A candid and personal examination of the Philippine comics scene from a social, cultural, economic and business point of view.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Filipinos Don't Protect, Save and Collect their Komiks

One of the worst natural catastrophes ever with no one to blame but mother nature. It practically caught most of us off-guard. That rainy Saturday morning of September 26, 2009 kept on pouring without end, lulling our senses for about half the day oblivious to the conscious world around us. That is, until a little past 1:00 p.m. you open your eyes and see the pool of moving, undulating black liquid surrounding your room. You get up, unbelievingly setting your bare feet on the dark, water-filled floor.

You look for the light switch frantically turning it on but see the same thing in what was once your dining room, kitchen and living room. Everything is either half submerged or floating in dark, smelly, mud.

Your clothes, food, books, your papers, your notes, your computer even, all gone. You know they’re down there somewhere but you try not to think of it as you move on carrying whatever is salvageable.

As you wade past the area you think may be your bathroom door a thought suddenly flashes to your mind: did you flush? Instinctively, you hurry on, push the thought aside and try to look for higher ground. You finally do.

Those few seconds are enough to calm your mind and focus on the situation. Your souse and children are up now. You try to get organized. Get the radio. Get dry clothes. Food. Water. The essentials. You then go back and look for more things worth saving. The shock is over. You’re focused now, trying to stay in control. You’re in damage control mode.

Some family members try to trivial and get into an argument with them. There’s no room for that! Forget it! You can get another one later. Get the land titles, the certificates, the keys, the records, the radio, batteries, candles, matches, flashlight, canned goods, and a big plastic bag to put them all together.

A lucky few may set camp on higher ground while the unfortunate huddle around the same gathering point, standing in the dark, trying to stay awake as the muddy black water reaches shoulder length. You all hope and pray that the rains stop.

So what does all this have to do with comics, you say. A good question. To that, a self-important, snotty local “komiks” collector comes to mind. Let’s call him: “Clarisse”.

After raiding the local komiks collections of other people by paying them "small change", Clarisse then proceeds to sell them at a higher price to even more gullible komiks collectors. Its a career for this closet fag.

And guess what? Most of these "collectors" are financially able, if not filthy rich. Their priorities are not focused on the basic essentials of life but on the trivial such as, dare we say it? Comic Books. Komiks. Manga. Photocopied "indie" comics. 

Upper income and middle to upper income Filipinos (with westernized mentalities) place more value on trivialities precisely because they are well-off and have virtually no trouble gaining access to basic necessities. Basic necessities that are denied to most of our poor, Third World countrymen. 

These well-off westernized mentalities then callously, if not unintentionally, proceed to make inane sweeping statements on the net that "Filipinos don't protect, save and collect their local komiks". Well, if they are referring to most middle and lower income Filipinos, they are right. Why? Because they are not financially stable as them. Its a struggle for most Filipinos living in this country to pay and obtain even the basic of services such as shelter, water, nutritious food and education. Must you begrudge their not allocating time and space for the preservation and storage of local komiks collections? Thought so.

And yet, we have before us people like Clarisse who make these insensitive statements on the net. It wouldn't be a surprise if urban elitists like Clarisse who live in relative luxury are traumatized by the experience of losing their local "komiks" to natural calamities.

All we're saying is, please try to put things in their proper perspective. Try to be more circumspect for a minute before you finally put into stone what you want to say. Don't imitate some netizens who make a habit of making broad, fallacious sweeping statements or use words such as "I love Filipino komiks" loosely.  Get a life.


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