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Imperialism means war, imperialism means terrorism

in Countercurrent

Before they underwent massive PR makeovers in Hollywood movies, the vampires are some of the best graphic tools used to explain the secret of capitalist accumulation. In Das Kapital, Karl Marx describes capital as “dead labor, that, vampire-like, only lives sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.”

In other words, capitalists gain and expand their capital by sucking their laborers’ values, just as the mythical vampires drain their victims’ blood and lifesource for them to survive and become stronger. But while capitalism lives and grows stronger by sucking the blood of its victims, in doing so it encounters existential crises as its bloodsucking ultimately leads to scantier volume of blood to suck.

In Karl Marx’s summary: capitalism digs its own grave.

Today, as capitalism has globally spread its dominance, what monstrous vampire has capitalism become? Capitalism has reached its highest historical stage of development, described as monopoly capitalism or capitalist imperialism, since the early 20th century.

At the time, Russian proletarian leader Vladimir Lenin said in the preface of the German and French edition of his popular outline, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism:

“Capitalism has grown into a world system of colonial oppression and of the financial strangulation of the overwhelming majority of the people of the world by a handful of ‘advanced’countries.”

At the time, the “three powerful world marauders armed to the teeth”—America, Great Britain, and Japan—involved the whole world in their war over the sharing of their booty.”

True to its vampiric likeness, when capitalist imperialism made its global debut, its bloody, merciless party was the first world war. It was a war between rival monopoly capitalists or imperialists, for the purpose of deciding who among the rival financial marauders was to receive the lion’s share of control over the economies of the world.

From the first to the second world war, to the “cold war” and today’s so-called “war on terrorism”, all are wars launched by imperialists to seize control of resources, territories, trade routes, and spheres of power. In the latter cases of “cold war” and “war on terrorism”, it is no longer just a war among imperialist rivals. It has become also a war between imperialists and states or parties waging proletariat revolution, national liberation, or struggles for self-determination away from capitalist rule.

Below is a brief review of imperialism’s systemic compulsion to launch war, mainly to remind ourselves that over the years, this breed of vampire has not only become more merciless, rapacious and gluttonous when it reached its imperialist stage of development. It has also become more duplicitous and insidious. The fact that the dominant media hardly mention the word imperialism when it reports about the wars that are supported, armed and directly or covertly being waged by imperialist states is one of the biggest indications of its insidiousness.

Imperialism 101

Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the successful Russian proletariat revolution in 1917, previously listed the general features that distinguished imperialism from its early stages of capitalism. A cursory look at world events today shows that these distinguishing features remain true, even if the names and modes by which these happen may have varied over the years:

  • the highest and final stage of capitalism, imperialism, is the thoroughly parasitic and decaying stage of capitalism. The capitalists do not contribute at all to social production, yet they amass for themselves profits by extracting and appropriating surplus values through their ownership of capital, stocks, bonds, securities, derivatives or other ways they have devised to own, monopolize and maximize capital;
  • the ruling capitalists have become finance oligarchs, after industrial and finance capital merged: so now they jointly reap profits not just from exporting surplus manufactures but also surplus capital by way of foreign investments and loans;
  • monopoly firms of every imperialist state protect their own interests, but for these, they also combine and compete with monopoly firms of other imperialist states, seeking control of “spheres of influence” or territories to secure resources, low-cost labor, captive markets and supply routes;
  • imperialist states advance the interests of their monopoly capitalists and the international groupings they have formed or joined, maintaining a power structure between imperialists and “client-states” to install an economic structure where the imperialists can exploit the proletariat, oppress nations and peoples;
  • to keep its cycles of production and profit-taking running and profitable, competition between imperialist states for territories and “spheres of influence” is never-ending; and
  • imperialism breeds war, as every imperialist power or alliance is driven to redivide the world to feed their growing economic and military power.

System-generated compulsion to war

When imperialism is described as the most decaying stage of capitalism it means that as a system, it no longer has positive developments—efforts spent to evade or withstand its chronic crises of overproduction destroy rather than uplift its productive forces. It can no longer march history to unprecedented heights.

Organic in the DNA of the capitalist system is its drive for profits—even if the means to achieve it would eventually destroy its golden goose, like its own workers and markets, its “own” domestic industries, the environment, the relations of peoples and nations, and culture. In short, by default its operations lead to crisis of overproduction that it cannot resolve.

But no capitalist or imperialist will let that happen without a fight. To imperialists the recourse left to maintain itself is to wrest control of markets and territories from rival imperialists. And, prevent socialist states from wresting away their territories and ideological sway.

Imperialists in the business of war

Today we are bombarded by wars and pestered by saber-rattling. There are wars raging in the Ukraine, in Israel, in the Red Sea between Yemen, Iran and US “allies” and the West. Much destruction has been wreaked on “rogue” states previously targeted by the US-led imperialist “allies” who previously brought war to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and before that, in the Korean peninsula, Vietnam, and where wars for national liberation and right to self-determination are being fought, like in the Philippines and Colombia.

As we write this, war threatens to break out in the Indo-Pacific region over Taiwan. Like in the war in Ukraine which is a war between imperialist US with imperialist European allies in NATO against Russia, the looming war in Taiwan will be a proxy war between the US and its regional allies against their rival China.

To counter China, the US is itching to use “treaty allies” such as the Philippines in the Indo-Pacific. To keep its foothold and expand against China in the Indo-Pacific region, the US has recently been ratcheting its stockpiling of weapons and positioning of forces in its military bases in Japan, South Korea, and in the Philippines—where its military “facilities” are inside Philippine bases by virtue of the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

In the Philippines, the US is building more military bases and installations, and is continuously and more frequently holding joint wargames and exercises with Filipino reactionary troops to better train them in using US and its military allies’ weapons and ammunitions, warships and warplanes. They call it enhancing interoperability.

In the Indo-Pacific, specifically in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea. the US claims the war provocations are for ensuring “freedom of navigation”. In all the ongoing and prospective theaters of war, the imperialists claim they are fighting “terrorism” and/or defending “democracy” (or what some Western media define as Western-style democracy). The latter simply means holding regular elections in which the people could vent their frustrations by choosing and voting candidates for public office from a pool of supposed traditional leaders, who are in fact stooges or representatives of the imperialists. Against China and Russia, the US and European imperialists even invoke “human rights” when they indiscriminately bomb cities, including hospitals and public service facilities.

All the above are just some of the latest examples of imperialists, particularly the US imperialists, who are currently at war in various countries and regions or itching for war in certain “hot spots”, and the justifications they concoct feed the dominant media reports about their aggression. The truth is, the imperialist needs war and is compelled to go to war that kill and maim millions of people because they have military-industrial enclaves whose thirst for profits couldn’t be quenched.

More importantly, as Lenin observed in his meticulous study of capitalist imperialism:

“(T)he characteristic feature of imperialism is precisely that it strives to annex not only agricultural regions, but even highly industrialised regions because the fact that the world is already divided up (between imperialist states) obliges those contemplating a new division to reach out for any kind of territory, and because an essential feature of imperialism is the rivalry between a number of great powers in the striving for hegemony…”

This is particularly stark as imperialist US, for example, maintains its support of Israel in the latter’s genocidal war against the Palestinians. The US uses Israel as a base for encroaching into the Middle East (or West Asia). The US has similar intentions in keeping the Korean peninsula divided between North and South and also to counter China.

In the Philippines, a strategic archipelago for projecting military power in the Indo-Pacific region, the imperialist US has maintained its seven-decade “iron-clad” mutual defense treaty with its former colony and puppet-government partner. Nowadays, they are building more military bases and talking about nuclear power.

Amid all these imperialist scheming, the Filipino people (and the people everywhere else) are justified in opposing militarization and imperialist wars of aggression. They are justified in opposing huge increases in the national budget allocations for highly-destructive arms purchases; the presence of foreign military bases, troops, facilities, and war materiel stockpiles; all military alliances and agreements with imperialist US and its allies; and the saber-rattling and calling for proxy war in Taiwan against China.

Moreover, the Filipino people and people everywhere who are seeking and fighting for national liberation are justified in continuing to resist and to overthrow their local and foreign oppressors.(Pinky Ang)###

Gloves off in Marcos-Duterte circus

in Countercurrent

The Marcos and Duterte camps have split and the divorce did not take long to happen.

What once looked like a formidable “uniteam”—purportedly to entrench the Duterte dynasty at the national level in traditional politics and attain the Marcos family’s overarching goal of complete political rehabilitation from its ignominious ouster from Malacanang in 1986 by a peaceful popular uprising—is now exposed as just another alliance of bureaucrat capitalists that can easily dissolve due to corrupt self-interests and innate contradictions.

One might be forgiven for having expected that the alliance would last at least until the midterm elections next year. Cobbled together by the sly political operator Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the alliance included a slew of groupings from Lakas-Christian-Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), Hugpong ng Pagbabago, and Partido Democratico Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). All are now participants in what can be kindly described as a political freak show.

Ironically, it was Macapagal-Arroyo who got hit by the first punch thrown in the ongoing and still escalating public brawl. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, apparently Bongbong Marcos’ most favored cousin, maneuvered to snatch the speakership of the House of Representatives (HOR) that the former president had wanted for herself after the 2022 elections.

Romualdez created the position of senior deputy speaker for Macapagal-Arroyo, with several deputy speakers. A surprise move, since he distrusted her because of her history of ousting the long-term sitting Speaker Jose de Venecia during her presidency, as she likewise did with Pantaleon Alvarez during the Rodrigo Duterte presidency.

After just a few months, however, Romualdez unceremoniously stripped her of that post. Vice President Sara Duterte, Arroyo’s ally, reacted swiftly by resigning as chairperson from the Romualdez-controlled Lakas-CMD party, spitefully coining the Visayan word tambaloslos (wide-mouthed) to describe the two allied women’s new nemesis.

Those swift moves and countermoves became the signal fires of an unravelling rarely seen even among the most rotten of political opportunists the country has ever had.

Fight over funds

Quick as always to switch sides to whoever they think holds the purse, many HOR members promptly jumped from the PFP, Hugpong, and PDP-Laban parties into Lakas-CMD, rendering the latter to amass a “super-majority” in that chamber.

The party switchers opportunistically hijacked the progressive Makabayan bloc’s exposure of and staunch opposition to Sara’s demand for—and quick spending of—huge confidential funds for her two offices (VP and education secretary). They used this as ammunition to fire broadsides at her, seeing her as a potential foil to Romualdez’s 2028 presidential ambitions.

Sara got the comeuppance after she admitted having spent the Php 125-million confidential funds she had requested from and was granted by Marcos Jr—all of it in just 11 days in December 2022.

Sara had to accept the consequence: there would no longer be a Php 650-million windfall in the form of confidential funds for her two offices in this year’s national budget. Marcos Jr approved and signed the 2024 national budget law affirming that fact.

So devastating a hit was this to the Duterte dynasty. As face-saving excuse, former president Rodrigo came out with the canard that his vice president daughter, as concurrent education secretary, only intended to use the confidential fund to revive the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in basic education.

Similarly effete was Duterte’s counter punch against the House of Representatives. Speaking on the hate-speech TV channel SMNI, the former president described the HOR as “the most rotten of all government institutions.” In a classic pot-calling-the-kettle black scenario, Rodrigo urged that Speaker Romualdez’s discretionary funds be audited, alleging that the latter was buying off all HOR members. Doubling down on the counter-attack on SMNI, drug-personality-turned-red-tagger Jeffry Celiz alleged, without showing proof, that Romualdez spent Php 1.8 billion in travel funds in 2023 alone.

Romualdez’s counter move was swift. House committees, in November, started investigations on SMNI’s tandem anchors Celiz and Lorraine Badoy. For making statements that couldn’t be verified, the duo were ordered arrested and detained in the HOR premises for several days in December. Upon their release shortly before Christmas, the HOR investigations quickly shifted to SMNI’s real ownership, replicating the Senate investigations on alleged sex offender Apollo Quiboloy, Rodrigo’s so-called spiritual adviser.

Aside from directly responding to the tirades from Davao, Romualdez completely stripped Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of any position in the HOR, along with Duterte ally and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab who was also removed as deputy speaker. On the same day, close Romualdez ally and HOR appropriations committee head, Rep. Elizalde Co, alleged that Rodrigo’s son, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, had accumulated Php 51-billion pork barrel funds over just three years (2019-2022).

Refusing to back down, Rodrigo tried to rally former and current military officers who he thought were his loyal backers to be on guard against what he claimed as Marcos Jr’s dictatorial tendencies. He even warned the latter that he may suffer the same fate as his dictator father. Moreover, Rodrigo blurted that he wanted Mindanao to secede from the rest of the Philippines. To his dismay, even his close allies such as national security adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. and Senator Ronald dela Rosa sought to distance themselves from such proposition.

In an event aimed at countering the current regime’s launching of a Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines) campaign in January 28, 2024, Duterte repeated his pre-election accusation that Marcos Jr was a cocaine addict.

Normally silent on attacks against his person, Marcos Jr countered by citing an earlier admission by his predecessor about regularly taking fentanyl, a highly-addictive pain killer now wreaking havoc in many parts of the world as the new narcotic of choice among drug dependents.

Irascible, as all Dutertes are, Davao City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte (Rodrigo’s younger son) did not wish to be left out of the political fisticuffs. In the same event, he accused Marcos Jr of being lazy, lacking in compassion, soft on criminality and, ludicrously, cozying up to Communists. In his outburst, the younger Duterte son called for Marcos’ resignation (which he later withdrew).

Resumption of GRP-NDFP peace negotiations

On her part, after avoiding direct conflict with her former “Uniteam” partner, Sara Duterte seized the opportunity to manifest her first-ever public disagreement, with censure to boot, over what she deemed an unacceptable Marcos Jr. policy decision to resume the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations that her father had arbitrarily suspended in 2017.

The issue arose from a simultaneous public announcement, at the end of November 2023, by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). A joint statement said the two sides had reached a consensus to resume formal peace negotiations on social, economic and political reforms towards attaining a just and lasting peace and the ending of over five decades of armed conflict.

The brief joint statement embodied the meeting of minds between representatives of the two parties during several informal and formal discussions held in Oslo, Norway, facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government, since the first quarter of 2023.

Having taken a hard line opposing the continuation of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, Sara chided Marcos Jr for having initiated or acceded to resume the peace talks. Scurrilously, she declared that negotiating with the revolutionaries would be like dealing with the “devil”.

The idea of resuming the peace talks have rankled within the Duterte camp since November 2017, when then President Duterte arbitrarily suspended the GRP-NDFP formal peace negotiations. Fact is that at the start of his term in August 2016, he proudly resumed the peace talks and vowed to complete them in order to fulfill his electoral campaign promise to do just that.

When he suspended the peace talks, the negotiations were proceeding close to adopting the final draft on a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms (CASER). Had he not suspended the talks and the final draft was signed, it would have hugely benefitted the Filipino people.

Instead, adopting the hardline stance of the militarists, Rodrigo Duterte vowed to pursue the total defeat of the revolutionary forces through military means.

Impending ICC warrant of arrest

On another controversial issue, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV joined the fray.

Announcing his bid for the Caloocan City mayorship, the former military puchist disclosed that International Criminal Court (ICC) investigators had already been allowed into the country. He added with relish that a warrant of arrest against the former president and his cohorts, including VP Sara, was not far behind.

It is commonly believed that Trillanes made the disclosures at the behest of the Marcos camp. And it produced the intended effect as his revelations obviously riled the Dutertes and their remaining allies such as Senator “Bato” dela Rosa.

Ramping up the quarrel, more legislators filed resolutions in both houses of Congress urging the government to cooperate with the ICC in its investigations on Duterte’s probable crimes against humanity committed in the course of the killings of tens of thousands suspected drug users by his “war on illegal drugs”.

Instead of sticking to his original line that the Philippines is no longer a signatory to the Rome Statute and would not cooperate, Marcos told reporters he wanted Congress to study the possibility of the Philippines’ rejoining the ICC. Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra and Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla were forced to drop their outright opposition to rejoining the ICC and echoed the new line of possible cooperation.

Not a few pundits have said, not incorrectly, that the ICC issue is the biggest cause of the dissolution of the Marcos-Duterte partnership. However, it’s much more palpable that the combination of all the foregoing incidents and issues, which the people have witnessed, collectively drove the quickest meltdown of what once appeared to be a formidable tandem.

Dancing the Cha-cha again

The revived attempt to change the 1987 Constitution, however, has practically become the biggest dispute between the warring camps. Initiated and bankrolled by Romualdez, the charter change drive was initially presented as a “people’s initiative” and promptly challenged by majority of the senators, including those identified to be in the Duterte camp such as Senator Imee Marcos.

The Dutertes now also parade long-time Marcos Jr friend and former executive secretary Vic Rodriguez, who goes around the country speaking against ongoing moves to change the constitution.

Rodrigo, who during his presidency had himself attempted charter change, has made known his opposition mainly because it was Romualdez who started the “cha-cha” drive and would benefit the most should term limits of elected public officials be lifted or the current government be changed into parliamentary form to suit Romualdez’s agenda to become Marcos Jr’s successor. It would then prove more difficult for the Dutertes to politically maneuver to pursue their own ambitions.

Meanwhile, both camps have virtually taken over the local social media landscape with their paid vloggers slinging mud to no end at the other camp with mutual accusations of smuggling, drug abuse, corruption, sexual deviancy, puppetry to China or to US imperialism.

And while it is sometimes fun to watch the bureaucrat capitalists going at each other’s throat, the growing section of the Filipino people committed to fundamental political and social change is not keen to find out which faction of the ruling classes would prevail in the reactionary electoral contests. They have long been waging the historical national democratic revolution to bring about the oppressive and exploitative ruling system’s defeat and collapse and pave the path for their own liberation. (Pat Gambao and Leon Castro)###

Isang Sulyap sa Buhay UG

in Mainstream

Emilio Jay

(Si Emilio Jay ay dating staff ng Kalayaan, opisyal na pahayagan ng Kabataang Makabayan, noong maagang bahagi ng dekada 80, panahon pa ng diktadurang Marcos Sr. Pinagbigyan niya ang hiling ng Liberation na isulat ang personal niyang karanasan sa paglalabas ng publikasyon at buhay UG nila bilang isa sa manunulat noon ng Kalayaan. Bahagi ito ng pagsisikap ng Liberation na mangalap ng karanasan at aral sa gawaing prop na maari nating isabuhay sa kasalukuyan. Narito ang kanyang kwento.—Editor’s Note).

Bilang mga writers at kagawad ng isang UG (underground) publication katulad ng Kalayaan noong panahon ng martial law, tingin namin mas “malaya” kaming nakakapagpahayag bilang mga manunulat dahil sa veil of secrecy at katangian ng publikasyon. Panahon ito ng matinding censorship sa ilalim ng diktador na si Marcos Sr at iilan lamang ang pahayagang dinadaluyan ng mga balita at kwento tungkol sa tunay na kalagayan ng bansa at mamamayan at ng rebolusyon.

Karamihan sa amin ay bahagi rin ng mainstream media—kahit na yung mga dyaryong rabid pro-Marcos dictatorship na siyang dominante sa panahong iyon. Nagsusulat kami ng mga “neutral” articles para ma-establish ang aming credibility, at syempre, kaunting pandagdag na rin sa allowance.

Dahil myembro kami ng mainstream media kumbaga, pinalalapad din namin ang mga kakilala, kaibigan at kontak, kasama na rito ang nasa larangan ng art and culture at kahit sa pelikula. Katunayan nga, dahil sa mga kaibigan sa film industry, madalas naiimbita kami ng libre sa mga review o premiere showing ng mga acclaimed films. As much as possible pilit naming “nilalangoy” ang mga burges na institusyon, personahe at pulitiko, mga kaibigan sa eskwela, at syempre sa aming mga pamilya bilang bahagi ng alliance work at pagpapalapad ng UG network namin.

Updated sa Balita

Nakabase sa National Capital Region ang aming yunit propaganda. Hindi man kami tuwirang nakalahok sa mass work, may mga nag-i-integrate sa kanayunan o sa urban poor mula sa amin na sumama sa mass work. Kung papayagan ng kalihim namin, lumalahok din kami sa ilang pagkilos o rallies.

Ang network ng mga ND UGMOs (underground revolutionary mass organizations) ang aming network na pinagkukunan ng balita at para maisulat ang artikel, partikular sa hanay ng YS (youth at students) na pangunahing target audience ng Kalayaan.

Kung balita mula sa kanayunan, Ang Bayan pa rin ang source namin pero kapag may myembro o kakilala na nag-integ sa isang sona, binibilinan na mag-uwi ng interbyu ng mga kasama, laluna na mga NPA at masa, o magsulat hinggil sa kalagayan sa pinuntahang lugar. Isang source din namin ang ibang UG publications na kaugnayan namin.

Dahil di pa online ang news noon, may regular suplay kami ng at least dalawang dyaryo sa bahay—isang pinaka-reaksyonaryo at isang liberal na dyaryo—para updated kami lahat sa nangyayari. Importante sa amin bilang mga propagandista na malaman din ang inilalabas ng dyaryo ng diktadura para makita ang trends at takbo ng isip nila. Updated din kami sa mga tsismis sa showbiz (wala pang salitang chika o marites noon). Minsan pang-relax, binabasa namin ang mga tsismis ng mga kilalang showbiz writers na hindi maintindihan ang lingo, kaya dine-decipher pa namin! Mahalaga ring updated kami sa mga gamit na salita ng mga writers na ito.

Press House”

Katulad nang naging kalakaran sa panahong iyon, mayroon din kaming UG house na “press house” na rin namin.

Batay sa napagkaisahang frequency ng labas ng publication, nagpupulong muna para ihanay ang mga isusulat at ilalabas; kapag nai-submit na lahat ng isinulat, inuupuan ito at nagkakaroon ng collective editing (iba pang yung proof o copy editing). Ang tinututukan ng collective editing ay kung tama ang mga pormulasyon, linya, pagsusuri at datos na isinulat. Kung wala namang nakitang mali, mabilis lang na naaapruba. Bihira ang mga pagtatalo dahil nagkakaisa naman sa pananaw sa mga isyu at usapin.

Dahil hindi pa digital noon, dalawang maliit na typewriters ang gamit namin sa aming UG house at “media center”. Later on pa kami nagkaroon ng electric typewriter. Usually sa gabi ang pag-type para hindi magtaka ang mga kapitbahay. Depende kasi sa kondisyon ng UG house, kailangang may prente gaya ng mga istudyante kaming gumagawa ng research at thesis.

Ang ginagamit na sistema sa paggawa ng lay-out ay sa pamamagitan ng stencil (dahil mainly mimeographed ang publication). Binibilang ang kada linya at espasyo sa isang pahina. May toka rin ang lahat sa pagta-type sa typewriter. Pero kung may volunteer na mag-type, masaya ang lahat!

Ang mga pinal na stencils ay pinapasadahan ng kalihim at managing editor bago ipadala sa production house o ang Central Publishing House kung saan pinoprodyus ang kopya batay sa pangangailangan. May ibang yunit naman para sa distribusyon ng mga kopya. Ang lugar ng prod house ay dalawa lang mula sa staff ang nakakaalam for security reasons, usually kalihim at yung itinokang “technical staff/liaison” sa prod house.

Matapos mailabas ang issue, nagkakaroon ng mga assessment. Hindi naman nagiging madugo, pero marami ding komentaryo na “sana napahusay pa” ang mga naisulat.

Mahigpit sa Sekyu

Wala kaming na-enkwentrong mga problema noon sa sekyu dahil una, mahigpit kami sa pag-obserba noon ng collective sekyu. Wala pang cellphone noon kaya kung hindi ka makarating on time sa pampublikong lugar ng itinaktadang kitaan, ang policy ay lumipat sa pangalawang lugar kitaan. Bawal noon ang maghintayan at magbabad sa pampublikong lugar. Mahigpit ang pagsunod sa mga security policies. Kung may napansing kakaiba sa pampublikong kitaan, lumilipat na agad ng lugar. Gasgas na ang mga meeting point tulad ng mga fastfood chains dahil ginagamit nang madalas ng iba. Pinipili naming magpulong sa mga maliliit na resto—turo-turo o karinderya.

Minsan nga nag-usap kami sa isang maliiit na resto sa may Retiro (na inuman rin pala) at may tumutugtog nang napakalakas na disco music (ano na nga ba ang tawag ng mga kabataan dito ngayon?) e halos hindi na kami magkaintindihan. Yung kalihim namin na mahilig sa classical music lumapit sa isang waitress at nagrekwes na palitan yung music. May baon pala syang casette ng classical music at yun ang pinatugtog! Nagbago bigla ang ambience sa resto cum inuman na napupuno na ng tao at that time, at pinagtitinginan na kami! Kahit na yung mga waitress na paindak-indak na sa disco music biglang natigil dahil sa classical music. Kaya after a few more minutes pack up na kami!

Sa UG house naman namin, usually sinasabi namin sa landlord na either magpipinsan kami o magkakaeskwela galing prubinsya. Minsan nagkakamali-mali kami ng banggit sa landlord kung ano nga ba ang relasyon namin sa isa’t isa. Halimbawa, hindi alam nung isa na pinsan pala dapat sya ng isa pa!

Gaya ng SOP sa UG house sekyu noon, kapag may problema na sa bahay, pilitin maglagay ng senyales o danger sign (tulad ng pagbubukas ng isang bintana na hindi normal na binubuksan na tanaw sa entrada ng bahay, o pagsasampay ng isang piniling damit sa isang bintana na tanaw sa labas ng bahay) bilang babala sa iba pang nakatira sa UG house na huwag nang tumuloy pa. Dahil lagi akong maraming dalang langgonisa sa UG house (gawa ng nanay ko bilang negosyo nya), ang naging usapan namin ay magsabit ng kabit-kabit na longganisa sa bintana. Sa kabutihang palad hindi pa nangyari ito, at ang mga longganisa ay sa tiyan namin napunta lahat!

Syempre gumagamit rin kami ng koda sa mga pangalan. Dahil makukulit, gumamit kami ng mga kakatwa at nakakatuwang mga pangalan. Halimbawa: Liz Arda, Jem Acruz, Jess Zobel, Jake Kery, Jam Boree.

Collective Lahat

Ang buhay naman sa UG house namin, syempre collective lahat—sa paglilinis, pamamalengke, pagluluto, paghuhugas ng plato (liban sa paglalaba). Hati-hati sa simpleng ulam at kanin. Maraming beses din dahil nga sa negosyo ng nanay ko na meat products ang ulam namin gaya ng longganisa o corned beef o tapa. Kung walang-wala, pritong GG (galunggong) madalas.

Minsan nagpiprito ng GG yung kasamang natokahang magluto, pero di nya napansin na yung gamit nang mantika e may nalaglag na butiki! Nung mapansin nya, halos naprito na lahat, pero may ilang piraso pang hindi naprito. Agad nyang pinalitan ang mantika para tapusin ang hindi pa naprito. E dahil gutom na lahat kahit nalamang may nahalong butiki sa mantika, ang ginawa para fair sa lahat, hinalo halo ang isda para hindi makapili kung alin ang naprito na may butiki! Ang magreklamo hindi kakain. Nabusog naman kami lahat!

May panganib man, masaya pa rin ang buhay UG. ###

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