If Filipinos can’t win where it really counts, they will declare themselves winners where it does not count. That’s pretty much the sad space social media “influencers” from the Opposition camp have been playing lately.
Following a win chalked up by Team Gilas (the pride of Filipino basketball of the moment) against China in this year’s International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup, Filipinos are ecstatic. Unfortunately that ecstacy had, true to form, been politicised by some hollowheads in the Opposition who extended this little quaint win onto the landscape of globo-politics. This misguided notion that a basketball “win” necessarily translates to an overall win against China is best encapsulated in a tweet fielded by former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay today…
The difference between our victory at The Hague & #GilasPilipinas winning over China?
The second is a win the gov’t can’t take away from us.
To Mr Hilbay’s credit, he did recognise the fact that the Philippine government can “take away” the Philippines’ victory over China at the Hague. But the more important fact that he did not recognise is that this “victory” at the Hague was a victory just as hollow as the Philippines’ victory over China on the hardcourt.
Basketball has, indeed, always been recognised as a potent opiate the Filipino masses retreat into to escape their wretched existence. But what is truly laughable is how the Opposition have now turned it into yet another emotional fix around which they presume to rally their troops. Like religion and showbiz, basketball has proven to be a strong emotional hook in the Philippines. Politicians and their “influencers” have long recognised this. It is evident in how the three have served as key pillars in their campaign investments over the decades.
This disproportionate use of emotional hooks to further political agendas would remain funny if it weren’t for the evidently damaging effect it has on the collective intellect of Philippine society. In the case of this effort to put one over China, Filipinos were encouraged to cheer for two inconsequential things: (1) the South China Sea Arbitration circus at the Hague, and (2) a basketball game against a Chinese team. The first had ultimately proven to not matter in the overall scheme of things. As to the latter, well, it does not take a rocket scientist to foresee what that “win” will ultimately deliver in real terms other than a momentary warm fuzzy feeling in the average Filipino’s puso. The common denominator between the two is that they are both mere brain candy — dopamine-inducing fixes that are intellectually vacuous.
Indeed, to call these vacuous is being kind as it implies they merely add zero value to the national “debate”. However, the emotional whirlwind spun around these “wins” actually subtracts from Philippine society. The Hague circus focused Filipinos’ efforts on the notion that liberal democracy’s rules apply to China. It’s like facing a basagulero on Manila’s streets and lecturing him about why it is wrong to “bully” people. The rules of the latte-sipping classes not only don’t apply in this instance, they are alien to such garden-variety street thugs.
This sort of thinking — that the “good guys” (liberal democratic nations) always win and, therefore, relying on the rules this bloc of nations try to impose on the world order as a safety net is what is at the root of why the Philippine military is in such a sad state of abject neglect. Successive Philippine governments (and the fools who voted for them) rested on naive assurance that “rules” signed by the “good guys” and “treaties” made with these “good guys” will keep the Philippines safe. Couple that with a belief system propagated for 30 years that the military is one of the “bad guys” and are not to be trusted and you get the toxic recipe that cooked up the Philippines of today — a weak country infested by victim-coddlers masquerading as trendy feminists, progressive “activists”, and noisy sports fans who habitually cheer mediocrity.
For all the noise and emo rhetoric that pervades the national chatter, the question remains:
Where are the results?
The results will not be found in a piece of paper signed by men in suits in a little city in northern Europe. The question is ultimately answered by which flags will be flying in a group of little islands in the South China Sea.
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