Sore at the din of whines streaming off a pond, an incensed Bathala stormed down from heavens to face a gaggle of 54-million strong croakers who wanted an audience with the deity.
“And what is it that you, pitiable pestering crackpots turning this pond water into whine, what is it you whine for this time? I have already given you a king! A king that you all deserve,” thundered the deity. “You insufferable nincompoops can only get what you deserve. Did I not make myself clear on that point?”
Chorus of croakers whined some more: “We want a fresh mandate of heaven. A new deal is what we deserve. Whatever you gave us was an insufferable computer game addict whose only lasting legacy bequeathed to us was a word annoying – noynoying.”
“You only get what you deserve,” reiterated the deity.
“And we deserve a fresh mandate of heaven, do we not? Not the log you have tossed down here. It’s rotten and would rot some more,” bellyached the throng.
“You’re getting what you deserve. And you’re really getting on my nerves,” deadpanned the deity. “Did I not tell you that whatever addled matter you have in your skulls is largely of water, and water seeks its own level, eh? Level up!”
“We’ve had enough of the ordeal. We beg you; we implore you for a new deal.”
“You get better, you get better. You get denser, that’s what you all get–denser,” roared the deity as he soared skyward, leaving a blast furnace spell of the electoral exercise that was to come to pass.
As the unmoving, useless log was shoved away, it came to pass that a fresh mandate of heaven came and held sway—a nightmare come true for the croaking throng, a stork with its beak filthy as the morass the pond had become.
Famished for flesh, the stork began its feeding frenzy, engorging its belly with a stash of some P211 million in undeclared funds, picking at and eviscerating emaciated bodies of the poor croakers—and they croaked some more croaking, whining and weeping at their sorry turn of fate.
And Bathala could only look down in askance, hurling out a too-late reminder, “You had it coming, croakers. You get better, you get better. You get denser, well, that’s what you get.
“Too bad, even Aesop from which this fable had been cribbed always puts the moral lesson at the tale’s end. Or is it tail-end? Or is it you really haven’t learned after all these series of asking for deals and ordeals?”
I brought several packets of fermented mudfish chunks in rice (burong dalag) and gluten cakes with a sweet filling of ground peanuts and lotus seeds to my 84-year-old mother, whom I paid a visit over the weekend. Yeah, the surest route to a cherished woman’s heart is through her tummy.
She had always professed admiration for her townmate, erstwhile The Manila Times columnist Teodoro “Doroy” Valencia, who hails from balisong country, Tanauan City, in Batangas. She believes Ka Doroy was the essence of what a true barako or alpha male is— loudmouths whose gullets and hands are as filthy as their vocabulary are, in her opinion, empty windbags.
Ka Doroy once served in the 1970s as head honcho for the outfit that saw to the upkeep of Rizal Park. He had a quaint hiring policy: he tapped the services of ex-convicts, those with criminal records that are unlikely to get themselves either a job or a chance to show to all and sundry that they’re “going straight.”
Ka Doroy reasoned that he wanted them to show to society that they’re indeed reformed. And given gainful employment, they would seek redemption, and take out the taint of incarceration through dint of honest work, so he argued. It did make sense—and made a difference in the light of current job hiring trends.
Such a hiring policy that the extant National Press Club president—and he may now be doing a few turns in his final place of repose—set in place and as out-of-the-box example may cause human resource managers these days to writhe and squirm in distaste. Distrust if not downright paranoia with a bit of the ridiculous thrown in—these are codified into the requirements it takes for the less skilled among Filipinos to land themselves a no-brainer menial job that usually lasts for less than six months.
Mind you, the ex-convicts that Ka Doroy himself hired acquitted themselves in their jobs, requiting the trust accorded to them. Those were ex-convicts who did time behind bars for their crimes—neither suspects nor petty criminals whose lives were ended without as much as a case slapped against them, which is the standard overhauling procedure in Davao City.
In his kindness, Ka Doroy stood tall as a man.
By his own admission, poll survey frontrunner Digong Duterte does not have the credentials to serve as President for a 100-million strong population. He owns up to notching a consistent grade of 75 percent, but he made it through college. The lackadaisical academic performance probably resonates to the current anti-intellectual fashion of the day, which makes him the darling of the hoi polloi, who aren’t given to too much deep thinking to solve problems. But these shallow-minded hordes want Digong to solve the nation’s problems.
Duterte joked his way through a luncheon meeting with the nation’s captains of industry who comprise the Makati Business Club. The senior citizen among the current aspirants to Malacañang made a joke of himself doing a stand-up comedy in what ought to be an earnest interface on what he can do to the nation’s economy. And he had nothing to offer as economic platform or business agenda to steer the nation through the most trying times.
But he must be willing to go through a six-year on-the-job training, clueless on what economics is—and cracked another joke that he would copy the economic and livelihood programs set in place by the more learned predecessors.
As usual, he cursed and swore. Which might as well be what his idea of economic stewardship is.
As usual, he bragged about his conquests in bed, his womanizing, and how violent he can be as a ruler.
It was a madcap meeting with people keen on how a putative leader’s six-year tenure can bring development to the nation. The scheduled question-and-answer portion with the business leaders had to be dropped.
“Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”