Disturbed Slumber

For the likes of me who toil the midnight oil, literally, rest (a.k.a. sleep) is sacred. Call it blasphemy all you want but I care a rat’s ass about it. These days, I would stay in my bed until my back blisters and my behind feels really sore. And honestly? I feel fine. I only have few regrets in becoming a self proclaimed weekend bum; I miss writing. Yet most of the time I still feel that I am blameless. If you stare at a 24 inch LCD monitor, 8 hours a day , 5 days a week for a job, you wouldn’t want to see a screen glow for the next two days. But, Today is an exemption.
I started my Sunday (my Sunday clock starts at 9:00 am) with the usual trip to nanay Carmen’s turo-turo. A nilagang baka breakfast (Nanay Carmen’s especialty) every Sunday has become part of my routine. upon entering the carinderia, I waved at Nanay Carmen and give her the cutest school boy smile I could muster. She waved back at me but I noticed that the smile is not like what it used to be. Nanay Carmen is at her early 60’s. But despite the age, she still keeps a lively disposition in life. She loves to joke around, and calls me anak (like she does with almost everyone she likes).
It’s almost 3 years now that I frequent Nanay’s turo-turo. during those days when I was thinking that Manila is to congested for me and it’s nights are to gloomy, Nanay is one of those few people who showed me otherwise. Part of the few people is Tuying, a 7 years old son of a drunkard. I met Tuying one rainy September afternoon of 2005. It was must be a Sunday then because I’m at nanay’s place. I was at the middle of my steamy nilaga when a boy approached my as he did with everyone else in the place. he stood in front of my table and said “Kuya penge ng pera,” the tone is courteous. It must be a day after payday then that I felt generous. Most of the time, I would just say “wala akong pera, sorry”. That time I reached inside my pocket and gave him a five peso coin. After the boy left Nanay approached and sat at the available chair beside me. She told me the boy’s story. I learned that the boy is using the money for “baon” in school, that nanay let him eat the turo-turo everyday, That the boy’s mother is gone and his good for nothing father, as nanay would call him, is going. I don’t know but I feel impressed with the kid. With a life like that, ordinary kids should have given up schooling a long time, but not Tuying. He would go to school even if it means he have to beg his way to it. That was the beginning. I usually join the boy on his table when I come to the place and find him eating there as well (if he is not out begging for some money anywhere else). He talks a lot, but he also takes time to listen. A good sign of intelligence. He loves to joke around. He told me a lot of corny joke that you could only expect from a kid. The jokes eased the loneliness in me somehow. He is street smart, with the kind of life he has, he needed to be.
Today, In the middle of consuming my steamy nilaga, as I’ve done a hundred times before, I can’t help but to glanced at every table. Nanay approached my table and sat beside me, like she did a hundred times. She put her gentle hand over my arms and said “kailangan mo na ulit masanay kumain mag-isa tuwing linggo”, I looked at her face puzzled, she have this pained look painted on her usually smiling eyes. She told me that Tuying passed away last thursday, I was in shock. Other datails about Tuying’s passing escaped my understanding. I did not ask any question. All I understood is that he came to Nanay’s place after school with a fever. That Nanay took him to the hospital, That Nanay was there with him during those critical times and his turo-turo was closed. That some of the medicine that Tuying needed is so expensive and the Government hospital doesn’t have it available. It happened so fast, Tuying left this world a little after 4:00 AM last Thursday.
The nilagang baka all of the sudden tastes so bland. but what left bad taste to the mouth is that fact that a hundred of Tuyings are lying in government hospitals right now. With no medicines for them in the hospital pharmacy and with no money to buy it with outside. They will go back to search for answer in the only place in the hospital where service is for free, the chapel. Yet even that place won’t provide answers, it provides only hope. And hope is not something you could always hold on to. In Tuying’s case, Nanay could only do so much.
It is depressing to think that while our senate continuously talk about corruption in public television, we still can’t do anything about it. Hundreds of Tuyings are dying everyday because the money that should go to the coffers of the hospitals to buy equipment and medicines went to the pockets of officials who is worthy of public execution. We all know that a crime of corruption has been committed but what other things have we done so far aside from senate inquiry in aid of legislation? None! Our call for change has fallen on deaf ears. Senator’s who have expressed their willingness to run for the Presidency on 2010 is cautious in a making a stand on this issue. Is it to early to Sirs? What hope does the weak and underprivileged of this country have when the good people they believe in has lost their courage to fight for the right cause.
What do we have left? what do we have left but ourselves. Let this be an appeal, a call to arms. A call to arm ourselves with enough tenacity to keep fighting for justice when it seem lost. A call to arm ourselves with enough vigilance to keep us grounded from what is right and wrong. A call to arm ourselves with enough prayer to keep us guided. and a call to arm ourselves with enough hope that our heart will stand his ground. A time might come when our patriotism will waiver and our courage will fail, but it it will not be in this time. Not in our generation. A call to arm ourselves with enough fortitude to respond just in case history summon us to come together again.
Wake up from this deep slumber, I will…

16 thoughts on “Disturbed Slumber”

  1. it’s good to know that you’re back to writing. i’ve been waiting for your post/s since the “stand” article. kindly extend my sincere condolences to your nanay also. i’m sorry for your loss. it must have been very difficult for all of you since Tuying had been a part of your life. i feel sad too(di talaga ako iyaking bata, but i’m still crying up to this point na nagko-comment ako). your post reminds me a lot, the memories came skyrocketing and it pains me a lot. di ko kasi alam kung dapat kong ikwento. similar circumstance din. i had a patient who is suffering from “ulcer” as the doctors have put it in the diagnosis. i got really close to Tatang, as how i call him. he was one of those patients i had na hindi basta nagko-complain kahit may masakit. nagulat na lang ako one day when the doctor ordered for him to be discharged. nalaman ko na they don’t have enough resources to finance his stay in the hospital na kasi masyado nang mahal yung mga gamot(to think it’s a government hospital). i talked to him, i told him na tutulong ako sa finances(kahit sinasabi nilang bawal sa amin ang gnun). but being humble as he always is, he declined my offer. siguro nahihiya. nonetheless, we maintained a communication. it came as a shocked to me that after a week, one of his sons told me na patay na sya. it wasn’t “ulcer” as what the doctors in the hospital wrote in the medical diagnosis, it was pulmonary embolism. so i went through his records(fortunately andun pa) at nalaman ko na all the while pala eh suspected na sya for such but they ruled it out. i really felt outraged. nung time na gamot pang-ulcer yung binibigay ko eh gamot pang-pulmonary embolism pala kelangan nya. and they paid for those damn highly priced meds which turned out na di naman talaga nya kelangan. so sad…
    sa totoo lang, yung mga syringes sa mga government hospitals na yan eh ino-autoclave lang naman at paulit-ulit na ginagamit hanggang di na mabasa yung guage. yung mga gamot tinataasan ang prices na minsan, mas mura pang bumili sa mga botika sa labas. lahat tinitipid, ultimo cotton balls at alcohol. pati nga yung mga IVF/dextrose pag di naubos at nakauwi na yung pasyente, ipapagamit pa ulit sa iba yung natira.just imagine how the transmission of microbes could be so easy. samantalang ang walang kakwenta-kwentang “broadband deal” eh pinag-aawayan ng mga nagmamarunong na pulitiko para lang may maibulsa. way too pathetic.
    wish ko lang makarating sa senado o kaya sa malakanyang itong post mo. malay natin, baka kahit pano mauntog sila konti at may ma-realize. good luck po sa pagsusulat. aabangan ko ulit ung next post mo. again, my sincere condolences.

    — Salamat sa pagdaan. kala ko wala nang napapadaan dito sa sobrang habang hiatus. hehehe.
    Sana nga magising na din ang iba. Sana…

  2. sorry din pala sa sobrang habang comment. ok lang po sa kin if you’re going to delete it. nahiya ako bigla. hehe!

  3. what can we do ice? tell me. as what you’ve said, all our pleas has fallen on deaf ears. maybe my mom’s right after all, she said no matter who we try to put in the position, our government would still be the same. it would still be corrupt and the poorest of the poor, which truly represents the “taong bayan” will always be the victim of our leaders’ unsatisfactory work. they would never feel what the taong bayan would feel ice because not once, they were able to experience how it is to be poor. most of them were born with the golden spoon. that’s the most painful part of it. they wanted to run for whatever position that is available, wanting to serve the people, but when they are already on that position, they become insensitive all of the sudden. i’m not saying there’s no hope for us, i know there would be someday, ice. i even hope i could still see the day. but i guess, for now, that’s just the fact of life. it’s unfair but what can we truly do? we can’t forever give 5 pesos to the likes of Tuying.

    anyway ice, it’s good that you’re back. i’ve been waiting for your posts everyday. you’re kinda busy i guess…rest assured though bro, i will visit you everyday. take it easy okay? even though life is like that, it’s still good to be alive. masaya ang maging masaya ice, remember that. by the way, ice pramis last na talaga to. i have a new domain na, so not using the jeon blogsite anymore, hehehehe. wag mo akong patayin ha! last na talaga to. i’ll stick to this domain forever, di na ako magpapalit. http://jayveeonline.org/


  4. ice, very cool ka ah. tnx for visiting my blog, nueva ecija ako, half ilocano na naging ilocanong bato! lol ang tindi ng dating ng writing mo. i like it.

  5. iceee!! welkam bakkk!
    tagal mo nagbakasyon ah. kinarir mo na ba talaga yung ‘janitor fish’?hehe juk.:D

    bigat ng post ah, may social relevance talaga. sabagay tama ka ice. may magagawa pa din tayo. at isa na rito ang makikisigaw na rin ako.

    sana magising na sila!!!!

  6. i was crying all the way to the end of this post..!
    iyakin ako pag dating sa mga kuwentong ganito..!
    nakaka relate ako sa mga ganitong istorya..!
    marami din akong kilalang bata na tulad ni Tuying…
    hindi na bigyan nang atensyon na nararapat para sa bata..!
    nakaka lungkot isiping…
    sa kabila nang deklarasyon nang gubyerno na…
    gumaganda ang ating ekonomiya…
    marami paring mga bata ang…
    nagugutom at nag hihirap..!
    minsan na isip ko naring…
    mag bigay nang limos…
    hindi ko kinakaya..!
    parang gusto kong kupkupin na lang ang mga batang…
    nang lilimos sa kalsada..!
    pero siyempre…
    hindi ko naman kaya yun..!
    i can only do so much..!
    pina iyak mo ako..!
    i guess…
    your nilaga will…
    taste the same..!
    condolences din sa iyo..!
    sana nasa langit na si Tuying..! 😥

  7. what a sad story… my heart bleeds for Tuying and for the thousands of kids like him who are being left to fend for themselves in this increasingly cruel and callous world. 😦

  8. That’s an amazing sharing. I guess it’s really up to us to spread our influence when electing proper officials and be politically active when the need arises.

  9. it’s a nice comeback kuya ice. a very heavy story that made up for the long hiatus.
    i really feel sorry for tuying,, and while reading this post, i remembered those kids who used to beg while i was in line for an fx. i tried to offer a kid some bread once, and mind you it’s not just an ordinary bread, it’s stuffed, and one of my favorites, but he refused. then later on the same kid approached me again and asked for the food, he said that his mother was watching him from a far so he did not accepted the bread for her mother needs money, not food, (maybe for some solvents)

    i can’t help but think that it’s also their parents’ fault, but then again, all just points down to one common root – the government. i do hope, as i have read the other comment, that at least one person, who have a strong willpower, or maybe someone with a high position, would read this. In billions of blogs, for me, this post Stands out.

    Great job kuya ice.
    Spread the word.

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