Friday ∗ 10 Aug 2012

puso, hindi plastic

The only image and slogan that has brought me close to tears, that has hit me in the past week of rains and floods are those by Mark Gosingtian, who did “in my country, everyone’s a hero” in 2009. I didn’t care much for that, but that was really more a measure of me, than of Gosingtian’s creativity, and heart. Which is, by the way, in the right place.

“Puso, Pilipinas” is the slogan he came up with for the tragedy that has been these rains and floods.

It is perfect. 

Because in times like this, and in a space like the Philippines where government continues to be in over its head, and too many Filipinos are endangered within the homes they have built and cared for, here where tragedy repeats itself too often you wonder if we’ve broken some national mirror.

Know it, Filipino, puso is all you’ve got. And I mean heart because it beats and keeps us alive oh so literally even when death might be the one escape from the hells of poverty and injustice that we live in. Heart because we know to refuse hopelessness, we know to insist on survival. Our fortitude given the state of this nation is larger than we know.

It is heart that this whole “the Filipino’s spirit is waterproof” business offends.

Because the idea of waterproof is so replete with notions of class — for who exactly even imagines being waterproof, who can afford to be such, who even knows this word to be true? Certainly not the thousands living in evacuation centers, not the thousands more displaced, not those who have lost house and home, if not family, because the river overflowed and the floodwaters rose so quickly. Who even thinks: ah, this is waterproof, it will be unaffected by rain, it will survive the rain, other than those who can pay for it.

Look at those images and tell me if we are talking about the Filipinos who are victims of this flood when we show people playing in waters, or happily rowing a boat. Look at those images that they’ve done for this idea of a waterproof spirit and tell me which Filipino they are talking about.

And then there’s this: waterproof is not an abstract term, and the only thing it really connotes is plastic. Our spirit is waterproof, our spirit is plastic.

Certainly speaking of heart is far better than calling our spirit that.

Puso, Pilipinas. Puso.

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One Comment/Pingback

  1. Nyel
    August 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Okay, Ins, I kinda teared up a bit here. Morning!

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