Monday, May 27, 2013

gator as guilt incarnate

in the latest annote [A HIDDEN WORSHIP] at tekstong bopis, dennis mentioned the possibility of the crocodile being "the unconverted native, the wild and disobedient," something "re-purposed by the dominant power as an emblem of terror." this is something i'll try to explore, but first, a short komix:

nope, unlike the previous entry, i cannot find any association w political clans at the moment. anyway, komix is adapted from the text in damiana eugenio's MYTHS (p349), sourced from m.d. colonel's Stories and Legends from Filipino Folklore (pp44-45), where it was mentioned that during baptismal parties, among the dishes are crocodile-shaped rice "in the belief that one of their ancestors had been a crocodile," which now lives in the big cave of kabakan. besides philandering, nothing else was mentioned of the sultan's brother's evil deeds.

in Crocodile: Evolution's Greatest Survivor, another legend from pangasinan was told: a girl disappeared. witnesses saw a croc tail moments before the disappearance. they found the girl among the skeletons kept in the croc's cave, girl probably reserved as croc's next meal. townsfolk saved the girl. they killed and tortured the croc. the river mourned for the croc, being one of its children. so, "every year the river comes closer and closer to the village square, trying to reclaim the bones of the crocodile. it will not stop until it succeeds." that wasn't a nutshell, but anyway:

croc characters in both legends are victims of human cruelty. the sultan 'killed' his brother for being a better womanizer (wherein 'death' meant obliterating the four-eyed brother's remaining human attributes, turning him into a croc), while the townsfolk tortured the croc even if it is yet to feast on the girl. the maguindanaos' recognition of one of their ancestors being a croc, and the pangasinenses' explanation of why the river claims lives could be a manifestation of guilt, perhaps embodied in questions what have we done?, what have we turned into? but despite these disturbances in the collective conscience, it seems that the crocodile remains vengeful, unforgiving horrors haunting the human race, which might deserve annihilation after all its cruelty toward non-humans.

in El Fili, st. nicholas petrified a croc upon the chinese boatman's plea. on the other hand, the maguindanao croc legend tells of that cave in kabakan that is "full of people turned into stone and, in fact, one finds several rocks shaped like human beings, a rather distinctive one being a pregnant woman." someone may have fossilized the people upon someone's request, but i guess the said legend would rather not speak about these things.

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