Wednesday, February 27, 2013

LT Politics: A 'drunk' discussion


I was late. Always have been.

I can tell that the 4 by 4 in our table is their second or third and they’re too damn happy –at least tipsy, but not yet drunk. I am sure because if they were, they would have grabbed my neck so they can tearfully feature their life stories in my ears…again.

I eased to the corner seat fronting the counter and put my bag on the floor. I just came from work, and shots of gin appealed most to a tired teacher who had graded papers for almost four hours.

“I-shot mu adi!”

“Adi?? Adi et na garud.” Those faces, those proverbial ones, smiled. The ‘tradition’ which started ten years ago is alive and well.

Friend ‘A’ got me the shot glass and paused as he pointed to the pitcher of water. I nodded. That simple gesture gave him two messages; one, that water is my preferred chaser, and two, that he has to refill the glass with it every time. He was now the appointed “tanggero”.
 
Friend ‘B’ got me the song book like how he had done a hundred times.“Bonjovi inya.”

“Damdama ta matamtamaan tayo na.” I must have also answered like that a hundred times.
I got the shot glass and forced the liquids on the truth. That one shot became two, and three, and four, and on my 8th one, we found ourselves with loudspeakers for our mouths. I know because the people from table number three and four kept looking at us. We are not yet drunk, but most people who are, will never claim that they are. Still, I ordered for milk. I will be driving home tonight and I would not want people to see me on the morning news the next day: “Lasing Nahulog ang sasakyan sa Bangin, Patay”, “Isang Aksidente sa Buhagan road (I still prefer Bokawkan), isang lasing ang may kasalanan.” I cringe on that thought. Awan pay anak ko ket madi met ah nu masapa nga mapan. ;0

“Apay han ka nga tumaray ti councilor?” Friend  ‘C’ mused.

“ Haan, idi last year paylang ti filing ket haanak nga nag-file. Santo haanak pay nga ready...santo awan ti kwarta tayo met.” I laughed.

“Ket sino ngay ti MAYOR tayo?” Friend ‘D’ joined, implying that ‘my’ mayor can possibly be ‘our’ mayor.

“Haan ko nga amu. Nu manual elections kuma ket uray isurat tayo laengen ti nagan tayo.” We laughed at the joke. “Ada met criticism kanyada amin.”

“Isu garud..” Friend ‘C’ and ‘D’reflected.

Friend C looked around. He is about to start the ‘politics discussion’.

“Makapadismaya met gamin ni Abalos. The Black hole ngay! Makikita met nga haan nga agfunfunction and they purchased it for millions. Makapadismaya da amin pati daduma councilors.”

I agreed with the ‘councilors’ part. One councilor has about three cases for ‘sum of money’ in the barangay, allegedly borrowed for his campaign. I am not the court to pre-judge him and I’m also NOT perfect, but adding a ‘networking controversy’ to his list of alleged misdeeds is for me, “makapadismaya”. Another councilor, a veteran one, talk about reforms in implementing ordinances, but has neglected most of our barangay ordinances for review. I told him three times, and that ‘grin’ I hated forced me to avoid searching for him ever again. Another councilor promised to lobby for a social services program; we searched for him a dozen times and caught him hiding from us on a follow-up anyway. He told us that he was having a seminar at Manila, only to find him at table number 6, with a young girl holding a San Miguel Light on the same evening. I hoped that the young girl did not fall for this jerk’s promise of iphone5.

“Greg Abalos could’ve planned for a Solid Waste Management program which would have employed hundreds. Adi adu kuma natulungan na ken agkumpanya kanyana. Mano lang dayta nga millions koma. Maysa pay jay ibagbaga da nga sementeryo nga nagateng ngay, kasla kanu matenag ti apan agiponpon hahhaha..” Friend C is already drunk. “Ing-kampakampanya tayo pay isuna idi ket kasla awan nangnangyari..”

Friend D shoved Friend C’s shoulder and said, “Ket at least adi, sino ba ibotos mu padli? Ni Bobot Fongwan? aysus..” Friend E interrupted D, he finally joined us. He must have failed in mustering courage to get the pretty waitress’ number and thought it wise to return to the real world. “Santo jay basketball jay liga ijay munisipyo nga? Apay ada kasjay, kasla he sees people as ‘lower beings’, basketball lang ket easy-easy en na ta-tao? Kasanu pay nu naging mayor? Tapos Political dynasty padli, awanen ah nu hawak da amin?”

“Ay wen, diba datayo nakibasbasketball kanyada ijay Nazarene idi?” I remembered when we were teens and only dreamed of doing a “tap-rim” or “tap-board”. We've gotten fatter since then, and now, we can’t even touch the board.

Friend B got our attention when he pounded the glass so hard, we thought we would be having a bar trouble. “Ket sino ngay ibotos tayo? Ni Edna Tabanda?? Ay sus, adi pay awanen ti kastoy nga inuman tayo? Bars will close at exactly  8pm, kayat yu diyay? Tapos nag-uyong; ada kinudtaran na nga nakawara sako ijay dalan tapos inungtan na piman jay lola tau ijay market. Tapos nalpas met ten nga naging mayor.”

“Guys, I don’t even know if half your information about the mayoralty candidates is true. Nu koma ada ti neutral nga organization nga ag-organize ti forum ken debate da tadta tapnu damagen tayo isuda nu agpaysu or haan. ” I told them.

 I can only sigh. I must warn them that “ears are listening”.

“Itext ko ni Marcos man nu bigat baka kayat na i-organize” Friend A said.
They got my hint. People may tell these to Abalos, to Fongwan Jr., to Tabanda, and I might appear to be the source of all of it, simply because it came from our table. And stories get overblown everytime, that is why I decided to write it.

(“YOU HAVE BURNED BRIDGES"….)

A voice mocked me as I write my memories of last night. Maybe I have, maybe I haven’t.

But I have said my piece that it did not come from me, people may exaggerate it, but this is nothing compared to the stories we hear at the market, at the barber shop, on the jeepneys. People are talking about it. Not just me, not just my friends, not just my neighbors.

A site featured this interesting post, (what a coincidence);“The scariest politicians are those who can call on God! God! Those who claim that they are the servants of God, the Religious; those who can look you in the eye and claim moral certainty, because they are chosen by heaven, BUT, secretly sliver their shining cloaks at night and reveal their hidden  and darkest selves where only a few can see – those of the same mold and color. Money and Power, and the quest for more money and power can certainly change a person.”

I went back ‘facebooking’. The new chapter of Naruto is out already, I will give it a scan. “Screw the Tax2 recitation.” I thought.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Philippine Elections: A Story of Hope and Frustration

Note:  *This is an essay I wrote in my college years (2007)..It sucked, but there's sincerity in it..I guess...

One may wonder, given their dull and tasteless appearance in their pre-campaign television (and ‘facebook’ ads), if these politicians are ever aware that people today would rather turn their TV sets off than to watch their exaggerated and self-laudatory masterpieces. What is it that prompts them to spend millions just to look good on the screen? What makes them fake those smiles in front of the camera and tell us ‘things’ – beautiful things, promising things, hopeful things?

Why do they want to become the leaders of this country?

We have seen and heard of men and women of power; of people who ventured for greatness, and ended up being blinded by its illusions; tales of warriors who took the chance of slaying a monster...only to turn into the same monsters which they thought they have defeated. We have put people in power, in hopes that they will be different from those who are corrupted, only to find out later that they are of the same mold – eaten by the same ancient system that caused them to exploit their own people.

What is ever new to people who, by experience, have grown cynical to power politics and traditional state affairs? None. For them, it will always be a series of repetitions similar to what they have already witnessed; the same colorful posters that will be scattered on the streets, and the same long speeches of “Iboto ang pagbabago..”, “Tutulungan ko kayo…”, “…babangon tayo”, “…lalaban tayo…” and “Hindi po ako katulad ng mga iba..” As if they have known us for a long time, as if they have known our problems and troubles, as if they can save us from all of the damn worries of our everyday life.

Keeping their pristine ideals, young people storm the streets with painted boards and loud speakers to express their disgust on the government and the politicians in position. After awhile, the movements will be succeeded by some new faces and the young people grow up to become the same people they have criticized. Maybe, there is something about age and experience that makes idealists plunge into the bitterness of realism. Many people who have seen “how it is” and sadly, and maybe, of “how it will always be”, tend to lose hope and embrace apathy because it is only in such way that they can accept the cold stinging truth that they cannot change or go against “this system”; and that,  if they cannot “beat them”, they might as well “join them”.

But, why? Why do people want to become politicians? Why do they want to become the Mayor? The Congressman or, the President? To help the poor? To initiate change? To make the move for a more responsible and more accountable government? I hope so. Or, is it because, they wish for the power and wealth that comes with it? Or to cement their names in the pages of history and become immortal in the process? We will never know until they are seated…when they will reveal their true intentions. All that is left to do is, yes…hope.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines day sucks sometimes :)


The fire police in the truck were chuckling, their job was already done when they got here. Apparently, of all people who might need them, they responded to the house of a Barangay Official (who is supposed to be one who responds to fire incidents). Alerts are high for them because King’s College threw in a spectacle of fireworks display, and the fire trucks, at last, will be roused to its duty. I get to beat myself from the analogy that I was supposed to be at the college to assist my co-teachers in the culminating program of the Foundation day. But, here I am in a wet short pants stained with charcoal because I have to watch the fireworks display from the elevated road and forget that I also left some flames beside the stock house that stored piles of dry wood.

So, what went wrong? The answer is simple, it is February 14. One of the most commercialized and sensationalized date in the history of humans, and fortunately/unfortunately, the date in which I have to be always identified with. My name is inseparable to ‘Valentine’s day’ because not only did my parents adopted “Val”, but also painted it “Red” to permanently etch that event’s color in my person. At least I was not named ‘Valentino’. 

Five hours ago, I was giving replies to text messages that I am in Manila, even though I’m just in my bed munching some chips while watching the TV, and hoping that this day will end. Earlier, I even applied for a birthday leave despite the knowledge that all members of the faculty are needed in the school event. I want to avoid people, avoid meetings…I wanted to be alone – just like last year, and even years before that.

Why do I have to do that? I have learned to run away from Valentines day, because of the stress of it – the high school pressure of having a date, and the jealousy that one feels when popular guys receives tons of love letters, while you stand there with ‘forever alone’ guys contemplating about your sad ‘fate’, or the stress of impressing someone, even if you are aware that you have just spent a week’s allowance.

I’ve been there, the ‘unpopular guy’, the ‘fat boy’ whose supposed sole purpose in the world is to be made fun of, and be a character of somebody’s joke. It’s not that I have not overgrown that ‘victim-mentality’, but I am surprised that even after 10 years, my tendencies in life are shaped by my interesting experiences in elementary and high school.

Sometimes, guys like me will never find ourselves perfect for someone. That is why even if we have grown up from that awkward appearance of highschool and start having girlfriends, we break it up because in the back of our minds; we never found ourselves to be lovable, and we have to break things up before the girl does. Of course, girls will passionately react to this, but let’s save that for a later ‘lovechika’ kunwari (haha). A girl once told me that I am afraid to get hurt that’s why I avoid relationships and commitment, and perhaps, she is right.

So, again, what went wrong? It is the date (period). If only it wasn't Feb. 14, I could’ve made it to our school event and not have to burn some old letters (and memories). I wouldn't have run outside to watch the fireworks display, and would have not forgotten that I am burning something which would have prevented the burning of the whole stock house, and would not have exposed myself to a bunch of grinning people who knew that it was my birthday and I was just hiding in my room to celebrate it. I can only tell them that; “Nu sabado tau nga mangan etoy ayan me inya?” (hahaha!) See my point when I said something about stress? 

What comedy! That I have to ironically burn a big candle light (the stock house) to celebrate my natal day (sabi ng mga nurse), and have to excite the emotions of the whole community on the sight of it.

Tsk tsk tsk…This is one of those instances when I hate Valentines Day!

P.S. : NO ONE GOT HURT IN THE FIRE ACCIDENT AND THE ‘TAMBAYS’ DID A GOOD JOB IN SAVING WHAT REMAINED, THEY SHOULD APPLY AS FIREMEN (Although I have to buy 2 by 2s and Empelights afterwards..”Dayta gamin ti madi na aglibre!’ hahaa)