THE year 2019 is the Year of the Earth Pig! For sure, there will be feasting and merrymaking.
“Uncle, would you be happy if people greeted you with joy and celebration?” My niece Ellen asked me.
“I would be honored,” I replied.
“The big ‘however,’ Uncle, is you are the main dish,” Ellen said.
“Then I wouldn’t want to be honored at all,” I said.
In real life, pigs are raised for their meat. It is wonderful that, at least in Chinese horoscope, our porcine friends are symbols of prosperity, fortune and beautiful character.
“But isn’t it sad for the animal of honor to also function as the focus of the festive table?” my cousin Dona asked.
“A glistening whole inasal nga baboy or roasted pig makes the celebration complete. This is part of our culture. The inasal represents wealth,” I said.
My Uncle Gustave joined us at the breakfast table. We had sliced ham, fried pork links, pork tocino, wheat bread and brewed coffee.
“What you just said reminds me of a story about a farm. It’s an old tale, so I’m sure you have heard of this. But allow me to tweak the story a little bit,” Uncle Gustave said.
“One day, the farm animals and their friends sat down to discuss how they would honor their master, the farmer, on his birthday.
The dogs said they would guard the farm from thieves. The cats said they could help bar the mice from the food. When the mice heard this they protested. Jerry, their leader, said they would behave and would help Tom and the other cats keep out the ants from the picnic. Since the ants were still out gathering food for their colony, there were no further protests.
The chickens said they would offer their eggs for the cakes, flans and egg tarts. The roosters boasted about decorating the farm with their beautiful feathers. ‘Wonderful,’ the cows mooed. ‘We will offer our milk for the pastries, ice cream and mozzarella.’ The goats smiled and said they would offer their milk for the feta.
The horses said they would offer their mane for a beautiful braided belt for the farmer to wear. Not to be outdone, the sheep said they would offer their wool to make a soft carpet for the farmer. They made so much noise until Tom noticed the pig just sitting in a corner, twiddling its trotters and looking very sad. Tom asked Porky why he was silent.
Porky looked at his farm mates one by one and said, ‘It’s fine of you to say you want to offer something for the Boss. Good for you! You will live through the feast. Me? I will have to die to offer my leg of ham, slabs of bacon, pork chops and sausages.”
“A pig’s life is not one of eternal joy, wealth and ambition. It is a life full of altruism. It is offered for the good of the farmer,” Uncle Gustave said.