UPON maturity, a banana herb—it is an herb, not a tree—sprouts forth its heart pointing at the tent of skies, then, takes a bow at any point in the compass; a heart that bows to the east at the wee hours, as elders have it, yields the so-called ‘mutya ng saging.’ Mutya is a Tagalog word for pearl, gem, beloved, beauty, or maiden.
A flock of malignant beings stands guard to catch the ‘mutya ng saging’. Any intrepid soul who succeeds in seizing it attains, so elders say, prodigious strength and power—which malignant powers-that-be would rather keep. Thus, a power grab or agaw agimat entails a no-holds-barred tussle akin to a Jacob wrestling with a God-sent angel in the dead of night, prior to his date with fate glorious.
In a gesture similar to a bearer of prodigious power, progenitor of the serene defensive art aikido, O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba pays respect to the sun with deep obeisance to the east. Such rite of respect, akin to the Christian offering of hymns at dawn, allows his body to bask in bio-available Vitamin D from sunlight which strengthens the bones, gives the skin a healthy glow, and boosts the body immunity system—something anathema today to most people who would rather slather themselves with sunblock, sunscreen or any unguent to shun the sun.
The master would, after a light breakfast of rice cakes, engage as many as a dozen advanced students in a sparring session—students attack simultaneously; he whirlwinds, and finally stands alone amidst the fallen or hurled off. At 80, he still had prodigious grace.
An elderly master and agimat-bearing plant somehow point up how respect can inhere power.
The ancient Japanese term for respect is rei, which refers to “the spiritual aspect of the human being, unpolluted, the numinous, the divine, the luminosity of a god or sage, charismatic power, a wonder.” Rei as descriptive/prescriptive precedes a quaint alternative healing art called reiki, which literally translates to “respect for the life force or life’s breath.” Indeed, reiki healing methods, as its practitioners aver, depend largely on a reverence for life.
Such reservoir of healing powers has been thrown out the window these days, say, in the ensuing squabble over so-called “onerous, downright odious” provisions of Republic Act No. 10175 (or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012).
Magistrates of the Supreme Court had ruled the provisions as “constitutional,” prompting the 1.5-million strong netizens to raise a collective howl, even vent their spleen on the culprit lawmaker who sneaked in the “offensive” sections of the statute, especially on electronic libel that can now be meted a 6-12 year jail term. The Revised Penal Code slaps libel with a jail term of six months and one day to four years and two months.
Already, the social media—Twitter, Facebook, Tagged and the like—are roiling with a whirl of protests.
Not one protestor hurling scatology and invectives in print has been haled to court. Yet.
Pray, dear sirs, what calaboose would be huge enough to accommodate such asp-minded malefactors—who may just be begging to be jailed and fed, at the usual taxpayers’ expense?
Salus populi suprema est lex. The welfare of the people is the supreme law.