Monday, December 24, 2012


I wish there was as much a big fuss when Donaire won.

Somehow the Legend from GenSan has so eclipsed everybody in the arena that the nation's focus has been solely dedicated to his adventures --- and, of late, miscalculations.

That, I guess, summarizes 2012.  The year is coming to an end and reviewing the series of events that will define its place in local history reveal that it wasn't all that bad.  Win some, lose some.  What is even more important is the learning that takes place when we get the beating.

For again that is one thing that we often take for granted.  We learn more from losses rather than the moments of feverish joy when we savor victory.  Success when mishandled can be toxic ... and even carcinogenic.  Success when misrepresented can result to delusions --- and presumptions of invincibility.  And that, my friends, is bad.  Really, really bad.

But when you are down and out, languishing on the mat beaten to a pulp by circumstances, that is when you get to realize a helluva lot of things.  Give or take the physical/emotional/mental stress and pains, what hurts most about defeat is that your ego has been so pulverized that you could have turned into an amoeba and nobody would notice.  What is most vicious about defeat is that sympathy alone cannot restore your strength and even your self-respect.  When it reaches a point that you feed on sympathy because of defeat, that is when you realize that you are really in deep shit.

That is why the whole issue of the RH Bill Debates go so much father than Senators and Bishops versus liberals and feminists.  Somehow in the unfolding of events --- while discussions were flourishing, debates were heating and arguments were being hurled from one side to another, great realizations were offered to the citizens of the Republic ... or at least to those who still want to think and not merely be swept away by the beating of drums or the dance of the bandwagons.

The lessons unfurled were quite loud and clear:

(A) Nothing rules the august halls of all three branches of government than the art of politics and politicking.  The senators and congressmen proved once and for all that they will do anything --- and by this I literally mean anything --- to insure that they will get their votes in the coming elections even it meant pretending to have concern for their souls.

(B) Alliances and strategies form the heart and soul of every politico if he wants to survive.  Some legislators are far better than others while there are a noticeable few who are just so clumsy that they actually ended up looking extraordinarily stupid even when they are trying to sound principled and smart.  As one of my more jaded and opinionated friends muttered, "Aw, come on. That is just such a bad script that it makes me puke."

(C) Some elected officials take great pains and effort to show to the world that they are so unfit for office that they have become such jokes.  I will not go into particular details as to how this sad state can be achieved but local legislators are very creative (or dismal) with the ways and means they show us their exceptional stupidity.  Some are overcome with such a great sense of pride --- that they forget that one of the tenets of integrity is humility and an acceptance that there may be Clark Kents in the world but there is no such creature as Superman.

(D) Integrity, honesty and accountability are things of the past.  Nowadays, you can babble all you want and step all over everybody ...or even forsake any attempt at credibility and you can get away with it. Why?  Because you are not only personifying entitlement at its worst --- but you are waving the flag of immunity right at our faces.  If this should be an example of leadership by example, then my dear friends, we are not only in deep shit. We are swimming in quicksand.

After the RH Bill has been processed, reprocessed and practically ground to innumerable shapes and forms with arguments ( Note: to this day, I still do not see the big brouhaha about the use of the terms safe and satisfying sex or what can be so offensive about that!), one thing came blasting straight from the trumpets.

(E) The power of other institutions to pressure, manipulate and even threaten politicos and the population has been so diminished.  Practicality and reality over theocracy and superstition? Whatever.  All the needling, cackling and grandstanding eventually ushered in the conclusion that times have changed.  

Does that mean that we as a nation have succumbed to immorality, promiscuity and all that preludes the assault of fire and brimstone?  I think not.  We have decided to start thinking for a change --- and outgrown centuries of bullying.  In other words, we have stepped out of the Dark Ages to find a more meaningful relationship with the Almighty with greater respect for human life rather than a preoccupation for the hereafter.

Then, of course, we still have to go back to the Pacman.

His shocking and demoralizing performance against Marquez was said to be inevitable by some.  It was only a matter of time.  There are those who insist that he should have retired three fights ago --- when he was still an undefeated legend.  

That is water under the proverbial bridge.  The fact is that he went on and on and on.  If we are to abide by the irrevocable law of nature, all things must come to pass ... and, as I said, there is no such being as Superman.

It was heartbreaking to see Pacquiao on the floor --- a sight that was once unimaginable but now so real.  It was hard to deal with the fact that legends are decided upon by the collective mind of a people --- and that, at the end, the boxing hero is still a mortal being subject to the changes brought about by the irreversible time.  

The country was heartbroken to see Pacquiao fall.  But it was bound to happen when he chose not to retire --- and it did.

Now he promises a comeback ... amid his other preoccupations that include politics and a career in media.  This frightens us all the more.  What can make him finally stop or does he want to return to the boxing ring where all final judgment on his character and career will be made?  The more reasons we should be terrified by the possible conclusions.

We also felt the same sense of loss when Janine Tuganon almost brought home that elusive crown that lands on the head of the supposedly Most Beautiful Girl in the Universe according to the Kingdom of Donald Trump.

But, hey, let's get real here.  Are we really overreacting? After  all, the Miss Universe crown is only a marketing ploy for the Trump group of companies to find a yearly spokesperson for its promotional charity work.  I had mentioned before that this is not exactly the selection of Miss United Nations to find a most beautiful woman who will be sent to North Korea to negotiate about nuclear tests --- or made to join a select panel to bring peace to the Middle East.

Yet we are still irked --- nay, dismayed and even infuriated --- that the beautiful and smart Janine lost to the American representative who dressed as a cross between a Christmas bell and Anne Boleyn in the Evening Gown Competition.

I will confess that I almost chewed a handful of Valium while watching the Live Satellite feed and the dreaded Q & A for the five finalists came in.  When Miss Venezuela gave an answer that not even the Venezuelans understood and Miss U.S.A. sounded like a giggly girl under the influence of helium, Janine Tuganon of Bataan delivered what I consider as the best answer given by any Filipina in that contest --- including those of the two past winners.

And, goddamn it! She lost.  I, like so many, felt so cheated. When they placed the crown on the wrong head, the winner looked like the Red Queen in a cheesy version of Alice in Wonderland. The elegant Miss Tuganon had to settle for first runner up ... and I am still mad.

But, hey! I had to slap myself back to reality. I kept telling myself that the promise of greater economic growth which may include exceeding the projected growth of the GNP has got nothing to do with winning the Miss Universe crown.  This has all got to do with ... not even the preoccupation for beauty ... but the hunger for heroes and role models in our country.

Yes, it all boils down to that.

Whether it is a Senator trying to defend himself to prove his invincibility and how he is above it all from the accusations and lacerations of the angered mob ... or the fallen boxing champ ... or the girl who almost became queen, the hunger is for one and the same.  We need heroes who can personify and embody victory for us. 

The year was said to be very good for the Filipinos.  The numbers attest to that in terms of our economic growth and the strength of our stock market, the excitement brought to foreigners to invest in our country.  But it is as if all these are enough to make a nation of people (not of numbers) happy: we still revert back to the same old-same old mythology that requires some among us to be invincible --- and therefore adored.

So win some, lose some. It goes much farther than that. 2012 may be eventful for some, significant for most ... but for us as a people, we know that we could have done better. And hopefully next year we will and we can.

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