Thursday, August 27, 2009

papel 4

Paksa: Pagsusuri sa Good Character (Girl) and Bad Character (Girl) ayon sa Manobo Storytelling as Approximation to Drama ni Hazel Wrigglesworth


Hindi Simple Kahit ang Pinakasimpleng Manobo Storytelling

Sa mga tanong pa lang na ibinigay ng aking guro para sa exam na ito ay nabalinguyngoy na ako.

Ano ang mga kategorya ng mga ideya at pormula na nagpapaliwanag sa kanilang sinasabi? Sinasadya ba ng nagkukuwento ang sistema ng pagpapahalaga?

Nang ibigay ang tanong na ito, nabasa ko na ang Good Character (Girl) and Bad Character (Girl). Pero wala pa rin akong ideya kung paano sasagutin ang tanong ni Mam. Bukod pa doon, kinukuyog ng mga tanong tungkol sa kuwento ang isip ko.

Bakit medyo magulo ang kuwentong ito? Bakit paulit-ulit ang mga talata o mensahe? Bakit parang pinahahaba lang? Bakit biglang lumilipat ang POV? Bakit biglang ay parang ako na ang inuutusan? At marami pang bakit.

Pero nang mabasa ko nang buo ang pagsusuri ni Wrigglesworth ukol sa Manobo storytelling, saka ko lang naintindihan ang lahat. Ang pinagagawa lang pala ni Mam ay suriin ang kuwentong manobo ayon sa sarili nitong estetika at konteksto at hindi ayon sa alam naming estetika (na malamang ay estetikang kanluranin).

Ang manobo storytelling ay mahalaga sa kulturang manobo dahil marami itong gamit:
a. Naghahatid ng aliw
b. Nagpapaalala
c. Container ng kasaysayan, tradisyon, ugali, sistema ng pagpapahalaga, world view at marami pang iba ng manobo
d. Transmitter ng kasaysayan, tradisyon, ugali, sistema ng pagpapahalaga, world view at marami pang iba ng manobo

Ayon kay Wrigglesworth, ang manobo storytelling ay madalas na nagaganap sa gabi sa isang pagtitipon ng magkakamag-anak at/o magkakaibigan. Kapag ang isang storyteller ay nahikayat na magkuwento ay agad na papalibot sa kanya ang mga tagapakinig. Hihilingin ng storyteller na patayin ang natitirang ilaw sa lugar na iyon pagkatapos ay tatalikod siya sa mga tagapakinig. Ang ganitong ambience ay naghihimok sa tagapakinig na paganahin ang kanilang imahinasyon.

Sa puntong ito, mahihinuha na ang storytelling nila ay talagang interaktibo. Hindi lang ito basta panonood. Ito ay napakasikolohikal na gawain, isang mental exercise sa panig ng storyteller at tagapakinig. Ang tagapakinig mismo ang magbibigay-buhay sa mga tauhan ng kuwento at magmumukhang entablado ang buong lugar na pinagkukuwentuhan. Tumatagal nang buong magdamag ang gawaing ito.

At dahil sa pisikal na kontekstong ito, sinisiguro ng storyteller na walang mami-miss ang tagapakinig niya. Kaya naman, gumagamit siya ng devices at gumagawa siya ng paraan para lahat ay makinig mula umpisa hanggang katapusan nang hindi nababawasan ang kanilang interes.

Ang ilan sa devices at paraan ng manobo storytelling ay natagpuan ko sa Good Character (Girl) at Bad Character (Girl).

a. nag-umpisa sa Hane

Ang salin nito sa Ingles ay take note, isang pautos na expression. Direktang kinakausap ng storyteller ang kanyang tagapakinig. At kapag kinakausap ang tagapakinig ay ibig sabihin, kinikilala mo ang presence nila at pinahahalagahan.

b. nagbigay-pokus at nagpakilala ng mga tauhan

There we are now with these two young women who are sisters. …Meraat Bawa….and Mepiya Bawa.

Ito ang kasunod ng Hane. Agad na ipinakilala ng storyteller ang kanyang mga tauhan.

Sa paggamit ng panghalip na we, ipinapakita at ipinapadama ng storyteller na iisa lamang siya at ang kanyang tagapakinig. Nang sabihin niya ang we are now with these two women, parang isinasama ng storyteller sa pinangyayarihan ng kuwento ang kanyang tagapakinig. Parang inihahalubilo niya ang tagapakinig sa mga tauhan.

Device ito para mas mabilis na mabuhay sa imahinasyon ng tagapakinig ang setting at tauhan.

Bukod sa pagpapakilala agad sa tauhan, nais ko ring idagdag ang malikhaing pagbibigay-ngalan sa mga tauhan. Sayang at hindi ibinigay ang kahulugan ng Meraat Bawa at Mepiya Bawa ngunit naniniwala ako na may kinalaman ito sa pagiging mabuti at masama. Isa pa mula sa parehong kuwento ay ang Beliyudung, ang pangalan ng may-ari ng taniman ng kamote at saging. Ito palang si Beliyudung ay isang tauhan sa panitikang oral ng manobo at kilala bilang isang taong may natatanging kakayahan sa pag-a-assess ng pagkatao ng isang tao.

Bukod sa tatlong pangalang ito, may ibinigay pang halimbawa ng malikhaing mga pangalan si Wrigglesworth na mula sa mga kuwentong manobo. Narito ang mga halimbawa:

Berengkenitutkitut
Berentenigewtigew
Meluegpeka (wideback)
Mehasa (mula sa salitang gasa “thin”)
Telingenup (mula sa salitang penganup “to hunt with dogs”)

c. mga depictive paragraphs

Bagama’t hindi nakakapagsulong ng plot ang depictive paragraphs, importante pa rin ang mga ito dahil minsan ay dito nakapasok ang ilang paniniwala, pangkulturang usapin at iba pa ng mga manobo.

“Well, that’s all I could get, Meraat Bawa,” said Crocodile, “and I tried hard eough reaching into every hole (where the fish might be) for just look now at my hands,” said Crocodile, “they’re skinned, Meraat Bawa, from trying to get more, for what was worrying me,” said Crocodile, “was that I wouldn’t have anything to repay you with for looking after my child,” said Crocodile. “However we couldn’t do anything now,” said Crocodile, “ but accept it, Meraat Bawa, for if I had had my way I would have gotten much more for you than even Mepiya had to take home—but well, this is all there is,” said Crocodile.

Ang talatang ito at ang episode na kinapapalooban ng talatang ito ay naglalarawan sa relasyon ng buwaya at tao noon. Magkaibigan sila. Mabait ang buwaya sa tao. Napapakiusapan itong mangisda para sa tao at ang tao naman ay napapakiusapang mag-alaga ng anak ng buwaya. Taliwas ito sa pagtingin natin ngayon sa buwaya. Ito ay isang mamamatay-taong hayop.

Pinaniniwalaang dahil sa katusuhan ni Pilandok (lagi kasi niyang iniisahan ang mga buwaya) ay natapos ang pagkakaibigan ng tao at buwaya.

Isa pang halimbawa:

Said Meraat Bawa, “I’ll go home now,” she said, “but it’s I alone who doesn’t have anything to take home,” said Meraat Bawa. “And my younger sister, on the other hand,” she said, “got a lot to bring home,” said Meraat Bawa. “I’d better,” she said, “go home now.”

Ang talatang ito ay naglalarawan sa sinapit ni Meraat Bawa pagkatapos niyang maghanap ng kamote at saging. Nabigo siya at ang tanging naiuwi niya ay sampirasong saging, lamog pa.

Layunin ng talatang ito ay ang maawa ang tagapakinig kay Meraat Bawa. Matagal-tagal ding nagbungkal para sa kamote at naghanap ng saging si Meraat Bawa at nang sambitin niya ang nakalagay sa nasabing talata, pagod na siya at gutom na gutom.

Ginagawa ng storyteller ang talatang ganito upang mas ma-involve ang tagapakinig sa damdamin ng tauhan at para na rin masabik ang mga ito sa kahihinatnan ng mga tauhan. Sa pamamagitan ng depictive na mga talata, lalong lumalabas ang pagiging malikhain ng storyteller.

Sa Good Character (Gir) at Bad Character (Girl) ay naging tagumpay ang storyteller sapagkat ang naging tugon ng tagapakinig ay:

Pity poor Meraat Bawa!

d. mga napakapaloob na kanta na kadalasang may tugma at sukat

Ito ay rhetorical devices na ginagamit ng storyteller para hindi malimutan ng tagapakinig ang kahit isang detalye sa bahaging iyon ng kuwento.

“Lullaby, lullaby,
Oh, child of the crocodile,
Oh, child of the crocodile,
Cradled in swinging vines,
A cradle of Lubpegida-vines,
You smell like Bedak-powder,
The smell of Kemeniyana-leaves,
Lullaby.”

Ito ay oyayi na inawit ni Mepiya Bawa para patulugin ang anak ng buwaya. Gustong i-highlight ng storyteller ang pagiging mabait ni Mepiya Bawa. Inawitan pa niya ang baby buwaya at nag-isip siya ng magaganda at mababangong bagay para mas maganda sa pandinig ng pinatutulog na baby buwaya at para sa nagtatrabahong mommy buwaya.

e. Pinagsasama-sama ang mga tauhan sa iisang eksena o di kaya ay setting

Ito ay isang paraan ng storyteller para lalong magising ang tagapakinig. Hinihikayat niyang maging alerto ang tagapakinig dahil maaaring may bibitiwang mga salita o di kaya ay gagawin ang mga tauhan na nangangailangan ng kanilang paghusga. Isa pa ay tuwirang mapagkukumpara, kung nangangailangan ng pagkukumpara kagaya ng kuwento ng Good Character (Girl) at Bad Character (Girl) ng mga tagapakinig ang mga tauhan kung sila ay magkakasama-sama na sa isang eksena o setting.

How about it,” said Mepiya Bawa, “Meraat Bawa, how many did Crocodile catch, how many strings?”
“What catch,” said Meraat Bawa, “when there wasn’t any. See for yourself.” Meraat Bawa held out this single muted-fish. “This is all that Crocodile caught,” said Meraat Bawa.
“Well,” said Mepiya Bawa, “we should be thankful for that because Crocodile must have had to work hard to get that.”

Kitang kita ang contrast sa dalawang magkapatid na ito. Di maitago ang dismaya ni Meraat Bawa sa buwaya kaya pinintasan pa niya kay Mepiya Bawa ang nahuli nitong isang pirasong isda. Samantalang si Mepiya Bawa ay pagpapasalamat pa sa buwaya ang ipinayo dahil ang naisip nito ay ang hirap ng buwaya sa paghuli ng isda.

f. Retorikal na tanong

“Why is it,” said meraat Bawa, “That it pulled my pubic-hair when I asked it to pull the hair on my head so that I would be beautiful?” said Meraat Bawa.
“What should happen, on the other hand, is that my pubic hair is very long now,” said Meraat Bawa.
“I’m different now from my younger sister,” said Meraat Bawa, “for my younger sister, on the other hand, is beautiful because of her long hair…”
“How can I fix myself up now when what is long is my pubic hair?” said Meraat Bawa.

Ang retorikal na tanong ay ginagamit ng storyteller para mapaisip din ang tagapakinig. Dahil sa tanong na ito ay babalikan sa isip ng tagapakinig ang mga pangyayari at dahilan kung bakit nga ba nangyari kay Meraat Bawa ang paghaba ng bulbol. Isa itong paraan para maglabas ng saloobin ang tagapakinig at nang sa gayon ay hindi siya dalawin ng antok.

At maganda ring pansinin ang humor dito. Katawa-tawa talagang maisip ang napakahabang bulbol!

g. ilang pagbabago sa mga bahagi ng pananalita para mas vivid at mapanatili ang interes ng tagapakinig

Isang halimbawa nito ay ang pagbabago sa point of view. May mga bahagi ang kuwentong Good Character (Girl) at Bad Character (Girl) na mula sa 3rd person point of view ay bigla na lamang gagamit ng “you” na para bang kausap na lang ng storyteller ang tauhan.

Take note, what then but Mepiya Bawa got her mosquito net for washing. You arrived there at the river and Mepiya Bawa is washing it. Mepiya Bawa then got her mosquito net and is drying it (in the sun). Very carefully she spread out this mosquito net here. When you had finished spreading out your mosquito net you then returned again to the river here where Mepiya Bawa is unwinding her topknot of hair for she will wash it.

Kung sisipatin ito ng isang alagad ng balarila, katakut-takot na editing ang mangyayari. Ngunit kailangang alalahanin na hindi ito binabasa, ang storytelling ay live at kailangang gumawa ng paraan ang storyteller para mapanatili niyang interesado ang tagapakinig. Kaya bigla siyang gumagamit ng you ay para mas mapalapit sa tagapakinig ang mga nangyayari. Kapag sinasambit niya ang you ay parang naroon siya mismo sa setting ng kuwento at kaharap at inuutusan na lamang niya ang tauhan. At siyempre pa, feel na feel ito ng tagapakinig sapagkat sila ay nasa likod lamang ng storyteller. Nai-imagine nila na kaharap din nila ang tauhan.

Isa pang halimbawa nito ay ang pagbabago sa tenses ng mga pandiwa kahit sa iisang talata lamang.

Meraat Bawa is proceeding then and you are grabbing hold of the heart here and, as you are about to take it too so you can slice up this heart, the deer got up.
And so Meraat Bawa is being attacked by its horns and what happened then was that Meraat Bawa died because of being horned-to-death by the deer…

Muli ay bagsak ang mga talatang ito sa isang grammarian dahil sa walang konsistensi sa tenses ng pandiwa. Ngunit ginawa lamang ito ng storyteller upang mas maging vivid sa imahinasyon ng tagapakinig ang eksena. Kahit saang wika, ang pangkasalukuyang pandiwa ang mas nagbibigay ng aksiyon at buhay sa eksena kaysa sa ibang tenses.

h. dramatikong dialogue at mga monologue

Madalas ang dramatikong dialogue na ito ay malapit na sa dulo ng kuwento. Nagpapalitan ng madamdaming linya ang mga tauhan at madalas din ay may komprontasyon ng dalawang tauhan ang nangyayari.

Said the deer, “That’s enough now, Meraat Bawa, for I’ll die if you pluck my out my heart. This is the end of my love for you—my love for you that let you cut up all of my body,” said Deer, “but that’s the end, Meraat Bawa, of my love for you, because there is one thing alone,” said Deer, “that I won’t give and this is my heart because I would certainly die,” said Deer, “if this is plucked out of me.”

“Is there anything,” said Meraat Bawa “to be held back? That’s why you allowed your body to be sliced up because you gave it away. And now, instead, you won’t give that one thing that is very little.”

Mapapansin din na paulit-ulit ang sinasabi ng mga tauhan dito at paulit-ulit ding sinasabi kung sino ang nagsasalita. Kailangan ay muling isaisip na ito ay oral at binibigkas. Kailangang ipaalala lagi ng storyteller ang dahilan kung bakit ganon ang kilos ng tauhan at kung sino na ang nagsasalita sa dialogue.

i. madamdaming pagsasalita

Gumagamit ng Etuwey, Babeba, Ba, Ih, Iney, Ey o mga pagpapahayag ng damdamin ang storyteller. Sinasabi niya iyon na para bang siya mismo ang nakakita o nakaranas. Kapag feel na feel ng storyteller, feel na feel din ng tagapakinig.

This older sister, Meraat Bawa, spoke saying, “Etuwey,” she said, “you’ve certainly got a lot here!” said her older sister…

Ito naman ay tinugunan ng tagapakinig ng “See what you’ve missed!”

j. pagbabago sa bilis ng kuwento at condensation ng oras

Ayon kay Wrigglesworth, minsan ay pinapahaba at pinapabagal ng storyteller ang kuwento. Halimbawa ay kapag may importanteng eksena, mahahaba ang pangungusap at mahahaba rin ang linya ng mga tauhan. Humahaba rin ang sagutan.

Ngunit kapag kailangan nang paikliin ay ganito naman ang ginagawa:

Take note, now the story goes faster, but the situation is still the same. No one has seen this bird.

Sa Good Character (Girl) at Bad Character (Girl) ay hindi ko nakita ang mga ito. Para sa akin ay pareho ang pace ng kuwento mula umpisa hanggang dulo. Hindi nagmadali, hindi rin naman nagbabad ang storyteller. Sa tingin ko ay dahil tama lang ang haba ng kuwentong ito kaya hindi na kailangang pang gawin ang pagbabago sa pace.

k. paggalaw

Bagama’t walang masyadong nabanggit na gumagalaw ang storyteller ng Good Character (Girl) at Bad Character (Girl), nais ko pa ring bigyang-pansin ang isang paggalaw niya na sa tingin ko ay importante.

Nang binibigkas niya ito:

…said Deer, “ I would die instead if you cut into my heart. This only is what you are to slice off, all of this here. Take all of this, Meraat Bawa,” said Deer.

Itinuturo niya ang bahagi ng sarili niyang katawan para mas ma-imagine ng tagapakinig ang sinasabi ng tauhang si Deer. Malaking tulong nga naman para ma-visualize ang eksenang ito.

l. ang pagtatapos ay may kapareho sa kuwento

Ang pagtatapos ng kuwento ay hindi lamang basta katapusan ng kuwento. Maaaring ito ay katulad ng katapusan ng buhay ng isang tauhan kagaya ng nangyari kay Meraat Bawa. Nang mamatay siya ay noon din natapos ang kuwentong Good Character (Girl) at Bad Character (Girl). Maaari rin namang may limitasyon ang isang bagay kaya iyon na rin ang limitasyon ng kuwento. Maaari namang naubos na ang isang bagay kaya parang naubos na rin ang kuwento.

Malaki ang kinalaman ng pagiging “live show” ng manobo storytelling sa nilalaman nito. Maraming isinasaalang-alang ang storyteller sa tuwing bubukas ang kanyang bibig. Bukod sa kalaban niya ang pagod at antok ng sarili at tagapakinig, nariyan pa ang hamon na kailangang nauunawaan at nakaka-relate ang mga tagapakinig sa kanyang ikinukuwento.

Nabubudburan ng cultural implications ang manobo storytelling. Kaya maaaring ang basket ay hindi simpleng basket lamang sa isang kuwento. May kahulugan ito na mahalaga sa pinagmumulang kultura. Masasabi kong ginamitan ng estratehiya ng storyteller ang paglalagay at/o pagkakasunod-sunod ng pangyayari sa isang kuwento nang sa ganon ay may panahon at pagkakataong makapagbigay-komento ang tagapakinig.

Sa pamamagitan ng pagko-comment ng tagapakinig, hindi lamang nagiging interaktibo ang isang storytelling session, napapanatili ang pagiging tagapaghusga nila sa mga gawain, ugali at saloobin ng mga tauhan na maaari namang nagiging gawain, ugali at saloobin ng isa sa kanila. At sa pamamagitan nito, napapanatili ang kaayusan ng kanilang lipunan. Halimbawa ay nalalaman ng mga batang tagapakinig na hindi maganda ang ugali at gawi ng isang tulad ni Meraat Bawa kapag nagbibigay-komento nang hindi maganda ang mga tao sa paligid nila. Sa gayong paraan ay maiiwasan niya ang maging isang Meraat Bawa. Lalaki siya na ang gagayahin ay iyong tauhang binibigyan ng magandang komento, walang iba kundi si Mepiya Bawa, ang mabait na kapatid.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

frustrate cancer

"nagbigay na kami ng notification sa lahat ng nanalo."

iyan ang sabi sa akin sa telepono ng taga-palanca. agad akong nagbukas ng email at nagcheck ng cellphone. wala. walang notice. ni ha ni ho. wala. ibig sabihin, talo na naman ako.

owmeeeeeeeeen.

hay, susmarya. hindi na yata ako mananalo dito ever. kaya lang naman ako sumasali rito ay dahil ayon sa idol kong teacher, sumali nang sumali sa mga contest hangga't bata pa. pero hello, antanda ko na, e hindi pa ako nananalo kahit sambeses.

pero kahit malungkot ako, marami akong natutuhan sa karanasang ito.

last sem, sa faculty room namin isang araw na maginaw dahil sa aircon, bigla na lang nagrecite ng forwarded text si sir benj.

ganito ang gist: may isang bayan na sinugod ng tagtuyot. noong una, cool pa ang mga tagaroon kasi alam nilang marami silang naitabing pagkain. Lumipas ang araw, tapos lumipas ang linggo tapos lumipas ang buwan ngunit hindi lumipas ang tagtuyot. unti-unti nang naubos ang kanilang pagkain at tubig at hindi pa rin natatapos ang tagtuyot. tapos dumaan pa ang matagal na panahon, wala pa ring ulan. hanggang sa wala nang makain ang mga tagaroon. kaya ang ginawa nila, isang araw ay nagtipun-tipong silang lahat sa bukid tapos nagdasal sila na sana umulan, umulan nang umulan. Nagdasal sila nang nagdasal hanggang sa gumabi. tapos sabi ng lider nila, balik tayong lahat bukas dito sa bukid. mag-isip pa tayo ng mga dapat gawin.

kinabukasan, nagtipon uli silang lahat. bigla-bigla e bumuhos ang malakas na ulan. sa dami ng tao, iisa lamang ang may dalang payong. sino iyon? isang pirasong bata.

noong summer, pagkapasang pagkapasa ko ng entries ko sa palanca, nagnobena ako. nakabuo ako. 9 na simbahan sa 9 na araw. ang saya, kako. at ang galing ko. imagine, si bebang, nakatapos ng nobena. tiyak na mananalo na ako.

dumating ang pasukan at biglang nagpaikot ng papel tungkol sa isang cultural tour sa labas ng bansa. pumirma raw ang gustong sumama. chiangmai, thailand, malaysia at beijing, china ang pagpipilian. parang gusto kong sumama kasi siguradong marami na naman akong matututuhan at eventually ay maibabahagi sa klase. pero parang ayaw ko rin kasi gagastos na naman ako. may subsidy ang eskuwelahan pero gagastos at gagastos pa rin kaming faculty.

kinumbinsi ako nina mam cora at g. sumama na raw ako at sayang daw. tapos marami pang guro ang nagsabi sa akin na "wala raw maingay kapag hindi ako sumama." dahil diyan ay narealize ko na napakamakabuluhan ng aking papel sa tour na ito. naisip ko tuloy na sumama na nga.

dalawang araw bago ang deadline ng pagpapalista sa tour, nalaman ko kay sir vim na ang awarding ng palanca ay sept. 1. patay, kako. ang cultural tour ay aug.29 to sept.2.

at dahil ako ang batang magdadala ng payong pagkatapos manalangin ng ulan, nagback out ako sa tour.

siyempre, tinanong ako. sinabi ko ang dahilan. dagdag ko pa, mam sakaling manalo ako, uunahin ko talaga ang palanca. kung hindi ninyo ako papayagang magback out, uuwi po akong mag-isa para sa awarding. zygote pa lang ay pinapangarap ko na ito. ang sabi ni mam myrna, ang nag-oorganisa ng tour, sige, ganito, ibu-book kita at iho-hold ko ang booking hangga't kaya. kailan ba ang announcement ng nanalo?

2nd week daw po ng agosto sabi ng taga-palanca, kako.

sa buong panahon na naghihintay ako ng resulta, naiset ko na ang isip ko na hindi ako makakasasama. nanghihinayang ako dahil ang napili ay beijing. doon ang cultural tour. hello, great wall of china! pero mas malaki ang pagnanais (at pag-asa) kong mananalo ako sa palanca at kailangang andito ako sa maynila sa araw ng awarding.

noong lunes, sabi sa akin ni mam myrna, puwede pa raw akong humabol sa pagpapalista kung gusto ko.

sige, mam, kako.

kaya agad kong hinanap ang contact detail ng palanca. martes na nang makatawag ako doon. at doon na nga bumagsak ang langit sa buo kong pagkatao.

talo, tsk.

agad akong nagpalista kay mam myrna para sa beijing tour.dinala ko agad ang passport ko para sa chinese visa. ambilis ko talaga kumilos. hinarang ko agad ang lungkot at frustration. aba, bawal ang mga iyan. mabait ang diyos. matamis ang buhay. bakit ako magmumukmok e palanca lang iyan? (asus)

kaya sabi ko sa sarili ko, mag-eenjoy ako nang husto sa beijing. titikim ako ng lahat ng chinese food na makita ko. magpapagulong-gulong ako sa great wall of china. sa saihg, hindi sa hagdan. magpaparetrato ako nang marami sa tapat ng mga temple at ipalalaminate ko ang mga retrato sa mga platito, plato, bandehado, planggana, balde, drum, swimming pool, dagat. punyeta. ayokong malungkot. ayokong ma-frustrate. hindi puwede. ang isang bebang ay hindi nalulungkot o nafu-frustrate.

e kanina, nagkaroon ng pagpupulong ang mga importanteng tao sa kolehiyo namin. sinuwerte namang mapasama ako sa kainan nila(hindi sa pulong kundi yung aftermath na ng pulong, ano?). walang damdaming in-announce ni mam tonton ang pinakamapaklang balitang narinig ko sa buong buhay ko:

Dahil sa dami ng school days na nasayang sa mga biglaang holiday at sa ah1n1 ay
hindi pinayagan ng university admin. ang ating college cultural tour.

goodbye, beijing.

kaya heto ako ngayon, naghihingalo at mamamatay na sa frustrate cancer.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

balinguyngoy

may isang MA student na nag-interview sa akin noong summer. paksa niya ang mingaw saka raw iyong something na tungkol sa akin. hmmm...lahat ng tanong niya, sinagot ko in a very "generous" fashion. at heto naman ang resulta:

Bebang and her Rhetorics of Self-Making
The Self in a Time of War
Elinor May Cruz

From the idea that the self is not given to us, I think that there is only one practical consequence:
we have to create ourselves as a work of art.
Michel Foucault

This essay is a reflection on my conversation with a young Filipina writer named Bebang Siy. It does not aim to stand in for the lives of young women or Filipina writers, on the contrary, it is meant to bear witness to a self emergent in a time of war. In discerning Bebang’s selfhood, this essay draws upon Deborah Battaglia’s rhetorics of self-making. This war, unravelled in the poetry of Joi Barrios in “Ang Pagiging Babae ay Pamumuhay sa Panahon ng Digma,” can be observed as we set our eyes on the entanglements within the Philippine society Bebang lives in, and it is through her pragmatic and purposeful words and actions – her agentive self-actions – in the face of tensions and contradictions which become the source of her rhetorics of self-making, and as a result, her selfhood.

Therefore, my purpose in writing this essay is to discern Bebang’s rhetorics of self-making, how her selfhood emerges in a space and time reconstituted as war. But what does selfhood mean? In self-making, where rhetoric is taken as “a provisional social project...there is no selfhood apart from the collaborative practice of its figuration” (Battaglia, 1995). In line with this, we can define selfhood in the words of Battaglia (1995) as “a chronically unstable productivity brought situationally – not invariably – to some form of imaginary order, to some purpose, as realized in the course of culturally patterned interactions.”

This definition is also outlined in the works of Irving Hallowell, where the self is culturally-constituted (Csordas, 2002); and Robert Desjarlais, where senses of selfhood “are not pre-given in any situation; founded on complex webs of political, social and linguistic forces, they can be echoed, agreed upon, contested, denied, reworked, or invoked for rhetorical purposes...keeping mind the dominant imageries cultivated by others” (Desjarlais, 2000).

Like Desjarlais, George Mead makes the role of rhetoric explicit in self-making when he says that the “self is a social structure arising in social experience originating in social activity such as language” (Csordas, 1994). However, amidst all these definitions, an encompassing definition of selfhood maybe that of Jeannette Mageo’s.

Self we take to be an encompassing domain term that it includes within in it virtually all aspects of personhood and subjectivity. The self is constituted by acts of identification with internal elements of experience and with persons, groups, representations in the cultural world. As such, it is irrevocably implicated in power relations (Mageo, 2005).

Battaglia’s rejection of an essentialist notion of the self, her contention that the self is emergent, and in use of rhetorics bring about the notion of the “self as a representational economy;” as entrenched in modes of production. In this notion, there is a “reification continually defeated by mutable entanglements with other subjects’ histories, experiences, self-representations; with their texts, conduct, gestures, objectifications; with their argument of images” (Battaglia, 1995). The entanglements in Bebang’s life, as I thematically narrate, show how her relational self, as opposed to the individuated self; as someone who is developing an art of living, someone who is in a constant state of struggle, someone who is engaged in self-making. And so I pose the question, “what forces constrain and enable her self-making?” I begin my essay with unpacking the entanglements of Bebang’s life which consist of her childhood, her family, the time when she was a working student, her profession as a writer, and finally, her gender as a woman; elaborated on with the use of narratives acquired through my conversation with her. The first part of this essay points to her entanglements as embedded in culture, society, space and time; in other words, social arrangements in the context of war.

Correspondingly, the above-mentioned social arrangements, which can be also understood as structures or institutions, are prevailed over by language where meaning-making is inherent. Thomas Csordas’s notion of the “self as language” places the Bebang’s self at the “interpretive center of culture and broad notions of...discourse as modalities of self-construction (Csordas, 1994). Bebang’s craft as a writer places her at the helm of meaning-making, and when there is meaning-making, there is the implication of power. The notion of power here has Foucauldian reverberations in that power maybe repressive but it is also productive (Lorentzen, 2008). The potent combination of being a writer and being a Filipina, is what struck me the most about Bebang; and I think this is where she draws her rhetoric’s originative force: through her experiential knowledge and written works. This is highlighted in the second part of my discussion of her agentive self-actions whereby as a Filipina writer, as she actively participates in the rhetorics of her own self-making.

Finally, I will conclude this essay with a contention of tentativity, wherein the rhetorics of self-making is deemed as both mutable and provisional; and the cultural given of inherited relationships are incessantly opened to redefinition in Bebang’s creative struggle for the self.

Entanglements of War

Kay tagal kong pinag-aralan
ang puno’t dulo ng digmaan.
sa huli’y naunawaan,
na ang pagiging babae
ay walang katapusang pakikibaka
para mabuhay at maging malaya.

(How long have I studied
the depths and extent of this war.
In the end, I understand
that to be a woman
is a never ceasing struggle
to live and be free).

“Ang Pagiging Babae ay Pamumuhay sa Panahon ng Digma”
Joi Barrios

When I contacted Bebang for an interview through a common friend, she invited me to their house in Quezon City. Before seeing her in person, we were already corresponding through SMS and email and it is through this correspondence that showed me her warmth, openness and humility. The interview lasted for over two hours, and in my opinion, it felt more like spending quality time with a friend. What follows is a chronological narrative of our conversation.

In her childhood, Bebang remembered growing up in different places. She has lived in Pandacan, Paco, Pasay, Ermita, Las Pinas and she said this was a result of her parents’ separation when she was just nine years old.

“Parang siopao. Tigdalawa sila. Take out ba. Nagkastepfather ako. Nagkastepmother ako. At lahat iyon, tinanggap ko lang. Hindi ko naa-assess kasi masyado pa akong bata. Hindi ko alam kapag hindi mo na-aassess, naiipon pala sa loob mo. At sasabog na parang bulkan balang araw.”

“Just like siopao. They took two each. Like take out. I had a stepfather. A stepmother. And I took it all in, I didn’t think about it because I was still too little. I didn’t know that if you didn’t assess it, it’ll pile up inside you. And it’ll erupt like a volcano one day (my translation).”

Growing up, she recalled she didn’t have a lot of confidence; she didn’t find herself as pretty and was the class clown in school.

“Lahat na ng kaklase ko, kahit pa iyong mukhang siko, ay naliligawan, samantalang ako, hindi. Wala kasing sumeseryoso sa akin. Patawa lang ako nang patawa. Pero ayaw kong ipakita ang pagkainsecure ko. Tipong sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, kaya walang lumiligaw sa akin, hindi dahil pangit ako kundi dahil ako ay clown.”

“All of my classmates, even those who look like elbows, have been courted except for me. Nobody took me seriously. I just made them laugh. I didn’t want to show them I was insecure. I just told myself, ‘the reason why nobody’s courting me is not because I was ugly but because I was a clown’ (my translation).”

She also had suicidal tendencies growing up. She told me she would suddenly feel terribly lonely and even attempted suicide at the age of 13. She would write suicide notes and place them in the newspaper linings of her cabinet. One time, she took Biogesic and vitamin tablets and slept but ended up waking up. Up until now she said she would suddenly find herself extremely lonely but she overcomes this by surrounding herself with people or by being busy.

“...Parang, 'oy lungkot, hindi mo ako masosolo. Bukod sa marami akong ginagawa marami rin akong kasama kaya wala akong panahon at espasyo para sa 'yo.' I guess, naging mas wais ako pagdating sa pag-handle ng misteryoso kong bisita na kung tawagin ay lungkot.”

“Like, hey loneliness, you won’t get me alone. Aside from being busy doing a lot of things, I also have a lot of people around me so I don’t have the time and space for you. I guess I got wiser when it comes to dealing with my mysterious visitor called loneliness (my translation).”

Her childhood dream then, aside from wanting to be a doctor like the contestants in the “Little Miss Philippines” pageant in “Eat Bulaga,” was for her family to be complete. During the conversation, she brought up the Jollibee commercial where viewers can see the father, the mother and the child eating happily. But then she realized it was impossible as she was growing up.

When I asked her to describe herself, Bebang said she is someone who values her friends over her family; but during our conversation, it was undeniable that her parents, especially her mother “Tisay,” have a significant importance in her life. She says her mother is a very strong woman. Someone who knows what she wants. A fighter and will defend her family, especially her children, even if one had a child out of wedlock (Bebang) and one was an addict (one of her siblings). But this was not originally the case with her mother. When her father, “Bobby” was still alive, she used to side with him. She looked down on her mother for having some boyfriend. But she said now that she’s grown up, she is able to understand and accept her mother and attributes her stepfathers to her mother’s bad luck with men.

Even though Bebang’s father was an alcoholic, didn’t have stable jobs and was a womanizer when he was still alive, she did not deny him the love of a daughter. She said he had his own ways of showing love to his children. She gave me an example of a time when he brought home a new family computer even without them asking. And when she became an adult, she found out that he used to borrow money from his siblings so they can study in a private school.

During college, Bebang became a working student with menial jobs. She became a saleslady in “Blowing Bubbles,” a clerk in a pawnshop in Baclaran, a sales agent in “Hyundai,” in “Sara Lee,” in “Avon,” a waitress, a data gatherer. Taking it from experience, she said she makes it a point to give big tips in restaurants, taxis, etc. “Dito nabuhay ang pamilya ko, dito nabuhay ang anak ko, dito ako nakapag-aral, sa tip (This is where my family survived, this is where my son survived, this is where I survived in college, on tips).” She graduated Cum Laude in the University of the Philippines with a bachelor’s degree on “Malikhaing Pagsulat” (B.A. Creative Writing in Filipino).

As a writer for almost seven years, Bebang already has an established body of literary works to her name, ranging from children’s stories, poetry, essays, horror stories, to an erotica novel. She feels strongly about her craft and her written works are manifest of her experiential knowledge and it is through this that she finds a source of recognition of her selfhood.

“Para sa akin, napakaimportanteng magsulat ako ng kahit ano. Ang pagsusulat ay isang paraan ng pagsasabing importante ako, importante ang ginagawa ko, importante ang karanasan ko...”

“For me, it’s very important to write anything. Writing is my way of saying I matter, what I do matters, my experiences matter... (my translation).”

When I asked her how she views herself as a woman, she related the overwhelming demands and expectations that came with menstruation in her autobiographical essay called “Regla Baby.” She expressed her apprehension, especially when she got pregnant and started to work at an early age.

“...Noong nabuntis ako, I really prayed hard na maging lalaki ang anak ko. Kasi mahirap maging babae sa klase ng mundo natin ngayon. Saka na, kako, God, saka mo na ako bigyan ng anak na babae kapag maganda-ganda na ang mundo.
Mahirap maging babae sa Pilipinas pero tanggap ko na iyan... Naranasan ko na ang ma-verbal harass...Naranasan ko na rin noong waitress pa ako ay bugahan ako ng usok ng sigarilyo ng isang customer sa mukha. Taiwanese na lasing siya. Alam mo, hindi ako nakapagreklamo. Hindi rin ako naka-react. Basta lang pumasok ako sa quarter namin. Noon ko naramdaman ang pagiging mahirap na bansa natin. Mahirap lang ako at babae na nagtatrabaho sa isang mahirap na bansa. Wala akong masyadong magawa. Naisip ko na lang, putangina niya kapag nagkakotse ako at nakita ko siya sa kalsada, babanggain ko sya at sasagasaan pabalik-balik hanggang sa magmukha na lang siyang hump sa lansangan.”

“...When I got pregnant, I really prayed hard for a baby boy. Because it’s hard to be a woman in the kind of world that we have now. Maybe some other time, God, grant me a daughter when the world is better. It’s hard to be a woman in the Philippines but I have already learned to accept that...I’ve experienced verbal harassment...I also experienced, when I was a waitress, being blown cigarette smoke in the face by a customer. He’s a drunken Taiwanese. You know, I didn’t get to complain. I also didn’t get to react. I just went inside our quarter. That’s when I felt the poverty of our country. I’m poor and I am a woman working in a poor country. I couldn’t do anything. I thought, that son of a bitch, someday when I get to have my own car and I see him on the street, I’ll run him over and over. Until he looks like a hump on the road (my translation).”

The narratives obtained from my correspondence and conversation with Bebang provide an insight in the forces that enable and constrain her self-making. Barrios (in Tadiar, 2002) said “Filipinas are living in a time of war...and it is inextricable from the condition of the country that bears the same name as its women: Filipinas.” Neferti Xina Tadiar (2002) describes this war as gendered, sexual, racial and national...Filipina women have not only borne the costs...but have literally become the bodily price paid for it.”

Agency in War

Joi Barrios’s subjective reconstitution of reality as war enables a new role for women that makes them warriors of and for life, where living is a creative struggle for freedom.

Neferti Xina Tadiar

Grace Harris (in Desjarlais, 2000) avers that personhood “can be bestowed or removed, confirmed or disconfirmed, declared or denied,” and it is in this apparent tug-of-war that Bebang as a Filipina writer fights the looming battles of self-making in the face of patriarchy and capitalism. Through writing, she summons autonomy in generating the power of her rhetorics and the rhetorical device she makes use of is agentive action not just in self-making but, as we would learn, in world-making as well.
One of the pressing questions that I wanted to ask Bebang was her use of the pen name ‘Frida Mujer’ in her erotic novel “Mingaw” (Visayan for “nangungulila” or loneliness). It turned out it was the publisher who asked her to use a pen name that would sound titillating to prop up the sales of her erotic novel. Instead of seeing it as a disadvantage, she saw it as a window of opportunity; using a pen name that has a significant meaning for her. “FREE THE (Frida) WOMAN (Mujer) Spanish for woman.” According to her, a writer’s influence doesn’t have to stop with the byline, she would agree to use a pen name if it means being able to give people an alternative to porn, which perpetuates the subordination of women - an erotic novel.
She said she writes mainly for popular literature because in this way her written works can be read by many. This stems from her desire to help uplift the consciousness of Filipino readers.

“As a writer, mas makiling ako sa pop... mas gusto ko, hindi lang ako sa paaralan babasahin. Mas maraming makabasa sa akda ko, mas okey...Gusto ko na makatulong na maiangat ang kamalayan ng mga mambabasa sa pamamagitan ng pagsusulat for pop lit. Pero ayoko rin 'yung maging katulad ng Eat Bulaga. They’ve been here for what? Almost 30 years? Pero may nagawa ba sila para iangat ang kamalayan ng viewers nila? Wala. Sila, ang yayaman na. Ang mga viewers nila, ganon pa rin, mahirap. O yumaman man, mababaw pa rin...Kaya magtapon ka man ng intellectual jokes sa mga viewers tulad ng viewers ng Eat Bulaga, hindi pa rin nila maiintindihan kasi ang Eat Bulaga hindi nila sinubukang mag-introduce ng ganyan. Kuntento na sila sa cheap jokes dahil wala sa agenda nilang baguhin ang paraan ng pag-iisip ng viewers nilang Pinoy. Hindi ganyan mag-isip ang team namin. Hindi ako ganyan mag-isip. Lagi kaming nagpapakilala ng bago. Bagong form, bagong mensahe, bagong paraan ng pagkukuwento.”

“As a writer, I’m more inclined towards pop...I like to be read not just in schools. The more readers for my written works, the better...I want to uplift the consciousness of readers through pop lit. But I don’t want to be like Eat Bulaga. They’ve been here for what? Almost 30 years? But have they done anything to uplift the consciousness of their viewers? None. The hosts are richer. Their viewers are still poor. Or if they ever become rich, they’re still shallow...That’s why if you throw at them intellectual jokes like the viewers of Eat Bulaga, they won’t understand because Eat Bulaga never attempted to do so. They’re content with cheap jokes because it’s not in their agenda to change the way their Pinoy viewers think. That’s not how our team thinks. That’s not how I think. We always introduce something new. New form, new message, new kind of storytelling (my translation).”

In one of her blog posts that she sent me, she talked about her experience of sexual harassment and how she started to stand her ground, not just for herself but for other women as well.

“Maraming beses na rin akong nahipuan, natsansingan. Dati, wala lang akong ginagawa titingnan ko lang nang matalim (kung alam ko kung sino) ang maysala. Pero hindi ko siya ipinapahiya. Ngayon, namamahiya na ako ng mga manyak. Isinisigaw ko sa mundo: manyak ka, hayop ka! Kasi naisip ko, kung hindi ako magsasalita, uulit-ulitin ito ng mga manyak sa mga kapwa ko babae... So I think when I scream, I scream for other women not just for myself...”

“There have been a lot of times that I’ve been sexually harassed. Before, I didn’t do anything except glare (that is if I knew who it was) at the culprit. But I didn’t humiliate him. Now, I humiliate those maniacs. I shout to the world: maniac! Monster! Because I thought, if I don’t speak up, they’ll continue doing what they do to other women... So I think when I scream, I scream for other women not just for myself... (my translation).”

Contrary to the traditional notion that mothers, as products of patriarchy, pass on this patriarchal tradition to their children, i.e. pink for girls, blue for boys (Fernandez in Ocampo, 2000); Bebang makes use of her role as a mother in giving her son, EJ, a new perspective outside the confines of patriarchy.

“...Mga pangalan ng bahagi ng katawan... di dapat ikinahihiya. Dapat malayang pinag-uusapan maski ng mga bata at lalo na ng matanda... Kapag nasanay kang tawagin ang bahagi ng katawan mo sa pangalan nito, magiging mas komportable kang pag-usapan ito, tukuyin ito etc. At naniniwala ako na kapag komportable kang napag-uusapan ang mga bahagi ng katawan sa pangalan nito, mas madali mo itong maaalagaan at mapoproteksyunan. Dapat nga itinuturo rin ito sa bata. At dapat walang malisya...Hindi flower 'yan, puke 'yan. Kapag may humawak diyan bukod sa 'yo o kay Mommy, sasabihin mo agad. Mommy, hinawakan po ni Kuya ang puke ko. Di ba mas madali? E, normal sa mga bata ang mahiya di ba lalong lalo na kapag “flower” ang tinutukoy nila o bird or what…so kapag sinabi ng bata, Mommy may humawak sa…tapos mahihiya na siya kasi nakakahiya ang flower, hindi na niya iyan itutuloy. Ano 'yon, anak? Sa ano po…may ano po sa ano…Wala po, Mommy...I tried this with my son. So isang araw sabi niya, Ma, masakit ang bayag ko. Walang alinlangan niyang sinabi iyan. Nalalaman ko agad at naaaksiyonan agad. Hindi katulad ng ibang bata, naiilang, nahihiya... Ma, masakit ang ulo ko. Di ba pareho lang iyan? Mabibigyan mo pa agad ng gamot ang anak mo. At matatapos ang kirot.”

“...The names of body parts...shouldn’t be embarrassing. It should be freely talked about even by children and more so by adults...If you get used to calling your body parts by their names, you’ll be more comfortable talking about them...And I believe that when you’re comfortable talking about your body, it’ll be easier to take care of and protect it. This should be taught to children and without malice. That’s not a flower, that’s the vagina. If someone touches it aside from you or Mommy, tell me immediately. Mommy my brother touched my vagina. Easier right? It’s been normal for children to be embarrassed when they talk about flower or bird or what...so when a child says, Mommy, someone touched my...then she’ll be embarrassed because talking about the flower is embarrassing, she’ll stop talking about it. What’s that? In my...in the...nothing, Mommy...I tried this with my son. One day he said, Ma, my balls hurt. No reservations whatsoever. I know about it immediately and I act on it. Unlike other children, they get embarrassed...Ma, my head hurts, isn’t it the same? You’ll get to give your child medicine. And the pain stops (my translation).”

Looking at the entanglements that Bebang, as a Filipina writer, is implicated within the Philippine society that she lives in, we see traces of Sherry Ortner’s practice theory. Ortner was concerned with how “social reproduction becomes social transformation...agency is the key although not synonymous to free will but that is socially, culturally, and linguistically constrained” (Ahearn, 2000). Furthermore, Mageo accurately depicts the form of agency utilized by Bebang in her self-making, “agency...intimately bound-up with the human capacity to innovate upon if not to reimagine existing schemata; these innovations and reimaginings are integral to the activity of self-making (Mageo, 2000).” Bebang makes use of counter-identities in her dividuated selves. To quote cultural Marxist Raymond Williams, “human beings make society even as society makes them” (Ahearn, 2000), and in the case of Bebang her rhetorics is her social action.

When I asked Bebang about how she sees her future unfolding, she remarked that it might as well be the most difficult question I asked her in our correspondence. She said her life’s lack of sense of permanence, influenced by her mother, maybe passed onto EJ; and this is her greatest fear. This is her primary reason for not pursuing her masteral degree’s completion. She is supposed to finish her masteral degree in “Panitikang Filipino” (Philippine Literature) this year to prevent losing her tenure in University of Santo Tomas (UST) where she currently teaches; but she professes avoiding the opportunity to study because that would mean focusing her attention to her studies, leaving less room for EJ. She fears she might have to end up leaving him with her mom which is comparable to what she went through in her childhood.

In addition, she said she would like to have a family so EJ can have a father figure in his life. But she doesn’t see this as her only option. She also envisions a future living with her mother and EJ but she sometimes gets jealous of her friends getting married. She also wants to be financially successful, so that in this way, she will be able to write as much as she wants.
At present, Bebang teaches Filipino in UST. She makes her Business students read “Sa Kagubatan ng Isang Lungsod” by Abdon Balde, a Filipino novel exposing the corruption in government and private company dealings. Writing has now become a part-time venture for her, she writes for call for papers in the form of submissions and contributions.

The Self in a Time of War
“...if truth is created by texts from individuals within particular contexts, then it is in the hands of writers to create a new truth. Moreover, if subjectivity is not a permanent quality of individuals but a changing trait dictated by texts, it means that the struggle of creating new thinking, texts and discourse is the same struggle in creating a new personhood.”

Sylvia Estrada-Claudio

Barrios clearly capture, at this moment in time, the essence of Bebang’s rhetorics of self-making. Battaglia’s (1995) alternative to an essentialist exposition: “the historical circumstances, the poetics, and the power relations that define a selfhood emergent in sociality,” a self influx, leads me to advocate a sense of tentativity in this regard. I argue that Bebang’s selfhood may reflect self-making in a time of war but inevitably, this war will make manifest its evolution into something only the future possesses knowledge of. However, what I have tried to show here is that just as self-making is always in the business of producing self-action or agency, and that selfhood “not simply culturally and historically constituted but intensely pragmatic and political in its makings” (Desjarlais, 2000), identities and counter-identities will emerge. Millet (in Deabanico, 2003) states that the “representation of women is another tool in promoting inequality and discrimination,” in the same vein Shapiro (in Kleinman and Kleinman, 1996) states that “representation is the absence of presence.” Bebang, in her rhetorics of self-making, shatters this convention. Reproducing Foucault’s notion of power-knowledge, realized through discourse where “the relationship between symbol and symbolised is not only referential, does not simply describe, but is productive, that is creates” (Weeks in DelVecchio Good, Brodwin, Good, Kleinman, 1994) empowers Bebang’s selfhood during, and will do so even in the aftermath of, this war.

Finally, Tadiar (2002) said that “the Filipina identity is the creative strategies of living against this war...we should probe into the historical experiences out of which dominant images of Filipina have been produced...to break the world of semblances in which people have become things...to dereify our forms of regard and to discover new ways of relating to one another...” she further emphasizes cultural production, like that of Bebang’s written works, as “a form of mediation that activates and intervenes in prevailing structures of society. It thus has the capacity to alter the dominant forms of looking that support oppressive and exploitative social conditions.” She, therefore, sets the stage that calls on cultural products to initiate and sustain the change in the status quo. She outlines the task of feminist writers and artists and critics, “to reinvent experiential strategies for recreating the realities women inherit and take as ‘givens’...the reconstitution of reality often means the proposition of new myths, new dreams, as well as the recuperation and revitalization of dreams that are already at work in the making of the world” (Tadiar, 2002).

In her rhetorics of self-making in a time of war, Bebang is in the front-line; and as her selfhood is continually fashioned by the indeterminacy of rhetorical action, she will continue to define herself against herself, whereby the cultural given of inherited relationships are incessantly opened to redefinition in the creative struggle for the self.

References Cited

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