In Bigger Prints

Table of Contents


Section I

1 The Egg

2 Hatsing! (Bless Me)

3 Arthropodic Wisdom

4 Dear Decision Maker

5 Letters To The World

6   A Pain In My Head

7 Something Happened On My Way To School
8   A Discourse on The Grand Laws of the Universe

9 Black or White

10 Bayanihan in Jeddah

11 Chair of The Interim Board

12 Breakaway Telephonic Existence

13 The 'R' in Mrs. Regis

14 One City, One School

15 Eggs Breaking

16 PESJ History

17 The Chicken Fence

18 Believing The Man

19   My Own Version of The Jolo-Caust

20 My Sister's Version

21 The Rifle Guitar

22   Cat Stevens Unplugged

23  Landing on D-Day

24 The Great O-O-Os of the Late 20th Century

25 He Kept On Stumbling Over Chickens And Eggs

26   The Renaissance of Tilapia Farming And The Likes

27   The Saga Continues

28   The Pigeons In Our Lives

29 The Essence of Education

30   A School Is A Home

31  Gentle Fire From The Qur'an

32  At The Threshold

33  A Brief Discourse On Dancing

34  Being First

35   At The Edge of Light-Blue Metallic

36   Grappling With The Colossus


Section II
In Bigger Prints

The Power To Be
Excerpts from B & B Vol. 1 # 1

Of Crabs & Men
Excerpts from B & B Vol. 2 # 2

Excerpts from B & B Vol. 2 # 2

An Inability To Understand
Excerpts from A Speech by Prince Charles,
B & B Vol. Vol. 3 # 1

'Educating Miriam'
Excerpts from A Case Study of A Philippine School,
B & B Vol 3 # 2


Section III

A millennial short story


A Glossary of Pilipino
(& Near-Pilipino) Terms
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Prologue, Epilogue, Iklog (O Manok?)
Copyright 1999 by Said Sadain, Jr.

5   Letters To The World (cont.)

I rummaged some more into my files and found a copy of my reply to Prof. Arcellana. Under the official letterhead of BUGS & BYTES, and crisply printed off a laser-quality printer, it read like this:

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
19 November 1993

Dear Francisco Arcellana,


Allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for the mentoring you gave me at our English class in A.S. in 1975. I particularly remember that period in terms of the rhythm I learned from reading your Trilogy of the Turtles.

Thank you too for your recent kind letter. And for realizing that BUGS & BYTES is serious business.

I was not quite sure about its seriousness myself until I circulated the first issue of the publication during the middle of last year. The realization forced me into some soul-searching to better understand the good and the bad of it. A great amount of negative feelings were stirred by the first issue, and I was out there all alone. For almost a year, I was not sure whether I did right or wrong. Between the first (and only) issue of last year, and this year’s 3rd and 4th Quarter issues, I was in a kind of suspended animation, not exactly unknowing, but just waiting, waiting, waiting. Fortunately for me, I have been used to this kind of stupor ever since I stopped writing over a decade ago, so there was really no permanent damage done. I guess.

The bright side of it is that my brother Mehol, who always likes to think big, saw in the BUGS & BYTES effort a pitiable and small-time attempt of an amateur to break into print. He wants something far better. He is presently mulling on launching a national monthly magazine, Moorings, by Moros and for Moros. It could be out with its maiden issue before the end of the year. I hope. This should alleviate what you describe as the sad circumstance of Muslim writers being inadequately represented, if at all, in the national scene.

Mehol is presently teaching some subjects in the Institute of Islamic Studies in U.P. He graduated from the College of Law and is specializing on labor and the Shariah (Islamic) laws. He gets himself published every now and then in the national magazines there. He will need all the help he can muster to get Moorings off the ground and keep it afloat.

Not to digress any further, BUGS & BYTES will remain an ongoing endeavor in personal – yes, desktop – publishing. Squeezed between the demands of a growing family and hectic office work, it will always be a struggle to get the next issue out. You flatter me by your suggestion that I should try becoming a foreign correspondent for some MetroManila newspaper, but no, thank you. I would not do justice to the job and still keep up with my other commitments. Neither am I anybody’s prophet. What I do boils down to sitting in front of a machine while juggling some brain cells, fending off a three-year old kid who wants to pound the keyboard, and feeling guilty for not vacuuming the floor. There is nothing special in that. These days, I am engaging the services of my eleven-year old daughter to help me in my personal publication. The elegance of desktop publishing is such that even a child can easily acquire the skills (or at least, the mechanics) required by the process. With a little more encouragement, she could be publishing her own newsletter for her Grade V class in school.

To update your memory about myself, I did not do much writing since I got into the College of Engineering to pursue an Electrical Engineering degree. I got my B.S.E.E. in 1979, spent the next five years teaching E.E. courses at the E.E. Department while working on my master of science degree. In 1984, I completed my masteral thesis about computer applications for distribution power systems planning (now you understand why I decry so much the power outages in Manila). During the same period, I also worked myself like mad on consultancy projects with NAPOCOR and MERALCO along with some of my (senior) colleagues in the E.E. Department. Barely a month after I defended my thesis (Dr. Pacheco’s signature did not even have time to dry), I took off for Yanbu, SA to join the Royal Commission’s effort at industrializing the area, as a computer systems supervisor. In 1985, I moved on to Jeddah to join Saudi Building Systems Mfg. Co., a joint venture between the Saudi Juffali group of businesses and the Butler Manufacturing Company of Kansas City, MO. The venture specializes in the design, fabrication and erection of pre-engineered steel buildings. I got in initially as an analyst-programmer in the Systems Department. I am now the systems manager of the department, overseeing a hodgepodge of DEC minicomputers, IBM-compatible PCs, Apple Macintosh units, and, not to forget, a multinational force of end-users.

I got blessed with a wonderful wife, Liza (from the UP College of Architecture) in 1981, three kids now, Ayesa, 11, Anisa, 6 and Ahmad, 3, and a fourth one due next month. All the more difficult to save money for buying that screaming multi-media PC or that sizzling 600-dpi A3-size heavy-duty laser printer.

But what the heck. I am 35, I am Moro, and I have some funds, however sparingly, put aside for an effort like BUGS & BYTES.

You are right when you lament about the Filipino Muslims. Where are they? Why is this so? Moros accuse the Spaniards of giving the Indios an indolent culture, but the reaction of the Moros to that culture has not been any better than the indolence we refuse to accept.

I remember in the past when I would do everything to avoid taking responsibility for one thing or the other. I even refused going to your writers’ workshops and functions when I did get an invitation or two. Mrs. Kerima Polotan, as well, tried hard to lure me into that belongingness by obliging me in the pages of her FOCUS Philippines magazines whenever I came up with something, and by giving me some recognition awards. However, in a society where people merrily pride themselves with slogans of ‘Ito ang tunay na Pilipino!’ while holding up a bottle of intoxicant, I had a lot of trouble accepting my own presence and my own self-respect. I am quite sure other Filipino Muslims feel the same way. In varying degrees of intensity, we cope up with these feelings, for better or for worse. Most of the time, for the worse.

This situation is untenable. For the lucky ones like me who do not need to carry a gun and who do not need to steal from the government treasury, may Allah increase our numbers, the situation is at best like the calm before a storm. The majority of Moros will continue to live on shaky stilt houses for some more time. Then, who knows, the waves may come to wash us out into the ocean or send us tumbling unto firm land.

There is a myth in my hometown, Jolo, that goes like this: One unusually calm dawn, an old woman of the village had gone out to the open bamboo platform of her stilt house to wash herself for the dawn prayer. She looked out to the sea and saw a giant tidal wave, like a glistening snake rolling across the horizon, approach the seaside village. Murmuring some prayers, she bent over to pick up a brittle stick, held it up at both ends, and broke the stick into halves. Before the giant seawall could reach the village, it parted and collapsed under the weight of dawn.

This is the magical inspiration that BUGS & BYTES seeks to unravel.


Said K. Sadain



an adventure into personal publishing


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