Funeral March for the National Artist’s AwardAugust 4, 2009
Last night, i was forwarded a text message which states that: “F. Sionil Jose, Arturo Luz, Bienvenido Lumbera, Virgilio Almario, Salvador Bernal and BenCab will lead artists and community in a Necrological Service and Funeral March for the National Artist’s Award” Friday, August 7, 2 pm at the CCP front ramp. Makiramay tayo!”
The call appealed to me as my immediate reaction on the choices without even knowing the “dagdag bawas” issue was that of negation. Interestingly, the issue must really be “hot” because only a few minutes later, after receiving the message, Manuel Morato in his program “Dial M” with Maggie dela Riva started talking about the same issue. His was in defense of the four choices made by GMA that were added to those nominated by the National Artist’s themselves, as a President’s prerogative, and came in vehemently in defense of Carlo Caparas Jr. His gauge being I guess, the person’s popularity by saying that if all the National Artists would go out and walk, it would be Caparas that the people would recognize. To already declared National Artists Virgilio Almario and Bien Lumbera, he said: “I don’t know why” [they are National Artists].
Decades ago, I was a passive NPA member — Nagkakaisang Progresibong Artista— and SDK too —Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan. I have tried to be an activist by joining those groups, but I must not have been born as a political animal, or I wasn’t politicized enough. Up to now, I hate politics. Was it because of fear of the crowd? [I used to faint in thick crowds because of heat]. Or indifference? [Did i really ever care for the state of the society]? Or selfishness [The "I" matters, forget the rest. Let me do my own thing]. Or, really, simply apathy? [I don't exist!]
Though late, it must have been the realization that when I started giving of myself by thinking and making films on sped children and persons with disabilities in our society, that an iota of activism in me started to grow and build up, firing me now into action towards that very goal of making films not for my own but for others to benefit from. When the “I” disappeared and “others” came into fore, only then that I started feeling that I belong. I finally found a meaningful existence.