Saturday, May 21, 2016

Farewell Manny and Welcome Senator Pacquiao

I've been a fan of Manny Pacquiao since the late 90's. I remember watching this reckless kid who swung at everything that moved on Blow by Blow with my father. To me, he isn't a representation of any Filipino value. To me, he is one of the guys, along with Luisito Espinosa and to some extent Gerry PeƱalosa, who made boxing fun for me and gave me and my dad a common interest.

Boxing is boxing to me. It isn't about Filipino pride. I love Luisito Espinosa because he could knock anybody out in any given moment and not because of his nationality. The same goes for Manny. Both fighters are amazing and I'm not gonna cheapen their hard work and skills by saying their nationality had anything to do with the fame and respect they are getting.

Both fighters had their fair share of glorious battles. Espinosa had that hellish battle with Guty Espadas where he dropped multiple times only to fight back valiantly before ultimately losing a tiring battle in the 11th round. Manny had that same kind of battle with his first matches with Marquez and Morales; he suffered a broken hand against Marquez and a ghastly cut against Morales. Espinosa was cheated against Soto in their second fight and Pacquiao was cheated in his first fight against Bradley. Espinosa turned Alejandro Gonzales into a zombie in their second fight. And Manny did this to some Thai dude:

Manny Pacquiao vs Fahsan 3k Battery
make animated gifs like this at MakeaGif

That's pro boxing. It's brutal, nasty, exciting and can be a source of some sort of pride I cannot fully comprehend. But those, along with other grand adjectives, are all it is. It's a dangerous sport of brave, skillful warriors who put their bodies on the line to gain personal gratitude in the form of money, fame or whatever.

Be that as it may, I always gave Manny the benefit of the doubt. When he went into acting in the early 2000's in films with Mikey Arroyo and April Boy Regino, I instantly knew he would suck. But hey, it was his dream and there's nothing wrong with cashing in on his fame. Wapakman suck, but so what? When he had concerts, I saw nothing wrong with it. He's no Frank Sinatra, so what? People love him and they enjoyed listening to that "Laban mo, laban ko, laban nating lahat" thingy.

But here we are now. Manny Pacquiao is an elected senator and a retired boxer. More than that, he's a bible-thumping legislator who may very well have the capability to turn his personal beliefs into public policy. The days of me cheering and shouting profanities at the TV because of Pacquiao's fights are over.

When he decided to run against the Custodios and lost, I hoped his desire to go into politics would be quelled. But as we all know, that didn't happen. He decided to do what a normal trapo would do which is to move to an area with weaker political opponents and run for office there. He later on became Saranggani's congressman and this slowly changed my view of Pacquiao.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Quick Message to Marcos Apologists

We provided him a bunch of stuff and yet we are made to believe we still owe him something. We gave him 24/7 security for decades, vehicles ranging from cars to planes to use, a beautiful palace and the financial support to make his plans come true a reality. And yet we still owe him? Forget the idea that Marcos is allegedly corrupt or that his plans allegedly sent us to a period of collapse. Ang kapal ng mukha ng ilan sa mga tao para sabihing i-boycott ang mga pinagawang yan ngayo't patuloy pa rin nating binabayaran ang marami sa mga yan.

Wala namang masamang suportahan sina Marcos per se. Pero kung itong mga basurang memes o mga post sa mga pekeng accounts ang ginagamit niyong sources, you are in no position to tell us to boycott anything since you're currently boycotting rational thinking.

Note: There is no evidence suggesting that Erwin Tulfo has anything to do with the Facebook page embedded in this post.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Ever-Present Bias in Philippine Politics

*** The following post may contain strong language ***

In deciding things, we always look to some things that would validate a choice; if I'm allergic to peanuts, then I won't touch the stuff. That's how decision-making works. It can be simple and objective like deciding what's the best way to get to work. Other times though, if and then statements are not as easily constructed.

In life, we have to face decisions where the choices aren't necessarily wrong or right and the factors are not necessarily tangible and/or quantifiable. It's like choosing Martin Nievera over Gary Valenciano. Both are undoubtedly talented and legends in their field. It's just that Martin Nievara is always playing and waking me up every weekend morning. And in subjective choices like these, we tap into our individual biases. Martin Nievera has always been better than Gary V. to me. Maybe it's because my parents love him and his voice always accompanies great early morning memories. It's not about talent; Martin is certainly incapable of dancing like Gary. It's just that, I like Martin better.

These biases, I accept them. I actually embrace them because overall, I see myself as a decent guy because/despite of them. And I'm sure most people embrace a few of their respective biases as well. I mean, if you attack Aldub, Lizquen or any other love team, their fans would blow their tops and won't hesitate defending their idols on social media with their names and pictures attached to their posts.

Now, what if the subjective question encompasses more than entertainment? What if the subjective question where we have to exercise our individual biases is something that would affect the state? Say, the elections?

Before proceeding, let's be clear that politics is a grey, if not subjective, area. If it weren't, then every state would be following the same political stance. Free market, command economies or whatever is not the one best way to get things done.

Now, what's ironic here is that the questions I put forth are examples of instances where bias is exercised. I'm sure that some reading this may simply say "hold onto your biases for just a day and vote for someone who will usher in a new era of prosperity for this nation" or whatever. But can we blame a desperate mother looking to feed her child who accepts money in exchange for her singular vote? It's easy to say she's a treacherous moron willing to sell out our nation. But isn't it us, the supposed intellectual elite, who are responsible for shaping the government that failed that woman?

Bias is hard to contain. Whenever people say mass media is biased, all I can say is "Duh!". Everybody is biased. Those who claim they are less biased have actually been proven to be the most biased of all (link).

So, what do we do now?

The urge to close this tab is most likely a manifestation of your bias against whatever I'm writing here. So why don't we just embrace it and actually start to scrutinize it?

Denial is a major speed bump in making sound choices in the elections. Let's accept the fact that some of us turn away whenever bad things about our candidates are discussed. The fear of being proven wrong or being humiliated can be immense. But in politics, sit's different. As I've said earlier that politics is a grey area where one plus one can equate to Lynyrd Skynyrd. The only time you can be proven wrong is when you lose your conviction through something like a complete absence of logic or whatever.