What is it about guys and their cars? The moment guys get behind the wheel, they turn into Mr Hyde. What I thought were mild-mannered Clark Kent types suddenly start acting like they are flying down EDSA (whenever they could) wearing a blue suit, red boots, and a cape. What’s up with that? It’s not as if the average Pinoy motorist is any more special than the other idiot on the other lane driving what is likely to be the same make of Japanese economy car and paying off the same exhorbitant car loan.
Maybe cars have become such comfy cocoons designed to nurture the fragile Pinoy ego even as it frays in the midst of that great equalizer that reminds the biggest among us that none of us is really that special in the scheme of things — Manila’s infernal traffic. Yet I speak too soon. It seems some of us harbor the delusion of our special specialness. Like this guy…
[Photo courtesy EllenTordesillas.com.]
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Robert Blair Carabuena — supposedly an Atenista and “experienced recruitment executive” extraordinaire. The guy allegedly mauled a traffic officer of the MMDA.
What makes the man tick? Luckily I needn’t go too far for an answer. GRP blogger Ilda pretty much answered that question some time ago in her article Filipinos need to work on their ego. I liked this particular passage because I could easily relate with it:
There seems to be something wrong with a psyche that makes us so vulnerable to getting upset or offended so easily. Most Filipinos get offended so easily from a perceived indiscretion and are often unable to move on to something bigger or higher than such trivial pursuits. We tend to be consumed with words that should mean nothing to us if they were untrue. This demonstrates a real sign of having an unhealthy ego and insecurity. As someone aptly put it, Filipinos can be onion skinned cry-babies.
And this too…
We place too much value on how other people see us and how our actions are perceived. Filipino culture is averse to being direct to the point. We hate it when someone is totally frank. We tend to contradict ourselves when we project our coyness and at the same time, try so hard to read between the lines and end up failing at this miserably. This is evident in the way most Filipinos offer food to someone as a show of graciousness. Accepting the offer or rejecting the offer of food can mean two things to most Filipinos. If a person rejects the food being offered, a Filipino will tend to think that he or she was snubbed. Often times, the recipient is actually forced to accept the food even if she doesnâ€™t want it. If the food was accepted, the person who offered the food might then actually think that the recipient was greedy.
Atenista pa naman. I’ve dated a lot of Atenistas and they’re pretty ok. Maybe this guy is not a real Atenista. Real Atenistas, if I recall, wear old frayed t-shirts, smelly jeans, and will not be caught dead looking at himself in the mirror for more than a couple of seconds (though I know they do in private!). This guy Carabuena looks like one of those self-anointed “Atenistas” by virtue of having spent four years studying at the Ateneo College. I could be mistaken of course as I don’t have all the facts. But here is my biased take: real Atenistas spent twelve years at the Ateneo: from Prep to Grade 7 then up to fourth year high school. You can’t simply buy the distinction of being a true Katipunero guys. 😉
But I digress. The real point here is that between Carabuena and the MMDA guy, I’d root for the MMDA guy. Let me clarify first though that I’m not a big fan of MMDA traffic enforcers by any stretch of the imagination. I think a lot of them are not any more further evolved than our Atenista wannabe pal. But the thing with traffic enforcers is that they represent the Law. Being as such, they represent something a bit more civilized than the Pinoy male ego or some Jesuit school that presumes to educate “the best” of them. And recognizing that, it comes down to another thing I learned from ate Ilda, that Filipinos cannot progress if they cannot follow even simple guidelines. This excerpt sums it up:
There is very little evidence that Filipinos are capable of living by the â€œrule of lawâ€. The society is quite extraordinary in the sense that simple rules and regulations whether on the road or in the work place are for the most part ignored. This is because each individual has this baseless sense of being more important than everybody else. It is why you see people cutting you off on highway lanes on the road or pushing their way in lines ahead of the rest in a queue. In other words, Filipinos in general tend to put their own interest first before other people.
And that is why guys like Robert Blair Carabuena do what they do.
Frustrated artist doing geek for a living.