Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao recently wrote an article about a “rich kid,” namely Robbie Antonio, son of Century Properties owner Jose Antonio. Robbie was having a one-billion-peso mansion built for himself somewhere here in Manila. Tiglao compared it to other profligate icons, such as Imelda Marcos and Herminio Disini. He hinted that Antonio’s plans may actually be a greater example of profligacy – especially with the plan for Antonio to fill the house with artwork featuring his own face.
Some people I know have expressed their defense of Antonio’s lifestyle. They say, as long as Antonio pays taxes, or he doesn’t hurt anyone, blah blah, it’s OK. Well, perhaps he does have a right, since it’s his money. However, there is still a lesson to be gleaned.
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While I’m not going to bitch that this guy has no right to do what he does, and so and so, I am going to say that there are better things to do with P1 billion than spend it on a museum of egoism. There are no rules against what he did, but there are other principles that would call this a questionable thing to do – especially with the portraits of himself plan. Seriously, that’s ego-tripping (read this to know what I mean). Perhaps what it may signify is that Filipinos have a penchant for projection, showing that they have strong egoism. Yep, that word – Pinoy Pride. But in another sense, it is a demonstration of how poorly Filipinos handle money.
There are Filipinos who likely have bigger egos than Antonio. They are likely to say, “I want to be like this! I deserve this! I’m entitled to this!” or “We should be proud of this guy, he is Pinoy!” Sorry, bad idea. I think people would best treat this thing about Antonio as mere passing trivia, and not as a role model. Better ignore the media articles that paint him as such, they just needed material to print.
Some comments on the paper say, other Filipinos should instead be encouraged to strive on their own to become as rich as Antonio, or at least they become rich in the end. Yes, I have nothing against that. But they should find better things to do with P1 billion. Perhaps something with more – yes, I know that’s a touchy word – social responsibility. And yes, I’m still a believer that ostentatious display of wealth is reflective of bad character.
I also think people should stick to sound rules of financial responsibility, rather than dream of becoming rich asses with money to spend on their ego. As I keep on harping in my articles, egoism is the basis for much wrongdoing. Use your money less for egoism, and more for self-improvement and proper investment. Life’s not fair, but you should be.
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.