Ene 19, 2013

KAINGIN VS THE WILD: Second Annotation of "Rajah Indarapatra Slays Omaca-an, A Big Giant"

"Raja Indarapatra told his brother Raja Solaiman that they would go around the province to slay all wild and dangerous beasts. Raja Indarapatra told his brother Raja Solaiman to pass at the western side of the lake, and he himself would pass at the eastern side, and they would meet at Timbangalan cape," in [1] and [2]. The story thus far seems to me the oral equivalent of a kaingin process, how we gain arable land by committing the trees to fire. It's much more than that though, for some important distinctions are being made in our minds.

In order to lay the groundwork for civilization, the brothers must clear the land of threats, of the wild (if natural, such as dangerous beasts) or of what is monstrous (if human or man-like, though presumably less civilized). We attend two ideas of killing: the terrible murder of "edible humans" and the heroic murder of murderers. These edible unarmed are the prize: either they succumb to the monsters or they establish the folk under the ideals and interests of the nobles. Perhaps we could view these unarmed folk of legend as a version of the disarmed of history, the civilized.

This set-up marginalizes many other likely struggles: wild beast versus wild beast, monster versus monster, the wild versus the monstrous, and also—the stuff of the mundane and non-legendary—"innocent" versus "innocent". Maybe the hero's exploits are worth more because of what is left out. Legend leaves it to the hero's struggles to draw the line between the wild and the civilized, between the self-interested man (the monstrous) and the civic-minded (the folk, but with the hero as paragon).

Interesting how this dividing line is drawn among the nuances of murder. We may either view this line as broad and glaring and therefore truly defining or as a too thin, even blurred, or non-existent, and thus a pure fiction. Whatever the case may be, we establish civilization upon that line (or the idea of such a line).

Perhap later—that is, only after civilization has been developed—we could attend to other struggles such as hero versus hero and hero versus folk. At first glance we find none of either in this particular legend. In both sentences above, for example, Indarapatra takes the lead without any opposition from his brother. There's no hint of discord, no visible struggle.

Is it possible, however, to read exceptions from the present case? Hero versus hero and hero versus folk will be the subject of the next annotations.

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[1] Damiana L. Eugenio. "Rajah Indarapatra Slays Omaca-an, A Big Giant (Maranao)". In Philippine Folk Literature: The Legends. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2002: 45-47.
[2] Lanao Progress, v. 6, no. 12 (1938), p.8. In Victoria J. Adeva's, "Maranao Folk Literature" (MA Thesis, UP, 1978).
[3] Tilde's illustration and notes | teasing | othering | re-viewing | leeching
[4] tekstong bopis | Prelude | First | Second | Third | Fourth | Fifth Annotation