By Virginia Jasmine Pasalo
IT is quiet on the western front. Except for the unseen inhabitants of this place, there are two of us still awake: the front desk officer and myself. Not a sound, except for a wandering lizard, whispering, sotto voce.
I am here again, for the celebration of Agew na Pangasinan (Pangasinan Day). It is a day when we celebrate the province of Pangasinan: the land, the language and the people.
On this day, it was tradition to invite successful Pangasinenses speak on their journey as children of the province, tracing their roots, sharing pride in their accomplishments, and reweaving their stories with the concerns of the province. With this, I thought it was fitting to either invite former President Fidel V. Ramos, Health Secretary Francisco Duque, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Fatima Tecson Romulo-Puyat and other Pangasinenses who have reached national prominence in government service, scientific innovation, academic excellence and various fields of endeavor that impact on Pangasinan life, something that links us to our own identity and something that links us to a Pangasinan DNA.
Tomorrow, 29th and current Senate President of the Philippines Tito Sotto, will be guest speaker during the “Agew na Pangasinan”. Perhaps he has Pangasinan roots, no matter how ancient, that we can trace, to justify his relevance on this very important occasion.
In the women’s movement, Tito Sotto is remembered for the name of a softdrink appended with a woman’s name. In fact, it appears instantly on Google, as you search his name. He was openly charged with plagiarizing the speech of US Senator Robert F. Kennedy, which he shamefully justified, almost six years after he was accused, as “copying is not the same as translating”. When asked about Sotto’s “copying”, the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and RFK’s daughter, Kerry Kennedy, maintained, “This is a clear case of plagiarism.”
But given these images as backdrop, I will faithfully listen to what he will say. Perhaps I may be able to pick up some gems from the speech, or sperms that may yet spawn small fries and fingerlings.
Don’t point your finger to the corrupt of the past
to account for the wrongs of the present
the power of your finger is attached to your hands
which is attached to your brain,
in between your legs.
your finger can finger whatever you want to finger
among citizens eager to suck your finger
subservient to a flaw, eunuchs in waiting,
concubines in a Tang Dynasty harem
(copied and translated from China).
it is your job, it is your finger.
Let your fingers walk, without much talk
in places where, the darkness can spawn
and usher the birth of shrimp fries
and grouper fingerlings
(donated from China).
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