Monday, April 12, 2010

Gabâ From a Comedian

Visayan for come-uppance, whereby the thing we’re proudest of is destroyed, held up to the unbearable light of public ridicule. Manny Pacquiao, this time, since our noses went up a notch because of him, even though even a non-aficionada like me thought he was under-matched in the last two fights. This comedian not only dumped on him but, in true macho tradition, dumped on his people, especially “his” women – meaning the women of the Philippines, thus revealing the reality of how a large part of the world still looks upon us, despite Pacquiao.

Had Mr. Pacquiao responded with “I’ll give you three minutes in the ring with my legs shackled and my left hand tied behind my back,” I would have been edified. As it is, he merely forgave – FORGAVE!— the comedian who’s certainly NOT of the caliber of Stephen Colbert who nearly made me die of ecstasy with his comment that we have to fix Kyrgyzstan since it’s our top supplier of consonants. (FANNED!)

Mr. Pacquaio, listen up, I believe you have been under-matched in the ring and now over-matched with a low-brow comedian.

Meanwhile we all gear up to joust with said comedian. As we have done before, with a long list of quasi-, semi-, wannabe, celebs. I’ve done it myself, even threatening to picket the Oscars red carpet once, because I’m of the Philippines – meaning, nothing is worse than an insult, since we subscribe to the Schrodinger theory that nothing is what it is until it’s said to be what it is. Sex tours – maybe happens, maybe not, until someone points it out and then we shriek in fury.

I’m p---ed, people, because in the same week, some 300 Filipino teachers in Louisiana, aided by the American Federation of Teachers, sued a recruiting agency based in Los Angeles which, per the complaint, extorted thousands of dollars from this mostly female labor force. Horror of horrors, the agency owner is a kababayan, kalahi, katropa, ‘day, a compatriot, hija de… ONE OF US!

And there’s the rub, people. I wonder how many such material insult – outright exploitation – we’ve let pass, refusing to buckle on the armor of our righteousness, strap on the sword of our outrage because we accept that we can do unto one another what we expect the Other not to do to us.

We treat one another cavalierly, according to an internalized colonial value system; assume that work from a kababayan should be cheap, wages can be delayed, ideas stolen, help un-thanked, waste another’s time, and expect our own people to grovel before us…

A friend who’s a classical guitarist tells me he got a call from a woman wanting him to perform at her daughter’s 16th birthday party and who cruelly asks whether he could play Bahay Kubo, Leron-leron Sinta... I’m asked to edit something for free -- which was fine until I’m told that the favor-asker had hired a layout artist to set the text. To my face, WTF! It’s a class thing, you say, except the culprits aren’t even in my class. Nah, it’s colonial, feudal and imperialist. We’re cheap labor, simply because we're of the race.

Those who are not kalahi learn how to treat us by watching how we treat one another.

So raise the sword of outrage, get on the horse of righteousness and do battle on behalf of the 300… Fix the reality and the image will fix itself.

If not, we’ll get gabâ-ed over and over again, until we learn that respect should begin within our circle. -- #

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pacquiao has committed to so many acts of generosity to help his loved ones and communities aside from his consecutive winning streak. Maybe the man is just too tired to spit out a witty rebuttal? I mean he's only human and being a man never admitting your tired is sometimes an expectation....on the plus side I haven't heard of this bad joke so it can't be that widespread...?