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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Simply Surreal

Yes it’s a very real possibility that he might win. 
But you know, it would have been nice to have a leader that would make us proud. To have a statesman – a statesman who knows how to deal with world leaders and win us friends in other countries –  lead us. Someone who could make us want to shout out to the world, “Yes this person leads us. This person embodies our aspirations, our ideals as a people.”
It would have been nice to have someone who could bring out the best in us, and teach us compassion and empathy. Someone who could be an inspiration to our youth. Someone who could balance the budget, who could straighten out our fucked up, labyrinthine tax and banking laws, and improve our abysmal educational system. Someone who could get to the root causes of criminality, to actually do something about them and not just slaughter petty criminals and call it justice.
That would have been nice, you know?
It would have been funny, but these people would affect the lives of millions of people.
It troubles me.
It also troubles me that a lot of people seem willing and eager to embrace Martial Law, and welcome curfews! Simply surreal. Somebody please tell me it ain’t true.
But I suppose we will survive this. 

To quote Samwise Gamgee:
“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
That there's some good in this world, Mister Frodo, and it's worth fighting for.”

You know what’s tragic, though? That the country has no “the way it was.” We’ve always been a basket case.

And now we have come to this. Our history has paved the way for the rise to power of somebody like Duterte.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Being "Bayot"

Is “bayot” an insult? I’m wondering because last night I heard Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte on TV saying this in reaction to Mar Roxas’ expression of disbelief to his (Duterte’s) incredible claim that he could eradicate criminality in the first six months of his presidency, if and when he gets elected.
The way he said it, his body language, the tone, his facial expression – all convey his meaning, that bayot (gay) is something so hateful and disgusting that he reserves that judgment to those who dare question the pronouncements of Emperor Digong. Well, to be fair, that is probably his most benevolent method of answering his critics. I suspect he has far more “creative” methods of silencing them.
I can just hear his followers saying, “Buti nga bayot lang e. Dapat sa iyo pinapatay.” (You should be thankful you're just being called bayot. You should have been killed.) And they’re right. They will inform you this, with unholy glee and righteous anger, with blazing, fanatic eyes and hands gesticulating wildly (or maybe pounding furiously on the keyboard), while pointing out that Davao is heaven on earth. After all, Duterte’s critics are - to hear those people drunk on Duterte-flavored Kool Aid describe them – stupid, ignorant, uneducated criminals, and deserve to be raped and murdered, including their families (I wish I were joking).  
And another thing – is that man capable of answering criticisms without resorting to insults and veiled and not-so-veiled threats? You know, I seriously doubt it. After years of being THE Optimus Maximus of Davao, it probably hadn’t occurred to him that others might be right, and he – dare I say it? – might be wrong.
He still hasn’t given an unequivocal answer though, on how he would rid the country of criminality within six months. That would be a feat for the ages. I get that political promises are a synonym for excrement (bovine, human, and whatnot) but this promise is so laughably far-fetched and prodigiously absurd, that it deserves to be in a class of its own.

We all have a sneaking suspicion of what he is up to, and it is troubling that his followers are okay with it. They welcome it, in fact. You could hear their collective panties dropping when Emperor Digong announced that he would bring back curfew – that endearing facet of Martial Law.
Is the Philippines this broken that we welcome people like this self-styled demigod to hold the highest office in the land?

Yes, I fear it has come to this.    
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