Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Adapted from a popular story by Dr Abe V Rotor

A teenage son bought a pair of pants too long for him by two inches, he had to have it cut and sewed. Not having the skill to do it, and even if he did, some one can always accede to his request - he is the bunso (youngest) child in the family and the center of attention and service.

But on this particular day, on this particular hour, every one he approached to shorten his pants said, “Later, after I have finished what I am doing.”

His sister was cooking, his mother ironing clothes, his grandmother feeding the chicken. And when each one had finished her work, it was siesta time.

But remembering her grandson's request, the grandmother took the scissor and cut the pants two inches off, sewed it and left for siesta.

Next, the mother remembered her son's request, took the scissor and cut two inches off, sewed it, then took a nap. The sister suddenly remembered her brother’s request, took the scissor and cut two inches off and sewed. When the teenage son woke up, he tried his new pants, now repaired to his expectation.

But alas, his pair of pants has become into a porontong (half-short half-pants)!

What is the moral of the story?

x x x

Sunday, February 22, 2009


By Abe V Rotor

A geyser, a waterfall I am,
A river flowing, hissing as I please,
I make rain, an arch of rainbow
To bridge the sky and the trees;

Again and again I touch the sky,
Or anything, far and wide and high;
To quench the thirst of a lonely cross,
Rest in a bosom or wash a sigh.

Make way, make haste for my intrusion
To make children and old believe
That I am always born - without end;
Even when I'm gone - I still live.

x x x

University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Canon EOS 350D with Sigma telezoom lens 70-200 mm.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Self Administered Test on Humanities (True or False, 50 Items)

Dr Abe V Rotor

1. The most dominant color of the earth as seen outer space is green.

2. There are six colors of the rainbow that follow a standard sequence whether the rainbow is in the tropics or in the temperate zone, in summer or in winter.

3. It is rare to see a twin rainbow, but if there is one and you are lucky to witness it, the lower rainbow is wider than the one on top of it.

4. Humanities comes from the old English word humanus which speaks of fine of human culture.

5. Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, both classic socio-political novels.

6. The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde is a example of a tragedy because the happy prince died at a very young age, and therefore missed the opportunity to serve his constituents.

7. One of the standards of a classical work of art is that it is timeliness.

8. Alexander Dumas, Miguel Cervantes, Leo Tolstoy, Victor Hugo and Jose Rizal have one thing in common: they are writers of powerful novels that move the world so to speak, and changed the course of history.

9. Robert Frost by mistake repeated the last lines of his famous poem On a Snowy Night,
“And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.”

10. A drawing exercise of fruits like apple, pear, grapes, chestnut, and orange arranged on a table is an example of "still life."

11. Don’t go gentle into the night is a poem which tells us to be vigilant, and that our work is never done; don’t settle for comfort when in trouble and even when there is apparent peace.

12. Shakespearean drama is akin to tragedy; and if it were not for the literary genius of this world’s greatest dramatist, many of his works like Romeo and Juliet won’t pass the Board of Censors today.

13. Biag ni Lam-ang is a local counterpart of Iliad.

14. Juan Luna’s work, particularly Spolarium is a typical example of Impressionism.

15. Vincent van Gogh is considered the Father of Expressionism, an art movement that preceded Impressionism.

16. Impressionism is an art movement that started in France in the later part of the 18th century, among the pioneers are Paul Cezanne, Pizarro, Monet, Degas.

17. In the poem Fisherboy, the boy being referred to has something in common with Mark Twain’s boys, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, who did not want to go to school.

18. Jose Garcia Villa is a one of the greatest Filipino poet, awarded the honor of National Artist.

19. Nicanor Abelardo is to music as Fernando Amorsolo is to painting. Their masterpieces are classics today.

20. Nature takes shape was the basis of a drawing exercise on Landscape. The three basic shapes are circle, square and triangle.

21. When blue and yellow are mixed the color produced in green; blue and red will produce violet.

22. When the primary colors – red, blue and yellow - are mixed in equal proportion the resulting color is black.

23. These are contemporary Filipino compositions: Saan ka man naroon, La Deportacion, Dahil sa isang bulaklak, Pamulinawen, Manang Biday, Matudnila

24. Maestro Mamerto Villaba, tenor; Ryan Cayabyab, composer; and Prof. Paulino Capitulo violinist, are Filipino musicians belonging to the same generation and school.

25. Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel, Noli Me Tangere, has been recently launched in NY in a new English translation published by Penguin Books.

26. Mahatma Gandhi is ranked among the world’s greatest leaders. His weapon: asceticism, love, compassion - a favorite model for biography, cinematography, and political documentary.

27. To become great you must be able to a book for the sake of posterity, like Rizal.

28. The Old man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway which won the Nobel Prize for Literature, ended with the old man, worn out from his battle to land a big fish, and the world rejoiced for his victory.

29. Florante at Laura, masterpiece of poet laureate Francisco Balagtas is an epic.

30. A good work of Art must rise with the elements of spirituality and the universal criteria of intellectual values.

31. Style is unique; it's like finding no two snowflakes exactly the same.

32. Rhythm is found in music, as well as in poetry,

33. Even a free verse has musical qualities, in spite of the fact that it does not follow a definite pattern of rhyme and rhythm and meter.

34. Joyce Kilmer who wrote the famous poem Trees, is a man.

35. In Trees the figure of speech used in personification.

36. Where have all the flowers gone is a song and a poem that condemns war.

37. The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want is the opening line of Psalm 23 by King David.

38. Melodrama is like soapbox opera, and telenovela in many respects.

39. Gettysberg Address was originally intended as an oration.

40. The editorial of a newspaper, is considered a formal essay.

41. Soliloquy and monologue are basically similar – a kind of dramatic poetry.

42. The classical model of dance is Ballet, and the greatest ballet music composer is Tchaikovsky. He composed the Dying Swan.

43. Ideally there are 100 players in a full orchestra, with string instruments comprising the biggest group of instruments.

44. Drink to me with only thine eyes and I will not look for wine is the first line of Song to Celia.

45. Our old Spanish churches are a good example of Gothic architecture.

46. The Parthenon of Greece is the greatest architectural work of the classical period.

47. Mona Lisa is considered the greatest of all paintings in the classical period.

48. Renaissance means rebirth or renewal which took place as early as the 15th h century – the model used is Greco Roman.

49. The Philippines was once a part of Renaissance Europe.

50. Calligraphy is the art of writing beautifully while graphology is hand writing analysis.

ANSWERS: 1F (blue), 2t, 3t, 4t, 5t, 6T (it has a tragic beginning and triumphal ending), 7F (timelessness), 8t, 9f (Frost did it for emphasis of theme, and to impart musical quality to the poem), 10t, 11t, 12t, 13t, 14f (romanticism), 15t, 16t, 17t, 18t (posthumous), 19t, 20t, 21t, 22t, 23f (all Filipino, combination of kundiman, native Ilocano and Visayan songs), 24t (although each one has a distinct style, Cayabyab is more recent and versatile), 25t, 26t, 27f (Christ, Buddha did not write any book - others wrote for and about them), 28t, 29f (Balagtasan in romantic and lyrical style - local Shakespearean), 30t, 31t, 32t, 33t, 34t, 35t, 36t, 37t, 37t, 38t, 39f, 40f, 41t, 42t 43t. 44t. 45f (Baroque), 46t, 47t, 48t, 49t, 50t.

46- 50 Outstanding
41-45 Very Good
36-40 Good
31-35 Fair
25–30 Passed
Below 25 – listen regularly to Paaralan ng Bayan sa Himpapawid

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Copra Maker

By Abe V Rotor

You are the Miller of River Dee
Whom a king did once envy;
Your kiln, like the old waterwheel,
Grinds silently, slowly at will.

Mark Twain I think would indeed agree
With your life under the tree,
Where the stout hearted learns your skill
Like a captain by the keel.

From a pauper the king vows reform,
Knowing you and the coming storm;
Bless you, simple man and your craft,
This land shall never want.

x x x

Research Institute

By Abe V Rotor

Search on, search on
the mysterious, the unknown;
aim at man's welfare,
far away from warfare,
and find time to contemplate
over a half full plate.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Vietnamese Young Woman

By Abe V Rotor

Do you know Yeats, Marlow, Browning,
Or Ben Johnson, of their poetry of love?
You are too pure, too romantic to be true
Under the sun, in the rice fields,
In the jungle, in the once battle fields -
Yet your love is dearer - far sweeter,
For sweeter is love after pain,
When tears are washed away by rain.
And make the sun shine again.

x x x

HoChiMingh City, 2006

Brothers: Mekong and Pasig

By Abe V Rotor

The Mekong River, oh, it’s like our Pasig,
Full of boats and ships and monsoon silt
Leading to the sea, and carrying
Black and red tints of distant past,
To tell the world a lesson of humanity.
The Mekong River, oh, it’s like our Pasig.
They run out to sea to meet the world.
x x x

Vietnamese Song

Vietnamese bamboo xylophone

By Dr Abe V Rotor

How can I compose a Vietnamese song?
I ask Beethoven for the sound of Nature,
The genius of Bach for organization,
Chopin's touch and Mozart's therapy,
And Schubert’s lament to linger on.

But I must first enter the Cuchi Tunnel,
And fly ever the delta and trace
The restless meandering Mekong River
Seeking homage to the sea and beyond;
Then visit the War Museum,
To be able to write a Vietnamese song.
x x x

War in Retrospect

Mural painting Reunification Palace, HoChiMinh City

By Dr Abe V Rotor

In Retrospect, the US apologizes,
“We were wrong, terribly wrong."

Wrong for three million Vietnamese,
Half a million Americans and allies killed;
Wrong for spending trillions of dollars,
For dropping bombs four times over
That in the last World War.

Wrong for not saving America from another Great Depression
At the expense of escalating a local war.
All in the name of democracy,
A slogan sans conscience, sans piety.

How could it be true, “To err is human, to forgive divine?”
After Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan,
And another generation to explain why.

x x x

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vietnam Through a Window

By Dr Abe V Rotor

Through the window of an airplane,
I see a shroud of smoke turn into rain;
This is Vietnam now.
Its pains may linger, its wound a scar,
Blessed are its plains, golden in the sun.
Blessed are its people, victims yet victors
Of a David and Goliath war.

Through the window of the mind,
Through the window of a Western eye;
The world was blind for long, but not now.
As the one-eyed Nelson defied order
Cupping the wrong eye.

Through Milton’s window when lost
The sight, clearer is the view, deeper,
Deeper is the sense of seeing,
And the sense of being.

Through the window of a posh hotel
Over tree tops gracing the view,
Swaying and singing in the breeze,
While the city is buried in mist.
Wait, wait for time with ease.

For time knows all, cures all, forgets all,
Yet indelible is the lesson of mankind
That lust never last, it ends in fatal fall.
And pain endured is glory’s gain.

Through the window of ones soul,
Has spirituality lost its meaning?
Ask the Vietnamese toiling the fields
With a grave by his side.
Sans cross, sans tombstone,
Only a whisper of a name.

It is an old window I am seeing through,
My own, through a politics of disorder,
Greed and indifference, its spawn.
How can I raise a chin to greet you,
After you have mended your own?
I must have slept too long in comfort
And ease in plenty and play, in freedom,
Believing in a god I call Bathala,
Existential to my needs and caprice;
While you struggled for sanity
With a god by your side fighting,
And brought Olympus down.

I see you fighting again,
Opening your doors to conquer the world
With homegrown rice, knowledge and valor,
To win another war, another honor.

x x x

NOTE: Written in HoChiMingh City (Saigon),
as a visiting professor at Ho ChiMingh University of Technology, 2006

Farm Life Memories

Mural and Poem by Abe V Rotor

Rain and river meet where my life began;
A farm life to the old and the young;
The school, the woods, the field - all one,
Shielded from the other world beyond.

Ah, childhood is when nobody misses
Endless thrills as the sun rises,
Watching the herons stake the fishes,
Slingshot for simple prizes.

Stillness reigns around a kingfisher,
Reading rain from a dragonfly;
A birdsong, a nest owned by its finder -
Sweet early lessons to live by.

Conflict is solved in kites and fishing poles,
Hide-and-seek and barefoot races;
Faith in the seasons the sky extols -
Virtues that friendship embraces.

Peals of thunder break the afternoon,
Sending the fowls to their tree;
The boys catch the raindrops, and soon,
Across the field, dash home aglee.

Summer is short,rainy days are long,
Indeed a passing imagery,
For the young can't wait and all along
The years gone but sweet memory.

When and where in crisis and retreat,
At another place and time;
One rises where rain and river meet
Where the sun shines on the clime.

Freud and Jung long foretold, we know,
The seed that was and how it grew,
Like a man the child of years ago
In some log cabin - it's true.

x x x

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Song of the Warbler*

 Dr Abe V Rotor

Tag-wa-tee-e-e-e-et, tag-wa-tee-e-e-e-et, tag-wa-tee-e-e-e-et,
Tag-wa-tee-e-e-e-et, tag-wa-tee-e-e-e-et, tag-wa-tee-e-e-e-et-

Tig-wa-too-tee-e-et, tig-wa-too-tee-e-et, tig-wa-too-tee-e-et,
Tig-wa-too-tee-e-et, tig-wa-too-tee-e-et, tig-wa-too-tee-e-et-

Ter-r-r-r-r-r-r, ter-r-r-r-r-r-r, ter-r-r-r-r-r-r, ter-r-r-r-r-r-r,
Ter-r-r-r-r-r-r, ter-r-r-r-r-r-r, ter-r-r-r-r-r-r, ter-r-r-r-r-r-r-

From a branch to another he repeats his song,
Crispy and clear as light of dawn,
And if trees are not enough and streets
Are wider than fields, on wire or antenna he perches,
And sings still the song of his ancestors.

Shouldn’t I wake up with a happy heart,
And spare a tree or two for his art?

Acknowledgement: Photo. Common Tailor Bird (Orthotomus sp) Parkes

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Smokestack by Day and Night

These shots were taken during the 24-hour operation of a sugar mill in Batangas at the peak of milling season. The smokestack emits gases, particulates and steam harmful to health and the environment. Photo by Matthew Marlo Rotor, Canon EOS 350D, Sigma lens 70-200 mm.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Painting and Verse by Abe V Rotor

Let the sailboats play in the wind
And water, let alone an old boat
At rest, sitting on rock like an old man,
Standing guard over the young, who too,
Shall someday play the same old game.

x x x

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Red Mushroom

By Abe V Rotor

You glow at the edge of decay,
To herald birth at life’s last bend;
"Death, be not proud," you seem to say,
"You're but a process, not an end."
x x x

This red mushroom growing on an old log creates
an aura of fairytale. Sacred Heart Novitiate,
Novaliches, QC
. Pentax SPII, Takumar lens 1.4, AVR