Once in a history class in the university, we had this nun-teacher-activist who posed this question to us: “Is there still hope for the
Philippines?” (hope as in what hope?). All was turbid except for one who had the guts to stand up and give what is the what. She stood up and surprisingly answered that there’s none and mentioned about the culture inherent in Filipinos-of our tendency to forget things, to forget our history. The nun-teacher-activist necessarily flared up-as to what degree? I can only retrieve the 100 decibel-high-pitched-tone-which-vibrated-and-echoed-round-the-halls-of-the-building memory of that history teacher. We’re all shocked but Aveline who managed to stay put with all the composure of a courtroom lawyer who had just been reprimanded by a judge. As for the teacher, she never regained her consciousness, I mean her cool, and made a pulsating sermon up in her imagined pulpit for the rest of the period. The gist of it all, is that she was so frustrated and disappointed to hear such answer from young people like us. She told us that it was so unnerving to see such gloomy and negativist thinking in this era where all that we have to do is to sit beside our tables and eat the fruits of democracy. She is so disappointed because it’s as if all the efforts of our heroes who endured and battled wars to defend our sovereignty were just put into waste.
This horrifying incident came to mind after reading the column of Pat Evangelista: Rebel without a clue in the Inquirer just this morning. It became a habit for me to read into the thoughts of Ms. Evangelista because she speaks the truth eloquently in her words to the embarrassment of national leaders. (If they still don’t get embarrassed by it I just don’t know what monster is living in their spirits.) Her column today staged, what I believe, is the current reflection of the Filipino mind: disillusionment.
One who, all his life, has been hopeful that change will reign in due time can never coexist in the vacuum of falsity. However, in these times where even the pettiest of hopes is all but Utopia, you will be forced to become tolerant to the point of letting your ideals be fooled and taunted. In Pat Evangelista’s words: “Once upon a time, there was a country:
Pearl of the orient, cradle of the brave, whose islands are caught between sea and sky and bright blazing sun. In this country, they tell a story. . . We know that, we just don’t know what to do. And without a narrative, without an end to aspire for, even Bamboo’s “Noypi” and Rivermaya’s “Liwanag sa Dilim” may not be enough to keep us fighting. We’re not on the streets, because we’ve been there before, and look what that got us.” Idealism is within us, Pat, it’s just that that idealism seems to be defenseless for the moment. Time will come. A hungry man who’s offered with a spoonful of worms has three options: to eat it, to refuse to eat it and die, or to refuse to eat it and find strength to kill the person who’s offering it.