BUGS & BYTES,
In Bigger Prints

Table of Contents

 

Section I
PROLOGUE, EPILOGUE, IKLOG (O MANOK?)

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
BUGS & BYTES
In Bigger Prints

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

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

PathWalks
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
BABEL RISING

A millennial short story

 

A Glossary of Pilipino
(& Near-Pilipino) Terms
Wondering what iklog is?

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Prologue, Epilogue, Iklog (O Manok?)
Copyright by Said Sadain, Jr.

6   A Pain In My Head

In another letter, one reader of mine told me so bluntly to this effect (my kind words, not his): You eat well of the chicken and lamb of Jeddah and you write about your depressed Mindanao or your bleeding Bosnia. You receive your money from an American company - or at least, nearly half-American company, since the larger part of it is Saudi – and you lambaste the Americans for their capitalism. Isn't that hypocritical of you?

He was of course a friend who liked to engage in debates way back in college. He was one of those who kept on telling me, You're different, You're different from the other Moros, while all the time I was not sure whether I should take that as a compliment or an insult. He was, in short, a member of the intelligentsia, a conscience, a pain in my head. I vaguely remember responding to his nasty letter by telling him to buy himself a PC and a laser printer and we can have a face-off and a shoot-out of sorts in one of the hotel ballrooms in Manila. I figured, if he was true to his radical past, he would not step into any hotel lobby anyway.

In college, when one time I used the pen name Isnani to join a UP English Club Literary Contest, I had told this friend a story about Isnani, another Moro. Isnani was my nemesis in high school for a while. He was a soft-spoken lad just like me, a little taller than me, and was as bit as shy as myself. He came from one of the inland barrios of Sulu. His parents were farmers and Isnani himself tended the cattle and fowl in their farm during weekends.

I envied Isnani for one thing in particular: he had the pleasure of harmoniously living with mother hens and chicks and eggs. His school shirts were not always as white or as finely pressed as mine though.

He was a brilliant student, and during the end of each grading period, both our names would grab the top positions of the honors list, sometimes his name first, sometimes mine.

When at the start of our third year term in high school I did not see him in class, I felt relieved for one day. The next day, another brilliant Moro told me that Isnani died from gunshot wounds last summer while taking his cows to graze in the field. He was, the story goes, carrying a rifle with him at the time when some unknown assailant decided to grab the rifle and rustled the cattle away.

To this day, somehow, I still think of Isnani as happily feeding his farm chickens and harvesting the eggs or leading his cows to pasture against the pinkish-yellow landscape of dawn.

"Isnani is my nom de plume," I remember telling my college friend then, "not because I need to hide behind another name but because I am no different from the many fallen and falling Isnanis out there in the seas and mountains of Sulu & Mindanao."

My college friend just looked at me quizzically for a moment, and then went back to reading the Collegian newsletter with its fighting words: Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa? I was later to challenge him into this laser printer shoot-out because my story about Isnani did not seem to register correctly in his head after all these years.

But such are the travails and dangers of publishing something like BUGS & BYTES. Like Bill Clinton, you think people will simply ignore you until one day you find out the windows and doors are all agape all the while. Then you get to feel that some people are watching you more than they should, half-expecting you to go run out naked or lock yourself up in the closet. Or live up to your words.

Sometimes, nothing happens. Sometimes, something happens.


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