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HONORING MY MOTHER | Rocking a steady boat

By Icoy San Pedro

“Sentido common!” The first time I heard the phrase was from my mom’s mom, Lola Titang, in what seemed like a hundred years ago. A stern and overly-practical matriarch, she wore the badge of a world war survivor as though it were a vicious pup on her shoulder ready to snap at anyone who had done a less-than-quality chore that’s not up according to her standards. As such, she lorded over the old Ponciano household tirelessly, with only the late afternoon games of mahjong as her means of respite. A tyrant she was I thought at the time, and we her, grandchildren treaded ever so softly whenever we passed in a straight line by her bed which was situated near the back of the house while on our way to playing downstairs through the rear staircase.

I guess for grandma, whenever you find yourself running out of options, your usage of common sense was the reserve in your tank, your instant app much like call-a-friend. By failing to employ this option and then proceeding to make a mistake merited a swift rebuke. Without fail. Many times I’d hear her snarl, “ano bang nasa kokote mo?” (or roughly translated as ”what’s inside that brain of yours?” or “what were you thinking?”)

That latter retort now appears to have tremendous playback appeal among superior – minded people during these last few days. If not for anything else, it reveals to us at last how they really view others. Although the “what were you thinking” uttered by these pretend intellectuals instantly brought me back again to that similar and much-earlier time, with grandma asking us the same question and growling at us kids, the context in both situations are hardly even on the same page. We might have been dumb little kids then yes, but does that also suppose that the majority of people today, whose votes have been instrumental in someone’s victory in an election, are dumb as well?

This precisely is what’s wrong with the world. While the meek inherit the earth, it is the voices of the few that ring out loud across the vast silence declaring their false sense of superiority. As in a popular meme going around, don’t assume loud is strong and silence is weak because at every road’s end, there is always a reckoning and the truth will eventually out.

The pompous assumption of being above others socially and in intellect serves no purpose in the democracy we boast about so much. There is this complex in our culture” it only applies to others. In the everyday, you encounter people who skip lines, overtake recklessly to be first, use influence to avoid long queues, in short assert dominance over others whose only fault is to follow protocol. While this trait thrives in all of us, including the majority, it’s the very reason why entitlement exists. In the same way, it’s this culture that supports these few. We.ve been feeding them all along.

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