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 26.01.09, Thinking Tuesday, 18:41

Current employment status: Online writing stint plus teeming with business ideas. Laban ka? Current full-time work: Mother to my brothers, cousin and canine friends. So help me God. Business ideas: I’d have to kill you first!Dear Niwee,

It was divine intervention. Why else would a loyal Kapamilya like my mum tune in to Discovery Channel and this Internet junkie manage to squeeze in an hour of boob tube? Thank you, Universe, for letting us discover the Tattoo Hunter.

Last week’s episode is about the vanishing practice of the Kalinga tattoo. The mention of our country probably made my mum decide this show is worthwhile and that I have to see it, too. I was glad I reacted promptly that instant. So Lars Krutak, the host/tattoo anthropologist, scours the earth to document indigenous tattoos and other forms of body art. Of course, he aims to get inked, too.

My mum was like, “Sinasayang mo ang kagwapuhan mo para magpalagay ka ng tattoo sa buong katawan mo!” Yeah, she didn’t speak to my father in days after having his arm tattooed in Stockholm. 

It is no secret I want my own traditional tattoo on the base of my spine. That and my inclination to anthropology made me outlast my squeamish mum in the living room. Lars Krutak’s adventure to convince Whang Od that he’s worthy of the Kalinga tattoo was beyond riveting and, most importantly, eye-opening. What are we, Filipinos, doing to preserve this?

Needless to say, I deemed this discovery worthy of mentioning as a Facebook status. I breathlessly waited for the next episode. I even daydreamed of my own documentary which I’d call Weed Hunter. Let’s not go there for now, shall we?

Last night’s episode is about the magical tattoos in Thailand. Buddhist monks are the tattooist; they pour their spiritual energy in their artwork which the Thais believe as protection from any sort of harm. Just like the previous episode, the tattoo artist declined Krutak’s request as he has limited understanding of the magical tattoo. So he lived with the Mahouts, the elephant trainers, and did menial tasks in the monastery to comprehend the principles of Buddhism.

Then, I felt as if the monks were speaking to me. The monk said the first step is to clean and calm the mind by doing monastery clean-ups. For someone who’s gone domesticated for the past months, I must admit I had experienced calmness and slowly exhibited patience in my daily household chores (mopping floors, dishwashing, taking care of the dogs, etc). I felt as if these tasks are of big significance, as if I’m contributing to the whole world.

I felt my heart skip a beat when I saw monks beg for food. Second lesson? Humility. 

If you haven’t notice it yet, I am back in my most depressive self. I wake up to thoughts of self-doubt, I eat reminders of bankruptcy for breakfast, I drown myself with panic during showers and I relive moments of rejection before retiring to bed. The remaining self-love prevents me to go self-destructive.

Are the monks trying to tell me to let go of my pride and ask people to help me? It is so difficult! I can’t even begin to enumerate my worries, I can’t even to make myself pay attention. 

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