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Sep 22nd
Home Sections Some Filipinos Need to Stop "Reinventing" Rizal (As Updated)
Some Filipinos Need to Stop "Reinventing" Rizal (As Updated) PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 13 April 2007 20:54

By Knight Commander of Rizal Sir Bobby M. Reyes

 People are often stunned when I, a member of the Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKR), try to stop some Filipinos and certain Overseas Filipinos from making a mockery, if not an overkill, of Jose Rizal, his teachings and beliefs. And today, December 30th, on the occasion of Rizal's death anniversary, he will again be subjected to an overkill at many functions in the Filipino-American communities. In many of today's programs, Rizal's name will be used again in vain.

 Jose P. Rizal, the foremost national hero of the Philippines and a man of peace, was martyred in the City of Manila on Dec. 30, 1896, before a Spanish-led firing squad. But the killing of Jose Rizal continues. In fact, it has amounted to an overkill of Rizal's legacy, especially his contributions to the making of the Filipino heritage. Yes, the overkill happens wittingly or unwittingly in our midst and even in our time.

 Some people present an overkill of Rizal's virtues, values and attributes. Some folks make him just short of being the second coming of the Redeemer. There is no truth to the belief that Rizal could walk on water or convert water into wine. (Actually pundits said that he loved to sip vintage wine, especially in the company of beautiful women, as romantic songs were being sung.)

Rizal appears not only in monuments, parks and avenues in the Philippines (and now in several other countries) but he has also become a trademark owned by different businesses. Rizal has been registered as the Philippine brand name of a kerosene, matches (light-your-fire sticks), a theater, a college, a commercial bank and Rizal-this, Rizal-that business name or establishment of all sizes and types. But few of the business people -- who use Rizal as a business name -- donate a certain percentage of the corporate income to promote the hero's legacy. Or even to support Rizal's causes and concerns that he fought so hard in his lifetime for his people to have and hold. In fact, these business tycoons, taipans and moguls would not probably recognize Rizal -- if he were resurrected like Lazarus -- even if he would not wear sunglasses when he appears to them.

The Modern-day Fray Damasos

  National leaders in the Philippines like to stage rallies and even inaugurations at the country's Rizal Parks but they continue to emulate the Spanish colonial masters that Rizal mocked in his political novels. Some Filipino church leaders attend Rizal Park events but they continue to behave like Fray Damaso, the despicable Spanish friar that Rizal wrote about in his literature. Why, even the national capital continues to be called by many as "The Imperial Manila," with the royalty-like pomp and pageantry that Rizal protested during his lifetime. Yes, Rizal is long dead but millions of the ordinary Filipinos continue to wallow in poverty, in the mire of ignorance, the muck of exploitation, so on and so forth, as if the colonial powers continued its control over the archipelago. And even some Knights of Rizal emulate the national hero only in being a "ladies' man." Why, some of my fellow Rizal knights think that our motto is, "Once a (k)night is enough."

 In Southern California, some Filipino Americans take advantage of Rizal to make money, nay, more money. A Filipino-Chinese supermarket chain offered its stores in West Covina, San Diego and Carson as sites for busts of Rizal, which actually were paid for by the Philippine government. Now, grocery carts are parked beside the Rizal busts, along with candy dispensers, newspaper racks and what not. What a way for Filipino-American shoppers to honor (or dishonor) Rizal as they search for bargains, bagoong and bananas. Yes, Rizal would go bananas if he saw his busts at the Seafood City supermarkets.

A Filipino-American woman writer continues to organize Rizal-Day celebrations in December and June of every year but she never tenders an accounting of the donations made by patrons and sponsors. She refuses to work with the local chapter of the Knights of Rizal. She has refused also to join the Ladies of Rizal and this led to wags saying that perhaps she is organizing a "Mistresses of Rizal" sorority. Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao was asked by an inquisitive mind the "Rizalist" background of this woman writer. Perhaps to rationalize her other activities such as organizing essay-writing and poetry contests for Rizal commemorations? Mr. Bunao explained that this woman writer used to be dubbed the number-one shopper in Avenida Rizal of Manila and that made her an expert in the buying and selling of Rizalian and non-Rizal memorabilia.

Rabid Rizalistas

There are rabid Rizalistas who are alleged members of a Filipino-American history club, the name of which is similar to Poet-pundit Bunao's "Philippine-American National Hysterical Society (PANHS)." These alleged Rizalistas want to put up markers in public restrooms in San Francisco (CA), Chicago (IL) and New York (NY) that proclaim, "Jose Rizal answered the call of nature in this toilet during his visit to the United States." 

Perhaps we must just tell Mainstream America and the world at large my "copyrighted" (sic) line of introducing the Philippines' foremost national hero: "Before there was Mahatma Gandhi, before there was Martin Luther King, there was a Filipino man of peace and his name was Jose Rizal. He became the Philippines' foremost national hero. Yes, foremost is the word because there were hundreds of other Filipino national heroes who were contemporaries of Rizal . . ." # # #

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Last Updated on Friday, 31 December 2021 00:41

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