Tuesday, April 13

Angst of the Great Unwashed

It's nearly the end of the income tax season. Like last year, I and my officemates will have to huddle with the sweaty crowd again and endure the whole pathetic process of filing our income tax returns. We submit ourselves to the caprice of the government workers who feel self-important on those days and who seem to find pleasure in sending you back from one beeline and forth to another for no apparent reason, while you had to smile your most tolerant smile to kiss their arses, and at the same time shell out your hard-earned pesos for the piece of scrap which says Community Tax Certificate. We are all weighed down with all these impossible taxes and whatnots, and yet we don't even have the luxury of an airconditioning or a large enough room or even a decent treatment from these municipal gluttons. What a crying shame.

Anyway, apart from Tuesday morning angst, I am quite happy with the turn of events during the weekend. Two days at The Heritage proved to be a great breather for me and my two guys. Gabby must have known we were in some special place because he was acting quite smug and especially thrilled everytime we go out into the lobby. He was popular among the hotel crew. I'm glad he was in his best behaviour during meals except for the last time when he was probably dead-tired after two days of swimming and food-tripping that he almost fell asleep on his high chair in the middle of lunch.

As for Oliver and me, in spite of its being Lenten, we could not pass up the good buffet that at one dinner even, I helped myself to a slice of roast pork...I was terribly guilty afterwards. Otherwise we ate our hearts out until we could take it no longer. I expect another number up the scale. But what the heck, it was free for all you can eat!

There was nothing much to do in the hotel except curl up in the sheets and watch cable movies. Basically, we stayed inside our room all day and headed for the swimming pool when it was getting a tad boring. Not for Gabby though. He was tinkering with all the buttons he could muster on the console, rolling himself silly unto the carpet. He also enjoyed swimming and was not frightened at all of the water, even if Oliver had let him slip off his hands a couple of times.

I observed there were many others who were on a complimentary stay like us. They must be bookers like myself who got this freebie as well. Anyhow, it was one terrific weekend that I'd like Gabby and us to remember.

Sunday night, we watched a Roman Polanski film The Pianist on cable. It is a real-life story of a talented Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman who lived and survived in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw during the World War II. Once again I am reminded of the cruelty of the German dictator Hitler, although in the story it was a Nazi officer who saved the life of the pianist after hearing him play a rending piece in the ruins of Warsaw where he was hiding. The german however died in the Soviet prisoner camp later when the Russians took over. And Szpilman, despite his best intentions, came too late to have rescued him from the throes of death.

It was particularly touching to watch the german officer crouched among the prisoners of war, stripped off of his past glory, (and yet knowing that he helped our protagonist hide until the Nazis pulled out from Warsaw), ask succor from a Polish Jew who spat and shouted invictives at him, called him and the others murderers. He only had to mention the pianist Szpilman and he was a breath away from freedom, but the jew who cursed him didn't hear his name. By the way, it was Captain Wilm Hosenfeld. Ah, the ironic reversal of fortunes.

It is the kind of movie that sends you into the depths of introspection about humanity, the bad and the good-hearted in the face of atrocity and war. You can never believe that man himself can cause to destroy---in a carnage that annihilates not only scores of lives--the essence of the spirit in men.

And yet it would be wrong to say that Germans were the most ruthless and evil of all.

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