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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scary Things

This isn't horrendous.
(Courtesy of

As I walk past throngs of children in their "Halloween's Best", doing the trick-or-treat shtick in one of Manila's biggest malls, it got me to thinking about what it is I find scary. It has nothing to do with walking corpses, headless apparitions or bloody entrails.

Coming face to face with hordes of bills. Nothing can be more frightening than opening envelopes filled with one message: YOU OWE US. Phone bills, electricity, water, rent, association dues - whoever said "the best things in life are free" must immediately be hauled in for questioning. One of the downfalls of adulthood is the sterling fact that you have to pay your way for everything. Kids, enjoy your time with your parents. Seriously.

Facing the specter of death. When I hear of so many of my contemporaries dropping like flies - from heart disease, accidents, a rare congenital condition or even suicide - it becomes harder and harder each day to avoid having to face our collective endpoint. I'm not thinking if I'm going to be resurrected with just three of my limbs intact - although that did give me a comical pause - but my thoughts go to my partner, who has shared a wonderful, crazy life with me. I'm thinking of my family of origin, all of whom are still alive today. And the many wonderful friends I have had the pleasure of sharing lives with. (Here I go again, trying not to think about it.) In the end, having the latest gadget or sporting the latest car model really means diddly-squat.

Haunted By Unfinished Business. The thought of leaving this mortal coil with so many loose ends makes me want an additional 5 years in my life. At least. This matter is different for everyone, but over the course of attending several funerals, I hear the same theme and things, over and over: debts left for other family members to now worry over, a feud that was started between two friends by the simplest of matters that left 35 years of hatred towards each other in its wake, a well-kept secret that reveals itself only when something - or someone - shows up at the wake, people depending on you who will now lose that security. Loose ends will only cease being scary when we tie them up. Tightly. Bloody tightly.

Being lorded over by hypocritical zealots. The pendulum worldwide seems to be swinging - towards the absurd notion that we are nothing without a bunch of men in various costumes telling us what to do in our lives. The obsession with puritanism, conservatism and disdain for acceptance is making me despair for humanity. Over such a short period of time, we have heard of rape being defined as "God's will", a teenager shot in the head for championing the right to education, and clerics calling people who vote for a candidate they detest as being "bound for a fiery place". I would give them more attention - maybe - if they stopped collecting money from their followers or renounce their organizations' tax-exempt status. But I fear more for those who are bullied and terrorized into thinking that their lives are meaningless if they don't follow one of these so-called "arbiters of morality".

The unchanging face of Philippine politics. And that's a literally unchanging face. It's now a family business. Everyone sharing the same surname can now look forward to being called "honorable" - I think I just got a rash saying that. How inimitably frustrating. When I hear the CEO of these political families saying (1) "voters like me and what I've done, it's to continue the legacy!" (2) "don't look at us, it's legal!" or (3) "we have the country's best interests at heart", it makes me want to get a brick. Yun lang naman. What I'll do with it is unprintable. And what's even scarier is when voters say "we don't have a choice". 

So, go ahead, put on those ghoulish costumes, one-eyed masks and cackle maniacally. It will never compare with what we have to face on a daily basis.


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