The Philippines can be a great nation only if Filipinos learn to be TRUTHFUL

The trouble with politicians is that they spend an inordinate amount of time propping up their reputations. Because of this obssessive focus on reputation, the inclination to lie, misrepresent facts, and downright suppress information becomes a lot more powerful — which is why politicians lie. What if we propose the ideal hypothetical politician, one who cares not about his reputation but wields vast influence over the masses nonetheless. Indeed there are many existing live models out there to choose from.

Paris Hilton is one example. She’s a woman most parents wouldn’t want their daughters to grow up to be. Yet she has an immense following. Her fans not just want to follow her, they want to be her. Because Paris Hilton does not lead a “moral” life, she attracts a lot of derision and criticism. But does she give the slightest hoot about all that? By all accounts no. She just continues being herself and makes no apologies.

the truthRock stars are an even better example. Their sheer talent and charisma outshines any kind of sordid past (or present) and any sort of unsavory way they routinely behave. Ozzy Osbourne once bit a bat’s head off before a live audience. He makes no apologies about that. His fans continue to love him. Jimi Hendrix and Bon Scott both died by choking on their own vomit while passed out after bingeing on drugs and alcohol. Today they are revered hall-of-famers.

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Closer to home there is presidential sister Kris Aquino. Many Filipinos refer to her as the STD Queen thanks to persistent rumours of having caught an embarrassing bug from former boyfriend Joey Marquez. A hoax headline news report once screamed “Overflowing STD virus from Kris Aquino caused a stink at NAIA-1”. People did not believe it of course. Or did they? Suffice to say, the hoax — or perhaps the humour behind it — resonated so powerfully across Philippine society that it prompted the GMA News network to issue a “disclaimer”. Nonetheless Kris Aquino’s bankability as a mighty opinion-shaper worth millions of pesos to advertisers and markers remains undented. Filipino fans love her. Kris need not make apologies for her transgressions — because she is routinely forgiven by her legions before the fact.

Politicians, in contrast, have lots to apologise for. Yet they don’t — even if they have to. That’s because their reputations — costing fortunes and often lives to cultivate — more often than not come in conflict with the truth. Because they have a lot to hide, their reputations are as fragile as a house of cards. A single one of the spindly pillars holding it up can be flicked off and the whole edifice crumbles. For such poor sods, no less than a glass dome needs to be built around their public personas to protect these from the slightest breeze while making sure that high visibility is retained. What a way to lead a life. Imprisoned within one’s own vanity.

The venerable bestselling author Nassim Taleb said: “You may never know what type of person someone is unless they are given opportunities to violate moral or ethical codes.” Lay everything on the table and your critics cannot touch you. You become “anti-fragile” is what Taleb basically says.

It is ironic that many politicians fail to take this simple bit of wisdom on board. Perhaps they do not have to. Many of them are second-generation politicians — children of former politcians — who grew up in environments where outward appearances rank far above the virtues of robust substance and sound consistency often found only on the inside. As such, deceit and showmanship is a complete way of life for them. That plus the reality that they possess vast resources to mask the stinking rot within them with the best perfumes.

But as evident in the sad victims of plastic surgery addiction we like to gawk at on celebrity magazines, masking the truth can only go so far before things become hopelessly grotesque and twisted. When that happens to a once-revered celebrity, people — being the media sheep that they are — continue to applaud them or, at the very least, flash a polite smile in their presence.

It is ironic that popular rallying cries and slogans in Philippine politics and the adolescent “activism” that surrounds often involve statements that contain the word “truth” in them. Terms like “Truth Commission” and such nonsensical concepts like “truth advocacies” abound in the lingo of the politically-passionate. Filipinos claim that their actions and advocacies are motivated by a search for “the truth”. You gotta wonder, though. For a scene where the word “truth” is quoted in every other sentence that leaves the mouths of popular talking heads, there is very little of it to be seen.

Perhaps therein the over-use of the word “truth” lies the real truth about Filipinos — that they are an untruthful and inherently dishonest lot. When a person has to keep reminding you ad nauseum that she is telling the truth, all the more reason to doubt that said person is doing just that.

11 Replies to “The Philippines can be a great nation only if Filipinos learn to be TRUTHFUL”

  1. Sorry for using this space to make a comment that is out of topic. But now watching the Senate investigation on the Fallen44. Cannot help but be impressed by Grace Poe. Boy, the half siblings, Bonget Marcos and Grace Poe, are showing they inherited some of the genes of their brainy father, Ferdinand Marcos. Why is it that PNoy and Kris did not take up from the brain of their father Ninoy — both have some screws loose?

    This freaking Peace Process woman, Ferrer, is a bitch. Is she on the side of PH or the MILF? Sob, she is capitulating. She should be shot. She is the one who created the illusion there is peace and why the SAF were deluded into their mission that now looks like a suicide. The hell with BBL.

    Will read your article later, man.

    1. ” Why is it that PNoy and Kris did not take up from the brain of their father Ninoy — both have some screws loose?”

      Because they take most of their brain from their mother and Cory was a bit of a loose screwed person

  2. Find someone who does not care about his reputation and who wields vast influence. If those were the only characteristics necessary to be a good president; Erap certainly would have been one.

    However, even he became concerned enough to lie when he was facing execution for plunder charges.

  3. “..that they are an untruthful and inherently dishonest lot.”

    I don’t know if this is accurate. Well, the world I go around in PH is business, and I can’t recall a Pinoy I have had dealings with who is dishonest. Maybe, I am just lucky, or I can’t simply imagine one in a corporate world as being dishonest as that would definitely be a career ending thing.

    After spending some time in the US and seeing the standard there, I think the problem with Pinoys is not truthfulness, but more with dependability. If they promise to say, submit a report in two days, better note that to mean in three days, or something like that, so you don’t get into trouble yourself…… ah well, I don’t know if we are talking of the same thing.

    In any event, never mind the politicians. They are of a different world. They may look powerful, but we of course look down at them, or even pity them as they must have horrible lives — there are of course exceptions.

  4. “Truth” to Politicians are their brands of “Truth”…it is either “half truth”, “veiled lies” or “outright lies”…

    Most, like Aquino can lie to people, without
    being seen as lying. They have perfected the “Art of Lying to People”…

    Celebrities, like STD Queen Kris Aquino, outrage the morals of normal people. But, this tactic is for them to be noticed by ignorant people known as their fans…

  5. Think of what’s popularized in movies – pretending to be someone rich or having money when they’re really dirt poor. There might be some truth to that.

  6. It’s hard to be truthful in a world full of lies and deceit. But yes, we need it.

    But we need to know how to lie, because a very truthful person is so easy to deceive. If we know the mechanics of lying, we know how to deal with liars.

    But I get your point here, benign0. Filipinos became used to lying it became 2nd nature. That’s pretty bad for us.

    1. I take it from the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals slogan.

      Be Honest.
      Even if others are not.
      Even if others will not.
      Even if others cannot.

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