Issue of May 14, 2017
Mt. Province

66th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Not a member!

Not a member!

For ordinary mortals like us, we could not play golf or dine at Wack-wack or Makati golf Club or buy at Amazon because we are not members. “Sosyal,”“bourgeoisie” (burgis), “aristocrat,”and “snob” are pejorative terms for persons who wish to be seen as members of the upper classes looking down on us who are perceived to have inferior or unrefined tastes. They refer to a class based either on wealth, fame, intellect, beauty or other imagined criterion and if one who does not fit in the category idolizes or imitates them, one becomes a climber, but really now in this mundane world, those two things are not very far apart. Ha ha ha. Lakas-hugot!

At the Baguio Country Club, an 80-year-old member was discussing his annual check-up with a fellow doctor-member who recently went to Bangkok, Thailand, hopefully not for a sex change. The doctor asks him how he’s feeling. “I’ve never been better!” he replies. “I’ve got an 18-year-old bride who’s pregnant and having my child! What do you think about that?” The doctor considers this for a moment, then says, “Well, let me tell you a story. I know a guy who’s an avid hunter. He never misses a season. But one day he’s in a bit of a hurry and he accidentally grabs his umbrella instead of his gun. “So, he’s in the woods, and suddenly a grizzly bear appears in front of him! He raises his umbrella, points it at the bear, and squeezes the handle. The bear drops dead in front of him.” “That’s impossible! Someone else must have shot that bear.” “Exactly!”

Across the table, several friends are relaxing after a couple rounds of golf. They hear a cell phone ring. One of them excuses himself and goes to answer it. “Hello?” “Honey, it’s me.” “Oh hey, baby!” “Are you at the club?” “Yes, why?” “I saw this absolutely gorgeous blue dress at the mall earlier. Can I buy it?” “What’s the price?” “Only P25,000.” “Sure, go ahead and get it, if you like it that much.” “Listen, I also stopped by the Toyota dealership at Bokawkan and saw the 2017 Land Cruiser. I saw one I really liked. The salesman gave me a really good price on it. Besides, we did talk about trading in the Lexus that you bought me last year.” “How much did he tell you?” “Only P7,500,000!”

“Okay, but for that price I want it with all the options.” “Oh, thank you! Before we hang up, there is one other thing.” “What is it, dear?” “Well, this might seem like a lot, but do you remember that property we were looking at last year? The four-bedroom colonial condominium with indoor pool? I visited our real estate agent earlier today and he said the price has dropped. Can I buy it?” “How much are they asking?” “It’s only P 50,000,000 now. I called our banker at Union and he said we have more than enough to put in a cash offer.” “Sure, go ahead and buy it, but see if they’ll accept P45,000,000.” “Great, I will! Thanks, sweetheart, I’ll see you later!” “Bye!” The man hangs up, walks back to his friends, and asks, “Does anyone know whose phone this is?”

And I finally was able play golf again but accidentally I shot my ball into one of these ponds, golfers here call “jabong.” My caddy shouted,“Oh, my God, what shall we do now?” I raised my iron like Moises and then the waters separated and everybody knew...”

I was in grade 4 when the great Ilocano President, Ferdinand E. Marcos, declared Martial Law and I can vividly remember watching then Press Secretary Kit Tatad in my grandfather’s black and white TV reading Proclamation 1081 instilling fear among our people. The country was in a police state and the police literally thought they were the rulers – arresting people for the simplest misdemeanor like having long hair, wearing mini skirt, huddling in groups of more than four or violating curfew. Later on at Boys High, everyday after the Pambansang Awit and before the school song, we were made to sing Ang Bagong Silang and who would ever forget the phrase “sa ikauunlad ng bayan disiplina ang kailangan.”

Marcos ruled and to him, he was the state. It was Louis XIV of the Bourbon dynasty, king of France from 1643 to 1715, builder of the Louvre and the opulent Versailles, who towards the end of his long reign, said of the State, “L’etat? C’est moi. Apres moi, le deluge.” (I am the State. After me, the end). His words became prophetic on July 14, 1789, when the mob stormed the Bastille, and the Bourbon king, Louis XVI, along with his Hapsburg queen, Marie Antoinette, clung hopelessly to the prospects of foreign intervention to save themselves. Louis XVI was the great-great grandnephew of the glorious king, as Louis XIV was once regarded. On January 19, 1793, he was sent to death by guillotine at the Place de la Revolution in Paris.

This generation France celebrates that epochal downfall of the Bourbon monarchy as the day of the French Revolution, and declares July 14, 1789, as its National Day. Centuries before, the great Greek philosopher Plato wrote: “It is the rulers of the State, if anybody, who may lie in dealing with its citizens… for reasons of state.” Centuries after, in 1924, Josip Broz Stalin of the Soviet Union said, “The State is a machine in the hands of the ruling class, used for suppressing the resistance of its enemies”. Come to think of it, 1081 had strikingly similar tones as the imperious declaration of Louis XIV, “I am the State.” The same State ruled by someone who abused power and invoked the security of the State as cover-up as Plato once described. Marcos envelopes himself in the red, white and blue colors of the flag and believed that he is the “ruling class,” in fact the only ruler, and would use any and all means, as Stalin did, to “suppress the resistance of his enemies.

In the minds of the Filipino, he must have been asking who could possibly save the Philippines from the ignominy, excesses or abuses of the unwanted martial rule? Le pouvoir de peuple, as when the bourgeois, along with the starving pauvre, stormed the streets of Paris? Or, in a scene that Juvenal once described with a question, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?” (Who shall guard the guardians themselves?)

The answer came on Feb. 20, 1986 when soldiers led by Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel Valdez Ramos decided to “break away” from the chain of command, and defied the reign of the uncrowned monarch-FM. The custodians decided to unplug themselves as the guards of Marcos. Unlike Louis XVI who was beheaded by the parliament of his people, a conspiracy of the elite on January 19, eerily 222 years ago, Marcos was allowed to fly to Hawaii after Uncle Sam told him, “It’s time to cut and cut clean.” Some good things never last.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mommas out there. Sigh!

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