Giggling Election Away

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Last May 7, Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) showed solidarity and culture sensitivity when BCPO’s Precinct Station 4 highlighted holy month of Ramadan of our co-Muslim Filipinos, putting up a message of oneness in front of the precinct.

Now, look a-here, ladies, gents: Do exercise your right of suffrage. Go out! Vote intelligently.

But don’t take election toooo seriously. While it certainly will solve problem of political candidates who’ll eventually be declared winners, this election, Ah Kong thinks, won’t be the panacea (cure-all or magic bullet) we’re all looking for that may solve the gamut of problems presently bedeviling the populace.

We keep our fingers crookedly crossed that those chosen will buckle down to work on their promises. Such an effort may later endear them more to the public for them to be voted again come future election.

For that future, we’ll watch and observe them keenly.

In the meantime, in this ever-changing phantasmagorical, transmigratorial and kaleidoscopical time when fireworks of election have been lit, let you sit down, grab that mug filled with something watery, sip it and giggle away the election fever.

If your bets won, good for you; bad for the others.

If all your bets lost, well, still good for you because you haven’t lost a limb, leg, tooth eye, nose or cintimo in having chosen them. Have you?

Ah Kong will let you into a teeny weeny secret uncovered the past weeks of election campaign in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and in Region 1. And that’s the voters past time of betting one political candidate against each other. Like betting on horses or fighting cocks.

Ingenious how voters bet their candidates against choice of others. Ah shows you two styles generally done.

A voter, (call him A) will entice another voter (call him B) by betting that his choice will win over B’s candidate. B agrees to the bet. Or, if B thinks his choice will win, will make a counter offer by doubling the bet money, including properties of A.

Another. If A has a standing utang of thousands of pesos that he needed to pay to B, voter A will bet that if his choice will win, his utang will be written off and forgotten.

Ah, too, heard it whispered that there were once incidents of desperate voters who dug themselves deep in debt and, during elections, tried to bet their wives, if only to underwrite their utang.

Whether such incidents were true or not in CAR and Region 1, only shows election fever can really make brains of some voters turn to scrambled eggs. Or, how partisan election fever can turn some voters into rotten fools of gamblers.

Which reminds Ah of a dream he had years back. He dreamt he was hauled to court because of utang. The judge asked: Judge: “Are you married?” Ah answered, “More yes than no, your Honor.”

Judge: “Do you live with your wife?”  Ah answered, “Yes, your Honor.”

Judge: “Is she in Baguio City?” Ah answered, “Yes, your Honor.”

Judge: “Why did you marry?” Ah answered, “To pay my debts, your Honor!”

If you lost all your political bets, well, you must thank Heavens, ag-pinikpikan ka and say alleluia, for you were never destined anyway to be a palm reader, fortune-teller or future seer.

Because, having lost all your political bets, who knows, you may someday be the one destined to be a political candidate, wooing votes of the electorate and mouthing promises, like what your political bets previously did.

For like any jolly Cordilleran or lowlander next to you would say about such elections after you lost, “Kabsat, este darling, saan ka maawanan ti namnama, ta ti lubong agbubukel. Ken adda nak pay laeng ditoy abay mo. Nu balak mon tu ag-kandidato, siyak tu campaign manager mo. Iyawat mon tu latta amin diyay kwarta a mausar ti panag-kampanya. Sigurado, mangabak kan tu!”

And if in the event you lose in your election campaign and you quarrel with your campaign manager for pocketing campaign money, your political campaign manager will say to you, “Oops, oops, kabsat, este darling, tandaanam, ad-daak lang ditoy. Ad-daak lang ditoy nga talaga. Tapos, dita ka met. Saan ka nga um-umay ditoy ayan ko. Ta baka madamay nak pay ti ipab-pabasol mo!”

As for political bets who failed to convince majority of the voting public, it’s time to stand down, take stock of everything and assess the bugging question, “why?” As Mexican-looking Cordilleran or lowlander hombres will say, “Por que perdiste, amigo?  (Why did you lose, friend?)”

After May 13, we all laugh and giggle with one another. Election day is merely one day. But losing friends because of election differences can take years to mend.

Laughter, says this merry Ah, the bozo, is next to breathing – the most important business of the barukong.   Laughter is like the air we breathe. If we have it not, we perish. To which he begs leave to add, is very essential to getting old and cranky at times.

Ah now momentarily veers from election topic to address two queries of hundreds of letter-writers since he joined Herald Express in July of 2015, while awaiting election results.

Ah needs to answer because if he doesn’t, letter writers will declare him a cranky old fellow unable to appreciate a joke.

First query: “Dear Ah, can you present us a merry depiction of yourself, aside from the serious photo we see in your column, so we can identify you easily when we see you on streets of Baguio, La Trinidad, and elsewhere in CAR and Region 1. . .”

Ah, now answers.

Ok. For starters and looking at his photo, you know he’s barbasan, criminal-looking and very suspicious. The skinny exterior of his upper lip which is always snarling, is covered with whiskers that point hither and yon.

Ah’s face resembles dried mud, his eyes, bleary and watery, are sunk deep in the sockets, like the wick of an expiring candle.

His teeth are red stained –  uncontestable proof of his dedicated love and devotion for chewing momma, that even old maids shriek in downright refusal to even just peck him on the cheek. “Que barbaridad!” they would exclaim.

He’s a guy of seedy apparel, washing his clothes once after every four months, like taking his bath four times a year, because he adheres to Baguio Water District’s (BWD) advice to “not unnecessarily waste precious water.”

He loves using cowboy boots, like regular Cordilleran guys, however, with a difference. Well, there’s a hole in his left boot to let water in and another hole in the right boot to let the water out.

As to his character, Ah is an unfeeling scoundrel, having never learned to be a daily laborer.

He’s one who can never do anything like the rest of the world, delighting to act wholly upon principles of contradiction.

He never speaks when he’s in company of others; but when he’s alone, he talks very loud.

On Sundays, instead of using his best clothes, he’ll wear his worst clothes.

If he is ever imprisoned for debt, he will say it’s a friendly act of the Court of Justice, done in the idea that imprisoning Ah will correct his kinasadut, or idleness as you want it said that way, since you’re spokening in English.

He prefers sleeping in creaking and haunted buildings in Baguio where apparitions appear, where stories teem of   malevolent curses seeping there to cause those entering such places to vacantly stare endlessly at the sun.

These buildings, (find them if you can, if there are any) about to tumble anytime in Baguio abound with cursed spirits that City Hall demolition teams tread lightly in touching them, fearing, in doing so, they would also be howling at the moon and stars.

There, you have a bird’s eye view of Ah.

Now to the letter-writers second query: “You write funnily it makes our day reading Herald Express. Why?”

Ah previously explained before, whatever humor is, its content must be pleasing to the reader, and not offensive. Humor that can be medicine of the mind.

It can be a pill against bad-tempered weather, grumbling neighborhood, non-payment of utang, contradicting winds, nagging and scolding wives, drunken husbands and all the numerous etcetera in life’s misery.

In confidence and good humor, Ah humorously pens, in expectation that others of more ability, will pursue a similar cheerful task to the great edification of readers, amiable people of fellow-feeling who know humor is a companion of the pillow and reading it creates good spirits for a day.

Like giggling away election blues.

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