but he didn’t look cuddly at all as he glared at Liam, his tail raised and his teeth bared in warning. He looked like a beagle mix but sounded like a ferocious Rotweiller.

The boy was already halfway through the fence opening and turned around to call his dog, “Hurry, Brownie.”

Seeing his master almost safely out through the escape hatch, the dog snorted at Liam and paused to make sure that Liam was looking, then boldly pooped on the snow.

The boy started to chuckle at his dog’s boldness, but stopped when he saw Liam’s astounded face.
“Mister, so sorry. Brownie never pooped in here before!”, the boy’s voice cracked.

Liam cocked an eyebrow. “Never? Before?”

The boy bravely said, “Grandma Mary always let me come to this yard to play. Our yard is smaller because my mom has her garden.” He patted his dog’s brown fur. “And Brownie only poops in our yard.”

“Grandma Mary is my mother.”, Liam tried to sound stern, but there was something about the boy and his dog that made him smile. The boy looked appropriately dressed with a thick winter coat and gloves. His red sweater matched with the dog’s body sweater. They looked cute together. Except for the poop.

The boy visibly relaxed when he saw that Liam was trying to hide a smile. He must have decided that Liam is trustworthy because he eased himself back to Liam’s yard and seemed ready to engage his new friend in a conversation.

“Oh, you’re watching the house for Grandma Mary? My name is Jordy.”

Jordy turned out to be a chatterbox. His animated face and gestures amused Liam. The boy’s features hinted of a mixed parentage; maybe of Asian and white heritage, but his beautiful brown eyes looked familiar. He lives with his mother Kim and grandmother Delia who actually went with Grandma Mary in Florida. Since he was only five years old, he was scheduled to enter school next September.

“You know, I’m very smart. Just like my mom. She’s a nurse. She takes care of people with sick hearts and broken arms.” Jordy added as he proudly declared. “My mom is an ER nurse.”

“Really, that’s interesting, Jordy. I’m a doctor, too. I operate on people.”

“O-op-rate? My mom told me that some doctors are not nice. Especially those who o-op-rate”.

Liam smiled. “I think I am an exception.” He thought that if the mom is most ER nurses, she’s probably one of those feisty nurses who give his surgery residents a hard time.

“My dad left us so it’s just me, Mom, and grandma. Brownie’s smart too. Just like me.” The boy’s words rolled over, as if he was in a hurry to impress his new friend.

“He’s so smart that this Brownie chose to poop here instead of in your yard?”

Brownie barked when he heard his name. When Liam pointed to his poop, the dog averted his brown eyes and walked slowly back to the fence opening. The dog’s down-trodden face looked so comical that Liam couldn’t help but laugh out heartily.

The dog sensed that Liam would not be wielding the bat, so he sidled over Liam’s side and nuzzled him with his cold nose, as if apologizing for the offending poop. Brownie's face shone in the sunlight and his mouth was open in a wide grin.

From inside the other house, they heard a woman calling for Jordy.

“Mister Liam, please don’t tell my mom that I.. twespassed.”

Both boy and dog went through the opening, as they must have done countless of times before. Jordy put back the wood in place, almost hitting Liam on his face.

Through a little hole in the fence, Liam saw the mother step out into the yard. She had lovely almond-shaped eyes, a cute pert nose and brown smooth skin.

She was lovely. She was the one who flipped him the middle finger.


Kim… (posted 12/21/13)

It was so uncharacteristic of her to flip a middle finger. Her mom would cut her finger if she just knew what she did to that man yesterday. Her own son Jordy would be so shocked too at her childish gesture.

But Kim could not comprehend the way she reacted to the man and his car. It was her fault for not paying attention to the passing car; she was in a hurry to pick up her son from his play date. She had just finished walking Brownie and had dropped him back at the house. As soon as she reached the crosswalk, she slipped on the snow and just missed being hit by the car.

The driver yelled at her. She was ready to apologize, but then she saw the customized license plate on his Expedition: “SRGN 1”. And that’s when her almost irrational dislike of all surgeons came to fore and made her flip her middle finger at the driver. Another surgeon, just like her ex.

As luck would have it, the man also happened to be the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. His green eyes bore into her and she remembered feelings that should be better forgotten. Instead of responding to her flipped finger, she saw the man smiling at her, as if she had amused him.

That was yesterday afternoon. She had picked up her son Jordy from his playdate, fed him and the dog, then tucked him in for an early bedtime. By 7pm, Kim laid down on the sofa for a quick nap, fully intending to wake up in two hours to start the grueling task of shoveling the sidewalk.

She woke up the next morning to find her son and the dog missing. Frantic, she ran to the front door. It was still locked.

Kim heard Brownie bark in the backyard. Heaving a sigh of relief, she started to go towards the kitchen door. But then, she looked outside the window and saw her front steps and her sidewalk had been shoveled.

Kim whooped with joy. Mrs. O’Donnell must have volunteered her son’s shoveling services. Ever since they had moved to the house she inherited from her departed aunt, the O'Donnells had welcomed Kim's family with open arms. She had met all the sons except for the one who lives in the city. She thought of bringing her neighbor’s son her famous cassava cake as a thank you.

Kim went out to the back yard and saw her son and Brownie go through the hole in the fence.

Jordy had a guilty look on his face. "Sorry mom, Brownie and I twww... twespassed." Brownie looked away, with the same guilty look like his master.

Kim started to caution her son against going off on his own, then she heard somebody chuckle from behind the fence.

Jordy pulled the man into her back yard, the same man with the “SRGN 1” license plate. The gorgeous man with the green eyes.







Saturday, February 2, 2013

Simple Pleasures: Beloved Geniuses






BOB ROSS (1942-1995)

A tree is not just a tree, not when it’s Bob Ross’s tree. He painted happy trees and happy clouds. Even a simple snow-capped mountain glistens and the river streams joyfully on his canvas.

Bob Ross, the Air force veteran turned painter and PBS television host, has a cult-like presence in the internet and his “Joy of Painting” show is considered the most-recognized, most-watched art show in the world.

It’s not just the painting. Just watching the bushy-haired and mellow-voiced Bob transform a blank canvas into a beautiful world of landscapes with an occasional squirrel provides a peaceful respite from the crazy world.

It is some kind of therapy; a reminder to pause in our fast paced daily existence to enjoy the simple things in life.

I had a curious fascination with Bob as he charmingly instructs us on his wet-on-wet technique of dabbing vibrant colors, often changing his mind where his happy little trees and bushes reside.

“We don't make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.

I can't think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through painting. Exercising the imagination, experimenting with talents, being creative; these things, to me, are truly the windows to your soul.”

“There's nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend.

The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.









NORMAN ROCKWELL (1894-1978)

Norman Rockwell painted Americana. It is his artistic legacy.

Norman Rockwell’s warm and humorous depictions of small-town 20th-century America had given the world a wistful glimpse of a much simpler and innocent time.

He is the quintessential American who had inspired genius filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to collect their own Rockwells.

His vivid illustrations on the Saturday Evening Post covers showcased ordinary people in a nostalgic frame of naivete and simple joys. His paintings were charming anecdotes of the time, but he had also chronicled more serious themes such as his famous Four Freedoms and Civil rights series.



"Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn't the perfect place I had thought it to be, I unconsciously decided that if it wasn't an ideal world, it should be, and so painted only the ideal aspects of it," he once said.

“The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they’re always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.”





Saturday, January 12, 2013

Musicals On My Mind





Fresh from the mind-blowing and astounding performances in the film adaptation of Les Miserables, I have been thoroughly enjoying the resurgence of film musicals.

If there is an alternate universe, I would probably be Cameron McIntosh’s sidekick as he spins out musicals after musicals. Who am I kidding, I will probably fight tooth and nail to be the ultimate diva on stage and film.

LES MISERABLES (2012 film adaptation)

As a fan of musicals, I have waited long for this film adaptation, and it's worth the wait. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway both deliver Oscar-worthy performances. Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean (the original 24601), was featured in a surprise turn as the bishop.

My favorite songs are: "I Dreamed a Dream" and "Empty Chairs". And yes, I cried at almost every other song. :)

Anne Hathaway was mesmerizing as she filled the screen and reached out to the audience with a visceral and raw rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream.” She was not just a movie star just acting a part. Her hair badly shorn, her dress tattered and grimy, and her face splotchy… she was a mother bemoaning her fate and her lost dreams. She was Fantine, a woman beaten down, all alone, in despair. I believed her.



I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted.


This is a precious find. This is a video of an actual stage production of Lea Salonga as Fantine on her deathbed. A tear or two? No, I shed a bucketful of tears.



If only Lea Salonga have sung Eponine's "On My Own", the movie would have been perfect.





MARY POPPINS (1964)

My Auntie Sol had introduced me to Mary Poppins. I remember her singing along to Julie Andrews as our favorite nanny dispensed her medicine with a sweet song and a little magic. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!





SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)



Every child should see this movie of Maria and the Von Trapp family. High up in the mountains of Austria, the free-spirited Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, er, Maria brought music and happiness to the children.

One of these days, I will travel to the Austrian Alps, because of my determination (misguided it may be) to open my arms wide and sing the title song at the top of my voice. I promise to warn anyone within a hundred mile radius.

The musical contains many popular songs, including "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", and "The Lonely Goatherd".



Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things





CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (1968)



“Truly scrumptious as a cherry peach parfait”

Who would think that Ian Fleming of James Bond fame would write this engaging musical about a flying car with characters named as Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious?

This video was a great baby-sitter for my son Jordan. At two years old, he managed to actually sit still for almost two hours so that I could do some household chores. I must confess that most times I sat by his side and sang along with him.

Great news that this movie is being remade by the British.



SINGING IN THE RAIN(1952)



Just to clarify, this was before my time. But after I saw the movie for the first time, I had seriously entertained the thought of being a tap dancer, maybe a female Gene Kelly or Donald O'Connor. Damn knees.



GREASE (1978)



This was John Travolta at his cutest. And here’s a group of friends who tried hard to sing like Sandy and the girls.





MISS SAIGON

The musical about an American GI and a doomed bargirl in war-ravaged Vietnam catapulted Lea Salonga to the international stage. According to Playbill, "Miss Saigon is still the eleventh longest-running Broadway musical in musical theatre history."



All is right in the world. The Heat is On. The helicopter is bearing down on stage. After Les Mis, Miss Saigon is coming on film.







Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year




The new year is a gift waiting to be unwrapped. Another year to make good of God's gift of life. Another chance to fulfill the promise of our potential to be the best of what we can be.

The past year 2012 had given me so much more that I can ever ask for, but I am so secure in my faith in God that there will be more blessings ahead.

The gift is waiting. Welcome 2013.

Happy New Year everyone. Manigong Bagong Taon.