EVEN though I promised not to write about politics when I started Honoring my Mother columns four years ago, “tao lang po” (I’m only human) might hack it as a temporary excuse for the moment… either that or I could plead insanity instead. Truth is, the political process (such as the “politika” that we pinoys are just too familiar with in our country) always naturally comes out as the butt of all jokes whenever election nears, because of its ever-colorful cast, complete with their equally-interesting character arcs, and their supporting extras of thousands.
Because of this, one just could not resist playing the role of sniper troll. Surely, our Filipino, personality-oriented brand of politics appears to have been handed down to poor old us from generation to generation. Look, even the template of the politicians looks like each of them came out of a specific handbook or catalogue.
Back in high school, we had once volunteered to assist in an all-nighter, post-election quick count held in one of the public school premises in the city. I remember that in one part of our orientation, those in charge warned us that our task included monitoring the counting of ballots and vigilantly guarding against goons sent by “bad politicians” who might upend proceedings. Back then my first thought had been, ‘Wow, so the concepts of the dirty politician and the goons in Tagalog komiks were true after all! Since that time, politics became an interesting subject to observe; albeit that ugly face.
When much later after studies, I had five years’ experience working in a company that had close ties with a local politician. There, I learned and caught a closer glimpse at how all political candidates were packaged like marketable goods (which they really are).
Not much had changed. The most recent fascination with colors by politicians is a funnier case in point. Perhaps as in the earlier times, our colonial masters may have first started with the colors black and white in associating parties, people and such, and then graduating to extend their preferences to the colors red, yellow, brown and other hues of the rainbow as their taste for discrimination and packaging improved. Not so much change since then either.
From the global to national scene and down to the lowest rung, I had likewise realized that all along, Tagalog komiks (and DC) had not been the original author of the goons and bad politicians’ concept. It had all been a case of art imitating reality.
Now, merging the color-crazy frenzy with the age-old goonie slash dirty politician action figures, then adding a dash of Joker and other comedians into the political cauldron, what’s being cooked for our coming dinner? Hopefully, the kitchen staff won’t forget the most important ingredient: the short-term memory potion that makes us all happy eternally in our little kingdoms.
HONORING MY MOTHER
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