Sunday, June 05, 2016

whistles, bisaya, and debauchery

Just a few days ago, here is what a Gabriela representative said about Duterte’s catcalling, casual derogatory remarks, and overall bombastic behavior: “Ganun talaga mga Bisaya.” (People from the Visayas are just like that).

For the record, friends and loved ones, not all Bisaya people speak and behave the same way as P-Gong. Don’t let this tarnish the rest of the kabisayaan. And shame on you, Gabriela. The hero you should be emulating—Gabriela Silang—must be rolling in her grave right now.

Sexual harassment is no laughing matter. More so something that you should not just shrug off or dismiss to get your next shot of tequila. Such callous response to catcalling, especially for a women’s organization, is disheartening and worthy of a thousand face-palms. I mean, seriously, when will people ever understand that sexual harassment is not only limited to a penis forcefully entering a vagina or a finger ramming into a butt-hole? Kelan pa ba?

As expected, P-Going justified that his whistling was mere appreciation of the GMA-7 reporter’s beauty—which is usually the excuse of people finishing two bottles of Tanduay Rhum in the nearest sari-sari store at two in the afternoon. Note: I am almost close to coming into conclusion that this guy is incapable of owning up to his mistakes.

But here’s the thing that most people fail to understand: if the whistling is uncalled for and the woman (or even man) feels uncomfortable, harassed, embarrassed, or unsafe, then that is sexual harassment. It’s as simple as that. And if one cannot understand or refuse to understand this explanation, then one is a contributor to sexism and a whole host of problems in this country. One legitimizes harassment or pambabastos in the guise of “appreciating beauty.” I find this really quite strange because P-Gong actually has this ordinance in Davao City that mandates catcalling is punishable. Astig, right? Breaking the law that you personally passed? What an irony.

When it also comes to being Bisaya, here’s another concern. I am neither from Manila nor from Davao (I’m a Bol-anon through and through), but I have every right to speak up and challenge such generalizations. That is why I find it really naive and primitive for some people to laugh at those who critique the president-elect and suggest to these critics to “move on” or “just chill.” Move on, you say? Remain silent while the chaos before you is gradually draining the life and future of your country?

Based on personal observation alone, those who usually do not challenge or ask the questions are those who know nothing at all. I love the Philippines. So if your sole recommendation is to simply “chill” and “move on”, then that only shows how comfortable you are living in your luxurious cocoon of indifference and ignorance. Congratulations, mate! Live your life in the next pub crawl or with that slice of cake while your whole nation crumbles!

A few mornings ago, someone on my Facebook account cries out that P-Gong’s manner is just a way of countering the debauchery of the faulty institutions and oligarchs of this country, that his critics should thank him instead because he has brought these problems to public discourse.

Right then and there, I recognize the glaring problem. These institutions may have faults (all institutions have faults, actually), but this is no excuse to have such brazen and thoughtless display of misogyny, bigotry, sexism, and the lack of common sense. Just because he has done something right on one particular matter, it doesn’t mean he has free pass on doing whatever he wants, trampling on someone’s decency and respect. You can never clean up a roomful of junk with just a paper towel in an instant.

I also beg to disagree that we are only having this discourse right now and that people have been unquestioning of these institutions. That is pretty insulting to those who are having this discourse since God knows when. The only difference right now, maybe out of a miracle or blind fanaticism, is that all of a sudden the majority of the people just keep on praising and clamoring for whatever comes out of P-Gong’s mouth.

Time and time again, I’ve always been bringing up this common problem of the Filipino mentality: We only want to see what we wanted to see, hear what we wanted to hear. Nothing short of selective.

Debauchery, you say? How about being a womanizer? A self-identified murderer? A Marcos apologist and sympathizer? An Arroyo-enabler? A historical revisionist? The moral decline and influence? There are worse things, yes, and these are a few of them. If his unrefined manner is a way countering the debauchery of those faulty institutions and faulty oligarchs, then he is just as good as the people he is challenging. Oh, and speaking of oligarchs, having mostly friends and classmates as his cabinet secretaries?

What an irony.

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