Saturday, July 09, 2005


It is unfortunate that we live in a country that is quick to find fault, quick to judge, and quick to take to the streets… and yet so slow in offering solutions. Sadly, very few want to be held accountable for the mistakes they make.

This, in some strange thread in the consciousness, reminds me of that form of national celebration that took place some time ago, when Jasmine Trias visited the country. There had been complaints from fans that the entourage of Trias was either rude, or harsh, or too strict. But Trias’ party had every right to be so, for allowing a hole in the dike would surely lead to flooding. If Trias had any close friends here, I wouldn’t know if they’d be allowed backstage passes. But anyone who’d be particularly influential –say, a politician—might have had a private audience with the pitchy singer through some contact or other. That is, after all, what ‘friends’ are for.


While listening to one of those senate hearings on the numbers-game scandal, I heard one of the speakers, a senator, refer to another senator as a ‘friend.’ And politicians, for whatever reason, like using the word during work hours, particularly as part of a speech in reference to a fellow politician. It’s a word that’s not really needed in professional context, and yet it’s there, as if a subtle point needed to be made.

Of course, all governments are controlled and operated by friends. But personally, I don’t need to hear who drinks sioktong with whom on Saturday nights. Emphasis on personal ties just strengthens the notion that these politicians make friendship an obligatory aspect of governance. In an ideal world, we can hate each other’s guts, resort to name-calling during meetings on the peace and order situation, and yet run the country as smoothly as drenching hair in Palmolive conditioner, with Ricky Reyes not knowing the difference.

And then begins the confusion, thrown mercilessly at the already dizzy populace. Personalities pop up like jacks-in-boxes from out of nowhere, issuing lengthy statements flowered in formality, all boiling down to an affirmative or a negative. The media take the ayes and nays and places them on tally boards for all to see, failing to remind the public that numbers don’t exactly reflect right or wrong.

Then some has-been peeps from the cracks of obscurity, taking the opportunity to make some mileage by encouraging his hordes of followers—five in all—to take to the streets. It’s no different from a no-name starlet appearing on television to explain her side of some sex-related scandal 99% of the population couldn’t care less about. Worse, they’re given the valuable airtime, adding spice to the already spicy soup, furthering the public’s confusion.

I just want to get on with my single, comfortable life, enjoy my job and continue making comics without having to wonder whether or not we’ll be having a new president, though the tsismoso in me is just too interested to find out what happens next in the greatest showbiz story thus far in this new millennium. I don’t expect any violence-laden unrest to spark from this, though we’ve seen politicians deck it out on television more times than we can stomach.

But here I am, in a way quick to find fault without offering a solution, though I silently support the move to a parliamentary form of government. I don’t have any friends in high places, so I can’t have a backstage pass. And like most of this country’s 84 million people, I’d be too lucky to have my five minutes of fame on television just to tell everyone how stupid this country has become.

It would be nice if Cardinal Sin issued a statement. Freak the bejeezus out of everyone.

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