Thursday, December 23, 2010

Green finned demon take me down

Rupert T. Gould:
It is not generally known (and I do not state it as a fact) that certain American citizens* possess the ability to quit their bodies for a short period, and to travel about in the form of fire-flies for the purpose of assaulting their neighbours.
After the last decade of US politics, there is very little that can surprise me any more.

However, some people maintain that the Berbelangs (a.k.a. Balbalans, Aswangs, Kik-kik, etc.) were not a race of shape-shifting skin-walking entrail-eating sorcerors with a penchant for contrarian logic, but merely a caste or niche as a "socially sanctioned Other" -- simultaneously despised and feared - into which Filipinos were forced if they were socially unacceptable for reasons of physical or mental deformity:
From her description of the "bal-balan," including the two she herself saw, it seems clear that the label is often popularly affixed to poor, diseased, perhaps mentally disturbed individuals, disturbingly all too similar to many contemporary American homeless. Such unfortunates are popularly regarded as witches, both feared for their supposed magical powers and patronized as healers and midwives. [...] At first glance, I simply thought that diseased, mentally disturbed homeless elderly poor peasants in the Philippines get more or less arbitrarily identified by their superstitious neighbors with the "berbalang," "balbalan," or "aswang" of traditional folklore, the way their counterparts in Europe were regarded as "witches." However, a few allusions in Ms. Cabel's letter suggest that we may rather be dealing
with a pariah social or ethnic group, perhaps roughly comparable to European Gypsies, Indian "Untouchables," or the "eta" or "burakumin" of Japan.
Such apologists are TYPICAL LIBERALS.
... people notice their presence by their shrill and birdlike sounds and "quacking". They say the Bal-balan is known as "kik-kik" in Basilan and- an -offensive fishy body odor and salivating mouth easily detects one. It is also said that several "kik-kik", while practicing their traditions have opted to go to school and are enrolled in some schools and colleges in Zamboanga and nearby provinces.
Fish-odour syndrome,** or the Innsmouth Look? You be the judge!

But what's this?
Somebody told me that Hilary Clinton had visited the Berbalang in the Philippines on one of her tours several years ago. Maybe it wasn't the berbalangs, but they were described as small, fragile, sickly, drooling people who were being persecuted by the local government and not allowed in school after there had beeen some kind of protest. ***
OMFSM the allies of the Deep Ones go all the way to the top.

* Gould does admit in a footnote that "American citizens" might not be a complete description of the status of Filipinos at the time he was writing.

** Disappointingly, no-one is promoting a homeopathic or alt-med cure for Trimethylaminuria.

*** Not able to verify this story.

5 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Aswangs

Buttsecks Reference?

OMFSM the allies of the Deep Ones go all the way to the top.

An appropriate tune for the occasion. **CONTAINS SPOILERS**

Another Kiwi said...

They are from the Human Resources Department. Loud moaning, one can ignore.

Smut Clyde said...

Speaking of Human Resources, I hope you've all read The Jennifer Morgue.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Berbelang Berbelang...

P.S. The asswangs are attorneys...
~

mikey said...

So, wait. Are you saying it was a sick, crazy Filipino witch who killed Vince Foster?

Because I'd buy that...