Tailor-made: the chop

The last haircut in the salon I had was before the year changed to 2013. From that time until last week, I just go to the barbershop to have the sides shaved again. Of course, the top part will eventually grow out extremely long that my hair just begins to have a life of its own. I had no plans of having it cut today, but as I started feeling uncomfortable, I had to do something.

Getting this mop-of-a-hair chopped

My hair looked like a field of grass blown by the wind

I think that I’m also beginning to take a leaf from my mother’s book. When she goes out, she makes sure that she’ll do A LOT of tasks in a single day to make getting out more fruitful. That was also what I did today. After getting a haircut, I went to the Marikina City Public Market to buy some fabric. I’ve been wanting to have two more pants made from the same tailor who did the two black pants I use for work. I wanted a pair of darker khaki pants (from the one I already have) and another pair or navy blue ones. I think I can use my other pair of shoes, other than the black 8-hole Doc Martens and Red Wing boots if I have these two pair of pants with me. I have no idea of particular fabric names, so I just wore a pair of khaki shorts made from the fabric I hoped to find.

An afternoon in Marikina City Public Market

Khaki and blue cotton twill at Php 190 a yard

In the section selling dry goods, I went to the second floor and approached right away the first stall selling fabric. I asked if they have a fabric in khaki, similar to the shorts I was wearing but they told me that they did not have oxford. So it was news to me that I was looking for an oxford fabric. They only have cotton twill so I left looking for this oxford fabric in another stall. I think most stalls were having their siesta because there was a long row of stalls with no people looking after their merchandise. Then at the far end, I approached another stall and asked for oxford fabric. The old lady responded they have none, so I asked if they have a fabric similar to the one I have, holding out the hem of my shorts. To my surprise, she loudly exclaimed “Eh cotton twill naman ‘to eh!” , so I mentioned that the other stall said otherwise. She then retorted “Ang boba nila kamo!”, which left be gobsmacked. O_O Anyway, I ended up buying a yard and quarter for both khaki and navy blue fabric and immediately left for the tailor.

Where the magic happens --- my favorite tailor in Marikina

The tailor, Mang Joel, getting the measurement of my other pair of black pants

Arriving at the tailor’s shop, he immediately recognized me and asked if I have my fabric with me. I got them out of the paper bag and I told him that he can pattern it after another pair of pants he made for me a year ago, which I also brought with me. I was told that I will be getting the two pairs next Sunday. I paid half of the total price and hoping that he’d nail the pants again. I only trust Mang Joel when it comes to my tailoring needs. I seldom buy from the mall, unless the fabric is exceptional, but for everyday needs, I just have them tailor-made. My legs are quite big and I’m not exactly tall so mall-distributed pants eventually end up being altered. The best thing about this, I spend less having them made than buying them in the mall. For example, the fabric I bought earlier costs Php 190/yard and I always need a yard and quarter for a pair of pants. So for Php 237.50 (fabric) and Php 400 fee for the tailor, I just shelled out Php 637.50. I highly doubt I can find the same price on the mall, which usually needs alteration of the length and that costs me around Php 100.

On another note, I just found out that Mon’s father has permitted Lot to pursue her studies in UPLB! I’m so delighted and I can only imagine how happy Mon and Lot were upon getting this confirmation. There’s no more need to fight our way through for reconsideration! Congratulations, Lot, for being a fellow Iskolar ng Bayan! Welcome to the University of the Philippines and I hope you’ll have a great time being an Iska!

And before I forget, tomorrow will be the first day of comprehensive examinations for the second semester takers! It seems only yesterday when I was also faced with same daunting task to finish graduate school. I’m sincerely hopeful that my classmates and friends taking the first part (of three) will have a calm mind and not panic with the time and pressure of answering correctly (not to mention, ballpens breaking down or hands shaking from hours of writing). I will be going to UP tomorrow to wait for them to finish and give some moral support, and hopefully those who listened to me and actually sought my advice will help others as well in the happy event that they pass. Pay it forward, guys. =) In bocca al lupo!

Meeting with classmates

UP Ayala Technohub

Very sunny Saturday, in fact, more than the usual blaze of the sun but I had to go to UP Ayala Technohub to meet some of my classmates in graduate school. The three will be taking their comprehensive examinations this February and I volunteered to help them with their review. =D

After all these years, I haven’t set foot in the Technohub until a few hours back, to think that it was extremely accessible from school. Anyway, I was able to talk to them and share my experience in taking and preparing for the examination. They were wondering why I was taking the time to help them out, but I just said that I was just paying it forward. I also got help from other people in preparing for the exam, particularly on what to expect so I was not totally in the dark when I took them. I was quite delighted that they have already started studying for the exams this early, because it took me just about five weeks to review for them. =/

I promised myself not to be like one of those classmates of ours who were not to keen to be helpful with something grueling such as these exams. They won’t be stripped off of their degrees if they were to be more explicit and less vague with others on what to expect. The examinees will still be the one sitting for the tests. Also, I had a funny feeling that they secretly wish others to fail — typical crab-mentality. There could be other acceptable reasons but I just can’t handle people who are like that. And as they put it in vernacular, “Saksak nila ‘yan sa baga nila“. Just kidding. LOL

Feminism in International Relations

*The following was the answer I gave in one of the questions for the IR theory part of my comprehensive examinations for graduate school last August 2012. I have edited some parts because we were to encode them verbatim and it was really funny to look at some of my typographical errors. =D Good thing the general context was considered. I still have yet to see the murdered with red ink returned paper with the comments from the examiners tomorrow, though.

Rosie the Riveter by J. Howard Miller --- a feminist icon from the U.S.

(Photo from www2.warwick.ac.uk)

Feminism in International Relations can’t be grouped using a single philosophical underpinning, in the same manner that mainstream theories are. However, they share a common argument in criticizing mainstream theories for being gender-biased, and their neglect of the issue of gender. Given the seemingly loose characteristic of this theoretical approach, it is actually divided into three strands. Paul D’Anieri discussed three strands of Feminist IR theories: Feminist Empiricism, Feminist Standpoint Theory and Feminist Postmodernism. Looking at these prominent views, we can see that Feminism in International Relations can’t be boxed immediately as postmodern because of the competing approaches within the paradigm.  The following essay will first discuss Feminist Empiricism, then Feminist Standpoint Theory and lastly Feminist Postmodernism. Then the essay will evaluate whether the strands can be amenable to mainstream theories of International Relations.

First, Feminist Empiricism focuses on how issues concerning women are not taken into account in mainstream theories. Cynthia Enloe in her study of the effects of military bases in the Philippines and Kosovo argues that the presence of such bases has changed the traditional roles of women in these areas because prostitution became an indelible part of their lives. Due to the decommissioning of these bases, the women are then left without their source of income and could not sustainably find an alternative . Jill Steans, on the other hand, studied the effects of globalization on women, particularly on sweatshops were women are most likely affected by policy changes.

Next, Feminist Standpoint Theory argues that concepts of International Relations theory are defined in ‘masculine’ terms (such as war and conflict). Rebecca Grant in “The Gender Bias of International Relations Theory” argued that incorporation of “feminine” traits attributed to altruism and cooperation can give a different perspective on how we study International Relations. Christine Sylvester argued that the separation of the women “private” sphere and the men’s public sphere is the reason why statistics of war casualties do not include children and women, but just soldiers killed in warfare. J. Ann Tickner in “Hans Morgenthau’s Principles of Political Realism: A Feminist Reformulation” argued that gender bias as power defined in masculine terms depict power as amoral. On the other hand, she suggested that power has no definite definition and posits that power has moral implications.

Lastly, Feminist Postmodernism, as argued by Jean Bethke Elshtain, takes a postmodern stand in criticizing not only mainstream theories, but Feminist Empiricists and Feminist Standpoint Theory most especially. According to her, the Feminist Standpoint Theory is very much concerned with the notion of the word “feminine”. For example, their argument of oppression of women by wearing a veil is seen through the Western construction of what freedom is, without taking into consideration the cultural reasons by which the veil is worn.

In discussing these three strands, we can see the Feminist Empiricist is amenable to mainstream theories, by employing empirical and quantitative methods of analysis in proving their cases on military bases and effects of globalization. As for the Feminist Standpoint Theory, it is constructivist in nature because emphasis in idea (of differentiating masculine and feminine concepts) that certain truths are knowable, subscribes to a post-positivist way of thinking. The Feminist Postmodernism strand, as the name suggests, could be classified as postmodern because it questions the presence of a universal truth, that even the Feminist Standpoint Theory’s notion of gender, specifically what is feminine might be biased as well. As Jean Bethke Elshtain emphasized, this is dangerous because making such associations for dichotomy is a form of oppression as well.

IT’S OFFICIAL: I FINALLY HAVE MY MASTER’S DEGREE!

It was a very slow day when I suddenly received this email three hours ago:

Comprehensive Exam results!WHOA! I passed my comprehensive examinations and I am officially done with graduate school! I was shaking like crazy because I could not believe it. We were originally to personally claim the results but with several changes in the releasing date made everything so confusing. I was very eager to just know the results because I just wanted the worst part over. If I were to fail, I just wanted to mourn and get ready for the next schedule of exams. But, of course, I wanted to pass because it was really a difficult phase and I did not want to try it ever again.

I was more excited over the fact that I will finally be able to attend a graduation ceremony WITH my parents beside me. All my graduation rites (from grade school, high school and college), my parents were not able to attend any of them because they were working abroad. Honestly, part of the reason why I pursued graduate school was to finally have that chance to see them across the lawn/stage/venue, watching me turn the tassel from right to left. LOL

But it was not entirely a happy revelation. I similarly found out that my study partner did not pass the exams and I feel extremely bad about it. I know there’s nothing much we can do about the final results but we agreed to go over the topics together, in the event she starts reviewing again. =(

I'm ready to wear my Sablay again (pictured here next to a pile of school readings for compre exams last July) - UP Diliman

Anyway, I’m really thankful that I finally obtained my Master in International Studies! =D I promised to help other examiners if I were to pass on my first take, and I have already spoken to some of my classmates who are asking for help in reviewing for the next schedule of examinations. YEY!!!