Recently in Facebook, one N.A. for Literature, F. Sionil Jose, subtly proposed “The way out for Marawi,” where he chastised the “traditional support system” and pinpointed the arrival of immigrants, whom he described as “industrious and enterprising,” in certain Mindanao towns as causing their development. He said that Moros “are also to blame” because “they are indolent, their datu systems inhibits political and economic mobility.”
An uproar ensued. Claims too sweeping, if not uninformed, insensitive not just to actual, grounded realities but grounded and nuanced realities. It is as if the Moros are monolithic. It is as if the continuing operations of and reception to the “traditional system” are standardized. In other words, most of the statements arguably just do not apply.
The quixotic act of questioning the workshop—or making it quixotic, for in reality, I dreamt that it was not only necessary and expected but also tedious.
In cities of the past where a pedantic group of friends converged, we conceived a project that responds to workshop seasons—roughly about this time also. “After the Workshop, one of us tentatively called it. We were supposed, I guess, to collate works which from our own assessment will never pass a workshop application. My memory tells me that we were not really able to talk about that concept face-to-face and with bottles of mountain airs and beers; we mostly talked about it online. Or they did talk about it and I was not there.
Zygmunt Bauman’s conclusion in “Zizek and Morin on monotheism” (from “On Education”) smacks of an intelligently ironic distance which I feel we must adopt more as we find rooms for critique in a neoliberal system touted to be encompassing.
Bauman’s advice: “take the status quo… at its word and so confront it with the full volume of the ambitions it inspires… and endorses—a volume which far exceeds its powers to support it. And so the demands… are bound to accomplish a truly revolutionary feat: to discredit the status quo, lay bare its impotence, and thereby prompts its collapse.”
I was thinking about the resumption of classes and the customary Brigada Eskwela weeks before it when I recall Bauman. Weeks ago, my tita from my mother’s side—one that is dominantly composed of teachers—posted pictures of her and her colleagues doing the typical work done during Brigada. They were designing the classroom, arranging cabinets and chairs, posting class schedules on the doors. My tita used captioned the pictures with #bayanihan, referring to that Filipino value of helping one another and the context of community living.