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Hey, friends, fly tigerair (soon to be scoot) at your own risk. 

17 Jun

I transited at Changi Airport last night. I had a tigerair flight to Manila and I was unpleasantly surprised by the fact that they were charging me 40SGD because my carry on luggage went beyond their 10kg limit. When my backpack was being weighed, I told the staff that my heavy laptop was inside. He said it should be included and even told me have the stuff I bought at the airport be weighed as well, despite my protests. I booked my flight via Traveloka, where there was no information about such fees being applied. Today I also tried making a booking on their website and there was no info on that either. 

In contrast, if you look at the FlyBagEat option, you only need to add 44 SGD to have more legroom, 30kg checked in baggage, 15kg hand carried baggage, and a meal. But of course it is not in their best interest to let their customers know that. There were also many angry and frustrated passengers who were caught unaware last night. Most of them just paid up. Some were even trying to bargain. One guy started layering his clothes. I just sulked with a very angry face. 

So yeah, I have already made complaints to Traveloka and also Changi Aiport (I mean come on, I buy stuff at the airport and it has to be weighed, too?). Not gonna complain to tigerair, but I told all of my friends to avoid it. 

Anyway, if you’re flying tigerair (or scoot, since they have already merged and tigerair will no longer be known by that name), here are some tips to not let them screw you over:

1. Ask a friend to hold your bags for you while you check in. 

2. If you don’t have a friend, left luggage is a cheaper option to letting a stranger watch your luggage for you (and in this day and age, no one will agree to that anyway). 

3. Do your shopping after checking in. 

You can have better use for 40SGD at the airport instead of losing it to these scammers. 

Whispers on the crack that will shatter that wall

21 May

I just finished binge-watching The Keepers on Netflix. It only has seven episodes, but it made for a slow, uncomfortable torturous viewing. (Spoilers hereafter.) The story starts with the disappearance and murder of a nun, Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969. A captivating whodunnit all of a sudden morphs into something more sinister in the next episodes. And from here on out it becomes very painful to watch. Sister Cathy’s murder is still unsolved to this day, but it becomes apparent that it is only one piece of a puzzle, one that leads to a dark web of abuse within and protected by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, apparently aided and abetted by at least the Baltimore Police and the State Attorney’s Office (that interview with Sharon May was one of several instances where one is tempted to punch the screen). The abuse was perpetrated by the counselor of the all-girls Catholic school Keough, Father Joseph Maskell. The details provided in the interviews were spare, but enough to make one’s hairs stand on end: Father Maskell kept an eye out for troubled girls, especially those who experienced sexual abuse previously, so that he could snare them. And he didn’t work alone. Jean Wehner, who later on tried to sue, said that she was marked by a different priest, Father Magnus, when she confessed about being abused by her uncle when she was younger. After getting the attention of Maskell, she experienced horrific and unspeakable violence in the hands of these priests and other men. Sister Cathy must have noticed that something was happening, and she assured Jean that she would do something about it and that things would be alright. It didn’t, because Sister Cathy ended up dead. And in Jean’s recovered memories, decades later, she recalled that Maskell himself took her to Sister Cathy’s body in the woods to warn her about speaking out against him.

Despite the many numbers of victims that reached out after Jean and another victim, Teresa Lancaster, decided to sue in the early 90s, and other evidence such as the documents that Maskell asked to be buried and was later recovered by police, and the incessant coverage of local media, Maskell was never brought to court. There apparently was no paper trail, evidence were destroyed or lost, and the words of 35 to 100 women were not enough to move it forward. For the viewer, this is where the intense feeling of helplessness and anger just builds up. And it wasn’t even the worst of it: it turned out that Maskell had an earlier victim: an eight grade boy whose mother went to the office of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and reported the abuse in 1967. The Archdiocese knew about Maskell, and instead of punishing him or turning him over to the police, transferred him to Keough where he went on to abuse dozens of young girls for years. Had they taken action, these young women would not have had their lives and futures taken away from them. And perhaps Sister Cathy would not have died.

The most disturbing thing about this entire series is not just the role of the Church in the cover up and the lies to make Jean think that she was the only victim and no one can corroborate her story: it is also the possibility that the Church colluded with the authorities to keep things hush-hush. I think Maskell was ultimately running a pedophile ring, and the reason for the apparent incompetent investigations and the lack of legal action against him was because he had too many friends in high places. People who have a lot to lose if the atrocities were brought to light.

I think The Keepers will cause much more of an outrage than Making a Murderer did. Ultimately there were many lives which were destroyed, real people died, and the injustice continues on (interestingly, the Church had apparently made a way to stop a bill regarding the extension of the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases to be passed). I read somewhere that the city of Baltimore is actually bracing itself from the public reaction from this series. It only got released this week, so the uproar will only get louder in the coming days and weeks.

13 Reasons Why

9 Apr

Just so you know, spoilers galore.

I just finished watching the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, mostly because I was down with the cold and could only roll around in bed. There are 13 episodes, but unlike most I guess I couldn’t binge more than 3 episodes at a time, which does not really constitute bingeing. Anyway, I had to force myself to watch it, especially halfway through, because I actually put it in my bujo list. Lol. Gotta shade ’em squares, right. The middle part was excruciating slow and everyone seems to be painfully stupid and self-absorbed except for the “unhelpful Yoda” Tony.

So, I finished it today. The last three episodes were good. Although I do feel like Hannah was just trying to fuck people over with killing herself. Okay, that’s actually a real reason why people kill themselves: to get revenge. That was pretty evident with the last episode, when she goes to the counselor’s office. She secretly records her conversation with Mr. Porter. She speaks about her assault. Mr. Porter asks if she told the guy no, and if she wants to press charges. Negative on both, and Mr. Porter tells her that if she is unwilling to go to court, then she should just move on. Admittedly, that is cold. But Hannah herself stands up and ends the conversation. She goes out of Porter’s office, looks back, and waits for him to call her back in to his office. He doesn’t. So his door is closed behind her. She goes home, gets into the tub, and slits her arms.

There is no epilogue. There are still some unsettled stuff, such as Alex’s attempted suicide. Justin going away with a bottle of vodka and a gun, creepy Tyler prepping to become a school shooter, Hannah’s parents starting to listen to the audios. I guess the producers were fishing for the possibility of a new season. I haven’t read the book so I wouldn’t know. But I think doing a season 2 would be a bad idea. For one, it’s not a crime procedural. We can pretty much guess how it will go for Porter. And for Bryce, for that matter. Poor Porter, though. Hannah fucked it up for him real good. Everyone has something going on for them, but of course with the state of mind Hannah was in, everything was about her and the punishment she has in store for everyone who she thinks wronged her, including Porter whom she thinks as someone who didn’t save her.

So yeah, while all of it is valid (i.e., high school can be terrible, we should be mindful of how our actions affect other people, what we do have consequences) I didn’t have much patience for all the self-centered teen angst. Actually, I can relate. I have some points in my life (even as an adult) where I have felt something similar. But looking back at those days, I wish I had realized that I didn’t have to go at it alone, that the world was not out to personally make my life hell. Everyone has issues. I wish I wasn’t so focused on mine.

I think even if one is hurting really bad, it is necessary to ask for help. Essentially it is not a move to find a savior: it is a decision to save oneself. Because your life is yours, and at the same time it is not yours. Your life is also tied to the people who love you and care for you. Should you decide to end your life to end all your suffering, you are consigning everyone else who loved you to suffer for the rest of their lives.

Depression is real. But it is also something that can be managed if one has support. The first step you take should always be your own, but you can only know that if you know your options and their consequences. That is not something we see with 13 Reasons Why. If there is any epilogue or last message that should have been shown, it is for suicide support hotlines. I think the producers missed an opportunity to reach out to kids who might be going through the same thing Hannah does in the show.

Back to reality.

2 Apr

Or at least back to Semarang. 

I flew out of the Philippines Friday night. Said goodbye to all the cats except for Tiny. He must’ve been sleeping somewhere on top of the ceiling escaping the heat. I’m gonna miss round little Blitzy. She’s been a good dog of late, only eating cat poop when no one is looking. Lol. 

I only had one mango this summer. Regrets. 

I spent the weekend in Jakarta with Shirley. Booked at a nice serviced apartment in Menteng. It was when I was browsing stuff at Grand Indonesia that I realized that I could have bought a bag for the price of that one night stay. Lol. But yeah, not really regretting it. We got to watch the midnight screening of Get Out and went back to very comfortable lodgings. The only regret that it was only one night instead of two. Lol. 

So anyway, I’m back in Semarang. I regret checking in one of my bags because it took like half an hour before I could pick it up. No fun waiting. 

Work again tomorrow, but at least for this week I’m only doing invigilations and teaching only one class. Not gonna be busy until I start checking papers, that is. Nevertheless, I’m happy with some respite. 

Put the devil way down in the hole. 

9 Mar

After four years, I’m re-watching The Wire for the first time. Dee is such a softy. And McNulty has that earnestness of Don Quixote. Knowing how it goes, I find myself being more attentive this time around. And I’m enjoying it immensely. 

Just another two weeks before the term ends. I have no fixed plans about the break, though. All I know is I don’t want to spend that week in Semarang. Lol. 

I almost lost my shit today. 

31 Jan

It’s been a long time since that last happened. Feeling a little annoyed by the noise and inattention, and all of a sudden a surge of indescribable anger. It was incredibly overwhelming and it happened so quickly that I ended up pacing the room once, with an almost irresistible urge to walk out and just burst into tears. But no. One has to reel it in.  One has to stay. One has to keep it together. 

Happy teachers’ day on Thursday. 

Vignette

11 Jan

I woke up with a start, the cold wind whipping on my dry, salty cheeks. I shuddered, my gaze falling on the fire. The last thing that I remembered before I fell into sweet slumber was how brightly and beautifully it burnt: how it had warmed me against the chill, how the flames danced before my eyes. It was foolish to have it burn so fiercely: I am now left with the weak embers, stirring with the wind, then losing its glow to the ash. I knelt before it, trying to revive it with my stale breath. A small glow, but not enough to sustain the brief kindle. Soon enough my tears were falling on it, suffocating what little remained of what was  last night a magnificent blaze. I sat back as I watched it die. The sky was slowly moving to a purple dawn. Daylight would come soon, but all I could feel was the empty chill.