The Long View: Chaos in Barangay Bansot

Chaos in Barangay Bansot

IT was a glittering assemblage. Secretaries Hormiga, Pabili, Siraulo, Madaya, Nalito, their former colleague, Bungi, together with General Espadahan (ret.) and Governor Guiguisain with Mayor Matacao and our very own Kapitan Calabasa, were all seated around the conference table waiting for Speaker Jar-Jar and congressman Garapal to arrive. Usec. Monkeygotme circulated the agenda, assisted by Asec. Apog. As the high and mighty tend to do before the snacks are served, they indulged in office gossip.

“You know,” Pabili said, in his sour way, “I just ran into Romulan in the hallway, I was turning the corner and he ran into me from the rear-“

Siraulo, glaring at nobody in particular, grumbled, “Hmm. Yes. he is always coming up from the rear. I find that suspicious.”

“Anyway,” Pabili snapped, “Romulan tells me he has a new job. Do any of you know about it?”

Everyone indicated surprise. Hormiga cleared his throat, and in his reassuring manner, crooned, “well, it is Madam’s prerogative who she appoints.”

Everyone pretended to agree. “So,” Madaya finally asked, “what job did Romulan get this time?”

Everyone gasped when Pabili gave his sour answer.

“Cannot be. What sense is there in that,” Nalito asked.

“It makes perfect sense,” Siraulo said, glaring at the frangipani pattern on Nalito’s shirt.

“Yes,” Madaya agreed. “You know by now, how Madam works.”

“No, I don’t,” Gov. Guiguisain replied, as Matacao and Calabasa nodded in agreement. “And neither do they, and we’re all executives. It makes no sense.”

“Ah, but it does,” Hormiga said, in his best sage style. “You see, Madam believes in Chaos Theory. Somewhere, a butterfly beats its wings, and across the world, a ship sinks because it sailed straight into a storm caused by the butterfly beating its wings.”

“I don’t understand,” Nalito blinked.

“Of course you wouldn’t,” Pabili grumbled.

“What? Who said that? I will box you!”

After Narito calmed down, Hormiga continued. “So Chaos Theory tells us nothing is really anyone’s fault, because everything bad is caused by butterflies beating their wings. The solution is to exterminate butterflies and anyone too fond of butterfly symbols.” Gen. Espadahan vigorously nodded agreement.

Madaya took up the conversational thread. “Yes, so, when Madam gave Romulan that new job, did any of you notice the accompanying praise release on Rabies ng Bayan?”

Everyone confessed they’d missed that vital piece of government information.

“Well if you had,” Bunge added, in his quiet but helpful manner, “you’d have known Romulan also got put in charge of –what did Madam call it?” he asked Hormiga, smiling.

Hormiga chuckled. “She said, ‘You ha, Romulita, I want you to make hipo everything, ha?’ “

Bunge laughed: “Yes, and Romulan floated to his feet and squeaked, ‘Yes, Madam! I will make sure mararamdaman ng lahat!’” he recounted.

Nalito blinked. “He’ll make us hipo? We’re supposed to be okay with that kind of making pakiramdam? What?”

Hormiga sighed. “Not literally. You see, she meant to tell him to make sure he did his job of tying up everything so we have a single program in response to the deteriorating P.R. situation-“

“What deteriorating P.R. situation? Everyone hates her. And hates us. How can it deteriorate further,” Nalito couldn’t help asking.

“He means, you know, everything’s mahal now,” Pabili grumbled.

“Mahal? So? Not for us. So what’s the problem?” Nalito insisted, adding, “How’s it a P.R. problem?”

“Look. You print ten million ‘Barangay kong mahal!’ posters, and what do people write on them? ‘Oo, mahal lahat!’ That, my friend, is a P.R. problem,” Siraulo said.

“But my posters were so pretty,” pouted Nalito.

“Yes, and we all made a pretty penny” Hormiga continued, “but it’s leading to bad jokes. So anyway Madam meant Romulan should leave nothing unattended and unfortunately said ‘make hipo, ha?’ and he had to make it worse. Thank God it wasn’t televised.”

“You know, Romulan has no political sense,” observed Matacao.

“Sometimes I wonder if Madam does, either,” Calabasa said, making everyone gasp in horror. “I mean,” Calabasa continued, “if Romulan got the job, why did Madam then give him an additional job? There’s already a secretary for doling out emergency assistance to our residents.”

Hormiga smiled: “Madam believes in Chaos Theory so she said the practical application is for the barangay to be run chaotically. That way, if no one understands how she runs it, no one can undermine her authority.”

Siraulo chimed in: “So think about it. Logically, social services should be under whoever’s in charge of that, but why put that person in charge, when you can create a new position and give it to someone else? If you give that new position to someone already being given a new position, you’ve doubled the pleasure at the same price!”

“I never thought of that,” Calabasa admitted.

“That’s why she’s a madam and you’re just a kapitan,” Hormiga said, kindly. “Madam has given Romulan two jobs and we just have to support it. Like we support everything, because we all know none of us are getting any other jobs anytime soon, because of our working for Madam…”

Everyone nodded, sadly. Speaker Jar-Jar arrived.

“Okay, gentlemen,” Hormiga said, smoothly. “To business. The theme for this year’s State of Barangay Bansot Address, is ‘Sa ikabubuti ng Bansot, bisikleta ang kailangan’. If you’ll turn to page 64 of the draft…”

Manuel L. Quezon III.

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