Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Best Medicine

We are known for being a race that can laugh in the middle of great swirling manure. We like the fact that we can still find humor even in the face of really mean-looking odds. It helps us be resilient, we say. Tenacious, to be redundant. Tough, to be really redundant.

Why are we not known as a butt-kicking race?
A nation of doers?
The Republic of We-are-so-doing-great-things?

We like being funny. I do, too. We like it when people acknowledge that we have a great sense of humor. We consider that a compliment.

Sure. After Marcos, we had Macoy jokes. After Cory, we had, well, Cory jokes and brownout jokes, etcetera. When the current president said hello to a certain Garci, we readily had a sackful of jokes about that. We even had that recording remixed. We still have those Jocjoc jokes around. We exchange them, we laugh at them and then we move on to that joke about the giraffe's sore throat.

This is not to say that we should stop laughing. Skulking sucks. I mean, some Gloria jokes are okay, don't get me wrong. I love it that we can laugh even under lousy circumstances, but wouldn't it be better if we were known for other things aside from our laughter. Let's laugh at some Gloria jokes, but let's not stop there. Let's laugh at some jokes about a very expensive fiscal/judge, but don't stop there. Laugh at some pork barrel jokes, kotong jokes, MMDA jokes, LTO jokes and some really tasteless jokes about a Pinoy seaman and a South American whore, but remember why the joke was created.

We laugh when we are in deep doo-doo.
We create jokes about that particular doo-doo.
Laugh at the doo-doo jokes, but do not forget the doo-doo.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fear Factor : Quiapo Edition

I just saw the Feast of the Black Nazarene “procession” on TV. It was quite an event. Devotees were risking life, limb and children just to get near the Black Nazarene. It would have been hilarious if it weren’t for the number of injured devotees.

Naman. It’s a religious event. It shouldn’t be as dangerous as the yearly bull-running festival in Pamplona, Spain. It’s a way of showing the creator or the son or both our rabid devotion. But like most religious event that we have here, we forget the essential thing. We forget faith, and we stick to the ritual with the single-mindedness of an infant. People forget why we flock to Quiapo Church. People forget why we insist on touching the wooden Christ. People forget everything but remember the routine.

Faith is hard, routine is easy.

Imagine what would happen if the Quiapo Church decides to stop holding the yearly procession? What could happen? The devotees and the faithful would certainly go berserk. They couldn’t even change the procession route. The crowd a.k.a. mob just won’t let anyone interfere with their ritual.

Are we a nation of unthinking devotees? Have we a culture of rituals?

I hope I’m wrong.

I should be wrong.

Christmas 2008

It's been two weeks since Christmas 2008. I haven't really written anything during the Christmas season. My christmas season has been fun and way nice. You see, i don't like writing nice things, I prefer ranting. But, all in all, as I've mentioned, my Christmas 2008 went really great. My family and my wife's family spent Christmas together in Baguio. My wife's from Baguio and they have a house there. The weather was great, freezing to some, and the atmosphere was generally calm and jovial. Well, there were a few religious-schism moments, but things worked out okay. We had several turista moments: boating, horseback riding, sight-seeing and mind-numbing picture taking.

Christmas 2008 was nice. Hope to have better ones in the future.