Thank God He allowed me to experience His mercies. I asked some people to forgive me for hurting or offending them and was able to be forgiven (one was hard to forget, according to an ex-GF, but her forgiveness was there nonetheless) and I even received their extended blessings for my whole family when I went on to ask for the same. My 36-year existence has to be justified; I need not have to turn more years for me to detect the wrong. The wrong have to be punished by laws of man if need be. And I must assist in maintaining the right.
PROBLEMS OF MALE CHAUVINISM IN OUR PARENTS’ HOUSE
My father has stepchildren, one died a long time ago at such a young age and two of his teenaged stepdaughters lost their respective first-born babies in recent years by accident. I haven’t seen their mother; while they were young, she went abroad. I remember overhearing my father tell somebody,“Sinapak pa siya ni _____ bago siya mamatay,” referring to my less than seven-year-old stepdaughter when she’s in our parents’ house. The exact reason may have been my envy as I could see my father momentarily turn his attention to her. That’s one of the things I felt sorry about in so many years. Not now. My father gave me all the reassurance that I need to say that I was forgiven for slapping my stepsister. My father and I had so many cheerful moments, including attending my school recognition days and all my graduations.
I once saw my mother, a teacher, suffer black eye after fighting with my father. She wore sunglasses in school. My parents are still together as husband and wife and will both turn 70 years old in the next three years. I remember being asked who I would live with – a choice between my mother and father – because my parents planned separation. My mother told me all of us must choose to stay with my father. There’s no response from me. I never heard my two older brothers respond either. All of us, including our two parents, would stay in our parents’ house and the rest is multicolored history. I thought I would be their last son, born 1979; then came two more brothers in 1986 and 1989, born in our parents’ house.
I never got interested to count my father’s total children. In a webcam inquiry from my eldest brother’s friend, however, I heard him respond: “SAMPU!” What a quick count, a perfect ten for my father. I am the third in the brood (read: original in the not-so-true sense of the word) of five, but fourth overall. Recently, I gathered that marital infidelity moves across the generation of my father from that of his ancestors, gaining a barrio-wide, unsavory reputation for womanizing.
I was ashamed of the perfect-ten count, though I practically used to idolize my father and was the only one among his children who followed his writing profession. If I were asked the same question as my eldest brother while on cam, I wouldn’t have uttered his count of 10 with poise. He’s a converted Muslim by the way. And God keeps on reminding me that I should start boldly sharing with my eldest brother about “the way, the truth and the life” and that he could come to God’s Kingdom only through the Jesus Christ whomy kuya once knew as the name above every name. His ex-wife filed and won an annulment case in the early 2000s. Now both of them had second legal spouses.
My youngest brother impregnated his ex-GF. Their three-year-old son appears quite healthy but some sort of psychological abuse is apparent, having seen his parents with different “love” partners.
My five-year-old son endured another form of abuse, too. I could say that in view of my absence in three years. I wasn’t there when he’s still in his mother’s womb. I only took personal care of him in his first 11 months and went back to the Middle East days after his first birthday. Out of my child’s 55 months, my wife had been his father and mother combined for 15 months. Reducing in simplest form, it’s a mere 3 over 11. Or, in one of my son’s most favorite sports, I could sense his lack of pride as he has a poor foul throw-shooting in front of his playmates, converting only 3 of 11 freethrows. After my son’s 11 attempts, it seems there’s no perfect freethrow-shooting percentage prospect in sight.
OTHER WOES OF MY MOTHER
My father ran twice in local elections. He lost. We lost. My mother lost all these and more. The money used in my father’s serious candidacies was partly from my mother. My father didn’t earn much as a journalist nor did he possess campaign funds or savings.
My father got help from my mother by hook or by crook. She’s neither emotionally strong nor physically powerful to say no to my father’s demands. My mother became a queen of loans. GSIS and other lending institutions crowned her with thorns out of housing, calamity, emergency, educational, and related loans, all tallied in her payslip which had a staggering zero balance for months.
The most graceful and the most beautiful cha-cha dancer my father and I have ever seen in our lives, my mother would later become extra careful of every step she would make – from the action-packed marketplace to school by 7 a.m. and where she will teach elementary schoolchildren, some of them awaiting her arrival so they could help her carry her paninda.
When I graduated from college in 2000, she contracted a mild stroke, officially retired from service less than five years thereafter, and is now a 15-year stroke survivor thanks to Him. She was able to attend the university commencement exercises of all of us, her five sons.
Sponsored by my eldest brother, our very slow mother was on vacation in Dubai early last year and was assisted by my job-seeking younger brother. A few days later, I learned that my father had “another woman.” I remembered my classmate telling me decades ago, “Ang lolo mo, nang mamatay ang lola mo, nakapatong pa at nagkaanak pa,” and I immediately prayed it would not be repeated by my father nor would it be repeated by anyone among us, his children, up to generations of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. I wanted to be the spiritual father of my father in our calls, chats, etc.
WHAT TO ANALYZE
I choose to cover in my analysis only one topic, the male chauvinism that my mother had to grapple with. Additional information/situations were mentioned because these may have psychological effects on my mother, minus my father’s “latest” as she knew nothing about it.
MY ANALYSIS USING THOMPSON’S PCS MODEL
PERSONAL (P): I’m not quite sure if the violent and unfaithful actions done by my father against my mother are an offshoot of my father’s serious attempt to get even with my mother. I never knew my mother’s fault in relation to that. Call it a reaction from my father, but that’s too much of it; he shouldn’t have done that against my mother no matter what.
CULTURAL (C): My relatives from my father’s side apparently let my father hurt my mother, whose relatives were very far away from our house, in shameful proportions after shameful proportions. His side may have easily thought that my mother started it all. Because my mother works as a teacher, she’s expected to be perfect all the time in front of my father. His clan considered his deeds as justified.
STRUCTURAL (S): Tri-media at that time widely covered how various quarters condemned male chauvinism and open violence. Different faiths were on all-out support for women’s rights. With the passing of RA 9262 or Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women of 2009, and other laws, women are better protected, in principle, in almost all aspects of their lives. In all forms of structural life in the Philippines, at the very least, there’s an overall consensus that violence against women is forever not allowed and that all laws concerning them must be implemented.
GENDER/SOCIAL ANALYSIS IN BRIEF
Nanay is Waray-waray from Eastern Samar. Women in the Eastern Visayas part of the Philippines have desires to change different aspects of their lives from generation to generation, and their being stereotyped as brave is no exception. In the case of nanay, she lends her bravery to be the best woman for Tatay and the best nanay to us, their five children. She may have that impeccable courage and strength as a married professional woman, but she cannot be expected to transform Tatay.
Tatay knows how to be a good father and husband to nanay. His life experiences, needs, issues and priorities, however, strongly affect the relationships he is in.
Tatay and nanay, despite negative things that happened between them, have continued to become responsible and principled parents in the eyes of their children. They make sure that their children are out to bring positive change for themselves and society.
Author’s short description:
Dizzy is a development communicator and economist by training, writer/editor by choice, society and constitution lecturer by accident, ex-OFW, and proud father of an ambitious Grade 1 pupil and soft husband to a rock-solid spouse.