Friday, June 03, 2005

Eh-hum # 63

Before anything else, I was surprised by the passing of veteran columnist Teodoro Benigno Jr. Aside from Max Soliven, I like reading Benigno's column in the Philippine Star. He was always insightful and his words always make sense. Its amazing to think that someone as truthful actually served in the government. I hope more journalists and politicians would make him their role model. Definitely one of the country's finest.


I have only one freakin' post for the month of MAY...this will not do at all. So many things to share, so little blogging time. To make it simple, what took most of my time for the past few weeks (aside from WORK, of course) was my MA term paper for summer. While I did cram it (very, very bad habit but can really shake it off), I am really thankful that I got a high for my summer class (also thankful that its only 3 units).

Yep, summer classes. Just a recap, it started late April and ended last May 26, 2005 (at least, for my class). Apart from the discussions at school, we had no exam (AMEN!!!) but we attended this 3-day seminar at Richmonde Hotel. Not complaining because I learned A LOT from the lectures on different topics. Overall, the seminar was very good: we had professors and MA students from the National University of Singapore, all the lecturers knew a great deal and shared some valuable insights, the venue was conducive because it was not too big and was well-ventilated (like sub-zero), we had participants from both the private and public sector, and more importantly, the food was GREAT. YUM! It was cool learning new things out of the classroom. Aside from the lectures, I just realized that I need to study my Nihonggo again. Though I passed yonkyu and sankyu, I was not able to further develop my conversational Japanese. Aayusin ko iyon, pramis.

Technically speaking, my summer vacation from class only lasted for two weeks because today, I registered for the first semester of SY 2005-2006. Classes, methinks, will begin on 14 June 2005 (after Philippine Independence Day). For this coming sem, I'll be taking 6 units. Here we go.


I am not a major boxing fan, but I liked watching this reality show from Mark Burnett. Generally speaking, we have here is a show where in several unknown boxers (not really amateurs, but they do not have the popularity of say Muhammad Ali, Lenox Lewis and Manny Pacquiao) battle it out in the ring for $1 million and the title of the Contender. Like Burnett's other reality shows, these boxers were divided into two teams (East and West) that are pitted against each other. Of course, the winning team calls the shots of who will fight who and this entails some strategy (you know, make sure your teammates always win to increase your chance of winning the cash). Losers are automatically eliminated from the Contender Gym and when eight boxers are left, the division becomes non-existent ("merge"). These guys will be fighting for themselves. What made the show even more interesting was its hosts: "Rocky" star Sylvester Stallone and the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard. Plus, since it was set in L.A., you would find some celebrities in the audience during fights. I remember seeing James Caan (the Godfather) a couple of times.

The final episode was last week and I am pleased with the results. Before I get to that, let me say that I liked this kid. However, he became too manipulative and somehow lost his friend's confidence. Good thing that in his final fight, he was able to redeem himself by admitting it is better to get beaten then choose the easy way out. He really showed a lot of heart and courage when faced with a more experienced fighter. I'd say this guy's quite lucky that he has a life beyond boxing (he's a lawyer) unlike the other guys. However, I knew that his chances of winning was slim because he still lacks the experience.

But this guy had it in him to be the winner. I like him for two good reasons: he bears my late grandfather's name and he is amazingly down to earth. Though he did not attend formal schooling, he has the initiative to learn more (ehem, make it three) by reading books. Furthermore, he not only boxes hard, he boxes smart too (fine, fine...four reasons). These qualities made him the champion that night. Though the comeback kid was strong, it was not enough. Plus, his stage dad/trainer was really getting on my nerves. Thank goodness the Latin Snake won or else the show will leave a bad taste in the mouth (well, at least for me; it might be another AR 6).

For me, what made this show addictive was the lives of these boxers. Most of them are family men: doting dads, loving husbands. A few of them are single, but would either be the breadwinner of his family or an admirable son.
Also, some of them came from humble beginnings; making them a little naive and all the more charming (example: Sergio shopping for a suit FOR THE FIRST TIME). Lots of emotions here people and I sometimes find myself getting teary-eyed in a couple of epidsodes (example: a surprise visit from Joey's dad, a U.S. marine detailed in Afghanistan). Its even more heartbreaking to see what seems to be a nice guy losing to a more experience fighter. Emotions and more emotions in a supposed tough sport. By the way, its also entertainment; aside from winning a coveted title or the belt, you have to give the audience a good fight, never mind the cuts, the bruising and the concussions. That's boxing for you: rewards are high but the risks are real.

Oh yeah, here's a picture of that momentous the Contender Finale:

Sergio "the Latin Snake" Mora
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