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 1999 by Said Sadain, Jr.

19   My Own Version Of The Jolo-Caust

I was in Jolo, in 1974, in that conflagration, as a fifteen-year old high school senior expecting to receive, in another month, my graduation diploma from the provincial capitol school that was breathtakingly named: Dayang-Dayang Hadji Piandao Memorial High School, Boys Department.

The name was a hint of the other educational institutions that would shape my future. Shortly after that war, I got into the University of the Philippines, Diliman, College of Arts & Sciences, and later, the University of the Philippines, Diliman, College of Engineering. In a further evolution, I got involved with the school that started out as the Philippine School in Jeddah and, by the time I left it, had the elaborate name of International Philippine School in Jeddah, Science Section.

Why could not have Destiny just preordain me to languish in something more succinct like Harvard!, or Yale! ?

As it was, in the dark dawn of February 7, 1974, before our graduating class could even start practicing for our graduation rites, the tranquility of the municipality of Jolo was shattered by a loud explosion that was clearly heard from one end of town to the other. For the next three, four days, Jolo became embroiled in a shooting war, house to house, door to door, with the Moro National Liberation Front rebels, ‘Lost Commands’ as some MNLF apologists would later claim, initially marching into town to lay siege on the government army encampment at the town’s airport.

My family stayed in our San Raymundo house during most of the first two days of fighting, except for some uncles who ventured out into the streets to get some drinking water.

It seemed that most of the fighting were happening elsewhere, like a television war movie that one was not particularly paying attention to. Of course, there were no TV sets in Jolo at that time. This kind of realization came much later along with other realizations, as these things normally do.

In the afternoon of the second day, everything else around the neighborhood broke loose, with mortars and gunfire screaming. From a high window at the back of the house, I watched the brittle nipa-thatch roofs of nearby houses caught the fireballs whooshing down from the sky.

When it was all over, the only thing that remained of our house was the front stairs leading up to a charred front door that opened up to clear, blue sky.

I did not get to see this skeletal sight until several days later when we made our way down from a government refuge hospital on our way to the dock of Jolo. We trudged through the center of town in the morning (although my sister Sang recalls this to be in the afternoon), through the smoking ashes of Jolo, passing by contorted, burnt shapes frozen in their final acts to reach for the sky from where they had fallen down at either side of the blackened asphalt roads.

My younger sister, Sang, who is now finishing her doctorate degree in Illinois, asked me then: "Is that a tree stump or a corpse?" The rotting odor of flesh mixed strongly with the burnt smell of logs, rags, paper and plastic that were wet with dew. The sharp scent burdened the air, all over town.

In such an atmosphere, give me the aliphatic air of the Jeddah Industrial Estate any time, and I will say my thanks to you.

I always gave Rear Admiral Espaldon the benefit of the doubt since it was his naval boats that mercifully plucked us out of the teeming pier of Jolo Island and transported us to Zamboanga City in mainland Mindanao. For most part of a night, we had to camp out at the open landings of the pier and wait there in the cold wind along with thousand others in a scene played straight out from a movie.

The moment my mother and us children boarded the deck of one naval boat, I spent most of my waking time standing against the starboard railing of the ship, looking out into the sea, constantly suppressing a violent urge to spit.

I would realize, years later, while watching the movie Titanic, that the urge to spit out into the sea is a very natural, healthy desire that will come to pass on anyone who stands long enough against the railing of any ship.


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