Archive for August, 2010

(lg2a) sorry, we just don’t have any space

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, interior design, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by mijodo



After some little shopping at Madison Avenue, in New York City, my sister Christie accompanied me and our niece, Ernestine to Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Met as it is popularly monickered.

We were ready to pay for the entrance fee however for some reason, the lady assistant attending to us said fees were waived that day. Instead we could make some donation, if we wish too. My sister handed in 25 Dollars for the three of us, and rented out two audio guide players to accompany us throughout the exhibits. My sister, who has been there many times, was pleasantly surpised about the fee arrangement.

And I was giddy about coming into the halls and the cloisters of the much vaunted and iconic Met. Aside from the financial district, and the skyscrapers defining New York City, it is the plethora of cultural staples that mark New York City as a “global city.”  Plays and music of Broadway, distinct ethnic communities, and a number of significant museum buidings just put New York into that cliche as the city “that never sleeps.”

Well, I almost never slept, right after the museum visit. My thoughts wandered after a seemingly innocent comment from another lady assistant inside the museum.

After taking a look at the Egyptian collection, the Americana artifacts, classical European statues and paintings, I checked out the Asian treasures, particularly the ones from South East Asia, afterall Philippines is part of that region. However I noticed right away, that only relics from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand were occupying the huge corner space of the museum.

My instant reaction was to look for the museum person probably guarding the South East Asian pieces. “Do you have some artifacts from the Philippines?” I asked, hoping that the lady knows that Philippines is part of that particular Asian region.

“Sorry, we just don’t have any space,” was the lame excuse of the lady.

I did not push the issue. I felt sorry for the Philippines. In the huge halls of the august museum, there seemed no representative piece from my country. “Not even the Man in the Barrel woodpiece from Baguio,” I told jokingly to my sister.

I was incensed and disturbed. Didn”t the Metropolitan Museum of the Art know that Philippines is part of South East Asia? Or did the Met think we only have “rebultos and santos,” such that this Philippine collection might only mar a decidedly Oriental character of the space which is full of ceramic plates and buddha statues all around. But the Philippines does have pre-hispanic ceramic plates and jars excavation finds. Probably our National Museum should lend some of our collection pieces used by our pre-Christian ancestors – mostly Aetas and Indo-Malay ascendants.

The seeming  faux pas on Met’s side begs a deeper question. Is the Philippines’s culture and civilization not significant for the visitors to see and understand. Apparently, we as a people from the Philippines know that we had a culture similar to our Asian neighbors, but the Western countries which colonize our islands apparently had severe influence in our way of living up to this moment.  Probably to many outside the Philippines, we, as a people, are neither here nor there – brown skinned, chinky eyed Asians who have unwavering loyalty to Catholicism (from the Spanish), and talk and write good American English.  

Obviously, the Philippine archeological antiquities will never be found in the European collection nor in the Americana mementos of the Met or probably in any sensible museum.

Too bad for us, Filipinos and too bad for Met’s visitors, as there is much to take and see from our unique Filipino heritage – buddhas or no buddhas.

(lg2a) stripped

Posted in architecture, culture, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by mijodo

The handsome architecture of new hotel buildings won’t be enough.  The exemplary performances showcasing magic and circus combined (Cirque de Soleil), broadway musicals (such as this time, Phantom of the Opera and Jersey Boys), and starstudded concerts (Celine Dionne) may just not satisfy.  Travellers, from all over, even from the Philippines, come to the Las Vegas Strip probably for one reason – gamble  till their pockets run dry!
People somehow can’t be blamed for getting weak in the knees and  possibly wasting much moolah. The casinos just know how to create a sensorial experience to entice people to risk their hard earned money, and hope for some more cash at the end – if not, take the jackpot!
The plush casino dens’ interiors. The slot machine monitors’ blinding lights and striking indoor colors (usually red). The fanciful computer sounds and animation. The heady mixed odor of cigarette smoke and casinos’ own Glade-like scent.  It is quite a rush to win some, and win some more as the people press intensely the slot machine buttons, and see which patterns create more cash for them.
Aside from the rows of slot machines, there are quite a few tables for those wanting to beat the odds on card games like, poker and blackjack. Roulettes, dice, and large monitors that simulate horseracing  just enhance the playing experience.
Bellagio, Harrah’s, Mandalay, and the venerable Caesar’s Palace  in Las Vegas provide high-rollers (those who spend much) hotel rooms for free to lure them to play some more. To the just-initiated, some coolers or Margarita could do the trick for them to wage again. Who knows, this newbie could turn out to be a gambling afficionado.
To many, gambling in Las Vegas (or even in Manila where one casino is right across the newest airport) may just be another fun getaway. But to others, gambling can be a cruel experience as one may lose everything, including his shirt, not only for a day, but probably for a lifetime. As such, there are responsible casinos that offer psychological help to those who have the addiction to gambling.
Actually, the compulsion to gamble can be explained through the theory of stimulus-response conditioning.  If certain stimulus or set of stimuli (gambling apparatus – slot machines, card tables, etc) do not produce a reward (cash winnings) given a response (gambling behavior), then gambling will decrease or will be extinguished. However, if the stimuli give out  rewards at different intervals such as the gambler wins at times or loses at different times then the behavior of gambling increases, and may be difficult to extinguish.
Obviously, this stimulus-response model translates to all forms of gambling, including the most prevalent ones in the Philippines, including sabong (cockfighting), majhong, bingo, lotto, and even of course, jueteng (illegal numbers game).
Here’s hoping that through this behaviorism constructs, we get to be more aware of how gambling can induce a malady of addiction. Have some fun, playing at that slot machine, but don’t let that machine work on you – stripped dry.