Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not in the mood

This is my column today.

Most of us don’t really need reminding, but just in case you have been impervious to everything else other than the latest outrageous turn of events at the Senate, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.

I was strongly reminded of the significance of the date when my students almost went ballistic as I announced last week that I would be giving a long test “Thursday, next week.” Students don’t like tests, generally speaking. But the reaction was more vehement. That’s when it hit me. To people of a certain age, Valentine’s Day is still a special day. Go ahead, snicker and make faces if you feel like it.

I’m not sure how Valentine’s Day fits into the national consciousness at this particular juncture in the country’s history. Once again, there is a certain pall in the air, like a foreboding of bleaker things to come in the next few days. I know that many people are not in the mood for some loving.

I certainly am not feeling any affection for Secretary Lito Atienza of the Department of Environment and his predecessor Mike Defensor right now. I’m not sure what other alternative careers they envision for themselves in the event they decide to leave their day jobs, but I am certain that acting cannot be one of them.

Goodness gracious, the performance of those two people at the Senate hearing last Monday left no doubt whatsoever that they were spinning tall tales and doing it badly. There is something that can be said about spinning tall tales: It requires more than just an overactive imagination and skills in pulling rabbits out from empty hats. First of all, it requires a good script, one that passes muster and by this I mean the sequence of events has to be logical and reasonable.

The ability to lie and come out credible in the process requires a strong conviction bordering on fanatical belief regarding the veracity of one’s version of the events in question. Half-hearted attempts and dismissive gestures don’t cut it. Conviction makes everything else come naturally—the welling tears, the helpless gestures, the pained facial expression, etc., in other words, the stuff that produces empathy.

If Atienza and Defensor turned in a bad performance last Monday, the police officials and their operatives did even worse. They turned in the most awful performance I have ever seen this side of town. It was like watching Kris Aquino playacting as a street urchin during her “Pido Dida” days. Yes, it was that terrible. It was the kind of performance guaranteed to make people squirm in their seats and run from the room screaming.

What was even worse than the acting was the overall demeanor of the military people in Monday’s hearing. It reminded me very strongly of the behaviors of the military men who testified in the Agrava Commission that Ronaldo Galman shot Ninoy Aquino. They appeared unconcerned that they were not making sense at all. Nope, I am not feeling any love for them right now.

It was also quite unnerving to witness on public television the “falling out” between Senator Joker Arroyo and Jun Lozada. There’s another relationship that has gone sour. I couldn’t quite make of the emotion behind Lozada’s lament “tagahanga mo ako, senador [I am your fan, senator].” Was that disappointment? Anger, perhaps? Was that anguish over pained realization that the person you used to worship has feet of clay after all?

Whatever is the current state of their affection for each other, Arroyo and Lozada still have a lot of explaining to do, not only to each other but to the country as well.

Thanks to the unexpected but very public spat reminiscent of an LQ (lovers’ quarrel, as if you didn’t know) we have stumbled into yet another subplot that further complicates the already complicated plot.

We now know that the witness and the senator have been meeting prior to the Senate hearings. Exactly when, how many times, what was the nature of the meetings, and how the good senator’s wife figured in the whole scheme of things are details that are still to be revealed. As they say in soap operas, which now pale in comparison to the kind of drama(!), the excitement(!), the sleaze(!) produced by Senate hearings in this country, abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
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And talking about not being in the mood for love, certain sourpusses in Quezon City led by the Catholic Church, aren’t simply not in the mood for love, they want others to be kept in the dark about it, too.

They stormed the Quezon City Hall last Monday to demand disapproval of a city ordinance allowing sex education to be taught in all high schools around the city. Their efforts proved too late as the ordinance was already approved when they got inside the hall. This doesn’t mean of course that the issue is already dead because as we all know, no one— particularly the Catholic Church—likes to lose debates in this country.

The bishop of Cubao was even caught on television making thinly veiled threats about bringing the issue somewhere else. Hmmm. Perhaps to Malacañan Palace where I am sure certain officials would be more than happy to accommodate a quid pro quo arrangement at this time?

In a less hypocritical society, allowing sex education to be taught in high school should be something that deserves appreciation, if not commendation. Unless one has been living under a rock in the last 10 years, one knows that kids today are becoming more and more sexually active at a younger age. The simple fact is that there is no delaying the onset of earlier puberty these days no matter how many novenas we pray or how many decades of the rosary we recite every day. If the Church is truly serious about helping kids, denying sex education is not the answer.

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Despite all these, I hope that you have the kind of Valentine’s Day that you hope for. Of course, those in blissful relationships have no need for a special day to celebrate what they have, and those who don’t have relationships don’t need Valentine’s Day.

4 comments:

Gina said...

Whew, ang haba naman ng first blog read of the day ko =)!

I guess I'm not used to reading political/current events (in the Phils.) commentaries anymore altho' I do visit The Inquirer and Philstar websites for my fill of news from home.

But your blog did catch my attention and I read it to the finish. Natawa naman ako doon about Kris and her Pido Dida days acting. She used to suck in acting but now I believe she has evolved into a fine actress.

Hey, surprise,surprise, nakita ko ang blog ko sa blogroll mo! Thanks.

Lester Cavestany said...

We should certainly commend Councilor Joseph Juico and the QC Council for drawing the line between government policies and religious teachings! It's about time we follow Article 2, section 6 of our constitution which mandates the separation of church and state.

I hope the other local government units will follow the good example set by QC.


Thanks,
Lester
www.lestercavestany.com

Bong C. Austero said...

hi gina!
thanks for visiting. i came across your blog and liked it, so i linked.

bong

Bong C. Austero said...

lester,
i completely agree!

bong