Playing with Fire
Treating a thin senior citizen badly
By Gonzalo Duque
SINCE I lost weight last year, I thought all the time that it is an advantage to have conquered the scales and be seen as young and blooming again, but getting thinner also has its own disadvantages. This was my experience in Mangaldan during the concert of Basil Valdez that I had the privilege to attend.
I was driving my car alone and was looking for a parking space. I saw one, and if I was not mistaken, it was near the residence of the priest. As I was parking my car, a bully-looking boy approached me and knocked on my window and ordered me not to park there because it is prohibited by the priest. I told him I am a guest and besides, I did not see any signage there that said “No Parking”. And when I opened my window and confronted the boy, a young-looking priest dressed (he could be a seminarian), in black got near the boy and I sensed he was directing him to show me out.
I am a thin senior citizen, 67 years and I did not deserve to be treated in a very disrespectful manner. So, I went to park my car beside the church. As I was entering the premises through the side, another boy came to me and told me to get my ticket from the other side of the church! What an ordeal for a 67-year-old like me.
Thankfully, son of the late provincial board member Luis Serafica, who served at the same time when I was vice governor of Pangasinan, recognized me and told the boy that I was a former vice governor. He left me alone but I did not hear any apology from him. But since I did not like to create a scene, I left.
As I entered the church premises to get my ticket, I saw my friend from the United States, Mrs. Merly Rabelas. It was actually she who invited me to watch the concert. She asked me to go with her inside the church. There I saw rows of seats reserved for P1,000, P2,000, P3,000, P4,000 as well as P5,000.
The Basil Valdez concert was a fund-raising activity of the Saint Thomas de Aquinas Parish, the proceeds of which will be used for the renovation of the church’s altar.
I was asked to go to the front seat that was reserved for members of the audience that paid P5,000. But I really did not want to sit in the front seat as I quickly remembered Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo where the hacienderos and the big compradores always occupied the front seats during Sunday masses while the Indios were confined at the back seat.
We noticed that the custom of the old seems to have not disappeared these days even during modern times as shown in that concert.
What would you want to call that? Hypocrisy or what? Kayo na ang bahala.
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Next time when I go to Mangaldan, I would like to confront that priest, whoever he is, to tell him in his face to treat their guests whom they are asking for financial support with utmost courtesy and respect.
Lack of courtesy and respect by some men of the cloth could be the reason why despite their sheer numbers, many Catholics are no longer keeping the church dogma in their hearts. Some don‘t mind voting for any devil-may-care candidate as long as the latter shows his true character.
Gentlemen, make a choice between one who is makatotoo and one who is epokrito.
Because Merly is a good friend of mine and I was still recovering from the bad treatment that I got while parking my car, I just paid P5,000 and without occupying a seat in front. I then joined Merly in the middle row. That was for a good cause anyway!
I didn’t have to go there as I already heard Basil Valdez during his earlier concert at Sison Auditorium in Lingayen during a Pangasinan Day celebration. But I had to honor the invitation of a dear friend. By the way, Merly Rabelas chaired the scholarship committee of the Friends USA that produced four scholars all graduating from the Lyceum Northwestern University.
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