What is really amazing about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s brief visit to a Jollibee restaurant shortly after landing on Clark Field for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila is that some Filipinos would actually consider the possibility that this visit was a genuinely candid spur-of-the-moment decision on Trudeau’s part.
It is, however, understandable that many Filipinos would find the whole affair charming just the same. The smiles of the Jollibee staff were pretty genuine considering they, of all people, would have most likely known about the visit in advance. Trudeau looked quite genuine himself. And even if that genuineness may — or may not have been — contrived, well, what’s the point in trying to see past what is evident at face value, right? People watch movies all the time. They are able to suspend disbelief, internalise the story, and empathise with the characters even if they are aware that everything in a movie are all actors performing upon props.
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The event was obviously staged. But it was a good show nonetheless — a public relations win by any measure. A tip of the hat to Trudeau’s handlers is in order. Most important of all, it was undoubtedly fun for all parties involved.
It seems, however, that all that is lost on social media “maven” Noemi Dado (a.k.a. the “Momblogger”) who, armed with a Rappler quote swoops right into the thick of the matter to presume to rescue everyone from their ignorance of the obvious fact of this staging…
You don’t say. Was it staged, really, Mrs Dado?
It seems this is just a case of yet another “influencer” who would like to be seen to be in the thick of things as the momentous occassion of the ASEAN Forum transpires in Manila. The thing is, you not only need to have substance to put in insightful commentary as events unfold, you also need to possess multi-dimensional wit to grasp the ironies, nuanced messages, and subtle signals woven into these events.
Otherwise, you come across as a mere wannabe starved for relevance in an increasingly-competitive social media jungle. There is lots of room to fly in this game, but you need wings to fly above the bottom-feeders who feed off the literal and the slapstick and pass that grub on to the sort of audience who habitually prefer to be entertained rather than enlightened. Ironically, Dado’s attempt to “educate” inadvertently came across as a tragic failure to grasp the bigger point to be made — that, ultimately, Trudeau used his power to influence people not just to uplift his own public profile but also that of a fortunate Jollibee crew who, in those 15 minutes of fame the Canadian Prime Minister granted them, seized a rare opportunity to represent ordinary Filipinos with dignity and grace.
Was this event “staged”? It doesn’t matter, because to dwell on that is, as Dado had demonstrated, simply missing the point.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.