The theme on picking up where our ancestors left off a hundred years ago seems to be snow-balling lately. Jester-in-exile picks up on Sylvia Mayuga's column yesterday. She likens the present crisis of the country to a real-life sequel of the Noli and Fili.
This sequel carries the 19th century’s main plotline into the 21st century – an enslaved people trying to break free from a very old unjust system.
I have said before how I thought it bizarre that we are still fighting to give birth to a nation. And so our language lately, in the old and new media, are full of modern terms - truth, justice, enlightenment, poverty, inequality.
I find that Manolo's blog is often underscored with modern ideas - of the French revolutionary kind. Not coincidentally my whole series on Malu Fernandez also carried this theme.
Which finally brings me to Celine Lopez' column yesterday, link courtesy of Sandwich Spy. She entitles it "A book report," one on French revolutionary Victor Hugo's most popular novel.
The summer he passed, I read Les Miserables for the first of many times in my life. Being suddenly a stranger in the world I had inhabited for some years now, the book suddenly provided me with a lesson my grandfather failed to teach me: that the perfect world is found in an imperfect world, my world after him.How bizarre that one of the main protagonists in the Pinoyblogosphere's latest revolts against the so-called elite's exposed decadence, should choose a book that is the anti-thesis of her and her friends' reason for being . Peddling values which belong to the 19th century. Guiltless partying and bacchanalia of the sin-free. Values that say you have your world and I have mine and never the twain shall meet.
But Celine Lopez' column is not a book report. It is not even about the book. She chose the title and the book to tell us she is a woman of substance, that someone so young could read something so old. Quelle classe. I have never before read her column, but at least she can string words together to make pretty. It is mostly self-involved, as I imagine most of her columns are. But then we are all self-involved to a degree aren't we? So, moving on.
Second she writes a cute little story of when she was a little girl and how she coped with her grandfather's death.
In the end, with all my infallible adoration, I realized my lolo was like every human being. A Jean Valjean. It was my idea to put him on a pedestal; he never asked for it. He never insisted on it. Unlike Cosette’s and especially Marius’ grief in learning of Valjean’s truth, I loved him more for his humanity and not his godliness. A betrayal of thought redeemed by truth.Other than herself, the main subject in her story happens to belong to one of the most powerful families in the Philippines, of which she is a part. Old landed aristocrats, remnants of the old world. In her own words, she was lost without her grandfather, a little girl worthy of empathy and understanding.
As a young adult I constantly tested what was truly right and wrong. Embracing my lessons from my mistakes more than my triumphs, I grew up still fragile, flawed and questioning.So, she grew up fragile, little-girl-lost-y without her anchor. Empathy. We are also supposed to empathise with her sins, in her ventures from the perfect world.
It’s ironic that, in his theatrical setting of the perfect life for me in my early years, he further made me want to discover what makes the world ill. Perhaps feeling I had been stupid and fearing I would continuing being so, it drove me to find every flaw and to ultimately understand it.And every flaw means doing what has been alleged in that blog down under? Well, that makes for a lot of understanding.
Then she ends her little ditty with a piece of advice. She is, after all, a woman of substance.
Life is a dramatic comedy and tragedy, forever interchanging until the curtains draw. Like in every story, what gives it meaning and remembrance is the plot, the characters and the struggle.
Let your will be the engine, your loved ones the wheels and your struggles the inspiration in creating your plot. Then, in this imperfect world, with our imperfect selves, we find perfect dreams in sleep.
So, let us be humble in our imperfections, she says. Let ye who hath no sin cast the first stone. Woman of substance. Family of substance. Fierce pride, but willing to learn from mistakes. She paints herself as battle-weary, little-girl-lost-y, experimenting-with-life kind of girl.
Oh the bravura.
I just wish she chose another book to "report" on. Because all she seems to have learned from the implied numerous times she has read the book, is that the world is not perfect and that people can change. A pity. In this day and age, it is tasteless and callous to draw comparisons between someone like her and the truly down-trodden and oppressed in Hugo's imaginary.
This post has been edited. Apparently, I can be sued for libel for:
Quoting a libelous sentence on the blog or re-publishing/summarizing allegations thereof.
Publicly mentioning names of people being exposed in the blog.
Publishing the URL of the blog or linking to the blog.
So here's to Freedom of Speech. How dear you have become. Only a few can afford you. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.