Monday, December 7, 2009

Oli Impan by Alberto S. Florentino

After the liberation of Manila, hundreds of indigent families settled in the squalid, cramped space of the bombed ruins of an old government building of Juan Luna. For more than a decade these “squatters” tenaciously refused to move out in spite of court rulings. The “casbah”, as the compound was popularly known, became a breeding place for vice and corruption. The city government was able to evict the “squatters” only on December 20, 1958 – five days before Christmas.
(On the middle of the stage, extending from side to side, is a stone wall one and a half feet high. At left may be seen a portion of a tall edifice. At right, is a portion of the “casbah”. Beyond the stone wall, an estero (unseen) – and the sky. A five-year-old girl sits on the stone wall, her thin legs dangling in the air. Offstage there is a continuous commotion of evacuation. A woman’s voice rises above the commotion as she reprimands a child for getting in her way. A six-year-old boy appears on stage walking backwards – away from his mother, nagging offstage. The mother quiets down. The boy turns around and plays with his toy: an empty milk can pulled along the ground with a piece of string.)
Girl: Is there a fire?
Boy: (Stops playing and faces her) Huh?
Girl: I said, is there a fire?
Boy: There is no fire. (Continues to play)
Girl: (Looks toward the street. After a pause.) I think there is no fire.
Boy: (Stops playing_ I told you there’s none.
Girl: There is.
Boy: How do you know? Do you see any smoke? Do you hear any fireman? (resumes his play. Runs around imitating a fire engine) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I like it when there is a big fire!
Girl: (Worried) If there is no fire, why are they putting these things out? (pints to a pile of household belongings nearby)
Boy: Because we are being thrown out.
Girl: Who told you?
Boy: My mother.
Girl: Who is throwing us out?
Boy: (Sits on the other end of the stone wall) The government.
Girl: What is a government?
Boy: I don’t know.
Girl: You didn’t ask your mother?
Boy: I forgot to ask her.
Girl: Why should the government throw us out?
Boy: (Points to the compound) Because it owns this.
Girl: (Enraged) But this is ours!
Boy: No, it is not ours.
Girl: (Insistent) It is ours! It is!
Boy: It is not!
Girl: (A tiny scream) It is! It is!
Boy: (Loud) How do you know it is ours?
Girl: We’ve always been here, haven’t we?
Boy: Yes, but that doesn’t mean it is ours.
Girl: (After a pause) If they throw us out, we’ll have nowhere to go. How about you? You have any place to go?
Boy: None. But we will have one. (Proudly) My mother has a job.
Girl: She has?
Boy: Yes!
Girl: What does she do?
Boy: She reads hands.
Girl: She reads – hands? (Looking at her hands) Why does she read hands?
Boy: So she can tell what will happen tomorrow.
Girl: She can do that? By reading hands?
Boy: Yes, She can!
Girl: (Showing him her hands) Can she read my hands? I want to know where we will stay tomorrow.
Boy: She can’t read your hands.
Girl: (Looks at them) Why not?
Boy: They are too small… and dirty.
Girl: (She quickly withdraws them and quietly wipes them on her dress)
Boy: Besides… she reads only men’s hands.
Girl: Only men’s hands? Why?
Boy: Because they are big.. and easy to read.
Girl: How does she read hands? Like she reads the comics?
Boy: I don’t know.
Girl: You don’t know? Don’t you watch her?
Boy: My mother won’t let me. She makes me go out and play. And she closes the door.
Girl: She closes the door! How can she read in the dark?
Boy: I don’t know. (Proudly) But she can!
Girl: Don’t you ever peep?
Boy: No, I don’t.
Girl: Why not?
Boy: She’ll beat me up.
(Commotion offstage.)
Girl: What’s that? What’s happening there?
Boy: (Tries to see) I don’t know. I can’t see. (Pulls her) Come out, let’s take a look!
Girl: (Resisting) I can’t.
Boy: Why not?
Girl: My father told me to stay here. He said not to go anywhere.
Boy: (Turning) Then I will go and take a look.
Girl: (Frightened) No, don’t. Stay here. Don’t leave me.
Boy: Why?
Girl: I’m afraid.
Boy: Afraid of what?
Girl: I don’t know.
Boy: But how can we find out what’s happening?
Girl: Let’s not find out anymore.
Boy: (Restless) But I want to see. (Scampers up the stone wall) I can see from here!
Girl: What do you see?
Boy: (Incredulous) They are destroying our homes. (Sound of wrecking crew at work)
Girl: (frightened) Who are destroying them?
Boy: The men with hammers!
Girl: Nobody is stopping them?
Boy: Nobody.
Girl: But why? Are there no policemen?
Boy: There are. There are many policemen.
Girl: What are they doing? What are the policemen doing?
Boy: Nothing.
Girl: Nothing? They are not stopping the men?
Boy: No.
Girl: Why not?
Boy: I don’t know.
(Commotion. Shouts. Curses)
Girl: (Alarmed) What’s happening now?
Boy: (excited throughout) A man is trying to stop the men with hammers! Now the policemen are trying to stop him. They’re running after him. But the man fights like a mad dog! (A man shouts, cursing)
Girl: (Suddenly, with terror in her voice). That’s my father! (In her fright she covers her eyes with hands)
Boy: Your father?
Girl: Yes, he’s my father! What are they doing to him? Are they hurting him?
Boy: No, they are only trying to catch him… Now they’ve caught him! They are tying his hands!
Girl: What will they do to him?
Boy: I don’t know. Now they are putting him in a car. A police car.
Girl: (Whimpers) Father… Father…
Boy: They are taking him away! (A car with siren drivers away)
Girl: (Screams) FATHER! FATHER!
Boy: He can’t hear you now.
Girl: (Starts to cry)
Boy: (Walks to and sits beside her) Why are you crying? Don’t cry please…
Girl: They are going to hurt my father, aren’t they?
Boy: No, they won’t hurt him.
Girl: (Removes her hands from her eyes) How do you know?
Boy: I just know it. (Suddenly) Come, let’s sing a song.
Girl: I don’t know how to sing.
Boy: I’ teach you.
Girl: How?
Boy: I’ll sing… and you listen. (She nods and wipes her eyes dry)
Boy: (Sings) Saylenay…
Oli impansotenderenmayle…
Girl: (Smiling) That’s a pretty song. Who taught you that song?
Boy: (Proudly) My mother!
Girl: What does it mean? I can’t understand it.
Boy: It’s about God.
Girl: What’s a “God”?
Boy: I don’t know. I haven’t asked my mother. But she told me God was born in a stable.
Girl: What’s a stable?
Boy: A place for horses.
Girl: (Incredulous) He was born there? In a place for horses? Why?
Boy: My mother said he had nowhere to stay.
Girl: Was he poor?
Boy: I don’t know.
Girl: (Suddenly) I like the song. Will you sing it again?
Boy: No, let’s sing it together.
Girl: I told you, I don’t know how.
Boy: I’ll teach you. I’ll sing it a little… and you sing after me. (She smiles and nods)
Boy: (Sings) Saylenay…
Girl: Saylenay…
Boy: Olinay…
Girl: Olinay…
Boy: Oliskam…
Girl: Oliskam…
Boy: Olisbray…
Girl: Olisbray…
Boy: Ranyonberginmaderenchayle…
Girl: Ranyon…(She giggles) I can’t say that!
Boy: Let’s skip it. (Sings) Oli impan… n, skip that, too. (Sings)
Girl: Slipinebenlipis…
Boy: Slipinebenlipis…
Girl: Slipinebenlipis…

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Big Toe

I'm not sure what the record is in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for stubbing your toe, but there was a time during a two-month period when I had to be close to that record. Every time I stubbed my toe, I uttered an expletive, or at least thought an expletive. I had been taught by watching others react this way. It was the "normal and acceptable" way to react to such an incident. It was the way I had been unconsciously trained to react. My friends reacted this way, so I felt that it was fine. Yet, little by little, I became uncomfortable with such a reaction. One day, I decided that there must be a better, more positive way to react to such an incident.
I needed to clarify my goal - I want a more peaceful and positive way of reacting to the act of stubbing my toe. So I'm walking my dog Texas, thinking about how I can react more peacefully in such an instance, and all of a sudden, within my head, I hear "Thank me!" It literally sounded like I had a small stereo installed in the middle of my brain. The echo of those words was so clear that I felt it touch every cell in my head. I turned to Texas, hoping he had heard it too. Just as I did, I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, and to my amazement, the words that came out of me were not expletives, but "Thank you God!" "Wow," I thought to myself. "That's a real nice thing to say in response to such an event." I then decided that I would train myself to thank God every time I stubbed my toe, so little by little, I did just that. Before I knew it, I was thanking God for the times I tripped and almost fell. In every situation that I used to react with some kind of expletive or negative thought, I retrained myself to simply thank God for the situation. Immediately, without thinking, I said, "Thank you God" every time I tripped or stubbed my toe, and I felt really good about it. Wouldn't you know that soon after I learned this, I stopped stubbing my toe and tripping. Now, whenever I trip or stub my toe (I'm glad to report that the incidents are now under the national average), I simply thank God, and this reaction feels natural, positive and peaceful.

Reference: Inspiring short stories from the book You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey from Perception to Knowledge, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DEVELOPmental BOOKworms

Reading is a developmental, dynamic, and interactive process that involves the reader, the text, and the context. It extends across all curricula and all written material. The objective of this web log is to develop the reading skills of the students by providing them adequate and quality materials, conditions, and instruction necessary to enable them to reach their highest potential as literate individuals.

Bookworm is a collection of teacher and students interaction in the Developmental Reading Class of Sorsogon National High School, Sorsogon City Division. It is composed of three sections, the two special classes under its ESEP Curriculum I – Adromeda and I – Antlia; and the first section in the Basic Education Curriculum, I – Aquarius.

Bookworms Interactive uses reading text collected by the teacher and are posted on the web where students could give their reflections, views or inputs online about the material posted. Students’ outputs would demonstrate particular reading techniques learned from the subject. Writing skills would also be developed as manifested in their use of the standard English language. In addition to materials posted by the teacher, the students could also post their favorite stories to encourage other students to visit and read and post their blogs. The site is user-friendly and accessible not only to Developmental Reading Classes but even to other students who find it interesting.

Although students are in classroom there would be more time for developmental reading class since the program is a combination of face-to-face and online interaction.

We invite you to come in, sit a spell, and browse around for what you think would be helpful to you. We hope this interactive site will help you do just that.