Truth in the Time of Fake News, Fake Love

Truth in the time of Fake news

                   Ever since Digong became the President, the issue of fake news became a prominent feature in my social media feed. Intellectuals and Pseudo intellectuals would argue and present their cases.  Constantly, we are faced with legitimate questions, like: Why would fake news flourish? Are Filipinos too dumb to determine what is and isn’t real? Or are we, as people with natural depravity, naturally succumb to what isn’t true?

Do we naturally exchange the truth for a lie? 

Since the day I read the first two chapters of the book of Romans in high school, it remained in my head (And heart) like a sticky note that would remind me from time to time.

The verses terrified me. Paul’s repetition of the phrase ” God gave them over “ in Romans 1 sent chills down to my scoliotic spine.

He repeated the phrase three times.

And while reading the last part, my fourteen-year-old self, shivered. 

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

The thought of God giving you over to a depraved mind that you do what ought not to be done terrified me. The idea of God…giving up on me, terrified me. 

Almost eight years had passed, still, Romans 1&2 lingers in my mind and heart up to this day. It never left me even in my years of rebellion. Even when I shut the Bible off and removed it from my periphery. It stayed on me and became a terrifying reminder, an alarm clock I kept snoozing, an alert tone I resented.

Yet it remained. It faithfully remained. 

This morning, like my usual itinerary, I opened my social media and updated myself with the new things thru my feed. Fake news still occupied the Philippine Internet. People are still arguing. Martial Law is still happening. Lies are still spreading.

Where will I stand amidst this chaotic Truth War?

I have always been that kid who prefers to stay silent rather than argue for what I believe is true. Arguing exhausted me. Debating seemed trivial and useless in my eyes. I have been passive when it comes to fighting for what I think is right. Even processing the Truth war internally…tires me. Thinking no longer mattered. Truth seemed relative. Truth seemed surreal. Truth disappeared in my life.

People falling for fake news isn’t really fresh news. It isn’t a new thing. We have been falling for the same lies since time immemorial. Adam and Eve fell for the serpent’s fake news. The whole history of humankind is a long story filled with battles of the Truth War. 

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S Lewis gives us a glimpse of why we are in this chaotic mess: 

“All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

 

Why is this happening? Why do we obliviously fall for the fake? 

Paul would gently remind us again in Romans 1,

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Our depravity is the sole reason why we fall into this trap. Our wickedness inclines our hearts to lies. We suppress the truth because we are wicked (v18). We deny the very existence of the Ultimate truth. We exchanged the truth about God for a lie (v25). 

I no longer see this in a different light other than the Biblical perspective because it is the only perspective that makes sense in this truth-is-relative-kind-of-world. 

That is the very reason why fake news is spreading. 

We.love.lies.

because of this, our lives revolve around the preferred handcrafted version of things. Tailormade for our own liking. We cannot accept the Truth. In fact, we despise it.

In result to that, we spread fake news, fake love, and live fake lives.

I write this as a twenty-year-old millennial living in a time of fake news and fake love. I am writing this to make sense of my thoughts, to untangle the unresolved issues in my head, to unriddle the confusion in my heart. I am writing this because I know that I constantly exchange the truth about God for a lie.  I am writing this because my heart is inclined to fake things. I am writing this because my heart is prone to wander and that I, alone, cannot make my paths straight.

At the end of the day, I am comforted with the Truth,

that while I am in my wickedness, Christ died for me.  I rest in this timeless promise,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    His mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is Your faithfulness.

Lo, let us always remind ourselves, that 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, 
 
 
This He will not despise.
 

Let us choose the Truth in this time of fake news,

and spread genuine love in this time of fake love.

(Yes, I’m talkin’ about you, Drake.) 

 

Retelling Subli

Subli is a bisaya term that means re-telling. And here I am, seven days later, retelling my memories from Subli – a Spoken Word Poetry Crashcourse-slash-workshop I conducted in Bukidnon.
This was not the first time I got invited to Central Mindanao University (CMU). In fact, almost two years ago, Scyra, the organizer for the whole event, invited me to visit their school to inspire the growing community of Spoken Word Artists at CMU – the Words’ Worth. I wasn’t able to come that year.
A year later, Scyra, handed me another invitation. And this time, I was ready. That’s what I thought. I was convinced that I possessed the necessary knowledge needed to be able to teach Spoken Word Poetry. And that I would be able to encourage these kids to hone their craft.
Well, I was partly right.
What I didn’t know was that the whole trip was a crashcourse for me also. Slowly, it is becoming clear to me that every time I visit Bukidnon, I get to see a different perspective, a different point of view. And I return to Iligan a changed person. Well, slightly.
There, I experienced the following:
  • Stopping the motorela because I found an ukay-ukay The Beatles shirt hanging at an ukay-ukay store. Special thank you to Kesh’s bargaining skills, I purchased it for only eighty pesos.
  • Eating Manna x Quail’s Matcha Lava Chocolate cake
  • Seeing the Musuan Peak a couple of times and every single time I feel the same feeling. Still in awe of it.
  •  Catching a glimpse of the Pulangi river at eleven pm.
  • Seeing migratory birds in the middle of the night in the middle of the street with Words’ worth.
  • Being wifi deprived that I had to resort to my notebooks and whatnot. I was forced to look and see. To stop seeing through things.

And these notable experiences aren’t notable at all without these people :

Iren – who I never expected to be that extroverted and wacky. A lady whose humor’s quite admirable.
Janine – who was seemingly quiet and reserved but whenever she speaks up, it would always be hilarious.
Mae Jane – who asked me to say her name because it would mean that much. Your leadership skills are admirable. Thank you for taking me to the bus stop.
Irene – who asked me so many questions and I didn’t even mind it because I like it when people are curious.
Peps the only boy in the team who spoke beautifully about ukay-ukay. Haha!
Almira – whose big warm hug felt like the hug I’ve always wanted to have.
Rizwho was always smiley and giddy but was as ecstatic when she performed on stage.
CMU Words’Worth, you make me cry. Sometimes, I wish I could duplicate you all or kidnap all of you so that I could bring you home with me sa Iligan. Your passion inspires me. Padayun mo.
and also,
the CMU Senior High.
The kids who were all bright-eyed during the workshop. You reminded me of my highschool self. I was as curious and excited. I can’t wait to see you all turn into passionate performers who are totally dedicated to the craft. Should our paths cross again, I know stories will overflow.
To Scyra whose name I thought was pronounced as /sky-rah/, haha. The one who noted my love for coffee that she’d bring me her home-brewed coffee every morning thru her thermos. Thank you for tolerating my request to make baklay to forestry even if it exhausted you and wala jud ka gasaba nga gihangak na diay ka magbisaya nako kay na guilty jud ko sala ni ni Kesh na wala ko niya gi-inform na di day ka pwede ug inato. Haha. Nevertheless, thank you for the constant invitation, and for the warm welcome you’ve given me. Just. Thank you.
To Joy whom I haven’t met yet but seems like someone I have been friends with for a long time already because of the stories I have heard about her. The kids would never miss a conversation without mentioning your name. Sugod sa Kape padulong sa books and then sa uban pang butang muingon silag “Hala, parehas jud mong Ma’am Joy.” Thank you pud for letting me borrow to some of your clothes during my last night. HAHA. I hope to have coffee with you someday and saka nata sa Musuan Peak. Thank you for starting Words’ worth, thank you for introducing the kids to Spoken Word Poetry.
To Kesh – who was not only my P.A, but my trip-bestie. The one who would accompany me wherever I go. Who would willingly volunteer for almost anything. Who would ask me deep existential questions at eleven p.m. Kesh took her P.A job too seriously that she’d wake up at 5 A.M just to check if I was breathing. You are such a sweet kid. You treated me as family. Thank you.
I remember a conversation with Kesh during a bus ride to Bukidnon. It was a question that never left my mind since that day.

Ate Kim, why do you call yourself curator?

I was not prepared to answer her question because people never bothered to ask anyway. In response, I explained it in a seemingly shallow answer – that I liken myself to a curator – that of a museum or an art gallery. That I would constantly curate my life. That I select which stories to tell. Because curators are selective storytellers. And we are all curators in a variety of ways. That we all curate our lives in a daily basis
We choose what we want to show and hide. We choose which story to tell.
And the challenge left here is what to

subli.

That we be discerning to choose stories worthy of retelling.
And this is me retelling my memories from Subli, because stories like this one are always worthy of retelling.

Para kang Island Boy

Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
circa 2015

2010.

Kahinumdum pako tong una tang nag-ila.

Ikaw tong batan-on nga naglingkod dapit sa akong bangko. Usa ratag lamesa sa convention, usa ra na grupo, pero, dili ko ganahan nimo. 

Nagsul-ob kag blue na sport shirt atong adlawa.

Pila ka-tuig nilabay, nagtagbo napud atong mga dalan. Na-ila tikag ayo. Nagkuyog buntag, udto, gabii. Murag sumpay najud atong tina-i. Kaila na kaayo ko nimo. Kabalo nako kung unsa imong mga ganahan ug di-ganahan. Nakabisado na kaayo tika, ug mao ni ang akong mga mabaw nga nahibaw-an sa imoha:

  1. mag lagot kag ignon kag feeling gwapo.
  2. lud-an kag maghisgot kog tae.
  3. maayo ka manlaba.
  4. Ang imong paborito na icecream na Jollibee kay ang strawberry sundae.
  5. safeguard ang brand sa imong deodorant.
  6. idol nimo si Spiderman. 
  7. Paborito nimo ang Pomegranates na hantod karon wala pako katilaw.
  8. Maayo ka mutaghoy.
  9. Maawat nimo ang tingog ni batman ug ni stitch sa Lilo and Stitch. 
  10. Dili ka kabalo musayaw.

Nahutdan nakog mga isulat. Hinay-hinay na nako nagakalimtan ang mga detalye sa imo. Di nako kahinumdum sa uban, kay kada adlaw, nagapulihan ug bag-o ang akong mga dapat huna-hunaonon. Pero kahinumdum pako sa imo, kahinumdum pako sa mga istorya nato, kahinumdum pako sa kung unsa ka mukatawa na murag pagaw-pagaw nga saba na maka-irita. Kahinumdum pako sa imong paboritong alot ug kung unsa nimo ka-gusto musul-ob ug aritis nga itom. 

Pero magduha na ka-tuig nilabay. Di na ko sigurado kung mao pa gihapon na ang akong mga nahibaw-an sa imo. Daghan nausab, ug daghan usbononon.

Ako pud. 

Daghan kog gusto istorya nimo. Apan, kabalo ko na naay mga dapat istorya nga wala nay pulos kung i-storya. Layo na kaayo ang agwat sa panahon ug lugar. Layo na kaayo ko, layo napud kaayo ka. Puhon, Puhon. Magtagbo ta usab. Ug kataw-an nalang nato ang tanan. 

Doc. Malak,

unta malipayon ka sa imong kinabuhi.

Salamat sa tanan.

Malipayong adlawng sa natawhan!

P.S 

Ay oh. Naa pa gihapon sa akong kwarto akong graduation gift para sa imo. Naningil ka atong naa ka diri. Pero gituyo nako na dili ihatag. Sa sunod nalang nimo na graduation, puhon. Unya nag ma-doctor naka.

Hinaguang Son Goku

Sauna, grade four – section two pako, naa koy classmate na crush kaayo nako. Gwapo kaayo sya, as in. Puti pirmi ang iyang uniform. Dayun murag gipulbusan pirmi iyang likod sa iyang yaya. Naa puy towel pirmi iyang likod, katong “Goodmorning Towel” nga white na naay blue and red na print dayun naa dayu’y inintsik.

Kahinumdum ko na maglantaw ko niya magdula sauna ug Jolen, dayun usahay magdakpanay sila mga lalaki. Kahinumdum ko na pag sington sya, humot gihapon kaayo sya lantawon, murag pati singot kay swerte. Inana siya ka gwapo.

Isa ka adlaw, nakahuna-huna ko na magpapansin sa akong crush. Kay murag di man ko niya pansinon (maski classmates mi since Grade two). Labyan labyan raman gud ko niya, kay compared sa akong mga gwapa na classmates, kay siguro, I preferred mag tsinelas sa school (na walay medyas), ug mag uniform nga walay inner white blouse (Imagine ICECS uniform). Yagit jud ko, sa tinuod lang. Wala pa ang puberty ato na time. Wala pakoy pake sa mga social constructs. Wala pakoy pake sa Filipino standard of beauty.

Anyway, balik sa storya. Nagtry kog papansin kang crush. Ako syang gi-obserbahan. Gi-take note iyang mga hilig. Ug nakita nako na ganahan kaayo sya ni Son Goku.

Medyo talented man sad ko sa una, dayun mahilig kog drawing, so I decided to draw Son Goku sa akong Pad paper. Pila sad to ka adlaw na gihaguan ang buhok palang daan ni Son Goku na tusok tusok. Gamit pakog HB-2 nga lapis, dayun rub rub effect para artistic jud kaayo dayun charcoal effect.

Human sa pila ka adlaw, nahuman rajud to nako si Son Goku. Pero kum-ot na kaayo akong papel. Wala nadala ug patul-id sa sulod sa akong file case. Excited kaayo ko na ma-hatag kang crush. Pagtunol nako sa iya, dako kaayo akong ngisi, ana ko:

“Uy, si Son Goku oh.”

Iya rang gitutukan kajot.

Dayun nilakaw na dayun sya kay nibalik syag dula uban iyang mga amigo.

Abi nakog kuhaon niya akong drawing, dayun isulod sa iyang filecase, dayun tipigan hantud sa hantud.

Dili diay.

Nibalik ko sa akong linkuranan, gitutukan akong drawing.

Akong gisusi kung aha ko nasayup.

Sa buhok ba ni Son Goku?

Di siguro balanse ang mga mata?

Gipa-frame unta siguro nako?

Gisulod nako balik ang drawing sa akong filecase. Ug sukad ato, sige nakog drawing ug mga tawo nga kalkag ug buhok, kanang bukad ug pina-kuyaw ug pagkalkag. Didto ko na-siksik sa akong pagdrawing sa mga buhok. 

Kahinumdum kaayo ko sa akong pagkahiubos atong adlawa. Ug kahinumdum sad kos akong kalipay pag-uli kay naa pakoy singko na balon na naigo pag palit ug mango shake ug sinugbang saging sa likod sa skwelahan. Kahinumdum kog baklay pauli sa balay. Kahindumdum ko na pag-uli nanan-aw dayun mig concert ni Paul McCartney ni Daddy while ga-check si Mommy sa mga research paper sa iyang mga studyante.

Kahinumdum ko sa mga ginagmayng kalipay. Kahinumdum ko na dali rasad diay malimtan si Son Goku, na matambalan ra diay ang kahi-ubos. Na dili tanan kasakit mudugay.

Ug labaw sa tanan,
Na ni-gwapa nako ron ug nipangit na si Crush.