Figment of imagination
OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - May 31, 2018 - 12:00am

One advantage of a retiree is to be able to choose what to do in a day. Unlike when a person is still employed or practicing his profession due to commitments, a retiree may opt to do nothing, oblivious with what is going on around him and, of all things, watch television. That was what I, a retiree,pampered myself with the other day.

For a few hours, I decided to do what I really loath: stay idle, lazy and unproductive. In my lonesome, I kept changing television channels - to gather a general idea of how modern news programming has evolved compared to the days of my youth when I served a national radio/TV network.

From the different international cable television channels, I saw startling footages and heard equally disturbing coverage. There were floods ravaging an otherwise environmentally safe Elicott City of Michigan; a destructive typhoon in a China province; and a volcanic explosion in Hawaii. I also viewed a documentary on Ferdinand Marcos showing briefly his rise to the presidency and the events leading to his humiliating departure from Malacañang, and another feature of an American soldier who, being 106 years old, was known as the last survivor of  the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The last bit of news I gathered was an story on the devaluation of the Philippine peso vis-a-vis the American dollar.

I realized that what I did was pure waste of time, reason why I called it unproductive. Upon such realization, with the hope of compensating such wastage somehow, I tried to relate what I saw to how things are in my country. To draw essence from the reports, I imagined stringing together the substance of each news feature I saw. Was there any plausible meaning to the confluence of such disparate news items? My wildest figment of imagination conjured something from the disjointed events. Horror struck me to discover that the scenes of environmental disasters were not independent of each other after all because, if lumped together, we could draw a picture that is not unlike with what we are witnessing to be unfolding in our country.

Those news items involved the power of Mother Earth unleashed in places not normally identified as lying on their path. The TV reports practically assayed their rare occurrence. Accordingly, there had been no previous record of floods in that Michigan city. Reporters also claimed that the flow of volcanic lava in a residential area in Hawaii only indicated that such catastrophe was never forecast there before. No ferocious typhoon also hit that Chinese province before. Taking these on the basis of the factual reporting, I could see they just happened for no unexplicable reason than nature. Yet, it dawned on me that while they occurred in different parts of the world, the Philippines in the past suffered such calamities. In other words, I could only imagine a common denominator. 

The showing of the ignominious Marcos regime seemed to tie those different environmental disasters together. Why show again Marcos being brought to Hawaii when that took place three decades ago, but highlight the Philippines. That was the parallelism. Luzon and Mindanao experienced the floods spawned by typhoons Ondoy and Sendong, and Yolanda devastated many Visayan localities. The casualties in those calamities may not differ in number from the extra-judicial killings we are witnessing. The upheaval in the days leading to Marcos ouster took the form of the volcanic eruption taking place in Hawaii. These coincidences, even if only from my imagination, are remarkably noticeable.

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