A PROCLIVITY FOR THE MUNDANE

Because I want to be ironic, here’s something I wrote two years ago.

One is often left to wonder what has become of our world today. We are all parts of a system that goads us to look at the ‘bigger picture’ but often we end up nitpicking about the most banausic of topics and non-issue. Most of the time, our nonchalance in the face of most events occurring before us is rivaled only by our passion for the least germane aspects of the issue at hand. What is worse is that more often than not, the issues we chose to get ourselves involved in are those that matter to no one, not even to us, but which we chose to get involved in still because in this age not being a part of a fight, not being a member of an advocacy group, not being driven by something, not having an opinion on something are tantamount to letting go to waste the freedom we are supposed to be enjoying, for not doing so is an unforgivable ingratitude.

And so we’ll fill any space imaginable with all the refuse our minds happen to contain. The internet has become an open dump site for all the trash we cannot afford to bleed into our reality, but, as is inevitable, this bloody business we are a part of is hemorrhaging freely into the material world, all for the sake of the ‘freedom (of speech)’ which we all feel we’re entitled to. It’s not whether what we say is inspired by some noble motive or that it’s a product of careful thinking, the more pressing question for us is whether we have something to say right at this moment. And there is where the peril lies.

This is how we cope with the gnawing insignificance the world is making all of us feel, but which none of us will whole-heartedly admit; this is a very human response to something as dehumanizing as living in this point of our present. It is perfectly human.

When we’re confronted with the uncertain, we talk endlessly, in gibberish, to drown any suspicion that this reality is a mirage. And so, to remind us of our corporeality, we talk, using a language only we can decipher. And the others, yes, they’re our conspirators. Of course, they also talk using a language, theirs, but certainly not our language. And, we talk, mimetically. What is interesting, however, is that there is a semblance of comprehension, a constructed reality existing in a vacuum, a phantasm perhaps, deluding us into thinking that communication has occurred when in fact what has only transpired is a useless exchange of meaningless but intelligent-sounding, grammatically correct, syntactically appropriate arrangement of words we all refer to as our opinion. Verbalizing this is the be-all and end-all of talk. After all, this is a time of unbridled liberty, where one man’s rubbish is as significant and as worthy of our precious little time as the other man’s puke.

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Cynic

My long absence from my blog allowed me time to reflect about the entire idea of cynicism, and why people in this part of the world are so adept at cloaking their mistrust of their fellows by feigning happiness and careless abandon. Now I have a clearer understanding why the guy seated next to me on a train straddles his backpack in front of him, choosing to look ridiculous than having his possession snatched from him by me or that guy with a suspect stare standing right in front of him, clutching the bacteria-strewn stainless bar.

My optimism about anything and everything that this city stands for has been totally demolished, confronting me with a cold reality of my insignificance and of everyone else’s who lives in this place. I want to spray sharp invectives at the first, second, third, and so on person I meet every time I leave my room darkened by the shadow of gloom of the building beside it.

It used to be easier to steer myself away from this cynicism before, but as I age, I found it more and more difficult to keep myself unconsumed by it, unscathed by it.

I’m back to writing now.

But I am not the same man.

Young and murdered

Winton Lou G. Ynion

A friend asked me while I was inside a bus on my way home from work whether I know somebody named Winton Ynion. I made a mental note of the funny sounding name, like how it was pronounced by somebody who has a speech defect, probably with a malformed palate. His name did not resonate in any of my recent or past memories. I was certain I have not met this man before. Upon reaching my place, I checked my emails and there in one of the messages from a yahoogroups that I am a member of, I learned who Winton was and what happened to him.

I googled his name, viewed his Facebook like a stalker. He was from the same province, Iloilo, where both my parents came from, a good five years ahead my age. He was already finished with college while I was still a childish boy of fifteen playing with my friends in the pineapple fields of South Cotabato. He finished his undergraduate with honor from West Visayas State University, took his graduate studies from the University of the Philippines Diliman and was an assistant professor at De La Salle University. He has also won a Palanca, the country’s most prestigious Literary award.

How technology can amass and provide astounding amount of information but how little does it allow us to truly understand things and people.  I may have known a lot about him but this means really nothing.

He has accomplished a lot at such a young age. He can be a subject of the expression we always hear when somebody green yet well-accomplished dies:  “He’s so young, so full of promise. He can’t be dead”. In fact he is dead. He was brutally murdered inside his condominium unit on a rainy August night. His body was found in his bathroom, hand and legs tied.

It’s funny how we have all worked hard to achieve all the recognitions, successes, and touched lives of people only to find ourselves occupying a three square inch newsbrief in the police report section of a daily broadsheet or worse sensationalized beyond recognition in a smutty local tabloid.

What is even funnier, in a lamentable sense, is the fact that the justice system of this country will remain untrue to its name. It will not serve justice, not even a pinch of it. Ynion’s family will only see his name in the growing folders of unsolved murder cases.

My cynicism was glaring, in reality, it was screaming. Because this country has failed its youths so many times that I’ve lost my trust on its institutions. I cannot pretend to be hopeful in a system that does not give a damn to the people it is supposed to be serving.

Winton might disagree with me if he is still living this time. He may even ask me why at my age I am already this disillusioned and cynical. He would’ve even convinced me to reconsider my stance and look at the bright side of things, that there are people silently working to make this country better.

But he’d never be able to hear my answer. He is dead.