Having just finished an article indicting the ho-hum tradition of hacks issuing corny messages of “hope” that the Filipino can latch on to every time old gives way to new year, where else but in the Inquirer.net do we find the mother of all cliché New Year messages. The article “reviewed” the year that just passed and cited the “achievements” Filipinos can look back to with “pride”, all of which are products of the American Way — American-trained Manny Pacquiao and American-discovered Charice Pempengco were among the standout notables in this list.
But what is most disturbing is citation given to the success of the Philippine national football team, the Azkals, as “reflecting” the “greatest achievement” of the Filipino in 2010. The Azkals “against all odds” beat defending champion Vietnam in this year’s Suzuki Cup. Against all odds, because this team soldiered on and won despite its albeit remote association with anything Filipino, rather than because of it. Indeed, the Azkals succeeded without enjoying any wide support from the people it supposedly played for. It is an irony that simply escapes the sensibilities of the average Filipino — and one that cetainly flew over the head of the Inquirer.net editor, as evident in this excerpt…
But a nation madly in love with basketball took notice of and cheered their unlikely heroes, watching the two semifinal matches in droves. The Azkals turned us into believers. The Azkals’ success came largely from the determination and sacrifice of its team members and devoted supporters. That, too, is something very Filipino. To do what we dream of, we must dare to take the first step as well as the next, unmindful of obstacle or opponent.
… which highlights the reality of the Azkal’s success — that their devoted supporters were a brave minority in a vast ocean of basketball-crazy morons. So now that they’ve won Filipinos are now on to them in a major major way like an embarrassing rash.
The Azkals’ triumph reflected the Filipinos’ greatest achievement of the year as well. Just as the nation believed in their Azkals, so too did the Filipinos believe in one another.
Na-ah. Think again, Mr Editor, and ask yourself:
Did Filipinos “believe” in “their” Azkals when they were still an obscure and struggling force in a sport that lay outside the small square that defines the Filipino mind?
For that matter let us all ask ourselves: Before Ellen de Generes’s and before Cameron Mackintosh’s endorsements, where were Charice Pempengco and Lea Salonga respectively? Cetainly not out there capturing the stunted imagination of their own compatriots.
And so, folks, behold these examples of Pinoy “achievement” cited in “Testament“, the Inquirer.net Editor’s message of “hope” to his hapless readers. Beyond the personal achievements of people who previously were largely overlooked and underrated by the people who now so revealingly latch on to their “unexpected achievement” in the laughable hope of some of this equity rubbing off them, there seems to be no other win that can truly be attributed to any collective effort of the Filipino as a people.
No, wait. There is of course our dear “President” Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who, after all, was a product of the Popular Vote; therefore arguably an embodiment of some perverse form of collective Filipino “achievement”. But again, I will cite the irony in such an assertion as it is implied by the Inquirer.net Editor. For us to grasp this irony, we need to step back and regard the full line-up of candidates Noynoy went up against in the 2010 campaign. Noynoy’s opponents in the 2010 presidential election were candidates who were seasoned statesmen, seasoned executives, and seasoned thought leaders. That the Filipino would choose the least competent candidate to be their president says a lot about our character. And with that understanding of our peoples’ character, perhaps our regard for what lies ahead not only in 2011, but the subsequent five years leading up to 2016 can hopefully be a bit more pragmatic.