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.

35   The Edge of Light-Blue Metallic

The proliferation of private Saudi school licenses over the past year, in a pleasant relief to the herculean one-city/one-school policy of the turbulent period, has brought forth the establishment of other Saudi-sponsored private schools that seek to attract the Filipino students.

As of this writing in early February 1999, the New International Philippine School in Jeddah is calmer, albeit with a longer label. The annual tuition fee remains under control from the hefty SR 6K of the monopoly years to somewhere in the lower, still hefty SR 4K. The oldnew, bittersweet school, for now, remains ensconced in the wide Ghornatah campus with the circular road within. The chicken barricades are happily gone. Parents still complain about teaching quality and high tuition fees. The school board, still represented from the ranks of parents, had since decreed some monetary allowances for its members.

I still drive my metallic light-blue Cressida XL that I bought with a company loan in 1992, fully paid for by now. Everyday, I race it against the Mercedes Benzes and BMWs and Volvos on the roads of Jeddah.

I remember reading, not too long ago, about Nur Misuari, 1970s MNLF revolutionary chairman turned 1990s governor of Muslim Mindanao, having dreamt loudly for the day when each and every Joloano will be driving his own Mercedes Benz. To date, I heard that he has succeeded in acquiring his own Mercedes Benz. I still do not have mine, and neither do any of the Joloanos that I know of, so Misuari must not have dreamt hard enough for the dawning of such day.

In any case, I am happily content with my Cressida XL. At any given stop light, I could often count at least three other Cressida cars around. Sometimes, all the cars are Cressida. And although most of them are being operated as taxis, and the model itself had been discontinued by Toyota a long time ago, I am still strongly proud of it. I ardently hope that, like my 15" Toshiba TV and my deep-mahogany guitar, this car will survive all the mothers and fathers of all wars of the world.

Behind its steering wheel, I always felt that I can drive it all day long without worrying, for one single moment, about parking spaces or the price of gasoline.

You see, in the Philippines, while healthy water costs as high as petrol, and parking spaces are as rare as lotto winnings; in Saudi Arabia, petrol is cheaper than water, and parking areas are a desert dune a dime and at least four lanes of an eight-lane road (of course, I am exaggerating, but conditions here are pretty darn close to being good as these for Jeddah motorists).

There were a few times, on my way back from the office in the early calm evening, I had harrowing experience being suddenly caught up in vicious sand storms that would reduce road visibility down to only a few meters. Even when billboard panes were being torn off from the roadside under the ghastly light of street lamps and were sent flying to the air, I felt very much secure inside my Cressida XL.

Aside from immensely enjoying with my family the sights of Ramadan lights hanging on the facade of street buildings and shopping malls while joy-riding around the city, I believe that a lot of nice – really nice – thoughts cross my mind when I drive in my car over the lengthy flyovers and wide highways of Jeddah.

Of course, I have always been careful not to let the nice thoughts about my quality time with my son riding the bump cars of the Jamjoom play center creep in during these times.

But kidding aside, I get very clear, lucid ideas and thoughts about a lot of things while driving to the office early in the morning. Then I feel the strong urge to write them down, but could not. By the time I enter the office building entrance, the thoughts would have floated out into the air, mixing with the chemical discharges of the Jeddah Industrial Estate. At the end of the office day, on my way to the car park, I would search the evening air but would not find those ideas anymore.

Several times, I tried bringing in a portable cassette recorder into the car to record my thoughts. When I reached the office and replayed the recording, my voice invariably would not be there or would sound very faint.

I always had problems with my voice. If you heard of that Transylvanian vampire whose reflection would not appear on the bedroom mirror, I have a voice that does not register on recording tapes. Unless I use a public address system. Of course, on the streets of Jeddah, one is not allowed to hook up a PA system to his vehicle, unlike in Philippine barrios during the electioneering period.

There were times when I ardently wished that some garage scientist or Wall Street financier would be able to bring into consumer use - meaning cheap and a-plenty like Tamagochis or wrist watches - a device that will allow me to write down my thoughts by simply thinking about what I am going to write.

Bill Gates would vaguely refer to this as doing things at the speed of thought. I suspect there would still be a slight problem with that if I were to use that in my car, but it should be a lot better than hanging a cellular phone in front of my mouth and dictating things to my wife in her kitchen.

This mind gizmo is a techno-wish that goes high up in my list, competing with the ideas about a car urinal for the pressed driver, a crab-meat extractor or a sea-urchin peeler, and a soft-touch, round-edged CD case (nothing sharp to scratch my compact discs).

 

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