The parable of cultural demise-A A +A
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
ALL OVER, we have been enamored by the pop culture, and we haven’t figured out how the good culture we have takes precedence over the dominant lifeways (especially those we deem bad) or how these good aspects of our culture are ensured to be integrated in mainstream ways and in our institutions. It is hard to live a dichotomous life- your traditional and cultural self consciously hidden and switched off (read: not stimulated or utilized) when you get out of your house, step out of your ili and when you shift to the mainstream.
The geriatric boom is a welcome phenomenon in preserving indigenous knowledge. We are given some more time to beg for our cultural fiber from the main IEC vanguard of our lives, our elders. We should beg from them our integrity and some ideas we can uniquely innovate on in these tough times. But cultural apathy would render these opportunities abandoned and would leave silence as our miserable answer to questions about our Igorot identity and Cordilleran uniqueness.
The treasures that we call nangkaama/dalakay and nangkabakol fade today with their flowers of knowledge half-bloomed, their nectar of cultural wisdom ungathered, and their lips half-used to answer queries on history, identity, pride and culture. There is no stopping them if they have to leave- their leaves are ripened and they will soon fall, glide down to the bosom of the earth that will gag them. We cannot ask them nor do interviews from their graves hence we will not fully realize that we came from intelligent people, not ignorant; peace-loving and just forebears, not barbaric; a lineage that valued spirituality, not paganism; and loving and compassionate intimates, not greedy.
There is no stopping them if they have to leave. We cannot be selfish not to let them go- they have lived their lives fully well to ensure that we have a more comfortable today. But we will be selfish to let their wisdom and knowledge of our culture and past remain unheard, untapped, not mined. To let it be buried with them is another tragic loss.
And we, who have been given the chance to breathe new life into this fading story of our blood and people, will perpetuate this vicious cycle of historical and cultural emptiness. We will have no one else to blame.
We will all be mummies soon. Death will come to the bodies we hold. But let not death come to the spirit and stories of our people for no greatness will ever welcome new generations of people who are ignorant of themselves.
As it is now, no one can stop them if they have to leave. Bear in mind, only we, of the present and the future, can.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 16, 2012.