The ongoing "high" society drugs-and-sex scandale in Manila as exposed by THAT blog reminds me of an incident - oh gosh - over 20 years ago or so. I was home from Paris for the summer and on a date with a well-known Man About Town. Intellectual sophisticate, smooth talker, connoisseur and collector of all things luxurious, from sports cars, aircraft, fine vintage wines, private islands and women...
You gotta love our country. The land where Kafka wears a smile, while tripping on Zoloft in between marathon cocaine speedball sessions. And where the scandales keep on coming like the gift that never stops giving.
Forget the NBN-ZTE scandale. All of Manila - and beyond - is riveted by the ongoing revelations of the former Australian gay lover of some lifestyle columnist with a penchant for snorting the white stuff up his nose and defrauding boyfriends. His partners in crime - allegedly - are some of Manila's IT boys and girls collectively known as the Gucci Gang. Whether self-styled, self-proclaimed and self-advertised I won't say; you be the judge.
If I were back home right now, I KNOW I would have been at the interfaith rally yesterday along Ayala Avenue in Makati, calling for the resignation of the Midget. Even if I was raised in a household where we ate politics for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I grew up largely apolitical. I simply didn't care. Men like Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, Manuel Quezon, Ninoy Aquino and Pepe Diokno... to me they seemed to be freaks of genetics that our national DNA managed to produce every few generations through some fluke of history and chromosomes.
If you think about it, it's been a good month for the Philippines - a civil servant gained a conscience and shed light on the extent of corruption in the government, the bishops admitted their shameful complicity in the ouster of a democratically elected president and the installation into power of a dwarf-sized devil, and protests against a rapacious regime have begun to pick up momentum.
And finally, an in-depth look at luxury retail in the Philippines came out in Tuesday's Women's Wear Daily, authored by... me! The stories appeared in a special section called Asia In Depth.
The first story, Manila: On the Retail Radar, focuses on the key players in the luxury retail industry, including Ayala Land. In a country saturated with malls, their own Greenbelt, particularly Greenbelt 4 & 5, truly is a world-class retail showcase. Talk about a case of "if you build it, they will come"!
Extermination seems to me a sound solution. Henceforth all members of GMA's cabinet, all her hangers-on, all her sycophants, and all relatives to the third degree should be sterilized to prevent further propagation of the species Ethnicanus rapax as well as the species Pseudo-Caucasanus arrogans.
Neri, the wimp, should just be castrated. Malacanang already has him by the balls, so he should just offer his shrivelled cojones to them on a silver platter. However, they may just find their way into the pride of Wack-Wack's kitchens, Abalos' "borjers".
Please, would you really buy a hamburger from that man?
lHow my kids learned to spell G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S, or as Perez Hilton says, Fergie is H-U-M-O-R-O-U-S!
Maybe the Midget's Presidential Legal Counsel Serge Apostol should join the spelling bee. His word: WITNESS. His answer: W-E-T-N-E-S-S.The Midget's own vocabulary is limited at the moment. N-B-N, Z-T-E, K-I-D-N-A-P.
Pretty soon, she'll be begging for A-M-N-E-S-T-Y. I hope the next president (a legitimate one this time) will tell her to go to H-E-L-L.
The other day, my favorite Facebook friend Jami (who inadvertently inspired the original Going Through a (Phase)Book) and I were bitching about a mutual, um, let's call him a business associate, who had pissed us off once too often in the past. Long story. However, Jami's last problematic encounter with this person had a satisfactory outcome. Unluckily for me, in my particular situation, the outcome is still pending.
Me: what an idiot I was!
Jami: if it's any consolation, it got resolved... after about a year though :-P
Me: did you threaten castration?
Jami: now that would be a nice addition to the actions in superpoke hahaha! hate to think what you'd do to him if he were on facebook :)
Which got me thinking... What if the Midget got SuperPoked?
Jun Lozada has spilled the beans on Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Joe de Venecia has wagged his finger at Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Prospero Nograles has kissed the ass of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Mikey Arroyo has bitchslapped Joe de Venecia for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Ricky Razon has given a red envelope to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Ben Abalos has secretly tapped the phone of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Lito Atienza has kidnapped someone for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Fidel Ramos has distanced himself from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Winnie Monsod has distanced herself from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Joseph Estrada has smiled at Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Gaudencio Rosales has prayed for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
If Bill Clinton was the Teflon President, the Midget must be the Sandok President. It's not that nothing sticks; everything sticks: the crusty bits of burn-out rice and dried blood, the rancid pork fat, the clusters of rotting innards and the flakes of over-fried fish. And yet it is the ladle that keeps on scooping, scraping the bottom of the every pot, blackening those that once gleamed, scratching the protective coating at their base, scraping the sturdy dignity of their construction, be they copper, stainless steel, cast-iron or earthenware. The collection of irrevocably damaged pans include politicians, media people, justices, army generals, civil servants, some of whom were already of dubious quality.
Just look at the recent cookfest at the House of Representatives, where Joe de Venecia, himself a casserole that had outlived its usefulness, was dumped. But not without the Sandok President's own sons administering the final ladle from the stew called vendetta.
Unlike the typical Filipino who likes to keep his kitchen spotless, with his pots and pans sparkling and his utensils pristine, the Sandok President simply refuses to clean up. Not even after 2010.
She may not get the thorough cleansing and eventual binning she deserves, but boy has she earned the putrid face of the morally corrupt.
Oh, and someone get her to a salon quick. She needs a mustache wax real bad.
Growing up, I was surrounded by Jesuits - the hard drinkers, the quiet philosphers, the social activists, the lost-in-classical-music aesthetes. Whichever way they chose to seek the greater glory of God, they were always open to debate.
Well, there's a debate raging on now about how Ateneans are reacting to the situation in which the country finds itself in the aftermath of the stand-off at the Pen. Open letters have been flying about. There's one, from the Ateneo de Manila Sanggunian president, condemning Trillanes et al, including ex-Ateneans Tito Guingona and Fr Roberto Reyes. Uniffors has it in full, plus annotations. Another letter, from the Ateneo Political Science Organization commends the same group for their actions. Both letters exhort the citizenry to be vigilant and to respect the rule of law.
Of the two statements, the one from the Ateneo PoliSci students seems to be the more grounded in reality, understanding that the rule of law must apply to all. The Sanggunian letter and subsequent comments in its defense in various fora seem to miss the point. I love the way these people wear their presence at the 2001 anti-Erap rallies like a badge of honor, as if their presence there justifies their political activist credentials and exempts them from future protest actions.
In the scheme of things, whatever Erap may have done may be morally repugnant, but what his illegitimate successor has done in the seven years hence is beyond immoral; it is amoral. So where are these same protesters? Apparently, they're busy being men for others. Ateneo is setting up leadership schools, to produce men for others. Medical Schools to produce doctors for others. Business schools to produce professionals for others. All for the future.
What future? The future begins now.
Learning, as any Atenean should realize by now, doesn't just happen in the classroom. What happens when principles collide with contradictory political realities? What happens when the values of your institution come face-to-face with institutionalized corruption and greed? Do you issue a statement? Open a new school? Will the product of your school really and truly embody the values you claim to impart? Just take a look at some members of the cabinet who proudly wave the blue flag and extol their supposedly Atenean values while simultaneously aiding and abetting the Midget in flouting the very rule of law we're all supposed to adhere to.
I bet Trillanes and his group got fed up with open letters that to them do nothing more than pay lip service to protest, without the action.
As for the calls for vigilance, well, the Midget has thrived on vigilance - she uses it to gauge what she and her accomplices can get away with. When mass action looms, she suddenly backs down.
The thing about the Midget is that she's so far been careful not to disturb our comfort levels too much. The fertilizer fund, the Garci tapes, the NBN scandal - in many ways they're too abstract to be felt. But commandeer the Pen, as Trillanes did - boy did that rankle. Boy did that disturb our comfort levels. Why a five-star hotel (my favorite at that)? Why just before Christmas? Why now when the economy is going well and the peso is almost P40 to the dollar?
As the Ateneo PoliSci students wrote:
Radical and illegal as they may or are alleged to have been, we see that what the senator has done was an important shattering of the glass. It was a loud clang of the gong of social consciousness, which might have irritated many, but has certainly showed us how silent the greater Filipino majority has become in addressing the varied political issues that abound.
To top it all, the irritated ones cry, Trillanes can't even speak English properly! It's Erap all over again. At least the Midget, they reason, is articulate - though if she says ce-RE-mo-ny instead of CE-re-mo-ny that's like a MAJOR minus. At least the Midget, they reason, knows which fork to use at a state banquet and won't mistake the finger bowl for soup.
Mastery of the social graces is no substitute for integrity. Just as apology does not amount to accountability. And accountability is the very least a country can demand from its leaders.
In a recent column, Fr Joaquin Bernas, a Jesuit, quoted Fr Pedro Arrupe, SJ, who is credited with modernizing the Jesuit vision:
"Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ—for the God-human who lived and died for all the world; men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.”