September 21, 1999. This date marks the 27th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Are you a Martial Law baby? I am, twice over. First, I was too young to remember how things were when Martial Law was declared and second, September 21 is my patient and loving Mom's birthday (Happy birthday Mommy and Lola Dear!). My hubby, who has a hard time remembering what we're going to do this weekend and who is a Martial Law baby himself, claims to remember the day clearly. He thought my mother-in-law said that Marcos had declared "marshmallow." This is a true story although I think my hubby may have just been trying to sound cute then to woo me. Anyway, all I remember after is that it would always be a holiday (yipee!) on my Mom's birthday.
Well Martial Law has since been lifted, we have had a revolution, and now we are free. Ah, freedom. Yes, we are free. Free to make fools of ourselves. Free to vote for the kind of leaders we want. Free to be stuck in 4 hour traffic at the slightest rainfall. Free to scare people unnecessarily that the Philippines might turn out to be another East Timor. Free to have drug test, handcuff, and all kinds of scandals. Free to assign so-called "jeeps" to government officials (I tell you, we are a poor country pretending to be rich). Free to change the Constitution when we feel like it.
Yes, we are free and things are not easy. Who said it would be? I vaguely remember a poem which I took up in college which went something like: "ang paghihimagsik ay parang panganganak, madugo" ("a revolution is like childbirth, it can be bloody"). I guess the same thing can be said about freedom. After the Edsa revolution, maybe we're still adjusting to all the liberties that we have been given although if childbirth and labor actually took this long, we'd all be dead. Martial Law has since been replaced by Murphy's Law: "If anything can go wrong, it will and at the worst possible time."
Ever an optimist, despite everything, I find comfort in yet another of Murphy's Laws: "If everything seems to be coming your way, you're probably heading in the wrong direction." Taking this Law to heart and considering all the difficulties and irritations our country seems to be faced with, I'd say we're on the right track. We shall overcome.
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Martial Law, Murphy's Law
Written on September 20, 1999
Copyright © 1999 by Angelica Bautista Viloria of http://www.viloria.com