“When I was a kid, I never saw a puppet show. I never played with puppets or had any interest in them,” –Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets
Let me tell you a different story, my story.
When I was a kid, I spent most of my playing time in front of the television set while waiting for Sesame Street. I grew up playing with my favorite stuffed toys, Elmo and Cookie Monster. I was a big fan of The Muppet Show, and I once thought Kermit the Frog was actually cute. Plus, Miss Piggy never failed to make me laugh even though I used to think that she was gay.
However, I lost interest in them when I grew up and entered college. I became aware of our dying economy, our apathetic Philippine society, and the dirty game of politics beneath it all.
Speaking of politics, adults usually associate the word dictatorship with the Marcos regime. But I do not think its definition should be too complex in order to reach the discussion about the People Power revolution. For one reason, it does not matter how young or old we are. Oppression knows no age. As far as I am concerned, if there would have to be a seven-year-old term which comes at par with the word dictatorship, it would then have to be puppetry.
There are people using each other in order for them to get ahead: the rich abusing minorities because of greed and thirst for wealth, and politicians using power for the sake of achieving their own political ambitions. All these prove but one thing. This world is full of living puppets.
This explains why there are activists performing rallies, yelling their lungs out even under the blazing sun. They seek for freedom, and not for a lifetime to spend behind the metal bars of fake promises. There are also voters choosing electoral candidates, and journalists making their own stand. They have one common goal, and that is to break free from the puppeteer’s strings and enjoy the privilege of liberty.
We may not be aware of it, but it is time to face the harsh reality. This puppet show premieres everyday. Tickets are sold everywhere, because puppeteers have a knack for fooling the audience. The show goes on. We need not to go beyond the borders of our country to witness one. It happens everywhere, be it in the street, in the Senate, or even within the mighty walls of our beloved alma mater.
Whether we like it or not, that is life as we know it. It is one big puppet show.
However, we still get the freedom to choose which role to play. You can be the star of the show and be manipulated by strings. You can only accept orders from dictators, and you are not allowed to say anything else aside from what was written on the script. On the other hand, you can be the puppeteer, blinded by the spotlight and deafened by applauds. You are after all, a professional impostor, who is seldom loved by most, and is often hated by many. Or perhaps, you can opt to become part of the audience, and allow yourself to be fooled by the masters of disguise.
Each role has its pros and cons, although some are more deceiving than others. But then, ultimately, the role we play as the puppet, the puppeteer, or the audience is a role which we ourselves choose.
So then, you decide. Which role will you be playing?
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This article is very memorable to me because this was my first column for our school paper, The Bedan, which I wrote more than two years ago when I was still a senior staff writer. Since it’s my first time to create a WordPress account, I figured that transferring some of my work from my previous blog accounts is a good way to start here.