HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE – Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) – January 27, 2019 – 12:00am
What if you could gather 10 Filipinos (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be? What if you could be witness to 10 events in world history, what would they be?
Ok. I am making it easy for myself. I will not write about one central theme today. I want to do some daydreaming instead. I want to imagine “what if” situations and answer two of them in my mind.
Admittedly, what I am doing is similar to a slam book activity where teenagers ask friends to list down their favorite colors, actors, movie, flower, song, quotes etc. in a special book.
In this article I will try to engage you dear readers by posing two really interesting what-if questions. I will answer them too. Maybe you can mentally answer the questions on your own if you wish.
Here goes question number 1.
What if you could gather 10 Filipinos (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be? My list would include:
1. Jose Rizal — I would like to know his take on how Philippine history has played out since his time and the modern world today. Rizal was a renaissance man. He was also a futurist. I am sure he would have a lot to say.
2. Lapu-lapu — I have always been curious about how he and his people reacted to the first white men who landed on their shores and what it was like to engage them in battle. I would like to hear his account first hand.
3. Enrique de Malaca — He was Magellan’s slave who in all likelihood came from southern Philippines and is the first Malay to circumnavigate the world). He may have the most interesting stories to tell especially about how he got to Europe and learned the ways of his masters. His account of the voyage from Spain to Las Islas Filipinas, the first encounter between the two peoples, the first mass, the Battle of Mactan, the slaughter of the Spanish officers by Humabon, etc. should be riveting.
4. Nick Joaquin — I remember meeting Quijano de Manila and being interviewed by this very inebriated genius. He was brilliant, funny and quite outrageous at the same time. After answering his questions, he would sometimes retort back and say “I don’t believe you.” Perhaps he was trying to provoke some kind of reaction from me. He was playing games. I considered it hilarious. Through the years I have read a lot of his works. I will make sure I serve beer, of course.
5. Ninoy Aquino — People say that Ninoy was a great conversationalist. He had a sharp mind. It would be an absolute delight to watch him interact with Rizal and the others as they talk about politics and life.
6. Juan Luna — I would like him to talk about not just his art but about the unfortunate incident where he shot his wife and mother-in-law in a fit of jealousy.
7. Rodrigo Duterte — It would be interesting to see how he reacts to the other guests. He would have no spokesman or apologist, nor an encouraging laughing audience to save him. Let’s see what happens. I will make sure he is seated beside the next guest.
8. General Luna — As portrayed in the movie, he is not one to tolerate bullshit and calls out traitors without fear. I would love to see him have a discussion with Duterte about the latter’s policies and attitudes towards China and the West Philippine Sea. Let us see if violence erupts or at least, who walks out first.
9. Emilio Aguinaldo — I would like to discuss with him his controversial legacy. My sister Tictac when she was a young student in the 50s, was part of a class excursion at Aguinaldo’s house. A classmate asked Aguinaldo straight if he indeed killed Bonifacio. The general, taken aback replied that history will be the judge of that. It seems history has sent feelers and it does not look good. What do you think, General?
10. Maria Ressa — I would like her to come as a journalist and engage my invited guests with probing questions and write about the entire event for the world to read.
My next question: What if you could be witness to 10 events in world history, what would they be?
1. The landing of Magellan in the Philippines. How did the people on our islands react? What were their thoughts? It must have been close to encountering aliens from another world. This encounter changed the Philippines and geopolitics forever.
2. The Last Supper — I would like to see Jesus with his closest friends on the night before He died. I want to partake of what they ate and drank. I would pay attention to Judas when Jesus says that one of them would betray Him. What would it have been like to have witnessed the first mass ever consecrated?
3. Buddha’s moment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree — Two thousand five hundred years ago. On the 40th day of his meditation, it is said that Siddartha Gautama had become enlightened. He had penetrated the true nature of life and grasped it. This was a great moment in the spiritual history of mankind. I would probably not engage him in conversation since the deepest wisdom and understanding cannot be expressed in words. But I would surely see everything radiate from his being.
4. The concert on May 29, 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées when Igor Stravinski played his composition for ballet entitled Rite of Spring for the very first time. It was not just controversial, it sparked very strong reactions. People booed and walked out. The ballet dancers could not hear the cues well because people were arguing so loudly. It actually caused a riot in Paris. Listen to it. It still sounds contemporary today.
5. Martin Luther King’s Selma to Montgomery march. This historic march forced President Lyndon Johnson to file a voting act in congress to make it easier for people of color to exercise their right to vote. It changed America forever.
6. The planning of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. No one knows when or where it happened. Surely it was secretly planned by evil men and women. Up to this day, no one really knows who ordered the murder, and what actually happened in the tarmac. It may well be lost in history.
7. The battle of Normandy —This brought a final and decisive end to World War 2. Hundreds of thousands died. The divisions in the world as we know it now was largely caused and shaped by this event.
8. The first concert of the Beatles in Liverpool at the Cavern on Feb 9, 1961. Geniuses in the bud. I would like to have seen them perform there before the entire world discovered them.
9. The day the earth was hit by a huge comet that caused the death of the dinosaurs. Scientists believe the impact of the comet caused a major dust pollution to cover the sun for years. As a result, it killed almost all plant life which caused dinosaurs to starve and go extinct. No man has seen such a cataclysmic event such as this.
10. The crowning of King Tut in 1334 BC — Tutankhamun was the youngest and most famous Pharaoh. It must have been a magnificent sight for those who were there at his coronation. I would also would have liked to be present during the burial since it would have been quite a spectacle of epic opulence.
That’s it for my daydreaming today. My answers would probably change next time I indulge myself with the same questions. Enjoy yours this lazy Sunday. Share them with me.
Read more at https://www.philstar.com/lifestyle/sunday-life/2019/01/27/1888361/daydreaming#3LZhX0TXQA5jOMdC.99