CRUCIBLE: PRRD: “Ka Libog Mo” (3)

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews / 04 April) – The Freudian proclivity of PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) is not difficult to decipher. In fact, it is his fading “energy” that Mayor Digong has sorely missed. At 73, he said, his “whistling” capacity has already waned – “hungaw na ang taghoy.”

His Tausug audience were brought down with this joke; they liked the “masa-alla” or metaphor of sexuality and power despite his banter evoking machismo interlaced with anti-feminist sensitivities.

It is not that Tausug are “bastos” or uncultured when they fell into Du30’s spell; they simply have a high sense of liberality or reception to a banter about sexuality with their even richer versions (e.g., “maglakah-lakah;” “maglummuh-lummuh”) and their satire of various sorts (e.g., pa-andig kalalamihan).

Tausug refer to old folks with propensity to banter with sexual innuendos as “Maas lummuh.” Such persons are not necessarily treated with contempt and derision. Depending on one’s finesse in joke delivery, “Maas lummuh” could be a source of entertainment and life to a party or any gathering.

There has been a number of known “Maas lummuh” in Sulu and elsewhere. In the late ‘70s and early 80s, I remember Apah Ammung, an itinerant vendor in the Town of Jolo.

To sell his wares or any item he could profit, Apah Ammung would often declare a poem or prose (tarasul) with slight, double-meaning innuendos, like if he wants to sell a shirt:

Uwah! Agay

Suhlugan na kaw

Baba adlaw

Bat way pag-ilaw.

Hey! Friend

Dare to fit in

While it is still day not dim

So, there is no need for lighting.

As he recites his “tarasaul,” Apah Ammung would move his hips with his steps synchronized into a subtle, cha-cha-like dance while swaying with a push-and-pull movement, say, a saw or hammer in his hand to the delight of people around. In so short a time, Apah Ammung could sell easily his saw, hammer, nails, buttons, shirts, and so on.

Because he usually delivers his “tarasul” with precise spontaneity, Apah Ammung could enthrall passersby and make them his captive audience for minutes and hours as some of them forget their errands, their, fish, their cassava, and so on.

Tausug understand quite well the “libog” psychology of Mayor Digong while feminists and human rights advocates must – again – be cringing with distaste for this Freudian hoopla of the President.

For Sigmund Freud, the guru of psychoanalysis, libido is an essential force in the rise and fall of civilizations. No society is remiss of it as it is, too, its demise.

In his “Civilization and Discontent,” Freud underscores libido and how it is adjunct to “ego,” “id,” and “super-ego” which are psychoanalytical terms explaining human nature.

In terms of conception, Freud’s notion of libido must be distinct from, but could be part of, what the Qur’an refers to as “animalistic self” (nafsu l-ammara) which can be a subliminal yet crucial driving force ingrained in human nature particularly man’s craving for absolute power.

The Qur’an consistently reminds men not to succumb to the “tree of immortality and power that never ends” (shajaratu l-khuld wa l-mulk laa yabqaa).

Lord Acton’s famous dictum “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is not new per Qur’an’s injunction.

In Digong’s peroration, Tausugs must have falsely loved their firearms as sources of their power and wealth instead of their women – a great deal of reasons why Sulu, like other places, wallows in discontent.

Agreeably, it is a discontent deeply entangled with local politics, gun culture, and arms trade in and outside the Sulu Archipelago.

More crucially, it is a discontent undergirded by State and business network of war machines in the Philippines – both opened and underworld – with its mid-takers and stooges in various layers of the global arms industry.

[MindaViews is opinion section of MindaNews. Julkipli Wadi is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines].

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