One thing that could be there in Edgar Samar’s “Orasan” is the fluency of Andre Bazin. What Bazin said proximal to photo albums – what is death but the triumph of time (2010) – I find pertinent to the lesson Mr. Noble learned in Samar’s “Orasan.”
Mr. Noble, the CEO of a large industry in the country, will not stop working even at his young age of 69. He is very conscious of time, and is evidently easily frustrated by it. He usually grumbles about not having done much work (even though he is actually very productive), and tacitly notices how time foils all of his attempts to feel — less than be — productive. It was when he finally retired as the company’s top official and vacationed in the province that his attitude towards time dramatically changed. He realized how time devours every moment (kung paanong ang oras ay lumalamon ng bawat sandali) – how time, especially when we pay too much attention to it, almost effortlessly exhausts the moments in our lives. But for once, while sleeping under a mango tree in the province, Mr. Noble was not harassed by time, he did not allow his moments to be devoured, to be made so painfully passing and worthless by time.
Then he surrendered his wristwatch to Mang Emong, the caretaker of their little farm. We know how symbols work.
She said, that is not exactly a happy song, listen to the lyrics.
No, I meant, it sounds happy. Listen to the tune, he said.
It is highly possible. That we would be eyeing form not content, form more than content: the illusion of wetness in lips more than the words that erupt from them; the quiet blare of guitars and saxophone more than the succession of the words in the lyrics; the callousness of colors than the message of paintings.
Outside, all the walking are wet and not humongous. What they say is fatigue and dismay, how they say it is through blind steps. They will not care about matters of form and content.
He was wondering about being 21. He knew he has to live, and he wants to live, and in order to live, he needs to have money. He was tired of texting his mother. He knows the importance of getting a job. And he knows how Koreans flock the city because learning English is quite cheap here. He knows his labor will be exploited, yes, because he sort of read Marx and he has seen people dying in the ocean fishing for life for their family.
But he also wanted to do something unnatural, something bourgeois, something fancy, something full. He envies some of his friends, writing and writing and making music for the gods that is his very medium of worshiping. And still subsisting, yes, from that stark economic point of view. He envies some of the people he has not seen yet, whose breathe he has not smelled yet, subtly trumpeting art as the temple where they kneel at and actually kneeling there and perhaps feeling contented. He suddenly remembered All-American Rejects, You’re probably still working, at a nine-to-five pace. I wonder how bad that tastes.
He used to eat salt and rice for dinner. That tastes better.
He returned to David Foster Wallace. I want to sip all the waterness of water. I want to be able to say, This is water, this is water.
The Andre Bazin quote came from: The Film Theory Reader: debates and arguments. Published by Routledge.