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HONORING MY MOTHER | On the matter of perspective

Would you believe your left and right eyes see things differently? It could be a little experiment is in order. Cover your left eye with one hand and then with your right wide-open, focus on an object for five seconds. A vase on a table perhaps is a good enough subject. Next, slowly close your right eye but still imagine seeing the image in your mind for another five. Repeat the process, alternately opening your left  and covering your other eye. The object you’ve observed earlier will appear to have moved somewhat but no, it’s still the same yet only at a slightly different angle. 

A kid’s little game perhaps but it’s the closest example of perspective. Admittedly, I used to play it during alone moments as a child. Much later, I remember we actually included it as an exercise in an activity to define how we see things in art during a children’s theater workshop long ago in Tagum. 

Nowadays, when one thinks about it, perspective is what is actually one of those that make all the difference in the world. Many might even say, duh, I knew that already, it’s common sense. But are we conscious of different perspectives of people whenever we look into and critique at their way of looking at things?

Consider tourists/visitors entering a resort or community. Two perspectives about to clash head-on. While for the latter, the purpose might be to briefly get away from their world and indulge in vacation-mode, for the resort/community dwellers, it’s a matter of accepting the presence of new people into their present reality. For communities, whatever realities they face at the moment, be it farm life or ordinary day-to-day, these will have to contend with outside presence even at least for a while.

During the early 80s, a friend was telling me about countless researches on indigenous peoples in the hinterlands. He observed that clearly, while some may have been unaware of it, there surely must have been a lasting effect on indigenous groups at the sudden presence of ‘strange’ people who, with modern tech cameras and tape recorders, constantly shove these into their faces, inquiring about their culture and everyday existence. 

In all, this lack of sensitivity (which is even noticeable today, if only we observe how some city folk view lumads in our festivals) is further inter-mixed with a collective apathy going around. One only has to look at how people color their threads in social media with both insensitive and I-don’t-care declarations just as long as their agenda is served. Finally, while for most, it’s like a no-harm-intended, just-for-fun-of-it poking at other people’s faults, perspectives have a way of strangely melding into attitude and finally settling into the deep-seated set of beliefs we term as our culture.


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