Aug 12, 2007

Mang Serapio

Aug 10, 2007

Love for sale

The posh hotel was quite impressive, I should've worn shoes instead of rubber slippers. The coffee did not taste burned (well, at least the first cup didn't) and the sandwich came with a tiny umbrella.

"We need your brain." All 8 or 9 or 10 of them said in perfect unison. What? "We need some stuff in your brain for this things we're working on." What is this thing you're working on? "A beauty pageant." (Cue: Yanni music fades in).

A beauty pageant. I paused for a while (Yanni music up), wolfing down my 300-peso snack and thinking why I didn't order a 500-peso lunch instead like everybody else, it was past lunch afterall. Sure, what's in it for me? "Nothing." Nothing. Sounds fair. But wait, this stuff you want... from my brain... you're just borrowing it, right? I mean, it's my stuff afterall. "Er... yeah." (Music crossfades from Yanni to Mike Francis' "Lovely Day").

So that night with a sterilized ice pick, a cuticle remover, a teaspoon and a plastic bag with ziplock, I picked my brain. They were nice people, and they were nice about it, so the pain was worth it (which wasn't much anyway), although it wasn't easy picking through the rubbish inside my head. Some brain stuff kept splashing on the heap of bond paper on my desk - I'll use them later for something. I carefully placed them inside the ziplock bag and went to bed, dreaming about tiny umbrellas and fog machines with pine-scented oil.

The next day, I hand over the ziplock bag to them (there were more of them, actually their numbers kept growing as we kept on having more meetings). This time I ordered for something in between a snack and a lunch - tapsilog here is served here without a free bowl of soup like every other tapsilog place does, but that's ok.

"Hmmm, nice stuff," said one while sniffing the bag. Another opened the bag and dipped his finger in it and licked his finger, "would you have something in there to salt this stuff a bit?" You mean right here, right now? "Uh-huh." Good thing I brought that faux Swiss knife I won in a Christmas raffle. So right there, while everyone was enjoying either their grilled prawns or Caesar's salad or minestrone, I picked my brain. I added a bit of this and that into the ziplock bag and the bag was passed around and everybody dipped their fingers into the bag and then everybody licked their fingers and in perfect unison, they said, "Hmmmm, this is good. Take two bottles of freshly ground pepper and we'll call you in the morning."

I left feeling quite dizzy.

They didn't call the next morning, but two mornings after. They wanted another meeting, and they wanted me to bring them more of that brain stuff. Like Clarisse Starling, I trustingly and blindly obeyed.

This brain picking makes me hungry, and I was hungry on that third meeting, so I ordered something two notches classier than the soup-less tapsilog platter.

As they passed around the new batch of stuff around, and just as I was picming through the extenders in my goulash, I heard them say, "there's one more thing we need."

What?

"Your heart."

My heart?

"Yup, we'll pay you."

How much?

"Your brain stuff's good, we're sure you heart's fine too, so name your price."

You do understand that if you take my heart I'll die, right?

"Really?"

Really. So here's the deal, I can give you a taste of my heart and let's take it from there. But bear in mind that I will never allow you to take all my heart away from me, you may use if for your... er... pageant, but it must always remain inside me, ok?

In perfect unison, "ok." I forgot to cue the music for this scene.

We have 10 lunches after that, and on the 11th one which came after a breakfast, we stared at each other for hours until it was time for dinner and I was about to roder something only to find out that they've alreay ordered something for me. Pink salmon.

"Your heart's too expensive."

I almost choked on the salmon I just put in my mouth. Speaking with my mouth full of fish, I said that I wasn't selling my heart, I was merely letting them use it.

"But using it entails costs for us that we find too prohibitive, the equivalent cost of 6 luncheon meetings mean so much to us you know. And besides, we were just wondering if you'd actually sell your heart to us, but you won't, though renting it is fine with us too since we wouldn't need it anymore after the pageant and after we've taken our curtain calls."

I take a sip straight out of the Coke Light can. So what now?

"Actually, we don't really need a heart, all we need is an extra pair of hands... how much are those?"

They're not for sale.

I left in such a haste that I forgot to retrieve the brain stuff in that ziplock bag. But that's ok, there's more where that came from.

Aug 9, 2007

Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio

Synopsis ni Padma Perez
Salinwika sa tagalog mula sa Ingles ni KM Altomonte

ANG PAGLILITIS NI MANG SERAPIO - Isang dula ni Paul Dumol

Sino si Serapio? Bakit siya nililitis? Ano'ng paki-alam natin?

Sa unang limang minuto pa lang ng paglilitis ay tatambad na sa atin ang krimen ni Mang Serapio. Ang pagkakasala niya ay pag-aaruga ng bata. Oo, ang pag-aaruga ng bata ay isang krimen. Unti-unting magkakaroon ng liwanag ang akusasyong ito sa pag-usad ng kwento. Si Serapio ay isang pulubi na kasapi ng isang federacion na namamahala sa arawang-kita ng mga pulubi mula sa pamamalimos. Hinabla siya sa “korte” ng federacion dahil kung tunay nga siyang nag-aaruga ng isang bata, nagkakasala siya dahil bumababa ang kita ng federacion dahil sa pangangalaga niya sa batang yaon. At kung nababawasan nga naman ang kita federacion, kailangan siyang parusahan. Ang maitim na kalikasan ng federacion ay mapaghahalata nang ihayag ng mga taga-usig na ang parusa sa mga lumalabag sa mga batas ng federaciong tulad ni Serapio ay pagpilay o pagbulag, na siya namang makatutulong sa kanilang pagiging pulubi. Ang bawat desisyon ng “korte” ay ginagawa para sa kabutihan ng nakararami sa federacion.

Hindi na bago ang mga balita tungkol sa mga federaciong nagpapalakad sa mga pulubing namamalimos. Madalas tayong makarinig tungkol sa mga ito, at kung tayo'y magmamanman ng mabuti, ang ebidensyang tunay ngang mayroong mga ganitong uri ng federacion ay nasa ating harapan lamang, sa ating mg lansangan. Ang isa sa mga nakakagimbal sa Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio ay ang pag-amin ng isa sa mga kanyang taga-usig na ang tunay na “krimen” ni Mang Serapio ay ang pag-aaruga ng mga pangarap, mga pangarap na hindi naman makakamtan. Para sa federacion, ang mga pangarap at ang mga nangangarap ay mapanganib. Nais tayong paniwalain ng federacion na mas mainam na huwag tayong mangarap, huwag maiba, at huwag pangarapin ang pagbabago, dahil ang pag-asa sa pagbabago ay walang ibang kahahantungan kundi pagkakasakit at kabiguan.

Sa paggamit ng estilong theater-in-the-round kung saan nakapalibot ang mga manonood sa acting area, kakaibang karanasan sa panonood ng isang dula ang hatid ng pagtatanghal ng Open Space Projects ng “Ang Paglilitis Ni Mang Serapio.” Bukod pa rito, ang pagtatangahal na ito ay maaari ring magsilbing plataporma sa pagtalakay ng mga paksa sa araling panlipunan tulad ng struktura ng kapangyarihan sa ating lipunan. Para sa mga estudyante, nagbibigay-daan din ang dula para sa mga talakayan ukol sa mga kaugaliang pilipino at mga konsepto ng ambisyon, pag-asa, hustisya at pag-ibig.

Dagdag pa rito, ang pagsasadula ng paglilitis bilang isang tila palatuntunang pantelebisyon o showbiz blitz ay maaari ring maging tulay sa mga katanungan ukol sa paghubog ng media sa mga impormasyon, mga imahe at ating pag-iisip at kung paano nito naapektuhan ang ating buhay at ang ating mga paniniwala.

Kung ang buhay ay tila nga isang dula, ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio ay isang palabas na ipinaloob sa isa pang palabas, at tayo, ang mga manonood, ay mga saksi hindi sa krimeng nagawa ni Mang Serapio, kundi sa mga kawalang-hustisya ng mga ginawa sa kanya.

Bilang mga saksi, kailangan din siguro nating itanong sa ating mga sarili ang mga katanungang ibinato kay Mang Serapio, at maari siguro tayong mapagisip-isip, si Serapio nga ba ay isa lamang hamak na pulubi, o isa ba siyang taong nangangarap, at maari nga kayang isa siyang katulad natin? At kung siya nga ay katulad din natin, sino ang Federacion at paano tayo binubulag nito?

(Open Space Projects' production of Ang Paglilitis Ni Mang Serapio goes on stage at the Bulwagang Juan Luna of U.P. Baguio on August 23, 2007 with shows at 1:30PM and 6:30PM. For inquiries call Dulaang U.P. at mobile 09175060080 or UPCAC at 09102504935 or landline # (074) 4448393)

Aug 8, 2007

Sh*t

RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD

TAOISM – Shit happens.
HARE KRISHNA – Shit Happens Rama Rama Ding Ding.
HINDUISM – This Shit Happened Before
ZEN – What Is The Sound Of Shit Happening?
BUDDHISM – When Shit Happens, Is It Really Shit?
CONFUCIANISM – Confucius Says, Shit Happens.
7th DAY ADVENTIST – Shit Happens On Saturdays.
PROTESTANISM – Shit Won't Happen If You Work Harder.
CATHOLICISM – If Shit Happens I Deserve It.
JEHOVAH'S WITNESS – Knock, Knock. “Shit Happens.”
UNITARIAN – What Is This Shit/
MORMON – Shit Happens Again & Again & Again.
JUDAISM – Why Does This Shit Always Happen To Me?
RASTAFARIANISM – Let's Smoke This Shit!!!

Aug 6, 2007

Portraits... tales from a hill station

Open Space Projects' upcoming tv show... coming in September.