Monthly Archives: November 2015

ATTY. SPOCKY FAROLAN, A HERO IN THE MAKING

spocky f

Who cares about the defenseless?  Who gives hope to the powerless?  Who is concerned about the harassed?  But of course, there is the State.  Oh no, excuse me; it’s not even government at this time.  The State has been cheapened by politics and succor virtually lost in its essence to guide the people.  And definitely, not any Tom, Dick and fucking Harry around to make lighter any heavy load.  Only a few daring souls would leave their comfort zone if at all.    There is intrigue and fear that hovers whenever one helps.   No one is inspired except those with exceptional courage.  It drains a person of his safety and it makes him a target for envy.  Dito sa Pinas, ang sumisikat lang ay araw!

Not everyone is fit to receive his or her 15-minute fame unless they are at the right time and at the right place.  Ganyan din pag minamalas.  I had my own share of the fame before until I got the short end of the exposure.  But it was swell of an experience.  I got a few admirers and an army of bashers.

And then as if media had nothing to focus its fling on, it found “tanim-bala” the flavor of the day.  It has a penchant to amplify a simple incident, make the insignificant significant, transform a lackluster day into an adventure filled moment.  But this time around something went remiss and media got its bearing properly as they bannered a monstrous incident to the fore.

There was this OFW about to depart at the airport when she was flagged down, got instantly manacled and charged.  She contacted her counsel and there was Atty. Spocky Farolan at the front line.  He was flashed as “Spooky” and later was changed to “Spanky” but nonetheless, the brouhaha improved with a correct spelling to his name.  And there was Atty. Spocky  engaging airport authorities, law enforcers and media in one blitz representing a middle aged OFW on her rights.  Hindi ko nga alam kung paano naging abogado si Spocky ng OFW kasi last I heard of was Spocky’s involvement in Red Cross and UP Vanguards. His legal outreach may have been extended since kaya siguro ganun.  Anyway.

That initial round of controversy blew up.  It was never the intention of anyone to make hell out of a haywire but when there is scarcity of news, when scandal is far in between, when people are puked already at the regularity of raid in prison drawing the same contraband, media had no any alternative than make it appear that the dog wags instead of his tail.

And so to make that instance of a defensible act look like a national controversy, media covered it as if it was a major incident.  And it really was in the first place.  It eventually became a cause celebre even international news agencies would burn its wires to deliver travel advisories with caution.   Suddenly, tourism and interest to visit the shores of the country by expatriates slumped.

Accordingly, an OFW being mulcted at the airport with charges not to her own doing, having been planted with contraband to make a legal issue out of her passage, even if just once, and  this is already terrible.  To think that there were a number of cases before the incident, where victims came out to declare that they too were victimized, is no longer a happenstance.   Not only locals but foreigners too were questioned and held up.   This is criminal already and the State must come in.

Atty Spocky Farolan found himself in the midstream of a brewing national controversy and aside from ogling government functionaries who wanted a piece of the action, which fortunately create a dint against people bent on their syndicated mulcting and gave flesh to awareness too, the nefarious activity at the airport stopped for a while.  Just in time during the Apec conference.

Actually, this was not attributed to a reduced syndicated activity; it was more on the manner airline passengers wrapped their belongings with thick cellophane!

Atty Farolan’s role in this entire scenario had no awareness from the woodwork that followed.  He merely offered his legal services, as it was his wont in his outreach plans and programs and what followed were an influx of do-gooders, from legislators to hackers offering their respective forces to deal with such controversy.  And he stirred the whole reprehensible practice up to its dying breath.

The youthful lawyer was there at the start and he was likewise in that situation when the incident was won over.  There was no politics involved, no compromises, only an extended arm of someone willing to help that mattered.

Heroes either create events or are made by it.  Atty Spocky Farolan was both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MAYOR DUTERTE’S DIFFICULT QUEST FOR THE PRESIDENCY

duterte

Don’t get me wrong.  I will vote for Mayor Duterte in the coming 2016 election for the Presidency.  But my vote is not enough to make him win.  Why?

Listen to this.  Government has announced that it will increase the salary of all government workers almost 20% across the board on top of other incentives.  And bureaucrats vote as a block when favored.  I know, I was once in government.  The one campaigned for or rooted by administration has this advantage.  That means that more than 2 million votes would fizzle out from possible Duterte kitty.  This is one edge which Mar Roxas has at the start of the campaign period.  He came from the old rich and may have the discipline and principles of leadership, but that is not enough.  The fact that he was endorsed by the incumbent carries with it some entitlements.  May bentahe ang administration ticket along this line.  Pamandin, ang tao naniniwala at pumapatol kahit sa kwento lang.  And, salary increase is at the moment at the realm of fairy tales pa nga lang.

Furthermore, if surveys were a snippet of an indication, the candidacy of Grace Poe has captured the hearts of students, young professionals and the so-called masa.  Duterte will find it hard to snatch this group.  Well, only a Miriam candidacy could wreak havoc on the preference of students because of her knack for one-liners which the youth virtually loved to quote.  And students are the backbone of the voting population.  Kalahati ng voting population comprise the youth—those whose ages range from 18 to 30.  Make that 40%.

VP Binay, or whatever remained of his integrity after having been warped and demonized in Congress and media, has the traditional turf not only in Makati but in most provinces and municipalities where he generously shared the surfeit of Makati resources through sisterhood political arrangement.  This may look a bit askance and far-fetched but he won the Vice Presidency through this silent relationship.  25% of votes are traditionally in his favor, give or take the rest who are still smarting from innuendoes thrown at him on every corner.  Kaya miski anong banat kay Binay, hindi bumababa sa 25% ang kanyang resident political following.

The Philippines has a 38 million registered voting population.  75% of this number comprises the average voter turnout per election experience last 2010 and 2013.  Out of this universe, the calculated majority preference will gauge and determine who will be the winner.

Filipinos also has a penchant for picking on the “llamado.”  Seldom would they throw their last penny on someone seen as dejado.  They never love a loser; they never appreciate a dud, more so, one who is trailing behind.

Although traditionally, electoral exercise in the country means a considerable hefty war chest for the candidate, it does not however follow or make a difference.  During the 1998 election, Ramon Mitra had the entire bureaucracy under his command but he lost.  In 2010, Manny Villar, the richest among the contenders lost.  His resources if at all a gauge for victory did not get any trophy at all.  Give and take possible cheating scenarios at the local municipal and provincial level like “lagayan”, “dagdag-bawas”, tricks, the electoral exercise in effect would only be a contest on the top two contenders.

Those behind would just be eating dust in the process unless of course the candidate would garner an astounding landslide preference like what happened to Erap Estrada’s triumph in 1998.  Or the tsunami effect of sympathy vote which President Aquino received in 2010.

Mayor Duterte’s move to declare his entry into the Presidential race in Cebu is a calculated move to court the 2.5M voting universe, the biggest among the 10 listed vote rich provinces in the country.  But Cebu’s political instinct is not that naive.  They vote with their mind and soul at the last minute.  So whoever has sustained their impression amidst the sea of controversies and strengths which the candidates exude will receive their mandate.  They are that unemotional like other vote rich provinces and urban areas in the country.

While Duterte’s star shone brightly and has dimmed so many in the front line, his pronouncements on not running made a number of people felt jilted in the process.  A good number went on to look for a better alternative or just plain replacement.  It meant a big percentage have abandoned the stage to review on those left at the lime light.

Finally, he threw his hat at the gauntlet.  “The die is cast.” he said, paraphrasing Julius Ceasar.  And those, who before mulled and wished for his candidacy, may have renewed once again their interest in him.  These are people who lost their belief in a corrupt system, those who cannot stand weak leadership, those who despise unethical and incompetency in governance.  They look up to Duterte as their only card to secure the country’s integrity.  I stand among those who are smitten at Duterte’s brilliant record as a local chieftain.  To our mind, he can duplicate the same verve and accomplishment on a national level.

Mayor Duterte’s final reckoning however did not come in a blaze.  I expected him bearing arms and brimstone challenging terrorists never to cast their attention on the Filipino or they get their comeuppance from him.  People expected not only threats but statesmanship, a firm manly resolve.  He gave however the foremost reason to enter the field because of SET’s decision on Grace Poe.  Maybe he is correct but it turned off a lot of people.  He may have shown detest against the devil but not to a lady.  He merely opened the floodgates of sympathy in favor of Poe’s camp.  My friends, a lot of them, went this way leaving me behind wondering if I placed my wager correctly.

I could sense modifications in political alignment unfortunate to my candidate and hope to see positive changes ahead in his favor.  Until then, my fingers are crossed.

But let it be said that even if in only a wish fulfillment, I will vote in favor of good governance, on the belief that the leadership would banner an approach even if outside of law but always on the side of order and prosperity.  Israel had David Ben-Gurion and China had Deng Shao Pin until their countries became advanced and developed.

I am not voting for myself this time but for my family and their future.

SET DECISION ON POE’S STATUS

presidential

There goes the decision of Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) favorably granting Grace the status as natural-born and therefore qualified to run for the highest post in the land.  Hindi pa nakuntento ang iba sa naganap na kinahinatnan, the outcome of the SET deliberation has been challenged.  A failed senatorial candidate who filed a disqualification case against Poe wanted to appeal what has been handed down by SET.  A front runner candidate for the highest post believed that the decision trifled with the Constitution.  Other competing candidates, unable to discourage one another, would rather mount one black propaganda after another in a manner that would bash and discredit those who cast a moistened eye at the Presidency.

Ano nga ba talaga gustong mangyari nitong mga hinayupak na ito?  That SET should decide according to what other people wanted to believe based on other’s perception and not only one’s studied position on the matter?  SET came up with their own stand and after dividing the house, handed down the verdict..  Tapos nung hindi umayon ang desisyon sa pakilasa ng iba, away na gusto.  Bakit nung una pa hindi kinwestyon ang proseso na dalhin ang issue sa SET sa simula pa lang.  May mga taong hindi talaga bagay sa fair competition.  They are sour when they lose.

What is there in the candidacy of Grace Poe that smacks of fear among those she is competing with?  That she would win hands down?  Depende yan sa gusto ng taong bayan.  Sabi nila, ano naman daw ang ginawa ng Grace Poe na dapat kilalanin kung karapat -dapat syang maihalal na Presidente.  Dahil siya ba ay anak ng Action King Fernando Poe?  Dahil  siya ba ay anak ng Susan Roces, reyna ng pinilakang tabing?  Grace Poe’s star shone during a Senate Inquiry and her composure and brilliance illuminated the murky issues and those watching the proceedings were mesmerized.

Hindi naman basta bumibilib ang taong bayan sa mababaw na paraan.  Senator Grace Poe showed radiance kasi.  On the other hand, Mayor Duterte’s adroit handling of Davao, a former hotspot of violence, transformed the place into a model hub and the safest city in Asia.  It intrigued the people no end.  They want a Duterte leadership to make the country at par with best.  Ganyan katalino ang taong bayan.  Duterte may have a strong regional Visayan accent but he was a best seller, a firebrand even in Luzon during his Federalism forays.

The same is true with Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who dropped her intellectual posturing on Law and pursued street witticism instead.  She is a rallying cry in cyberspace, the home of the millennials, that group comprising almost one-half of the voting population.  She is their patron saint, a savior in the making, a contemporary Joan of Arc.  Gusto nilang maluklok sa Malacanan si Miriam din.  Hindi mababaw ang taong bayan, I tell you.

Although to a certain extent, wala nga lang magawa ang tao sa situation.  Karamihan ng mga maayos at maiging maging lider sa Congress at Senate ay siya pang nangangayaw kumandidato.  Kaya naman ito naging  kumpulan ng ilang may ambisyon, gaya na mga artista, basketbolista, boksingero, at iba pang  celebrity, kapamilya na halos wala namang nalalaman sa patakbo ng bayan.  Kahit sino na lang tuloy ang naiboboto.  Sa ganyang paraan lang hindi makuhang lumalim ng botante.  Eh, paano naman, wala ng pag piliin pang iba.

I dpn’t understand why candidates for the highest post do not like idea of presenting their mantra to the people, to have a debate, some kind of a program like that in USA where contenders confront their fellows, there to answer the people, there to argue and sell their ideas.  Walang ganito dito sa Pinas, puro paid advertisement.  At kung meron man sa media na lumabas na interview, ito ay halatang may script o di kaya, pabatikos ang dating.

Why not face the people, all of those who are vying for the Presidential post.  Let the people hear them.  Mabuti pa si Alma Moreno braved Karen Davila’s prime time program.  She was bashed after that forgettable interview but I would give it to Alma for being what she really is, brave and casual.  Samantalang yun iba, ayaw humarap sa taong bayan.  Nahihiya kaya?  Tapos gustong maging lider ng madlang pipol.  Nakakahinala tuloy kung ano talaga ang hidden agenda ng mga ito.

Filipinos love fairness.  They can be enslaved anytime.  They can suffer also kung kasalanan nila.  They deserved a poor government because they falter at times when they choose.  But they never renege when it comes to playing fair.

 

 

THE DAY MY PET FISH DROWNED!

fish

Last year, a Chinese friend recommended that I fill my fish pond with Koi, a Japanese carp that could grow into a 3-pounder salmon.  Swerte daw ‘yun.  And so I went to my favorite pet shop and ordered a couple.  Medyo mahal din pala ang isa, Php 1,500.00 a piece of the juvenile kind, the real McCoy according to the tindera.   Samantalang sa palengke, ang isang buhay nab angus na ganun din ang laki ay nagkakahalaga lang ng Php 30.00.  But the great difference is the lifespan.   Accordingly, a Koi can live up to 50 years, some kind of a Galapagos turtle among marine species.  And so, for that day, I bought two.  I also bought a bag full of fish food to sustain its health and vigor.

I was thinking of the luck it could bring.  There was even a poster in the pet shop depicting the charm Koi brings to its owner.  Nakasulat nga lang sa intsik but I could read the illustration near it and there were lots of gold gift boxes adjacent the pond owner.  Naturally, I got intrigued.

And so, there I was, like a kid, having an exciting day of his life at the banks of the pond watching two three colored Koi smoothly swimming.  I thought that if I will procure two more, the resident Kois would even be adjusted.  After all, this kind of marine life looks like tame and sociable.  They won’t mind having new friends around.  I sprinkled pellets into the pond and the Koi just loved it.  I placed the pellets on my palm, dipped it on the water like a priest during communion and yes, the multi colored swimmers virtually licked my fingers and I got tickled pink.  Hindi nangangagat,  hindi tulad ng Flowerhorn, yun bang isdang puro bukol pero parang  piranha kung sumagpang.

For a while, I realized that watching fishes on the flank of the pond is a relaxing proposition.  It removes stress and anxiety instantly.  Nakaka-kalma ng pakiramdam.  Nakaka-tanggal ng buryon.  It refreshes the mind and cajoles it in a profound way.    Kaya naman ang isang batikang manunulat sa America, si Henry David Thoreau noong siya ay namuhay mag isa, pinili nya dun sa isang lugar sa tabi ng isang fish pond.  Yun ay naging tema ng kanyang walang kamatayang katha pinamagatang “Walden Pond.”  He  showed the world that finest writing can be conducted  while undergoing an experiment in solitary living.

I won’t go that far naman.  Mine was just to appreciate the simplicity of watching and appreciating life from a little distance.

After a year, my kois were having a good time.  Malalaki na sila.   As it was my routine, I would feed it every morning.  They loved high grain bread.  And they were all robust and looking good.  The morning sun would shine on their pectoral glory and there I was, like Neptune, the god of the seas, ogling at my subjects.

One day, reality of life dawned on me.  Life must bear its concomitant consequence.  There is mortality, there is impermanence, there is transience, and there is stillness.  My multi colored pond dweller was floating without life.   I had my shares of exposures of this experience and I was no longer a stranger to this phenomenon.

My father departed as a result of old age; mother as a consequence of tragedy; my sister and wife from ailment; my friend from sickness and accident and now my pet fish.  According to my neighbor who had no forensic skill to boast but nonetheless considered by folks in the village as their wit, my fish drowned.

No wonder our village is not prosperous.

 

 

 

 

THE VILLAGE “IDIOT”

village idiot

I asked a friend from a distant province whether they had a village idiot in their town and he said there was even three of that kind in their neighborhood!

The term is a bit brash, a bit impetuous but it is not meant to degrade a person as I used it in this essay.  It is like tagging a “black sheep” in the family; one who is different, someone likely dissimilar from the rest.  By idiocy here does not infer as negative in the sense of being stupid per se but one whose mental faculties could not elevate on the level of normalcy.  Hence, the person acts, unintended though, contrary to what is expected from the common run of men.

And there are representative persons with that category everywhere.  And they are at peace with themselves.

I have had numerous occasions to reside in various places, spend time in different communities and right there and then, I would notice persons of different characters.  And most of these persons came from good families in the neighborhood.  They may roam around like homeless street urchins, loaf around in rags and shabby habiliments, begging, dancing around, shouting even, or singing on top of their voices, but they are accepted as part of the landscape.

Their sudden absence at times makes communal life a drab.

Classic writer Migue de Cervantez even made a literary masterpiece out of this persona.  Remember the enduring saga of one Alonso Quijano who lived modestly in a village in La Mancha and was transformed into Don Quixote de la Mancha, the title of one of best piece of literature for all time?  It was a story of a village idiot.  It was a case where a person engrossed with reading too much until his brained dried up and  he began conjuring monsters to be taken down.  That began his “heroic” quest in his village and subsequently the theme of adventure behind the classic novel.

Over in the neighborhood during my youth, there was his fellow with down syndrome.  We call him Lando and he was very lovable as a playmate.  Although at times he would exhibit drastic acts like throwing his favorite sock fashioned like a soft  “chako” at those who would poke fun at him, he was generally subdued and behaved.  He knew everyone in the neighborhood by their first name, an intellectual capacity persons with down syndrome seldom exhibit.  There he was looking like a big matured fellow with a mental age of a 5 year-old boy at first glance but when engaged, he knew those around him and boy! he can beat anybody in Chess!  After all, he was the younger brother of the first Chess Grand Master in Asia, Ruben Rodriquez.

Over in the town where presently I am residing, another “village idiot” can be seen.   The fellow is “Dayok” to everyone in the municipality.  Old folks in the area aver that Dayok came from a prominent family, the old rich, until their fortune dwindled up to the last drop.  His family got the worst and it was at the time that the youthful Dayok was about to reach school age.  Stories abound how his family was shamed and literally exploited; and, it was the child who bear the brunt until sanity snapped.  The father died earlier on, actually was murdered according to folklore.  The mother , almost insane as a consequence of destitution and suffering,  was left behind to nurture the twiddling toddler.

Dayok grew up on the streets, begging from pedestrians and in the neighborhood.  He never saw the confines of the school.  He can be seen with his mother behind him, both bare-footed treading on seemingly in an endless bivouac.

He was a fixture in the community chapel, attending regularly the celebration of the Mass, not to pray  though but to pick up the tune of the choir.  Thereafter, he would mimic the melody in his consistent plying in the neighborhood for loose change or some morsels.  If he could not get the tune right, he would revert back to singing the “Happy birthday” song.  Like most village idiots, this fellow is a stickler when it comes to safety.  He would prod anyone to assist him when crossing a busy street!

I could only make some profiling on the personality trait of village idiots.  They seldom get into trouble.  They never experience stress and never depressed at all.  They have no aspiration and whatever challenge they would encounter, it would only amount to a simple act to remedy or respond.

They are never embarrassed.  And not conscious on what people think about them.  Their sense of reality is without depth.  Everything is simply a matter of uncomplicatedness. Like anybody else however, they could sense danger, anger and feel pain.  But their emotion stops short after it is expressed.  They have no concept of revenge or getting even.  They simply move on.

They never worry at all on what happens in the future and they have no sense of the past either as well as what would be the concerns of the present.  But that does not mean that they are not aware or conscious.  They can surprise you with their audacity and capacity for recall.  Once you are imprinted in their mind as someone who extended assistance, you are marked for life and obligated to perpetually provide them the same assistance you gave them previously.

It makes sense therefore to understand why most of them live up to a ripe old age!  They may be an unfortunate sight to behold, an image struggling for survival, an image which no one would intend to have a relationship with, an image on whose life depends upon the mercy of his environment.

But don’t look now.  They can outsmart or outlive anyone, anytime!

REFLECTING ON THE PAST 60 YEARS

60

Six decades is a lot of years.  Monkeys, dogs, cats, green turtles, birds, snakes that which are maintained as pets cannot live that long.   On the other hand however, man is only beginning to feel life once he attained that period.  Well, to a certain extent.

It is like reaching the top of a mountain after an arduous climb.  It takes time, effort in between audacity and resolve.  It is not the height but what one wanted to do on top that matters, like planting of flag, taking pictures, appreciating the heavens, whatever.

In my case, for the first six years, it was my parents who gave me nurturance.  As soon as I was introduced to school, my teachers literally took over my waking hours.  And it took me 6 years in the elementary 4 years in secondary, 5 years in college, 2 years post graduate, 4 years in law school or an aggregate of 21 years in the Academe.  I got employed thereafter and my supervisors virtually took over my consciousness to different layers of responsibilities.  I had almost 38 years under their spell.  It was an aggregate of 60 years “climbing a mountain.”

As I retired after reaching a decade and a half-a-century mark, I thought I was the genie moving out of the bottle, or lamp if you may.  I felt I was newly born.   I felt like a different species.  Freedom was nauseating.  The world had become colorful.  My environment became alive.   Suddenly, a gush of fresh air filled up my lungs for the first time.  I had the realization that for years I was inside an incubator, within a bubble, under detention, with the least liberty of movement and thought, existing in a calibrated situation bounded by rules and sustained by discipline.  I got off quite well and a bit shaky, aged to a certain extent but wiser.

During those 60 years, I have loved and was loved in return.  I have helped and assisted and was given the same corresponding positive response.  There were misunderstanding, conflicts and mistakes but all served as lesson more than painful episodes.  In those times, my life was compressed into stressful chapters of meeting one deadline after another.   It was a period of reckoning, adjusting and modifying.  I have to moderate everything from greed to hunger.    I have to be bold and courageous, at times diplomatic and reluctant.  I have to compromise and negotiate things I bargained for.  It was more on surviving than living.  It was more on struggling than breathing normally.

During those 60 years, I tried my best to be a noble son, a good brother, a dutiful worker, a devoted friend, a dedicated lover, a steadfast parent, a worthy neighbor and a resolute student.   At times my best was not enough. I have a lot of limitations and shortcomings but it never deterred me from aiming and aspiring for something. I have read an entire library of books and truth to tell, it was in reading that I almost dedicated my entire waking hours almost to the detriment of my social and economic life.  All of these were in the name of accomplishing my varied roles in the theater of my universe.  I endured to act on each role as if there was no tomorrow, as if the entire story would reach the conclusion, as if the process would culminate in tragedy.

After 60 years, I realized that independent life begins.  This may be a bit awkward because one’s prime has long gone.  One’s knees are shaky, complexion a little rugged, eyesight getting poor, hearing requires an aide, movement is limited, resistance is meagre, appetite no longer that aggressive, there is little to show in terms of physicality.  In other words, the animal in the person has turned backwards.  The man has become cautiously senior, almost alien and grossly pragmatic.

Yet he must start anew.  Equipped with everything he got exposed with, he must view and trod life in a splendid manner.  Notwithstanding reduced vitality and battered body, his mind is glistening with wisdom, brimming with ideas, teeming with thoughts.  These should serve his as floodlights to govern the paths he is traversing.   His consciousness, like everyone else is for him alone, that which he will take up to the last second.  He must preserve it through expressions—forthwith though thoughtfulness, concern, respect, genius and perspicacity.  Like footprints in the sand.

One can spend his entire span planting trees, siring offspring, travelling or writing books, whatever.  Life is a big choice with infinite choices.   It ends when it ends.

There are those who would be active for 5, 10, 20, 30 years or more.    Whether they are still willing to spend so much and explore some more depends on their self-imposed mission, or how their health or wealth would carry them through.

These are not sensitive eons ahead.  It is more a beginning of a challenging period for most of us in the sunset years.

GROWING UP UNDER THE SHADOW OF BULLIES

bully

In the 60s, there were no issues yet bordering on bullies or bullying.  As a matter of fact, all kids at that time were, to a certain extent, bullies!  If at all there was a shade of bullying then as we know it today, it was more capricious and forgettable.  Big or small, anyone can challenge anybody.  Fat or thin, a kid had the necessary defense against his opponent.  There was no such thing as beautiful or ugly.  Its reference was not on looks but only on manners.  The kids before comprised the so called old school.

From their ranks came Steve Jobs, Billy Gates, Paul Coehlo, Mich Albom, Alvin Tofler, etc, they who enhanced humanity with their genius.

It was only in the 90s that bullying became a dominant theme. It was even seen and understood as a curse, blasphemous and profane.  It was something that went out from the alien woodwork and that it was some kind of a jinx.  Those who were seen as aggressive, belligerent and forceful became emblem of bullying.   There was nothing intellectual in their armaments, it was the scary tactics oftentimes applied.   And those affected by their weight, by their impositions, by their presence were victims of bullying.  That was the long and short of it.

Bullies became the villains incarnate not only in schools but in the neighborhood.     Well, not that the bullies were getting so much but because the kids became more fragile, sensitive and delicate.  The great divide among people and community became categorical.  The poor became poorer under exploitative conditions; the rich became richer because of exploitation.  It has become the theme of the era and it literally introduced bullying as a fact of life.

If at all yesteryear was worthy of reminiscing, it was precisely because the relationship then was pure and simple, normal and real.  Deception if it lurked was unintentional.  Bullies were never heard of.  Years later, not only was deception the order of the day but trickery as well and the bullies were its medium.  Commerce is diluted with dishonesty and one seldom finds any genuine consideration.  There is fakery in every facet of life, whether at home, in one’s place of work and even in the playing field.  Bullies can be found everywhere.

There is bullying in religion, in government, school, hospital, elsewhere.  There was intentional force applied on almost everything.  Persuasion is carried out through force with tendency which is very criminal.  Nobody is exempted from its tentacles.

For those who grew up in the street, there are advantages.  One becomes street smart.  One becomes clever and shrewd.  These are countervailing abilities which could shred bullying to pieces.  And these unfortunately are never taught in school, neither it is recognized at home.  As a matter of fact, there is no place for this behavior in the sacred corner of one’s dwelling place.

I was lucky in a way.  My youth was spent in Project 2, Quezon City.  And I , along with the restless youth in the area, were the street rats.  While at home I was almost sheltered, right across the street, a few paces away from our gates were my upbeat peers, the hyperactive youth in the village, the scourge of neighboring territories, energetic, almost manic.  In their respective homes, they were also saintly but outside, they were dissidents. That is right, my peers defy comparison.  The notorious London gangsters would look like Mother Theresa’s followers if lined up with them.

Those were exciting days for any youngster.  Competition was the standard.  Strategy was always the benchmark for any activity.  There were bullies before but not the kind we have now.  They were the epitome of fairness, just in their estimation, never abusive and always cool.  And I grew up under their shadows.

Oh, well, bullying nowadays is a different ball game.  It is more criminal than social, more felonious than communal, more illicit than philosophical.

 

CHICKEN TALES

chicken

There was this barrio, the smallest in terms of size and population in a dense town of Panabo City, Davao Province where the improbable meets reality.  I have not seen one such instance in the first place that is why I took note of what was happening.

There was this communal feeding ground of fowls and this is what makes it different from the rest of poultry farms.  People are also feeding deformed, mutilated and blind chicken.  That is right, this livestock are never thrown out or exterminated but is left to live up to the final round of their natural span.  They were even luckier than their healthy counterparts since the latter are harnessed for their meat and innards.  The healthy ones are brought to the market place for the execution.  Those misfits or warped are maintained and sustained for life.

These unwanted livestock are not even there for breeding.  They have no use and purpose at all for the pragmatic except for sentimental reasons, whatever it is.  And just the same, they are not even fit to be pets because of their unfortunate condition.  Furthermore, the communal farms are not even designed as laboratory on which scientific observation and experimentation may be carried out.  The chickens are plain blandishments of curiosity only, a plaything for children to make their day and for adults, a common ploy to while away time.

For me however, witnessing the folk reaction is instructive.  The circus like ambiance is revealing.   It silently teaches children kindness and for adults, compassion.  It mollifies the nerve psychologically since watching dissatisfaction makes one satisfied; although this is least expected.  The whole exercise of feeding is a collective event for care.

I tried to feign disgust as if my motorbike malfunctioned just to observe how the people would react.  As I expected, a number of those throwing crumbs at the chicken immediately took notice and came over for the rescue.  One of them offered to buy me gasoline at the corner store.  One volunteered to call a nearby mechanic.  Some of the ladies and children milling around the area offered the shade of their terrace-like contraption for me not to be ultra-violated by the high noon sun.  The whole community was actually agog over my situation.  Could this Samaritan concern be a result of the feeding exercise on the misshapen livestock or just a cultural practice among the underprivileged neighborhood?  I have as yet to verify but from my vantage view, it seems like the feeding frenzy contributed to their social outlook.

I revived the motor engine as if I hardly started it and smiled at the folks.  I left and bid the people goodbye and expressed gratitude for their attention.  I went to the grocery and bought canned goods, bread and packs of soft drinks so that I could distribute it to the people in the area.   It was my way of appreciating their concern.

As I watched and roamed around, I even noted that the community has no chapel or place for worship save for a space reserved for communal gathering.

For me, I finally, well accidentally, discovered one village with a membership exhibiting heightened humanistic concern for each other, for strangers and for ailing chicken!

It is faith and respect, for all its worth, in motion.

 

A WORLD WAR IN THE OFFING

world war 3

FVR ever keen in his political perception said that violent streaks happening in the Middle East, in Africa and in France are indicative already of World War III in chapters.

I thought that my generation would never encounter such a severe threat.  Not at a time when technology, wizardly and human race are veering away from senseless destruction and essentially courting the golden age of harmony and prosperity.  I thought for a while that John Lennon’s song “Imagine” has already been internalized and that it has become the anthem of humanity.  I thought that conflicts have been reduced to obsolescence in most regions of the world.  I thought that advances in science, knowledge and human understanding have ensured mankind of lasting stability.

I thought that discrimination has finally been put to rest.  That man no matter what race, color, creed and religion is already convinced that he is a citizen of the world.  Globalization made everything simple.  It is mother earth as one as viewed in relation to other planetary zones.  Man has ceased to look at his fellow man as an enemy to deal with.  It is man and his demon only and never man versus man.

I thought that my generation was blessed comparatively speaking than the preceding generations when they have to recuperate from the injuries and trauma of war one period after another.  We had nothing of that except to multiply.  We were called baby boomers because of that.  That mankind today has virtually founded the means to apply ideas in furtherance of its mission to defeat death and dearth; and even to propose to make life perpetual and constantly in motion.

These thoughts would be shattered in a jiffy.

The cruel and barbaric initiation of deadly violence against hundreds of innocents in Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir show a scary enlargement of confusion  from among countries led by visions of greatness.  As a consequence of the absurd attack on civilians in Paris, France allowed a merciless airstrike and aerial bombardment on the capital town where perpetrators of violence converge.  Violence bred violence, an eye for an eye, tit for tat.  That should signal the birth of another man made conflagration.  And it will never end until both protagonists would be wiped out including its surrogate sympathizers.  That means all the respective patrons of adhering powers.

It would not take long when the effects of the violent exchanges would extend in other countries.  In declaring war against the perpetrators of violence, France sounded off USA, Russia for a joint attack on IS controlled areas in the Middle East.   In the Philippines, unlike in other Asian states, the conglomeration of contending adherents is massed within a small space staring each other as if in a duel.

Humanity will never be the same if at all World War III would heighten and continue unabated.  The best weaponry ever made will be aimed and unleashed; and the worst of its effects would befall mankind in its most destructive and damaging proportion.  The fall out of radiation, the decibels of explosion, the treachery from every gunfire, hell fire, as all living things would suffer the debilitating conclusion; until the earth cracks from its foundation and falls silent from the debauchery.

There will indeed be concord amidst stillness; a lifeless peace.

I thought we are lucky.

PARIS TRAGEDY: A CASE OF A RADICALIZED GROUP OF FELON ON A RAMPAGE

terrorists

(Note:  The tragedy in Paris where hundreds of people were wantonly massacred revealed some areas of serious concern.  One of those identified as culprit was a petty criminal according to State Police.  Interestingly, the suspect has been convicted several times and as yet to check his jail time.   How the felon got radicalized is still a question mark.  Let me offer an insight.)

“Deradicalization” in prison is a correct proposition.  It is nipping a grave challenge in the bud.  To start with, one must attempt to define what radicalization really means and how it inflicts a person before deradicalization begins.  The processes of radicalization usually lurch when a person is under the custody of law.

An inmate is radicalized when slapped with stiff restrictions to the point of dehumanizing him.  He is initially sent to a congested facility where fear, mayhem, insanity, epidemic abound.  He is subjected to all forms of difficulties and uncalled-for embarrassment.  He is shamed and his privacy exposed for the entire world to hate.  He becomes a whipping boy in media and criminal justice practitioners would use him as target board to get public awareness points.  Politics pervades even in this manner.

Raiding prison facilities and confiscating contrabands are regular features of prison administration.  It should be conducted on a regular basis until the entire area has been saturated and cleared.  It is the only way to promote stability in a homogenous community.  BUT when this activity is used to humiliate and mortify inmates, then government whether they like it or not, has already planted the seed of radicalization on the person.  While officers bask in the limelight as latter day heroes projecting vigilance and championing discipline, they have instantly pushed the prison community, on most inmates as a matter of course, into the precipice of revulsion.

Forget the “terrorists”, those suspected of conducting mayhem in the name of their faith or religion.  Forget the captive insurgents, they who were incarcerated for pursuing ideological struggles.  They never matter inside the prison community.  They are even seen as mere segments if not a regular fixture without any value in terms of daily survival.  Their thoughts and persuasion are never a cause for changes among relationships forged within the walls.  These “radicals” are mere ornaments without effect and influence.  To believe that these “terrorists” are supplying the radicalization process among fellow inmates is hogwash and pure fantasy.

What radicalizes a felon is the way he is treated by his custodians.

Once an inmate regains his freedom, after years of being subjected to humiliation, shame and disgrace, his hostility is focused on the world.  He mounts his revenge on the universe and would wreak havoc with all heinous dispositions he could muster.

Note that for every “terror cell” or crime syndicate for that matter, using the language of security analysts, a person with prison record is always behind it.  He supplies the nerve and impunity, the cruelty and barbarity, the spite and brutality whenever they are called to action.  It is almost second nature.  He learned and experienced it first hand while under custody of law and his institutional handlers made it so.

There is rhyme and reason whenever the courts of law impose imprisonment.  The judicial system believes that there is something good in man despite his offense and therefore he should be given the necessary period within which to get penance and eventually rejoin the mainstream of free society as a rehabilitated person—law abiding and socially constructive.  That is the ideal.

The reality however is different.  As soon as the suspect is under the jurisdiction of law, he instantly gets the bashing.  He is paraded for the world to ogle at.  He is deprived of amenities.  Just check on those suspects who were hauled for “smuggling” bullets at the airport.  They were instantly handcuffed, detained and given the run around without the benefit of having a counsel of their own. 

Detainees or prisoners, more so, never get what is humanely due them.  If they are resourceful enough, then they are in for a surprise.  They are up for a controversy if not a scandal of monstrous proportion once they improvise.  They are fodder for politicians to make their legends more legendary.  They are pictured as villains, outlaws, and scoundrels.

Revenge is their only way to express their point.  And they subscribe to the dictum, “don’t get mad, get even!”

In other words, radicalization sets immediately in motion as soon as a person is placed under custody of law.  Expect the person therefore to be a terror one day.

One need not expect that day to come however.  It has already been shown on the way crime is conducted at present.   It’s a daily fare, a constant fact of existence which preoccupies social life.  It attacks as when a judge is assassinated.  It explodes and destroys.   It forays as what happened in Paris.

It can strike anytime.

Politics indeed has endangered humanity in a short span of time.

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