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Birthday wishes.

Today is my birthday, and I've got a few wishes. Different kinds of wishes, in an assortment of shapes and sizes, varying in breadth and color. Some are stacked up on monstrous crates of impossibility, smoking cigarettes, and waiting for boredom to inevitably kill them. Others are unapologetic in their positivity, high-ponytailed with pink glossed lips, every sentence spoken in a pattern never short of melodic. My wishes dance in the realm of beauty queen cue cards (world peace) and dart in and out of the darkness of aggravated violence (ISIS to be pulverized) but I must honor them all the same.

I found myself in the Yahoo! offices in Silicon Valley a few weeks ago, and noticed that I was doing some very basic things rather differently. Breathing, for example, had become more deliberate--deliciously deep inhales; exhales cascading out like ribbons, ego sliding down them and into the ground below. Permission for my eyes to scan and absorb even the smallest of details: the brand of pen on one desk, the darkened place in the carpet where a janitor had vacuumed against the regular flow. I was open to the global greatness I associated this place with, it seemed, and wanted to partake of everything it might have touched. The wishes that tumbled out in this place were of efficiency, and standing desks and standing meetings, and unlimited organic snacks free for employees' taking. They were wishes of improved work-life culture on a grander scale, where the madness of standstill traffic had no implications on income, nor on a generation of children being raised by the content on their iPads. Hopes that taxes, aid, and votes would physically singe fingers unauthorized to take hold of them, and that the fruits of the inventiveness of the Filipino, borne out of desperation, might at the very least be something they could patent.

Ownership. Of the fate and failings of this country and its leaders. Ownership of the pollution clogged estuaries, the apathy of a patriarchal society, and of the children darting across the highway with solvent filled plastic bags suctioned to their dirt caked faces.

Wishes for trees. And I mean, lots of them. That pre-teens can climb and even fall out of--the incidence of broken limbs in children must have decreased so through the years. Enough trees that every set of lovers can carve their initials into one without incident of crossing paths with another. Broad trunks and a lush canopy of glistening green leaves that laborers can nap under, seeking respite from the relentless rays of sunlit fire beating on their brows and backs. Grass. So that those born under overpasses may know the unfettered joy of walking barefoot on a luscious carpet of it.

Sidewalks.

Wishes for the tides to shift, so that craftsmanship, apprenticeship, and relationships can return to center stage. I am weary of a future dependent on a generation that has no patience or respect for the laborious processes of the artisan, the intellectual, or the builder. Perhaps I am cynical, and from entitlement and attention deficiencies, incredible new things I cannot fathom at this juncture will be created. Downloadable data, into a hard drive embedded in our brains, perhaps, because reading takes too much time. Family dinners over an advanced version of FaceTime, where screens no longer exist, and situational simulation is possible.

Education. Over one million children are out of school in this country. But then too, the adults who have turned their backs on their own stunted education and will not consider that they also deserve to continue growing. A wish for empowerment. Of the youth, of women, and of men relegated to falling into patterns of poverty and pwede na's. For the LGBT community and all other individuals or sectors dealing with anything less than absolute freedom and love.

And for Uber to be allowed to operate. Seriously. My birthday wish.

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Illustration by FranAaAaAeAoois Avril from the Objets HermAa
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Title Annotation:Arts & Culture
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Aug 17, 2015
Words:660
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