December 17, 2007

Knicknacks, Dinnerware, and all sorts of Abubut

A few hours ago I was busy helping a family member clear out some shelves filled with old stuff that has been on display for many many years. House painters are coming some time this week to repaint the living room and dining area, and the shelves need to be moved. Which means that every shelf and display case had to be emptied out before we could move them.

We packed sets of dinnerware, forgotten souvenirs, and all sorts of fragile knickknacks. There were colorful breakables lined with gold trimming making it perfectly-lovely-tacky. Boasting of ambitious designs, exuding misleading grandiose, these pieces were downright bizarre! We found a ceramic swan that had rainbow colored roses growing on its back, and its rose petals had gold trimmings. Faux sophistication never looked so right. I found ceramic cherubs, religious items, fake flowers, and an assortment of strange looking souvenirs.

One can't help but wonder why people buy all this stuff and bother to keep them? Sentimental reasons seem to be the logical explanation for having an attachment to so much "stuff". Hording knickknacks and what Filipino's refer to as "abubut", is quite common in any culture. There are people who simply love to collect all sorts of things, and they find it difficult to let go of personal items that hold special value. They may be dismissed as useless junk to a snooty onlooker, but the truth is these are actually treasures that evoke priceless memories to its proud owner who would never ever think of throwing them out.

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