One way or another we are all being held hostage

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For some strange reason I seem to be obsessed with the recent hostage-taking in Manila. If the US has teens going to schools with guns, we have this: Desperate men doing desperate means. In both instances (and I maybe painting the scenario rather broadly) the perpetuators exact violence on the victims because of certain personal grievances. Unlike however in the US when, most of the time, the parents are baffled at their children’s violent actions, our perpetuators almost always seek communication with the family at the last minute --- with the mother mostly as if to say “’Nay, I did this only for the sake of the family.” I don’t know if this is because the socially marginalized has always had an underdog mentality or to them sacrifice and violence are wholly justified when contexualized within the needs of a dying family. I don’t know also if this is a result of a poor mental care system (which is non-existent) and I’ve always thought that we are a nation perpetually struggling with one trauma or another. I, myself, don’t know if I am sane enough. But I do know the gnawing desperation one feels when one is absolutely penniless and doesn’t know where the next meal will come from. Reeling from hunger, anger (!), desperation and depression no wonder then that a seemingly innocent pen knife becomes, in one man’s mad eye, a perfect escape from oblivion. Kapit sa patalim kung baga.

Meanwhile, Philippine Tatler puts on its glossy cover “Madam” Imee Marcos resplendent in red couture. “Fab at 60,” the magazine’s headline seems to scream. On the other hand, the obnoxiously immature Pnoy, her family’s arch-nemesis, insists that the devolving quality of life in this city is a sign of progress. Apparently, they all get to live forever while everybody around them dies in the pits of hell.




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Poe. Duterte (?). Binay. Ay caramba, this is what we are expecting in the forthcoming elections? No wonder, Aldub provides us with more optimism than any of the presidential candidates. Better to hope that there is something “real” in what is essentially reel than expect even a bit of honesty from someone who is promising something that we know is unreal.

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Let me close this blog post with some quotes from Bino Realuyo’s poem The Leaning Tenement of Taytay from his book The Gods We Worship Live Next Door. It’s a brilliant poem about the disintegrating Taytay tenement and how in many ways it is a trap more than the fulfilment of a promise by the disposed Philippine President Joseph Estrada.

“Yes this is no Leaning Tower, no Seventh Wonder of the World,
A wonder for your yes maybe, or for your noses.
How can you not smell the approach of wind,
Its spiral push downward, into you? What you cannot see

Is the architecture of the missing: the water in faucets
And pipes, the light to bring fireflies to nights, the smiles.”


Ang ganda lang ng “architecture of the missing” no? Anyway, towards the end he says:


“We don’t think of it or him: he who listened, half-built. Half-tried.
The trying keeps our voices muted, so he doesn’t know he’s our hero
Somewhat. No one has ever taken us there, even halfway --- trying is hard
If it means lending a hand to those who have tried a lifetime of tries.”




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