PLIANT LIKE A BAMBOO I.V. Mallari
There is a story in Philippine folklore abouta mango tree and a bamboo tree. Not being ableto agree as to which was the stronger of thetwo, they called upon the wind to make thedecision. The wind blew its hardest. The mango treestood fast. It would not yield. It knew it wasstrong and sturdy. It would not sway. It was tooproud. It was too true to itself. But finally itsroots gave way, and it tumbled down. The bamboo tree was wiser. It knew it wasnot as robust as the mango tree. And so everytime the wind blew, it bent its head gracefully. Itmade loud protests, but it let the wind have itsway. When finally the wind got tired ofblowing, the bamboo tree still stood in all itsbeauty and grace. The Filipino is like the bamboo tree. Heknows that he is not strong enough to withstandthe onslaughts of superior forces. And so heyields. He bends his head gracefully with manyloud protests. And he has survived. The Spaniards cameand dominated him for more than three hundredyears. And when the Spaniards left, the Filipinosstill stood – only much richer in experience andculture. The Americans took the place of theSpaniards. They used more subtle means ofwinning over the Filipinos to their mode of livingand thinking. The Filipino embraced theAmerican way of life more readily than theSpaniard’s vague promise of the hereafter. Then the Japanese came like a storm, like aplague of locusts, like a pestilence –rude, relentless, cruel. The Filipino learned to bowhis head low, to “cooperate” with the Japanese intheir “holy mission of establishing the Co-Prosperity Sphere.” The Filipino had only hate andcontempt for the Japanese, but he learned tosmile sweetly at them and to thank themgraciously for their “benevolence andmagnanimity.” And now that the Americans have come backand driven away the Japanese, those Filipinoswho profited most from cooperating with theJapanese have been loudest in their protestationsof innocence. Everything is as if Japanese...
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