reaping the cost of solitude

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Comfort rooms, more commonly referred to as "CRs", are the Filipino version of "toilets" - so I've heard from a foreigner who recently pointed out the gaping irony that there's absolutely nothing comfortable about them. The guy has since abstained from disparaging the many oddities in Filipino rhetoric, thanks to a few angry politicians - who prefer other people believing that when Filipinos use the word "comfort", they mean just that. (And they don't take kindly to any criticisms)

Contrary to popular belief, toilets/CRs did not pop into existence for the sole purpose of purging bodily wastes in the most sanitary way, and most definitely not just for 'comfort'. It serves other purposes as well - a place to sleep during office hours for instance, albeit a musty and sweaty way to doze off with your pants down (depending on the air conditioning). It's a tricky way to sleep, but people pride themselves when they're able to pull off 2-3 second short bursts of dozing off without falling over. Apparently spending a few hours a day mastering this technique is far more fulfilling than actually doing your job.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Why does the internet hate Justin Bieber?

Any person who's been exposed to the internet longer than one of his songs will figure as much: the internet hates Justin Bieber.

This phenomenon first sprung into existence at the exact same time he released his music video for the song "Baby", and is probably best explained by that video alone. Since its release, it has amassed an astonishing 2 million dislikes - the first ever for a Youtube video. Anyone 'lucky' enough to have been involved in the song and video, namely Ludacris and Drake, must regret having anything to do with it (although they won't admit it). One could imagine Ludacris sitting on his sofa, being "hip-hop legit" and all, Cristal in one hand, a voluptuous babe on the other, then this music video comes on TV. He'll probably choke on his Cristal and have a heart-attack finding the remote to change the channel. As for Drake, nobody knows exactly what he's doing in a Justin Bieber music video, and he's probably wondering the same thing.

While Ludacris and Drake have got it worse, the rest of the world definitely got it better. For one, two strangers on the internet now have one thing in common by default, making it easier for them to connect:

Person A: "I hate Justin Bieber."
Person B: "Me too! Let's be e-friends!"
Person A: (likes Person B's comment)
Person B: (likes Person A's like on his comment)

...and so on and so forth. It's akin to patting the backs of seemingly like-minded strangers on the internet, immediately forming rapport. Many have gone on to establish fruitful friendships while others go as far as marrying each other, thanks to that one little thing that started it all- mutual hate for Bieber.

My point is this - with the exception of probably 10 percent of the Bieber-hating population, nobody really hates him. "Hate" is such a strong word and nobody in his right mind would ever do such a cruel thing to a teenage boy who just wants to make music. What people do though, is they pretend to hate him. This almost always guarantees an immediate connection with the Bieber-hating populace, hence improving their chances of nurturing new friendships over the internet.

The internet has become more and more of a big social gathering through the years and the last thing anyone wants to do is wave a Bieber flag as they go on Youtube or Facebook. It's first-impression suicide. One has to go in, all smiles, sip a cheap version of Cristal, and start a conversation with someone and slowly work "Bieber Hatred" into the conversation. Once you do, and once the other guy concurs, you will have made a friend. You can then proceed to discuss how great Green Day is.