Thursday, May 28, 2015

is this what we really need?

The past few hours have been revelatory. Now I think 10% of the internet trolls, 28% of bigots, and 49% of hypocrites in the world are Filipinos or come from the Philippines.

Fine. The statistics are bogus, but in such a short span of time, one can easily approximate the current climate of a society based on an issue and how this society responds to it. This issue is that of Rodrigo Duterte possibly taking a major government position. I have posted on social media that this worries me since many people are clamoring for this to happen.

Why does this bother me? I believe that a man who can put an end (directly and indirectly) to another man’s life (criminal or not) because he thinks of himself as a higher being or a kind of god is a man who has no respect for human rights and equality.

This post has received a deluge of comments, mostly from people who deem the man and the maneuverings of the so-called Davao Death Squad are the next best solutions to the growing crime rates that plague our nation. They are up in arms about me being skeptic of him saving the Philippines.

I spoke about nobody should be taking one’s life without due process, but this only got a response that this suggestion, one said, was useless. Who can blame the person for sharing this sentiment? Corruption in our government is as visible as the glaring light of day.

One person came up with a lengthy response, saying that the killings are necessary and make up for a peaceful place such as Davao City. True, I have been to Davao a couple of times and it is a lovely place. As for peaceful I cannot entirely attest to this. People do not live a life of true peace if some live in fear, no matter how few or plenty they are

Another comment went something like this: “People are just simply tired thus killing these scum [sic] of society provides the easiest relieving respond [sic] to a safer community.”

People are just simply tired. Oh yes, with all the unsavory things happening in this country and all over the world, it is easy to get tired. New mothers get tired who have to wake up in the middle of most nights for their wailing firstborn children, but do they kill their babies? Street vendors suffer under the heat of the sun with little to no income each day, but do they kill the passersby who couldn’t even stop and buy from them a piece of candy? Heck, I even get tired on the idea alone of getting up for work as early as 5AM, but do I have to kill myself?


For a nation whose major population proudly put their love of righteousness, justice, God, the saints, and whatever on their sleeves, it is funny and troubling to learn that death is their solution. This only strengthens my belief that our country and most of its people are neck-deep in hypocrisy.

A friend has shared to me that studies have actually shown death penalty is not even a deterrent to a crime. Meaning, it doesn’t stop the crime from happening again. It is true there are some people out there who do and can do acts that are way beyond our imagination that we may feel numb and suggest these guys do not have the right to live. But in the end, death does not reduce the crimes. “It’s like correcting a wrongdoing with another wrongdoing,” my friend said.

This is what many do not come to think of and even consider: Crime is an idea, sometimes a kind of force or compromise, not a person. Kill the person and yet the idea still lives on, thriving.

The point is we do not need an iron fist. What we need is an open hand and the sense of righteousness that do not resort to barbarism. We have come a long way, and we cannot go backward. This is already the 21st century after all.

Death or the many other forms of killing is a lowly, lazy and cowardly solution since it does not tackle head on the root and real issue of the problem. Because one has to ask, why do these people resort to crimes? Why do they do what they do?

This adamant support for taking the life of a criminal is like getting a test paper that you just throw away after seeing the tough questions. You didn’t solve any problem. You failed the exam.

On teenage gangs, which Davao’s police force say are responsible for the crimes committed in the city, Duterte can be quoted from an article by the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), saying, “I will not hesitate to kill them. I don’t care about minors.”

Now, let’s ask ourselves, is this the kind of leader we need? Is this the kind of leader for our next generation? Should we soon put ourselves in the wrong side of history?


PS: As for the trolls, bigots, and hypocrites in this country, here’s a word of advice. Do not try to make sense out of these people. You just cannot get it from irrational, stubborn, and culturally backward men. It’s like talking to a piece of rock. An ugly rock.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

everyone's mad

George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” is one long chase that tears through a variety of desolate lands (and sometimes bodies). It is like Terry Gilliam took a one-liter swig of Red Bull and decided to make an action movie. And it’s great. By comparison, it makes the entire Fast and Furious franchise a fluffy rabbit. Or a kindergarten, kiddie-meal fare. Despite being saturated in grease, grit, and everything steampunk, “Fury Road” is not all that. There’s a lot of subliminal stuff going on in here, and that is its beauty: You see what you want to see. In my case—and here’s a reason why the female demographic should not be taken aback by this high-octane spectacle—it’s an action movie that ultimately raises the woman to another level, or perhaps on a level that could finally get head to head with the male counterpart. Everyone has delivered excellent performances (even the guitar-man steals some scenes), but Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa is as much brazen and daring as Tom Hardy’s Mad Max. In fact, it is the women in the film that drive the plot to its core and purpose. It speaks of a nurturing but tough as nails tribe that could be the remedy of a bleak future, not warlords and maniacal men. No wonder misogynists are attacking this movie; the girls running the world (cue Beyonce song). The stunts, the practical effects, the production design, the cinematography are top-notch. Heck, I’ve never seen fade-to-black transitions done so tastefully in a long while! As both writer and director, Miller definitely knows how to curate this world without giving in too much. Even with the characters’ sparse dialogues, a story is told by a stare, a furrowed eyebrow, a striking vista or even a grunt. Before seeing the film, I’ve been hearing complaints from people saying they do not understand the movie trailer. Guys, I think it’s high time to get back to the saying “Do not judge a book by its cover.” Believe me, you won’t regret it.

[ image lifted from this site ]

Sunday, May 03, 2015

the real and terrifying score behind the mayweather-pacquaio match

It is touted as the fight of the century, a match several years in the making. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquaio, both boxing legends in their own right, have finally gone head-to-head on May 3, 2015. The world stood still.

By now everyone knows the results and each has their share of debate and analysis to contribute to the general conversation. But there’s this one aspect in this historical event that many, if not the majority, seem to ignore. It is not about the alleged rigging by the judges and especially not the dancing and running skills of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

It is that Mayweather on this day is apparently gay. He is a fag, talawan, bayut, bakla, bading, or simply and ultimately put, “Gayweather.” As for him being a wife-beater, that’s a different story.

For having defeated a crowd favorite by sheer calculation, physiological advantage, and maybe even luck, Mayweather has received the ire of millions. But what surprised me was that many people still brandish the word “gay” as a kind of insult in this time and age.

I shared this sentiment online, and those who used the slur countered that I was over-reading it. “No offense”, “It’s just an expression,” “It’s for fun”, and “Chill” were the responses I received. Some even personally messaged me, perhaps, to hide their lapses and lack of better judgment. But this is not something to be chill with.

Chill my balls.

It is easy to raise hell and fire back, like slitting some throats with a butter knife (kidding), but as how a friend has reminded me, the best way to approach these people is with education. We need to teach everyone to stop using “gay” as an insult, a joke or for fun. Most especially the latter.

Take note, this is the same kind of reasoning why some arsonists burn houses, why anarchists terrorize people, or why rapists do what they do. They do it for fun.

In fact, hate is perpetuated by being too casual on matters that are actually derogatory. The fact alone that it is used as an “expression” only underscores how far we are from becoming aware of this or how plenty of people are becoming mindlessly oppressive by thinking they are better than the others. This is a case that makes it truly terrifying to the gay community.

Educating people is hard, especially for the older generation when it comes to sensitivity, but it is not impossible. My generation, our generation, is a tribe that has the responsibility to learn from the previous generation’s mistakes. And whether you agree or disagree, one of their mistakes is the shaming and disgust towards the LGBTQ community (which goes back further into the prejudice against the black community and the exclusion of women’s rights).

If we drag the word “gay” as a convenient slur, we also drag a community that has experienced a long, painful history of injustice that resulted to more fights and unnecessary deaths. If we continue to act the way we act right now, what are we showing to the youth who are still coming into terms with their inner selves? What are we teaching to some kids who already feel bullying is just normal?

Yes, we are a nation that is shamed. We Filipinos (and supporters of Manny Pacquiao from around the globe) have a collective morale that is deeply wounded. The classic story of an underdog winning at the end of day just did not happen. And it is all right. There is no need for this hatred.

Bigotry is not how we should project our patriotism to the world. Discrimination is not the proper attitude towards defeat. Think again and think harder. There are still many fights to fight, and more are not found inside the boxing ring.

[ image borrowed from this site ]