Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some seminal GetRealisms

Here is a review of some of our most seminal concepts, one of which we hope is permanently dead and buried while the other three, sadly, remain characteristic of the outside-the-square, oblique, and often seen to be obtuse way we engage the National "Debate". Sad, because of the fact that only a small minority possess the insight to approach the issues in the way collectively described by the latter three, while the rest that make up the majority and often loudest voices of the national chatter see only the easy discourse.

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Ocho-ocho revolution. Hopefully we've seen the last of this rather embarrassing Filipino phenomenon. What was once regarded with pride as the People Power "Revolution" of 1986 was the seminal homegrown event that put the Philippines on the map. A subsequent one in 2000 -- and the last one that breached the one-million-strong attendance barrier failed to impress and even raised critical eyebrows amongst the international community. Ocho ocho is a dance craze that swept the Philippines from 2004. Along with the ocho ocho dance fad, fizzled-out Philippine street "revolutions" that one or the other ambitious opposition politician, interest group, or oligarch organised in the aftermath of former President Gloria Arroyo's alleged cheating of the 2004 presidential election were also in vogue in the mid 2000's. It was after an article on the Sunstar.com reported how a supposedly major street rally organised on Ayala Avenue in 2005 transpired (boldface for emphasis)...
It looked like a huge street party with an interesting mix of characters... Street vendors were out in full force, peddling corn on the cob, boiled bananas, fish balls, deep-fried chicken gizzards on a stick and scoops of ice cream on hamburger buns.... Music and entertainment were another crucial component, keeping the crowds from drifting away. Pop stars crooned on a huge stage and the "Sex Bomb" dancers--a group of young women in tight white tops and blue capri pants--did the classic bump and grind.

... did the term ocho ocho become an indelible symbol of this tired relic of a "democratic" exercise.

Promises nothing in life and everything in death -- refers to the very core philosophy of most monotheistic organised religions. In countries where there is a severe deficit of imagination -- such as the Philippines -- such an outlook towards life is proving to be fatal as it sucks the spirit out of a people who lack the intellectual and creative faculties to imagine an alternative attitude. Ours is a society where bad fortune is attributed to "God's will" and good fortune is attributed to "God's graces". There is no component associated with free will and its astute cousin, personal accountability.

It's simple, really. Indeed it is. The Philippine National "Debate" can be perceived by some to be quite convoluted (some use the term "complex" to grant it some semblance of intellectual substance). But really, this complexity and/or convolusion is more a result of these debates being habitually framed at the wrong layer -- the political layer -- of the collective chatter. As a result, political "experts" tend to debate these ad infinitum. But it is only the most insightful of people that can resolve these intellectually. The fact remains, Filipinos monumentally struggle with the simplest of issues. Subject these issues to the right questions, and their utter irrelevance magically shines with a previously unseen brilliance.

This brings us to one of our oldest and most enduring truisms;

The solutions are obvious. Yes they are. But it is often the most obvious of answers that are, at best, overlooked or, more often than not, seen to be too hard to come to terms with. Perhaps it is because we would like to believe that our troubles are brought upon us by big hairy bogeymen and not by reasonable cause-and-effect constructs that only ask that we acknowledge simple truths about ourselves and our character as a people.

* * *

And the journey continues...

2 comments:

  1. Not so sure about that ocho-ocho bit, when I read stories in the paper about things like a "people's run for justice" to supposedly persuade the SC to reverse its ruling on the Vizconde case*. Seems that the preference for clownish mob action, while perhaps smaller in scale, is still alive and well here.

    *It's on the front page of today's online Inquirer, btw.

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  2. Yup. All fall under the overarching lynch mob mentality of Filipino political "thinking". Maybe I am being a bit too limiting in defining "ocho-ocho revolution" as specifically referring to street mobs, as the scope of moronic activity that fall under its conceptual scope is getting broader...

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