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June 11, 2011

A View From The Enemy

By: Jeferson L. Beluso

Gregory Maguire

There are two sides in every story; let us hope it is so for most of the stories I happened to pick up was told in one perspective; mostly by the protagonist’s perspective. It was so convenient to know their fears, to sympathized with their struggles, to be with them in their every quest; we follow their dreams and aspirations. We pursue their task as if it is our own happiness to overcome them. We know them very much that we fell in love with them. We hate their enemies that  we wanted to take part in their battle and we wanted to kill their enemies ourselves and we soak in their glories as if it is our own.

But would you feel the same if you’ve heard or knew their enemies’s side of the story? It was painful not to be heard or hadn’t given the chance to explain. Too much had written about them but it told only of their evil. Their grim doings had gone down to generations and that their name is synonymous to evil. But there’s one author who had given us glimpse on the life of villains; Gregory Maguire gave voice to the untold stories of Elphaba Thropp- the Wicked Witch of the West. Yes, you’ve heard of her but her heartaches were unheard of. The more you know about her the more compelling she become. The one part that I really felt sorry for her was when her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East flattened by the house which brought Dorothy fron Kansas to the Land of Oz.No one ever sympathized with her or even gave a cup of coffee and comforted her in her bereavement. Well, she’s a witch after all. Who cares? No one.

How she came to be a witch? And wicked at that. Well, Maguire told us of where she came from. She was born from an immoral mother and a religious father – a preacher. She was born green as sin. Many believed it was a cursed from heaven. Now, you got a picture of how she grew up- alone, an outcast. But she got a nanny to take care of her in the absence of her father who was always out looking for a prospect convert; and her mother who got to make a living. Eventually, she got a stepsister fathered by the glassblower whom her mother got an illicit affair. Well, less is really wrong with an immoral.

Then she went to school with her stepsister- the Wicked Witch of the East. Together, they learned great deal about the world and the people and its wickedness.

Elphaba Thropp- Wicked Witch of the West fell in love with Fiyero- another weirdo fellow with blue markings on his back reserved for the royals. They had an affair despite Fiyero being a family man and not long he was taken from her. Fiyero was shot dead for a reason she knew something that had to do with a treason against the Emperor- the Wizard of Oz. And everyone knew she was the one who is ever against the Wizard of Oz. She ran away neither to the forest where she stayed for most of her school years nor to their house but to the House of nuns. In there, she gave birth to Liir whom she never claim to be hers.

What I admire in her the most is her being resolute despite all the misfortunes.She heard her father and mother fell ill and her sister flattened by the house which brought Dorothy to the Land of Oz.

She knew all these has something to do with her being against the Emperor and that she was under attack. So she seek refuge and headed to the palace of his dead lover Fiyero and there she lived with Fiyero’s wife and children. She took the liberty of staying in one room alone and there she master the Grimoire- the magic book and attempted to make the monkey fly and talk. The Wizard of Oz knew she was exceptional. Her appetite for justice, her campaigns for the good of Animals, her talent for magic and her display of cunning wit will someday dethrone him and he know by now that she is brewing something in her cauldron. So the Wizard sent armies to curb the planned coup on his Empire. The whole family was abducted and that leave Elphaba gone abscond flying away with her broomstick. She knew too much about politics and that made her a target. She then headed to the Emerald City to face the Wizard. She travelled the Thousand Year Grassland and the Kumbricia Pass where she met the cursed Elephant Queen who told her mishaps that has something to do with the Wizard. And Elphaba was the only hope  for Fiyero’s family and Liir. Then she passed the Yellow Brick Road where she grudgingly saw Dorothy with the red glass slippers owned by her stepsister which her glassblower father made for her. It was like you flattened my sister to death and you’re wearing her precious shoes as a prize.

Then she came to the Emerald City and face the Wizard. She confronted him raging but the Wizard was of silhouette of a whirling fire. You know this part as it was told many times over of how the Witch was defeated. Well, there came Dorothy and she happened to splashed water on Elphaba and she shrieked to death. A simple fact that a witch never take a bath and it only take a little Dorothy to know that.

I felt pity for Elphaba after knowing her side of the story. She was after all a good human being, only she was pushed to the edge that left her no choice but to reach for the hand that pushed her and fight back. Indeed, desperate time calls for desperate measures and thus she became wicked for a reason.

There are other Maguire novels with the same genre that you can look for like the Confessions of the Ugly Stepsisters- you know the Cinderella story very well but try it from the perspective of the Stepsisters. Then there’s the Son of a Witch- from Liir’s perspective as he venture into the world of Oz in the Wicked Years. A Lion Among Men is the third of Wicked series recounting the life of a Cowardly Lion.

It is a breeze knowing that there are books which gives fresh life to the classics which often left us hanging with unanswered questions. These books breathe anew and justified villain’s side of the story. That’s why it’s a delight for me to read books which give equal space to explore  each character like that of John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost which has Satan’s, God’s, Men’s, Angels’s and Demon’s perspective. Jack of the Halloween Land in Timburton’s  Nightmare Before Christmas is another good example of equal characterization as it recounted how he sees Christmas Land. Perhaps a stranger has the clearest eyes to see a place familiar to you.

Sincerely,

Jeferson Legaspi Beluso

Riyadh KSA

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Wars of gods and men

May 28, 2011

Wars of gods and men

Ancient Greek endured series of wars, specifically the Trojan war that was scribbled on thousands of papyri scrolls rhapsodizing the romance of Helen of Troy and Paris of Sparta.Helen of Troy whom Historian dubbed as “the face that launched a thousand ships”. Nonetheless, there were wars before that had long captured the imagination of scribblers, historians, film makers and conspirators among others; wars of gods wherein they fought alongside men.

For most, they dismissed this as myth but for Zechariah Sitchin, an archaeologist by profession has unearthed evidence which led him to believed those wars were real. He cited his found of archaeological artifacts which included numerous Sumerian tablets which has an astonishing references to Biblical passages. He is one of few scholars who can translate an ancient Sumerian language and his astounding 30 years of research yield an incredible results.

The war in question can be read in the Bible’s revelation wherein Annunaki gods Enki and Enlil fought for domination on Earth. By the way, Sumerian civilization is the oldest in the world; older than the Greek, Egyptian and Mayan and that Sitchin found great similarity as wars took place in each civilization. Wars kept on happening for the same reason that is finding gold for the waning planet Nibiru and carried out by same gods only of different name.

 

Sincerely,

Jeferson Legaspi Beluso

Riyadh KSA

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Delicious Day in the life of metrosexual Knights of the Lost Arabian Oud

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Conforme

May 23, 2011

Conforme

by: Jeferson Legaspi Beluso

As a kid, I always do things as I was told. Yes, I was the one whom the teacher left the classroom and told not to touch the food and I wouldn’t touch despite most of the class having their fingers splayed the coveted foodies. Teenage years went on with the mantra- obey your mother, do your homework, do your chores and the poor boy had to take responsibility eyeing for the promised reward. So there goes the rules that one day you’ll be doing it with eyes closed. You master the rules simply by following and doing it religiously.

Then came High School- rules still applies but High School is another world set up by Legion of Saints and Devil’s advocates. There would be Rockstars, Beauty Queens, Schadenfreud brain scattered. There are new set of rules, neew challenges set up by some unforeseeable forces and that I the meek one who got stuck up couldn’t follow the new rules. But wait a minute, are they same people in my primary years class? Those who can’t resist touching the food? What happened to the rules? Am I left alone following the rules? No, there are still who do their homework, pass the exams, doing house chores and they happened to be my friends.

Then came College- a universe full of choices of what you wanted to be. Choices that need more schooling that somehow become a privilege and not a right. So there goes my beloved friends taking pre-requisites of their envisioned self. Where am i? Again I was caught up in the frenzy of life.  I got to take responsibility. This is the real world I was prepared for. So I decided taking various jobs. They’re routine, monotonous as you’d expect from a day job. But I as the conformist from day one is proud to say that I did it best. I’d learned the rules and therefore can break it properly.

Is it possible that a conformist can become a non-conformist? When is the time you’ll say I am conformist or non-conformist? How can you spot a non-conformist in action? Well, first, if you are an avid Chuck Palahniuk reader. His novel Fight Club in particularis a non-conformist in its every fiber. Well, the main character played by Edward Norton in the movie version was at first a conformist. Before he blew up his condo he was under the system but he managed to master all the rules the system has and one day he created another version of himself in Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). He break free and that marks the day he became a non-conformist but still under the system because you cannot function well as a non-conformist without keeping in touch with your conformist self. Learn the rules so you can break it properly. There’s a bit of eccentricity to their ideologies but there’s logic in it. They always have the tendency to digress from all the things typical but all in the name of change- revolution for good. Extremism is another thing I absolutely denounced. That’s the one part I hated in the movie. They always have the need to blow buildings up. Couldn’t we bring change without being ballistic? Holloywood always feel the need to use their Lucas’s THX system. David Fincher directed the movie Fight Club and again directed the Social Network. A true Children of Revolution knows where to put their hands as it is about another revolution. A Web 2.0 revolution wherein Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is in the forefront. Do I have to tell you it revolutionizes the way we communicate on the web? Another one is whistleblower Julia Assange with his Wikileaks which discloses hundreds of thousands government’s cable which somehow caused the Arab uprising. Citizens asked for reform, freedom and their rights. Therefore we can say that revolution either bring good or bad. So, being a non-conformist is not always a bad thing.

Another characteristic of a non-conformist is that they are always ready to jump-to unplug from the system-let go- free your mind-as what Morpheus say in the Matrix by Wachowski Bros.- another team of revolutionary, not just on the way they made film but revolutionizes the way we think about virtual life.Again, Mr. Anderson was at first a conformist then has to create an alter ego in the cyberworland was called Neo. It was a Gnostic movie which questions your faith,your belief in the system and your view of thereal world. Neo, a true Children of the Revolution is a doubting Thomas and always asks. He doesn’t like the idea that someone is controlling him. He felt like a slave of our mind and he has to break free. He has to prove his omnipotent existence and Revolution happened and you know what’s next. We have to skip the part which shows their ballistic tendency and let’s move to the next movie the Wachowski Bros. made. Of course you’re righty, it’s about revolution. The adaptation from a Vertigo graphic novel V for Vendetta. The main character played by Hugo Weaving ( Agent Smith in the Matrix ) has an alter ego wearing a mask to stage his plan- a caused to bring the system down on their knees. His face was never revealed in the movie for his mask represented everyone, his accomplices who shared a common belief. He is you- the non-conformist who chose to live not by the book, not systematic, not in random because it would be monotonous and tiring. Being a conformist is always a safe way to live but you’ll remain unchallenge, there would be lots of untap potential in you for you are living in control, with too much restraint but one day you’ll feel the oppression and sought for freedom. We are human and supposed to be free. There’s a blur line really but we have to be of great caution. To be conformist or non- conformist we have to practice moderation.

Sincerely,

Jeferson Legaspi Beluso

Riyadh KSA

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Neverwhere

May 17, 2011

Neverwhere

Upon hearing of underground ghetto, what comes to my mind is a world of gangsters where they do their business which they can’t openly do above; to some who reads too much fantasy, it is where the children of darkness lurks. The haven for vampires, werewolves and witches.

In Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, we will have a glimpse of London’s sewerage system, the subways, network of tunnels, abandoned and fully functioned. Richard Mayhew, the protagonist will lead us into the murky world below London. He was like Alice in the Wonderland who stumbled into the rabbit hole.In his case, he crossed path with the Lady called Door. The rabbit hole was the Lady Door and the similarity ends there as Richard Mayhew was dragged into a dark tale as in dark in real sense of the word and all the things that goes with it- gruesome; in great contrast to Alice’s grandiose world of palaces and turrets.

Following the lead of Richard Mayhew as he went deep the sewerage, he met interesting cahracters like the Black Velvet who swore to protect the Lady Door from her pursuers Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. Then there’s the Marquis who saved them many times from other pursuers.They were pursuing the Lady Door for she was the way in and out of their world. She holds the key. And the pursuers wanted to keep her on the order of the Angel Islington. To me, he was no Angel; all those oppression he was the Lucifer below.

Well, you’ll meet all sorts of characters as you would normally meet different characters in the real sewerage, that is if you’ve been there. I’ve been on one as they’re abundant in Manila. I believed the rat speaker represents the mad menas they claimed to have talked to the rats. Mr. Croup and Vandemar- the Hoodlums. Then, there’s one who’ve known the London Belowbut refused to come back and remained homeless and rather stayed on rooftops because he has no way out and I likened them to those hundreds who lived under bridges and abandoned basements, warehouses and tunnels all over Manila.

Rescue came to Richard Mayhew as they found the key to the door out of the murky as he had his sanity back. It was madness that dragged him to the underworld and sanity got him out of it. Well, it was of the English perspective and on the London context. Manila is another thing as it was poverty that dragged people to the underworld. The sight of Realtors scare the hell out of them and better be homeless and never ending inflation blew their wits and madness came later due to the absence of food.

Read “ Notes from the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevsky for another perspective on the world below.

Sincerely,

Jeferson Legaspi Beluso

Riyadh KSA

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Great Expectations

March 1, 2009

Great Expectations- Self Discovery

 

The last chapters of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations were full of surprises and discoveries. Well, it was because Pip’s life from the beginning was full of secrets. From the moment he stepped upon the Satis House of Miss Havisham; he eventually uncover secrets lurking on its walls and its rooms. The secrets of the marshes and the churchyard, the secrets on the forge, the secrets on their kitchen, the lakes and the Mill Pond Bank; secrets were everywhere. But they’re not forever kept as eventually Pip had uncovered it by making assumptions.

Pip’s life was like an experiment going on in a laboratory. Yes, indeed scientists post problems and then make hypothesis and do experiments and eventually solved the mysteries.

Some of Pip’s assumptions were proved wrong and some of his expectations were not met and actually gone worse like some mishandled procedures on lab or an experiment gone haywire.

Though it was difficult because the tasks were laid for him and got nothing to do but take and hope like an experiment which follows methods and observe every occurrence until the point of discovery.

In short, Great Expectations was a story of a man coming to maturity. From a mere boy’s life of accepting responsibilities, fell in love, making decisions that would determine the future or not and sometimes just going along the flow and let come what might. Be ready for pains and sufferings, for the unexpected worst, for discoveries and surprises. After all your Great Expectations might not come.

Sincerely,

Jeferson Legaspi Beluso

Riyadh KSA

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Hollywood Movie Chain

January 16, 2009

          This is a continuation from the blogs i made somewhere on the net. This is a game which i call Hollywood Movie Chain. It’s like connect the dots of movies; this way you can see how movie stars are connected by way of working together in a movie and you’ll know where my dollars went for the last decade. 

          We stopped with Kirsten Dunst; she has a movie Spiderman and she is a good screamer in that. She stars with Alfred Molina as Dr. Octopus. Molina stars in Da Vinci Code with Ian McKellen. I like this Holy Grail Quest that i patterned my debut novel Knights of the Lost Arabian Oud to it. There’s a lot of Grail Quest book like Harry Potter, The Alchemist, The Da Vinci Code, but Knights of the Lost Arabian Oud sets apart as it was set in the world of avant garde Queen Cleopatra in the modern times. Click the title to start your quest. McKellen stars as Magneto in X-Men. “You never learn do you?” he said to Wolverine played by Hugh Jackman who has a movie Van Helsing with Kate Beckinsale as Elena. Beckinsale has a movie Click  with Adam Sandler. I wish there is such gadget and i could never miss out on things that matter. Sandler was in 50 first date with Drew Barrymore. Love really is supreme than memory. isn’t it? Barrymore is an angel in Charlie’s Angel with Cameron Diaz but Demi stands out as god. “why be an angel if you can be a god?” “who you work for?” “i work for myself” “Then your boss sucks.” said Cameron Diaz who was bestfriend with Julia Roberts in My Bestfriends Wedding. “Then I’m a fungus.” said Roberts who was in Notting Hill as Ana Scott. She may be the beauty or the beast, a famine or a feast. But to Hugh Grant she’s just a girl in front of a boy asking him to love her.  Grant was in Bridget Jones Diary with fat Renee Zellweger who was in Cold Mountain with Nicole Kidman. Kidman sings her heart out as a courtesan in the musical Moulin Rouge with a penny less writer Christian played by Ewan McGregor. “i hope you don’t mind that i put down in words. How wonderful life is when you’re in the world.” McGregor was Obewan Kenobi in The Star Wars with Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala. Portman was in V for Vendetta with Harold Perrineau who was an agent in The Matrix. “Mr. Anderson” he said to Neo played well by Keannu Reeves. Reeves was in Devil’s Advocate with Charlize Theron. Theron was in The Italian Job. “it is never about the gold.” “why i can’t have the punch?” said Theron to Edward Norton who was in The Illusionist with Jessica Biel who was in Blade Trinity with Wesley Snipes who got real stunts in The US  Marshall with Tomy Lee Jones who was MIB with Rosario Dawson who was Alexander’s wife in Alexander with Colin Farrel who was a detective in The Minority Report. I guess i should stop here and you guys can supply the chain if you like just for fun and we can test your movie IQ. I’ll continue this somewhere on the net. See you.

Sincerely,

Jeferson Legaspi Beluso

Riyadh KSA

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Hello world!

January 12, 2009

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!