Saturday, 3 October 2009

umuulan na naman

umuulan na naman.

sinalanta ang termino na ginagamit ng mga tao ngayon. nang bumibiyahe ako kanina sa marikina, narinig ko ang isang ale na nagsabing ‘sinalanta kami.’ dati’y ‘binaha kami’ o ‘nasunugan’ o kaya’y ‘nanakawan,’ sinalanta lang ang salitang kayang sumalikop sa naranasan ng mga taga-maynila at rizal sa bagyong ondoy.

medyo natagalan ang pasada ng jeep na sinasakyan ko papuntang marikina sports complex upang magpamasahe kay kuya roger. kapag sobrang pagod ang katawan ko’t nangangailangan ng matinong masahe, pinupuntahan ko ang sports complex ng marikina dahil sa mura at mahusay na pagmamasahe ng mga manong doon. bangko nga lang ang upuan at topless kang daraanan ng mga paroo’t parito sa pasilidad pero sulit naman. halos katulad ng sa philcoa na may mga bulag na masahista na pinupuntahan ko lang kapag masakit na ang balikat at kailangan na ng mabilisang aksyon. higit na mahusay dahil pulido kaysa sa mga spa na hirap na hirap at mukhang ang mga ate pa ang higit na nangangailangan ng pagmamasahe. magkano kaya ang sahod nila?

balik sa usapin ng pagsalanta. marikina at pasig ang pinakanapinsalang lugar sa metro manila. ang mga ito kasi ang tabi ng ilog, pinakamababa at tagasalo ng tubig na nanggagaling sa mataas na lugar ng rizal. kanina nga’y maputik pa rin ang mga daanan sa kabila ng halos isang lingo nang paglipas ng bagyo. may mga bahagi pang nakasusulasok ang amoy – amoy na hindi lamang basura kundi nabubulok na karne. wala namang patay na nakita (ulit) ngunit sa tingin ko’y mga nabubulok na karne ng patay na mga hayop. kapag panahon ng ganitong trahedya’y nagsasama-sama ang tao, hayop at bagay na winasak ng sama ng pangyayaring tao rin naman ang sa huli’y may kagagawan at magagawa.

ang katindihan ng pagsalanta ay nakasalalay sa hindi inaasahan at hindi rin naman (palagi na lang) napaghandaang bagyo. biyernes ng gabi ng nakaraang linggo’y nanood pa kami nina mc at mikee ng concert ng choir ng kaibigan. kakain pa sana pagkatapos kaya lang ay maghahating gabi na at may gagawin pa kinabukasan. wala nang tren at nahirapan kaming sumakay ng taxi papuntang malabon. tapos heavy traffic na sa ilang mga daan at nakita namin ng driver na hindi na umuusad ang mga sasakyan pa-nlex. normal lang naman ito sa atin. umuwi ako ng bahay, naligo at natulog na. mga banding alas-onse ng umaga nang ginising ako ng tatay ko at sinabing ayusin na ang mga gamit dahil bumabaha na. mabilis tumaas ang tubig dahil nanggagaling na rin sa loob (banyo) ang pagtaas. maya’t maya kaming naglilimas ng tubig pero walang tigil ang ulan kaya’t tumataas pa rin ang baha sa loob ng bahay. nag-brownout na rin hindi naglaon. ang hirap alagaan ng pamangkin kong hindi makalakad dahil nga binaha na kami. ayaw niya na kasi ng kinakarga; ang gusto’y paroo’t parito sa paglalakad at pakikipaghabulan. stranded ang nanay ko na nasa tindahan namin ng printing supplies. pati na rin ang kapatid ko na galing sa overnight na trabaho sa opisina at isa pang kapatid na galing sa eskuwelahan. nalimas din naman naming ang tubig ng mga banding ala-seis ng gabi. ipinagpaliban ang masusing paglilinis dahil madilim na. kumain ng hapunan at nagtiis sa dilim na natapos din ng mga alas-onse.

kinabukasan na kami nakanood ng tv at inasahan na ang trahedya. nagpunta pa nga ako sa megamall upang humanap ng bookshelf; nasira kasi ang mumurahing shelf na binili ko dati pa. marami akong mga librong photocopies: may mga softbound, hardbound, spiral at wired na bookform at spread copies. ang mga nalunod na librong ito lang naman ang casualty ko, pati na ang isang bookshelf na nanghina sa pagkakababad sa baha’t bumigay. wala kumpara sa dinanas ng daan-daang libo. nagulat ako sa text ng co-teacher na si mikee na linggo na ng umaga sila nakauwi ng bahay! stranded pala sa upmanila ang mga estudyante, teachers at pati guests! nagulat ako dahil ngayon lang nangyari ito. ipinagpapasalamat ko dati na hindi namin ito nararanasan dahil ikinuwento ng ilang mga teachers na nangyari sa kanila ito noon. pero lunes na nang nakapanood ako nang matagal-tagal. ang dami palang namatay! may nakasabit na lang sa puno, may nakita na lang kasama ng mga basura. nakakakilabot at lubos na nakapagpalungkot sa akin ang isang pamilyang ligtas pa pansamantala dahil nasa ibabaw ng yero. tinitingnan sila ng mga tao na paghahagis na lang ng lubid ang magagawang tulong. nang dumaan sila sa ilalim ng tulay, isa na lang ang natira nang pinuntahan ng mga tao sa kabilang bahagi. pumailalim tiyak sa matinding current sa ilalim ng tulay. ito ang nakapanghihindik: ang pagtungayngay sa mga kapwa-taong marahas na sinasalanta ngunit wala ka nang magawa. ibinaba na lamang sila sa pinakaabang kalagayan at nasaksihan mo pa ang agaran nilang pagkawala. paano ka magiging tao sa gitna ng kalagayang ito?

ngayon ay may bagyo na naman. mas kaunti daw ang dalang tubig ngunit mas matindi ang hangin, na kasing-panganib din lalo na dahil napakaraming poste’t billboard, bubong, at bahay na palagi na lang tinatangay dito sa atin. siyempre pa nakatutuwa ang pagtutulungan, ang bayanihan. hindi mabilang ang mga indibidwal at samahang tumutulong nang walang pagkilala at hinihinging kapalit. kabi-kabila ang kritisismo at sa puntong ito’y dapat nating iwaksi ang paghuhusgang lahat tayo ay may kasalanan. totoong nagkakamali tayo sa pagtatapon ng basura at iba pang kapabayaan. ngunit alam nating nasa antas panlipunan—higit pa ngunit nakasandig sa indibidwal—at pampulitika ang ating abang kalagayan. mga pagkilos lamang na tumuturol sa polisiya ng pangangalaga sa kalikasan, maagap na pagtugon at kahandaan sa baha, lindol, sunog at kung anu-ano pang kalamidad ang makalulutas ng ating suliranin sa kasalukuyan at darating pa. ang pagsisi sa kalakhan, lalo na sa maliliit na higit na pininsala ng bagyong ito ay pagwawalang-sala sa mga tao at institusyong may sala sa pagkalbo sa ating kagubatan, hindi tamang pagsasaayos ng basura, at tiwaling administrasyong ninanakaw ang pondong gagamitin sana sa wastong pag-uulat ng panahon at pagtugon sa sakuna.

inaalipusta din tayo sa simbolikong antas sa pagsasabing pinapantay ng trahedyang ito ('great equalizer') ang lahat ng mga Pilipino: walang mayaman, walang mahirap, pawang mga biktima lamang ni bagyong ondoy. alam nating sa antas ng karanasa’y hindi ito totoo, kaya kailangan nating igiit sa antas ng kaalaman. ang mga bakanteng fastfood outlets at iba pang establisimiyento at negosyo ay nililinis ng kanilang service crew at babantayan ng security guards, mga obrerong underpaid, overworked at may mga sariling tahanan ding kailangang kalingain. halos isandaang porsyento ng mga namatay, nagkasakit, nasugatan, nalunod at nawawala pa hanggang sa ngayon ay mahihirap hindi lamang dahil sa kalakhan ng ating populasyon ay naghihirap kundi dahil sila ang walang kahandaan, hindi naabisuhan, hindi nakatakas at lagi’t laging naiipit sa mga kalamidad na tulad nito. maaaring magpalipas ng panahon sa hotels ang mga may-kaya habang nililinis ng maids ang kanilang mga bahay. tandaan nating may kumikita din sa krisis na ito: relief operations na itinatambak at ipapamahagi sa mga darating na araw, linggo at buwan kasama ng pangalan at mukha ng pulitikong hindi naman sila kinupkop bago ang sakuna. nandiyan din ang tv networks na ginagawang negosyo/kumpetisyon ang pagtulong. higit na sumisikat ang mga artista, tv networks at mga trapong tumataas ang value dahil sa kawanggawang karukhaan din naman ang nagpapalawig.

3 oktubre 2009

Sunday, 1 March 2009

iskolar para sa bayan?

For a while now, the dictum iskolar para sa bayan has been recited by some student formations in their bid for campus political power. It is used as a counter-discourse to the (still) prevailing iskolar ng bayan with which the university community and Philippine society have hailed U.P. and other public educational institution students. But what this semantic shift entails is a radical disjointing of our beloved university from the rest of the people. From belonging to the nation (bayan) indicated by the preposition ng (of), the use of para (for) initially dedicates our Isko and Iska to the people. However, the change in phraseology manifests how students (and teachers?) of the university are rent asunder from the nation. Those who advocate such a call profess that we become scholars first, and then serve the people. No problem one may think as “we are students and must be scholars first” before we become leaders or whatever. This interpretation is not wrong, but lethal to the Oblation spirit. Indeed, many students, owing to reasons such as uplifting their families from poverty, social mobility, personal careerism and the plot for world domination, really struggle to become scholars. Yet we must understand the material condition of possibility of such scholarship. From the Greek word skholè meaning, “the free time, freed from the urgencies of the world, that allows a free and liberated relation to those urgencies and to the world” (Pierre Bourdieu’s Pascalian Meditations London: Polity page 1), scholarship also has come to be known as separation from the people; because, you have sufficient or perhaps excessive wealth that exempts you from engaging in matters of life-and-death that the rest of our countrymen engage with everyday, you have a strong predisposition to disengage from the world.

Iskolar para sa bayan manifests how certain people have crafted themselves in the messianic mold of salvaging the nation and saving the universe. It is as though the people cannot liberate themselves (they are actually struggling for national and social liberation!) and are lying prostrate for these creative activists to redeem them. Study hard, live the competitive spirit, capture the highest positions of power in the campus as a stepping stone for getting the highest offices in the land. Whatever is left in you, give it to the nation. I have a running hypothesis, that iskolar para sa bayan corresponds to corporate social responsibility, that is, the practice of reeking obscene profits and then allocating a minuscule amount to save the trees, feed the beggars, entertain the disabled, clothe the downtrodden and other efforts that merit more the society and lifestyle sections of the news media. Caution: cause-oriented projects exempt corporations from taxes, hence they earn more profits, and such projects project good images that hide exploitation and, thus, yield more and more profits. Who are the people who do this? They are the ones who scorn the masses, they ignore the suffering people’s own analysis of the conditions of their suffering (for they are ignorant and stupid, according to the learned); by doing so, they overlook the demise of their own privilege that is an outcome of the people’s fight to restructure society in order to have a good life. They are the ones who do duty in hospitals and hail invectives at our poor patients, whose lives depend on the whims and caprices of our iskolar para sa bayan. To me this habit of denigrating the masses does not smack of hypocrisy, but really is a rehearsal starting in one’s college life, right within the university, under the shadow of Oblê, sa lilim ng akademya, and so we anticipate its development in turgid proportions as decades after—and right now—we see our politicians doing the same.

I like to believe that we are part of the bayan first before we become scholars. We become scholars only because the people support our education. Serving the people means integrating with them, making our education relevant by studying the situation of their deprivation, knowing their poverty and oppression. Some people leave their dreams when they leave the university and join the masses in realizing change. For me, their decision is not antithetical to Oblation. Our concern for the mean time is what should happen here and now, while we are still students and educators. Iskolar ng Bayan evokes us (we, the scholars) as part of the people, fundamentally belonging to them. We become scholars of the people when we analyze the problems of Philippine society, realizing that our separation from them--gradually becoming antagonistic for the iskolar para sa bayan identifies with the ruthless rulers of society—is part of the problem, but a problem that also wants to render itself resolved by uniting with the people.

28 february 2009

Sunday, 4 January 2009

pinteresque


Rationality went down the drain donkey's years ago and hasn't been seen since. All that famous rationality of yours is swimming about in waste disposal turdology. It's burping and farting away in the cesspit for ever and ever. That's destiny speaking, sweetheart! That was always the destiny of your famous rational intelligence, to choke to death in sour cream and pigswill.

...

I asked him what it was. But of course there was no way he was going to answer the question. You know why? Because referees are not obliged to answer questions. Referees are the law. They are law in action. They have a whistle. They blow it. And that whistle is the articulation of God's Justice.


- character Andy in Harold Pinter's Moonlight


Playwright Harold Pinter died on december 24, 2008

Thursday, 1 January 2009

i am sorry

in the book launch of former house speaker jose de venecia, cory asked for forgiveness from former president joseph estrada. this concerns her campaign to unseat erap. it was an uncanny sight--former top officials of the land hobnobbing with consistent oppositors of the government now that almost all of them are against the queen (their alliance will isolate gma further and, dreadfully for them, will plunge the present ruling class into a state of irrecoverable damage), comparable to juan ponce enrile's taking of the senate president oath with gringo honasan.

many things have been said but i offer this brief statement of bayan muna representative satur ocampo: "from a historical perspective, edsa was an apt popular response to the turn of events in the senate impeachment proceedings versus estrada. the future, not the present events, will show whether edsa ii was correct or not." (philippine daily inquirer a6, 24 december 2008).

--> a case of political opportunism? partisanship based on hideous commitment? or a supposition of futurity? the work of time points to a calculated end, that what we do know is for the coming times. do we commit mistakes, errors? the tense of the future will determine whether we are right or wrong. it is our struggle for the future that confers meaning on the turn of present events. pardon her? yes, for believing in gma. no, for buying back erap. is edsa 2 a failure because a more corrupt and more brutal regime is in power? salud algabre says "no uprising fails; each one is a step towards the right direction".

happy new year!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Manny Pacquiao Defeats Oscar de la Hoya







3:07 pm
Sunday, 7 December 2008

As I write Manny Pacquiao has just won the historical fight against Golden Boy Oscar de la Hoya (based on GMA-7’s delayed telecast). The Filipino people love boxing for its evocative combination of brawn and brilliance. For a state that has consigned most of its people to a life of unemployment, penury, crime and tambay, boksing, like billiards and bowling to a lesser extent, provides salvation. We love Manny for embodying the hope that even in the direst of times, unity is possible in watching and adoring the sports that offers temporary catharsis of all our miseries. This hope stems from the collective bond we continually build in mustering our strength and defeating the most formidable of enemies.

We watch and feel dismay once again that our public officials are with Manny, contaminating a much-beloved sport and national hero with partisan patronage. What is Noli de Castro doing in MGM?! Don’t our officials have important things to do that they have freed their time of everything else – our welfare – and watch Manny defeat a fellow from a fellow former Spanish colony?! It is just fitting that they bet their political stamina, the circulation of gimmickry and opportunistic chances, the love of money (and thus the root of all their evils), the people’s money, in Las Vegas. Vegas is the surplus and the place where in the kernel of deception, hopeful and hopeless people stake their claims for a better life. Activists of the 60s and 70s had termed it bureaucrat capitalism. Manny’s bout is one manifestation of its practice. And it was true then as it is truest now: they are using public offices to enrich their political—because—economic lives. The host is interviewing him now and is asking of his political calling. We plead that Manny will not fall into GMA’s trap. Many believe that such combination of sports show business and trapo politics is natural in Filipino political culture. We struggle against this reality. Indeed Manny’s congressional defeat in the 2007 elections sets off from the same discernment of the people: a life gloriously lived in boxing must be rewarded by refusal of him to be injected into a system that wages war against the skills, talents, achievements and critical intelligence of the masses.

Manny’s life is a testament to the many challenges we face. The dream of education which he now slowly realizes, a better future for his family, the everyday life that battles gambling, ostentatious display of wealth and self-annihilating pamamadron, are conditions we share. The ever-present danger that from the peak of success arrived at in a short time, one will stumble down to Navarrete-type of wretchedness, looms large in Manny’s horizon.

We most admire in Manny the discipline, that determination to carry out to the very end the fight that one so brilliantly launched, his resilience, and the humility that all these accomplishments are para sa ating lahat, the shoulders of the people on which he sits, and the hindsight that all his struggles are ours and will come to the best of ends.
Manny has indeed made history and he will do more of it. Just remember that the souls of the victorious trapos linger and loiter. And they have not ceased to be victorious. They will never accept defeat.

Monday, 24 November 2008

berso sa metro, atbp.

sa biyaheng recto-anonas nitong sabado...

matagal-tagal ko na ring napapansin ang berso sa metro sa lrt line 2 (santolan-recto) kung saan ako bumibiyahe tuwing papunta ng ermita. Minsan may pagbabasa pa ng tula na pinapatugtog sa public sound system. Para sa akin, positibo ang pagpapalaganap ng panitikan at sining sa pinakamaraming mamamayan; mas mainam kung ito ay may layuning magmulat at magpakilos upang baguhin sa ikabubuti ang ating kondisyon. Ang maganda sa berso sa metro, sa sandaling pagbiyahe ng tren nakakapagbasa kahit paano ng mga tula ang mga tao. Hamon pa kasing maging malaganap na libangan ang pagbabasa sa ating bansa. Isang hakbang na ito kahit paano. Kung may magustuhang tula ang mga bumibiyahe eh 'di babasahin na din nila ang iba pang mga tula sa tren, babasahin ang mga likhang-panitikan na inihahandog sa kanila, saka na yung sila mismo ang aktibong maghahanap nito sa mga magasin, diyaryo, internet, at libro. Pinakamahusay ay ang paglikha mismo nila batay sa kanilang mga karanasan.

kinopya ko ang isang tula:

Pagtawanan mo ang gabi,
ang araw, ang buwan,
pagtawanan mo ang mga liku-likong
landas sa isla,
pagtawanan mo ang torpeng
lalaking ito na nagmamahal sa iyo,
nguni't kapag bubuksan ko
at isasara ang aking mga mata,
kapag ako ay umalis,
kapag ako ay muling bumalik
ipagkait mo na sa akin ang tinapay,
ang hangin, ang liwanag at ang tagsibol,
huwag lamang ang iyong ngiti
dahil ito'y aking ikasasawi.

naks!

***

may kaklase akong iraqi sa español. sa maigsing kamustahan sa klase tinanong ko kung bakit kahit na atrasadong bansa eh sa pilipinas pa nila naisipang mag-aral. may mga nakakasabay din ako sa tren na mga galing sa middle east. at sa grocery eh may nakita pang mga naka-unipormeng c.e.u. sabi niya eh dahil mahusay daw ang ating educational system at kilala bilang conscientious workers ang mga pilipinong nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa (ang asawa niya ay doktor at sila ay nagtatrabaho sa amerika, nagpunta lang sa pilipinas para mag-aral ulit). nakakatuwa ang pananaw na ito.

alam nating bagsak ang philippine educational system kung pagbabatayan ang kolonyal na oryentasyon ng ating edukasyon. kolonyal dahil sa pagprayoritisa sa wikang inggles laban sa mga lokal na wika, kolonyal dahil sa pagyurak sa mga karapatan at mithiin ng mga pilipinong maging isang ganap na independiyenteng bansa batay sa mga nilalamang aralin nito, at kolonyal din dahil nakatuon sa pangangailangan ng dayuhan at global na merkado ang mga kursong inilalako. kasama na dito ang mapanupil at komersiyalisadong edukasyon. sa mga international tests at surveys on education mababa ang nakukuha ng pilipinas kaya nakapagtataka ang trend ng international students ngayon. malaking dahilan din siyempre ang kamurahan--bagama't siguradong dolyar ang ibinabayad nila--kumpara sa mga eskuwelahan ng mga mauunlad na bansa.

nararapat gawin dito ay ibuhos sa scholarships ng mga pribadong eskuwelahan ang kanilang mga tubo. higit na dapat na kung anuman ang kikitain ng ating pamahalaan sa visa at tuition ng foreign students ay ilaan sa mga Pilipino para makapag-aral ang lahat. maganda ding simulan ang malalimang pagpapalitan ng kaalaman sa kasaysayan at kultura at sa magkaugnay na kalagayan ng iba't ibang bansa sa antas ng mga mag-aaral. para lumampas sa nosyon ng cultural exchange at turismo. ang mga koreanong nandito sa pinas ay pumupunta hindi na lamang para mag-aral ng inggles kundi para mag-aral ng lahat ng antas ng edukasyon, bumili ng mga bahay at ari-arian at mamalagi na dito. darating ang araw na pag-aari na nila ang marami sa ating mga lupain at industriya, na pinapayagan sa cha-cha. pero ano naman ang nalalaman natin sa kanila at nila sa atin maliban sa mga nakokomentuhan na gaya ng pagkain at videoke?!

***

sa grocery...

may isang mamimili na mukhang maalwan ang buhay. binabati niya ang mga makakasalubong: 'good afternoon!', 'merry christmas!', 'kahit na krisis eh maghahanda pa rin, ano?'. akala ko ay binabati niya ang mga kakilalang nakikita. may mamang naglalagay ng mga paninda sa estante, na malaon ay nagkomentong: 'iba talaga ang ugali kapag mayaman ka'! O 'ang sarap talaga ng buhay kapag mayaman ka'!)

lunes
ika-24 ng nobyembre 2008
10:35 ng gabi

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

two days


Consider this: you enter an election booth, nobody’s inside that unit except you, and then you cast your vote. You are making a decision for your nation—and the world’s future.

Or this: you join an organization of your sector, class or interest, study the issues, launch activities that will enable more and more people to know your cause, press for legislative and governmental actions, unite with the rest of society, and struggle for change.

For much of modern history, and indeed of recent history, the concept of democracy has been singularly confined to the former. Voting in capitalist democracies is conferred sacredness, a citizen’s communion with an omnipotent and omniscient being that is the government, which is said to define one’s well-being as well as the rest of society. Now for Americans, it is also an act of confession, where the choice is considered a repentance and then atonement for one’s previous electoral sins.

It is only two days (Philippine time) before the U.S. electorate chooses its president in an election that has been characterized as the most active, most participatory, most expensive, and most observed, internationally. It is interesting how the coming U.S. election is considered by the media as most definitive in changing the conditions of hundreds of millions of needy Americans. Yes, there are differences between Republicans (the conservative, the right) and Democrats (the liberals, the left) but people on both sides compromise on many issues to have a centrist view on many economic, political and social issues. Republicans are free market and deregulation advocates and they are being blamed for the current financial crisis as Bush’s term paved way for a lot of marketers to profit from share price increases and money borrowings. But the Democrats who push for more regulation like their European counterparts just want to repair the system; they lobby for reforms in order to maintain the long-term interests of capitalism. Now they are being criticized for advancing socialism. The grave financial and consequent economic crisis has raised talks of capitalism’s downfall yet what the current governments in the biggest economies of today are doing is sort of a Keynesian management of the twenty-first century. It also enables some sliver of radicalism from the opposition. Obama’s “spread the wealth” call is however antithetical to “American” hard work and keeping one’s wealth his and his alone. Fighting for his ambitions, he has continually veered from left to center in order to please the moderate and anti-radical Americans. He disowned his former pastor, who’s the head of a militant black church, and also recently disowned a 70s anti-Vietnam War terrorist (this one resorted to bombings!). I remember his comment which echoes some leftist thinking on religion and militarist attitude – that desperate Americans cling to their guns and religion. Comparing the Republicans and the Democrats in the Clinton campaign of the early nineties, Joan Didion quotes a political scientist who says: “The last thing the Democratic Party has wanted to do is declare that there is a possibility for class struggle. The Republicans, however, are perfectly happy to declare class struggle all the time. They are always waging a one-sided class war against the constituency the Democrats nominally represent. In this sense, the Republicans are the only real political party in the United States. They stand for ideology and interest, not compromise.” [“Eyes on the Prize,” in Political Fictions, pages 148-149] The constituents, history and popular opinion have it, are labor, women and minorities.

[[[the image is from the New York Times, 31 october 2008]]]

2:24 am
tuesday, 4 november 2008