Monthly Archives: January 2017

In the Hospital of 2001: Memoir Part 2

They took me to Marbel Doctor’s Hospital one afternoon. I remember barely seeing anything except the blurry vision of my mama and papa as they held me tight. The high fever started a week ago, but the rashes only occurred in the morning. On our way, I vomited into a red bag in Uncle Renat’s van twice already and to a 10-year-old high spirited kid, it was horrible. I wanted to go back home and watch Voltes V on the TV with my siblings, play paper dolls – those sailormoon drawings made of paper which you can dress up using paper-made dresses, and make up stories in my head while I hold the two paper dolls together.

Arriving at the hospital was harder, I couldn’t move my head because a slight flip would make me dizzy again and vomit afterwards. Thankfully, none of that happened as they put me into the wheelchair and pulled me to the Emergency Room.

As I lay there, I noticed my mama crying. I remember her asking me what type of room I want to have, and what food I want to eat. None of that mattered. I knew something was wrong. I heard my papa leaving when I began to drift, and I recalled them talking they need Uncle Robert’s blood. I might not have understood the processes, but I was perfectly well aware I need blood. And needing blood transfusion, the way I usually see in telenovelas, mean my life is about to end.

To add to that, the nurses struggled finding my veins to start putting on the dextrose because my hands were flabby. It must took them an hour, or maybe I overestimated time because 5 minutes in that room felt like the quadruple of the reality. When they’re finished, I was rested in a suite room on the new building.

I did not know a hospital could be a happy place.

It had restroom, cabinet, fridge and tv (yaaay).

At that age though, I remembered praying for the first time on my own without my parents’ constant badgering. “I-save ko Kuya Jesus if you’re real. Maging buot ko nga bata, Promise. (Save me Jesus if you’re real. I’d be a good kid. Promise)”

Although my feeling did not get better the next day, my situation did. My platelet count became stable, so they wouldn’t need to transfuse blood.

The announcement made my mama cry again.

Only after two days that my feeling got better, it was then I knew God answered my prayer.

My sister once told me even if my eyes were closed off I would tell her, “Binli niyo ko pagkaon. (Leave me some food)” Even at such excruciating situation, I couldn’t get my mind off food. Dr. Feliprada, my physican, would often do her rounds daily and find me either sitting on my bed or on the chair watching TV while eating- always eating. They’re food that I couldn’t still consume, but my mama would often say I found my refuge in food, no matter what it was. I was certain I looked forward to mama coming to the hospital at 5:30 from work because she always brought chicken barbecue or Jollibee (now Jollibee becomes a food).

Aside from food, I found solace in TV. We did not have many channels yet at home, so we depended on GMA and ABS for fun. The stay in the hospital allowed me to watch animes from AXN and from other channels for long hours without mama or papa yelling at the background.

I never thought the hospital could be a happy place, or maybe it became one because of my first encounter with God.

**********************************************************************

I shared this because it was my first answered prayer and the beginning of my growing faith and our budding relationship. Whenever people ask me why I believe in God, I would often say it isn’t much about what the bible says, what the church teaches, what my parents preach but it has always been experiencing Him in my life.

Our relationship with God can be likened to our relationship with a restaurant.

Seeing a restaurant and hear people appreciate how great the customer service is, or how different and delicious their food is cannot make the restaurant a personal reality for a person. It’s for this reason that people want to try that new Japanese restaurant and check if their Teriyaki is really different, or visit a new Italian café to fully understand why people go crazy over their grilled chicken pasta. It’s only when you experience that you 100 percent believe and love it without having to explain it.

Did I end up being true to my promise? H*** no. I bragged, made my parents cry, insulted people, hurt (physically, verbally) people, yelled at God, cursed God, cursed people. I was a beast. With my bipolar personality, I struggled all my life. I got better eventually, but I still get up every day hoping I woudn’t be the same awful person.

But this story isn’t about me, it’s about God’s faithfulness amidst my unfaithfulness.

And based on my experience with Him, He isn’t like any other. He does not retaliate, does not curse, does not hate. He always stays true to His promise. I’m certain it’s only God that doesn’t change.

If God continued to love me amidst my imperfections, then you could be pretty certain he would embrace you totally.

Trust Him, not the people who constantly judge you.

Trust His heart, not the leaders and preachers whose priorities  and personalities change.

Trust His care, not even your parents who will leave you someday.

*More Miracle Stories to Come*

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Just Another Creepy Story

Side note: Never thought I still have these really old poems (I am not even sure if I patterned these after other poems I fancied back in 2005). I still cringe whenever I read them, but I guess reading them once in awhile can retrain me that the possibilities with words are infinite; so penning every thought without concern for a public audience can count more than a writer’s perfectionism, pride and paranoia that so often create the most sacred pieces.

Yep, not that perfectionist writer, so… hahahahahahahaha!

This is cringy, funny, bizarre in a way, so I’d appreciate if you read it through the end.

 

 

She was the Heart of the Night

 She was the heart of the night.

She wore a glistening green dress that made the men woo in delight.

Her menacing mien captivated them especially Sherwin Shun.

Sherwin Shun whom she liked least and loved last among her classmates for

He was stout, skunk, snob and strange!

 

“She was the heart of the night.”- Sherwin held alone in his deepest

Recesses. He asked her to dance on such bright evening for prime hearts.

She replied with dazzling smile, “Screwed, Sherwin Shun. Shun me please. Hate to see

Your big belly and hate to feel your bizarre brashness.

You are stout, skunk, snob and strange!”

 

She was the heart of the night.

She believed. And so she turned down an awful man with delight.

Poor Sherwin Shun shunned by such lovely lass.

He walked away and stood at the side of the dancing and prancing hall.

Anger enamoured him when he saw her swaying with another man.

 

She was the heart of the night.

Sherwin Shun continued to think. Deep wanting to feel and touch her innermost.

He waited and waited for hours to see such moment come.

He saw her coming with her glistening green dress that made him woo in delight.

He approached her lovely beauty and offered her a ride. To this she said yes.

 

She was the heart of the night.

Everyone rumoured. That made all women desire no more to come to that

Evening of prime hearts. Her body was bruised and battered. Her innermost battered.

Indeed she was the heart of the night.

Everyone thought but never thought it could be Sherwin Shun…

 

Revelations of Sherwin Shun

By Xenon

 She was the heart of the night.

She wore a glistening green dress that made the men woo in delight.

Her menacing mien captivated them especially me,

Sherwin Shun whom she liked least and loved last among her classmates for

I was stout, skunk, snob and strange!

 

I can never be the heart of the night.

Though I was the one who held the knife and slashed their heart of the night.

How lovely it was been to be soaked with blood in the evening of heart.

Now, I knew I was not only stout, skunk, snob and strange

But I was also mad…mad…and mad…

 

 

It was only I who kept the secret behind the lie

It was only I who know the truth and so I lie

How lovely it was to feel that nobody thought I can be him

Now, I knew people can be deceived easily

For they are all fools…fools and fools…

 

Would you listen and care to hear the truth behind?

Or would you rather bury the tragedy and keep everything fine?

Nevertheless, I’ll tell you how and why

How lovely it was been to be soaked with blood of the heart of the night.

Now, I knew I enjoy much

So prepare for I’ll come…come and come

 

Hold your breath and listen closely as I narrate everything so you’ll see;

I tore her glistening green dress in our ride to the city crest

And so while the evening was at its peak in the middle of the evergreen

I grabbed the opportune time and relished her, her every part

Woo, I wooed in delight.

While she screamed…screamed and screamed.

 

I slapped her as hard as I could to stop such awful creek;

After a minute or two, she halted as I continued.

I thought I was satisfied but I was not;

An inner voice kept urging me to hold the knife and slash her with might

Which I did with delight that made me woo.

While she pleaded…pleaded and pleaded.

 

 

I yelled at her and continued with might;

Her innermost battered, destroyed which I enjoyed.

Woo, I wooed in delight;

Thus brought satisfaction and light.

I was not contented and so I looked for another bigger knife;

And chopped…chopped and chopped.

 

Like a pig I butchered her with might that brought me delight;

“You are the heart of the night, you say?” I reminded with resentment.

I left with light that brought life.

Life is given once and once it’s taken;

You can never take it back.

So prepare…prepare and prepare.

 

Underestimation, avoid such for if you do you’ll suffer thus

I might be stout, skunk, snob and strange

But what she suffered was worst

For her words brought her fate as thus

Like a butchered pig she became thus-

Stout, skunk, snob and strange.

 

But as I enjoyed my light away from the night

I started to cry when my wristwatch I no longer can find;

The only evidence that brought me in this trial night.

Prepare… Prepare and Prepare

For this is not the end, I swear.

 

 

_taken from the message of Sherwin Shun during the trial_

 

 

poor language, but well – something you don’t always get a taste of. Hahaha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Article I Thought It Could Have Been

When your A**** world only involves doing qualification and managing productivity for some projects, and onboarding processes for **** tasks, seeing random characters together like :%s/apple/banana/gc on a black screen seems a dive into a cliff.

As you are introduced to the new world of the L*** R****, you find out that those random characters aren’t random, but are precisely pieced together to mean “change all ‘apple’ to ‘banana’”, which they call a Regular Expression (RegEx), run in the terminal to change all words (apple) to banana in the extract.

And as you move deeper, you realize that the process is really— well, a dive.

To make the dive a little less daunting for a C***** ******* Task supervisor, who needs the magic of regular expressions and scripts –those commands that end in .py (autocorrect.py, filterlex.py, etc) – in order to make project-specific tasks efficient, a week-long RegEx and Script Training was conducted by ******.

The training kicked off January 09  and continued through January 13, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the main aim of sharing the L**** R****’ script and regEx knowledge to J***, a ** supervisor.

Although K*** S***, a new **** for ** *******, and I reserved a week before to learn Regexes and script, we decided to attend this new training to hone our skills and learn new regexes. However for J****, the experience was new, challenging and different. She even shared, “It was indeed complicated and difficult; especially that it was totally different with what I do with Content Relevance.”

We’re given separate tasks for Scripts and RegEx to work on, interspersed between short lectures that clarified the purpose of each .py script and formed as practice in creating our own regexes for certain situations. This made J**** say, “I believe this would also impact great result since it would lessen grammar- related issue or typos that judges were not able to capture.”

Knowing how to achieve a particular task by creating expressions from a pool of complicated choices of characters; understanding how all python scripts work; and tailoring the processes according to our project are not an easy stroll around the park. During tasks, I’m sure somehow we hoped drinking hot or iced coffee and nimbling biscuits while staring at the screen of regex and script tasks for long could help us figure our way out, and that laughing during breaks would clear the confusion. Yes, the training only affirmed that learning these can be a stroll, a jog or a sprint depending on what is required, but it also reminded us that the process can, in fact, be fun.

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Sliding Windows: My Memoir Part 1

It wasn’t really a good idea to stay overnight at Lolo Caloy and Lola Estella’s house, a quaint two-storey Filipino colonial-style house. Its sliding wood-panelled windows and decaying walls have been home to termites. To a thief, it’s the last of the last resorts for stealing because it has always been famous as a haunted house.

When my mama dropped me and my siblings off at their ancestral house that night, there was a surge of excitement for a mystery-seeker like me. I remember wearing only a shirt, pajamas and a pair of muddy slippers that was also my companion when I sneaked out three hours earlier to go to another derelict nipa hut about two kilometers away from the back of our concrete bungalow. I remember because that’s the reason why we arrived late at lolo’s house and though excited, my eyes were red and huge teardrops were flowing to the floor because my mama berated me and pinched me hard on the arm.

As soon as a tall burly old man opened the door, his inflated tummy sticking out of his white shirt, I started sniffing to indicate that I was crying as if my swollen eyes were not evidence enough. Noticing my exaggeration, my lolo bent over, stroke my hair and gave me soothing words I can’t remember what.

Upon entering, I could already smell Nanay Cunsit’s aromatic pork Humba: a sweet pork dish with catsup, brown sugar and salted black beans and banana blossoms resembling the more famous pork Adobo. Cooking Humba signaled an important occasion, so our presence could be a significant visit for them.

Nanay Cunsit, a scrawny elderly wearing a stained plain daster, flashed her yellowish teeth and greeted my mother while circling the ladle in her cooking pot. I squinted my eyes to show her I still hated her for making my last summer miserable at Lolo’s house. Suddenly, another plump old woman emerged from the door connecting the kitchen to the dining room. It was my lola Estella. She noticed my muddy slippers so while the rest entered the huge dining room with a long rectangular narra table at the center, my lola brought me to the bathroom where she cleaned my feet several times before offering a pair of clean giant slippers.

I proceeded to my place in the dining table. In lolo’s house, each of us has our own seat. While the old ones chattered, my sister Kathleen a slender kid with short hair and bangs started rolling her eyes and pouting her lips to show her impatience. She was seated directly in front of me in the long table. In response, I started raising my eyebrows several times smirking indicating my agreement. The two of us understood each other by mere facial expressions.

After 30 minutes of eager wait, two huge bowls of Pork Humba, a platter of Kinilaw, raw fish salad, and two bowls of rice were laid on the table. Then an hour passed, my mama bid her goodbye while the two of us with Ate Karen -the eldest among us, who grew up at Lolo’s, more refined and always wore a dress – ran upstairs. The stairs were situated directly across the dining room. Each careful step produced a creaking noise, so imagine running through it. Nanay Cunsit yammered from below while the three of us just laughed boisterously. We stopped when we reached the last step up because it was creepily murky. Only a yellow chandelier “adorned” with cobwebs lit a sprawling bare space upstairs. There were four rooms. The first room from the stairs was Nanay Cunsit’s, the second I haven’t opened and checked, the third was my lolo and lola’s and the last was my Ate Karen’s room.

Three expansive sliding windows bedecked the bare space supposed to be a living room.

We hurried to Ate Karen’s room, threw our bags and as free kids, started jumping on her pillow-filled bed. After a while of jumping and playing “Langit Lupa”, Lola Caloy came in giggling elated to see us in high spirits, bringing a pitcher of water, a cup, and an anerola, a pail for pee. He stopped us though and ushered us to sleep. Because we’re there, he decided to stay with the three of us. He positioned himself at the left side of the bed. I lay beside him while my sister Kath sprawled herself next to me, and my ate Karen slept at the far right side. Two windows were slightly opened, allowing a gush of wind to seep through- its gentle cold breeze ventilating us- and the moon and the eerily silent sky as the backdrop. I couldn’t sleep, my ate Karen too, so my lolo started humming a lullaby.

“Lolo, we’re not babies anymore”, squeaked Ate Karen. But the old man continued. As his eyes were closed humming the tune familiar to him, I faced him and noticed streaks of tears. Puzzled, I questioned, “Are you crying lolo?” He opened his right eye, and gazed at me, smiling. I bugged him to tell us why. Then out of the blue, he started sobbing like a kid. Ate Karen sat down worried, while Ate Kath was already in dreamland. My surge of excitement waned as I listened to a once strong old man’s vulnerable sobs. By that time, Ate Karen stood up and took a cup of water and gave it to lolo.

Lolo sat down, wiped his tears and beckoned us to sit in front of him.

Only the two of us were there as my sister Kath was asleep with mouth opened. Lolo, turned to me and said, “No matter what, love each other. One day you’ll be separated from each other. Di gid ninyo kalimtan nga magutod kamo. (Never forget that you’re siblings)”.

At a very young age of 8, I barely understood what he meant.

Parehas gid kami ninyo dati pero wala gid kami subong naghirupay bisan gisakripisyo ko akon nga pamilya para sa ila” (We were once like you but now it seems that we don’t know each other, I sacrificed even my own family for them).

I was a mere spectator in that mournful monologue. He wiped his tears and poured out, “Gipalangga ko sila. Nagpaningkamot ko para sa ila”. (I loved them. I labored for them).

For the first time in my life, I peeked through the window of this hardworking grandfather’s past.

Sometimes we close these windows terrified that a gnawing memory would haunt us, at times we slide it open, allowing the gentle breeze of the past to seep through. Now, I fully understood what he meant:

The mundane things we did together as siblings became my most memorable windows.

Side note: I seriously miss these moments.

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Changing Your Mind by Pastor Rick

My thoughts control my life. Every single action begins with a thought.

Why do I have to change my mind:

Because my thoughts control my life.

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”
Proverbs 4:23 (TEV)

Because my mind is the battleground of sin. All temptation happens in the mind.

“I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there’s something else deep within me that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin within me.  In my mind I want to be God’s servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.” Romans 7:22-23 (LB)

Your brain/mind is your greatest asset. The world wants to control your mind. There’s a battle with the way you think. Whatever gets your attention gets you.

Because it is the key to peace and life and happiness.

An unmanaged mind leads to pressure, a managed mind leads to peace.
An unmanaged mind leads to conflict, a managed mind leads to confidence.
An unmanaged mind leads to stress, a managed mind leads to strength, serenity.

“If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 (NLT)

Three Choices to Control Your Thoughts:

A. I must Feed My Mind with the truth.

“People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every WORD OF GOD.”
Matthew 4:4 (NLT)

The bible is our soul food. Throughout the day.

You’ve got to have a great information to have a great decision.  e.g. Oxford Analytica

When: Every day.
“I rise early. . . to cry out for help and to put my hope in your words.” (Psalm 119:147 (NLT)
“Lord, how I love your Word. I think about it all day long.” Psalm 119:97
“Even in the darkest of night, your teachings fill my mind.” Psalm 16:7 (CEV)

B.I must FREE MY MIND from destructive thoughts.

“Those who are dominated by their sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the
Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” Romans 8:5 (NLT

“Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. [Our weapons] have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish any argument and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we TAKE CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT  to make it OBEDIENT to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

You cannot do your best intentions because you have enemies:

1. My old nature. The flesh. Your nature in you.

“Those who are dominated by their sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the
Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

2.Satan. The devil against you.
He cannot force you, but he can give suggestion. He’s continually planting negative thoughts in your mind. He will use people or television.

Don’t believe everything I think.

3. The World. The world around you.

The lust of sex
The lust of eyes
The lust of wealth

How do you battle these destructive thoughts: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

You have to learn to demolish strongholds in your life. Behind every sin is a lie. Satan is a liar, he’s gonna enslave you.

Take it Captive   – To conquer, to capture
Make it obedient to Christ   – To bring into submission

My thoughts often disobey me, If I need to ponder, my mind wants to wander. When I need to pray, my mind drifts away.
Your mind has to listen to you. Make it listen to you.

How temptation works:  “Temptation comes from the lure of OUR OWN evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and then the evil actions lead to death.”   James 1: 14-15

1. Desire
2. Doubt – You doubt that God loves you; that God knows best. (Every time you give in to temptation, you’re believing a lie.)
3. Deception – lure, entice, bait
4. Disobedience and Defeat

Attention -> Attitude -> Action = Cycle of Sin

What I flirt with, I fall for.

C. I must FOCUS my Mind

Think about Jesus

“Think about Jesus’ example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him.
So do not get tired and stop trying.” Hebrews 12:3 (NCV)

2 .Think about others – It’s not about you. It’s all about God. It’s only giving your life away to only live.

“Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.” Philippians 2:4 (LB)
“Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 (NCV)

Think about eternity.

“Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.” Colossians 3:2 (NLT)

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)

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On Depression

You sit alone in your room, gazing into space while your mind wanders around a spate of negative thoughts… “You are dumb. freak. hopeless.useless…” Actually, you already forget the time when you felt optimistic and passionate. You bawled your eyes out the night before and you wish tonight’s going to be the same – tears dripping, you falling asleep then waking up in the morning, following the same old routine. Tonight’s different though – your eyes are frozen and the time is, too. You search for that one hopeful thought to keep you going, but you can’t and so, a far more dreadful train of thoughts enters and slowly drowns you – “Better end this. I should stop this. There’s no point. When I die, nobody’s gonna cry! My death would make them happy!” You want to stop them from drowning you. Still, you are rummaging through your memories for that glimmer of hope that could stop you from taking your life. Today you are successful, but tomorrow might be different, who knows.

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Glimpse!

Ever wonder why in trying to sound like an announcer on radio, you drawl the words but you end up being awkward and a pain to your listeners? Why you start being bombastic in front to copy the best orators in history yet your spectators start going to the restroom or talking to each other, waiting for the next speaker? It is all because YOU are not YOU on stage. In this book and its exercises, I want you to be you: to craft your own story and tell your message or opinion on issues that matter to you, and watch how you change another person’s life.

I have always believed that our perceptions and beliefs are influenced by our stories. Why we agree or disagree on abortion, on same-sex marriage, or on education even is a result of our stories or that of people close to us. Why we defend or abhor the bullies, why we love or hate dancing or why we appreciate or dislike sports is a by-product of our experiences. Give me a favor then, please. Tell those stories. Speech is always an identity marker. We don’t want speakers who speak in front with a STRONG yet impersonal message. We dislike orators who ENUNCIATE WELL but do not even understand why he is in front of an audience. We rather listen to orators who speak their mind, share their stories.

Again, remember this: your speech is your identity. It should tell your stories. This is the reason this book was written, to help people craft a speech that voices out their own message and shares their stories. Do not let those fascinating and life-changing stories go down the drain. Do it not only for yourself but for people you know. Be the VOICE of those people: your uncle who works on the fields, your old maid who have 10 children to feed, the jeepney driver you remember talking to after work or school, your passionate and dedicated MATH teacher, etc. Be your own voice and be their voice, and you will end up having a winning speech.

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Observations in a Restaurant

His color is darker than mine and her color is a shade brighter than mine, yet in the first meeting at a restaurant where we sit in a round table, we don’t ask each other where we come from. He introduces himself, asks my name. After answering, he inquires if I watch the latest basketball match. I smile and drawl, ‘of course’. We surely exchange conversations, I can’t remember it though. The lady inquires how’s my mindfulness meditation going. I reply, “It’s awesome”. As she shares her meditation experience, I slowly begin to focus my attention elsewhere. A burly man sitting at the opposite table stands up and turns the TV on. Successful environmental projects and social enterprises flood the news. They seem to be conventional to all. I can’t help but notice each table and each interaction. Everyone seems calm, focused, gazing each other’s eyes. Two young white women at the table on my right are joined by a laughing black guy with a confident mien. Three of them seem to be conversing about the social projects they are doing. Hearing her loud squeal, I turn my gaze towards a girl with a black lanky hair on my left, she seems too excited about starting something for her neighborhood; I reckon a sports match? I tilt my head to the left as I fix my gaze on the service crew who are all smiling. While I am the only one guilty of inattention, there’s a sense of calm, focus, and deep joy emanating from each person.Where am I?

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On Industrial Revolution and the Knights of Labor

The Industrial Revolution was the socioeconomic and technological period that was characterized by the rise of mechanization and automation of production resulting to the replacement of animal and human effort seen in the agriculture-based economies. It opened jobs to the market which also attracted several ethnic groups to come to America.

Before the industrial revolution, businesses exemplified the Jeffersonian ideals of Life, Liberty, the right to own one’s labor and private property, and the right to own a productive piece of land to safeguard one’s life in the form of artisan-apprentice partnership.

Because the apprentices were trained in the whole process of creating the product, they were eventually expected to create their own businesses, necessary for them to engage in competition. Individualism (self-reliance) and competition were not only for a select few. This crumbled when the industrial period came as the mutual apprentice-artisan relation was substituted with a corporate model where businesses no longer established this close relationship with its workers; where workers were not anymore trained of the whole process of production, thus deskilling them and reducing their worth in the production process; where individualism was defined not in terms of the right to engage in competition and being self-reliant but in terms of the right to agree to a contract of work offered by the big bosses; where competition was no longer made possible for others as goods produced by factories became cheaper than the products delivered by artisans; where private property was defined as productive property afforded only to the economic elite and thus where progress was viewed as made possible because of innovation and expansion of industries of a select economic elite; and where government’s role was reduced to only protecting productive property to allow progress.

These redefinitions adversely affected how laborers were treated in the industries. Since they only contributed to only a small part of the production process, their wage was lower. Because they did not have access to machines that mass produced goods resulting to cheaper prices, they were stuck in the poor working conditions of industries in order to survive. In the garment town of Lawrence, Massachusetts for example, the average male earned 500 dollars a year which was under the poverty line of 700 dollars. In order to be at least along the the poverty line, women had to work, violating the old american mind of separate spheres. At that time, the willingness of the new immigrants to work for a little also contributed to the abuse of power by the economic elite. Thus, speaking up and complaining (becoming self-reliant) on their own during the industrial revolution could not attain the system they all wanted.

In 1873, when the first economic crisis affected America, railroad workers’ wage fell by one-third. This was the time when the workers might have thought “enough is enough”. Because of the low wages and poor working conditions, added with the cuts, the workers in Baltimore and Ohio left their posts on July 16, 1877, inspiring other workers based in Chicago, Buffalo and St. Louis to take similar act of protest, known in History as the Great Strike of 1877.  The effect on national transportation was immense that President Rutherford Hayes had to send two thousand federal troops to support 45,000 state militiamen against strikers. In Baltimore and Pittsburg, they opened fire against strikers that took the lives of 20 and 30 strikes. Hearing the news, strikers in Pittsburg destroyed 2200 railroad cars and burned 80 buildings. After the riots, 80 people were killed and there was 80 million dollars worth of damage to railroad company property. The strikes showed the whole country that railroad workers were not satisfied with their working conditions. Most importantly, it exemplified that a collective effort of all workers could handicap the system. Seeing the immense impact, they were left with another choice: organize themselves and plan courses of action that could influence the decision of the economic elite and the government.

The event gave rise to the Knights of Labor, a radical labor union, that organized both skilled and unskilled workers, men and 60,000 women and all races including African-american workers. They viewed society in terms of class and not on race and gender, knowing that the real conflicts were not based on gender and racial issues anymore. They continually advanced the replacement of the wage system with a cooperative model of shared ownership of productive property, and that ownership of public utilities such as railroad, telegraph and telephone should be owned by the government so that no people should be at the mercy of the industry owners. Their sheer size and aggressive rhetoric began to threaten the big bosses and the conservative industrial system. By organizing themselves under one union, the Knights of Labor reinforced collectivism in the countercultural american mind. Collectivism was further seen in their desire to establish a cooperative economic model that also challenged the conservative american belief on private property. By welcoming all genders and races in the union, they introduced gender and racial equalities in the progressive industrial mind that challenged the old american beliefs of binary race relations and separate spheres. By advancing the formation of a government that acts in unison with the unions and that owns public utilities and mitigator in economic relations, they infused the concept of Big Government.

The Knights of Labor became antecedent to the formation of racial equality, gender equality, collectivism, dissent and big government in the Progressive Industrial American Mind.

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On Market Revolution in the US

During the revolutionary period until the first half of the 19th century, farmers produced crops for their own consumption. Because they needed to depend and work for themselves, the self-sufficient farmers developed a sense of individualism rooted in self-reliance. At that time, they did not have a private notion of freedom which includes choice and the desire to get ahead. Hence, there was no competition.Due to the lack of technologies that would hasten the production, transfer the goods to farther places, and communicate with possible customers outside of their location, farmers did not regard agriculture as an opportunity to gain wealth.

Starting in 1850 however, certain occupational technologies were invented like the steel plow and reaper that enabled farmers to grow and harvest more. In addition, railways, steamboats and other modes of transportation as well as communication technologies like the telegraph, which allowed real time communication, were developed. Because of the inventions, they began to produce more and sell and transport products to other states that paved for an expansion of market relations, which resulted to competition. This huge economic transformation is called the Market Revolution.  And as these social and material changes happened, socio-psychological transformations occurred. The Americans’ notion of freedom became privatized in that they saw economic opportunity, the ability to engage in market relations; physical mobility, to travel anywhere; and political participation in the system as part of their freedom. In other words, choice became an integral component of their concept of freedom.

Discovering new freedoms, Americans felt they were called by God to conquer territories and spread their ideals and notions of freedoms which resulted to the annexation of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and other Mexican territories after the Mexican-American war of 1848; after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed. Moreover, the emerging market attracted people from other ethnic groups to come to the US, so massive ethnic diversification in the country emerged. Due to cultural diversity, the whites developed the Anglo-Saxon complex, a belief that only those coming from the Saxon race are considered Americans, self-governed and self-reliant. This created white supremacy that resulted to racial inequalities and slavery during the market revolution, casting other ethnicities to the periphery.

Legal and economic exclusions were made in an attempt to flush African Americans out of the city. Foreign Miner’s tax was collected from Chinese migrants to keep them from mining gold.  Institution of Slavery became more rigid as it was considered a necessity to the cotton industry and the overall booming economy.

Although choice resulted from the Market revolution, it was removed from the rights of other ethnicities. The mexicans who became citizens of the country were not immuned to the prejudice. Theirs was in the form of land and livelihood grabbing. The Chinese Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans found survival on their own difficult. For this reason, they created organizations where they could share a bit of what they had to their brethren. For Chinese Americans, it was the Tong and Kongs. For African Americans, it was the Mutual Benefit Societies. And for Mexican Americans, it came in the form of Mutualistas and Barrios. Through these societies, they maintained their new culture and created a culture that was based on their American experiences. Through these societies, they created a sense of shared identity.

The material and social changes during the Market Revolution led to socio-psychological changes that evolved the American mind: adding the concept of choice to individualism and forming competition and limited government. But in the same importance, it shaped counter-cultural American identities.

 

 

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