What Vice Ganda’s tongue-in-cheek remark says about us Filipinos

012713_viceThe latest buzz that has been circulating around the chattering classes is how ABS-CBN comedic talent Vice Ganda made a tongue-in-cheek remark when asked if he had any plans to pursue a career in public service.

“Gusto ko president ako agad, yung wala kang background, pero mataas agad, parang ‘yung mga pulitiko lang ngayon. Walang background, pero senador agad.”

Asked if he is referring to any senatorial bets in particular, the 37-year-old comedian said, triggering laughter, “Sila Nancy Binay, sino pa ba?”

He added: “Wala akong sinabing masama ah, sinabi ko lang siya as an example, kasi totoo naman, ‘di ba? Wala siyang political background, pero senador agad. It’s a fact, ‘di ba?”

When asked for a “serious” answer to whether he sees himself entering politics, Vice Ganda said, “Baka, siguro pag matalinong-matalino na ako, [pag] marami akong alam tungkol sa pulitika.”

“Ayoko naman ‘yung… ang dami kayang walang alam, tapos kumakandidato, pasok sa top 6 sa survey,” he said, drawing laughter from reporters at the press conference.

At that point, everyone was laughing, except for Nancy Binay, of course.

A person made of sterner stuff, regardless of the truth, would easily shrug off such statements, made by a comedian of all people. But this is Nancy Binay we’re talking about. She’s gotten a lot of flak about her lack of qualifications and general aversion to discussing issues on the campaign trail, but she feels compelled to defend herself each and every time:

“While I respect his opinion, kung ‘yun ‘yung tingin niya… basta ang importante, unang-una, meron naman akong vice na nag-e-endorse sa akin ‘di ba, tapos meron pa akong Mother Lily, so I think made na made na talaga ako,”

Asked if she was hurt by Vice Ganda’s remark, the young Binay said, “Actually, alam mo sa ‘kin pag alam kong hindi totoo, hindi ako nasasaktan, e. I think ganoon kami pinalaki ng aking mga magulang, lalo na ng father ko, kasi we’ve been in politics for more than 20 years.”

She added: “Pag sobra kang sensitive, tapos alam mo namang hindi totoo, bakit ka masasaktan? Alam ko namang hindi totoo at hindi tama ‘yung sinasabi niya.”

And in the same article, she also claimed that it’s understandable that Vice Ganda would make such a remark due to his manok in the last election:

“To set things straight, ‘yung kay Vice Ganda, hindi rin ako nagulat eh, kasi nung 2010… in fact he campaigned for doon sa kalaban ng kapatid ko, so I’m not surprised,” she said.

Of course, Nancy Binay. It’s all about past political grudges, like everything else in this country. Political grudges never get buried. But it still doesn’t change the fact that the only thing you have going for you in the senate race is popularity, according to the surveys. You don’t talk about your platform, or policies, and you’ve been avoiding debates.

Then again, politicians reflect the society that they govern. It’s a big question mark if Filipinos understand what big words (to them, at least) like platform, policy, and debate truly entail, anyway.

***

Egged on by Vice Ganda’s remarks, the chattering classes are so busy showing outrage at Nancy Binay that it seems they’ve focused on her instead of looking for other deeper, more underlying issues, if any, with regards to how our society approaches elections.

On the other hand, Vice Ganda’s remark is a rare instance of a showbiz personality actually making a valid point. Whether Filipinos like it or not, that tongue-in-cheek remark says something about us Filipinos that we may not like to hear.

Filipinos would rather condemn the politician instead of the voters. They just don’t get it. People like Nancy Binay and Bam Aquino, whom Vice Ganda conveniently forgot to mention, are examples of people who can run and win because the people allow them to, despite having no prior relevant experience to entering in politics. And no, Bam Aquino’s “microfinance” thingy doesn’t count. While Filipinos continue to get swayed by dance moves, catchy jingles, perceptions of popularity and being winnable, and money in exchange for votes, unqualified politicians will keep on laughing all the way to the bank.

Demanding platforms and strong positions from your prospective “public servants” is a practice that needs to be ingrained into the very bottom foundation of the Filipino culture and psyche. If you want people to make smart political decisions, you need to ingrain in them the notion of how to purchase smartly. In case Filipinos forget, they also need to focus on the substance of what each politician brings, and not the form. Plus, they also need to learn to say no to the wrong things.

Filipinos take a passive-aggressive approach to things. This type of behavior doesn’t bode well at all for any attempts to hold the government accountable to the people. Impunity is the norm here because people are reluctant to tell you directly that what you did is wrong, or against the law. When hiya is the primary driver of such as in Filipino society, face-saving often comes at the cost of proactively upholding what is correct and law-abiding.

If you view your politicians as gods who can do no wrong, you’re not helping yourself, and you’re not helping your country. Filipinos cannot afford to be afraid to be timid and passive about evaluating their public servants’ performance, and they cannot afford to be complacent and uncritical of themselves. Filipinos need to make their public servants work for them, not the other way around, and definitely they can’t afford to be worked over by the public servants, too.

The Filipinos would do well to learn from Vice Ganda’s “liberation”. Vice Ganda is known to be blunt. I think, though, that if you’re a comedian, it’s but natural you have to be. Neither does he conform to the “macho Filipino” or the “demure Filipina” stereotypes that pervade Filipino society. If you do not fit into the pre-defined roles that Filipino society has set for you, they don’t try to understand you; they judge you prematurely and oftentimes, make fun of you, or use you for cheap laughs.

The focus in not on his gender; Filipinos need to liberate themselves from traditions and old ways of thinking that have served to be nothing but chains that keep them pinned down. To do this, Filipinos have to be self-critical. They can’t afford to keep up their stubbornness and they can’t afford to keep sticking to detrimental traditions.

The bottom line is simple:

Filipinos cannot rely on their showbiz celebrities and their politicians to do their thinking and “changing” for them. If Filipinos truly want to change their society, they need to change their ways of thinking. An ethic of personal accountability needs to be ingrained in Filipinos as a collective.

This doesn’t apply just to elections. It is actually what happens in between elections where we need to do the dirty work of proactively holding people to account through the system.

About FallenAngel

Wer mit der Herde geht, kann nur den Ärschen folgen - whoever runs with the flock, can only follow ass
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8 Responses to What Vice Ganda’s tongue-in-cheek remark says about us Filipinos

  1. It was only after reading this article that I learn of Binay’s name, Nancy.. because in all of the posters I’ve seen around Cordillera, she doesn’t have a frist name, just Binay and for some other posters, her father’s image behind her..

  2. Andrew Bayating says:

    BAM AQUINO did not enter politics with out experience, he was former CHAIRMAN AND CEO of NYC a government agency that takes charge of youth affairs, and was very effective.

  3. Jerm Qui says:

    Andrew Bayating, anti-yellow as I may be, I am actually considering Bam Aquino in my list. I want him to be viewed as an intelligent public servant who won’t rely on the Aquino legacy or fall under it. I hope that my vote for him won’t be wasted.

    As for Vice’s opinion on Nancy Binay. I don’t think there was any harm on what he said. Overlooking the arrogance, he’s a very straightforward person, and I like that. Besides, he was asked. Kumbaga, ginatungan naman kasi nila.

  4. ILC says:

    Politics is totally different from governance. Here in this country , sad to say, governance took a back seat a long time ago and what we have is pure politics. Governance has just been digressed to just a mere incidental to politicking. Vote for Candidates that value governance and look at governance as their calling not popularity and cash opportunity.

    How I wish we live in a society wherein SUFFRAGE is a PRIVILEGE not a right so that we will all learn how to value and respect the sanctity of our VOTE.

    • Bea says:

      “How I wish we live in a society wherein SUFFRAGE is a PRIVILEGE not a right so that we will all learn how to value and respect the sanctity of our VOTE.”

      ^ LIKE 10,000.

      I seriously wish for this. So that everyone would diligently research candidates. But the problem is…when I walked around Makati today, everyone was so busy malling and nary an ink blot on their fingers. It saddens and enrage me at the same time. May time sila mag-malling, sana may time din sila bumoto.

      I ranted on FB about some Filipinos who complain about politicians when they don’t even vote. What right have you to complain when you are part of the problem and not the solution?

  5. iron rosary says:

    i hope you can write in filipino so that the the masa can understand you. thanks. our people really need someone like you to inform them effectively.

  6. Rody K says:

    ‘king ina, ang lalim! Can’t say exactly what it means but it’s provocative, heheh. Honestly, I’ve read and heard this kind of comment so many times before and I agree to each and every idea said about the Filipino mentality. Ang problema eh how do we sove this problem? where do we start? What to do? We may have defined the problem. Now, what’s the solution?

  7. Larry says:

    FallenAngel:

    While I appreciate a lot of the hard critiques here at GetRealPhilippines, I’ve always considered many of you (benign0 included) as thinly veiled colonial supremacists. One of the reasons is because you refer to Filipinos as “they.” This implies that you and others here do not consider yourselves as part of us, which is not all that surprising considering how many commenters along these lines have long emigrated or aren’t truly immersed in Filipino society (being half Filipino or less). Some recent posts have suggested that I may have been too hasty in my initial impression, hence my decision to participate.

    “Filipinos would rather condemn the politician instead of the voters.”

    It is not that simple. It looks that way from the outside, but it’s not that exactly. The broad stroke of this critique is right, though.

    “Filipinos take a passive-aggressive approach to things. This type of behavior doesn’t bode well at all for any attempts to hold the government accountable to the people. Impunity is the norm here because people are reluctant to tell you directly that what you did is wrong, or against the law. When hiya is the primary driver of such as in Filipino society, face-saving often comes at the cost of proactively upholding what is correct and law-abiding.”

    Dead wrong. It’s weird that you would use “hiya” as if it were a real thing. It’s not like that. It never was. That concept was used by an upper crust elite Filipino from yesteryear to broadly familiarize foreigners to how local interactions work. I can tell you right off that if you’re in a car accident here, the driver that hit you will have 0 hesitation in telling you that you were at fault, if he sees you as his peer, and moreso if he thinks that he’s superior to you.

    “The Filipinos would do well to learn from Vice Ganda’s “liberation”. Vice Ganda is known to be blunt. I think, though, that if you’re a comedian, it’s but natural you have to be. Neither does he conform to the “macho Filipino” or the “demure Filipina” stereotypes that pervade Filipino society. If you do not fit into the pre-defined roles that Filipino society has set for you, they don’t try to understand you; they judge you prematurely and oftentimes, make fun of you, or use you for cheap laughs.”

    Wrong again. Vice Ganda gets away with it because he plays it off as if it were a joke. It’s funny because it isn’t, but it’s a very dark sort of humor – like gallows humor. If you were that candid to a politician here to his or her face, you could face very dire consequences. Death is not off the table.

    The “macho” Filipino and “demure” Filipina do not pervade Filipino society. Maybe it does upper class Filipinos, but there is no room for demureness as the lower segments of the socioeconomic ladder. I grew up in Tondo where my grandma would wear a bolo at her side and had no qualms about using it as a weapon. The weaponry is atypical, but the mindset isn’t.

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