Touch Me Not (Part I)

I was fighting the urge to write so I could go to the gym, and I succeeded. But now that I am finally free to murder the keyboard with my thinking out loud, I’ve completely lost whatever train of thought I had been meaning to transform into words. I think it was about the mind-boggling inability of human beings to accept the differences in their societies. 😐 That or some other topic that was random enough to tickle my neurons. So let’s try this again.

I am currently re-reading José Rizal‘s Noli Me Tangere (Latin, trans: Touch Me Not). This book was first published in 1887 in Germany, during the reign of the Spaniards in the Philippines. A sequel, El filibusterismo (Spanish, trans: The Filibustering), was later released in 1891. Rizal was, among other things, a nationalist. Contrary to popular belief, Noli is not simply a novel about the sufferings of the Filipino people under the Spanish regime; it is also about the Filipino culture: its strengths and flaws. Frankly though, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me that Rizal is of the current generation, and he had written these books for the Filipinos of today. The sad truth is that the flaws of our forefathers are still our flaws today. And what is even more depressing (disgusting even) is that whatever strengths they possessed (unfortunately) died with them.

While before it was the Spaniards who oppressed the Filipinos, today, it is Juan dela Cruz oppressing Juan dela Cruz. Despite its so-called independence, the Philippines remains a home to millions of people who are confined in poverty by their own backwards culture. If Rizal could see the current state of the country, he would weep.

“In every instance I noted that a people’s prosperity or misery lay in direct proportion to its freedoms or its inhibitions and, along the same lines, of the sacrifice or selfishness of its ancestors.”

The statement above is quoted from Noli, as spoken by the character Crisostomo Ibarra. According to Rizal, a country’s prosperity or the lack of it is dependent on two things: its freedom and its history.

First, history. I will again admit that I am no expert on this subject. Though despite the reality that our history is actually a history of our foreign conquerors, isn’t the country’s current claim of autonomy proof enough of our ancestors’ efforts?

Next, freedom. This is where it gets tricky. We should wonder if our autonomy is indeed synonymous to freedom– and that I will ramble about in my next post. I am unfortunately a legal adult, which means I am forced by society to burden myself with responsibilities and priorities. And because I am a loser, it is waaaay past my bedtime. 😐

OT: This is what I love about learning to cook. I can now eat real food. At any time of the day. Even after midnight. Carbonara, anyone?


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