Posts Tagged ‘Antique’

Back to writing

By Ben Sumog-oy

In 2004, I was forced by circumstances to restore myself into the writing arena. The logic that I advanced for doing it was rather weird. I said, then, that my reason for writing was “to save my sanity.” However, at that time, I cleverly played a guessing game by not revealing the full context behind such reason.

I postulated that when a person writes, he actually creates a world which is wholly different from his real circumstances. Writing has a narcotic effect, but in a positive way. By writing, the person’s mind takes respite from boggling annoyances; thereby preventing it from being torn apart. Thus, writing snatches the mind away from the edge of the abyss before it falls.

I also theorized that, by writing, a person can exercise a certain portion of political power even in the midst of his powerlessness and destitution. He could, in addition, create certain level of social significance during the time when his life is turning out to be meaningless. Living a meaningful life is widely considered to be a formula for the preservation of one’s sanity.

However, not all people could write. This is the reason why so many people evade their problematic life’s situation by aimlessly wandering around, without any conscious regard for space and time. Fortunately, although I am not a good writer, at least, I could write!

Three years ago, when I resumed my law studies in the MSU College of Law, I also contended that studying law is a potent sanity-preserving pill. I posited that insanity comes to invade the mental realm when a person is plunged into hopelessness or is deprived of his right to dream. Somehow, my study of law revives my hope and restores my right to dream, even if I am being constantly disparaged or subjected to ridicule by my law professors.

But my decision to return to the College of Law had forced me to give up writing momentarily. For a little more than a moron like me, the requirements to maintain a sustaining academic life in the Law campus are simply too heavy that I am left with almost no time for other things, eking out a living included. Time is simply not enough to grapple with my voluminous books and other reading materials.

Really, the College of Law campus is a peculiar planet. It is in the law school where I cannot display even a little of my writing prowess. Almost always, I do not know what to write, and, if by twist of pure luck, I managed to write something on my test paper, I missed the point altogether.

Today, I announce that I am again leaving the College of Law, hopefully for only a semester this time. There is a reason for this. I am unable to find “break” for myself within a period already spanning almost a decade, and there is a strong indication that there is no such “break” coming for now. I decided to leave the College lately for a nobler mission, that is; to stall the unraveling of my family’s finances. My economic interregnum has prevailed for too long that it is already perpetrating a grave injustice against those who, all these years, continue to offer me their helping hands.

This is a bitter pill to swallow, but, sometimes, it cannot be avoided that one person has to bite the bullet in order to survive, and prosper in his own cruel life’s jungle. I am now ready to bite the bullet.

Many years ago, I accidentally stepped on a time-machine, and it brought me back magically to a destitute life I lived more than 30 years ago. Worse, already hapless and penniless, a savage fate struck relentlessly in an almost unending fashion to further fill my quota of pains.

My father and mother long lingered in their sickbeds, and eventually passed away while I reel through the period of my destitution. I was so destitute that, if not for my new-found friends (“new-found friends” because they helped me when I was useless and out of political contention), I might not have been able to come home to be of service to my father and mother as they harped for their breaths, and to finally witness their penultimate journey.

Days before her death, in a dingy public hospital in the Province of Antique, my ailing 89-year old mother rested on my lap the whole night round. Then, one moment at about midnight, my mother gently touched my face, sweetly smiled and whispered to me: “Boy, salamat.” “Boy” is my hometown nickname.

This true-to-life melodrama keeps on flashing on my mind, and this makes my heart bleeds continuously. My conscience annoys me no end for allowing my parents to reach the edge of their respective life’s journey, without giving them a decent and comfortable life.

My mother’s succinct and simple word “salamat” comes to me like a thunder. It is so powerful that it devastates me every time such serene, but moving, scene with my ailing mother flashes back on my memory.

More than a year ago, a millionaire resort-owner, in connivance with a sitting Municipal Mayor, intruded into our small piece of land which our family owns in Patnongon, Antique, my hometown. We own this piece of land, through our forefathers, long before the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. But, having no match against the awesome power of a local state apparatus and unable to engage them in an expensive legal battle, we have decided to abandon our right of ownership on a substantial portion of our land in favor of injustice.

One day, agents of the resort-owner encroached into our domain for the purpose of harming my nephew, but, being a retired wrestler, he overpowered his three adversaries after suffering some injuries. My nephew filed a case against the intruders but was dismissed without hearing through the behest of a public prosecutor, while the counter-charge filed against him by the intruders prospered. Now, my nephew is in prison as he is not capable of bailing himself out, after having been charged of attempted homicide.

In the past, I fought, and won, so many battles for others. Now, I am incapable of fighting the battle of my own family. As my family is burned in helplessness, anger is burning on my breast.

In the midst of this sorry-state, again, I have decided to go back to writing. Writing is my fortress. Like a revolution, it is my greatest comforter. It is just a pity that, in doing so, I need to leave the law school, and suspend the possible fulfilment of a dream. But, hope is eternal.

 

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