Now it’s getting interesting (as it does for people like me who’ve made it a career to point out why the Philippines persists as such a chronic basketcase). For people seeing it from the outside who are in the best position to filter out the noise surrounding this “issue”, the situation now is quite simple…
President Benigno Aquino’s administration defied a Supreme Court ruling that Mrs Arroyo should be allowed to seek medical treatment abroad immediately for what the 64-year-old says is a life-threatening bone disease.
Compare this to the classy reporting of another stalwart of the foreign press and we will see that there really is not much room to read any further into the facts between world-class sources…
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The Philippine government has defied a Supreme Court ruling that allowed former President Gloria Arroyo to travel abroad for medical treatment.
The consistency with which the situation is reported makes the clarity of the matter beyond the comprehension of the Filipino mind. Simple three-point reading of the situation at face value to wit:
(1) A citizen of the Republic wants to seek medical treatment abroad;
(2) There are no legal bars to this citizen traveling to another country; and,
(3) The Executive Branch of the Republic is defying the orders of its Judiciary — a government branch that is its peer in the governing of the state — to prevent said citizen from traveling.
Some people prefer to peer underneath said face value and speculate on what are, ultimately, hopelessly debatable aspects of this information. And that is why the Philippines is hopeless. We fixate on the hopelessly debatable. Which is why we find ourselves in a country where the National “Debate” drags on ad infinitum.
As I had pointed out in a previous article, all this — despite the shock value spun around it by people who spend their days shooting out 140-character “commentary” using the preferred communication platform of the A.D.D. Generation — is nothing new. Blatant disregard for the Rule of Law is the rule in countries like the Philippines. And the Philippines is the quintessentially typical one among such countries.
A big part of the reason otherwise simple issues become muddled up in the little minds of many Filipinos is because their biggest media stars make such an emo spectacle of what are otherwise challenges to which more logical problem solving approaches can be applied. Such influence while sumptuously lucrative for entertainment purposes proves fatal when turned into instruments of political and social influence…
You are a nation of star-struck ignoramuses. You are easily awed by your movie stars who are usually nothing but uneducated, aquiline-nosed and light-skinned ******** picked up from some gutter somewhere. I have seen what these artistas illusionadas can get away with. They just flash their capped-tooth smiles and policemen let them get away with traffic violations; they bat their false eyelashes and customs officers impose no duty on their suspicious balikbayan boxes.
To be fair, the two celebrities I called out in my previous article who spent much of last night (the 15th November 2011) on Twitter banging out Tito-Vic-and-Joey-styled punditry on the airport brouhaha over former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s attempt to oblige the Supreme Court ruling and board a plane out of her patria adorada, are anything but the uneducated, aquiline-nosed, gutter-to-celebrity bozos cited by our modern-day philosopher Nasty.
The artist known as Jim Paredes is an accomplished elder of the Original Pinoy Music (OPM) industry who needs no introduction.
Therese “Gang” Tianco Badoy, if we are to believe the Net’s most reliable source of insightful information is “a public intellectual, businesswoman, radio personality, and educator from the Philippines”.
Hmmm, Jim Paredes the Atenista and Gang Badoy the Assumptionista. It all makes sense, doesn’t it when one considers how much of the country is ruled by people who graduated from these “good” Catholic schools? My my, all these credentials. Apparently these expensive credentials didn’t stop them from shoveling content upon their thousands of “followers” that any bozo that better fits Nasty’s profile of the average Pinoy celebrity could have dished out…
I thought this one from Ms Badoy was a real gem:
Wawa naman si Rep Arroyo, maglo-long-haul flight na naka-Lecter vest. Pag hindi naka-Lecter vest hindi convincing, so she should wear it.
[Translation: “Pity Representative Arroyo, going on a long-haul flight in a Lecter vest (an allusion to the character Hannibal Lecter in the film Silence of the Lambs who, owing to his being a dangerous psychopath needed to be transport in a straightjacket and fitted with a muzzle designed for humans). Without it, she wouldn’t come across as convincing, so she should wear it.]
And some people see “better education” as key to building better societies…. hmmmm….
Jim Paredes is best known today for the key role he played in the Philippine showbiz industry’s support for the campaign of then presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, which at the time I thought was inconsistent with what were otherwise spot-on insights he had on the fundamental sources of dysfunction in Philippine society which I honoured in a piece I wrote waaaayyy back for the venerable FilipinoVoices.com…
The point here lies in the ironic role Jim Paredes plays in today’s politics. In his recent concert with the Apo Hiking Society organised, it seems, to marshal support for the “Yellow Army” a Noted Blogger once giggled about on television, guest of honour Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr himself capped the night by coming on stage to assure the audience that “his Mom and Dad were looking down from the heavens and would be proud of the support generated by this campaign”.
But that is just Aquino being consistent with his pedigree campaign “platform”. At least someone is being consistent here. What is disappointing is Jim Paredes’s inconsistency in light of what he wrote in 2007. In fact he cited several points in that blog that run counter to the position he is taking today:
(1) Filipinos’ lack of a forward outlook:
We have an even shorter attention span. We do not hear of our government looking 20 years ahead. Even when other nations plan for the next 50 to 100 years, we don’t seem to go beyond the â€˜5-year planâ€™. We like things ad hoc. Bahala na si Batman.
Excuse me, Jim, but Noynoy Aquino is running on an appeal to the retrospective rather than the prospective.
(2) Filipinos’ susceptibility to vacuous entertainment
Our politicians know only too well how child-like we are. They therefore give us entertainment in place of governance. And as if to exploit the â€˜orphanâ€™ in us, they like to project themselves as â€˜Ama ng bayanâ€™ (Erap and Marcos), Ina ng bayan (Imelda) and other parent figures.
That explains your recent concert, doesn’t it, Jim? Aquino’s calling to the heavens for his parents’ approval is a nice touch too. You can now add Ninoy and Cory to your list above.
Just one more question, Jim:
Is this how you plan to marshall the immense power of your celebrity for the greater good of the Filipino people?
And last but not least…
(3) Filipinos’ fixation to past “magical” moments
Writers have described life in the Philippines as â€˜magic realismâ€™, the same way Gabriel Garcia Marquezâ€™ sees life in Latin America. The child in us lives in a mythic, magical world where we expect a handsome prince to save us at the last minute, or that things will get better with the wave of a magic wand, without any need for us to change.
Indeed, there is nothing more magical than a re-visit of the euphoria and the clear sense of purpose of the 1980’s, isn’t it, Jim? Right. So clear, in fact, that you tore up your Green Card in an act driven more by your gut than by your better judgment.
Continuing his stellar tradition as an entertainer, here is a Paredes original from last night’s Twitter frenzy: “They should be allowed to leave. SC has spoken. But MMDA, can we please have traffic asap?” Classy. To be fair to gramps, I thought this one was quite funny: “Aside from NAIA and Clark, someone should also watch the broomsticks being sold sa palengke. Baka yun ang gamitin pag-alis.” But hey, that’s just me being Da Pinoy that I still am at heart.
Sobering up from their orgy of lowbrow humour, perhaps after a rather late kicking in of their long-lost education coming from the “good” schools they attended as kiddies, it finally dawned on them:
Jim Paredes: “We are in a constitutional crisis! This is serious..”
Gang Badoy: “@daxlucas Dax, wala tayong magawa, patawa na lang tayo ng patawaaaaaa. What the hey-”
Perhaps Ms Badoy’s bit of final “insight” may not be as reflective as that of the elder entertainer, but hers rings true when we consider the general way Filipinos deal with the sheer weight of the many intractable problems that bear down upon them as a noted economist based in New York once, well, noted…
There’s a weird culture in our midst: our jocular regard for our national problems, great crimes, villainous scams and calamities. Note that Filipinos are notorious for making fun, creating a joke of their misfortunes. The cellulars are full of them now. In other countries inhabited by serious and sensitive people, they mount crusades, indignation rallies or nationwide relief campaigns to meet such crises. They would weep or stomp their feet, or explode in anger, or demand punishment for the criminals or misfits. Here we tend to laugh at scams, crimes and natural calamities, as if they are part of the usual TV noon comedy shows, the Pinoy’s daily diet.
It’s very hard to be intellectual if you aren’t serious. And so far the clear evidence is that we are not a serious people. Worse, we don’t like to think.
When those whose arguments fall beyond the reach of a logical framework to guide action — such as a legal system — humour is a handy tool, specially when the audience being reached enjoy a long tradition of beholdenness to pedigree, credentials, and celebrity.
Sayaw Pinoy, sayaw.
And the latest media circus begins.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.