I have only recently read Mike Portes’ Minsan May Isang Puta and its sequel article Ang Putak Ng Anak Ng Puta and was thoroughly moved by their realistic takes on Filipino life and mentality. Mike Portes is certainly a master at what he does and I was quite impressed with the fact that his work was immediately recognized by the National Commission of Culture and Arts and made into a movie.
Anyway, this is a response to his articles. It’s more or less another allegory created through various observations and opinions made by some of my foreign friends who I’ve met over the years and peppered with my own thoughts and ideas.
And before I continue, “Minsan May Isang Puta” and “Ang Putak Ng Anak Ng Puta” both belong to Mike Portes. I take no credit for them of any kind. This article is more or less a homage to his works.
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Now, without further ado…
Dobriy vyecher, I come to visit you and your family after your son talk to me at gym. Your son talk to me about you and I think maybe you need someone to talk to also. We are both mothers after all, eh?
Here, I bring vodka. It’s my special brew. We talk while we drink.
Like your house. Very warm. Not like where my family live. Very cold. Many of my children die during winter when they cannot find place to stay. You will pardon my English, not too good at it. Even my alphabet different from yours and Sam’s. I can speak French but I do not think you will understand. Sam like to make fun of the way I talk but then I shove gun in his face and see if he still say I talk funny.
Anyway, do you recognize me? Look familiar to you? Yes?
Oh, I know Sam. People tell me you used to be his Podruga. Even now, he still come to see you sometimes even after you fight with him and make him go away. Very sweet.
Me? I am his enemy. Well, not really. Sometimes I help him, sometimes he help me but we don’t really like each other. Sometimes we help one another but usually we are fighting. I am the woman he is afraid of. The one he thinks of as a bear. He probably told you about me many years ago when we really hated each other. We almost fought and killed each other. Many people got hurt back then and more would have been hurt, including you, if the two of us used some of our more powerful weapons. Lucky that my son Mikhail and Sam’s son Ronald began talking and got me and Sam to settle down and make peace. Now me and Sam okay but still not friends.
I know Sam for many years. I know him since he was baby. You can even say that I’m his Auntie along with France and Germany when he was still staying with his mother England. I even gave him that state Alaska that he is so proud of. They say that Sam got mad when England made him pay unreasonable taxes and that’s why he decided to live on his own. Sometimes England can be crazy bitch but now you know where Sam gets his craziness. HAHAHA!
Oh, do I look scary? I know. I am so big for a woman and I have so many scars on my face. Funny that your son say that I am very beautiful because of my scars. I do not know if your son making fun of me, flattering me, pissing me off or just an idiot. But he’s good boy, if kind of strange.
Look, I get into many fights with other people. That’s why I have so many scars. Many people don’t like me, including Sam. But I am not here because of Sam. I come here because of you and what your son say about you. You are mother of many and so am I. For the sake of both of our children, I want you to listen to me. You don’t need to do what I say but I want you to think about it.
First, I will tell you that you cannot please everyone. You cannot make all of your children happy all the time. Even with good decision, there will be some who will hate you for it. But you have to go through with it because it is best for your whole family. Yes, some of your children will cry and whine but that is to be expected. When you make decision, stick to it until it’s finished so you know for sure if it was mistake or not. If you want Sam to stay, then let him stay even if some of your children don’t like it. If you don’t like him, then make him go but don’t make him come back when things are bad. You make fool out of him that way and even Sam has limits.
Second, sometimes you will need to be hard on your children. Sometimes your children will not like your decision but you have to show them that they need to stick to it. You must learn to discipline them if you want them to have good future. With discipline, they can learn to take care of themselves and one another even if you are not around. If your child does something bad but you just let him do what he wants without saying anything, he will do it again and again. If he steals and you just let him go, he will just steal more. You must, as Sam likes to say: “put your foot down” on some issues. My children, when they do something bad, I always punish them. Hard. Others say I am too hard on them but I say it is my house and I will discipline them the way I know how.
Next, you should be more careful with how your children use media. Sometimes I see your TV shows and I cannot help but think they are all the same. Look, I know it is none of my business and that the TV shows I watch with my children might not be too good also but I want you to think a little bit. Germany and I have come to agree that a lie, no matter how ridiculous, when repeated enough times, can become truth for those who see and hear it. To get a better idea, one of my children, Yevgeny Zamyatin, wrote a book called We which was later copied by Sam’s son George Orwell into the book 1984. Your son tell me that you don’t like to read so I tell you now what they are about: We both know that two plus two is four and so do our children. But if they watch on TV and the TV says two and two is five, they might start to believe that two plus two is five even if we know that it is wrong. That’s how Germany made her children into the Nazis. Now, when it comes to what your children watch, all I see is husbands cheating on their wives, wives and mistresses fighting and everyone is always crying about something. Now, drama is okay. My son Leo Tolstoy write Anna Karenina even. But look, drama is the only thing on your TV every hour of every day. That not good for your children’s mind. To make your children happy and imaginative, you need to have variety. You know, different show every now and again. Maybe action in the morning, drama in the afternoon a few detective and police stories at night and a lot of cartoons and anime for your children. HAHA! My kids going crazy over anime too! That way, you get a mix of everything.
Last, you need to protect yourself better. Buy a gun or any kind of weapon to defend your home. Teach yourself and your children how to fight. You don’t need to be like me or Sam. You don’t really need expensive weapons but you need to have something to protect you and your children when bandits come. You don’t need to be as big and strong as me but you need to fight back also. You cannot negotiate with everyone. That is lesson I learned even as young girl. Some bandits will just take and take unless you fight them. You need to know how to defend your family even when Sam is not around because Sam can’t always be there for you. I heard that Bitch China is causing you some trouble. She’s doing that because she knows that you and Sam do not get along right now and she also knows that you cannot fight her. If you want her to stop, you need to prove her wrong. Show her that you can and will fight her if she continues attacking you and that, even if you lose, she will regret it.
Listen to me, I am not the perfect mother nor is Sam the perfect father. But I know that you are like me. A mother, struggling to survive in a cruel world. I know that you love your children as much as I love mine.
I am older than you by many years and I have done many things that I am not proud of. My sons Vladimir and Josef told me that things would get better if I did what they wanted and that all my children would become happy. Unfortunately, I believed them. In the end, things only got worse. Vladimir and Josef killed many of their brothers and sisters so that they would rule over all my children. So many of my sons and daughters perished; I can’t believe I listened to them. And their evil did not end there.
After that was Holodomor, when people in the Ukraine became so hungry that they ate their own children. I was part of that, you know. I allowed it to happen. There were others too. Many, many others. That’s why Sam and I never really got along.
Of course, Sam has done his share of bad things in the past too. Ask him about the Trail of Tears and what became of the Shoshone tribe. Then there’s what he did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki also.
I am no stranger to poverty. I know what it means to be poor too. Even in the time of the Tsars, I was also poor, Vladimir and Josef just made it worse when they took over. Now I’m becoming poor again but I’ll find a way, sooner or later.
I know how it feels to sell myself as well. You know, being a woman from where I come from can be hard. If you’re twenty-eight and you’re still not married, no man will ever look at you twice. That’s why a lot of women from where I come from (including myself) choose to sell ourselves to foreigners every now and again. I’m actually quite pleased that your son still calls me beautiful even if I am kind of old and my face is full of scars.
I’ve told you all I could. What you do next is entirely up to you. But please, as a mother, think of the things I told you. Think of them very well.
I need to go now. I need to talk to Ukraine. We are going to have a long talk.
P.S.: When you see Sam, tell him to go *&@# himself.
P.S.S.: Come visit me some time. I have plenty of vodka.
I HAVE RETURNED TO LAY WASTE TO OUR ENEMIES!