2004/03/10

Life is a Tale . . .

It is not sufficient to tell a story. For we have to find its deeper meaning.

Shakespeare put it succinctly when he said, “life is a tale . . .” Yes, it is a tale worth telling. Wouldn’t you think so? Isn’t it that, looking back, we find good reasons to continue our stories?
Indeed, with Scriptum, we discovered new perspectives with each new our re-telling. With much richer--and sometimes even painful--experiences behind us, we make new realizations that escaped us in our youth. Each retelling thus brings new understanding.

That makes our story telling, and Scriptum, rather unique. We recall innocent stories that at times entertained us and at some point hurt us. But those stories made us realize things about ourselves and our batch mates.

As we recall them at various stages of our lives, we gain deeper insights. We come to realize that those stories shaped us into what we are at present. They provide us lessons that we can pass on to those who come after us. Hopefully, we have grown wiser because of them, unlike our superiors whom we thought were old-fashioned and unreasonable.

Ah, yes, we remember how difficult and different our superiors were then. They couldn’t understand why first year high school boys should engage in ninja-like operation to infiltrate the teachers’ room and retrieve the previous day’s exam papers. They couldn’t understand why we take pride in being a member of a weird-sounding group called Baboga, which actually referred to the entire class. They couldn’t fathom the reason why we would rather spend time in the bushes looking for spiders, climbing coconut trees, gathering bugnay, cooking mongo, corn, and chicken in the fields, watching birds and planes fly---rather than sleep during siesta. They couldn’t appreciate the reason why we were so curious and daring. For them it was obstinacy, disrespect for the rules and authority, and plain disregard for order. (Or perhaps they understood. They simply had to act their role.)

But, boy, did we have a great time. No amount of punishment, like kneeling for extended period of time under the sun or spending another hour of laborandum, could dampen our resolve to act our age and be like . . . normal boys.

From these stories we see our own development, struggling to get a foothold in a harsh environment. It was harsh, indeed. There was no single decent toilet in the building. The huge solitary rock near the tennis court served as the official toilet of Leodegario, Loel and others at night time. There was no decent meal for growing boys. We had to stay after meal time to gather the leftovers and eat to our fill. There was no counseling given to alleviate our homesickness, after a night spent sobbing and thinking of home. We were so young then. Twelve years old. And it was already a sink or swim for us. There were only the bullies, those in the higher years, who lorded it over on the younger ones. But we survive nonetheless. We learned to steel our selves. But we survived.

Now is our turn to look with understanding on the young ones. Let us hope that our life stories can teach us our lessons and make us wiser. For only then can we find meaning in our stories and ultimately in our lives. Otherwise, our life will become a meaningless tale, or as Shakespeare would put it: “. . . a tale told by an idiot -- full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” So, let us learn from our own tales. But first we have to tell them. (msa)