On Wars

Nonfiction by | April 20, 2008

“War is a matter of vital importance to the state, the province of life and death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied.” – Sun Tzu

The opening statement of Sun Tzu’s book, The Art of War is well known among military officers, warriors and to those who study the history and conduct of war. The teachings in this book have been used by Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh in their successful campaigns of national liberation. The sixteen character formula of the New people’s Army is derived from this book: “When the enemy attacks, we retreat; when the enemy camps, we harass; when he tires, we attack; when he retreats, we pursue.” The NPA is still around after 35 years of fighting with the AFP and the PNP besides; proof of the continuing relevance and effectiveness of Sun Tzu’s teachings.

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Observations of a Drinking Man

Nonfiction by | November 18, 2007

If I lie down Saturday afternoons in front of the TV, flipping cable channels – I’m alright. Or, if I close my eyes until the feeling goes away, and wake up at the exact moment my wife is serving dinner – I’m safe.

But the moment I venture out of the house, whether on an errand or after a phone call from a friend – I’m in trouble. The first shots offered are always refused. They are merely bait, dangled by istambays and kanto boys so that I will have the privilege of paying for whatever they’re drinking.

No, the first shot is best savored with a friend (usually the one who called.) The battleground is his sala or front porch with corned beef and lunch leftovers for pulutan, amidst loud laughter or whispering if the misis is around.

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