Mermaids, though putative for their enchanting voice and a beauty like no other, are almost always ill-fated in folklores. They are soulless creatures.
The mermaid in Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, Sirenetta, roused by love, traded her voice for a pair of leg to be with the mortal prince in the human world. She must earn the love of her life, lest she will not gain a soul. In the end, her love, unrequited turned her into foam, however.
Such fate was told not of the mermaid in Oscar Wilde’s The Fisherman and His Soul, where it was rather the young fisherman who fell in love with the mermaid and had to lose his soul to join the sea folk’s kingdom underneath the sea.
Though his love was recompensed, the fisherman was forced to abandon his love and the sea kingdom to be with his soul again because of a condition that wasn’t revealed to him until it was violated. In the end, the mermaid died of a broken heart. The fisherman chose to die then and there.
The tragic ending of mermaids in literatures might be because such creatures, though created by imaginative human minds cannot co-exist with mankind, even in an imaginary world.
In Pablo Neruda’s Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks, the mermaid was interpreted in three levels by the greatest minds in our time—man vs. animals, man vs. woman, and man vs. nature. The mermaid portrayed the animal, the woman, and the nature, while men played the drunks. In all three analyses, man is the cause of the beast and mankind’s suffering, including women’s.
During the months that the revolutions are taking down dictators in the Arab world one after another, and followed by three consecutive tragedies that devastated Japan, it dawned on me another analysis of the mermaid.
She was the collective citizens of a state, particularly of the Philippines.
“All these fellows were there inside when she entered utterly naked.
They’d been drinking and began to spit at her,
recently come from the river, she understood nothing.
She was a mermaid who had lost her way,
the taunts flowed over her glistening flesh
Obscenities drenched her golden breasts."
I see P-Noy and his government as the drunks who betrayed Filipino citizens when it was declared publicly that his government shall follow a “voluntary repatriation policy” for OFWs in Japan. P-Noy’s regime also crowed that those who cannot afford to buy their own plane tickets to evacuate from radiation-stricken Japan should settle for a flight from C-130 of the Air Force.
While it is not uncommon to use a C-130 aircraft during rescue operations, using it in a situation like this is uncalled for especially when P-Noy had just spent more than P12 million for his trip to Indonesia and Singapore together with 53 crew members, including the salingket Mar Roxas.
P-Noy’s thrift policy is inappropriate. I deem it as boastfulness notwithstanding that he unabashedly offered $14 million assistance to the Japanese Prime Minister, who instantly and wisely declined; and not to mention his increased pork barrel as the president.
If P-Noy could easily issue a huge cash of that amount to someone or to another government, why couldn’t he issue the same for OFWs in Japan who remit $880,000 yearly?
What was it for him with such arrogance? In Pablo Neruda’s fable, the barbaric greetings continue:
"A stranger to tears, she did not weep,
A stranger to clothes, she did not dress.
They pocked her with cigarette ends and with burnt corks
And rolled on the tavern floor in raucous laughter
She did not speak, since speech was unknown to her
Her eyes were the colour of far away love
Her arms were matching topazes
Her lips moved soundlessly in coral light"
In today’s circumstance, the OFWs cannot rely on their government at a time when the latter is expected to make a decision in their favor. Truly, while Senator Franklin Drilon admitted that the available financial resources— which were previously denied by P-Noy when asked by media on how he should respond to the OFW’s equally dangerous situation in Libya—were not enough to shoulder the chartered flights for OFWs in Japan and Libya, not all are willing to go home.
This should lighten the burden of OWWA and aid in ensuring that those who want to come home should be accommodated.
But no, we cannot expect wisdom in P-Noy. He has since been caught always with his rigmarole remarks each time his governance encounters events that could supposedly display his competent leadership. He has every opportunity. Yet, he disappoints each time.
The combined dollar remittances of OFWs in the Middle East and Africa were $3 billion, an anchor that keeps Philippines’ economy lofted.
Because the government cannot provide jobs not only for sustenance, also for self-growth of Filipinos nonetheless, the country is being depleted of talents, thereby, missing development opportunities and slacking further backward.
Worse, the drunks in the government persist intoxicating themselves with the spoils from the mermaids’ toil abroad, with no regard for their welfare. They keep on receiving without the intention of giving.
Neruda’s fable has a melancholic ending.
"And ultimately she left by that door
Hardly had she entered the river than she was cleansed
Gleaming once more like a white stone in the rain
And without a backward look, she swam once more
Swam towards nothingness, swam to her dawn"
History tells of Filipinos who swam to nothingness, which is the destruction, which is the death.
Was it the mermaid’s beauty that maddens the drunks to violate her? Could it be her voice then, which myths said that when heard in a chant, may bewitch men and make them succumb to her every wish that made the drunks to rather abuse her to death?
Photo credits: http://ow.ly/4jKby