The monumental huffing and puffing over lechon (roast suckling pig) being served during a dinner to celebrate Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s birthday at his home in Davao City seem to have all just emanated from members of the Philippine Opposition. Despite all that shrill noise, this most recent outrage fad they aimed to create seems to have fallen on apathetic ears. One would think that portraying the president as a tone-deaf tyrant who turns an insensitive eye to the “plight” of the Philippines’ “poor” as he feasts on the country’s favourite fiesta dish would incite the masses to take to the streets to vent their indignation.
No such thing happened of course. Street “revolutions” — the Yellowtards’ favourite wet dream — are so last century. Thus it is quite curious that this habit of the Opposition (who are led by that bloc of partisans rabidly-loyal to the Aquinos and Cojuangcos) of trying to portray presidents who are not of their political camp as uncaring “tyrants” persists. The easy explanation to this is the evident stubbornness of the Opposition’s foremost “thought leaders” and the penchant of their community to cloister themselves in social media echo chambers. Their gods are those hashtags they and their choirs of titas and amigas succesfully “trend” on Twitter and their idea of winning a laban (fight) is to succeed at mass reporting “trolls” (which they define as pretty much anyone who disagrees with them or challenges their beliefs). No surprise then that learning and improving is an ongoing challenge for them.
Duterte’s lechon incident was likely seen by the Yellowtards as their “let them eat cake” moment — Marie Antoinette’s legendary utterance that supposedly launched the French Revolution. The trouble with the Yellowtards is that most of them are members of Imperial Manila’s chi chi private school and gated community set — “activists” who try to be in solidarity with “the poor” by pretending to be “among” them. Ironically, their biggest ideological failure is presuming to see the world from the eyes of “the poor” they hardly understand. This is due to a huge disconnect between what the rich and educated consider to be outrageous and what real poor people get angry about.
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Indeed, stop to think about it for a moment. It is really the rich who are the ones who have a bigger problem with poverty than the poor. They are forced to live in fortified residential enclaves, hire 24-hour armed security guards, and carry around guns to protect themselves from the poor swarming around them everyday. The poor cramp the style of the rich too. That’s clearly evident whenever there is an international conference coming to town and the screens and fences come up around sections of roads and bridges between the airport and hotels and convention centres where delegates congregate lest they see the squalor just a stone’s throw away from their airconditioned cars.
It seems, therefore, that what is really at work whenever the Opposition wax outrage over shows of decadence is a deep-seated guilt over the way privilege is woven into the fabric of their lifestyles in the Philippines. Their mistake is in regarding Duterte’s lechon birthday meal from this lens.
The easy way these chi chi Yellowtards could have corrected their flawed understanding of how “the poor” think is to simply watch the masses’ favourite TV shows like Eat Bulaga and It’s Showtime, study the way megastars like Sharon Cuneta and Kris Aquino gained their mass following, and examine why, despite megabucks spent on an unneccessarily lavish televised wedding, celebrity couple Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes continue to be adored by their fandom. The Yellowtards need to get it into their heads that the Filipino masses don’t really see a problem with ostentatious displays of wealth. Rather, they are actually fascinated and entertained by it.
The Yellowtards and their communist comrades are being seriously misled by their self-righteous presumption to feel “outrage” and express it on behalf of the poor. The reality is that the poor and the rich in Philippine society co-exist like participants in a graceful tinikling — collectively engaging in an intimate dance that involves expertly tiptoeing over the constant clap of “social issues” that Manila’s “activists” seek to amplify unnecessarily. This dance is an otherwise practical coping mechanism to keep a social order that these “activists” aim to disrupt as part of a persistent agenda to create the chaotic environment they need to launch their crooked “revolutions” and seize power illegally — even to the point of resorting to violence and terror as a means to achieve those ends.
There is cause, of course, to instigate social change and build the more egalitarian Filipinos aspire to. Turning simple birthday dinners into outrage fads is just dumb and does not contribute to that end. The Yellowtards need to find a smarter way to remain relevant in Philippine society — for their sake.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.