To be sure, alleged Anak ng Pork socialite Jeane Lim Napoles copped more fame (more like infamy, actually) than she had bargained for thanks to the ironic orgy of self-promotion she engaged in on social media over the last several years. Tough luck for the 23-year-old. Wrong place at the wrong time — kids do suffer from the sins of their parents. Ask Bongbong Marcos and he can very well relate. The self-styled fashionista now had to close or set to private most of her social media accounts although online content has a funny way of slipping through even the most draconian of privacy measures (as evident in the way her now private Vimeo video upload of her fab 21st birthday bash somehow ended up in YouTube for all to gawk at).
But while a sizeable shockwave from the exploding “scandal” rippled mightily across Pinoy social media (or so we are made to believe by ABS-CBN’s lazy reporting), some have observed that the “outrage” directed against the poor little rich girl partying in LALA Land was still dwarfed by the sizes of the digital knives unsheathed against the “plight” of the Philippines millions of illegal settlers (also known more popularly as squatters).
Granted, the Napoleses (if they did indeed scam pork as alleged) and Filipino squatters are really not that different. Both are mere parasitical products of Filipino-style “democracy” and the perverse notions of “humanism” taught by Philippine churches and schools. However, there are fundamental differences between the nature of expressions of “indignation” lobbed by the public against either one.
(1) Squatters stink, while the Napoleses probably smell nice.
For one thing, the Napoleses do not deposit their untreated human and household waste all over the Pasig River or toss them into passing public trains. Nor do the Napoleses account for the zillions of votes that keep the very politicians that fund their glam lifestyles in power.
(2) Fantasy versus nightmarish reality.
Second, the Napoleses’ are living Da Pinoy Dream — throwing big parties in key Pinoy migrants’ aspired-for destinations. Squatters, on the other hand, represent the cause of most things that make Philippine cities what Los Angeles and London are not. Jeane Lim Napoles throws most of her tralala parties and engages in her fashionable frolics in these great cities — half a planet away, while the by-products of squatters’ parasitical activities are on exhibit in ordinary middle class Filipinos’ faces, wafting up their noses, and devaluing the precious little left of the national equity every ordinary day. Every minute of rage the average Filipino motorist spends on Manila’s 2km-per-hour roads and every allergy and respiratory ailment suffered by big city residents has traces of squatters’ contribution to society in their underlying cause-and-effect chains.
(3) Sux to be you — NOT.
And third, the Napoleses’ (allegedly) pork-funded lifestyles are a bit easier on the eyes than squatters’ vote-farming-induced proliferation. To indulge in a bit of unscientific off-the-cuff statistical analysis, I’d say the cake of indignation Filipinos would like to be seen throwing at the Napoleses is baked with two cups of curiosity and one cup of envy for every three cups of genuine “outrage”. But as life in AckAck Manila becomes more Blade Runner-esque, the small pinch of sympathy in the cake of sentiment Filipinos feel for the “illegal settlers” they grudgingly share their metropolis with is increasingly rarefying.
Same beast — sinkholes for vast sums of taxpayers’ money — yet different animals. The Napoleses and squatters embody the bizarre framework of deep cultural damage that is Philippine society, where the most obvious solutions yield to the moronic “ideas” of the self-styled righteous.
[Photo of squatters courtesy The National.]
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