A costly, stupid joke
Writing this letter at the height of this year’s celebration of the Quiapo festival—as bannered by at least two Inquirer.net headlines: “Light rains dampen Feast of Black Nazarene” and “‘Traslacion’ of Black Nazarene begins,”—I could not help but ask myself: Is there a “white” Nazarene? Then, equally as reflexly, it also came to my mind that one of five Roman Catholic churches in my city is called Parish Church of the Most Holy Trinity. And so, too, my common sense kept asking: Is there something else called “more holy” Trinity?
I sincerely beseech the readers’ forgiveness for airing things like these—well, in a manner not unlike Pilosopo Tasyo in Rizal’s “Noli” and “Fili.” But by no means, truth to tell, is this ever meant to criticize or laugh at anybody! It just so happens that I always tend to look for logic in everything I see or hear around me. Shouldn’t everybody else, in the first place?
I mean, all of us learned way back in our grade-school English grammar that an adjective is used to distinguish something from another, or where two or more things are involved, a white rose and a red rose, for example.
In the same vein, we were taught to use “most” in referring to one of three or more things, “more” to describe one of two, and simply the adjective per se (sans the superlative or comparative degree of comparison) to describe only a single item—such that, in the last case, we are told of only one Nazarene and only one Trinity in our faith.
Such religiosity yet finds another commonplace expression in a public gathering where the guest speaker happens to be a priest. To be sure, the master of ceremonies will introduce the speaker as “the most reverend Father so-and-so,” as if all other members of the clergy that he knows were only “less” reverend.
Saying that, to be honest, I must state that I do not necessarily see anything seriously wrong in this apparent lack of logic, or grammatical flaw, as one may call it. I know and fully understand that at the end of the day everything merely reflects the Filipino’s exceptionally profound religiosity.
That which, in my view, indeed lacked the slightest semblance of logic was the purchase by lawyer Francis Tolentino, chair of the Metro Manila Development Authority, of 2,000 diapers (instead of buying or just renting additional portable toilets) for use by traffic enforcers in providing unhampered security to the public during the day-long observance of the Feast of the Nazarene. Alas, that one did not only defy sheer logic; that was monumental, and clearly laughable, stupidity! And, alack, a big joke that unduly cost thousands of pesos in taxpayer money!
—RUDY L. CORONEL,
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