The beginning of the end was rewarding these monkeys with food for each piece finished. They started pumping out art right and left, of inferior quality. I realize that a large part of my journey as artist has been avoiding situations of immediate reward, from receiving applause to making money or getting laid. These extrinsic markers of artistic worth seem to cheapen everything. And so I subsist and (yes, I'll admit) find a way to 'live the life.' A couple hundred die-hard views a day is my comfort zone. I do not want the trappings of anything.
Today, let me take you on a stroll through old Makati, walking cane at my side. As the "opo" incident demonstrated, I am a semi-ignorant foreigner. I revel in that, because my cognition of that around me exists at a pre-verbal level. If I learned Tagalog I would... understand everything. Banality is such a curse.
This walk took me past a ferry operation that plies its trade all day, charging folks 2 pesos a ride to cross a river that has two bridges less than 5 minutes walk away. It is habit, conviction perhaps that keeps people making a truncated aquatic journey from Makati to Madaluyong that has probably been in existence for centuries.
Reminds me a lot of when I first came to live in the former fishing-village streets of suburban Tokyo (now separated from the bay by miles of landfill). Tradition is a hard thing to budge and thank god for that. Every time the sheer scale of development makes me lose balance I walk a hundred yards and find it in 15 peso lugaw, the 50 peso bifsteak, in the friendly, understanding smiles of those immersed in the micro.