Briones: Getting into the Holy Week mode

TOMORROW marks the start of Holy Week.

I don’t have to go into the religious significance it holds for the majority of Filipino Catholics. First of all, I’m not qualified to discuss the subject. Second, a low-pressure area has been spotted approaching the country’s area of responsibility and I don’t want it to develop into a full-fledged typhoon.

But I also don’t want to talk about the spate of violence that is bringing attention to the current administration’s war against criminality in general.

Right before midnight last Friday, Wellington Lim, brother of on-again, off-again suspected drug personality Peter Lim was reportedly ambushed outside the Infinity KTV and Music, a bar owned by the latter on Archbishop Reyes Ave. in Cebu City.

Wellington survived, but the establishment’s security guard was not so lucky. The incident also injured three others, including a couple from Germany who, I’m sure, will tell all their friends back home that maybe, it’s not more fun in the Philippines.

Anyway, that’s why I decided to reminisce. After all, isn’t it a season for introspection, reflection, and meditation?

I looked back at the first thing I wrote that saw print in SunStar 21 years ago.

Two decades of experience have reined in some of my youthful verbosity and my flair for the dramatics--the operative word here being “some”--but as an editor, I get embarrassed, no, I cringe every time I reread “Farewell, Goldstar!” which came out in SunStar Weekend’s Crossline on May 4, 1997.

I don’t know what the late Erma Cuizon saw in it, but I’m forever grateful to her for believing that I had a future in writing. She had asked me to be a regular contributor to the magazine based on that drivel. And, come on, let’s face it, that’s what it was. Nonsense. How else would you describe a story about a refrigerator that had outlived its usefulness?

Before I continue, how about some context for the readers out there who have no idea what Goldstar is.

Goldstar is what LG Electronics was known back then. Nowadays, the LG brand and Samsung, another Korean chaebol, are synonymous with chic, sophisticated and expensive gadgetry. But more than 20 years ago, South Korean products played second fiddle to Japanese brands or, to put it more bluntly, they were considered inferior. And cheap.

So, to write an emotional sendoff for what was then considered to be a second rate, trying hard copycat was outrageous, if I don’t mind myself saying so.
Well let me share some excerpts, and tell me what you think.

This is right after Goldstar’s funeral, and the character Paul (me) had invited some friends for some nosh to remember the fridge by, when the inevitable happened:

“Paul! Paul!” Who would dare interrupt my personal communion with the-- “Have you decided yet,” he asked.

“What?”

“Naka-decide na ba ka?”

“Oh, you mean – no, no. Not yet,” I replied. Poor Goldstar, probably still in the junkyard awaiting her destiny to be at one with the other scraps in appliance heaven and already I was queried about her potential replacement.

“We have a brand new model, a Condura…” Oh. A Filipina? “… two doors, huge freezer, huge fridge… excellent features...” Go on. “… you should come over to the showroom and see it for yourself. Plus, it’s cheap.”

… What should I name her” “… so you want it?”

“Yes!” How about Luzviminda? Nope. I didn’t think so.

“Come to the showroom tomorrow and we’ll take care of the papers, okay?”

“Great!” I got it. Gabriela! A symbol of Filipino determination and heroism, a perfect partner to march side by side with towards a bright future armed with a new-found confidence in our era – towards Philippines 2000. No, too cliché. Suma kayhag An-an or Rosie. Pwede sag Babie.”

I know, I know. But I was only 15.
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