Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of wild Babylonian abandon. I live in Sydney after all -- where beer bottles and chicks are the vessels of society's Holy Water and Holy Bosoms respectively. As such, I interpret Arcache's need to qualify with a dahling quip certain practices and viewpoints that are deemed to be bourgeois or risqué, as one that highlights the subtle point that Manila for all its 24-hour bright lights and bigness really is more of a wannabe that remains self-conscious (at best) and in denial (at worst) of the reality that its "modern" cosmopolitan character is but a thin veil that masks an impoverished medieval society. Arcache's inability to remain coolly unimpressed with what are otherwise banal manifestations of affluence in real cosmpolitan cities illustrates the myth of the Philippine Elite.
Sydney, where girls in bikinis could nonchalantly walk in the sunshine from one end of the city's beach front to the other while all the rest of us mind our own business offers a stark contrast to Manila -- where girls in "short shorts" look upon this piece of apparel they self-consciously don and then refer to it as pek pek shorts as if to say ok I'm bad because I'm wearing this to anticipate the judgement amd stares they expect to cop from the very people whose attention, in all ironies, they originally sought to capture. Connie Veneracion put it quite succinctly...
It's our Catholic upbringing and the guilt about sex and anything sexual. As though the human genitalia and sexual intercourse are dirty and evil at the same time.
Whew -- complicated concepts there. More like convoluted, actually; said convolusion reflecting the unnecessarily convoluted "moral" framework of a religious but spiritually bankrupt society.
These episodes and little observations are our glimpses into the well of power from which the Catholic Church draws upon to sustain its grip over our primitivist society. Guilt is the weapon of this grand institution -- guilt over being rich and bourgeois and guilt over being sexual beings. Much of it is so deeply-ingrained -- so deep that its manifestations are so subtle but at the same time enmeshed in the way we communicate ourcoming to terms with (1) the reality of affluence ("dahlings") and (2) the prevalence of open expressions of sexuality ("pek pek shorts"). When we learn to be a bit more unimpressed by affluence and a little bit less unnecessarily titillated by expressions of sexuality, perhaps we can begin to regard ourselves as a truly modern and free people.