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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

entry arrow12:07 PM | The Way We Live Now

One of my favorite stories is "The Way We Live Now" by Susan Sontag, which powerfully pieced together the zeitgeist of New York at the height of the AIDS scare. It chronicled the paranoia as well as the unexpected vibrancy of community over an unnamed friend living with an unmentioned condition (which is clearly HIV). The story has always left me wondering: when the same thing happens in the Philippines, what would people do?

Today, after much soul-searching (especially through popular culture with movies like Philadelphia and Long Time Companion, plays like Rent, and books like And the Band Played On...), America is living in a post-AIDS world, where reality involves AZT and cocktail therapy. The disease still has no cure, but it is no longer a death sentence for many. And for the most part, the prejudice has largely receded. But we're not there yet, here in the Philippines. We are still living in the paranoid and fearful 1980s when AIDS first truly broke out, and there was much ignorance and condemnation, especially from the Church and polite society.

I think it's time we need to take action. I already know one great friend who has HIV. And one has already passed away from complications. And today, I stumbled on this.

I cried hard when I read the story.

Because Wanggo is the poster child of my generation. And when I cried for him, I was crying for me and for all of us as well. Because I realize that we are suddenly face-to-face with the inevitable. And I'm not sure most of us are ready.

Pwes. We need to be vigilant now. We need a crusade. And Wang, I'm in this crusade with you.

Watch Wanggo Gallaga tell his story in StoryLine in ANC, this Friday, January 16 at 6 PM, with replay at 11 PM.

[Pat, thanks for the info]

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