Filipino self-anaesthetisation after the Mendoza hostage massacre

For a nation that I’ve asserted so many times is motivated by nothing more noble than a culturally-ingrained sense of hiya (a Filipino concept that is a bizarrely convoluted complex of shame and face), it seems like extracting even a small iota of resolve to change is like extracting blood from stone. There’s a sick pun in there if one considers how much blood stains the history of the Philippines — specifically blood coming from the victims of preventable tragedies. The term preventable, apparently does not resonate in a society whose key philosophical pillars are the concepts of (1) bahala na (“come what may”), (2) pwede na yan (“that will do for now — and forever“), and (3) impunity.

I echo (some of) the words of blogger Ellen Tordesillas who calls for an embedding of the lessons that clearly need to be learned from the Mendoza hostage tragedy that resulted in the deaths of eight foreign tourists…

[…] sana naman may nakuha tayong leksyun sa nangyari para naman may katuturan itong kahihiyan at pasakit sa bayan.

Roughly translated in English:

… how I wish we learned from what happened so that some meaning can be gained from the deep deep shame and pain that our society bears today.

The trouble is, this is by no means a fresh call to action and (at the very least) reflection. Perhaps our talent as a people has become one of self-medication — specifically self-anaesthetisation. For despite wounds that continue to fester all over us, we are able to stand tall on legs wobbled by pain and wear a silly quivering grin whenever we put up a face before the global community.

My personal mission in life is to rub salt into the gaping wounds that continue to hobble our country — wounds that we patch with flesh-coloured band-aids in the hope that they simply disappear from out tunnel-visioned sight. And, indeed, there are many wounds that remain band-aided and untended, even as the surgical spotlight is focused for now on the freshest and deepest one today. Those wounds are those from our recent history of fatal mediocrity that also call for lessons to be learned.

Our long tradition of preventable disasters is world-renowned: feudal clan vendettas that result in the massacre of scores of innocents, maritime disasters with casualty numbers that utterly dwarf accidents that induce far more introspection and reform in normal societies, and “natural” calamities that in the blink of an eye drown and bury alive Filipinos in the thousands.

Where is the collective remorse and resolve to change that one would think senseless deaths like these would induce in other more normal societies?

Considering the staggering death toll of past avoidable tragedies, the displays of contrition we see today in the aftermath of this most recent tragedy, for me, remain suspect. Like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, the expressions of mere intent to reflect and to reform ourselves fail to impress me.

I look no further than the words of the supposed top buck-stopper in the land, the President, when he said:

“Our problems now, in two or three years we can say that they are laughable when we recall that they were not that grave,” […] said [by Mr. Aquino] in Filipino.

Those words of the President, just like how his very person reflects the very character of the society he leads, explains a lot about us as a people. They are words that may ease the pain (at least for those still beholden to his pedigree) but do nothing to cure the underlying wounds.


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53 Responses to Filipino self-anaesthetisation after the Mendoza hostage massacre

  1. frustratedcitizen says:

    Honestly I can’t imagine Filipinos considering the bloody hostage-taking event as a laughable matter. I can’t even understand what was going on the president’s mind during that time. Who in the right mind would consider killings as laughable?!(pardon me for the exclamation point, this statement by the prez has been making me furious in my comments)

    So in short, it’s like the president is telling us that the Maguindanao massacre is a laughable matter as well? just citing an example…I can’t even see how those words will ease the pain, as I understand that its just a show of inconsideration and inhumanity. Really… laughing at the death of persons.

    Filipinos really need to rub their own wounds with salt. Or, better yet, have someone rub the salt in their wounds and rub in the humiliation in their face that they would dare not forget. It will take an iron-fist kind of rule to do so.

    Again, another informative piece Sir Benign0.

    • Thing is, when other people show that humiliation to us, we look at it as racism. See how immature we are? It is constructive criticism yet we refuse to accept it and call it as something derogatory.

  2. TamiMo says:


  3. abcdef says:

    malalang malala na talaga si noynoy. kung ano ano na lang lumalabas sa bibig niya

    • mihael keele says:

      “Our problems now, in two or three years we can say that they are laughable when we recall that they were not that grave,” […] said [by Mr. Aquino] in Filipino.

      Two or three years? Hell, only four months after the elections and I’m already laughing. Not.

  4. edthepygmy says:

    “Our problems now, in two or three years we can say that they are laughable when we recall that they were not that grave,” […] said [by Mr. Aquino] in Filipino.

    we can’t just laugh at tragedies. it has been 65 years already since the WWII came to cease, and yet, many if not everyone can still feel the horror it has brought people.. most especially in the extermination camps in Poland. i know it’s a far cry from the 8 hostages killed.. but seriously? laugh at it in a couple of years? .. he might have forgotten that this isn’t just his sister’s STD he’s talking about. 😯

    • ChinoF says:

      Ask some people if they can laugh at comfort women’s tragedies in WW2, no matter how much time has passed.

    • Hyden Toro says:

      More tragedies and crissis are on the way. For too much fear of these events. The idiot is now laughing. I think, he lost his mind already. Shocked by the recent hostage incident. 😆

  5. J.B. says:

    A president who said the hostage crisis will be laughable in few years time is more tragic than the hostage incident itself.

    • Aegis-Judex says:

      Why? Because he has proven himself to be a cold-hearted monster. Nyet, he is no man, otherwise he would have had acted on the important concerns that plague him.

    • NFA rice says:

      Remember his reaction to the Hacienda Luisita massacre? He excused the killings because, as he claimed, the strike was ‘illegal’.

      That life-less form has no respect for life. Mentally retarded talaga.

  6. irony: the criminal was monitoring government’s every move on tv, but government never thought of monitoring the criminal on radio.

    what happened wasn’t just failure of leadership, as if that wasn’t bad enough. what happened was also failure of common sense, and that is infinitely worse. 

    laugh at this:

  7. ChinoF says:

    Ah, I know it. If Filipinos were the one victimized in the incident, it’s not laughable. But if foreigners are the ones victimized, it’s laughable… because that’s how it is in the Philippines.

    Nasa puwet nga ang utak, naging bato pa ang puso (The brain is in the butt, and the heart has turned to stone). Filipino attitudes have become heartless and uncaring. Well, that’s only PNoy speaking, but if he represents the attitude of Filipinos all over, then it’s tragic.

    • Expat from TW says:

      I was born in JP but from TW.
      One of my coworkers asked me what if the victims had been Japanese.
      I answered almost 8 to 10 Japanese lolo had been killed by ex-Japayuki every year.
      (Well, it could be a grudge of comfort women during WW2)

  8. benign0 says:

    Journalist Boo Chanco provides a brilliant expose of how a kick-arse Crisis Committee that hummed like a Ferrari’s engine was in effect under the previous administration; how the man who was its architect – Bert Romulo – now serves under Noynoy’s administration; and how Noynoy quite simply FAILED to tap this expertise to get a new one up and running in today’s Malacanang.

    Click here to check it out! 😀

    • brianitus says:

      I’ve been reading Chanco lately. It’s great that someone from the Star is slowly taking the kid gloves off.  His points are spot on.  

      That Esposo fellow is the one getting the most s#!t in the comments section. 

      I’m wondering.  The Star is an LP mouthpiece (the Belmonte connection), right? You think we’re seeing the LP’s way of waging a guerilla-type war against the PNoy?

  9. Jay says:

    We should remember those words by P.Noy, that in two-three years time that event would be laughable. Some people tried to defend that Noy’s smile during the press-con regarding the incident was that of vexation. Those famous words of his further proves its beyond that. Its from a cold hearted, inconsiderate, sick son of a b*tch. And knowing the reality that there are many who are sold on his perspective, are just as inconsiderate, ignorant and pathetic excuses for the human race.

  10. Nes says:

    Laughable in two-three years time? Are we talking about the hostage incident or the so-called President? Haha. :))

    (Why “so-called”? Because that’s what he really is – a President in name only; when you look at his actions, he’s not acting like a President at all. Someone give his resume to Zirkoh. We need more comedians there, not in Malacañan!)

    • frustratedcitizen says:

      this is about the hostage taking incident, as the current president said, it will be a laughing matter in 2 years time

  11. Nes says:

    oh yeah, I’ve read Boo Chanco’s article (thanks Benign0 for sharing!) and i loved the joke at the end of his article.

    Nag join forces na ang Samar (kabarkada) at Balay (Mar Roxas) groups to improve the governance of P-Noy. Ang tawag sa kanila ngayon ay…

  12. Ryunken says:

    If Noynoy represent the whole Philippine country & Filipinos… Then, I don’t want to be a Filipino… Cuz’ PNoy wants to embody the Filipino race… A total Laughable disgrace of a country…

  13. Ricardo Dabao says:

    Maybe he is now laughing at his father’s assassination. and next year at his mother’s death! Me sayad talaga!

  14. ulong pare says:

    “Our problems now, in two or three years we can say that they are laughable when we recall that they were not that grave,” […] said [by Mr. Aquino] in Filipino…. daaaang… what y’all talking about laughable in 2 or 3 years? right from the beginning, i was laughing at how flips bungled up an elementary scenario…
    a cub scouts could do better…

    • Mike H says:

      Too bad Pilipinas has 💡 medieval anti-libel laws.

      Wouldn’t it be great if there were more comedians (and rock-star wannabees) that poke fun at 😯 Pinas politicians plus LGBT’s, glue-sniffing kantoboys and kanto-girls, wife-beaters, preachy priests and angry Mendozas??? Or maybe not. Some politicians may unleash men 😥 in motorcycles.

  15. Kikuchi sensei says:


    “Our problems now, in two or three years we can say that they are laughable when we recall that they were not that grave,” […] said [by Mr. Aquino] in Filipino.”

    Ahhhh! Very strongu evidence dat Firipin president show no sympathy foru humanity!

    Akino very stupid boy! Hoping to ignooru obvious probrem, onry when probrem get biggah and biggah! Rike cowardry warrior who free from battoru, he run away in sheimu… RIKE RONIN!!! AHHHH!!! 

    • Aegis-Judex says:

      Sensei, if you keep this up, why not join the AP social site? What say you, tovarisch?

    • ulong pare says:

      @kiku… rike nippons, prez gung gong needs to commit harakiri… bakayero, firipin prez gung gong! … banzai, nippon! .. ogenki desu ka?

      • Kikuchi sensei says:


        Akino too cowardry to commit seppuku or harakiri by SERUFU. Wakizashi too onorabooru to use for stupid boy rike Akino! AHH!

        AH! NIHONGO! Remind me of Firipina who wait for me at NAIA eaaport. Oruways ask for “RAPAD!”, speakingu in very crude NIHONGO! VERY FUNNY!

      • Suzuki Yamaha Kawasaki says:

        NAIA airport staff always are asking money saying “Kimuchi Kimuchi” which they actually want to say “Kimochi Kimochi”.
        BTW, is Akino “秋野”? Tama ba?
        Originally Chinese or Japanese?

      • Aegis-Judex says:

        Akino — Aquino (Sp. Aquinas/of Aquinas, as in St. Thomas Aquinas)

        Interrogative: What do you mean by “Kimochi,” SYK?

      • Suzuki Yamaha Kawasaki says:

        Original meaning of “Kimochi” is “feeling”.
        But also when you want to express your thankfull feeling by giving something as a token of your gratitude, you use this word like “Hon no kimochi desu ga”.
        The airport staff at NAIA is demanding your gratitude without he does anything for you right after you arrive here in the Philippins.
        And this becomes the first impression of this country…

      • Kikuchi sensei says:



        Maybe you mean “Okanemochi” meaningu… RICH! Because many Firipino think Japanese paason rich, rike any otha foreigner! AHHHH!!!

        “Akino” just Japaneezu way of saying Firipin president neimu. Howevah, I give Akino very spesharu Japaneezu neimu! I nao kooru him… “WARAGAWA AKINO”

        VERY FUNNY!

        …And very correct about eaaport porice!!! Many eaaport porice try to befriend Japaneezu man to get big tip and “RAPAD”!!! I see it oru da taimu aftah craiming ruggage!!!

    • ChinoF says:

      Japanese, honorable!

      Firipinos who bad and rike Akino saying, horrorable! 😆

    • Suzuki Yamaha Kawasaki Honda says:
  16. Hyden Toro says:

    A Preasident, who tells us the Hostage Incident will be Laughable within two to three months, is really Out Of his Mind. The imbecile needs, Psychiatrist care and medications. People died in this Tragic Incident. The international reputation of our country is blemished, by Noynoy Aquino’s inaction. Instead of taking charge of the situation: he did Nothing. Then, you call this laugable? It will enter into the History Books of our nation. Whereby; a President , because of his Incompetence and Cowardice, allowed the death of foreign hostages. It will be read by furture Filipinos, not yet born…

    • NFA rice says:

      Abnoy was taking charge of the situation. He was helping Lim eat his siopao.

      • Jay says:

        wait, wasn’t there an article about Abnoy’s psychiatric profile awhile back? That he was incapable of handling situations under pressure?

      • NFA rice says:

        We can only speculate as to Abnoy’s activities on that fateful day. Talk about transparency.

      • Hyden Toro says:

        Noynoy Aquino is in a psychological meltdown. Stress can bring back an episode of Depression. I think, it kicked out his bonker; when that Crazy Policeman took Hostages and killed them. This may also be some reason, he was INCOMMUNICADO during the Hostage Incident. Who knows? However, they can also deny it. But, that covered mysteriousTimeline is very interesting. Wanna prove and dig it? If they refuse to let you…they are covering something…. 😕

    • Mike H says:

      sennn-yyyor Hyden : Are you again bringing up the :mrgreen: “Depression” // attention-deficit-disorder psychology 🙄 paperwork about Noynoy?????? Again?

      • NFA rice says:

        @Mike H,
        I was skeptical about that report. But judging from Abnoy’s inane smirks and laugh at deaths, one can’t help think that there’s a truth to the rumor.

      • Hyden Toro says:

        @Mike H: No, sir. I am not bringing up the Depression issue. However, the way he talks about the hostage situation. Is not the way a NORMAL MAN talks. Let a good Psychiatrist and Psychologist analyse his inappropriate reactions to the Hostage Incident. He was seen smiling; giving inappropriate remarks; etc…It really bothers me already. So, ask the knowledgeable people; they can give you a better answer than me… 😛

  17. concerned_citizen says:

    And what other noteworthy quotes shall we expect to come from NA. I can’t wait for the next one.

  18. Kotobuki says:

    “Our problems now, in two or three years we can say that they are laughable” – I rather see the prospect that within those next “two or three years” we’re going to have another shameful debacle like this one, thanks to our short memory span!

  19. frustratedcitizen says:

    PNoy = Hari ng Sablay = hahahaha! now that’s laughable and yet its true.

    How about PNoy = Sablay god (much better I think)

  20. ice_queen says:

    When Ninoy, PNoy’s dad, was assassinated in 1983, did PNoy say it was a “laughable” thing by the time 1985-86 came around?

    I wonder…

  21. Mike H says:

    Why is underSecretary Puno still in office? I understand why Robredo has not been fired yet, but what is keeping Noynoy from showing some steel and firing Puno?

    Cronyism shooting-buddy is bad enough (why Puno got hired); cronying shooting budy is extremely bad why Puno does not get fired.

  22. Mike H says:

    Why is underSecretary Puno still in office? I understand why Robredo has not been fired yet, but what is keeping Noynoy from showing some steel and firing Puno?

    UUBRA, but cronyism shooting-buddy is really bad (why Puno got hired);
    DAPAT HINDI — cronyism shooting buddy is extremely bad for why Puno does not get fired.

  23. TMM says:

    I just came from a wedding of a friend in Singapore. Being the only Filipino there, I wished hard nobody will bring up the topic of the hostage crisis or I will just faint with shame.
    Unfortunately somebody had to bring it up and all I could say is…. sorry. sorry. sorry. We as a people are deeply ashamed for what happened.
    I could not offer any excuses. I never liked Noynoy but being a Filipino, I had to share the collective guilt of this nation.

    Shame to everyone involved in this tragedy (except, of course, the victims). Everything and everyone that could go wrong DID DO AND GO WRONG.

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