Tagged: fiction

No. 2 – 30 Mar 2015

Entry number two.

One. Last Thursday, 26 March 2015, the Bar results came in at around noontime. I was on my way out of class when I got word that BarOps Commission had a room where the we could hear the results as they came out. There I waited. When the Top 10 came out, UP came in third and had 4 in the list with San Beda beating Ateneo Law by 0.05%.  Five hundredths of a percent and that, for the examiners, somehow could make a difference. There were four weeks with eight subjects during that month of the bar exams and before that there were four to five years. At the end of it all was a four digit number, counting the decimal points. It bothers me how the media or people in general bring up those numbers in the Top 10 list without even telling us what they mean. What do those numbers mean? It begs the question to say that it means that the person got the highest score in the test. So what? Does it mean that the 0.05% makes someone 0.05% smarter than the other person? Laziness might tilt one’s judgment to the affirmative. After all, the media is all for easy answers to hard questions. If only it were the other way around.

P.S. – The wikipedia article is even more enlightening on the spectacle of the bar as a gauge for (?).

One point five. I managed to catch Rhey Daway, one of the top 10 in the Bar results, on CNN Philippines that Thursday. For a while I could say I was definitely proud to study in UP. To be honest, I was caught off guard when he remarked how he would do things for the glory of God. I have always thought of UP Law as a godless place. Back when I was comparing which law school to go to, the chapel at ALS was almost a decisive factor. As fate (or irony) would have it, the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice is just a block away from the UP Law Center.

Two. Labor and Agency midterm check. Difficult but they’re out of my hands now.

Third. For someone who studied processes and flowcharts as his job in a previous life, studying Civil Procedure is quite addicting. There’s always a timeline. There’s always a remedy; some lego block that fits for one particular occasion. While it fascinates me, it also bothers me how procedure is taught without any visual aids. If I was not a law student, I would have expected that it be taught through a barrage of flowcharts and graphs. Criminal Procedure last semester under Ma’am Chrissy was great since there was always a flowchart so we could see the big picture. More and more, studying civil procedure feels like going through a map with an incessant fog of war creeping into areas you have already ventured into.

I am also very pleased with a recent purchase – Civil Procedure Annotated Vol. 1 and 2, 2013 ed. by Feria and Noche. I picked it up at Central Bookstore for P 1,150 each. That made it P 2,300 for the whole set which was a very reasonable price considering Herrera’s Remedial Law from Rex Bookstore would be nearing the P 3,ooo mark and Volume 1 and 2 were 2010 and 2007 editions! I had already gone thru the first volume and I appreciate very much Feria and Noche’s appendices which included a flowchart, a summary of jurisdiction (!), and the A.M. concerning pre-trial and uses of court annexed mediation and judicial dispute resolution. I found it also spartan when it comes to commentary, carefully choosing instead to let the provision speak for itself and leave room for the reader to extract some insight. It’s a risky move but I have that bad habit of skipping provisions for the annotation and, consequently, knowing more from secondary sources of law than from the original source. This book keeps me focused on the provision, which is great.

On a side note, I am bothered sometimes at how Rex prices its books. Sure, they always have a market of law students considering the sheer number of law schools in the country. Considering, however, the recent statistics of Bar passers: 18% this year, 22% last year, and 17% the other year. There is roughly a 20% chance that those books will even be used as reference after the bar if purchased. Yes, my probabilities are shaky and fail to consider a myriad of factors, but hey the bar did it first!

Four. I took time to watch The Zero Theorem last night. Still cannot quite figure out what to think of it. Maybe for another blog.

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Back to Tolkien

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[SPOILER ALERT]

Right after school ended I thought about reading some fantasy material in the hope it might take me far away from Malcolm Hall. As things panned out, I left my LotR trilogy in Cebu but luckily I happened to have two copies of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion at home. They were from different publishers but the Del Rey copy included a long letter from Tolkien to a Mr. Waldman in 1951 where the Tolkien basically makes a sketch of the first two ages of Middle-Earth. Written in the author’s words, I couldn’t help but admire how the entire story fits in this big picture: good vs evil. It was not any kind of allegory though (he wrote in the letter that he did not like allegories!). In the same letter Tolkien also mentions one of my favorite themes: art vs technology. On Elven magic, for example, he writes, “Their ‘magic’ is Art, delivered from many of its human limitations: more effortless, more quick, more complete (product, and vision in unflawed correspondence). And its object is Art not Power, sub-creation not domination and tyrannous re-forming of Creation.” Nobody’s too old for a little magic.

I was surprised how engrossed I was in the whole thing even to the point of re-reading chapters in the same sitting and buying The Children of Húrin after finishing the book. In 300 or so pages, Tolkien killed off more people than in A Song of Ice and Fire. Ok, that was not fair. There was hardly any dialogue in the Silmarillion but the characters draw you in: their hubris, their dreams, and even their virtues and vices. The glory of their cities and banners pulls you into their world – how cities were hewn out of the mountain or dug underground in a thousand caves. There is also the bad guy: Melkor (a.k.a. Morgoth). You just can’t help to hate this guy! Every page I hoped that he would be defeated but no. His strength only grows and much also due to the weaknesses of his opponents: hubris, treachery, dissent within the ranks. At the end of it all, it is actually he who wins while the good guys have to call on some deus ex machina to throw Melkor into the Void.

All I could think about after reading it is that I wish I had read it sooner! Before seeing the LotR movies at least. It was a jewel of a novel (or novels since it actually contains four books inside). Well, there it is.