Thursday, April 2, 2009

We are not diminished

By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:16:00 04/01/2009

Those who are planning to declare, or have already declared a fatwa on Chip Tsao, the Chinese columnist of HK Magazine who called the Philippines “a nation of servants” and several other very demeaning things, please rethink your move. His splattered blood and brains are not worth your effort. Thou shalt not kill.

The guy just happens to have no class, no breeding. He could be a survivor of amniocentecis, melamine milk poisoning, or a horrible childhood. Have mercy. We are a nation of compassionate carers, remember?

Tsao’s words about Filipinos translated as “patay-gutom,” the ultimate insult the “mata-pobre” haves could inflict on the have-nots. Oh, but we have not been diminished. Tsao and his HK Magazine have. I bet our humorists will have a field day making us laugh at Tsao and the Filipinos’ Hong Kong “masters.” As we say, if you can’t beat them, laugh at them. Filipinos are great at getting back by laughing their detractors to Kingdom Come.

Think of the many possible gag scripts around the theme, “What did the ‘mata-pobre’ say to the ‘patay-gutom’ and what did the’ patay-gutom’ say to the ‘mata-pobre’?” Paging “Bubble Gang.”

The HK Magazine publisher has apologized, but the magazine will have a hard time living down the racist, class-ist slur that has been inflicted on Filipinos. They have poured a bucket of their own spit on themselves. Mwahaha.

Let’s put that behind us, okay? To declare Tsao persona non grata is just giving him importance. As the Ilonggos would sweetly say, “Waay gani nakalibot sa dapog.” I bet you don’t know that that means. But you would know an answer to the question, “Why did the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) cross the street?”

We are a smart, hardy people. We, the wretched of the earth, will inherit the earth, and this includes the Spratlys.

As we move toward Holy Week, it behooves us to remember the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) burdened by the cross of separation from their families and working in hostile environments and uncertainty in their jobs. Daily they are on a via crucis, on a via dolorosa.

Those of us who have never been OFWs should do the Stations of the Cross with the OFW theme. There are so many stories about the OFWs — their travails, their triumphs. Many have been brutally treated, betrayed, killed in foreign lands. Still millions continue to go out there to earn money for their families, to give back. They contribute much to the countries that hired them and have learned to love.

They do not deserve insults from ill-bred people like Tsao. And we must not fail them by speaking up on their behalf, by making them feel that they are not alone out there.

You see them in hotels and restaurants, in shops and ships and streets, in the most unlikely places in foreign lands. You meet them in airports and airplanes. You know they’ve come from somewhere you’ve not been to. You are amazed at their courage and their strength to carry the cross for family and country.

* * *

Natural farming seminar. Many readers sent e-mail after they read the column piece on organic/natural farming/sustainable agriculture and asked how and where they could learn the natural methods. Here’s something for those interested:

Susi Foundation Inc. will hold a seminar/workshop on April 14 to 16 on the essence and practice of sustainable agriculture. The short course is called Balanced EcoSystem Technologies (BEST). It covers the basic agricultural practices of different sustainable technologies that use materials and methods that are natural and in harmony with natural laws. The venue is Bahay Tuklasan, Barangay Behia, Tiaong, Quezon, which is a two-hour drive from Makati.

Topics to be discussed are: human development and eco-friendly agriculture (socio-cultural, economic, political, ecological and ethical aspects), organic farming (a balanced ecological system, value and effects of raising crops and livestock the natural way), the soil food web (the micro-allies of the botanical world), soil management (structure, environment and organization of soil), fertility and crop and livestock protection management (ecological standards of soil amendments and pest and disease control methods) and planning and organizing an ecologically balanced farm.

There will be workshop activities on composting, soil restructuring, nursery and grow-out phase, EM and concoction production, natural livestock feed production, and farm planning and budgeting.

The BEST seminar/workshop is a hands-on training on the essence and practice of farming that is in harmony with nature and in unity with the biotic community to which we all, as humans, belong. For those of you who do not farm but do gardening as a hobby or would like to take part in protecting and conserving the natural resources of our only home, Planet Earth, what you will learn might help you live a purposeful, long and healthy life.

I know a group of farmers who attended the seminar and until now they are still raving and talking about it like it was one of the best things that happened to their lives as farmers. Many of the things they learned are not taught in agriculture school.

For directions and reservation contact Sr. Isyang at The Susi Foundation Inc., +6342 5456359, +63928 2612952, +63915 286722. Or you could write to my email address and I will forward the info.