The callousness of the rabid, myopic, hegemonic nationalists like this Taft Avenue guy.

The callousness of the rabid, myopic, hegemonic nationalists like this Taft Avenue guy.
IF WE ARE TO make a survey of these people who are foisting this evil upon us and see which language they speak, we certainly can establish a pattern:
1. This Taft Avenue guy is a model, with his Tagalog Bulacan that he knows--and the only Philippine language he knows--and he confuses this, or lies to us big time, that this is also the Filipino language he is talking about. Basic linguistics would tell you he is lying: his Filipino language is not a language but a dialect of his Bulacan Tagalog. Ask an honest linguist--the one not schooled in the school of myopic linguistics--and you understand where the deception comes from. 
2. Other pretenders of Philippine knowledge, many of them non-Tagalogs but so comfortable speaking Tagalog they believe is Filipino (check the lexicon, check the grammar, check the structure and tell me who is lying here) and because this presumed language has become the medium through which they get this mindless pop culture education via the noontime TV shows and Abante and Bulgar (and what have you). You might be surprised many of these are Ilokanos who do not know their Ilokano (in fact, they are ignorant of their language, and do not even know its structure, but can only speak it like a child before four speaking it) or Binisaya or Subanen, or Tausug, or Maranaw, or Bicol (hail, hail, Manu Algamán), or Cordilleran (hail, hail Prof Farland Dao-ayan Valera and Teofilo Damoco). 
We know this clearly: lobotomization and brainwashing have come upon us and we like it so under the guise of false nationalism, one that equates the use of an illegal language (based on a criminal act by legislators: read Vicente Albano Pacis' account, and you will weep) and the love of nation. 
We are not going to mention the name of this Taft Avenue guy: he is enjoying the limelight, and has become a superstar of our mindlessness. 
Next time he hits his head against the wall, I hope that he will learn Kapampangan so he understands what is it to lose your language when that act of losing is by way of the act of public governance that legitimizes even the illegitimate deed of criminals. 

The wrong kind of Philippine nationalism.

The wrong kind of Philippine nationalism.
THERE IS THIS WRONG kind of nationalism being foisted upon our people: it is a nationalism with only one head, one body, one soul, one spirit--like the 'Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa, Isang Wika' thing of the dictatorship, with the last phrase, 'Isang Wika' calculatedly removed for prosody and other reasons so that in the end only 'Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa' was inculculated in the minds of the young beginning 1972. 
Hail to those who approved the dictatorship, and many of these were from the University of the Philippines. 
And now, this again, with this guy from Taft Avenue talking about 'nationalism' and 'decolonization' as the prime reasons for his group's move to ask for the TRO of the removal of the Filipino subjects in college. 
When nationalism is reducible to this rah-rah-rah of this Taft Avenue guy, we need to feel inferior and unworthy of our claims of being peoples of the Philippines, because by the logic of this guy, his brand of nationalism does not colonize but says No! (with the exclamation point) to all things that destroy his sense of nation.
Never mind that this guy--promise, let us challenge him, and I cannot even pronounce his name because he has become a homogenization godling--cannot even speak another Philippine language apart from his Bulacan Tagalog.
Our problem is not the Tagalog language. 
Our problem is the kind of people like this Taft Avenue guy who cannot even make the name of his group right. 'Tanggol Wika' when you have 196 languages in the country? Shame. 
Ah, the ruses. 
The myopic nationalists have an armory of these ruses. Promise. 

Losing friends and colleagues because of the 'national language' issue: no hard feelings.

Losing friends and colleagues because of the 'national language' issue: no hard feelings. 
BETWEEN FRIENDSHIP and the cause of diversity, pluralism, and linguistic justice, my stand is clear: I can lose friends any time. 
But not the cause of diversity of a diverse homeland like the Philippines, the same homeland that insists on respecting the basic rights of people, signs the United Nation's covenants on language, culture, and educational protection and ratifies these, and yet does a different thing. 
But not the cause of pluralism. This is a value that is as central as the meaning of community itself, of humanity itself. Friends can go away, and I let them go, but not this resolve to make it certain that in the generations to come, the college students and all students will have that one fat chance to respect the plural nature of their country and their peoples. 
But not this linguistic justice and cultural democracy. We allow the hegemonic center--and that is Manila and what it stands for--to subjugate even our minds and allow Manila to deceive us--we have no reason to a human and humane claim to knowledge and existence. These are fundamental epistemic and ontological questions for you. 
I used to believe in nationalism but not this fascistic one being foisted upon by people whose minds have been clouded by a Quezonian view of language. Jesus H. Christ: Quezon's model was even Germany, France, Spain, and Italy when their fascistic and Nazistic dreams were on the rise. 
No, thank you. 
Thank you for the friendship, friends. 
Let us part ways: I go with our people.

Sickening, this TRO on the 'Filipino' subject thing in college.

Sickening, this TRO on the 'Filipino' subject thing in college. 
THINK OF THIS, and this is the myopic logic of the Tanggol Wika. 
That name is also a misnomer, and is, in truth and in fact, a fascistic group of people thinking only of its own kind of language which is not, by linguistic standard, a language but a dialect of a language. 
The Supreme Court TRO is simple enough, and it reflects the myopic thinking of this court as well, which is presumed to have its own supreme thinking and sublime thought about collective life. 
It is not. 
It granted TRO to this rah-rah-rah group of myopic nationalists that cannot even give regard to the issues of diversity, plurality, and indigeneity in the country. 
The group wants to bring back the "Filipino subjects" in college, which is your Filipino 1 and Filipino 2 for you after having all these courses covered up in the K-12. 
College is supposed to prepare the Philippine students with 
(1) more in-depth visions and appreciations of themselves by going into their own and what can they offer to their communities and to the bigger world out there, and 
(2) professional skills so they can face the world of work. 
But no.
Here comes the argument about decolonization and the nationalism crap, an argument that does not even recognize by way of self-reflection that the Philippines is now effectively being colonized internally by people that includes academics that are as myopic as their fossilized view of nationalism.
The Nazis were arguing better, and they had, among others Martin Heidegger to back them up, even twist their project of the great ends of Germany. 
But these myopic nationalists in the likes of those Tanggol Wika have only but their hegemonic and homogenous aims of making the Philippines one and only one language-speaking community.
Never mind that the Philippines has 196 languages, 185 indigenous and 11 foreign but used in the country.
Ah, let's fight the TRO and say for once to the Philippine Supreme Court that is must prove that it has the supreme mind. 

'Collective meningitis,' this.

'Collective meningitis,' this. 
THIS REPORT ABOUT public governance and economic position of Binay--what is he, anyway?--of needing China because da Filipins needs the capital China could give is something we all need to take with a grain of West Philippine Sea salt especially the fine salt from Pangasinan or from Pasuquin. 
In the first place, we need salt to make 'warsi' to those 'di-makitkita' [the unseen in the dark!], those 'nangisit' entities that are acting like bacteria that get into our collective brain and eating up every cell those bacterial could find. 
This is why with this collective meningitis affecting us all now, we need potent--the most potent--antibiotics to fight the evil that our leaders are doing to us to harm our way of thinking, to colonized our brain. and to make us believe that the word they speak is the word coming the the voices they here from some imagine sources, especially those telling them that they are the redeemers of da Filipins. 
No, Binay. 
No: we do not need the capital from China. 
What you need to do--if you are sincere--are the following:
1. Bring out all your ill-gotten wealth. Use that as our capital.
2. Bring out all the ill-gotten wealth of all sitting political leaders, the jailed senators included. Use that as capital. 
3. Bring out all the ill-gotten wealth of immoral wealth-seekers, favor-seekers and plunders in the likes of Napoles and Erap. Use that as our capital. 
4. Bring out all the ill-gotten wealth of the past abusers and plunderers. You know them, right, when you were pretending you were after our people's interest. You remember those days when you were still fired by truth, idealism, and integrity, with the MABINI? Now, now: use that as our capital. 
5. AND let all churches pay taxes. They cannot run away from their social obligation even if they are invoking the word of God. Use those taxes as our capital.
Now, go kaput, Binay. 

To the original golden lion

(It is always heartwarming to read a note from our children. So here is my son's). 

By Aurelio A. Agcaoili II

To the original golden lion, Aurelio Solver Agcaoili
You specifically requested for a longer letter, so here goes.
Being separated from you and Leah Antonio Agcaoili has made me realize how lucky and sheltered I have been, how hard you pushed certain walls to keep certain paths from closing, for us. Your lives have been greatly defined by others — specifically us, your children — not because you were forced to, but because you painfully chose to do so, you are choosing to do so. 
Selflessness is a difficult stunt to pull off, and I have seen you struggle to perfect it, again and again, seen you walk back to the edge of the cliff, holding your breath for the next fall. In my own fumbling, I began to realize how much courage and stamina that jump requires.
Also, in living alone, I began to better understand what it means, how valuable it really is, to live with your family. Togetherness comes in a lot of forms, and though ours is not physical, it is nevertheless immediate, unconditional. This is the beautiful and scary part of loving. I know you remain within arms' reach, so to speak, if and whenever I find it difficult to be my own man. I know you will be there; one of the few certainties I carry with me, like a badge. 
I know we approach things differently, but the name we share binds us in so many fantastic ways. I am proud to carry the suffix. Thanks for making me regal. 
I love you beyond reason, dad. I love you beyond beauty, and pain.
Happy, Happy Birthday!

--11 April 2015

Another Letter to Leah Francine, 2


By Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Dearest Leah Francine,

It is a new year, darling daughter, youngest of our dreams. You are only three years old and you will miss so many things yet from this letter. This is why on the night that you will get this letter—perhaps a week after I have it sent from Los Angeles or from Artesia where I sometimes I report for duty—please ask your mother to read my letter to you slowly. Ah, don’t bother. Your mother knows how to excite you as she reads my letter. She did it with flair and flourish with your brother and sister.  

I will email your mother and ask her to read it first in English, the language in which it is written as you can see. I will ask her to read it sentence by sentence and then translate each sentence at once. I guess that this is a good deal, indeed. Of course, I will ask your mother, as I always do, to keep this letter in your wooden treasure box together with the other letters that I sent you. It is the oak box with the California mother bear and California baby bear I sent you last year when you had yet to graduate from your milk in a bottle. Your mother understands that we will have a number of years of catching up—the years between my leaving the native land and you joining me in California. The letters, including this one and all the letters that I will keep on writing, will be a covenant between us—you and I, you a young daughter deprived of my lullabies and I, a middle-aged father deprived of your life-affirming embrace. And innocent laughter, sweet and mellow, always refreshing.     

I see that you are now beginning to pick up the rudiments and nuances of the English language from your daily dose of animation and cartoons from your favorite cable stations. I got a letter from your mother telling me that she is oftentimes surprised by your child’s way of saying, “Mama, please.” And “Wait for me, mama.” In English—and you have yet to set foot on a school!  Well, if the gracious Almighty will soon grant our wishes, you will join me here and practice your English the way the native speakers do in California. But with me, as a teacher of English as a Second Language, I will have to stick by the standards from the newscasts that I watch with a regularity to keep me abreast with the world around me and with this new world that California and the United States have opened for me.

This reminds me of a newscast I watched recently. It had this phantom of a tragedy in this tsunami in twelve countries in Southeast Asia. A photo of a young girl, a child, famished and febrile, loomed large on the screen with the devastation providing a backdrop. The young girl-child was eating from the outstretched hand of her emaciated and hungry mother. My good God! I had to swallow so much of my sorrow that got stuck in my throat. And then I felt that pang—the pang of guilt for leaving you without the benefit of a father around the house each day. I do not  know how you are able to take your hundred times of watching the “Sound of Music” with its cadence of a caring yet carefree life in the midst of a national crisis, with its beat of a familial joy that pulses with hope and trust and understanding and kindness. Oh, dear, oh, dear, I cannot help but allow this tear now to well down my cheeks even as I remember your letter in four words you sent last week: “I love you, papa.”  Scrawled, hardly legible, and with the traces of your mother’s hand holding perhaps a big pencil she bought for you so you would begin to learn to scribble, I took that letter to heart. I am becoming both sentimental and sentimentalist, you know.  And in my life of exile—one I have voluntarily chosen to find our corner in California and work hard to keep it—the sorrow salves me, soothes me, coos me as I snatch some restful sleep with the dreams of having you here soon.

The days will be long still, darling daughter. In the meantime, we will have to make do with letters such as this one—all kept in that oak treasure box. With these letters, we will be able to summon back the time that we have lost. This will heal us from the wounds of our separation. 

With all the love now—and warm hugs,

On a Black Saturday like, with 147 dead in Kenya.

I AM NOT so sure sure how to take this news from Kenya. 
It is not that President Obama's father who came to the University of Hawaii to take his master's degree is from Kenya. 
It is not that President Obama has some half-siblings in that country, and that this continuing understanding of complex family life between Obama the American and the Obama the Kenyans is giving the Republicans and their allies some booby trap to keep on insisting that the president is not a natural born American. 
It is funny that some people of the State of Hawaii--the people who are in the know of the legal circumstances of his birth--have brought out that one final document proving that, yes, he is a natural born American with a natural born mother, and that should be enough to tell us that yes, he is qualified to be president, as he has been for two terms.
It is just that this terrorist group in Kenya--some of its members from Somalia, the news account tells us--has overrun a university college and killed 147 and wounded others. 
We do not know yet the extent of this brutish rampage, and we do not equally know the cost of this terroristic act upon peoples and communities in that area of Kenya. 
We do not yet know the implications of these one in terms of the peace and order situation of that country.
But we do know one thing: there is no way we can ever justify the murder of one man.
We must say, this: One death too many.
Yes, one death too many for us to count. 
We want to remain human beings, that should be our moral position and no less. 

Innocence, displacement, war, and Hudea the 4-year who broke and keeps breaking my heart.

Innocence, displacement, war, and Hudea the 4-year who broke and keeps breaking my heart. 
I HAVE SEEN her picture more than a week ago. 
I do not know how to make to of her innocence, and I prayed to God in the silence of my heart that would that this child see the light of day in the border of Syria and Turkey, she becomes the voice of peace, heals others, and announce the gospel of justice as the basis of human and social order, not the quest for profit and more profit as is the gospel coming from Manhattan, London, Vatican, and all the stock exchanges all over the world preys upon the sweat, labor, and dignity of all working class peoples all over the world. 
Anyone who does not understand this must slap themselves. 
And on Black Saturday, those people must slap themselves until they realize that they have been hoodwinked into believing that all is well in the world.
It is not. 
In December 2014, Osman Sagirli, a Turkish photojournalist snapped this picture of Hudea, the innocent, four-year old Syrian refugee taking temporary refuge in a camp in Atmeh, a place close to Turkey. 
Hudea thought that Osman's telephoto lens of a camera, those protruding apparatus of better and more professional photojournalists, was a protruding barrel of a high powered rifle (or its equivalent) and so she raised her arms in surrender. 
It was one of those automatic, almost-kneejerk reactions of children who have seen a lot of things that they are not supposed to see, like war, like evacuation, like the constant report of guns of all kinds from capitalist countries counting their monies from profits of arms production and arms sale. 
I cried seing Hudea's picture. 
You must too. 
Here is the account of Osman on this, from his lips. "I was using a telephoto lens, and she thought it was a weapon. İ realised she was terrified after I took it, and looked at the picture, because she bit her lips and raised her hands. Normally kids run away, hide their faces or smile when they see a camera. You know there are displaced people in the camps. It makes more sense to see what they have suffered not through adults, but through children. It is the children who reflect the feelings with their innocence."
Now, now: let us weep for all the Hudeas of the world. 

A Friday that is good and great, pious and profuse with tears.

A Friday that is good and great, pious and profuse with tears. 
THERE is this question posed by a great theoretician of Catholic and, yes (let us extend the dialogue) Christian practices. 
For all those who are not in the know, there could be two kinds of Catholicity: 
(1) The mainline Catholic that includes the Holy Roman Catholic Church, but is not the only one, because, one, we have to account the Armenian Church, the Greek Othodox, the Russian, and so on across (but not) the line. The trouble is that the HRCC became a tool of the imperial dreams of someone else, thus, this trouble between empire and faith, colonization and salvation, and oppression and liberation. Are these one and the same banana? 
(2) The 'schismatic' and breakaway groups that continue to test the HRCC. Think of those who have been excommunicated like Boff, and now, the current bishops like Faure challenging the aims of the Vatican Council II, and wanted, for all intents and purposes, to go back to the pre-Vatican Council II practices, ideas, throught, and way of administering the spirit of men, women, and children. 
Luther, centuries ago, comes to mind here, when he posted those theses on the wall of a church, and there declared that faith is not supposed to be sold to the highest bidder. 
And the Church of England? Ah, that is another question. 
Now comes the question raised by our dear Tony Igcalinos: what about this theology of 'Good Friday' becoming 'OK Friday' and not that 'eight sense' of 'good' in the English language nor the 'Kar' sense of the Germanic 'care and concern' of 'sorrowful Friday'?
Indeed, there is so much to do in this new area of inquiry we call 'theolinguistics' (or whatever its formulation will be in the years ahead). 
All told, this theolinguistics is one that is going to make things clear for us by looking into the roots of all these received terms, received concepts, received ideas, and received terminologies so that if these are wrong we: 
(1) can correct them, and 
(2) can offer an alternative theolinguistic term. 
This last one should be more liberating, or so we hope. 
And more honest, or so we hope. 
Not bad for a faith that continues to seek its soul, whether on Good Friday, on Okey Friday, or on Sorrowing Friday, the veil of lamentation ('manto', this, for the Ilokano) included so we can await for the 'lauya' day (that is Ilokano too!), when the soup smells so darn good.