The piteous tale of Girl who killed self lamented family’s poverty in diary brings to mind the famous passage from Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure:
First comes this ominous passage:
The failure to find another lodging, and the lack of room in this house for his father, had made a deep impression on the boy– a brooding undemonstrative horror seemed to have seized him. The silence was broken by his saying: “Mother, WHAT shall we do to-morrow!”
“I don’t know!” said Sue despondently. “I am afraid this will trouble your father.”
“I wish Father was quite well, and there had been room for him! Then it wouldn’t matter so much! Poor Father!”
“Can I do anything?”
“No! All is trouble, adversity, and suffering!”
“Father went away to give us children room, didn’t he?”
“It would be better to be out o’ the world than in it, wouldn’t it?”
“It would almost, dear.”
“‘Tis because of us children, too, isn’t it, that you can’t get a good lodging?”
“Well–people do object to children sometimes.”
“Then if children make so much trouble, why do people have ’em?”
“Oh–because it is a law of nature.”
“But we don’t ask to be born?”
“And what makes it worse with me is that you are not my real mother, and you needn’t have had me unless you liked. I oughtn’t to have come to ‘ee–that’s the real truth! I troubled ’em in Australia, and I trouble folk here. I wish I hadn’t been born!”
“You couldn’t help it, my dear.”
“I think that whenever children be born that are not wanted they should be killed directly, before their souls come to ’em, and not allowed to grow big and walk about!”
Sue did not reply. She was doubtfully pondering how to treat this too reflective child.
She at last concluded that, so far as circumstances permitted, she would be honest and candid with one who entered into her difficulties like an aged friend.
“There is going to be another in our family soon,” she hesitatingly remarked.
“There is going to be another baby.”
“What!” The boy jumped up wildly. “Oh God, Mother, you’ve never a-sent for another; and such trouble with what you’ve got!”
“Yes, I have, I am sorry to say!” murmured Sue, her eyes glistening with suspended tears.
The boy burst out weeping. “Oh you don’t care, you don’t care!” he cried in bitter reproach. “How EVER could you, Mother, be so wicked and cruel as this, when you needn’t have done it till we was better off, and Father well! To bring us all into MORE trouble! No room for us, and Father a-forced to go away, and we turned out to-morrow; and yet you be going to have another of us soon! … ‘Tis done o’ purpose!–’tis–’tis!” He walked up and down sobbing.
“Y-you must forgive me, little Jude!” she pleaded, her bosom heaving now as much as the boy’s. “I can’t explain–I will when you are older. It does seem– as if I had done it on purpose, now we are in these difficulties! I can’t explain, dear! But it–is not quite on purpose–I can’t help it!”
“Yes it is–it must be! For nobody would interfere with us, like that, unless you agreed! I won’t forgive you, ever, ever! I’ll never believe you care for me, or Father, or any of us any more!”
He got up, and went away into the closet adjoining her room, in which a bed had been spread on the floor. There she heard him say: “If we children was gone there’d be no trouble at all!”
“Don’t think that, dear,” she cried, rather peremptorily. “But go to sleep!”
Followed by the passage that has gained so much fame:
She joined Jude in a hasty meal, and in a quarter of an hour they started together, resolving to clear out from Sue’s too respectable lodging immediately. On reaching the place and going upstairs she found that all was quiet in the children’s room, and called to the landlady in timorous tones to please bring up the tea-kettle and something for their breakfast. This was perfunctorily done, and producing a couple of eggs which she had brought with her she put them into the boiling kettle, and summoned Jude to watch them for the youngsters, while she went to call them, it being now about half-past eight o’clock.
Jude stood bending over the kettle, with his watch in his hand, timing the eggs, so that his back was turned to the little inner chamber where the children lay. A shriek from Sue suddenly caused him to start round. He saw that the door of the room, or rather closet– which had seemed to go heavily upon its hinges as she pushed it back– was open, and that Sue had sunk to the floor just within it. Hastening forward to pick her up he turned his eyes to the little bed spread on the boards; no children were there. He looked in bewilderment round the room. At the back of the door were fixed two hooks for hanging garments, and from these the forms of the two youngest children were suspended, by a piece of box-cord round each of their necks, while from a nail a few yards off the body of little Jude was hanging in a similar manner. An overturned chair was near the elder boy, and his glazed eyes were slanted into the room; but those of the girl and the baby boy were closed.
Half-paralyzed by the strange and consummate horror of the scene he let Sue lie, cut the cords with his pocket-knife and threw the three children on the bed; but the feel of their bodies in the momentary handling seemed to say that they were dead. He caught up Sue, who was in fainting fits, and put her on the bed in the other room, after which he breathlessly summoned the landlady and ran out for a doctor.
When he got back Sue had come to herself, and the two helpless women, bending over the children in wild efforts to restore them, and the triplet of little corpses, formed a sight which overthrew his self-command. The nearest surgeon came in, but, as Jude had inferred, his presence was superfluous. The children were past saving, for though their bodies were still barely cold it was conjectured that they had been hanging more than an hour. The probability held by the parents later on, when they were able to reason on the case, was that the elder boy, on waking, looked into the outer room for Sue, and, finding her absent, was thrown into a fit of aggravated despondency that the events and information of the evening before had induced in his morbid temperament. Moreover a piece of paper was found upon the floor, on which was written, in the boy’s hand, with the bit of lead pencil that he carried:
DONE BECAUSE WE ARE TOO MENNY.
The story of Mariannet Amper’s suicide has provoked commentaries from church leaders, and has been instantly linked, editors tell me, by the reading public with these: Palace admits cash doles from Kampi and Senate probes cash gifts: Inquiry to focus on source of money.
On that somber note, here’s an intriguing story: Allies of Arroyo clash over impeach rules–
Eighty-two lawmakers, most of them belonging to Ms Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party, blocked the move to amend the rules and sent the proposal back to the committee on rules.
They overwhelmed 50 of their colleagues who favored amendments that could allow the consolidation of multiple impeachment complaints, strengthening present moves to oust Ms Arroyo.
At present, House rules allow only one impeachment complaint per year.
Half of those who favored amending the rules were opposition congressmen. But the other half were stalwarts of the ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, led by De Venecia.
Mon Casiple has an interesting angle on the FVR-JDV-GMA Axis unveiled (or repolished) last Saturday. Basically, it’s a Lakas-CMD gambit to keep the party in power longer. The President, through her husband, had hoped to topple Lakas in the last elections, but Kampi didn’t make the grade, and the infighting in the ruling coalition led to some bad fallout in the Senate election results.
But the President knows that Kampi, as her personal pet party, has a limited shelf life, unlike say the NPC, which is Danding Cojuangco’s pet party (or the NP, Villar’s pet party, or, technically speaking but less so, the LP as the Roxas pet party). If the President steps down in 2010, Kampi will be what the KBL is today, a shadow of its former powerful self. Lakas, on the other hand, has no real presidential candidate in play, and so might find its fortunes rapidly wiped out, too, come 2010.
So, Mon Casiple says, the three leaders of Lakas realize that in unity, there is strength (pun intended): and that requires Lakas as the main benificiary of… Ta-dah! Charter Change:
The bigger question that seems to be up in the air is: what will happen to GMA in the intervening months until 2010, and thereafter? If current straws in the wind are to be believed, the settlement with Erap did not produce any rapprochement with the opposition–nor with Erap himself. There is also no indication that any deal with frontline presidentiables had occurred.
What is suspect at the moment is that the president is laying the ground for another go at charter change–eventually leading to a possible extension of her stay in power beyond 2010. In this, the three of them are agreed as this will make it possible the political survival of Lakas (and their own political fortunes). We are faced with the specter of revival of a Cha-cha ghost–most probably the “people’s initiative” variety. Appointments to the Comelec thus become more crucial than ever before.
At the moment, however, the more significant implication of the Malacañang photo-ops is the time bought–however short–for regime survival. The fragility of the ruling coalition has been stayed momentarily. It will not preclude further plots along the road to 2010, from both sides of the coalition as well as from both sides of the opposition.
A Filipino I know who lived in Malaysia, once told me that a Malaysian royal once told him, “when you Filipinos lost your royalty, you lost your soul.” A story like this one, Judge Dread in Malaysia, makes for interesting reading.
Incidentally, in the same conversation I had with the Filipino former resident of Malaysia, and a Filipina knowledgeable about Indonesia, she said in Indonesia, the Dutch turned the Indonesian royal rulers into civil servants with Dutch superiors; this destroyed the traditional prestige and authority of the Indonesian royals.
In the Philippines, the Spanish took over the islands one ruler at a time, guaranteeing them privileges (exemptions from tribute), and permitting them local elections in which the local (Spanish) parish priest acted as a kind of one-man Comelec. Spanish officials generally stayed in Manila and so, when the revolution broke out, it was as much about modern ideas of revolt as it was about provincial lords summoning their peasant workers to fight against Spain. Even Bonifacio spoke in terms of the ancient blood compact between the royalty in the islands and the Spanish conquistadors. The historian Glenn May, writing about the Revolution in Batangas, pointed out that in some cases it was the principalia, heirs to the leaders who had originally accepted Spanish sovereignty, who led the revolts and were followed by their tenants.
From Rizal to Laurel, there remained the enduring notion of an aristocracy of the mind; Mabini pointed to the necessity of a meritocracy; and as I’ve written in the past, American social engineering focused on something new, entirely, a middle class, but what emerged was one that aped the traditional provincial leadership and which, in turn, has reached in many ways the same dead end the traditional upper class and their warlord rivals have reached. But these are thoughts I’m still developing, but it’s good to bear in mind where we are similar and differ in terms of Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s societies, even Thailand and Brunei, and, India.
Other readings from overseas: The revolution that never was, on waning foreign attention on the plight of the Burmese. And Why is draft of ASEAN charter being kept from public?, by the PCIJ. How China’s Communist Party practices cronyism in China Rewards its Own: The PetroChina A Share Float makes us think of Russia at its oligarchic best.
And my column for today, is Postcard Power! (thank you to Rage Against Melancholy for reproducing it). The versions you can print out in full color, etc, are here. And of course, Hoorah! to bloggers bisayasijosh, to Romeo’s Site, to Manila Boy, to Sitting Amuck, to Pinoyhood, to Pandora’s Box and ScatCore. An inter-blog debate between Eddie Boy Escudero and Home Bass, too. While circle of rhymes and metaphors completely disagrees. And well, from The Philippine Onion, read it and, uh, weep.
Here’s the video of the V for Vendetta speech I quoted last Monday: