Skip to main content

Suicides and Samurais

The unfortunate death of ex AFP Chief of Staff, Angelo Reyes has sparked a discussion of suicide in Pinoy society. I think the discussion is good since Pinoy society has to face up to the problem of suicide aside from the religious aspects of this.

In a sense suicide is a taboo topic in Pinoy society and this is a reflection of the  generally conservative Roman Catholic culture of the country. But economic and social pressures have driven many to take their own lives. Just last December, a couple hanged themselves on the MRT pylon at EDSA Mandaluyong, snarling traffic for hours. We read about financially desperate breadwinners committing suicide, but aside from the reports, this isn't really news! When a student of Ateneo tried to commit suicide, this became news.

What drives people to suicide are many but medical science considers this as a mental health concern. Suicides are considered as "cries for help" or attention and is linked with lack of coping mechanisms for depression and anxiety. Roman Catholicism has greatly recognized the mental health aspects of suicide that for the most part and even if the Church still recognizes it is a sin, a history of the suicide victim is known first, before the Church denies a Christian burial to the victim. A priest told me that for pastoral reasons, most priests give Church rites to the suicide victim and his/her family.

We can only in conjecture determine the reasons for General Reyes' suicide but based on circumstances before his death, it is likely he lost the ability to cope with the corruption allegations he was subject to. Op ed columnists in the Philippine blurbs have likened his suicide to what the Japanese samurai did when dishonoured. They commit seppuku.  But the op ed columnists miss out on what really is. The Shogunate considered seppuku as a capital punishment for the GUILTY! The samurai are just given the honourable way of inflicting capital punishment with their own hands on themselves! The Meiji Emperor in 1879 abolished this kind of capital punishment and let the State's executioner perform the task. However this did not stop some Japanese from committing voluntary seppuku.

This it is plainly ridiculous to maintain that General Reyes did like what samurais of old  and to assert that he is innocent until proven guilty! If one believed he did like what a Samurai should do, then one must accept he was guilty of corruption.  If one believes he was innocent until there is evidence to say otherwise, then one must cease comparing his act to that of the Samurai. To do so is to dishonour the Samurai.


Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.