Thursday, May 29, 2008

Goodbye California!

Seems appropriate somehow.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I tend to be a lot better about updating this thing while I'm traveling and actually have anything of interest to report, but in just a few days I'll be heading to a part of the world where internet access can often be tricky. Internet cafes (and sometimes even cafes with WiFi) are easy to find in big cities like Manila or Jakarta, but while I'm in transit or out in villages, it can be nearly impossible.

Since there seems to be a direct correlation between times when I don't have internet access and times when I'm doing something that is likely to cause people to worry if I disappear for days on end, I've gone ahead and signed up for a twitter account. This will allow me to send brief updates by text message from just about anywhere -- Southeast Asia's cellular phone infrastructure is much more developed than the US's, and I've been able to get reception in some surprisingly remote places. If you have a twitter account, or sign up for a free one, you can add me as a contact and get updates sent to your phone; if you don't, you can still check in via the "twitter updates" box in the sidebar, or by going to

For now, there's nothing there, as my updates would be along the lines of "trying to shove possessions in boxes. they do not fit" or "suspending magazine subscriptions" and I really hope I haven't yet descended to that level. But as soon as I get a Philippine sim card for my phone, and have a chance to link the new number to my account, I'll start using it to let people know that my plane hasn't crashed, my head is still attached, and I haven't yet starved to death.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Philippines uli

Rice Terrace
Mountain Province, Luzon, Summer 2006

I finally have a confirmed ticket to and from the Philippines this summer. Philippine Airlines certainly made me sweat a bit (I didn't know until this morning whether I had to be ready to leave on Sunday) but in the end, I got exactly the itinerary I wanted -- not bad for an (almost) free ticket.

I should be in Mindanao for June -- Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and maybe a brief visit to Zamboanga. Early July in Jakarta, Bandung and maybe Jogjya, back to Manila for the International Conference on Philippine Studies, and then two weeks to do whatever seems most useful/interesting (probably archival research. sigh. I remember when I had other definitions for 'interesting'). And then...back to grad school.

Get in touch if you're going to be in or near any of these places! (Except grad school, which I don't want to hear about.)

In tangentially related news, Philippine human rights monitor Karapatan has just released their human rights report for the first quarter of this year, documenting 96 reported cases of severe human rights violations between January and March, including 13 extrajudicial executions. The report, unfortunately, does not seem to be available online, though I have a pdf I'm happy to pass on. The Inquirer has a summary here, but note they count violations by number of 'incidents' rather than number of victims.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Redadas de la Migra en Berkeley

Demonstrator, May Day parade for immigrants' rights

Less than an hour ago, I got a text message from a friend saying
there were immigration raids happening in Berkeley -- one on a residential street, and one near one of the busiest intersections in town (University and San Pablo).
By the time I grabbed my camera, got shoes on and biked over, there wasn't a trace. Business as usual.

That fast. It happens that fast.

[I'm still trying to figure out exactly what happened. I trust the chain of communication by which I received this message, but I can't yet get to the bottom of it]

UPDATE: So, there was definitely at least one raid in Berkeley in which 4 family members were arrested in their home, and another in Oakland. The migra has not yet been able to get away with arresting parents when they take their children to school, but they've been making their presence felt around local highschools.

Welcome to election year. This is particularly sad after seeing so many proud, beautiful people marching for immigrants' rights last Thursday.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day

Some photos from the May Day march in San Francisco

More, and more to come, on my flickr account