Empathising with flood ‘victim’ Christopher Lao

The latest “victim” of the most recent media (both old and new) circus is a guy named Christopher “Cris” Lao. The poor sod apparently drove his car past motorists who had prudently stopped at both ends of a recessed and flooded section of a Manila road and ended up with a car submerged and, perhaps worth emphasizing, waterlogged. A video that captured his interview with a news reporter showing Lao’s tirade after the incident has since gone viral.

A transcript of the video was kindly provided by a denizen of the Filipino message forum site PinoyExchange.com:

Lao: I think this a problem with the traffic enforcers as well and the MMDA, because they should have already blocked the road.

Reporter: Hindi mo ba alam na ganun ka siyang malalim?

Lao: Wala! Kasi tingnan mo oh, who will tell me, who will tell me? Really? Did you guys even tell me?

Reporter: Ah well, nandito kami [sa kabila ng baha]…

Lao: Oh yun, sino ba yung mga nandoon?

Reporter: …na-surprise nga kami… [unintelligible]

Lao: Eh sino yung mga nandoon sa side na yun? Did, did anyone tell—Wala! No one even stopped! Nobody informed! It’s like, people were waiting for someone to just do that. (Glares at reporter)

Reporter: Pero hindi mo ba na-realize na malalim?

Lao: Why do you info—why do i—Bakit ako? Diba? (laughs ironically) Dapat i-inform, i-inform, I should have been informed, yun lang yun.

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For the benefit of the rest of the world who would like to take a peek into the bizarre world of Philippine media priorities as well as gain some insight into the general flavour of Filipinos’ sense of personal accountability; here is my translation of the above inteview transcript (English excerpts from the original transcript were retained verbatim):

* * *

Lao: I think this a problem with the traffic enforcers as well and the MMDA, because they should have already blocked the road.

Reporter: You mean you didn’t know the flooded section was that deep?

Lao: Nothing! See here, who will tell me, who will tell me? Really? Did you guys even tell me?

Reporter: Well, all of us were here [at the dry end of the flood]…

Lao: Well that’s it; who were there [who could have warned me]?

Reporter: Actually, we were surprised ourselves… [the rest of what was said was unintelligible].

Lao: Who were there on that side?! Did, did anyone tell? No one did! No one even stopped! Nobody informed! It’s like, people were waiting for someone to just do that. [Glares at reporter]

Reporter: But didn’t you realise how deep the water was?

Lao: Why do you info—why do I—Why me? Don’t you get it? [laughs ironically] They should have informed! I should have been informed, that’s all.

* * *

Another one of those things that make you go Hmmm.

I don’t know about anyone else in Manila but since when have Filipinos (1) trusted road signage, (2) expected signage to be where it is supposed to be, and (3) complied with or heeded the message in signage where there was any?

Indeed, the Philippines, in general, is a country of banal negligence on a scale that defies the civilised world’s collective imagination. Manila, the cultural capital of this country is the epicentre of this ingrained culture of negligence and lack of accountability. In Manila, manholes are routinely left uncovered (and many Filipinos have died or have been severely injured after falling in one) and preventable accidents occur by the thousands every year.

As such, to live in Manila is to be on one’s guard all the time and to develop a heightened level of street smarts beyond what is required by the ordinary city slicker in other parts of the world.

If we are to take the ridicule copped by Lao across the Net at face value, I’d say the man should take it in the chin and move on — like a man. Stuff like this builds character, and by the looks of the way Lao responded to this mishap, he needs a bit of it. Lots of other Filipinos had suffered relatively bigger losses as a result of the blanket creed of negligence that Filipinos live by as a matter of personal preference.

Was there really negligence involved? Perhaps. After all, for a city located in the monsoon belt and one which had as recently as two years ago experienced massive urban flooding that cost hundreds of lives, there seems to be little evidence that the lessons coming out of that disaster had been sufficiently taken on board. But that’s the Philippines — negligence capital of the world. The sooner in life the average Filipino schmoe understands that he is on his own in this country of 100 million and can trust only his personal judgment to suss out situations he might face on a day-to-day basis, the sooner he could apply a bit more of a sense of personal accountability when dealing with setbacks of the sort that Lao experienced, and build a bit of character.

24 Replies to “Empathising with flood ‘victim’ Christopher Lao”

  1. What an idiot. I read some comments from some people on Facebook trying to defend the guy for being so upset, but no, that’s just a dumbass maneuver.

    And dunking a car is the second-best way to comprehensively ruin it, next to setting it on fire. He’ll be lucky to get 5K out of it as salvage.

    1. maybe he thought he is riding on an amphibian car then,maybe he thought “i got comprehensive insurance anyway” or maybe he is myopic,note he’s got glasses on looking every bit a genius so he did not see the vehicles parked not wanting to brave the flood or is it just a put on?anyway if you look at the place it is a sloping road ,where would you think the water be?up the road?pabayaan na natin wag nang laitin kung matututo nasa kanya kung hindi wala ng gamot yan.

  2. i would not expect any other respeonse from mr. lao. this is a country where people rarely “man up”. it’s always “it’s everybody else’s fault but mine.” it’s ingrained in us. look at our gov’t: it trickles down i tell ya.

    one this is for sure…mr. lao would make a fine lawyer soemday.

  3. @BenK/ici, yeah, I didn’t even have get down to the detail nor dwell on the minutiae of the matter. There are some fundamental principles at work in this case and the guy simply broke every single one of them.

  4. for me it’s an accident of an absent minded person. Though i really don’t like “pinpointing others his mistakes” that’s what i’m against at. Your fault your mistake don’t blame others.

  5. Thank you for the English version. We don’t have manhole covers out here in the outback islands, but boy do we have dogs. They must kill or maim a motorcyclist a week; I’d love to have the hospital records. I’d rag on the poor safety record, but the US slaughters about 40,000 people a year on the roads there. It is just the cost of getting around. And for sure, you will never catch me ragging on Filipinos about the highly attuned sense that someone else is always responsible for any problems. No way. No siree. Nope . . .

  6. One incident won’t make this person less intelligent. If at all, it will make him a wiser person if he starts to reflect and learn from it. I feel sorry for all those who let this affect their judgment and stop there. They will never grow into a better form of themselves. What a pity!

  7. In an impromptu situation, instinct will tell if one should go through the scenario, flooded road in this case. The eyes exposes the situation to the brain where decisions are processed for the next move. When Lao proceeded with his car, his brain might have malfunctioned or perhaps his eyes emits erroneous sights? Time to go to the doctor for a check up.

  8. Negligence and corruption, breeds Apathy on people. People are now in the State of Hopelessness; even if they complain, nothing happens. This is now the True State of the Nation. While the Political leaders indulge themselves in Political Circus, and Political Zarzuelas, to divert people’s attentions…Public Service is now neglected…people’s attention are in the circuses…

  9. Times have changed. We all need to be careful with what we say. Every one now walks around with one form of recording device or another and the capability to broadcast what they record to a mass audience at the click of a button or a tap on a screen. Words let go in a moment of folly not only cannot be taken back, they may be recorded and copied and re-copied ad infinitum.

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  10. My sympathy for you Mr. Lao, but the result of “HIS” own action and “HIS” own decision that puts him in a ridiculous situation is “HIS” own mistake. Nobody force him to crossed the flooded street nobody push him to do what he has done and yet he is blaming all the people around for what happened to him because of “HIS” unwise decision. My advised to him is to take responsibility for “HIS OWN ACTION/DECISION” and not to put the blame on others. THINK TWICE, THRICE AND MAYBE EVEN MORE BEFORE YOU DECIDE AND TAKE ACTION, FOR WHATEVER IS THE RESULT OF YOUR ACTION IT IS “YOU AND YOU ALONE” WHO HAVE MADE THAT DECISION.

  11. This country might not be the most disciplined but for you to refer to it as the “negligence capital of the world” is unfair. That is NOT the Philippines. Have you heard of the bottom billion countries? I bet not. You might wanna lighten your stylistics.

    1. what, you want to really find the philippines on (official) statistical rock bottom before you start seeing how unpopular discipline and malasakit really are in the country?

      nobody ever said it’s gonna be fair. suck it up.

  12. Thank goodness there wasn’t a news crew to film me driving my car into deep waters when Ondoy hit. Those bystanders weren’t any help whatsoever. The street kids were all egging me then to go ahead even though it was actually impassable already. I dont know if it was malice, mischief, poor estimation, or them sensing a business opportunity to push my car out of the flood but crisis like this really brings out the worst in people.

    I sympathize with Mr. Lao but really, he shouldn’t have ranted like that, it was a tabloid-worthy soundbite that pinoys will all gobble up.

  13. while mr. lao should have been clear about his inability to gauge just how deep the flood waters were, he had a point about the lack of communication regarding the dangers of the road. filipinos in general are passive bystanders and lack pro-activeness. in any other country, there would have been proper authorities or signs that warn people about accidents, floods, snow, you name it. just as slippery floors, wet paint and hot surfaces have warning signs, so should flooded roads.

    many many people, not just mr. lao, have attempted to challenge flood waters with their vehicles. just because this happened to be caught on camera, there is no justification for needless, senseless and utterly unproductive barrage of insults this country has hurled at mr. lao. let us not forget about who casts the first stone.

  14. Sa susunod dapat ganito ang mga signs ng MMDA : “Bawal dumaan ang mga estupido dito.” Idadahilan pa niya na hindi siya nainform ng mga traffic enforcer. He should have said no to the interview.

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