‘Train to Busan’ and Real Life

Just when you thought we’ve ran out of good movies, good zombie movies at that, along came “Train to Busan.” Hurray for quality-made Korean movies! Yeah, it’s the same zombie apocalypse plot already seen in World War Z and The Walking Dead with cliché characters trying to survive the outbreak. There’s the heroic, selfless ones, the weaklings always needing saving and protection, and the selfish prick who doesn’t care about anyone else but himself. This Korean flick, however, gave a fresh take on zombie invasion. For one, the setting took place in a train. There’s a balance of horror, action, comedy, and drama. So it’s like four movies in one. Also, it managed to be a social commentary on work life balance, kindness, and social class.

As much as movies are works of fiction, these also reflect the state of the society we live in today. Wild, rabid zombies are scary but I think the way we are transforming and becoming the undead is equally alarming. We are a slave to technology. Like hungry monsters, we can’t stop consuming and trashing the earth. We embrace this rat race lifestyle. Steve Cutts in his illustrations clearly demonstrate these. We are essentially zombies!


The antagonist in the movie reminded me of all the evil in the world. His drive to survive is admirable but does it have to be at the expense of other people? It’s that one character that you would want to turn into your personal punching bag. But we are all guilty of being selfish. After all, self-preservation apparently is a basic human instinct.

But in the midst of chaos, whether that may be war, political discord, or zombie apocalypse, there would be individuals who would look out for other people. Those who would stand for what is right. Those who choose to be kind. And those who wouldn’t let themselves be consumed by the zombie virus. It is them who would reach the destination still human.


Nakabibinging katahimikan
Mula sa walang pakialam
Walang humpay na talak
Ng nagmamagaling
Diskusyon ng intelektuwal
Pagpipintas at pangungutya
Ng walang magawa
Kanya-kanyang pananaw
Kanya-kanyang paliwanag
Batuhan ng kuru-kuro
Ng sentimiyento
Ng mga baho
Sino ang mas magaling?
Sino ang tama?
Sino ang santo?
Sino ang panalo?
Tanda ng kamulatan?
O pawang katangahan?
Kanino maniniwala?
Sino ang nagsasabi ng totoo?
Alamin, makialam, magtanong
O mas mainam ba
Na manahimik na lamang
At wag ng dumagdag
Sa kalansing ng latang walang laman?

Overrated Love

I don’t understand the appeal of romantic love. You always see movies about two people, finding each other, falling in love, and living happily ever after. You hear songs whining about unrequited love, unfaithfulness, and heartbreak. This so called love has such an impact on people that some are driven to insanity with others resorting to suicide.

It can be difficult to explain. It’s a spark. A funny feeling inside. Maybe like a drug that makes you high. Or destiny working its magic. But it’s all fantasy. A fairy tale far from reality. And it’s milked by the movie and music industries producing films and songs about, well, love. As if that’s the only emotion there is. Money-driven corporations take advantage of this and entice couples to buy chocolates, stuffed toys, and presents during Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. These continually fuel our desire for a happy ending. Feed us the idea that there’s a person meant only for you.

It is human nature to seek that connection. Props to those who find it realizing that it’s not about the perfect match but acceptance of the other person, flaws and all. I wouldn’t want to disregard successful, happy relationships. They, of course, exist. Almost rare, though. Those who weather through the ups and downs. And end up growing old together. Not resorting to irreconcilable differences as an excuse for escape.

I think we should focus more on the practical side of romantic love and not dwell too much on the kilig factor, the romantic excitement. “When we’re hungry, love will keep us alive” IS rubbish! It is a commitment which could eventually lead to babies being born, mouths to be fed, and bills that have to be paid. Add to that the reality that people change, feelings change, and the love of your life can transform into a living nightmare.

But who am I to talk? I haven’t been in a relationship. Friends tease that I might as well get married to a tree. Or they tell me I’m scared of commitments. I thought it’s fear of intimacy. But I realized I have so much love to give that I wouldn’t want to focus that to just a single person.

So while I still don’t get why people flock to the cinemas to watch another awkward meeting-drama in between-happy ending movie; or listen to another singer complaining of a bleeding heart; or post another hugot line (a statement drawn from a deep place); I have to admit that love is a powerful force. It does make the world go round, I just wish people don’t fuss over it too much.

A better world

Is the world actually getting better?

A colleague and I were having breakfast the other day when our conversation went from the weather to climate change, migrant crisis, and world progress. Really heavy stuff so early in the morning but it was a good talk.

He said that what we perceive as abnormal change in climate is actually normal. This of course, has been a big debate among scientists. Personally though, instead of these intellectuals arguing over who is smarter, attention should be on prevention and mitigation of the effects of extreme weather conditions.

I just saw on TV a news segment about the migrant crisis in Europe. The world’s attention has been caught by what these asylum seekers go through just to escape danger from their motherland. Countries are being criticized on how welcoming they are towards these migrants. But this is a tricky issue because as much as it is a matter of life and death, practically speaking, it’s just not possible to let everyone into your home.

With all these issues, you can’t help but conclude that we’re nearing doomsday but a quick Google search could lead you to statistics proving that things are indeed improving.


The world is actually getting better. Decline in infant mortality and poverty. The most peaceful time in history. Increasing access to education. Improved conditions enabling a historic rise in global population.

But we feel the opposite because bad news sell. Our survival nature makes us focus on the negative. And we fail to factor in other considerations when we try to analyze these worries.


It’s also getting better in the Philippines. A friend commented how people used to eat at McDonalds only on special occasions. Now, people eat there all the time.

Traffic congestion is getting worse, especially in the capital, Manila. But this is because of all the cars being bought.

There’s never ending construction of buildings and other structures. A sign of economic boom.

Traveling used to be just for the elite but these days, Pinoys travel everywhere and more often than before.


So the world IS getting better. But… despite all the progress, we take the environment for granted. We prioritize economic development without regard to how our actions impact the planet.

Life expectancy has increased but this era is also the rise of deadly diseases never heard before.

We have addressed problems. Came up with technological innovations. But this in turn is giving birth to new problems such as cyber hacking, privacy issues, and the like.


Is the world actually getting better or worse?

Cole Nesmith in his article gave a perfect answer. “There is potentially no greater self-fulfilling prophecy than the belief that the world is falling apart. When we believe something, we look for things that confirm our belief.” We see what we wish to see.

I mentioned earlier that it’s getting better in the Philippines. But I’ve been pessimistic about that. And so, all I see are the bad things and can’t seem to appreciate the positive things therefore generalizing that it’s hopeless in the Philippines.

You choose to be a cynic or a prophet. Nesmith said that they both have the same ability to see. “A cynic sees what’s broken about today while a prophet sees what’s beautiful about tomorrow.”