Kuderong, kuderong kutkutangkutang
Sol di ma sol, tambor mayor
Kutkutikot, sinamay immuttot!
The lyrics of a child's song is one from memory.
It is a site as well of the best in what is in the past, remote as ever, and one you can only revisit once in a while.
There is innocence here still, as in the rhythms of the 'kunkunduyot ikkatem ta maysa" when the world was not yet dependent on gasoline and crude oil and on the bullying tactics of the powerful countries and even those not-so-powerful but capable of making their nuclear bluff to scare the wits of the bullies out there. We want to get back to the times past many times when we get to be too weary to even dream.
Or if we can dream, we can hardly catch the dream any longer, nor do we have the energy to do so.
The words of the song rang in my ears in the aftermath of the 6.7 earthquake, strong enough to jolt us from our lethargy as peoples of the First World with our claims to invincibility. Filipino immigrants like us are more attuned to these rocking and jolting rhythms of the earth raped daily by our despoiling acts, our exploiting capability. The Philippines, in truth and in trope, is in the Pacific rim of fire and fire is both our foe and friend ever since, as in the fire of our wrath to drive away the conjugal dictatorship and the family corporations for jueteng and other forms of social fleecing operations masked off by the charade that the silver screen is really silver.
I sang this song--the "kuderong, kuderong kutkutangkutang"--while I navigated the dark freeway last night, the H-1 that leads to Waipahu where I live.
Even the twin towers dotting the Pearl City landscape, my constant and trustworthy reference point for preparing to take Exit 8 that hits right into Farrington Highway, were not there in the dark except for their dark outlines, with not a glow to announce their phallic capabilities for standing tall and proud against the hilly earth and against the wide skies of this western part of Honolulu.
This was a sad night, with the darkness reigning kingly and supreme and with us Hawai`i mortals bowing to its absolute power, with only the light of our hopes and minds giving us the flickering light of the soul that does not want to give up.
Many times I allowed the "kuderong, kuderong kutkutangkutang" to sink deep in my mind, my soul, and my heart, as if I were a man who was afraid of the dark and had to whistle in order to scare the ghosts away.
It was difficult to drive in the dark.
That realization became my metaphor: to navigate the dark is not as easy as one would think it is. Last night, I reminded myself: go, go navigate the dark and the unknown but pray and hope and trust in the energies of the universe, in the abiding spirit of life.
In the dark, we need the light, and as much light as we ought to have.
I learned my lesson for the day: know when to sing the "kuderong, kuderong kutkutangkutang."
A Solver Agcaoili
U of Hawaii-Manoa
Oct 16, 2006