Friday, November 10, 2006

City of Gentle People

This is the story as I heard it: Death came during an early evening meal. The gunman, it was said, came from behind, pulled out his pistol, and pumped several bullets into the young man. No greeting, no warning, no threat. One shot to the head splattered blood all over the food. The murder took place in a restaurant -- an eatery, as they like to call it in these parts -- in full view of spectators.

Then the killer, no older than his victim, walked over to his partner on a motorcycle. They rode away. Thus, on a Friday evening, Death came and went. It took place just a block away from the police station.

That's the story that I heard, a story that happened last week in this City of Gentle People.

There are other stories, too. On Halloween night, a young woman was stabbed in a dark alley. By a drug addict, they said. Not too far away, because places are never too far in this City of Gentle People, another young man was killed. A drive-by shooting it was, and it wounded three others. A few days later, a gun deal took place in broad daylight at the corner of a hotel.

And still there are more stories from this City of Gentle People. Six, if you count only the bloody Halloween week. Twenty-two, if you count from the last two months. Many more, if you count farther back.

Dumaguete, some would like to say, is no longer the City of Gentle People. And they would be wrong.

Because Dumaguete is still very much the City of Gentle People. This is its problem. It is too gentle.

There are two greatly different kinds of gentleness. One kind stems from wisdom and understanding. Out of this gentleness comes equanimity in the face of adversity; from this equanimity comes resolution; and from this resolution, perseverance and fortitude. This is a gentleness that springs into action with grace and quiet dignity.

And there is the other kind of gentleness, a gentleness in the extreme. It is the gentleness of affected gentility, aspiring merely to pretentious politeness and elegance. In the face of adversity and threat, a gracious swoon is the appropriate response. If it could, it would retreat into a cocoon of comfort, for its supreme virtue is its own gentleness and therefore, ignorance is bliss.
"Ay, wala man mi kahibalo ana."

"Wala man mi labot ana. Sila-sila ra man na."

"Di mi manghilabot ana."

"Unsa-on ta man...?"

"Ing-ana man gyud na."

"Wala man tay mahimo."

Welcome to the City of Gentle People.



  1. That's really sad to read about Dumaguete falling into such criminality these days. Isn't the government doing anything? Or are the elected officials just burying their heads in the sand and waiting for all these to go away?

  2. Like calesa horses with blinders on, they can't see anything except next year's elections.

    Speaking of next year's elections, it looks like it's going to be very heated...and bloody.

  3. hey, how about some subtitles for those who do not speak bisaya, please .... he he ;-)

  4. Dom, criminality is increasing everywhere. Don't be too hard on your part of the world!

    It's one reason why Filipinos want to get out of the country.

  5. Hi, 'Me: It's just different variations of "It's none of my business." Who knew there were so many ways to say it?

    Hi, Jon: it's not so much the rise of criminality as it is the response of the community. I want to prick at the consciences of the people who find themselves saying those words.

  6. Sure Dom, in retrospect, just like in the national level, apathy contributes to "crime".

  7. golay here
    these killings do not depict the greatness or the gentleness of the people these are just the cleaners doing there work and then some doing there dirty work as a friend of mine said "when people are fed up with crime then they too turn out to be criminals" dont judge the killings but judge the circumstances that led to the killings.

  8. Jameson: the end does not justify the means.