Thursday, October 13, 2011

The mourning that never comes



     I could never mourn for Steve Jobs’ death, co-creator of Apple, as I never had any of his creations, like most of you do. I am, after all, nothing but a simple white collar worker who can’t speak of iOS updates or any application making the world squabble into mad frenzy in present state. In fact, I never knew the man before the massive reports on his death. But I do lament the fact that he passed away, not only because of his contributions to modern technology, but because a world died with him. 

     So I’ll mourn instead for simple people like me whose lives quietly lived though never had the chance to be heard the way Steve Jobs’ was, those who crave nothing but chance to live though denied, those who passed away that are not remembered and those who don’t get 10, 000 tweets per second, mourning about their death. This is for them. 

     Who would’ve thought that a Boy Scout’s uniform would mean so much for a kid like Ramsel? He was a 6th grader in Cebu, and in school, he was probably the subject of the other boys’ teasing for a mere crime of not wearing the honorable scout uniform. But Ramsel couldn’t do anything about it. His parents are away and he used to live with his grandmother and two other siblings. His teacher recalls him saying in Cebuano, “Ma’am, I want to be with my Mama and Papa.” The next morning, Ramsel was found hanging lifeless from a mango tree inside the school compound, a nylon rope tied around his neck. 

     Then there were stories of those who didn’t survive while simply trying to survive. Like the one that happened in Calumpit, Bulacan. As the flood surge into countless homes and fishponds and rice fields, Fred Tolentino, clutching a plastic-full of food for his trapped relatives, was overpowered by the raging water. He drowned. 

     The same fate met the three siblings from Iloilo. Eagerness to attend school despite the staggering distance from their home, brought demise, sending what seem to be an entire family’s dreams into crumbling dusts. 

    The teachers sent the kids home early to avoid the dangers the coming storm might bring. Michael, Mark and Marielle’s parents were late for fetching, so they opted to walk the muddy dirt road and braved cross the river. Sadly, they never made it. The waters of Nagpana River claimed the young lives of the three, as well as the other four. One body still isn’t found by the rescue team up ‘till now. 

    While others died nameless, others die without knowing their name. Just recently, a vagrant or what we locals love to call “taong grasa,” while trying to cross the wild traffic of EDSA, probably still lost from swirling thoughts that was never known, was crashed into death by a blazing Mitsubishi Pajero. But some stories cast a faint ray of hope in a clouded gray sky of misery. Like the one that continuously try defy death. Take Pao-pao’s story. 

     Pao-pao is a mischievous kid. He smiles like an ordinary kid would do. He jumps and run around like any other kid would do. At first glance, he looks like an ordinary 4 year-old kid, the one that smiles a lot and the one that loves playing with fellow kids. But Pao-pao was born with a congenital heart disease. His heart got two holes in them. 

     “We did everything,” Pao-pao’s mother, Mia, said. They couldn’t understand at first why Pao-pao, their first and only child after eight years of trying, had to endure such kind of suffering. At one point, Pao-pao was pronounced dead by the doctors after a serious attack. Only seconds later, his fingers miraculously moved, and he was revived. 

     Any time soon, Pao-pao is about to undergo his total correction open heart surgery; hopefully his last. “He seems to be fighting bravely,” Mia said. So she and her husband Joseph are also fighting bravely. 

     Mia got many dreams for Pao-pao. “When he grows up, I just want him to be helpful of the others and always God fearing,” she said. 

     I do not wish to belittle Steve Jobs’ death. But I find it more lamentable that every day, many people die of poverty, of injustice and of selfishness and no one seems to care. Their names might not be as huge as Steve Jobs’ but their lives are as significant and as great. We may not have iPhones, iPads and Macbooks but our stories are just as inspiring, though sadly, no one cares to listen. 

     Steve Jobs’ said, “no one wants to die.” “Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to do to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.” Reading this, I had a curious thought that maybe, Steve Jobs’ understood all lives are just as equal and just as sad as it fall into reality of death. I just wish more of his followers and sympathizers are the same.

____
With reports from dzMM and Philippine Daily Inquirer. Pao-pao's story is taken from ANC's Storyline. Watch Storyline on ABS-CBN every Wednesday after Bandila and every Thursday 9.30 PM with replays on Saturday 8.00 PM and Sunday 3.30 PM on ANC 

For other reactions on this article that you wish to privately address, you may e-mail me at desoleboy@yahoo.com

15 reaction(s):

Leo said...

I support you on this DB. More than anything, we should be more concerned to our own kababayans struggling, or at least show some genuine sympathy for which it is rightfully needed...

Guyrony said...

Desole Boy, it is never too late to show people any form of help - big or small.

And lastly, to know how the world can be unfair, but only the person can make it fair through his eyes.

Bino said...

let this be an eye opener to each and everyone of us.

ZaiZai said...

thanks for sharing db. you're right, there are people around us who deserve the same amount of sympathy and attention. they may not be renowned or have contributed much, but they have touched someone else's life, just like steve jobs did.

bien said...

Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind...
but then again Steve Jobs was a visionary and a genius who touched a lot of human beings

Meanwhile, we need more people like you. You quit your old job exactly because of this right? to bring attention to the plight of the poor and the marginalized? It's commendable really. It's not something that's unheard of ofcourse. How many times did I hear this phrase from my media practitioner friends "ano ba ang relevance ng trabahong to sa buhay ni Aling Barang?" every time they felt not doing for the society going to those tapings of celebrity talk shows and the likes.
To which I would reply- sweetie you can certainly use the extra cash from that salary of yours to help the needy.

citybuoy said...

This made me super sad. I had to read it in chunks. Great work.

Nate said...

@nyl: ay, pareho tayo.. i'm a bit teary-eyed.. and i did read it in chunks too..

@deebee: really nice entry! good job! :)

rudeboy said...

I remember when Amy Winehouse died, there was an outpouring of internet grief for her that overshadowed the deaths of some 80-odd Norwegian youths at the hand of a deranged gunman. Debates raged long and hard about why people were mourning for some degenerate, boozy crack addict and not for the innocents who lost their young lives to the random violence of the world.

The passing of Mother Teresa, the "Living Saint" who dedicated her life to helping the poor, was similarly swept away by the tidal wave of mourning for the glamorous, tragic Princess Diana.

And now, the billionaire Steve Jobs, who even in death rises to the top, winner of the current Grief-O-Meter.

There's a term for this phenomenon: "the Death Olympics." In a nutshell, people get into a contest over whose death - and by extension whose tragedies - are more terrible and therefore more "deserving" of our attention and grief.

The macabre quality of this ghoulish contest is but a logical extension, if you will, of a contest that had been running even when all the protagonists were alive. A hundred thousand Chinese peasants die in a flood: meh. Michael Jackson dies: OMG, nooooooo!

Death may be the great equalizer, but in death - as in life - there are still great divides. And the poor, sad to say, still get the short end of the stick there.

Your heart is in the right place, db, and I feel your anguish and sorrow at the sad fates of the faceless individuals you brought to our attention. Steve Jobs may have said that all lives are equal, and I would agree with that in principle: all human lives are valuable. But by the examples you've given us here, obviously the quality of our lives - and the circumstances of our deaths - differ greatly.

Why do we weep and rend our hair for some, but not for others? Perhaps because grief is a very personal thing, and all of us have different people we care about to varying degrees. Jobs was mourned not just because he was beloved by techies; his fame also played a tremendous part in it. Compare that to the anonymous lives of our struggling countrymen, and you get the picture.

Still... when it comes to tragedies such as these, John Donne already said it best :

Every man's death diminishes me
For I am involved in mankind
Therefore send not to know
For whom the bell tolls
It tolls for thee

KikomaxXx said...

im a big fan of storyline... kasi mas gusto kung the people itself tells the story and not the host or the anchors... sige papanoorin ko ito :)

dark_knight said...

i like the post... sana maiayos un kay pao pao..

RoNRoNTuRoN said...

pareng DB, grabe, maluha luha ako d2. Your post touched me... and this is a sad reality.

And like you too, kebs lang ako kay Steve Jobs.

Mac Callister said...

I've never heard of those stories till now....and thank you for sharing them to us :-)

pointlessparanoia said...

This kind of stories easily break my heart. Not only because I can relate to the people involved but also because I am saddened by the ever-changing turn of our world these days.

iamzennia said...

I understand the point of this post. I hope everything would turn out better for this boy..

iya_khin said...

so true.....naiiyak ako....

 

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