And with the sending of reminders for the next day’s coverage via email and Viber last night, I bid this 1-10 p.m. hell goodbye — at least for the moment, or until my night-shift partner takes another long vacation, which I hope won’t happen anytime soon. To say that it’s been an exhausting, mentally draining eight days is an understatement. A lot of things have happened since Monday last week. Kerwin Espinosa the suspected drug lord was repatriated from Abu Dhabi, Ronnie Dayan the alleged bagman was arrested in La Union, and I fell in love with a young anti-Marcos protester.
With Sen. Risa Hontiveros (left). Photo from GMA News
Of course there was that surprise heroes’ burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which has treachery written all over it, and which sparked lightning rallies across Metro Manila last Friday. And then there were the usual verbal diarrhea from Rodrigo Duterte and his numero uno cheerleader Mocha Uson.
Add to that the fact that two ranking BOC and BIR officials were gunned down in less than a week, and that singer-comedian Blakdyak was found dead inside his apartment with a fucking plastic bag wrapped around his head. And oh, Sen. Leila de Lima also admitted having an affair with Dayan, her former driver-bodyguard, with Dayan saying days later that their relationship lasted for seven years — longer than the average marriage of many celebrity couples. Whoa!
And yesterday, Espinosa faced the Senate for a hearing that lasted from morning to early evening, and which left me too exhausted to nail this shit last night.
Playlist: Anthrax – Live: The Island Years; Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid
So earlier today, about the same time folks were losing their shit over the sneaky way ex-President Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, I was having my own mini-nervous breakdown at the Universal Records CD/DVD sale in Quezon Avenue as I browse over the titles. Ugh, they were the same shit as before, and very few of them looked interesting even for P20. I dragged my ass out of the house early for that? Still bought five CDs, though, but only because I may need their jewel cases to replace broken ones in the future. And I also didn’t want to feel like my trip there was a waste of time.
Five days down, three more to go of my 1-10 p.m. shift. It’s been hell, considering the kind of news we had this week, capped by the Marcos burial this afternoon. Boy did that really stir the hornet’s nest, so to speak. As I type this, way past 1 in the morning on a Saturday, with rain falling outside, thousands were still at the EDSA People Power Monument protesting the treachery. I got friends there, and I wish them safety. I also wish I’ve the energy to join them. But like I said, it’s been a helluva exhausting week. I need sleep badly.
Which is exactly what I’m about to do now…
Playlist: Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct; Hum – Downward is Heavenward
So Trump won the US presidential elections in a stunning upset that left many – including non-Americans – flabbergasted and in the brink of nervous breakdown. For hours following the announcement, Facebook wept and wept and wept. Everybody had their sad little pieces to tell. That’s okay. That’s what social media is all about. Perhaps those people just needed an outlet. I’ve to admit, though, seeing one bleeding heart post after another got kind of annoying after some time. I suddenly missed pictures and videos of babies and cats.
But amid the boo-hoos, some sensible outside-the-box posts, like the one by my Australian friend KT, who said Trump’s victory is the “big giant middle finger” of the group of people that has been dismissed by many—in jokes and memes—as “inbred, retarded, and brainless.” A breath of fresh air, that post.
And then there were the articles that seek to explain what the fuck happened. Kyle Pope of Columbia Journalism Review said Trump’s victory signaled journalism’s “reckoning,” while Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post faulted the media for “not listening” to voters who “shouted and screamed” for something different. To put it bluntly, Sullivan said, the media missed the story of the 2016 US elections.
Playlist: The Doors – Strange Days; Guns ‘n’ Roses – The Spaghetti Incident; Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
Took it easy yesterday. No sense stressing myself out just because it was a Monday. I worked slow and steady, careful about committing embarrassing mistakes. Tried and succeeded at not losing my cool at the creeps and cretins and assorted nobodies with delusions of grandeur that populate social media. And that was that. Monday came and went and another workweek was set in motion. I punched in and I punched out, silently, like a slithering snake.
And then I was at Booksale in Farmers Plaza rummaging through assorted worlds. Scored a Po Bronson title called The Nudist on the Late Shift for P50. Indeed, when gloomy, score a book. That has been my mantra. Screw money, screw the backlog.
Spent late night cleaning my bike, a leftover task from the weekend. Then I put a Feeder best-of album on the player and rocked ’til bedtime, which was past 1 a.m.
And then Tuesday came, November 8, and thanks to the Supreme Court, it will be a day that will forever live in infamy.
Playlist: Extreme – Pornograffitti; Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder; Obituary – Ten Thousand Ways to Die
Big story today was President Duterte, in Beijing, announcing before Chinese officials the Philippines’ “separation” from the United States in terms of military and economics. In place, he said, he is forging alliances with China and Russia, two of Uncle Sam’s favorite frenemies. Depending on whether you’re a supporter or not, this move is either decidedly bold or downright stupid. Expectedly, those who believe in the latter are freaking out big time, and Facebook is once again on fire.
Duterte. Some days I think he’s a hero, some days a buffoon. And some days, like today, I don’t know what to think of him. He walks the thin line between a patriot and a madman. Is he leading the country to progress or to perdition? Knowing such a character is elected to rule the country for six years is making some people lose their shit. Meanwhile, I watch from the sidelines and try not to get affected.
Following Duterte’s bombshell earlier I asked an office-mate: “What do you think powerful people are talking about behind closed doors these days?”
His answer was cryptic: “Uncle Sam will not take this sitting down.”
And here I ask: How long before the indignation move from Facebook to the streets? Think: Manila’s own Arab Spring. It’s a scary thought, and to me it’s scarier because if it happens, I don’t know which side of the fence I’ll be on. One thing’s for sure though, I’ll emerge from it heartbroken.
Playlist: Megadeth – Countdown to Extinction; The Pixies – Head Carrier; Nirvana – Nevermind; Overkill – W.F.O.
Less than an hour before midnight, and I’m thinking about corpses.
Top story of a prime time news program today was this funeral home in Quezon City that was ordered closed by city hall due to “sanitation issues” (read: unclaimed cadavers, piles and piles of them, left rotting in a room). It was a hell of a news item to throw at people’s faces at dinnertime, but there you go, in full HD color.
It was both sad and disgusting, and I can’t shake it off my head. I doubt city hall officials who went to the area for the inspection will have a good night sleep tonight.
Those bodies. Once upon a time they were human beings who laughed, cried, ate, slept like me. They hugged and were hugged, kissed and were kissed. They fucked. They played with babies. They cheered at PBA games, enjoyed parties, appreciated the rain. Some probably committed a crime, some didn’t, but all of them surely dreamed of a better life, if not for them but for their loved ones.
Now, however, they’re just bodies. And forgotten ones at that. I can’t think of anything sadder.