The Princess and the Time Lord

"We come from different worlds," said he.
"This will not work."

"But surely, we must try," said she.
"We must make it work."

"And how?" he asked.
"In your veins flows
the blood of kings,
and you are the daughter of one.
Surely he wants only
what is best for his little princess.
You must wed a prince,
who will someday be king,
and you will give him little princes
who will someday wear the crown."

"But it is not a prince I want," she answered.
"I want you.
You and your words that I do not understand,
you and your tales of magical places,
you and your adventures in far-off lands."

"If we must be together," said he,
"You must come with me.
For I cannot stay here
in your world,
in your time."

"Take me with you," she begged.
"My father has other princesses besides me.
But I have only one Time Lord."

And together they stepped into his flying machine,
soared up into the sky,
and vanished into a twinkle of light,
off to places she has never seen,
to hear words she does not understand.
But she will understand them,
soon,
for she is now
a Time Lord's wife.

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

10 Life-Changing Films

by Sting Lacson

(Edited by Chonx Tibajia.
Published in the Philippine STAR, p. Q-2, 10 Oct 2010.)



Change starts with inspiration─so what if it hits us while we're slouched comfortably at a movie theater, fingers stained orange from cheddar-flavored popcorn? I have been asked to come up with a list of ten films that inspire change, all for the greater glory of mankind. This forced me to think then if I should enumerate the standard, feel-good, awe-inspiring movies that will make you want to change the world after watching it. There are lots of those, of course, like Schindler's List, or Gandhi. But then these are films about people who caused change. However inspiring I'm sure they were, the films themselves did not really inspire the change. What I am looking for is the cinematic equivalent of Noli Me Tangere, a film that has actually caused change, and not simply a film about causing change.

There are some films that I would want to include here, but although they have caused change, those changes were not for the greater good. One example is The Godfather, a case of life imitating art imitating life. Modern day mob practices were actually inspired by this movie, with several high-profile mob bosses claiming to be huge fans of The Godfather. But since it’s about organized crime, which is a bad thing, it does not make it to this list.

Bagets (1984)
The list would not be complete without at least one Filipino film. Fresh from the shackles of martial law, Philippine cinema finally gives the Filipino youth a chance to stretch their legs. Bagets gave birth to the matinee idols of the eighties, influencing everything from fashion to speech, and it has actually succeeded in making youth-oriented movies very popular at the box office, unlike the serious adult-oriented films of the seventies.

Top Gun (1986)
During Top Gun's theatrical run, recruitment booths were placed outside the cinemas by the Navy, hoping to recruit the adrenaline-charged guys coming out of the theaters. The result: the highest number of recruits in decades. No film has ever inspired people to fly jets more than Top Gun.

Dead Poets Society (1989)
The theme of this film is not in itself original: the whole teacher-student inspiration thing began with Stand and Deliver a year earlier, and was echoed in Dangerous Minds six years later, and most recently by Coach Carter in 2005.However, Dead Poets Society will always be remembered for two words: carpe diem. Seize the day. Those words have been repeated countless times and have been made to apply to equally countless situations─and not just because it's in Latin.

Jurassic Park (1993)
Let's put it this way: Before Jurassic Park, filmmakers used Stan Winston animatronics or Jim Henson's puppets to create movie monsters. Jurassic Park itself also used animatronics, but at the same time tested the waters of computer-generated images. And after the obvious success, computer-generated imagery has become the most important innovation in cinematic history since the introduction of color. In fact, it has even acquired its own acronym: C.G.I. When something gets its own acronym, you know it's important.

Toy Story (1995)
Pixar Animation Studios will go down in history as the pioneer and trailblazer of computer animation. Purists used to be hesitant about using computers, saying it will never capture the soul of traditional hand-drawn cell animation. But director John Lasseter was himself a traditional animator who embraced this new medium. Fifteen years (and several Oscars later), computer animation has practically killed cell-animated films at the box office.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Never mind that the rest of the world knows this as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Although the movie version came four years after the book, Sorcerer's Stone has undoubtedly added to the already-solid fan base of the books. Although it is the Harry Potter books that are credited for making children re-discover the joys of reading, it is the first Harry Potter film that has made even the not-so-young ones pick up books and start flipping pages. And that is the reason why now, almost a decade later, we have more fans than ever before eagerly anticipating the first part of the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga.

The Passion of the Christ (2004)
There are no hard statistics to prove it, but I am pretty sure that after seeing this film, Catholic Sunday masses experienced a sudden influx of worshippers similar to what Whoopi Goldberg did in Sister Act. But this film was able to convert a huge chunk of the cast and crew to Catholicism. While filming. I know of no other film that has inspired change even before they began post-production.

300 (2006)
You can describe this movie using a single three-letter word: ABS. Now everyone, please be honest, after watching this movie, after seeing the brave Spartan warriors die a gallant death, did you not start doing sit-ups secretly in your room?

The Cove (2009)
This film will not leave you unaffected after watching it. You'll either 1) abstain from eating dolphins for the rest of your life, 2) start worshipping dolphins by buying all kinds of dolphin merchandise, 3) buy tickets to Bohol to swim with the dolphins, or 4) join groups like Greenpeace or the World Wide Fund and devote your life to protecting dolphins. And changing one single viewer is a step closer to changing (or completely eradicating) the practice of slaughtering dolphins. And no, dolphins are not just gay sharks.

Avatar (2009)
Although not the first film made in Real D 3D, Avatar definitely brought Real D away from the art film market (like U2 3D) and the kiddie market (like Spy Kids 3D) and brought it to a whole new level. Aside from developing new 3D optic technology, director James Cameron has inspired filmmakers after him to not be afraid of creating movies especially for 3D without worrying about production costs.


Sting Lacson writes for Da Couch Tomato (dacouchtomato.blogspot.com).

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

Making Memories

There is
a reason

why I lie to my boss
and skip work
so I can photograph you
blowing out your first birthday candle;

why I drag myself
out of bed before sunrise
so I can drive you
to your first day of school;

why I pay double for tickets
despite being blind in one eye
so I can watch you enjoy
your first animated 3D movie.

I do these things
so that twenty years from now,
when you look back
in fond nostalgia
at the memories of your childhood,

I will be in them.


*Conceived 8 Jun 2011

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

"Always Something Bigger" (Working Title)

I considered myself
a mountain of a man,
towering a head and a shoulder
above everyone else.
My gigantic build
was enhanced by
my arrogance,
which made people tremble
at the sight of me,
which in turn made me think that
I was invincible.

That is,
until I entered
Your House.

I had no need to crouch
(as I am used to)
while entering your doorway,
for even with my arms outstretched,
my fingers could not touch the top of the arch.
Inside, it seemed
that Your halls were made for giants,
for the ceiling stretched to such a height
that could kill a man when dropped from it.
And the music,
oh the music!
pounding, incessant,
seemingly discordant notes
which might have been music
to giant ears,
but which to me
sounded like music
inside the head of a madman.

And then I fell to my knees
and wept
like a child
who lost all his candy
to a bully.
I have been reduced
to sniveling snot
and I got up
and ran away from there
fast as I could,
even before having
laid my eyes
on You.


*Manila Cathedral, May 2011

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

Big Boy, Big School

Congratulations! You'll be going to Big School now.

Here are five things I want you to remember.

1. Don't Cry
Crying is for babies. And you're not a baby anymore. You're a big boy. That's why you're in Big School. Also, bullies can smell tears.

2. Do Not Fight the Bullies
Bullies are bad. They like to punch smaller kids. They love to make smaller kids cry. Stay away from them.

3. Always Say the Magic Words 
Those magic words are "Please" and "Thank You". Say these words all the time. Say them to everyone. And everyone will love you.

4. Share and Share Alike
Do not be selfish. Share with your frineds. Share your food. Share your toys. And your friends will share as well. Everybody will have fun.

5. The Adults are Your Friends
Be nice to the janitor. He keeps your classroom clean. Be nice to the lunch lady. She cooks your food. Be nice to the security guard. He keeps you safe. Be nice to your teacher. She helps you learn.

Remember those things I told you. These are things you must know. They are important. Not only in Big School, but in life.


*29 Mar 2011

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

Christmas in Summer

The intense heat of the lights
add to the already-hot and humid air.
Then suddenly, two familiar faces
duck into my doorway,
step into my humble abode,
and make a slight quip
about how long my ceiling is.
I try to remember where I've seen them before,
and when they suddenly pull out
a wad of thousand-peso bills,
it dawns on me.

These guys are hosts
from that noontime television show,
and with their cameras pointing at me,
I suddenly realize that I am on the air.
The words they speak
do not register in my simple mind,
which has now frozen at the sight of money.
They hand me a total of
fifteen thousand pesos
while two more people barge in,
one with a year's supply of shampoo
(from their sponsors)
and another with a roasted pig
that could feed five families
(also from their sponsors).

Then with a friendly tap on my shoulder,
they leave my house,
ducking the same way they came in,
and I couldn't hear the host
laughing "Ho, ho, ho!" as he went,
because I myself
was laughing inside.

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

El Rompe Redes, or The Legend of the Brown Man of Barcelona

Because we are the visitors,
the home crowd shows us hostility.
Because I am different,
the home team shows me hostility.

I have three defenders
guarding me at all times.

"Monkey," they call me,
for my pale brown skin is not
olive-brown like an Italian,
my dark eyes are not
bright blue like an Aryan,
and the bridge of my nose is not
aquiline like a Roman.

They could at least be more precise
and call me "Half-Monkey",
for my father is a Spaniard,
who married a short brown native woman
from the Philippine islands.

But to them,
my blood counts for nothing.
Half a monkey is still a monkey.

I am the only brown man
on a field of twenty-two players.

My teammates can see past
the color of my skin.
I am treated like a brother─
an equal (maybe even greater)─
because I score goals,
because I win matches,
and because they all know
I am the best player
among my white-skinned peers.

That is why my defenders look at me
with anger in their eyes
and hate in their hearts.
They will never allow
a monkey to beat them
in this beautiful game
they created.

I now have the ball,
and the defenders tighten their guard,
like zookeepers out to corral
an escaped chimpanzee,
and they hurl their tightly-woven
nets of prejudice
as they try to hold the monkey down.

But I am too fast for them.
I leave all the defenders behind,
nothing left for them to do but stare
at the number on the back of my jersey:
Number 1.

Racing toward the goal,
I cock my leg back,
and strike the ball
like the hammer of a gun,
and send the bullet flying.

I watch the goalkeeper's
bright blue eyes,
following the ball in disbelief
as it passes through his hands
and over his straw-colored head.

And the goal's net cannot hold my shot,
just as the zookeeper's net cannot hold the monkey.
My bullet travels so fast
that it breaks the net completely through,
splicing the fibers that hold
the twine of reality together.

The entire home crowd
is stunned into silence,
and the joyous uproar of our visiting team
praising my magnificent monkey kick
becomes the salt of insult
that sprinkles over the wounds of their egos.

In the cheery blue eyes of my teammates,
I am El Rompe Redes
The Net Breaker.
My name will live in legend,
and the club will pass down my story
from generation to generation.

But in the teary blue eyes of my opponents,
I will live in infamy.
They will never see me
as the player who scored the winning goal
amidst the hostile conditions
of an away crowd.
My name will be spoken with loathing,
for I will live forever in their memory
as the monkey who destroyed their net.


*For Bersong EuroPinoy 3

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

Mother Knows Best

Mother knows
This
was an accident.

"Unplanned," she says, "unforeseen.
What little foresight you had left
got thrown on the floor
along with your clothes."

Mother knows
there will be no union
of man and wife.
Not now. Not in the near
future.

"But I love him," I say.

"It's not 'the one you love',
it's 'the one who loves you'.

If he really loves you,
he will wait," says Mother's mouth.
But Mother's mind goes,
"If he really loves you,
This wouldn't
have happened."

Mother knows
what she wants for me:
my happiness.
Nothing more.

"Long-term happiness is
what I want for you," she says.
"And it comes to those who wait."


QUESTION 1: Choose the letter of the answer you think best represents your Mother's logic.
A. Do not wait, and marry the father of my child; or
B. Wait and marry my True Love, which may or may not be the father of my child.


Mother knows
everything─
about me,
about This.

Mother knows
the Future,
because she has known
the Past.

Mother is God.
She is my Creator.
I was my father's seed
but I am my Mother's fruit.


MULTIPLE CHOICE: Choose the letter of the word that best completes the sentence.
I should (A. fear; B. revere; C. adhere to) my Mother's words.
The correct answer is D. all of the above.


Mother knows
I need her guidance
right now.
And her guidance is saying
Not. Now.

Mother knows
I should have ended up
with someone better.
"'Innocent until proven guilty'
does not apply
in this jurisdiction, it's
'Outsider until proven Family'.

He has
all the time in the world
to prove that."


*for meea

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

Ang Bagong Laro ni Trudis Liit

Isang hapon, masayang papunta si Trudis Liit sa basketball court. Dala-dala niya ang bagong niyang basketball. Ang bolang ito ay regalo sa kanya ni Kapitan Bong. Si Kapitan Bong ay ninong ni Trudis Liit.


---


Habang nagshu-shooting si Trudis Liit, may lumapit sa kanyang dalawang mas malaking bata.

"Trudis, ang ganda ng bola mo," sabi ng malaking bata. "Sali ka sa laro namin. Pero maghintay pa tayo ng pitong manlalaro, para maging sampu tayo."

"Sige!" masayang sagot ni Trudis. Pinasa niya ang kaniyang bola sa malalaking bata.


---


Maya-maya, may dumating na walong malalaking bata.

"Naku, sobra na tayo ng isa. Eleven na tayo," sabi ng pinakamalaking bata. "Trudis, mamaya ka nalang maglaro ha."

At naglaro ang sampung malalaking bata. Lumubog na ang araw at nag-gabi na. Hindi na nakapaglaro si Trudis Liit.

"Sorry, Trudis," sabi ng pinakamalaking bata. "Bukas nalang tayo maglaro."

Umuwi si Trudis Liit mag-isa. Ang bago niyang bola ay nadumihan na. At wala siyang pawis sa katawan, dahil hindi siya nakapaglaro kahit kaunti.


---


Kinabukasan, bumalik si Trudis Liit sa basketball court. Dala ulit niya ang kanyang bola.

Malayo pa lang siya, nakita niyang marami nang malalaking bata sa court.

Isa, dalawa, tatlo, apat, lima, anim, pito, walo, siyam, sampung batang malalaki.

Naisip ni Trudis na hindi na naman siya makakapaglaro. Tumalikod siya at dahan-dahang naglakad pauwi. Ngunit biglang may tumawag sa pangalan niya.

"Trudis! Pahiram muna ng bola mo!"

Lumapit ang isang malaking bata at hiniram ang bola ni Trudis. Hindi nakatanggi si Trudis. Mabait kasi siya at hindi madamot. Pero hindi na naman siya nakapaglaro.


---


Kinabukasan, hindi lumabas ng bahay si Trudis Liit. Kaya pinuntahan siya ng kanyang ninong na si Kapitan Bong.

"O Trudis, bakit wala ka sa court?" tanong ni Kapitan Bong.

"Hindi po kasi nila ako pinapalaro," malungkot na sagot ni Trudis. "Maliit po kasi ako at malalaki silang lahat."

"Gan'un ba?" sabi ni Kapitan Bong. "Sige, hintayin mo lang ako diyan."

Umuwi sandali si Kapitan. Pagbalik niya, may dala siyang bola ng football.

"O Trudis, para sa'yo," sabi ni Kapitan Bong. "Ngayon, tawagin mo lahat ng maliliit na bata, at magkita-kita tayo sa bukid."


---


Matapos ang isang oras, dumating sa bukid si Trudis Liit. Dala niya ang kanyang bagong football. May kasama rin siyang maraming mga batang maliliit. Nakita nila si Kapitan Bong na naghihintay na sa kanila.

"Lapit kayo, mga bata," sabi ni Kapitan Bong. "Tuturuan ko kayo mag-football."

Masayang naglaro ang mga maliliit na bata. Naglaro sila nang naglaro hanggang tumulo ang kanilang pawis. Naglaro sila hanggang lumubog ang araw. Kinabukasan, naglaro sila muli. Naglaro na sila araw-araw. At naglaro sila ng football hanggang sila'y tumanda.


WAKAS

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

My Literary Side

"The Words come from the Divine; from the Muse the Idea. The Poet merely transcribes." ┼Old Sumerian proverb

(Kidding, I made that up. LOL)

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