There are very rare occasions I consciously watch tv. The last time I did watch was that time when Trillanes stormed that big hotel and ended up earning a dunce cap for his stupid swashbuckling antic. Today, I have gladly turned it on for a yearly treat I get through the boob tube – the Oscars. I can’t wait to see the gowns, the jewelries, the men’s suits, the musicals numbers and the movies I am taking note of the next time I visit my friendly Muslim purveyor of pirated dvd's in Quiapo. It’s glitz, glamour, gleaming white-teeth, wide smiles, yelps and shrieks when so-and-so wins an award.
BUT…. there’s more than thirty minutes more before the live broadcast of the Oscars goes on. So, I wait, do some chores and… there’s this morning program on THAT local channel where I see a man winning a cell phone for bringing in the most unique souvenir from the EDSA I – People Power. What was it? It’s a piece of barbed wire in a frame marked “EDSA I – Feb. 25, 1986”.
I remember those few days in 1986. I was a freshman (you can now guess my age) in U.P. Everyone was hyped up for the days leading towards EDSA I. There were massive demonstrations, troop mobilizations, frantic poster making (yellow and red paint were in big demand), negotiations with jeepney drivers to bring us to the different sites for these rallies and the stern warning from my mother, “If I find out you’re joining those rallies, bullets hitting your head will be the least of your concerns.”
Well, despite my mother’s threat, I did join those rallies. I have my own memories from that time, like sitting in front of Channel 4 beside a group of pretty colegialas twiddling between what flower to give to which cute soldier in the phalanx before us and who’s going to be in charge with bringing in the sandwiches to those in the human chain on the front of our sea of humanity facing the guns of the military. I was busy with the task (with other arts students) of making more posters with the buckets of paints we brought with us, mindless of the guns of the snipers up in the TV station’s tower pointed at our group below. It was a time of bravery. A time of frantic movement. A time of youth, idealism and hope for change.
Sitting here, watching that man get his cellphone on TV for bringing in a souvenir from EDSA I made me think. Did anything really change since then? Are we a lot better off now than before? Is this what EDSA I is right now? A mere souvenir from the past where one can get a cellphone for free? Hmmm… maybe I’ve turned cynical. Maybe I have more doubts right now than before. Or maybe, I have learned that to have change, one simply has to do his own part, his own way to slowly affect those around them without having to stage another mass rally.
One thing is for sure, I can watch the Oscars later and then turn off the TV afterwards. There’s too much noise happening and sitting in silence here in my small space of a studio to paint is way much better.
Oh, and I have posted a design I did for www.lookingforjuan.com
Check out what small thing we’re doing in this side of our galaxy.