[ Notes from YLB : You’re very welcome recent celebrants SuperBro Ricky C., Rufino O., AteMel & Rolly Y; and because of the batch association and its illustrious members (led by the officers), an aspiring nurse has now reached her dreams, and the less privileged of the St Jude Parish have happier Christmases. Beyond all these, Batch 82 gains better karma, & pogi / ganda points for the soul as well. What could be better? btw, thanks to Ms Virginia Russell for reading our letter on her radio show on http://planetaudio.org.nz-languages.php, and lastly : many thanks and loads of gratitude to cousin Ineng Montenegro – Agustin for bringing us around, and whose smile is as big as her heart. Kudos pinsan ! ]
Dear batchmates, kabayan and friends :
PUT TWO, actually three highly emotionally charged issues in one situation, and you get a “viral” newsbit that can’t escape comment from us. Actually, hundreds of newsbits, mostly from Yahoo! Buzz, CNN, the morning paper and the daily TV newscasts pass through our eyes and ears weekly, but for lack of time and memory retrieval we can’t make a cringe-worthy rejoinder.
This time, though, we remember enough to respond with memory and emotions of our own. First, a lesbian senior declares that she’s bringing a same-sex partner (presumably her loved one) to the junior-senior prom. Then, in a moralist – interventionist overkill, school board / management decides to cancel said prom to forestall a “scandalous” event, the homosexual couple attending.
Finally, media / public pressure / a negative court decision (but not an injunction) convince the school to reconsider canceling, and go ahead with the school – sanctioned prom anyway, but almost everyone else ( except the lesbian senior and a few un-hip members of the “out of it” crowd ) boycott the event and attend a different, “exclusive” replacement prom, leaving the former out in the cold.
Life-imitating-art issues aside, the drama doesn’t get much higher than that.
First off, we’re not that PC to say that she should’ve been accepted for what she is and just been allowed to attend the prom like any other student, forestalling all that media & political brouhaha, but in the same breath, neither do we deem ourselves that intolerant & say she had it coming, or buti nga sa kanya. ( Maybe it’s somewhere in the middle. )
But that would be getting ahead of ourselves.
No sorting out any of our thoughts here, aesthetically or logically. WYSIWYG.
Every student, no exception, should be given the choice to attend and not be deprived of his/her JS prom. It’s practically a rite of passage, right up there with the senior CAT bivouac, college entrance exams, yearbook pics, graduation ball and of course, commencement exercises. (While these are terms used in the Philippine setting, we believe there are counterpart events everywhere else.)
We spontaneously looked back, trying to imagine our album of memories without any of the above events, and summarily surmised that that wonderful slice called high school life (acknowledgment to Tita Shawi & George Canseco) just wouldn’t have been the same, especially pre-internet, pre-connectivity and pre-interconnectedness, when face-to-face interaction and physical socialization were infinitely more important than they are today.
Whatever our moral, social and sexual leanings, fact of the matter is that homosexuality is a reality of life that, regardless of whether or not we accept it, simply exists and life is made easier when we acknowledge and integrate such fact in our particular reality.
Sure, it sometimes makes people uncomfortable and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the alternative, which is to deny someone the right to express themselves, their sexuality and their way of life, is in the long run more problematic for everyone else.
Having said that, our sympathies go from hereon to the principals and school district boards all across the great United Strands of the AmeriMatrix, where the titans of moral / sexual sensitivities, political correctness and raging hormones all clash on the arena of 15 minutes of fame. To the victors belong the fleeting spoils.
** ** ** ** **
We promised a few more items on our incipient bill of particulars, re things that rub overseas hosts the wrong way, that get their goat, and put them on the wrong side of the morning (or afternoon) whenever we do the following, and with thanks to commentary by QueenHedy, EngrSonny, PeggyPatches1, RaulDLS, ChichiA and GirlieS:
Bad Habit # 4 : Speaking in your own tongue in their presence, and probably nothing raises their hackles more than this. Worse, the only peoples guiltier of this (in fairness, their migrant numbers are vastly greater than ours) are the (mainland) Chinese and the Indians, no offense meant. We make the immediate impression that we’re talking about whoever doesn’t speak the language, in fact Pinoys coined a term for the clueless, binebenta na sya di pa nya alam.
We once thought that frowning upon this indiscretion was limited to actual eyeball dialog, until one of our bisors ahemed while we were on the phone talking to a kababayan. Even the one-sided repartee bothered him in the sense that he had not the slightest idea what was being discussed and that, it being an English language dominated workplace in an English dominated country, a strange speech was being spoken in his presence.
We won’t even begin to pass judgment on that, just that as long as we are visitors in a foreign land, we respect the quirks of their rules and their sentiments regarding alien cultures brought to their shores.
Bad Habit # 5 : Be overwhelmed by the non-Asianness of our hosts. This is literally a loss-of-face issue for us, as our bisor reminds us of the lead character in The Mentalist, one of the guys in the packing department looks like a cross between one of the baddies in Blade Runner and U2’s The Edge, and finally the mill engineer is a dead ringer for Hugh Laurie / Dr House, one of our all-time favorite TV medics.
Otherwise, they’re just regular blokes. We can’t take them seriously on the one hand, and avoid being overwhelmed, on the other. As we have been exposed to Hollywood and American showbiz almost all of our lives, the actors mentioned are almost mythic figures for us. Can you blame us therefore if we often feel like we’re in a movie ourselves?
The sooner we get used to the fact that Caucasians are people just like us, the better.
Thanks for your time!