Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Meta Mon Apton! (Noli Me Tangere!)

REMBRANDT's famous painting portrays the moment Jesus Christ utters that famous phrase in the Gospel of John 20:17 and is the very moment of Christianity's birth, for it is His first appearance in the canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)--after the Resurrection. Mary Magdalene is the first human being to see Him alive after the Crucifixion. Here it is from the Latin Vulgate Bible:
15. dicit ei Iesus mulier quid ploras quem quaeris illa existimans quia hortulanus esset dicit ei domine si tu sustulisti eum dicito mihi ubi posuisti eum et ego eum tollam
16. dicit ei Iesus Maria conversa illa dicit ei rabboni quod dicitur magister
17. dicit ei Iesus noli me tangere nondum enim ascendi ad Patrem meum vade autem ad fratres meos et dic eis ascendo ad Patrem meum et Patrem vestrum et Deum meum et Deum vestrum
18. venit Maria Magdalene adnuntians discipulis quia vidi Dominum et haec dixit mihi
The King James Version (1611) has it in English:
15. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Now of course, it is always a surprise, especially for incredulous Catolicos cerrados to discover that the original Gospels were written in Greek but that circumstance and its implications would be tangential to my purpose today, which is actually to give some background for some younger relatives of mine, on the Noli Me Tangere of José Rizál, which they are studying this year in high school.

Why did Rizál choose this title, which was quite famous in his day in the 19th century and even before that? Wikipedia traces the phrase in many other historical and rhetorical contexts. But in his Dedication of the novel, Rizal gives a clue regarding his own usage of it. Here is and English Translation of the Dedication of the Noli Me Tangere, from the 1956 Unexpurgated Noli Me Tangere by Jorge Cleofas Bocobo:

To My Country
The story of human sufferings records a cancer of such malignant character that the slightest contact irritates it and stirs up therein the most acute pains. Now then; whenever in the midst of modern civilizations I wished to evoke thee, either to cherish the remembrances or to compare thee with other countries, thy beloved image appeared before me with a similar social cancer.

Wishing thy health which is ours, and in search of the best treatment, I shall do for thee which the ancients did for their sick: they exposed them on the steps of the temple, in order that every person who had just invoked the Divinity might propose a remedy for them.

And for this purpose, I shall try faithfully to reproduce thy condition without fear or favor; I shall raise a part of the veil that covers the malady, sacrificing all for the sake of truth, even personal pride, for, being the son, I also suffer from thy defects and weaknesses.

The Author, Europe, 1886
It has been suggested that the title dovetails quite well with the sentiments expressed above and stated methodology of the novel, which is to expose the malady so that every person with a conscience might propose some remedy.

Aside from the above interpretation, often seen in Rizal Day essays in December, just before we execute and murder the author for the Nth time, I suppose Rizál also had a flare for the psychological in titling his novel, for who can resist a package that says "DO NOT OPEN!"I guess that would be my translation of "Noli Me Tangere!"

But the Greek, sounds more defiant to me: "Meta mon apton!" which somehow sounds to me more like "Touch me and I'll kick you in the ass!"

FIFTY YEARS OF THE RIZAL LAW: Paradoxically, the Roman Catholic Church, which did indeed get its frailocratic theocracy's comeuppance from Rizal, BANNED his novels for over half a century. I am not completely sure in fact, whether they've actually been removed officially from the Index Prohibitorum Librorum of the Catholic Church. I still remember the admonition of my sainted mother to me as a young boy that it was a mortal sin to read the Noli and the Fili, followed with the delicious intimation that she and her sisters, my Catolico cerrado aunts, had secretly read them anyway, despite similar warnings of "Verboten" from the St. Scholastica nuns. Actually it's too bad they made it mandatory in 1956 for Filipinos to read the novel, a legal curricular requirement that was probably the end of much interest in them by the young! The Rizal Law is now in its 50th year:
Republic Act No. 1425 THE RIZAL LAW
June 12, 1956

An Act to Include in the Curricula of All Public and Private Schools, Colleges and Universities courses on the Life Works and Writings of JOSE RIZAL, particularly his novels NOLI ME TANGERE and EL FILIBUSTERISMO, Authorizing the Printing and Distribution Thereof, and for Other Purposes.

Whereas, today, more than other period of our history, there is a need for a re-dedication to the ideals of freedom and nationalism for which our heroes lived and died.

Whereas, it is meet that in honoring them, particularly the national hero and patriot, Jose Rizal, we remember with special fondness and devotion their lives and works that have shaped the national character;

Whereas, the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal particularly his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, are a constant and inspiring source of patriotism with which the minds of the youth, especially during their formative and decisive years in school, should be suffused.

Whereas, all educational institutions are under the supervision of, and subject to regulation by the State, and all schools are enjoined to develop moral character, personal discipline, civic conscience, and to teach the duties of citizenship; Now therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled

Courses on the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal, particularly his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, shall be included in the curricula of all schools, colleges and universities, public or private; Provided, That in the collegiate courses, the original or unexpurgated editions of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo or their English translations shall be used as basic texts.

The Board of National Education is hereby authorized and directed to adopt forthwith measures to implement and carry out the provisions of this Section, including the writing and printing of appropriate primers, readers and textbooks. The Board shall, within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act promulgate rules and regulations, including those of a disciplinary nature, to carry out and enforce the regulations of this Act. The Board shall promulgate rules and regulations providing for the exemption of students for reason of religious belief stated in a sworn written statement, from the requirement of the provision contained in the second part of the first paragraph of this section; but not from taking the course provided for in the first part of said paragraph. Said rules and regulations shall take effect thirty (30) days after their publication in the Official Gazette.

It shall be obligatory on all schools, colleges and universities to keep in their libraries an adequate number of copies of the original and unexpurgated editions of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, as well as Rizal’s other works and biography. The said unexpurgated editions of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo or their translations in English as well as other writings of Rizal shall be included in the list of approved books for required reading in all public or private schools, colleges and universities.

The Board of National Education shall determine the adequacy of the number of books, depending upon the enrollment of the school, college or university.

The Board of National education shall cause the translation of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, as well as other writings of Jose Rizal into English, Tagalog and the principal Philippine dialects; cause them to be printed in cheap, popular editions; and cause them to be distributed, free of charge, to persons desiring to read them, through the Purok organizations and the Barrio Councils throughout the country.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed as amending or repealing section nine hundred twenty-seven of the Administrative Code, prohibiting the discussion of religious doctrines by public school teachers and other persons engaged in any public school.

The sum of three hundred thousand pesos is hereby authorized to be appropriated out of any fund not otherwise appropriated in the National Treasury to carry out the purposes of this Act.

This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
I think the Rizal Law should be repealed when Glorial Macapagal Arroyo finally declares Martial Law. Let it be again FORBIDDEN to think, to expose, to propose remedies. Let us return to theocracy and cant, to Talibanism and authoritarianism. Let us descend once more into Oblivion! But...


Maybe that's the message Jesus wanted to send the Sanhedrin and the Romans too. Touch me not or I'll destabilize you and take over your Empire.


Why Do Loan Sharks Love The Teachers?
In this Inquirer news story, the Deped is warning some of its own employees against acting as loan collection agents for money lending agencies. Well, It's no secret really, that the nearly half million government employees of the Department of Education are among the most debt-ridden sectors of society. But that is not necessarily because they aren't paid enough. Although no one is going get rich being a public school teacher, their soaring levels of indebtedness are at least partly due to the overly generous and accomodating ways of the folks lending them money. And why is that? Well take a look again at how the DepEd budget is divvied up. Notice that 100-Billion Peso Chunk of Change called "Salaries"? That is 100 Billion Pesos in cold hard cash that gets doled out as Blue Chip Government Checks every week, year in and year out since Mahoma lived and died and probably till he comes back! As a loan shark, you've gotta respect such a cash flow.

By the way, I cannot overemphasize a perhaps obscure connection. But how that 100 billion pesos in Salaries is actually spent is determined principally by the Curriculum which has Five Subjects: Math, Science, English, Pilipino and Classrooms-for-the-Students -- err --- Makabayan (Values Education).

What I'm really trying to say here is that there is PLENTY OF MONEY for school buildings, computers and textbooks, except we are currently spending it on a congested curriculum with too many unnecessary subjects and too many teachers in them, teaching an unconstitutional curriculum full of religious mumbo jumbo and post-modern psychobabble. I say, the facilities and instructional materials that the 20 million basic education sector needs are tied up in the government employee salaries that also end up as indentured servants of the corrupt electoral system.,

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