Oriang, a new women's group in the Philippines, marched to Plaza Moriones, Tondo, Manila last March 8, 2017 in celebration of International Women's Day. ("Oriang" is the nickname of Katipunan revolutionary leader Gregoria de Jesus.) The following are the admittedly amateurish photos I took of the event.
At start of march (Jose Abad Santos St. cor. Recto Ave.):
Ahh...this is my English translation of a Tagalog translation of
a text originally written in English. (Get it?) Well, this morn I was reading
this book and was profoundly touched by this certain passage of a text written
in Tagalog, and ended up rereading and translating the words into English in my
mind. I was so impassioned that I decided to write down my translation, as my
preoccupation this first half of my day. So I finished my arguably-best effort
in translating this gem, only to find out later, upon reading the editors'
introduction, that my source text, a brief Tagalog -- yes, I'll declare it --
masterpiece, was originally written in English after all! The text is the
last literary piece of the book. So next time, I'll read everything from first
page to last.
The passage, a childhood recollection during China's Cultural
Revolution, is from the late poet and painter Maningning Miclat's brief memoir,
"Pampinid na Salita," pages 89 - 99 of Beauty for
Ashes: Remembering Maningning, from Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2001.
("Pampinid..." is the Tagalog translation, by her father Mario
Miclat, of "Postscript," from Voice from the
Underworld, also from Anvil, 2000.)
It would be wonderful to read "Pampinid..." and its
original text "Postscript," to contextualize and further appreciate
the late artist's words (so please check out the links above). As for me,
I have yet to read the latter, but I will. And I'm certain it's more beautiful
than my humble translation.
And now, my tribute to Maningning: my rather impulsive yet very
inspired labor of love this morning of February 19, 2016:
There was one young girl who was older than us and whom we treated
as our elder sister. She was neat and clean in her appearance, she was
beautiful, with round eyes. She was already studying, and this fact she boasted
to us as we had not yet learned to read and write. At night, she would cry
herself to sleep; she whined in a low and soft voice, and walked back and forth
across our lodging rooms. After a few hours, she'd be sleeping on the floor.
Her aunt would pick her up and carry her to her room. When she awoke and
remembered that she had been crying, she would resume her weeping. But,
sometimes, she forgot; she'd eat, wash her face, and when she suddenly
remembered, would cry again and walk.
We younger children were amused to witness her endurance. But
the adults told us not to be like her who was always sad, blaming her parents
who left her to organize a movement and write political analyses and guerilla
poems. She was like a conductor of her own orchestra, beating to the symphony
of her sadness. Her crying was like a song. I would doze to sleep listening to
her; in my mind, I'd start crying if she stopped crying. But I remained free as
every child should be.
* * *
Note: I only have one memory of Maningning, it was (I believe)
midmorning of 1993 at the lobby of the College of Fine Arts, University of the
Philippines - Diliman. She was standing still, brown, beautiful, looking at
something, or someone...
"I am here to propose a legend that says the city was once / a tribe of children / humming around in a circle / with embers at the center and cold hunger / for a story." - Ned Parfan
I, we, thrive within the Petri dish defined by your jagged boundaries, binding sixteen cities and a developing duck embryo, officially, squared by three suspended railroads plus the most ancient on soil, you are defined and simplified by two to three words and not much else, and undefined and unraveled by a million spectacles and cuss word puzzles. Tabloid fodder factory you are, and we line up for news about ourselves and the more suffering, or dead, victims among us. And I, we, your weary children: indifferent, passive, as our lungs fill up with your pneumatic smog, with barely a sniff, plow like the diminishing, extinct-bound carabaos (and trivia: sprawled inside Krus na Ligas, is the only functional rice field within you, which your steeled and cemented self may have forgotten.)
Your redemption lies buried in one of your landfills, perhaps among the one hundred and fifty buried in Payatas, or underneath a garbage pile on one of your feces-strewn sidewalks. Your chalice of salvation dumped in a junkyard somewhere or sunk on a bed of your polluted rivers. In futile search of your desaparecidos, there are uncanny moments when incense mingles with the unified cry of your orphans, add to that those of the casualties of the recent Kentex conflagration (among others).
May all your churches, temples, buildings of worship, of whatever religion, serve as your thumbtacks, iron nails, staples, keeping you stuck to this earth, in place, that you wouldn't tremble too much in case of a violent tremor. We got, gathered, guts grinding from your gutters. And the (arguably) richest of your fiefdoms dreams of a tower that will be third tallest in the world (and soon fourth, fifth, sixth, and ad nauseam, as vanity of edifice complex goes). Indeed, you host these parasitic turfs that are no different from you: cabal of fools making fools of what they really are: fools.
Quotation from T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock":
"I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."
But I'm still good enough for gold. wink emoticon
(...and one bronze medal in the white-blue belt 85 kg. and absolute divisions, respectively, of the 1st Philippine Brazilian Jiu-jitsu open, held earlier today at the SM Mall of Asia.)
I'm practically a no gi grappling guy: Last time I competed wearing a gi was way back in 2005, in the first ever Pan-Asian International BJJ Competition, where I also won gold in the white belt division. And after 10 years, and with barely a total of two months of training with a gi in-between (including the very few times I trained with the UP Judo Team around 2005), I'm definitely very happy with today's results -- first time competing as a blue belt. smile emoticon
Thanks to all my teammates and athletes in SPRAWL and Kamphuis-Fabricio BJJ, also to Maestro Afonso Cego for the luta livre lessons.