Friday, December 26, 2008

Leaving and living

December 26, 2008


What a beautiful year, despite the seemingly insurmountable social realities, I enjoyed the year with a flash.

The year opened with a baby.

I thought becoming a dad, papa or tatay is impossible for me. But there’s the rub. Unknown to many, I end up a dad, papa, or tatay to someone so cute, charming, depressing and hopeful child,

The baby is actually a product of the youth’s inconsistency. Their abject poverty of mind, coupled with inept understanding of life’s difficulties constituted their utter ignorance in producing an angel.

But who can ignore an angel?

It was, first and foremost a test of one’s responsibility and commitment. Not just in raising a child to become a responsible being, but in understanding his daily needs. And I dare say, to a certain degree, I succeeded where he (sic) failed.

Having a baby is a welcome respite in these silly times.

It was just a tactical relief from my workload, or so I thought.

Often, during my “silly times” I checked the child before I go home. Buy him some milk and other needs like vitamins, fruits, and, oh yes, diaper.

Silly, indeed?

But being silly, sometimes is romantic. You romanticize the tactical relief only to be fooled again.

Surely, all dad, papa or tatay will never forget the time when they hug their baby, wipe their tears and cry with. That is the greatest gift of all.

And I was once a proud dad, papa or tatay to my baby Coco whom I will never forget.

The year 2008, too, offered some realities which can hardly be ignored.

Two of my distant relatives died in the C-130 plane crash in Davao City. It was expected.

Like any sane people, I am deeply troubled when a comrade and friend perished in the greatest encounter of her life. Rachelle, whom I admired the most, offered her life beyond our capacity to understand. Her death cannot be ignored and we cannot ignore her.

Whether you agree with me or not but dying is actually different. We don’t die equally. We don’t exit quietly. Others died lighter than a feather. Still, others died heavier than they thought.

And the greatest gift of all, 2008 offered us that after the last day of the year, a new year will emerge.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas, Caroling and Children

Should Christmas be celebrated despite the harsh times?

I asked myself as early as September when children caroling inside a dilapidated public utility vehicle (PUV).

You see, September is not just the start of “ber” months but also the month when marketing materials and Christmas extravaganza are lavishly unveiled at the expense of baby Jesus or using thy name to earn more.

It was Christmas in September while the whole world collapsed.

And the children caroling are just a reflection of glimmer of hope while the entire Christendom will savor the birth of the Savior.

All this because of our consumerist culture, a culture deeply ingrained in our mind that we don’t think it isn’t wrong anymore.

No amount of pity can surpass the accumulated drying and staggering voice of two to three malnourished and mature-looking children singing in our midst. And in an attempt to lose our constancy to the world, we hear them politely introducing who they are, albeit in a disturbing voice (typical of a hungry child):

“Ate…Kuya…Dili mi mga tulisan, bisan tulisan ang among dagway. Dili me mga kawatan. Dili mi kung unsa inyong nahunaan. Mga manaygunay mi.”

Carefully reading (or listening) to their introduction, you will realized not just the abject poverty attached to them but the anti-social activities attached to the people like them. Typically Filipino, wit and humor attached. And they, children in the streets will utter that with due respect.

Does your typical kid do that?

And then, their typical Christmas song:

“Ang Pasko ay kay saya…”

Does your typical kid sing that?

Often, I don’t give my coins in the streets particularly to our brothers and sisters earning a living by asking alms. I just don’t want to provide them with the opportunity of becoming ever more beggars and creating several (if not hundreds) of them to beg more just because I gave a cent or two.

On December 16 is the start of Dawn Mass or Simbang Gabi or Aguinaldo mass, the tradition of pre-dawn nine-day novena mass, one that is widely followed throughout the country is an opportune time to reflect the songs this children are singing and let’s see if they really touched our heart.

May the coming of the holiday season lead us to reflect where we have come and what has brought us to the point where we are.

Merry Christmas, still, even if I wonder sometimes if it is really meant for all.

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