According to the latest Social Weather Stations “survey”, 93 percent of a 1,200 person sample of Filipinos look forward to the Year 2011 with “hope”. This is supposedly an improvement over the 89 percent found to be hopeful in a similar survey last year. True to form, the SWS’s partners in crime in Malacanang are quick to latch onto this little factoid…
“We thank the Filipino people for their trust in us. They view our government as an engine of hope, that what we promised during the campaign, the eradication of graft and corruption and poverty reduction will bear fruit,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said of the survey results.
AS far as can be seen in the above PhilStar “report”, the survey made no mention of any specific aspect of this reported “hope” harboured by the survey respondents that could be directly associated with the nature of today’s leadership.
Indeed, the obvious question simply gets begged as usual:
Hope in what exactly?
First of all, what is a +4 percent-point change in a sample size of 1,200 that attempts to represent a society of 100 million? If I recall my college statistics right, such small samples yield a confidence level of anywhere from 90% to 95% at best. This means that even at its best, the “survey” leaves a 5% uncertainty in the results; that is, 93 plus or minus 4.6 percent points. This means that this “hope” reading for 2011 can swing anywhere from 88.4 to 97.6 percent. Guess what that makes that highlighted +4 percent-point change (a difference, that falls way below the uncertainty gap inherent to the small sample) in “hopefulness” from SWS’s 2010 survey to this 2011 survey. Quite simply: a nebulous assertion.
Who knows? Indeed, who cares? Who else, but the Yellow Horde of Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. After a campaign propped up by the illusion of celebrity drummed up by “social media” followed by six months of laughable (if it were not for the immense tragedy surrounding them) gaffes, one couldn’t blame an administration if it pathetically scrounged around for political capital.
This is an administration bobbing on a tide of popularity and not on substance. It is after all, the first Philippine presidency won with a significant part of its campaign waged in cyberspace. The irony in this fact lies in how astoundingly inept Noynoy’s “Communication Group” had been in the last six months. Add to this that other irony in how top “New Media” honcho during Noynoy’s campaign Enteng Romano is the first fallen top Cabinet official of the Second Aquino Administration.
So back to the question: Hope in what exactly? If we are to step back and regard this question from outside the square, we might pause and check out a different metric which (again, ironically) is actually quite close to what underpins the Noynoy presidency — Filipinos’ take up of social networking…
Rate of growth in the take up of social networking among Filipinos is among the highest in the world. From just 160,000 in July 2008, the number of Facebook users in the Philippines grew by huge leaps to 2.7 million in 2009 and then 14.6 million in 2010. The rate at which Filipinos are infesting Facebook is astounding, indeed.
In a nation where more than sixty students are routinely crammed in a single classroom (where there are classrooms) and the fabric of families and friendships are held together by the fibre optic threads of modern network technologies (owing to the ravages of OFW-ism), social networking is the beast that the first Facebook presidency needs to tame in its efforts to sugarcoat its lack of substance. And if the cyber-thievery so far exhibited by Noynoy’s “Communications” henchmen is any indication of how much Malacanang gets “social media” the future looks quite bleak indeed — bleak for Malacanang, but bright for the average Pinoy schmoe, that is.
Perhaps, social media and its inherent truth-revealing properties will slowly — but surely — reveal, as 2011 unfolds, the true nature of the Government chosen by the Filipino people in May of 2010. The ability of this new media to influence Government — more than any street “revolution” had in the last several years — was exhibited in a small demonstration of its power back in November of 2010; a demonstration that resulted in the fall (I cannot emphasise enough — and again — the irony here) of top Filipino cyber-“revolutionary” Enteng Romano.
The future looks bright indeed for the Filipino — but not necessarily for Malacanang.
Happy New Year!
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[Image of fireworks factory workers courtesy DayLife.com.]