Hilas-A A +A
Saturday, October 26, 2013
MY LIFE as I have designed it, leaves no room for self-pity. How can you when the moment you feel sad that you don’t have enough to buy the DSLR lens you have longed for, you crash into a family who lost their home; or when you just want to pander to your melodramatic moments, just because it feels good to be melodramatic at times, you stumble into a real tragedy.
That’s good, I know. But sometimes, I just want to shout, “Can I just have my moments, please?” Just as quickly, conscience will jeer, “Hilas!”
‘Hilas’… that’s one difficult word that only a Visayan can truly grasp. The dictionary says it means obscene. But that definition removes the goosebumpy feeling associated with the Visayan ‘hilas’. The feeling emanated is an eewww and eeeeekkky mixed into a goo along with over, shooo, and slam… in reaction to hubris. It’s regarding something – a place, person, thing, feeling, whatever – with sheer disdain and tasting the bile that comes with it.
But how can you teach hilas to the desensitized?
If one has accorded the trappings of one’s position as one’s kingdom, the people mere minions who should regard with awe and conviction the holiness of the ground that you trod, then the sense of hilas is gone; except to the observer who refuses to bow down as commanded.
Fast forward: If we demand accountability for government funds because it is people’s money, shouldn’t be demand the same of humanitarian funds? They’re people’s money, as well, except that they come from international sources, philanthropic Filipinos included.
Humanitarian aid is welcome, especially to disaster-threatened Filipinos, but that should not come in exchange for the dignity of the people.
A town may have lost out on the tug-of-war on who gets to receive as against the lust for monopolizing credit, but they are surviving with dignity intact. That by itself is already a testimony to the spirit of a people willing to stand right back after being shaken to their very core. The quake may have shattered their beloved church and turned this to rubbles, but their dignity as a people remains upright and rightfully too, so as not to participate in the drama where philanthropy becomes a kingdom and the masses are expected to genuflect and sing praises because the delivery boy has come.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 27, 2013.