Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    It’s been 23 years since I’ve moved to Canada from the Philippines.  I remember that the first thing I looked for was a Filipino community paper so I can read some news about the community being new in Calgary.  I never found any Filipino community paper back in 1996. From them on I told myself that [...]

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Page added on June 29, 2017

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Erwinism: Woes of an Indigo Flamingo

By Erwin Maramat
Pessimism is being optimistic that things will go wrong all the time. This a tumultuous, terrifying tale of a trip of an indescribable indigo flamingo.

ast side of the lake, but poverty. Fish don’t even go there for a visit even if water was to dry up on the other side of the lake. The sky was tucked in smog and seemingly it was quarantined, so no opportunities could stray there by accident. Jappy was an indigo flamingo. He was determined to do better in life, so he applied to immigrate to the west side of the lake. After years of sweat and tears, he was deemed eligible and was issued a visa. As soon as he arrived, he started seeking employment. In his walks, he came upon a sign that read, “Werkers needed, has to be good in grammer.” He went in and handed his resume. The receptionist led Jappy to a room where he is to be interviewed by a magpie. “A good day to you, sir, I am…”
“Let’s do away with pleasantries,” interrupted the magpie.
“Do you speak magpie?”
“I do sir.”
“I find the lack of grace in your tongue disturbing. Didn’t you read the sign?”
“I am confident that my background as a linguist will be of high importance to you.”
“Nonsense, flamingoes are no magpies. I need someone knowledgeable.”
Not only are the words in your signage misspelled but the subject and verb agreement is totally way off, Japi thought.

“I am proud to say that I have completed a bachelors’ degree in linguistics.”“Did you go to Magpie University?”
“No sir, but…”
“Unfortunately, your credentials do not meet our requirement.”
It was heartbreaking day after day after day, it was the same reason why they won’t hire him. Everywhere he went he was turned down. He was emotionally and mentally prepared for scenarios as such, but character is quite different when placed in context.
He took one of the sweet straws under his wings and put it on his beak. A pigeon approached him and asked.
“Do you have an extra straw?”
“I didn’t know they put in extra,” replied Jappy.
“Hahaha! I’ll you trade you a feather for one.”
“Only if you trade me for twelve.”
“Selfish creep,” said the pigeon as he flew away. “Can’t you see I can’t purchase those straws. You come to this side of the lake means you owe us something.”
Everyone doesn’t seem to realize that he just moved here to have a better life—nothing more; nothing less. They love reading into situations and they have no idea what he had to go through to get here. There are times when he felt out of place and his heart a maxed out credit card, yet he held his ground and just let his present inspire the next moment. Now and then, he’d meet nicer magpies with refine manner who would welcome him, and which made him think that like in most places there are birds endowed with wisdom and compassion and there are those birds who are so self-entitled just because they think that feathers entitle birds something.  Moving to the west side of the lake meant Jappy had to strictly abide by the rules. It was more than an act of compliance; it was gratitude for being graciously accommodated. When he finally got work, he showed up on time, performed at his best, and despite all the prejudice he treated his co-workers with respect. He had to work hard. One mistake and all the flamingoes will be branded the same. He made sure to do them proud, for he has so much to prove. There was even a turkey named Joe who would tell him, “Birds like you come to this lake to steal our jobs.”
Jappy would just smile and sometimes he would jokingly answer, “You have the wrong bird, I didn’t break into your house to steal it. I had to bring a trout in hopes of getting an invitation.”
Joe smirked at Jappy indignantly.   Jappy discerns that subtle or vulgar jabs for being foreign mean nothing. He just had to stand his ground by being the better bird not the bitter one. When others fail to see diversity and find difference as more of a threat, it is a pronounced break to demystify irrational fear.
Jappy knows this much: in his heart; all the feathers are nothing but epidermal growths which serve as outer covering. The cells under a microscope will speak of fundamental elements unifying them all. The need to adapt to change has evolved them. However, it’s plainly seen in their physical form possessing characters driven by indigenous beliefs and that’s what makes the world beautiful. If only the other birds could wholeheartedly embrace such beauty.
Jappy, being an indigo flamingo smiled through his beak and believed that every day presents an opportunity for him to understand the other birds and vice versa. It may not be today, but down the road, time will bring forth wisdom.


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