Is it a fact that Filipino souls ‘lead to the gates of heaven’ because Paulo Coelho says so?

Manila residents, reeling from a recent panning of their beloved city by bestselling The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown in his latest book Inferno, have found solace in the words of another bestselling author Paulo Coelho. Coelho came to the defense of Filipinos’ capital city tweeted

Dear filipinos, your souls lead to the gates of heaven #fact

paulo_coelho_manilaPaulo Coelho (Portuguese: [ˈpawlu kuˈeÊŽu]; born August 24, 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He has become one of the most widely read authors in the world today. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, amongst them the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and France’s Légion d’honneur.

In total, Coelho has published 30 books. Three of them – The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries and Aleph – are autobiographical, while the majority of the rest are fictional, although rooted in his life experiences. Others, like Maktub and The Manual of the Warrior of Light, are collections of essays, newspaper columns, or selected teachings. In total, Coelho has sold more than 150 million books in over 150 countries worldwide, and his works have been translated into 71 languages. He is the all-time bestselling Portuguese language author.

Just the same, you wonder how drivel like this summarily gets declared “fact” by its own author then gets eaten up wholesale by people starved for “wisdom”. We expect nothing less than top-notch thinking and exemplary scientific rigour in bureaucrats and scientists who certify the food and medicines we buy safe for consumption. Unfortunately for us there are no such regulators to police the many folks who dish out so-called “food” for our brains. Certainly there are none who would challenge the factualness of “facts” issued by celebrity “thinkers” like Coelho.

As expected, the Filipino Twitterati gushed and blushed at being named again by an international celebrity as they do whenever such momentous occasions occur — with as much gusto as the vitriol they spew when perceiving slights from other less-than-glowing opinions about their country issued by other celebrities. “Amen!” tweeted celebrity TV news presenter Karen Davila.

You can’t blame Filipinos for their renowned quickness when it comes to embracing dubious “facts”.

The Philippines is renowned for being host to a “prayerful” people. It is a country where allusions to the supernatural as a warm retreat from the banal injustice that characterises Philippine society are a staple for reflection — not so strange for a people of a nation whose primary strategic initiative to achieve “progress” does not go beyond a mere harbouring of “hope” in their “hearts”.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted off and used in accordance with that site’s Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License consistent with the same license applied by Get Real Post to its content. Photo courtesy Danish Photojournalism.]