SONGS FOR PALPAKISTAN
RENATO REDENTOR CONSTANTINO
July 8, 2009
For BenRazon, Kikay, Mutya
I mean, viva ZZ Top.
Get up in the morning and it's a Monday and stick Tres Hombres in the player so Billy Gibbons can get the day right from the get-go.
"Rumour spreadin' around in that Texas town / 'bout that shack outside La Grange / and you know what I'm talkin' about."
If the Chicken Ranch song's still playing twenty rimshots later things should be ok. Because that's just how it is. Or that's how it should be.
I don't know.
It's like that.
Start a day with Bon Scott and end it with Brian Johnson and it's still AC-DC. Same octane, same boost. Same burn you'll need when you get up on the wrong side of the bed, which is what daily life here in wonderland feels like more and more.
Turn on the television or radio or step out the door and say hello to Palpakistan, the 24/7 Philippine reality TV show where we get screwed 24/7 in a daily parade of obscenities.
Department of Burglary. Bureau of Larceny. Minister Brutal, Minister Fecal Matter, Minister Mendicant, First Gentleman Smegma.
And we take it. We take it.
We get by on good cheer or a few beers and a tough fruitcake demeanor, as if we revel in our smallnesses.
We douse our frustrations with gratuitous tolerance.
We say bless us and we say curse us and we just suck it up, spring an occasional whoop, drain a pint and then before we know it another week's gone by. Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday's gone grieving in a weekend alley and the public coffers are a little emptier and the vile alien's still in the presidential palace.
"Ok lang kung tuyo na ang ubas / may pulutan pa tayong pasas," Dong Abay sings in his taunting album, Flipino. "Ok lang kung tuyo na ang gatas / may palamang keso bukas. / Ok lang kung tuyo na ang baka / may kakainin na tayong tapa."
He may smirk or scowl or strum the air but Senyor Abay, he's figured things out. "Nakakadena si Amor / Nakahawla ang dama de noche / Walang trabaho / Bagong layang Ador Reklamador / kundi ang mag-bilang ng poste."
"Ang lagay matira'ng matibay," Senyor Abay sings. "Ay buhay".
They say life is about options. Who'd disagree? Ours is the bliss of a thousand paper cuts.
There's a Rio Alma verse about choice that's pretty hard to forget once you've come across it:
"Kung isa kang dukha
O wala nang ibang magawa
Ngunit ayaw mo namang malunod sa luha
At lalong ayaw mong pumasok sa ibang kusina,
Iisa lang ang posible mong isipin
Dahil sawa na sa iyo ang kawanggawa
Dahil sawa ka na sa welga, rali't batuta
Dahil hindi ka uubrang pulgas o tuta
Dahil ni hindi ka uubrang pain sa daga
Dahil maliit ka, pangit at mahina
Kailangan mo ng himala."
What if you wake up one day and you had a chance to re-jig the entire set-up? Doubt will set you free. But first you have to wake up.
If you have a magic wand and you won't take your anger to the streets try this recipe. Get Chrissie Hynde, Bonnie Raitt and Patti Scialfa to stand as world deputies and install Lolita Carbon as high chief. Forget about world peace. Go for groovy and pagan love and stick all the cabrons in the slammer and play Laura Branigan until their ears bleed.
And why not?
Might as well.
We live with music virtually all our lives anyway, even in our blue sleep, and centuries from now someone's surely bound to reveal the molecular truth that, yes, there's indeed a soundtrack to every little thing we do. #
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