The myth of the Philippine modernity

Reading Maurice Arcache in his column Wild night with the Cosmo bachelor hunks where he describes a party where "the gals carried water guns, which they used to shoot the behinds of their favorite hunks while modeling on stage, dahlings" (emphasis on "dahlings" is mine), I came to thinking about the many other things the Church could have been stomping their feet about in Philippine society. Instead, our venerated men-in-robes today choose to raise a holy stink about the Reproductive Health Bill and wave their toy Excommunication Ray Gun at a Philippine President who stands by his position on the matter of universal public access to birth control products and services.

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.


  1. Sex was designed by God for reproduction. Sex is not for fun and games sir.

    People not understand that simple truth. That what separating mens and boys.

  2. HOW did you know that God designed sex only for reproduction purposes? Please paki-sagot naman anonymous #1, nacucurious lang talaga ako.

  3. So what does that mean with priests having sex with little boys? Recreation? Wow.

  4. And whoever said sex was 'designed'? By God, at that? And could Anonymous #1 really say that sex isn't fun and pleasurable?

  5. You've gotta be kidding10:35 pm, December 08, 2010

    Sex was 'designed'? By God?? Not for fun and games???

    Man, what planet are you from?


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