More than two weeks ago, popular presidentiable Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s most staunch lackey in the Philippine Media Conrado de Quiros blamed the campaign for his seemingly irreversible slide in the popularity surveys:
Challenged to keep the campaign high, the campaign responded by making it low. Challenged to make the campaign lofty, the campaign responded my making it dull. Challenged to make the choice sublime, the campaign responded by making it paralytic.
Amazingly, I saw de Quiros’s point at the time. My thinking then was that Perhaps Noynoy is an otherwise ok guy who unfortunately just simply stands for nothing. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with standing for nothing, really, so long as you stand alone and obscure as a civilian in your standing for nothing. Lots of people lead lives characterised by a banal day-to-day stand taken for nothing in particular. They harm no one because they are, for the most part, in not much of a position to do much damage to society as they live and die standing for nothing.
Filipinos unfortunately don’t really have quite a shiny track record of picking the winners as far as the sort of characters we build our monuments to goes. So it was quite easy for a so-so ho-hum stand-for-nothing guy like Noynoy Aquino to capture the vacuous spirit of that tired Laban cry of the “Opposition”. So as Noynoy basked in the glory of inherited popularity, he attracted a cadre of losers upon which he entrusted his campaign. That train of thought I entertained was my way of giving the bozo the benefit of the doubt given that so many of those in the brainier circles of our society routinely see past his pedigree campaign. Perhaps Noynoy Aquino, the stand-for-nothing politico and his gone pear-shaped campaign are simply the victims of the ill-advise of the morons who surround him. He was ill-advised to run for president to begin with and now his campaign creaks under the weight of Pinoy-style ill advise.
Lately though, Noynoy has proven this theory wrong. It turns out that he is after all capable of having a direct influence on the fortunes of his presidential bid. He showed us that he is capable of grabbing the controls and pushing his nose diving campaign down an even steeper descent. Observing how Noynoy Aquino lost his cool in a debate sponsored by the the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry by making a bald accusation that Biznews publisher Tony Lopez was “biased” against him, Ramon Tulfo wrote in the Inquirer that;
IF SEN. NOYNOY AQUINO continues to show his annoyance toward some members of the media on the campaign trail like he did on Tuesday, he’s likely to lose many votes.
Aquino should remember that many voters who are still undecided are scrutinizing every candidate’s action in public.
So there you go. Like the chimp who suddenly grabbed the controls of a speeding car and crashed it into a tree in a scene from a comedy movie I recall from my childhood, Noynoy takes control.
Nice work champ.
Vote based on winnability
As for Perlas himself, I think supporting him is not only quixotic but downright elitist. Nicki is a decent and qualified guy but he doesn’t stand a chance, so it is a misguided idealism to think your vote will make a difference.
That simply exhibits the regard for the individual voter. The individual voter’s duty is to vote for who she personally believes in. The fact that said vote may be wasted on a candidate who does not stand a chance is a flaw of the system. An individual’s voting preference should not be made to subsume itself to the herd to compensate for said flaw.
What is popular is necessarily what is right
the fact is that all the people who support bottom-feeders IGNORE THE WILL OF THE MAJORITY OF FILIPINOS, see? It’s not just about “winnability”, Edward — a phenomenon u appear to consider to be deeply unsavory. The question is: WHY is so-and-so winnable? Because the general public prefers them for whatever reason, right?
For “whatever reason”. Indeed, “whatever” — basta — is about the best reason, the average schmoe who will vote for Noynoy Aquino can scrape from the bottom of the empty barrel that is his mind when asked why.
It’s all about what the candidate will not do rather than what he will do
I happen to choose the one who I consider to be less corrupt.
Right. Vote from the low bar we have so made a tradition of setting for ourselves. Spoken like a true winner (by Pinoy standards, of course).
Dumb down and be one with the rest of the population
Others who go on and on about the qualifications of the rest of the candidates (apart from Villar and Noynoy) r dismissing the will of the public and could therefore be considered elitist.
In other words, “you are either with us or against us”, right?
Compare this with the same spiel we read from Ms Shahani back about a month ago which I immortalised in my seminal piece Philippine Elections: a Buffet of Evils. These philosophies that run our sad society to the ground are so deeply-ingrained as to blot out any glimmer of enlightenment that dares break the impenetrable darkness of the Philippine National “Debate”.
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And so we find that with our society in the grip of the kind of thinking propagated by what are supposed to be the most educated of our sad lot, it is not too surprising that we remain the odd-country-out in a region of winners. In one of those rare instances of the Philippines making international news, it is billed Asia’s Laggard in an article by Ruchir Sharma in an article on the Feb 1, 2010 issue of Newsweek. You can read the full article online here.
Sharma listed the following telling observations among others that point to the poignant backwardness of our sad nation:
– Jeepneys continue to be the favourite mode of public transport.
– An average growth in the economy of 4% post-Marcos representing a gain all but overwhelmed by the country’s 2% per annum annual population growth.
– Highly subjective interpretation of laws leading to a shunning of the country as an attractive place to invest.
Saddest of all is a key solution to the changing the long-term fortunes of a society whose economic underpinnings are being pulled from under its feet even as it struggles to even muster a crawl in the race to become a prosperous nation:
An important measure of the country’s success will be if it manages to slow the pace of emigration. More than 10 million Filipinos have left the country since the early 1980s for better prospects abroad. The country needs some of that talent to return home and add to the economy’s underlying productivity.
As Elton John once sang:
It’s sad, so sad;
It’s a sad sad situation.
But it is unlikely that Filipinos, who continue to walk around with a silly smile plastered on our faces even as the outrage of our self-destruction unfolds before us, will agree.