Frustrations, Frustrations
I am this close to losing all hope for this country. What’s this crap about letting Andal Ampatuan Jr. off the hook? Are you people BLIND? *curses loudly* You know, it’s one thing that elections are coming up and tensions are high. But to let the KRISTELLE ALINA R. OMAR suspect of the biggest media massacre in the WORLD off the hook all because of “lack of evidence” is basically *expletive*. Even if they didn’t do the killing (though, let’s face it, we know what happened) they should still be held responsible for the deaths of all those people. It happened on THEIR turf, and yet they did absolutely NOTHING to stop it. I am fifteen. Just a child, maybe. But I am not stupid. Not am I ignorant. Although I do see why they would let him go now. I mean, HELLO—elections are coming up. They want to hold on to their position for as long as humanly possible even though EVERYONE knows what sort of filthy, loathsome, soulless animals they are. I don’t care if I get sued for saying this, I am angry. You know it’s true. The justice system in this country sucks. It’s just so OBVIOUS that they did it. As much as I want to still believe that the Philippines is a country worth shedding your own blood for, I beg to differ. Ninoy and Cory must be turning in their graves because of everything that’s happened. Whatever happened to all the sacrifices that our forefathers made for the sake of the motherland? Of the basic principles of DEMOCRACY, of which our government is supposedly modeled after? What about just plain old moral good? If I get killed by them for saying this, fine. They have worse problems than to listen to the ramblings of a fifteen year old girl who has never had any valuable contribution to society, anyway. What I say doesn’t matter to them. But I am a Filipina. And I care so much about this country. I don’t want to see us fall even more backward than we already are. It’s not as if they can get anything out of me. I am only voicing out my anger and bitter disappointment for all that’s happened. They say not to be biased and not to judge the book by it’s freaking cover, but COME ON. There isn’t much to read about that book anyway. THE COVER SAYS IT ALL. What happened is shameful and we should do everything in our power to protest the injustice that is extremely prevalent surrounding this situation. I may not be able to vote yet. I do not have a job. I do not have a college education. But I have a voice. And for as long as I live, for as long as I have my heart set in the welfare of the country, I will continue to speak up. Even when it’s difficult. Even when the entire world is against me, I will continue fighting. This is NOT okay. Graft and corruption has become the norm in our society, not just in the government, but everywhere else. The trickle down effect, people. It doesn’t just exist in fashion. Are these the values you are passing down to US? Your children? The future of this country? Dear government officials who made the release possible, you suck. You let the entire nation down. Were you scared that your families will get gunned down, too? Or do you realize that, by putting these DESPICABLE people in jail, incidents like this will never happen again? Or were you paid off, bedazzled by the insane amount of money they offered you to let them go, when, by the way, that money was stolen from the people. The same people they KILLED that seemingly mundane November day. My poor mother never lived to see this happen, but I can only imagine how furious she would be. I am taking a stand for her, for the people who cannot speak up, for the people who were slain in that senseless act of greed. This is for them, and for the future children I will bear someday, in the hope that they will never have to experience acts as horrible as these. Why is the right thing so hard to do nowadays?

The Fluidity of Gender
I DON’T know who in the world started the sins to confess, isn’t she supposed to idea, but the first time I heard it, it felt like turbe the old-fashioned, the lola here? pentine. Like all ideas that didn’t suit me, I just I got lucky to have gone out to lislet it on, knowing that there’s no arguing with ten to her lecture on gender and sexual orientation and thank Heavens, she did the world that insists on its terms, not yours, not talk about the fluidity of gender, only even if the “critics” who were talking about “the that you could have as many sexual orifluidity of gender” were describing my play, Boyentations to choose from or fall into, girl ang Gelpren ni Mommy (My Mom’s gf is starting from the first categories of lesboygirl) which by all intent and purposes, I mean bian, gay, bi, transgendered, transsexuto be a lesbian play, which is to say a joke, a als and intersexuals on to the combinanasty joke of a play, on heterosexual society. tion of two or three or four and so on The trouble is, but for a handful of women SHEILFA ALOJAMIENTO of these categories to make up a new readers in the audience, who loved the cussings one. Say you may start off oriented to (mostly directed at adults and at men, maybe at heavens), the very brief tender moment when the two women be sexually attracted to the opposite sex, which makes you hugged and kissed, and the semi-nudity, everybody seemed a hetero, then discover later on that you have been all along to have missed the point, including the gay director and the sexually attracted to women, which makes you a lesbian, producers who staged it. I don’t know what is that guy then later you feel bi, then graduate a transsexual man and doing there, but the gay director who couldn’t seem to con- turn into a fag, then a lesbian fag, who may then marry a ceive of a lesbian play without the memory of a big daddy dyke. I’m not joking. Neither was she. There’s no playing inserted, put in some flashback device where a “whole” with these things and the LGBTI categories anyway are so family (as in a complete wholesome set made up of Mommy, limiting; life is much more painfully complicated than what Daddy, and two tykes) was to be seen as normal. So one the book says. gay “critic” demanded that it was funny alright, but where’s Fine. the resolution of the conflict, and by resolution of the conGender fluidity, sounds to me like political pluralism, it flict he meant, will the family situation improve from ab- sucks, people made that up because they don’t want to normal to normal? So wasn’t I glad I was right from day problematize anymore the world they inherited, they’re too one, that it will be “read” as I guessed it will be, and that lazy and money enough to buy their way for any of that wasn’t it huge success that even as people tore their sides now. I protest. Whatever happened to the certainties of my at the jibes, they didn’t even know that there was no freak youth??? For instance, I have always thought of myself a of a family to laugh about there. sep (a lesbian separatist) since the day I realized that you A case of God Almight, can’t we ever make ourselves a could not count on the most revolutionary of men to give up little more understood, but what could you do when you the perks of manhood and the Glory and the Power of the had been overly congratulated that your non-winning entry Pope for the sake of liberating humanity. But at the same to the Palanca, Inday, got lucky enough to be selected among time, I felt at a deadend, knowing that I have to work with the 17 plays to be mounted in a playfest crowded with tal- other social and political agents (who aren’t feminist lesbian ent? Wouldn’t you feel happy and grateful enough that you’re like me) if I want to get anywhere at all. So in a way, it was entitled to free tickets to all these 17 winner plays if you a way out for me, a promise of liberation, you could say, the paid for your own airfare from the province to Manila and idea that I could and may one day go to bed with just anyway back, and never mind if the contract that they sent you one I meet on my street. (I think of Gwendolyn Brooks’ weeks after the playfest stipulates that your play will fetch deadends, where there is no one to meet or to berate.) you an honorarium of P3,200.00 withholding tax deducted, So compulsory heterosexuality did not exist now? All and what is that scary provision saying there about the hono- that is old feminism? I still cannot think of the dykes in rarium being a matter of confidentiality and is not to be Bankerohan saying that of themselves, that their gender is revealed to anyone? fluid. Or my parlorista gay and bugaw friends now in their God-Almighty indeed, and about a week back, that was retiring years. And if I ever so much as broach it to my what someone was saying. Isn’t she 57, that old, and how cousins in the province that they could be gay, they will come these younger lesbians on the scene here are so con- probably bash me in the head for the plain crazy old woman servative, playing butches and femmes and oh so full of that I am.


Of course
In a year of being officially in what I write this on the graduation day of UP we in the universities called “the real Mindanao’s Class of 2010. I no longer world,” my opinions of course and caneed to imagine how this year’s gradureer have strengthened. ates are feeling after having weathered It doesn’t matter what degree you four (or more) years of grueling college. hold, really. It’s a matter of knowing what Congratulations to them. you want to do with your life. I had the biggest smile on my face I guess I’m lucky to have been given almost a year ago. Graduation Day, 2009. a free hand with that as early as high That day, I felt euphoria; I had finally finschool. Now, I proudly say I get paid to ished my degree. Were you and I friends do what I like doing. I work knowing on Facebook, you would have already YAS D. OCAMPO that if there’s a better opportunity out had a visual image of how huge that smile there, I leave a place that hired me for was when I graduated. Despite some of the best years of my life in the university, it was time to my talent, not for a course I took in college. I have this feeling that among my peers, there’s a sector move on to another part of life. I write this almost a week after a close friend told me out there that doesn’t know what to do with their lives, he had never seen himself doing what he studied for in even after having taken a sure-hire course. To them, I college. It had been shocking to learn that. After all the say “hang on.” The good thing about this decade is that years he spent in one of the best universities in the coun- opportunities actually come knocking on your door, or in try, he had long kept from everyone his dissatisfaction our case, our e-mail inboxes, with a little prodding, of course with his chosen degree. (a few applications to jobstreet won’t hurt.) The internet A couple of days before I write this, a roommate left has made this possible. the country for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to try his To high school graduates who are still undecided with luck there as a paramedic. Pakikipagsapalaran, we what course to take, I say, “map out.” Make sure that Filipinos call it. you’re going to take a course that you actually want to An hour before I write this piece, another friend of take, something that will actually take you where you want mine told me he should have taken Creative Writing as a to go. course instead. He, like a lot of students my age, was My Diolola elders in Davao have this simple advice compelled to take up nursing during the “nursing boom” for us their children about how to go on with life: Never of the early 2000s. Now he works for a call center. He become driftwood, or as we Cebuano speakers call it, told me that in between tasks at work, he secretly weeps, gapnod. -o0onot knowing what to do. I tell him it’s never too late to Follow Yas on Twitter via @anukaman_ui. enroll in a Creative Writing course if he wanted to.


4/24/2010, 4:57 PM

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