Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Recognition of Desire

Ever since I heard about the Anti-Epal Bill in Twitter, I fell in love with the idea. "Epal" is an old Filipino slang from "ma-papel"(whose rough translations vary with context, such as "attention hog", "show/spotlight stealer," "credit/compliment beggar," etc. I hope you get the general idea. Filipino idioms are a bit tricky). Although the bill had roots way back in 2004, it gained popularity because of its rather unabashed renamed title. This was in response to the proliferation of credit-taking tarpaulins of supposed projects, accomplishments and other opportunities to turn an entire area into a politician's image - figuratively, and in many cases, even literally.

But being "epal" is not limited to politicians. And it's not even limited to Filipinos. It is a prevailing subconscious attitude, a silent culture of insecurity. It permeates every aspect of our society: from the sibling rivalries vying for a parent's attention, to the selfish pursuit of academic excellence (not that it is wrong, but really – for what reason or goal are the best-performing students aiming for ever since?), and that philosophical quest for self-actualization. Even the church is not exempt from it.

There's an epal inside every one of us. A soft, demanding voice that whispers a thirst for appreciation, for recognition and for remembrance.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Farewell to Another Great Bicolano: Jesse Robredo

Death comes ever so suddenly, that sometimes the pain of our loss goes beyond our mere senses - like wounds to the soul, leaving behind not just a scar but a seeming emptiness that somehow seems to suck every ray of smile...

Yet there are people who, even in their death, manage fight back against that void - and with a preciously small fragment of a memory, turn around the gloom by reminding us not of what we had lost, but what every person leaves behind - a legacy, a memory of some distant yet perceivable hope, a reason to smile.