Pensive Perceptions

by Raiza Cherie Boyles

Puppet show
Just an assumption: these days, corruption is (or maybe) one of the mainly used up words mouthed by those who can speak, gestured by the blind, deaf or mute, or innocently spoken by three-year olds as kurap (or Erap or GMA?). Kung sa Tagalog pa, gasgas na. I’m not going to have a long discussion about corruption here, just a quiteshort-not-too-long-quite-related-to-corruption essay on ‘puppeteers’ and their ‘puppets’. It’s unlikely for me to bring up such topic, I may not be able to lay out my points that well, so just bear with me (yeah it’s a disclaimer). The puppeteers. The hari-hari, the usual ever-sinisipsipan, ang ginagatasan at kinakapitan ng mga tuko, the egocentrics. They are the influential, well-off in-positions controlling, manipulating blindly loyal and avid aficionados who are very much willing and everready to obey their orders with bowed heads. Puppeteers have their motives maybe out of sheer desperation to enforce their powers or programs, to keep their hands clean from dirty jobs (mostly-designated task to puppets), to unsubconsciously prolong their presence or effect in wherever stage they perform, yada-yada. Selfish as they are, greed is their reason for being and living. Their conscience long been dead, they don’t bother committing heinous crimes just to fulfill their desires. They hire accomplices, their puppets to do the felonies for them. Choosing the lesser evil they say. These people, however, are not that wicked. Of course, they are somehow obliged for their aficionados who serve them till death. They grant money and material freebies as rewards. Not all puppeteers kill though. Sometimes their motives are just for power and political purposes (that, I will not explain further, only a headache.) Still, because of madness for power, puppeteers resort to morbidity. The puppets. The bata-bata, the usual ever-sipsips, the kapit-tuko gang members, the mercenaries. Almost always commonly seen together with the puppeteers (of course), they readily present themselves for tasks or missions to be accomplished. Either bad or good orders, the puppets deliver. This highly pleases their masters especially when the job is done neatly. Evidently, these devotees would not function without any incentives in return, which come in many forms: bucks, babes, promotion, popularity, a Porsche or Ferrari, a 100% raise, Bora-bora vacation package, a day or two in Hard Rock, a bottle of Black Label, an Ayala house and lot, Belo or Calayan surgeries, yada-yada (just exaggerations).

Puppets come in two types: the sipsip or the kumapit-sa-patalim. The sipsip kind of puppet is a natural. Sometimes they propose sinister plans themselves, instead of their amo, which they will also accomplish. They look up to their master like a god (god of kurapness). A few of them do not really expect anything in return. They are honored to serve their lord, and they take pride on this. However, some of them are super pasipsips expecting super monetary and non-material rewards for their services. They ask for bigger perks for bigger tasks (like life-threatening tasks). If they aren’t happy with the reward they clamour. Some of the puppets are also almost as influential as their puppeteer, some hold lower positions (unsurprisingly, several have hidden motives against their boss). The kumapit-sa-patalim type exists either because of being blackmailed or because of financial desperation. Can we name this puppeteering phenomenon as or a kind of corruption? Yes, in some way but let’s just not argue about that premise. This isn’t a fresh fad anymore. This has long existed in societies, religious congregations, associations, fraternities, syndicates, companies, governments, nations. Why does this exist? Well, it falls in the argument that man is never contented with what he has. He is always in a constant search for happiness, success and self-fulfillment. Because of this, greed as well is constant in man’s system. We want to have a happy and successful life but we have to get through struggles to achieve that kind of living. Some people though want a shortcut, an instant path to success. So comes the birth of corruption. No more years of toil, just “connections” with big-timers or joining a syndicate, you get yourself an instant job and instant big bucks. Ah corruption it is. Life is not a cup of instant noodles. Nagpasipsip, sumisipsip o kumapit ka man sa patalim para instant ang yaman at “tagumpay”, certified ‘kurap’ ka manong. But what does corruption really mean? “Kailangan pa bang i-memorize ‘yan”? Katiwalian. Fraud. Kabulukan. Dishonesty. Panunuhol. Bribery. ‘Yun iyon eh. “Habang may buhay, may kurap,” ‘di na yata uso sa kanila ang ‘pag-asa’. When are these puppeteers and puppets ever going to end their show? Well, I really don’t know. I wonder if they will ever take a bow after their performance. Will the audience applaud or give them a standing ovation? O standing objection kaya? Nah. I tell you, this show is definitely not for kids (sadly, in this time, probably it is), this ain’t ASAP ’09 or SOP, it’s more than that. It’s a puppet show. (bows, applauds roaring)

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