THE GUILTY pleasure Filipinos enjoy in public slip-up is the focus of four-time Palanca winner and former Varsitarian literary writer Lourd Ernest De Veyra in his book of essays, This is a Crazy Planets (Summit Media, 2011).

The book’s launching was held at Route 196 in Quezon City last June 23, which featured aside from the book signing, a reading by the author and performances by Radioactive Sago Project, the band where De Veyra is front man.

This is a Crazy Planets is a 116-page compilation of De Veyra’s best blog entries from the website Its title came from the suicide note of 1980’s sex actress Stella Strada, which has since become noted for its unintentional humor owing to its grammatical lapse as well as for its touching poignancy.

De Veyra said his first non-poetry book is a compilation of random essays with no fixed point of view.

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In one of his entries, “Wala Ngang Wang-wang, Meron Namang,” De Veyra questions President Aquino’s prohibition of the police siren, when heavy traffic is mainly caused by road repairs which are occasions for public works corruption and kickbacks. The incompetence of public utility vehicle drivers is exposed in “Attack of the Killer Buses” and “Taxi Drivers from Hell.” The author trains his ire on PUV drivers who overspeed and taxi drivers who do not know urban geography.

The Senate becomes a theater of cheap psycho-sexual drama in “Sex and the Senate,” in which De Veyra complains about the lawmakers’ propensity to focus on petty matters that lend well however to grandstanding, such as the Brunei Beauty controversy in the 1990’s and the Hayden Kho sex scandal in 2009.

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In “Pornucopia,” De Veyra notes contemporary people’s dependence on pornography and video images they take of themselves while in sexual intercourse for arousal. Meanwhile, in “Ang Tunay na Lalake Walang Abs,” the writer ridicules men’s vanity.

In “Old movies Always Made Me, er, Cry,” the essayist pays tribute to the timeless appeal of classic Tagalog films. In “Guns, Goons and Gore,” he rues the decline of Philippine cinema, blaming it on poor screenplays.

Compared to many bloggers who have the temerity to express their opinions in poor or mediocre language, De Veyra presents his intellectually stimulating ideas in a prose that’s witty, stylish, and always competent.

“Noisy democracy is what we have in our country today,” he told the Varsitarian, adding that freedom of speech is widely abused in the country.

This is a Crazy Planets shows in a forthright but humorous vein how Filipinos usually take for granted the freedoms they enjoy. In the end, it may be that what De Veyra is saying is that the one freedom Filipinos enjoy practicing is the freedom to be foolish. Ana May R. Dela Cruz


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