Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Rizal to the Law Office Reception
Genius has no country!
Genius bursts forth everywhere!
Genius is like light and air!
Genius is everyone's patrimony!
My wife's family has began distributing personal properties of her maternal great grandfather in their old house in San Juan, Batangas. Her great grandfather from the Salud line is one of the founding fathers of the town. There is family tree that was published along with the 1990 San Juan Centennial publication and I told myself I'd help my kids figure it out for themselves where they are in the tree one of these days. But to go back to the story, my mother-in-law and my wife's cousin visited the old house a couple of times and brought home one afternoon what appears to be a stone bust of Jose Rizal.
The bust is about a foot high, three kilos, and, save for a little chip on the left cheek bone, it still bears a good likeness of Rizal's public image. I'm still trying to find out how old it is. My wife's cousin said he found it in one of the cabinets. He thought he could sell it in Ebay. But when I saw it I pled to him and to my mother-in-law to give it to me instead. I told them I have been a Rizal afficionado for quite some time. I keep a copy of the big volume Rizal In Exelcis, facsimile copies of his two famous novels in Rizal's original handwriting, Soledad Locsin's modern translations of the two novels, and probably two-thirds of Rizal's published letters. Apparently, it worked and my mother-in-law and cousin allowed me to take the Rizal bust to the office.
I asked the partners in the office to allow me to put the Rizal bust in the reception and nobody objected. Thus, for a couple of weeks now, the Rizal bust sits beside the phone and lampshade in our reception area. IN the first few days, the Rizal bust has been sort of an amusement in the office. On its first day in the office, our secretary thought it was the bust of Atty. Red Guerrero, our late founding partner, and she was frightened so to avoid the bust, she chose to use the backdoor instead. I thought that people might think that we are bunch of Rizal-crazed fanatics and was afraid that people would not take us seriously. But there is big Charlie Co painting and an Amorsolo illustration to keep Rizal company in the reception. I suppose people would figure that we are putting Rizal in the reception not for any reason but simply because he fits there. Surprisingly, no clients have yet to make a comment about it.
This brings me to the point: Was there really a time when people had Rizal's bust in their homes? Considering that the Rizal bust we have now was found in an old home in San Juan, it's really quite amusing that indeed there was such a time. Rizal's bust is a statement that we honor Rizal and we cherish his ideals. It also shows he is our universal man, our best bet for the world populated by mediocres and selfish buffoons. This brings me to another point: How come we don't see Rizal's bust in public or private offices or even in homes anymore? Have we forgotten?
Well, I hope the Rizal bust in our law office reception will help us remember.