A Shrine of Wishful Thinking

I took a battery of psychological exams last Thursday at Ortigas. After a grueling 3 hours, I traversed the road most traveled and went on to my journey to Cubao. As I reached the other side where the EDSA shrine was where I was to wait for a ride, I saw this father and son tandem looking down on something at the foot of the shrine. A keen observer of mankind as I am (translation: Chismoso extraordinaire), I went over to see what they were gawking at. Like a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a huge slate said:

ON THIS GROUND
Millions of indignant vigilant
And black-clad Filipinos started
A vigil for moral renewal in public governance
On January 17, 2001
Singing together, praying together
Chanting protest slogans together and
Charting together a new course
For the history of peaceful political change
On this holy ground,
At high noon on the 20th of January 2001,
The eve of the feast of Sto. Nino
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
Was sworn in as the
14th President of the Republic of the Philippines
Under the shadow of Mary, Our Lady of EDSA
In the presence of millions of peace-loving Filipinos
HENCEFORTH,
All generations to come
Shall call this historical event as the
2nd EDSA PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION
TO THE
UNNAMED FILIPINOS
Whose love of God and Country
Made the historical event come about
THIS
HALLOWED SPOT
IS GRATEFULLY DEDICATED

Then the son asked his Father after reading, “Ano ibig sabihin nyan, pa?” The father answered, “Wag mo na intindihin yan. Nandun ako with my officemates. Wala rin namang kwenta.” He then gives his son a strong tug and pulls him away and walks towards Robinson’s.

Shocked. Not by the father’s apathy and lack of appreciation of whatever the message on the slate wished to invoke. But by the fact that I too, may be guilty of such apathy. Two people revolutions have passed and it was the first time I stepped foot on the shrine, let alone read the slate that so proudly heralds the triumphant Filipino spirit—for the second time. Don’t get me wrong. I rode the bandwagon of peace- and truth-loving Filipinos with the fashion statements like the black ribbons on the wrists and engaged in arguments about the “nays had it” with my colleagues and a group of bisexual men on EB at Starbucks Festival mall and the whole hype over the telenovela more popularly known as The Impeachment Trial. I even got as far as Magallanes on that day where, as the slate says, “Millions of indignant, vigilant and black-clad Filipinos started a vigil for moral renewal in public governance,” myself clad in black…and ready to chant and all that revolution jazz. But now I feel like I wanted to go there before because I wanted to be part of history and not being able to be there brought me that feeling of regret just like my inability to be part of the Lovapalooza. It got me thinking if the urge to participate was PURELY about the noble duty of “peace-loving Filipinos” to demand for a “moral renewal in public governance” or if it was about being fashionable and cool. Question already moot? I don’t think so. How many people today gripe like the apathetic father over the then-noble-but-now-nonsensical-and-useless event called the 2nd PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION? Cruel and arrogant as it is to surmise that the “peace-loving Filipinos” who fervently wish for “moral renewal in public governance” have been so self-involved nowadays, efforts seem to end with organizing record-breaking crowds and fail to transcend the overwhelming brouhaha over the historic convergence of passion for change in order to translate it into proactive efforts to sustain the need to make changes. Coming from a person who was not even there, I feel like I need to apologize for the pessimism and undermining the efforts of the “millions of Filipinos” to whom the “hallowed spot is gratefully dedicated to.” But coming from the father who was there and telling his son how it is “walang kwenta”, and being witness to fellow Filipinos who pass by the “hallowed spot” as if it is just another pattern on the pavement, I ask you: Can you blame me?

I’m deliberately ending this for it to be a personal opinion stemming from an observation to prevent it from being preachy and for it to provoke more opinions.

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One Response to A Shrine of Wishful Thinking

  1. rachel says:

    your block of character is outstanding!

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