traffic analysis

Saturday, July 11, 2009



To continue with Over the Edge of the World, Laurence Bergreen does not skimp on the sexually curious details:

"A few days later, Pigafetta confided to his diary that he, along with other men of the fleet, had been intimate with the women of Cebu. That was not surprising in itself; far more extraordinary were the bizarre sexual customs practiced by both sexes, especially palang, or genital stretching.

"'The males, large and small, have their penises pierced from one side to the other near the head, with a gold or tin bolt as large as a goose quill,' Pigafetta observed, scarcely believing his eyes. 'In both ends of the same bolt, some have what resembles a spur, with points upon the ends; others are like the head of a cart nail. I very often asked many, both old and young, to see their penis, because I could not credit it.' Fascinated by the devices, Pigafetta studied them closely.

...Pigafetta received a graphic lesson in the art of love, Cebuan style. 'When the men wish to have communication with their women, the latter themselves take the penis not in the regular way and commence very gently to introduce it [into the vagina], with the spur on top first, and then the other part. When it is inside, it takes its regular position; and thus the penis always stays inside until it gets soft, for otherwise they could not pull it out.'

Palang was not confined to men. Women also used it, starting in infancy. 'All of the women from six years and upward have their vaginas gradually opened because of the men's penises,' he learned. Having sexual intercourse with palang prolonged the act; the bolts and spurs discouraged sudden movements; and it was believed to intensify the pleasurable sensations in the vagina. Intercourse using palang lasted as long as a day; or even more, as the two lovers remained locked in an embrace of passion.

Pigafetta's clinical description contained enough detail to suggest that he observed the islanders having intercourse, and he came away both excited and dismayed by what he saw. 'Those people make use of that device because they are of a weak nature,' he decided, equating weakness with pleasure-loving... 'all the women loved us very much more than their own men,' presumably because the unadorned Europeans lacked the cumbersome accessories.

The Filipinos emphasized female sexual pleasure, and women even had access to artificial penises to assuage their lust. The Spanish, especially the clergy who came after Magellan, were intent on eliminating the practice, which they felt was nearly as repugnant as palang itself.

It can be said that Magellan's do-or-die emphasis on conversion interfered with precious cultural traditions, but he saw matters quite differently. He was engaged in a mission to rescue a benighted people from barbarism in this world and perdition in the next. In contrast to his pragmatic crew members, who considered themselves travelers through an alien landscape, Magellan conducted himself as if he were an instrument of the Lord. He believed that Providence had sent him to the Philippines to bring Christianity to the heathen and considered the local customs as grave social ills. In Magellan's mind, Christianity offered the best, and the only cure."


Phew! Again Bergreen puts everything in its cultural context. The dichotomy between the Europeans' morality and the natives' sexual practices are analyzed taking into consideration the period in which these events occurred and how it had fueled the Spanish and Magellan himself to be steadfast in their founding of Christianity on these shores. Indigenous peoples throughout history had their unique sexual nuances much to the amazement of the white explorer.

What I find utterly disconcerting is that there still are people in this modern day with a magellan-mindset. The kind of people who only view the world according to their beliefs, standards, moral values, etc. Worse, these same people sincerely believe in their hearts that it is their duty to impose these same beliefs, standards, moral values, etc. on the rest of humanity.

Case in point is pornography. I view porn, on my own time, alone. There has been so much flak and ado about the subject matter even on beloved twitter, but I say -- if you don't like porn, don't view it! In the same breadth, if you're not for gay marriage, don't marry the same sex!

What will these people do next?! Ban salt, sugar, alcohol, soda -- because it's bad for our health? Will they also start to impose that we wear the same Sunday-school-uniform? Welcome to organized-faith-couture. Margaret Atwood wrote about that future possibility in "The Handmaid's Tale".

I say we should ever be vigilant for our basic right, as humans, to chart our own courses, speak our preferred words, and make the daily ADULT decisions for ourselves.

One question, is there any relation that both 'cucumber' and 'cumbersome' have the word 'cum'?

No comments:

Post a Comment