Monthly Archives: March 2011

Water Will No Longer Be Just Water

The news of what befell the people of Japan on Friday continues to shock us. It is a tragedy made worse with the threat of terrible nuclear meltdown – ah, nuclear energy, that “safest energy source” according to some.

In 1995 I wrote a poem (in both English and Filipino) about a tsunami that hit an island in my homeland. It would be nearly a decade later that the most devastating tsunami would strike many countries.

That poem was posted HERE in 2009.  The Filipino version is included in my book Baha-bahagdang Karupukan.


Quick review: Murder in Samarkand by Craig Murray

Murder in Samarkand: A British Ambassador's Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on TerrorMurder in Samarkand: A British Ambassador’s Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror by Craig Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a strange book – part political thriller, part confessional, part sexcapade. He isn’t a journalist and not really a hero, more like a normal person with faults but decides to not be part of the lies that feed the horrific work of US and British politicians and military strategists (terrorists). I was hoping it would be grittier.

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Precious, My Precious

Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud

One of two precious finds.

Yesterday I stopped by Franschhoek on my way back from Villiersdorp after dropping off the kids at their school camp. Found a small bookshop that was aptly named – Treasure House Books. It was in one of the few old buildings that have not been surrendered to the whims of so-called “developers” who relish introducing cold as aluminium structures. Stop me from ranting.

Back home – in Marikina – in October 2009, a week after the flood, I saw practically all my books had been thrown among the rotting belongings in front of my mother’s house.  I remember having a copy of Rimbaud’s Drunken Boat from New Directions. Well that boat didn’t survive the floods of Ondoy obviously. I also had a copy of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago – unread – I was still preparing to meet up with the tragic Doctor one day.

Well in Franschhoek I chanced upon a copy of Rimbaud’s Illuminations, a 1957 third printing edition, still in remarkable state. A shelf down to it was Pasternak’s novel, a hard copy of the sixth impression, 1958 edition. And since no one was around to treat me, I treated myself to an early birthday gift. I feel like Gollum. It’s our birthday my precious!


Multiple Vehicle Crash Too Close to Home

Drove past a major car crash today. A bus loaded with people, a car, and a big vehicle… SUV? is that what you call them petrol guzzlers? The bus crashed and tore through the metal railing on the side of the N1 highway but the passengers escaped unharmed. There was a smashed up windscreen lying on the side of the railing. It had come right off the car which was now facing the direction of oncoming traffic – my direction. The man in the car had one bloody arm – broken, by the looks of it, hanging limp out the window – and his face was a mess. Paramedics were talking to him to keep him awake. His car was a total wreck at the front, metal probably wrapped around his legs. The big van was lying on its side, no visible passengers. It was not even 9 in the morning.

Tomorrow I have a long drive to take my kids to their school camp.

Five hours later update… a massive crane still trying to pull the bus up from the side of the highway.

Six hours later, news from someone who saw the same accident after I drove past. He saw the man being covered up on the ground. The poor guy didn’t make it.

We are Way (Weigh?) More than Them

Michael Moore’s documentaries are always provocative.  They strip the magician’s curtains of corporate greed, militaristic mindset, and just plain idiocy of those in power.  I see him as a cousin to Bertolt Brecht, but just more jolly and populist.

Here, with jittery camera, unedited, he seems nearly void of the humour I expect from him. But just as provocative.

Sorry for the play on the title, Michael.  Hope you know you’ve got a fan here.

39 Strikes

Not as bothersome as what’s been happening in North Africa, but caught my ears as I was driving with the radio on, was a news item on the number of deaths caused by lightning in the Eastern Cape. 39 so far this year.

Quick Google search says Brazil (as of 2002) has the highest in the world at 100.  Well the Eastern Cape is doing a good job at challenging that right now.

Why the fascination?  Here goes… Alice, the amazing woman who took on the daunting task of helping new parents (me and my wife) take care of newborn twins, told me stories of mysterious deaths by people she knows.  Apparently lightning is one weapon someone with magical powers uses to inflict vengeance on an enemy – or so they believe.

Hmm. Enough blabber. Just throwing some thoughts around.

Here’s a LINK TO PHOTOS of lightning strikes in South Africa.  No, no mangled, burnt bodies.


Oh, bit of news.  My sample pages of my new books are now available for free browsing at — just type Jim Pascual Agustin — and they should come up.  🙂  enjoy.  And hopefully one day buy when they become available online at  I’ll keep you guys posted.  Thanks.