Memories of a Lost Kingdom

Hitler, Duterte, Cory, Marcos, Ninoy, Sultan Kudarat

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The story is still vivid, almost wild. A long time ago, a monarch habitually took time to cut grasses and clear the road of potentially hazardous big stones like a good gardener tending to his plants. Now, it is all but a hazy fairy tale of modesty from a ruler and his virtues gone for good. Without a palace to reside, an army to command or a golden throne to sit upon to receive courtiers, it is almost unimaginable how one could command respect through sheer moral compass.  Yet what if criminals and offenders were simply summoned and obligingly appeared before the same old man to meekly wait for sanctions. It was almost a tall tale meant to amuse a kid until one realizes that his grandmother, the Sultan’s sister, was the storyteller trying to put in trance a wide-awake grandson to bed.

These days, the kingdom that was formed as a gift from the two most powerful Sultanates in mainland Mindanao to their newly-married heirs eroded into a lore. If any semblance of its grandeur has remained, these are the pockets of occasional “crowning” of resurrected or make-believe titles to descendants looking back at the glory of the past while being confronted with a bleak future and very bloody present.

This is life at present. In Muslim Mindanao, there is a sense of longing. So do the majority of Filipinos grappling with the pain of a lost generation amid the turbulence of a high-rolling materialistic world. The once close-knit community of kindred kinsfolks caved into the anonymity of a larger unattached crowd in the concrete jungle. Human life is cheap. Justice is simply served when the suspect is killed, guilty or not. Wealth is pegged on material richness regardless of how it is acquired. Meanwhile, public service simply turned into a profitable livelihood for leaders who ascended to power by virtue of a familiar surname, or, depending on where the political wind drifts, “friendship” with the powers-that-be in Manila.

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The country that resisted Spain valiantly, fought the Japanese fiercely, and then wrestled and later worshiped the Americans is now confronting its biggest enemy so far — itself. Its history is not only penned in blood and heroism but in the treachery of some of the sons of the revolution. Once touted as Asia’s next Japan, one megalomaniac leader and his family reduced it to the region’s basket case for 14 years. Just as its people redeemed their pride and peacefully reclaimed democracy in 1986 as the rest of world watched in awe and admiration, it went back to business as usual called graft and corruption for those in power and national amnesia for the rest.   Reduced to hotbed of insurgencies from the Moros and the Communists and the more threatening presence of bandits and self-styled Islamic groups, it is also suffering from a serious dearth of leadership. Not even the election of a native-born son could promise liberation. Dirty politics including its most evil spin-off called graft and corruption played squalidly spawning its more lethal form among the local politicians who learned adeptly from their central government masters.

When gore, agony, and loss of morals across all aspects pervade life, man has an uncanny way to cope up. He summons the depths of his experience from the past. It has been said that great turbulence forges society to a greater wisdom. He will rebuild from these lessons. Who could have forgotten how our grandparents or parents who saw the bloody ‘40s and built families in the ‘50s spoke freely of chivalry when men opened doors for women or when parks, movies, and the radio, not narcotics, were the people’s idea of entertainment?

Old IT_MegaManilaScene

It was not surprising when that generation indulged in a nostalgia. World War II saw the loss of lives and uprooting of families to a magnitude never before seen in history. Man’s darkest side emerged and went on a rampage unrelenting. Only when the surreal scene of dead bodies and the scarred living stood at the threshold of doom did man came to his self-preserving senses and stopped.

Human experience since time immemorial is built around this cycle of bad and good. There was the Dark Ages when even the so-called guardian of goodness, the Church, turned out to be as bad, if not, worse than the evil it swore to stamp out.  Then there was the Renaissance when man finally saw the light and began the rebuilding process that leapfrogged science, arts, and technology to unprecedented heights. Here in the home front, the evil that Martial Law brought about to a power-hungry leader and his family and the mass of millions who confronted him in 1986 also saw the best in the Filipino and his potential for greatness. Heroes rose and with them the creative genius of a suppressed people that turned to subtle forms to attack the Dictator Marcos and his evil minions. That celebrated metamorphosis has eroded too in recent years and replaced with a revisionist view sweeping the Philippines these days without let up. The anti-heroes have become heroes. And just like the libertarian fallout that enveloped the world after the inspiration of EDSA including the downfall of Communism, the Philippines’ consciously veered towards another leader of the Marcosian type, at least, in terms of brutality and priorities. In this ensuing morality play, all the Filipinos could find comfort over the thought that they do not monopolize the shrinking brain phenomenon. The US, too, has wholeheartedly embraced evolution’s greatest regression since one lunatic Austrian corporal become a German dictator and decided to butcher 6 million “inferior” humans during World War II. Now, the same German vein also flows into an American President who is as xenophobic as the Electoral College that won him the post even if his lady rival got more than 3 million votes in the world’s most famous democracy.

The world heralded globalization in the ‘90s hoping to usher in the dawning of one global village. As borders collapsed and people, cultures, and goods crisscrossed across countries, the ensuing exchange was unprecedented.  Many saw an opportunity just as many also saw a problem. Xenophobia, the old fear, emanating from displacement of weaker economies also grew. It was the same scourge that the Great Wars and subsequent upheavals in the Balkans and many parts of the world spawned before along ethnic lines. Rubbing more salt to the wound, the unabated growth of technology and the public’s unbridled access to its forms like Facebook and other social media magnified the problem. Ideas that are mostly seeded from ignorance, bigotry, suspicion, and fear crawled like the plague that almost wiped out the Europe of the old.

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A Frankenstein has been unleashed and is wreaking havoc to the youth and their perception of the world and all the values it holds dear. Prowling the information highway like the ancient plague of rats that almost extinguish Europe, man is now staring at a tinderbox waiting to be unleashed and shake his life in the years to come.

The Kingdom built on piety and modesty has long gone. It brought with it the good old values that the world now has dumped in the name of an alternative fact called materialism. Now, success is no longer built on character but on the acquisition of wealth. The fallout is already being felt. Integrity no long carries a politician to the public post. The brash, once frowned, is worshiped in the name of a more acceptable “truth” called being real, demonic real, to be exact.

Yes, abnormal is the new normal. Brace up for a new cycle of the familiar struggle between good and bad in a roller-coaster ride along a surreal landscape. MS Glang

‘Bakit ‘nio tinatapon basura ‘nio sa amin?’

Coverpage Vol 1 Issue 11

Pinagbuntunan ng galit ng isang barangay kagawad ang mga pinuno ng iba pang 51 barangay na nagtatapon ng basura sa kanila, dahil pinaggigiitan ng isang kapitan na patuloy itong arrangement mula pamahalaang lungsod. (A barangay councilwoman vented her frustration on officials of 51 other barangays dumping their garbage in hers, because one chair insisted that the city government continue with the same arrangement.)

“Bakit ninyo tinatapon ang basura ninyo sa amin? Matapos ang higit 20 taon, kami dapat ngayon ang magtapon ng basura sa inyong barangay!” Sa pagkasindak, nanahimik na lamang ang kapitan. (“Why do you dump your garbage on us? After more than 20 years, we should now dump our garbage in your barangay!” Shocked, the chair kept silent.)

Bugnot naman ang ibang opisyales ng naaapektuhang barangay sa nakasusulasok na amoy ng nabubulok at sunog na basura; ang mga lumalalang respiratory ailment, impeksyon sa balat, diarrhea, pagsusuka; ang punung-puno ng basura na ilog pa-Manila Bay. Absent ang sarili nilang kapitan. “Negosyo” niya ang pagtatapon ng basura. (The other officials of the affected barangay denounced the unbearable stink from rotting and burnt garbage; the worsening respiratory ailments, skin infections, diarrhea, vomiting; and the trash-filled river emptying into Manila Bay. Their own chair had absented himself. Dumping was his “business.”)

Pitong taon nang ganito ang sitwasyon sa Malolos City, Bulacan, sa isang summit tungkol sa pamamahala ng ecological waste na kami’y naimbitahan mag-lecture. Hanggang ngayon, hirap ang alkalde na ipa-comply sa mga barangay ang pambarangay na pamamahala sa basura. (That scene goes back seven years in Malolos City, Bulacan, in a summit on ecological waste management where we were invited to deliver a lecture. Until now, the mayor is having a hard time making the barangays comply with barangay-based waste management.)

Sa bisa ng Republic Act No. 9003 o ang Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, mayroong tagubilin sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na galangin ang pagiging sensitibo ng mga pamayanan sa sanitary landfills (“SLFs”) na maaari lamang pahintulutan sa loob ng limang taon, at nasa mga tao ang pagpapahalaga sa makakalikasan at sustainable solid waste disposal. (Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 mandates local government units to respect the “sensitivities” of communities in siting “sanitary landfills” (“SLFs”), which are good for only five years, and the people to “internalize the value of environmentally sound and sustainable solid waste disposal.”)

Nagtala ang National Solid Waste Management Commission ng 101 “SLFs” o glorified dumps sa bansa. Kasama sa mga “sikat” na SLF sites ang Payatas, Quezon City; San Jose del Monte (SJDM) City, Bulacan; Rodriguez (Montalban) at San Mateo, Rizal; San Pedro, Laguna; at ang Barangay Tanza, Navotas City. (The National Solid Waste Management Commission lists 101 “SLFs” or glorified dumps in the country. The “prominent” SLF sites include Payatas, Quezon City; San Jose del Monte (SJDM) City, Bulacan; Rodriguez (Montalban) and San Mateo, Rizal; San Pedro, Laguna; and Barangay Tanza, Navotas City.

San Pedro upper villages_MegaManilaScene

Naghain ng petisyon sa Korte Suprema ang isang grupo ng mga naninirahan sa Payatas para sa writ of kalikasan na naglalayong ipasara ang dump sa mga kadahilanan ng paglabag na pangkapaligiran at pangkalusugan. Hulyo 10, 2000 nang natabunan ng gumuhong basura ang daan-daang residente ng Payatas. Noong ma-relocate ang mga residente roon, walang basura, mayroong malinis na tubig at mayroong hills na natatakpan ng mga puno. (A group of Payatas residents filed a petition for a writ of kalikasan at the Supreme Court seeking the closure of the dump for environmental violations and health reasons. On July 10, 2000, a trash slide buried hundreds of Payatas residents. When the residents were relocated there, it was garbage-free, with clean water and tree-covered rolling hills.)

Tanong ng tagapanguna ng nagpepetisyong mga taga-Payatas sa mga naninirahan sa Quezon City, “Paano kung itapon namin ang basura namin sa mga barangay ninyo?” Malapit ang dump sa pinagkukunan ng maiinom na tubig sa Metro Manila, ang La Mesa Dam at Balara Filters Park. (The Payatas lead petitioner also asked Quezon City residents, “What if we dump our garbage in your barangays?” The dump is close to Metro Manila’s source of potable water, La Mesa Dam and Balara Filters Park.)

Malapit sa Payatas, sa Rodriguez, ang Rizal SLF kung saan apat ang namatay noong 2013 nang gumuho ang gabundok na basura. Itinatapon ng halos lahat ng mga lungsod sa Metro Manila ang kanilang basura sa naturang watershed area. (Near Payatas, in Rodriguez, is the Rizal SLF where around four people died in 2013 when the mounds of garbage collapsed. Almost all Metro Manila cities dump their trash in that watershed area.)

La Mesa Watershed at Google Map

Sa SJDM, nasa itaas na bahagi ng Barangay San Isidro ang dump. Papasok mula mga bayan at papalabas ng Bulacan, kargado ang mga trak ng basura at nakapag-iiwan ng amoy sa mga bahay. Sa watershed din naroroon ang dump na nagbibigay-polusyon sa creek kung saan ang mga naninirahan noo’y nakalalangoy at nakapamimingwit ng mga isda, na kumokonekta rin sa Santa Maria River na dumadaloy sa iba’t ibang bayan ng Bulacan hanggang Manila Bay. (In SJDM, the dump is in uppermost Barangay San Isidro. On their way there from towns in and outside Bulacan, the trucks spill out trash and stink invades the houses. The dump, also in a watershed, pollutes the creek where residents used to swim and fish, and which connects to the Santa Maria River flowing through various Bulacan towns to Manila Bay.)

Bago mahalal, tinuligsa ng mayor ang isa pang SLF sa SJDM na naipasara dahil umano sa walang “customers.” Subalit naipagpatuloy ng dump sa San Isidro ang pagtanggap ng basura kabilang ang hospital waste, sa kaalaman din ng mayor. (Before his election, the mayor opposed another SLF in SJDM, which closed allegedly due to lack of “customers.” But the San Isidro dump continues to accept garbage including hospital waste, with the mayor’s knowledge.)

May apat na watershed at limang spring ang San Mateo, ayon sa isang pinuno ng komunidad. Mga ilang taon ang nakalilipas, nakaiinom siya ng malinaw na tubig sa mga ito matapos siyang mag-jogging. Ngayo’y hindi na tamang inumin ang tubig sa mga ito dahil, aniya, sa dump leachate. Sa 24/7 kung maglabas-pasok na mga trak ng basura, nakalilikhan ng mabigat na daloy ng trapiko at nakapagpaparumi ng hangin. (San Mateo has four watersheds and five springs, said a community leader. Years ago, after jogging in the area, he would drink from the pristine waters. Now the waters are no longer fit to drink, he said, due to the dump leachate. Dump trucks coming and leaving 24/7 create heavy traffic and pollute the air.)

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HANGING MALINIS at maayos na daloy ng trapiko, tuluyan na nga bang maglalaho dahil umano sa mga trak ng basura na pabalik-balik sa hindi kalayuan sa Metro Manila? Larawang unang nailathala sa Mega Scene (ISSN: 2508-0458), pahina 3, Vol 1 Issue 11, sa https://megamanilascene.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/mega-scene-vol-1-issue-11/

 

Sa San Pedro, Laguna, may matatagpuang SLF sa gitna ng middle-class subdivisions kung saan nag-invest ang mga naninirahan ng pinaghirapang salapi sa kanilang pinangarap na mga tahanan. Mala-bangungot ang binibigay ngayon nito sa kanila. (The SLF in San Pedro, Laguna, is located amid middle-class subdivisions where residents invested hard-earned money on their dream homes. It is now giving them nightmares.)

Sa tabing-dagat naman ang SLF sa Tanza, Navotas City na nasa kahabaan ng Manila Bay. Sang-ayon sa RA 9003, nakalugar dapat ang SLFs sa kung saan hindi makapaninira ang landfill operation sa environmentally sensitive resources gaya ng aquifer, groundwater reservoir o watershed area. (The SLF in Tanza, Navotas City, is along the Manila Bay shoreline. RA 9003 states that SLFs must be in an area where the “landfill’s operation will not detrimentally affect environmentally sensitive resources such as aquifer, groundwater reservoir or watershed area.”)

Isang lumalakas na negosyo ang pangongolekta at pagtatapon ng basura na merong “tamang koneksyon” sa nasyonal at lokal na pamahalaan, kasama na riyan ang bilyun-bilyong piso. Sa walang tigil na mga alegasyon ng korupsyon, sinasabi ng RA 9003 na maaaring maghabla ang mamamayan laban sa mga lumalabag sa batas. (Garbage hauling and dumping are a thriving business with the “right connections” in the national and local governments, involving billions of pesos. On persistent allegations of corruption, RA 9003 says the public can file citizen suits against violators.)

“Huwag mong gawin sa kapwa mo ang ayaw mong gawin sa iyo.” Nakapagdulot na ng global warming at climate change ang pag-abuso sa integrity of Creation ng kapaligiran. (“Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.” Abuse of the integrity of Creation in the environment has caused global warming and climate change.)

Abuse of the integrity of Creation in the environment

Glorified dumps, dapat nang isara! (These glorified dumps must be closed!) Taken from http://opinion.inquirer.net/103870/dump-garbage-us. Originally written by Joey C. Papa for the Philippine Daily Inquirer Op-Ed section’s Commentary titled ‘Why do you dump your garbage on us?’ on May 10, 2017

Joey C. Papa is president of the Bangon Kalikasan Movement.

Silent Letters in Some English and Other Foreign Words

Straight from the Middle East - Silent Letter

Most often Filipinos, and sometimes other Asian nationalities, pronounce English words as they see it.  Like chassis, which is of French origin and which means the supporting frame of an automobile, and which has come to be a part of the English vocabulary, is often pronounced by Filipinos as [cha-sis], with the final ‘s’ being sounded. While in French, the final ‘s’ or ‘t’ is usually silent, as in Mardi Gras, debris, fillet, chalet, etc.

Funny how the Pinoys pronounce certain English words with deep guttural sounds.  I’ve also noticed lately that some Pinoys are pronouncing the ‘r’ in most words like the Spanish ‘rr’ with that velar articulation, especially those graduates of exclusive schools.  I just hope that somebody in DepEd corrects this mistake and have English teachers on all levels rectify this erroneous pronunciation.

To help our readers here are some rules of thumb:

  • When b is followed by a t, the b is dropped, as in doubt [dawt] and subtle [sat’l] but in some words like subterranean and subtract, both letters are pronounced.
  • When d is followed by an n, the d is dropped, as in Wednesday [wenz-dey] and kindness [kayn-nes].
  • The final e in most English and French words is silent as in care [keyr], dame [deym], boutique [bu-tik], voice [voys], maze [mayz], accumulate [a-kyu-mu-leyt], fire [fayr], etc.; but in English words with Greek origin, the final e is often pronounced, as in epitome [e-pi-to-mi] or hyperbole [hay-per-bo-li].
  • When g is followed by an m or an n, the g is often dropped, as in gnu [nu], gnat [nat], align [a-layn] or phlegm [flem]; but both are pronounced in pragmatic or stagnant
  • The letter h is always silent in Spanish, and in some English words like honest [a-nest], hour [ar or a-war], heir [eyr] and Thailand [tay-land], an Asian country.
  • When k precedes the letter n, it is always silent, as in know [no], knell [nel], knee [ni], knife [nayf], knight [nayt] and knock [nak].
  • When l is followed by either d, f, k, or m, it is often silent as in should [shud], could [kud], calf [kaf], half [haf], talk [tok], folk [fok], almond [a-mond], salmon [sa-mon]; but in cold [kold] or mold [mold] both letters are pronounced.
  • When m is followed by the letter b, the b is always silent as in lamb [lam], bomb [bam], climb [klaym]; but in bombarding [bomb-ard-ing] and bombardment [bomb-ard-ment], both letters are pronounced.
  • When m is followed by an n, the final n is dropped as in column [ko-lum], hymn [him] and autumn [o-tum], but when other letters follow the ‘n’, it is pronounced, like in autumnal [o-tum-nal], columnar [co-lum-nar], hymnal [him-nal] and solemnity [so-lem-ni-ty].
  • The initial o in opossum (a marsupial) is most often not pronounced.
  • When p is followed by an s or a t, the p is dropped, as in psychology [say-ko-lo-dyi], psalm [sam] or psalms [samz], receipt [re-sit] and tempt [temt].
  • Words of French origin ending in s or se, usually have these last letters unpronounced.
  • The final t in most French words that have been adapted to the English language is silent, as in chalet [sha-ley], sachet [sa-shey], ballet [ba-ley], fillet [fil-ley], escargot [es-kar-go] (a French delicacy made up of snails).
  • When w is followed by an r, the w is always dropped, as in wrinkle [rin-kel], write [rayt], wrought [rot], wrangler [rangler] and wretched [rets-ed].
  • The combination letters ph is usually pronounced as f except for Stephen (a male proper name) which is either pronounced as [Stef-en] or [Stev-en]; in shepherd [sheperd] the h is dropped completely.
  • The combination gh is usually silent in most English words except in some words where these are pronounced differently, as in tough [taf] and laughter [laf-ter].
  • Diphthongs are combination of 2 vowels and are usually pronounced as one single letter, or a combination of a vowel and a consonant, like the ‘ea’ in meat [mit] and beat [bit] or the ‘ie’ in believe [bi-liv] and receive [ri-siv] or the ‘ou’ in bought [bot] and country [kan-tri]. (Most Pinoys would pronounce the last as [kawn-tri] or [kawnt-ri]. To avoid this, let’s make up another rule: When you say kan-tri, it’s an independent nation; but when you say kawnt-tri, it means One, Two, Three!)  Furthermore, in some words with diphthongs, one of the vowels is just dropped, as in leopard [le-pard], piece [pis], read [red] (past tense of read [rid]), heifer [he-fer], etc.

I have compiled a list of the most common, and sometimes seldom used, English and other words of foreign origin, that are often mispronounced, not only by Filipinos, but most Asians.  I have also added some proper names like that of persons, places, events and some famous car brands plus other pronunciation lists that may be useful to the reader.  All the letters in red are supposed to be silent. Practice and enjoy the rich English language.

[Note: Pronunciations indicated above are basically based on how most Filipinos would spell the words as pronounced.  Basic pronunciation guides can be found in any dictionary.]

A-K

L to Z

Red Letters = Silent

Different Pronun

—Ned Samar