Ene 16, 2015

Annotation 1: Bautista’s “Flights”

The quiet life of 23-year old Brian Justimbaste takes a curious turn when the crew of a reality TV show “Ang Munting Hiling” comes knocking on his door [1]. We are escorted to view the ugly and fascinating technicalities of human desire or, perhaps in this case, the mysterious the diminishment of it.

“Ang Munting Hiling” seems to have been patterned after shows such as “Wish Ko Lang,” a reality TV show that has been airing since 2012 [2] [3]. According to GMA: “Wish Ko Lang is the first wish-granting program on Philippine television, featuring inspiring stories of ordinary Filipinos as they struggle to overcome extraordinary situations.” Perhaps cuing a contest of narrative forms, Bautista does not begin the story of Brian with his extraordinary situation.
My knees ached from the long walk. All I saw was an uprooted tree. No sight of anybody walking. No traffic lights. I lit a cigarette from the stove. I didn’t open the cans of beer I bought from the convenience store. I dreamed of having a sweaty day from a mountain hike, a camp with five tents and a bonfire. Instead I watched a TV show about wish-fulfillment. The entire show ran and I didn’t notice myself trimming my fingernails. 
Three considerations to keep in mind while reading this story are the following: (a) the cue feelings formula of reality television, (b) this first paragraph of the story where Brian watches the show, and (c) towards the end where Brian depicts the finished product of his own 60 minutes of fame. The bulk of the story, however, is about the process Brian undergoes to become the topic of the show.

Two related mysteries here are the specifics of Brian’s “drama” and his motives for nominating himself to the show. Consider the paragraph following the nail clippings:
That night I lay on the sofa and preoccupied myself with the sound of cats scavenging my garbage bin outside. This made me write to the show, Ang Munting Hiling.
There is nothing extraordinary here, at least nothing reality TV would consider story-worthy. No extreme circumstance, no pressing need. Perhaps Brian considered that lack as itself profound, a matter of urgency. It could also be that the “This” here refers to what can’t be said, and was therefore left out. “Flights” itself would go into this only after three pages into the four-page story, allying itself to its protagonist preferred narrative pace rather than following the genre of reality television.

[1] Bautista, Kevin Moses E. “Flights.” The Sunday Times Magazine. 22 Jan 2012: B4.
[2] Wish Ko Lang. GMA Network and Wikipedia. Accessed 15 Jan 2015.
[3] Reality television. Wikipedia. Accessed 16 Jan 2015.