Friday, August 14, 2009

Studying Out

I have recently discovered the joy of literally studying out.

I have the really bad habit of needing to be outside the house to be able to get some decent studying done. Which sounds like a paradox to people who need quiet and isolation to focus, but makes perfect sense to my kindred souls who need stimulation apart from our reading material to keep us awake. That and absolutely no access to the temptation of our beds. I learned to devour academic data in coffee shops through med school and residency, and Starbucks has my undying gratitude for helping me pass two major medical boards.

Unfortunately, there is no Starbucks in Perth - and no coffee shop that would be sympathetic and allow anyone to park at a table all day and night after ordering just 2 cups of coffee. Sure, we have libraries, but even quiet libraries can sometimes trigger a really bad case of claustrophobia.

Fortunately, a picnic blanket spread upon the lawn of any of Perth's beautiful parks is almost just as good, if not better.

I'm not going to lie, studying somewhere surrounded by beauty and activity can be quite distracting. But once you've gotten into the swing of things, it's just like being in a coffee shop - only you're sprawled on a picnic blanket instead of hogging a table.

The downside to this is that this study position is conducive to unscheduled naps - and the propensity towards sunburn. The upside is that it's free... and you can even bring your own coffee. And people-watching serves as a great sanity break.

I really can't wait for Spring.
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

My Yellow Ribbon for Cory

I'm breaking my silence to tie a virtual yellow ribbon for former President and heroine, Corazon C. Aquino.

I wasn't even in first grade when Ninoy died; was just barely in grade school when the EDSA Revolution happened. The years of Cory's presidency were for me, a young girl with a very short-sighted view of the world, a long series of coup attempts and hours-long power interruptions.

It used to always make me wonder why Dad, who usually views politicians with well-deserved cynism, continued to view Cory with utmost respect and only admiration. This, despite the fact that towards the end of her term, her beleaguered administration was derided by the critics from all sides. But for all that can be said about her administration, Cory remained straight - and relinquished power at the end of her term with the same grace she had reluctantly taken it.

It was only on hindsight many years later that I actually came to appreciate her legacy - and how her courage to stand as a beacon in what seemed to be unremitting darkness allowed me to now have the freedoms that I enjoy today.

Whether one believes in Fate or in God, it cannot be denied that her passing comes at a time when the memory of that one glorious moment in time - when the Filipino people came together and showed the world the best of themselves - is so sorely needed. As we remember her and mourn her passing, I hope that in recalling her life and what she stood for, we may be inspired to be our best selves and once more take hold of our nation's destiny with the same courage and conviction.

Paalam, President Aquino. You make me proud to be Filipina.
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