Saturday, February 25, 2006

Clear and Present Danger

President Arroyo and her minions evidently thought there was such thing yesterday, when she put the entire nation under a state of emergency with Proclamation No. 1017. It was her response to the rumors of coup attempt which have been circulating since god-knows-when and which were eventually "confirmed" and "successfully foiled" by the Armed Forces. Wasn't she contradicting herself? Where the heck was clear and present danger when she herself said "napigil na ng pamahalaan itong iligal na pagkilos"? And who were making those illegal actions anyway? House Speaker Jose de Venecia, in an attempt to enlighten us on the matter, claimed that the Rightists were teaming up with the Leftists to destabilize the government. That's a pretty sweeping statement, but I'm glad there exist only two sides. Suppose there were Uppers and Downers? It wouldn't matter. They'd all be ganging up on GMA anyway.
Actions do speak louder than words. So the Commander-In-Chief, probably thinking , "I'm dead serious and you better know it," deployed entire battalions of crowd disturbance management units to disturb the crowd, I mean, to police the ranks of the groups scheduled to assemble and commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first EDSA Revolution. All mass actions, including those earlier granted with permits, were declared illegal. There were warrantless arrests and violent dispersals. Isn't it ironic that an event commemorating the restoration of democracy was met with thoroughly undemocratic schemes? OK, let's just pretend that EDSA I didn't happen. It's still Marcos up there, who probably had sex change and grew a mole. It is easier to take things that way, than to know that People Power really took place, and it's been twenty years, and nothing has changed.
I don't know, but I think the clearer and more pressing danger we are suffering from is not another coup de etat but a really bad case of historical amnesia.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Valentine Special?

Ang Pag-Ibig. Bow.
Katuwaan lamang ang tangka nitong tula
At bigyang-kulay ang nakakasawang paksa
Huwag sanang mapikon sa mga hirit ko
Mga makatang nabanggit at hindi magmulto.

Si Balagtas ang bida sa lokal na eksena
Makapangyarihang pag-ibig, pinapurihan niya.
Upang ito'y masunod, lahat daw ay hahamakin!
Paano naman kung wala nang makain?
Sapat ba ang pag-ibig upang di kabagin?
Sa kabilang panig naman ng daigdig

Si William Shakespeare ang dakilang mangingibig.
Binigyang-katwiran itong kahangalan
At sinabing bulag ang nagmamahalan.
Hindi kaya sila ay may muta lamang?

Si Alfred Lord Tennyson ay nariyan
Para sa mga mangingibig na talunan
Mabuti pa raw ang umibig at mabigo
Kaysa maduwag at di man lang sumubo.
Kanyang pakonsuwelo, isang magandang payo!

Ayon kay Jane Austen na isang nobelista,
Pag-ibig daw ay mabisang pampaganda.
Mangyari kasi pag inlove ay blooming.
Ito nga ba'y epekto ng nasabing damdamin
O gumaganda lamang dahil takot kaliwain?

I didn't mean to sound cynical. I just wanted to look at things in a pragmatic way, now that the season of being romantic has set in. It is quite hard to maintain a detached attitude, especially so because the media have been endlessly churning out materials falling under the Romance category -- TV shows talking about people's "one true love" and what they had to go through to find it, movies telling stories of how love conquers all, love songs (well, they are always around regardless of the time of the year, only there is a terrible influx of radio requests for them at present) extolling the virtues of Cupid's crime. Even those who are not so successful in this department take pleasure in sipping from Love's cup, nevermind that it is the cup of other/fictitious people.

I just want to say that in general, Art has a tendency to exaggerate Love, so don't go searching for the literary/romantic flick factor in yours. Sure, Sweet November, My Sassy Girl, Pretty Woman, Amelie, and The Other Sister are stories we all love for their espousal of the love-is-all-that-matters theme. Unfortunately for us, they don't happen in real life. Go watch Umbrellas of Cherbourg instead. With a line that goes, "People die of love only in the movies," you can never go wrong. Or Ring, and let Sadako scare the romance out of you. But still, the best way to forget the occasion is to watch news programs on TV and try to remember how many times has the price of oil gone up since tha start of the year.
Here's another attempt at pragmaticism, written a day after V-Day of last year:
Araw ng mga Puso
Lumipas ang araw na inaabangan
Ng mga nilalang na nagmamahalan
Upang ang pag-ibig ay maipadama
Di lamang sa irog, pati na sa madla.
Tunay ngang umulan ng "pagmamahal"
Sa presyo ng rosas, mapapatigagal.
Idagdag pa ang cards na todo ang kita --
Greeting, prepaid, o credit din kaya.
Talagang hindi ko madalumat
Ang pag-ibig ba'y may presyo dapat?
Kung gayo'y di na yata praktikal
Sa panahon ng krisis na ikaw ay magmahal?
Dapat nang wakasan ang sistemang ito
Araw ng Pag-ibig, komersyalisado.
Hindi naman kaya bitter lamang ako?
Mangyari po kasi ay walang Valentino!
Funny how little my views have changed, despite the eventual negation of the second-to-the-last word. Am I being too much of a Valentine scrooge?