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)