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The Monsters Within

While Young Adult (YA) film adaptations are currently the trend in the movie industry, other different literary genres have also been garnering much attention. This recently released novel-based film is not joining the YA bandwagon; instead, it captures our attention in a different way: by evoking in us a nostalgic feeling of our childhood nightmares.

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While Young Adult (YA) film adaptations are currently the trend in the movie industry, other different literary genres have also been garnering much attention. This recently released novel-based film is not joining the YA bandwagon; instead, it captures our attention in a different way: by evoking in us a nostalgic feeling of our childhood nightmares.

Children—especially millennial kids—are pretty much familiar with R.L. Stine, creator of our nightmares with his numerous short horror novels which literally gave us the goosebumps and send chills down our spines; thus, the name of his famous horror books collection, Goosebumps. This year, all of our childhood nightmares are coming to haunt us as they are brought alive to the big screen through the direction of Rob Letterman.

A warning to the readers who haven’t seen the movie yet, as the following paragraphs may contain spoilers.

The story started with the teenage boy, Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) and his widowed mother, Gale (Amy Ryan) moving from the busy New York City to the small and quiet town of Madison, Delaware, where Gale will be starting her new job as Madison High School’s vice principal. Though Zach isn’t all thrilled about his mom’s idea of moving, his mom thinks they both need to have a change in scenery to start anew after the death of her husband, Zach’s father.

Things start to get interesting when Zach and his neighbor, Hannah (Odeya Rush) meet and befriend each other. While things are going smoothly for them, Hannah’s father—known to many as “Mr. Shivers”, due to his anti-social behavior—tries to interrupt them and warns Zach not to go near his daughter and his house ever again. Zach is suspicious of “Mr. Shivers” as he finds him very mysterious, and he was able to confirm his suspicions when he saw the silhouette of Hannah and “Mr. Shivers” having a serious argument. Alarmed by his observation, Zach quickly phoned the cops and reported the incident, but failed to prove to the cops the domestic violence incident he saw.

One night, Zach invited his newfound friend and schoolmate, Champ (Ryan Lee) to investigate “Mr. Shivers” household. They found that Hannah is alright; but little by little, they begin to unravel the mystery inside the house where they discovered the collection of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books, each with locks on them. They unconsciously took things to a different level when they saw the key and accidentally unlocked and opened one of the Goosebumps books, The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena.

What nobody thought to be believable became real that night when an Abominable Snowman suddenly came out of the book they just opened, and the only way to capture it is to suck it back into the book. Luckily, “Mr. Shivers” arrived just in time to save the teenagers from being attacked. On the way home from chasing and capturing the Abominable Snowman, both Zach and Champ learned probably the biggest secret to be revealed that night: “Mr. Shivers” is actually the famous R.L. Stine (Jack Black). However, things don’t simply end there as more books were opened and monsters created by Stine—Slappy the Dummy, zombies, evil garden gnomes, giant praying mantis, aliens with freeze rays, werewolf—came out one by one, causing nonstop mayhem around town.

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Dylan Minnette successfully portrayed what it feels like to be in the shoes of someone who just lost a father during the most difficult stage of his life—teenage years. His appealing charms, wits, and guts made the usual stereotypical ‘good guy’ image of his character, Zach, stand out. Odeya Rush played the part of the mysterious yet daring neighbor of Zach, but as the story progresses, viewers will be able to see another side of her that is actually similar to any other girls her age who want to experience friendship and true love. These two actor’s love chemistry is quite surprisingly good; they both know how to touch viewers’ hearts by showing the kind of love that doesn’t easily die amidst the countless dangers they have to face. Aside from these two main characters, the story wouldn’t be as fun without the help of Zach’s geeky and easily scared friend, Champ, played by Ryan Lee. Lastly, the twist in the story comes when the identity of “Mr. Shivers” was revealed to be R.L. Stine, played by Jack Black. Black never fails to amuse us with his powerful acting that comes as both serious and comedic at the same time. And, here’s a bonus point: Jack Black also voiced the creepy evil dummy: Slappy.

Similar to the novel, the film also highlights the monsters which are the primary sources of scare to the youngsters, and even adults; but what makes the film unique is that it was able to fit in around 25 of Stine’s monsters in just one movie, instead of producing separate movies for each monster. Furthermore, another interesting part of the film is that R.L. Stine, the author of the novel, became one of the characters in the film adaptation of his novel, which is a rare sight to behold.

Goosebumps is the kind of film that is really intended for children, but still captivates adults mostly due to bringing back nostalgic monsters that they grew up reading about. It is an overall light, fun, scary yet comedic film that takes viewers on a trip down memory lane—with a little twist—making it the perfect film to watch this Halloween season.

As impossible as it may sound, but monsters really do exist; and the scariest of them all are the monsters hidden deep within us. The natural fear that accompanies the thought of an unforeseeable future usually hinders us from giving our best, thus, turning us into cowards; but this movie wants us to defeat the monster inside us to be able to take a giant leap towards our dreams and goals.

Photo grabbed from goosebumps-movie.com | Sony Pictures

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Marcos is still not a hero

After everything that has been, is Marcos still your idol?

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MARTIAL LAW ANNIVERSARY 2018. (Photo by Christine Annemarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb)

When we look a few years back, we remember that one of the biggest political controversies we have encountered is Ferdinand Marcos’ burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani. The rites were private and intimate for the family and he was also given a 21-gun salute. Is this 21-gun salute an ode to the 21 years that Marcos has ruled as a kleptocratic dictator? This event has garnered negative criticism since a number of Filipinos don’t consider Marcos as a hero. It may have given peace to Marcos’ family, but it caused the victims of the Marcos rule to remember a grim chapter in their lives.

A few days into the present year, Bongbong Marcos sent out a statement calling for the revision of history books used in the academe, which he deems are only teaching the students lies about what his father, former President Marcos, has done. He believed that those from the opposition are in control of the data in published materials, that’s why it is so against his father. He also claimed that the contents of these textbooks were just used as propaganda against their family and that the allegations that his father was a thief and murderer were never proven. The thing is, if these allegations weren’t true, then why was the Presidential Commission on Good Governance recovering money from the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth? 

During Marcos’ rule, Proclamation 1081 gave the military power to arrest, detain, and execute those who are standing up against the government or those who are pushing other people to do so. A proclamation like this is set to violate a series of human rights, and yet it went on for several dreadful years. According to Amnesty International, about 70,00 people were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured under Marcos’ term. 

In 1991, Marcos was found guilty by the US Federal Court system of ‘crimes against humanity,’ which covered torture, summary executions, and forced disappearances. The Philippine Constabulary was the law enforcing body during those times and was notorious for being liable for numerous human rights violations. Take the case of Dr. Juan Escandor, a Radiation specialist from the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital, who was involved in nationalist initiatives and even founded a leftist student organization, was killed by constabulary troopers that ended in a crossfire. Though authorities say that he died due to the gunfight, his autopsies show signs of torture, with his skull emptied and filled with trash, plastic bags, rags, and underwear, and his brain placed inside his stomach cavity. 

Bongbong Marcos has always justified his father’s ways. Although he acknowledged the numerous human rights violations that were committed during his father’s regime, he says that people should also remember the numerous projects his father launched, which includes thousands of kilometers of roads built, progressive agricultural policies, power generation, and the highest literacy rate in Asia. However, could these projects ever compensate for the pain inflicted on the victims of Martial Law? Even if the Marcoses’ contributions to the country are worthy of acknowledgment, it is not a valid argument to be used to push the people to leave their dreadful experiences in obscurity. Marcos apologists can’t tell others to just ‘move on’ because failing to acknowledge the people’s grievances during Martial Law is purely insensitive.  You can’t just tell people to forget such inhumane acts brought about by a leader they all trusted to lead them through progress. 

Recently, it was shared to the public that House Bill No. 7137 was approved to declare September 11 as ‘President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day’ in Ilocos Norte, which aims to honor the late dictator. Senate President Vicente Sotto III then said that bills with local applications like this are usually easily approved in Senate hearings. This, in turn, has sparked controversy and garnered criticism from the people.

Members of different rights groups and numerous people have expressed their disapproval of this bill. They say that this bill encourages the alteration of narratives of the dark days of Philippine history under Martial Law during the Marcos regime and that it practically promotes the invalidation of what people went through during the strongman rule.

We ought to #NeverForget the numerous accounts of torture and abuse that normal Filipinos went through. In case one forgets, the Twitter account @PangulongMarcos is devoted to tweeting daily on whether Marcos is a hero today.

The approval of this bill not only pushes to erase the kafkaesque events in our history that took place during Martial Law, but it also neglects the loss of the people who mourned for the loved ones that they lost in an all-out battle against the provisions of a power-hungry government that only sought to assert dominion over the people it ought to serve. It also makes us look at tyranny straight in the eye and just be resilient about it, without being able to #ResistTyranny. After everything that has been, is Marcos still your idol?

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Why “Pinoy Pride” exists in online Filipino culture

The toxic “peenoise” that flock and bash personalities misinterpreting the culture are the same ones that gather in posts which have the slightest hint of Filipino culture.

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Artwork by Ana Victoria Ereño/TomasinoWeb

Filipinos entering the foray of different online media allowed for Filipino culture to gain an even larger audience, but it inevitably exposes aspects that would otherwise only be seen within our borders.

Emman Nimedez and Lloyd Cadena’s passing has shown how impactful online media has become for the youth. While traditional media like TV and radio broadcasting maintains the largest audience in our country, we have slowly crept into the online world with the rising presence of Filipino personalities. Though this puts our heritage on a much larger stage, it has unfortunately exposed the pitfalls in our society. Any Filipino browsing comment sections on their favorite social media and video platforms will have inevitably seen the words “peenoise” and “Pinoy Pride” on their screen at least once, usually bearing a negative connotation. How have Filipinos managed to set themselves apart so negatively online that it yielded such labels on online platforms?

“Peenoise” was a term originally coined by online users within gaming communities to refer to Filipinos who are considered to be toxic in-game. Now, it is generally used to describe Filipinos who exhibit toxic behavior online, such as trolls or bullies. On the other hand, Pinoy Pride is another aspect of “peenoise” that is less aggravating but is much more reflective of who we are as a society. Pinoy Pride revolves around being endlessly proud of a Filipino personality for achieving something that led to global notoriety. 

How have Filipinos managed to set themselves apart so negatively online that it yielded such labels on online platforms?

These behaviors, ironically enough, could be coming from the Filipinos’ prioritization of family values. The toxic “peenoise” that flock and bash personalities misinterpreting the culture are the same ones that gather in posts which have the slightest hint of Filipino culture. Our innateness to find “kababayans” and treat them like family could both be a blessing and a curse in situations where we band together to defend our identity. This is even exploited in media channels that release “Filipino-themed” videos where personalities would experience Philippine culture or would have a part-Filipino cast member be the center of the content.

Another aspect that could be contributing to these online behaviors is the lingering effects of crab mentality in our society. As this blog puts it, we are quick to throw praise and be proud of our own people once they achieve success, but are also quick to call something “cheap” if it has not achieved prominence. But this even goes beyond Filipino artists as any individual who has the slightest hints of being Filipino is quickly embraced and celebrated as if they were our own. We like living through other people’s success as if they were one of our own, yet we pay no heed to those still climbing the ladder and even go as far as ridiculing them for their efforts. 

The toxic “peenoise” that flock and bash personalities misinterpreting the culture are the same ones that gather in posts which have the slightest hint of Filipino culture.

Finally, these attitudes don’t really hinge on being Filipino, but rather being Filipino outside of the Philippines. Pinoy Pride only begins to matter once something done by a Filipino gets recognized outside of the Philippines. This can be attributed to the Filipino’s “American dream” or the notion that the ultimate goal as a Filipino is to make it outside of the Philippines. 

If we ask most college students what their goals are after graduation, it will probably be about building their careers until they can go abroad. Whether it’s nurses, teachers, or artists, they’re usually aiming for a career outside the country and for good reason. The same professions would normally be paid less here, not to mention having to work harder just to get paid half of what they would’ve made had they gone off to work abroad. 

A few weeks ago, a wave of posts took Facebook by storm as Filipinos started sharing images from Harvard and placing either themselves in the context of being Harvard students or Harvard being a university in the Philippines. While this short-lived trend was merely humorous for most, it shows how we ultimately aspire to live a life outside the country rather than to flourish within it. It shows the condition which we live in and how we’ve had to make do with subpar standards in our country.

In summary, the “peenoise” and “Pinoy Pride” attitudes that Filipinos are showing online is not about patriotism, but rather defensiveness and the desire to live better. They hinge on the strong family ties Filipinos are known to have which, while bringing a strong sense of unity, also brings to light the aforementioned “crab mentality” that some tend to have. Ultimately, it comes down to the desire to live a better life than what our current social and political situation allows. 

In summary, the “peenoise” and “Pinoy Pride” attitudes that Filipinos are showing online is not about patriotism, but rather defensiveness and the desire to live better.

Much like how we’ve stood out in beauty pageants and boxing, we also stand out as audiences but in an unflattering light. While such behaviors do not necessarily include all Filipinos, these do exist in our online space. We have the ability to change this and, while we cannot enforce it onto others, starting with ourselves can be a huge step in the right direction. Rather than embodying the bad sides of our culture, we can showcase our most prominent characteristic: bayanihan.

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Cramming Playlist: Buzzer Beats

Yeah, it’s big brain time.

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Artwork by Ayeesha Panotolan

The most dreadful time of the semester is here and with it comes every student’s best friend: cramming. We all know that it’s an ineffective and unhealthy way to retain information. Yet, we still choose to condense weeks worth of lectures into hours of late night study sessions because it somehow still gets the job done. 

Studying in the wee hours of the morning means you need something to keep you and your brain awake and functioning. Below, we’ve compiled a playlist that will surely get those neurons firing as you burn the midnight oil.

 

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