Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Post Election Burp

Like Kafka’s “The Hunger Artist,” I find daily food a bore, so when three friends offered a bet of dinner each at restaurants of my choice on whether Manny Villar, Philippine presidential candidate, would win, I immediately accepted, having in mind three places with top chefs I could never afford. They thought he was going to win; I thought NOT. This was the month Villar was neck-to-neck with the eventual winner, Noynoy Aquino, and for a while there, I wondered if I would have to sell Guapo, the house ewok, to cover my bets – or maybe hand him over to the chefs.

Well. Burp. What an absolutely fab first dinner, paid by friend with the black visa card, while he ranted against his stupidity and I nodded in sympathy, so he wouldn’t notice I was eating his dinner, too. And to make up for the damage to his bank account – ice wine, fab!, with this unimaginable dessert of honey, filo dough, chocolate, strawberries and green tea ice cream, (if you ate as erratically as I do, you’d understand the bliss) – I gave him a comforting spiel about how I knew he and his candidate were going to lose. I plan to use the same spiel for the two forthcoming fab dinners as well:

“First, Villar’s slogan sipag at tiyaga, which presented him as having made billions from hard work and patience, which to 99.9% of Filipinos is hogwash, as they’re all on sipag and tiyaga on a dollar a day. The subtext of the message is if you’re poor, you’re lazy and impatient or if not, must be stupid, which the 99.9% will reject and cause them to think eh, balderdash, you did something nasty; nobody becomes a billionaire overnight in the Philippines without effing up the next guy… The other subtext is that you, the voter, is such a moron I can say anything and you’d believe it – quite an insult.

“A jeepney driver could’ve told him that and for half the money he likely paid an advertising agency, I could’ve given him a better slogan like negosyo’t trabaho which would’ve made sense, with his image as a successful businessman and be clear as well to the unemployed, underemployed and low-income masses… Filipinos are very good at teasing out subtexts so one’s message has to be clean of possible (mis)interpretations.

“Second, when he added Bongbong Marcos to his senatorial slate, which already included Left-wingers, he showed he was willing to discomfit even his allies for his own interests – i.e., selfish, no core values and no loyalty. Then he had those half-naked girls gyrating on stage, though he knew he had women candidates. Villar might have been from the poor but his actions showed he was so insensitive as not to see he was losing women’s votes in the process of titillating men.

“Third, the constant harping on his being rich, like he’s entitled to anything he wants or can buy… We hate that, don’t we? A rich person should be circumspect, tumabi-tabi diyan, as in line up for four hours to vote just like us... otherwise the impulse would be to take him down a notch or two.

"Class is not the sole criterion by which we judge an individual; to Filipinos, that’s leavened by character and record. Note that the people not only gave Noynoy millions of votes in advantage; they also backed Estrada over Villar. That’s not only being a fan but a backlash of anger against Villar's campaign callousness.”

Friend chewed that over instead of the white asparagus on duck – ummm good – and then rather crudely said: “Well your friends went down with him,” which warned me he’d noticed I was eating everything. "How do you think they'll spin that? What do you think they should do?"

Mull that over for a minute. I had wished and still wish Liza M had run as an independent; it had been painful watching her try to deal with the gross impositions of the Villar campaign, from Marcos to the Kembot Girls and the self-back-slapping of that lurid guy Willie whats-his-name. As painful as watching guerrillas try to give substance to the “failure-of-elections” hysteria – a Plan B, I suppose, in case the Villar alliance crashed and burned, a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy…

Myriads of phone calls had reached me hyperventilating about “failure-of-elections,” the main ingredient being fear of Gloria staying in power – which left me quite non-plussed as it was clear she already had an exit strategy in place. I’m not sure whether her record of outmaneuvering the Left, or at least one of the Lefts, was due to her smarts or other’s denseness… in any case, there were days when I sort of walked around wondering if I was the only one in the whole universe unable to see this “failure of the elections” scenario, barking out to whomever on the cellphone, “the US won’t allow it, haven’t you heard of imperialism?”

But what do I say to my dinner partner, who’s found something to twit me with? Looked him straight in the eye and declared: “Focus on partylist gains instead of denouncing and kicking out whoever crafted the Villar alliance. Cover-up in lieu of criticism-self-criticism. It's nothing new."

I speared the last strawberry and ate it. -- #

12 comments:

Sheridan said...

White asparagus? Duck? Did you get the recipe?

Anonymous said...

Brand new slogan: cover-up, don't rectify?

Anonymous said...

What do you think of Riza Hontiveros? She is making it to senator.

Ninotchka Rosca said...

I think I met Ms. Hontiveros once a long time ago. I don't know enough to form an opinion but she did make a remarkable showing in the elections. Am I right that she's the only newbie in the winning or winnables circle? She did make a promise to file plunder charges against one of the presidential candidates; let's see if she will deliver.

Anonymous said...

Why would they prefer cover-up instead of rectification? They've kicked out so many people already. I was one of them. It should be easy for them -- well, unless the culprits are big bosses. I was ordinary rank-and-file.

maurice said...

So what does Joma Sison have to say about the showing of Villar in the last elections? He extolled the plunderer and turned a blind eye to the charges articulated by some (credible) sources?

Ninotchka Rosca said...

I don't know but I was somewhat struck that among the first things the president-elect said was that peace talks would be resumed -- considering the vitriol unleashed against him, that is. Noblesse oblige, I presume.

Anonymous said...

Noynoy Aquino won because he is the chosen puppet of US imperialism.

Ninotchka Rosca said...

It's kind of difficult to think that the US can micro-manage the votes of 50 million. And imperialism doesn't have to have a preference for this or that candidate -- the office of the presidency in the Philippines is the office of puppetry; it reflects in national policies the state of affairs in the economic fields. Nobody sits -- or has sat -- there without echoing decisions that are to the interest of imperialist globalization. If you believe otherwise, then I suggest you study the nature of the state.

Ninotchka Rosca said...

sorry: should be economic field... And really the use of patter (talk, talk, talk) to avoid looking in the mirror is an old sleight-of-hand trick. To quote from a statement issued by one Left organization, elections measure the people's sentiments... so I suggest that one really look at what happened (reality) and analyze that, instead of sloganeering. Btw, the overseas Filipino votes went to Aquino as well -- from Hong Kong to the Middle East, North America and Europe. What does that imply?

Anonymous said...

June 6, 2010

Mam, thank you for the great literature! Refreshing, joyful to the hilt. Just stumbled on your blog, via Marxism Leninism something after hitting those articles about whether there will be war in Korea soon or when, and where will I seek cover once those bombs start falling all over. I am here as an academic OFW in Hanyang University Ansan City, that is why. I go home next month, and must scour the national bookshelves if ever they have the latest Ninotchka Rosca treasure yet. Otherwise misfortune of a summer holiday with no latest Rosca reading.
what's the latest mam?

Still your avid fan and reader, pardon the self appointment,

NOY Amante (aka Maragtas Amante
formerly from UP Diliman)
Hanyang Universty Erica Campus
Ansan City, Republic of Korea

lou malaban said...

"Cover up in lieu of self-criticism" is par for the course. Wow. Sounds like a joke, it's a political lifestyle. That's how you spared the joma from criticism for going for Villar's money even if bongbong was on the ticket--sidetrack the discussion. you had your fancy strawberry and ate it too. How kurap. That's how you and your party will be too if it wins. heaven save us from self-obsessed debauches passing for progressives.