There is so much to be said about the Ilokano struggle in Hawaii. There are the burning issues. There are the words that burn as well. It is the same struggle you have seen elsewhere: in Manila, in Laoag, in Los Angeles, and now in Honolulu. The issues go with you. They do not leave you alone.
In your homeland, the issues were about the many rights trampled upon by the powerful, from writing to students rights, to the rights of the poor like you, to the right to call it quits with a president who did not know how to preside over the affairs of a county and a people except to his own sense of country and to his own sense of people.
Which means that his country is his cabal of impostors and pretenders shanghaiing all that can be shanghaied from a country already shanghaied empty by others.
Which means that the people are simply this: his own people.
Which defines as his coterie of greedy relatives and friends and hangers-on, who would go berserk with him with irresponsibility, song, and wine.
The Honolulu struggle is a bit different. It is one marked by a complication—as if in a medical case where the patient needs all the suero you can find. The vital signs are giving away the clues.
Temperature check: no sweat, it is darn too cold or darn too warm, depending on who you talk to and who you deal with. Lydia Abajao has a term for this: quever, bibiangko.
Pulse check: too weak or too fast, depending on who are involved, like this talk we had at one fancy restaurant today, November 30, by King Street, a reverend who means so well, a young activist who means so well, and myself who is in between meaning so well and being mean. LOL would define the pulse of the moment.
To struggle for a people and with your own people is one hard task to do.
To follow the way to your self-promotion and self-aggrandizement is one easy thing to do. It is the easiest thing to do. Some of those who can write in English—and so well—has a name for this: PR work.
The first leads you to crucifixion. The second leads you to a false heaven.
One has to choose; you need to choose.
I write this reflection while I look out the window, and there, in the dark, with the bright lights of Makakilo, I see the outlines of a mountain promising social justice, the kinalinteg, to all who deserve it.
From my window sill the December rain drops, and the music it creates lilts like a morning song announcing the breaking of day.
It is 4 o’clock, and soon the freeway will be filled with people rushing to their ambition, some to their crucifixion, and the others to their false heaven.
Honolulu is paradise too, but not so.
Honolulu, HI/Dec 1, 2010