Achieving Happiness

August 2, 2009

Heroes and saints

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 4:56 am

Today’s the second day of mouhalorning for Mrs. Cory Aquino. All the newspapers (as well as tv and radio news programs) have come out with numerous tributes, all calling the former president ‘saintly’ and ‘good.’

Kenneth Roland Guda, editor of PinoyWeekly, wrote this is his Facebook status: “Hindi porke pino-point out ang naging kahinaan ni Cory ay irreverent na. Please. Sa pagtitimbang natin, siyempre, on the whole positibo ang naging ambag niya. Pero para bigyang respeto yung tao, kailangan na ba nating kalimutan ang naging mga limitasyon ng panunungkulan niya? I would say na disservice kay Cory kung puro papuri lang ang sasabihin natin sa kanya. And, more importantly, disservice ito sa bayan.”

I agree. While I think that she does deserve to a large extent the praises and tributes to her, I cannot help also but to wince as I read them. Because they’re too one-sided, too glowing, too positive, as if she was a saint who did not wrong and had no limits to her goodness.

But then again, even saints committed mistakes of varying degrees before they were beatified and cannonized. Also, there are saints who lived pure lives so they could secure a place in heaven and in truth did nothing to help others except by inspiring them to be more prayerful.

The thing with Filipinos is that so many of us have short or selective memories; and it’s a cultural thing to never speak ill of the dead. News reports have lost all objectivity in the reporters and editors’ love for her and what she symbolized. Nary a criticism, not a phrase.

When Ka Bel died in 2008, I wrote about how silly his death was, and I received some flak for that.

I suppose it was because I didn’t expound on that.  I knew the man for 12 years, and for him to fall off the freaking roof was, well, silly and infuriating. Because Ka Bel was often a  stubborn man, and he didn’t listen to our firm order (yes, the staff ordered Ka Bel around, haha) that he KEEP OFF THE ROOF and let someone else fix the holes and leaks.

Anyway, men and women of greatness are in the final analysis just that: human, and they carry with them human frailties and weaknesses. But what cloaks them in greatness are the nature of their deeds and decisions; their actions and the impact on others.  Even as they continue to possess their internal weaknesses of character and personality, their deeds were untainted by them because they considered the effect on others; what their actions would imply and how the course of history will be affected (or not).

Mrs. Aquino was the product of her class: landowners, the ruling elite.  Can her upbringing or background have influenced her when she approved the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) that created it? Because now, even after her death, the CARP remains the bane of millions of Filipino farmers and their families all over the country.Nowhere near are Filipino farmers to the dream of owning and tilling their own land; and there are, still, only a handful of families who control the economy.

I suppose its long overdue that Filipinos redefine the meaning of hero/heroine: shouldn’t it be that who left behind the self-serving, narrow and selfish economic and political interests of the class they were born to- and embraced the cause of the poor and the oppressed even at their own expense and self-sacrifice and very lives –  shouldn’t they be the ones to be called, rightfully, the nation’s heroes?

Kaso nga, sa kasalukuyang panahon at kalagayan ng lipunan, bawat uri ay may kanya-kanyang kinikilalang bayani. Katulad na lang ng pagkakaroon ng magkakaibang depinisyon ng demokrasya at kalayaan; katarungan at kapayapaan. Nakadepende ang lahat kung saan ka nakatayo at kung saan ka nakatingin: kung kaninong perspektiba ang tangan mo at para kanino ka nagsasalita.

But I recognize Mrs. Aquino’s contributions to history and society.  It’s just that it’s also impossible to ignore the other things that she did as president, what the AFP did in the name of her government, and what she failed to do even when she had to power. Pero kung pwede, kung posibleng hiwalay ang kanyang nagawa bilang dating pangulo ng bansa at bilang isang indibwal na Pilipino, tunay na taos at pinakamataas ang pagpupugay sa kanya. She lived an exemplary life, in relative simplicity and in humility, and she took a stand when so many didn’t. She did what she could to help this nation, and for this, we honor her.


Looking forward to:

1. Watching Dexter Season 4

2. Getting Miko pet hamsters

3. Getting Miko new shoes

4.Jogging again

5. Watching Season 2 of  the Big Bang Theory

6. Dinner with good friends

7. Buying Miko big Crayolas.

8. Taking Miko to see her daddy.

I know these things don’t sound much, but since I became a mom, the things I want are much simpler, less ambitious and less ostentatious. I used to dream big, and now, well, it’s not that my dreams are smaller, but they’re in concentrated form and they mostly center around my daughter.  All the cliches (at the time I thought they were cliches) have become truths for me: motherhood does change you irrevocably and permanently. Your every happiness is directed towards making your child happy and healthy. Seeing Miko smile and hearing her laugh is the reward for every good thought and deed I’ve ever done in my life before her.

Kim likes it when I tell him that Miko is so obviously smart, but I think he likes it even more when I say that daily looks more and more like him, albeit much much cuter.

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