Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pak! Man

Full disclosure: I work for a company that earns millions of pesos whenever Manny Pacquiao has a boxing match.

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When the tweets came in that Manny was knocked down, I breathed a sigh of relief. Inwardly I feel that the Manny today isn’t as hungry and focused as he was before. I wish this is his wake up call. Yes, he can be a preacher, a senator, and a boxer. But he can’t be great in all three simultaneously.

I took that opportunity to make fun of the CBCP and other anti-RH folks who blame every bad news to the RH Bill. For me, Manny losing is bad news. You still feel for the guy, despite his anti-RH statements. After all, his accomplishments are still record breakers.

But I’m puzzled whenever I see people post, “Pinoy Pride!” or “Pinoy pa rin ako!” in reaction to Manny’s loss. Of course we are still Pinoy, regardless of whether Manny wins or loses. I just find it shallow if people hinge their nationalistic pride on a boxer’s performance.

What is nationalistic pride anyway? For me, it’s pride in our accomplishments as a people, in our culture and history. It is a collective pride. But more than that, we should be able to find it deep within ourselves; it is not dependent on the success of others. When Manny wins, we are collectively happy because “one of ours” won. But let us be clear: Manny’s win is his; it is not a triumph of the Filipino.

(An aside: some may say it’s the triumph of the Filipino spirit. But what is the difference of the “Filipino spirit” from the never-say-die spirit of the Japanese, or the Americans, or the French?)

In the age of the Internet and worldwide connectivity we need to take a second look at nationalistic pride. More and more I find that the sense of nationalism, while important, will eventually take a back-seat to the bigger sense of humanity. More and more the boundaries between nations are breaking down. What happens in one country affects others. There will be a time when an insular outlook will be passé. (Say goodbye to beauty pageants as we know them.)

So Manny lost. If we’re sad, let it be because we feel sad for an individual’s loss. And we can still be proud of him for giving a good fight; it’s just that Marquez did better. It is not our Filipino-ness that took a beating on the world stage. Relax.

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