The Manila conundrum
It is a conundrum why residents of the greater Manila region would prefer a presidential candidate who, according to testimony presented in the Senate, is corrupt. The evidence presented in the Senate suggests most convincingly that he is a thief and a liar. It is also difficult to understand why Manila residents say they would vote for a candidate who is a self-confessed killer and so foul of mouth and behavior that we have to hide him from the kids.
It is confusing why residents sneer with scorn at a candidate who is rich with integrity, experience and knowledge; who has served under three presidents, has us well-prepared for storms, kept the Pope safe, helped pioneer the BPO industry which is the source of enrichment for so many, and is neither corrupt, nor shallow, nor a liar.
What values are these, that drive Manila residents to make the choices they make?
Presumably residents are not Dumb, but are Intelligent. Perhaps they are Uninformed. Perhaps it is a matter of Ego or its brother passion. I think Manila residents are Forthright and genuine rather than Manipulative. So my guess is that most are: IUEF. (Refer to the previous blog “The confidence of the dumb” if you are not familiar with these terms.)
Are they aware they are uninformed? Does their passion get in the way of reason? What’s up?
My guess is that those who would turn their nation over to crooks, liars, and crudely speaking killers must be very, very angry. Steaming mad . . .
Now it’s not that storm troopers are kidnapping their families or drunken tattooed gangs are extorting money and raping their daughters. It’s not that they are hauled to the central courtyard to be whipped or hung from gallows. No, it is not that brutal. It’s not oppression by thugs or state police.
It’s oppression by a National Government that can’t seem to perform the way they expect.
Well, we do, after all, look to our leaders to take good care of us . . .
But I wonder . . .
I do wonder . . .
I wonder if we follow as well as we should.
I wonder if Manila residents understand how good their life is, compared to so many. And I wonder if they know how absolutely wonderful it can be if the nation simply continues the upward drive toward First World stature.
Yes, I know about the slums and the garbage piles and the street kids. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about residents of mainstream Manila, the office workers and store clerks and taxi drivers and BPO agents and government workers . . . educated people who sit at Starbucks sipping their latte and talking bravely about how they will vote for a crook or killer.
I wonder if they know what is going on in Syria. In Iraq. In Africa. I wonder if they know what the Kurds have to deal with, or Christians in Egypt.
I’m guessing they don’t, or simply can’t relate. I’m guessing that they are not very informed. I’d bet they have no idea which construction projects are underway and blocking traffic, giving them short-term pain for long term gain. They have no idea when the new train cars will arrive or about the plans to connect Clark with NAIA by train. They don’t care that the Lakeshore project will speed commuters to the south in record time, because they go north. They don’t care about NAIA Terminal 1 improvements because they still have to wait forever for a taxi and worry that someone will put a bullet in their bag.
I’d guess it is people who are stuck in traffic for hours on end, or who don’t make enough money who are angry. Their lives are dead in the water because they see no relief in sight and no opportunity and they are looking for a culprit . . . and a quick solution. They’ve ridden the packed, sweaty Jeepney forever, and they are tired of it. They’ve stood in line for the trains, poking along so unbearably slow, unable to take a leak, and they are fed up. They’ve been stuck on the road for hours, just trying to go seven kilometers and it’s like being in a torture chamber. They’ve had the same stinkin’ job for years and there is no where to go.
They need a culprit, and the National Government serves the role quite well, thank you. And by extension, they think Candidate Roxas is promising them more of the same . . . rather than improvements.
I’d suggest that is a huge gap in their critical thinking.
I’d imagine that these are the people who have bought into the “compassion and change” promised by the Binays, or the “discipline and change” promised by Duterte. They have come to mix dream with reality and believe the whole of the Philippines can be shiny and new like Makati with free education and health care. It will only take a year or two. Manila can be crime free and absent of conflict. Unified, disciplined, clean, moving. No mistakes. No frustrations. No floods. No problems. Food on the table.
Is it just me, or do you think these folks are detached from reality? Do they understand that the Philippines is working its way OUT of the poverty and corruption brought to them by other quick-fix artists who rode into town on a wave of popular glory? Does a guy named Estrada come to mind? Does a cheater named Arroyo come to mind?
What in the hell is a boxer going to do in the Senate, anyway? He dedicated only four days to House meetings this year and we want to promote him to Senator?
Did I say uninformed? Blinded by need?
Never has irrational thinking been so mainstream. Absurd. Kafka’s “The Castle”, that’s Manila, a place where minions run about pushing cartloads of paper from one door to another, reach the end of the hallway, and start back down the hall delivering the same papers to where they picked them up. Where people blather excuses, contradictions, blames and nonsense. Everyone does it, officials, teachers, taxi drivers, lawyers, shop keepers and millions of ordinary people. And we are the simple land surveyor K watching this absurd tragedy in disbelief, our fate to die never finding the comfort of rational thought or common sense, to die a lost and lonely death.I have an idea.
How about one of the candidates decides to be bold. And truthful.
How about one of the candidates steps up to the plate and gives Manila residents the truth. They live in a crowded city on a too-crowded planet, and they COULD HAVE helped by having fewer babies. But it is too late for that. They COULD HAVE helped by electing qualified people to public office rather than movie stars and thieves. But it’s too late for that.
He could tell them that they have failed to accept ACCOUNTABILITY by filling the Pasig with plastic and that accountability is something you can’t dump on someone else. It is yours.
He could tell them to OWN IT!
How about this candidate steps up to the plate and tells Manila residents that most of the time the Los Angeles freeways are 300 kilometers of frozen metal, that thousands of bums in downtown LA live in cardboard boxes over at Fourth and Main, that water is rationed, that everything is so expensive that families work two jobs just to get by, and that the whacko neighbors are so drugged up or angry that they are shooting innocent schoolkids. How about the candidate tell Manila residents that all the world’s peoples got problems, and they are huge. Economic collapse, screaming storms, dust-bowl droughts, wild eyed Muslim murderers, refugees and dead people in the streets and half the population in some African nations starving with their ribs easy to count . . . one, two, three, four . . .
So what’s the rationale for emotional thinking in Manila? . . . for bad decisions in Manila?
Manila is thriving, with too many jobs in too small a space, and too much construction building, building, building a modern city into the First World where the Philippines has never been because of actor presidents, pretenders and corrupt and autocratic jerks elected into office on some really bad information.
Elected by people who dream big, ignore their own responsibilities, and then blame the ills on everyone else.
How about the candidate tells these out-of-touch Manila people what their government is doing, and has done, to offset the bullroar being fed to them by the tabloid media that government is inept and conflict is our lot in life and bad news is our way. How about he lists all the work being done to protect against floods and keep the city moving. About giving the homeless homes in safe places. About making the nation honest and productive.
How about he tells them of his own dream, of Clark as a second major airport hub, and provincial cities developed as vibrant job centers to take the pressure off Manila. About cities that are funded generously so they can take better care of their own residents. About more small and middle-sized businesses competing fairly against the big boys. About careers rather than dead-end jobs. About transportation that is clean and orderly and on time and where you can get a seat.
How about the candidate tells them that the Philippines has a sound financial book, new and improved and brought to us by the Aquino Administration, and that STABILITY BRINGS WEALTH. Change that disrupts this stability is guaranteed to be an economy killer. The absolute wrong kind of change. Do they know that Duterte wants to STOP the desperately needed infrastructure work so he can think for a year?
Why didn’t he do that thinking this past year instead of running off at the mouth, fondling women in public and blustering like a cock-fight rooster?
How about our candidate explains about the nation emerging as the leader of Asia by standing up to that thieving thug China. About how the Philippines is climbing on every global rating scale known to mankind from economic growth above 6% yearly to reduced corruption to improved competitiveness. That investment here is on the rise, and investment brings prosperity.
But the economy is a house of cards supported by OFWs and BPOs and a nation full of hard-working, underpaid souls. It is not yet anchored. It is fragile. The WRONG KIND of CHANGE could kill PROGRESS.
How about the candidate demand that Manila citizens climb out of their dreamland and project a real future. He should tell them in no uncertain terms:
- If you make the wrong decision, poverty and corruption continue.
- If you want to be a satellite of China, elect Binay.
- If you want a Death Squad in every community, elect Duterte.
How about the candidate tell voters that choices have consequences, and the best choices are not what some politically biased pundit says, or what grandma says, or even what the barangay captain says, that guy whose allegiance has been bought by corrupt candidates. The best choices are determined by what they study and learn and decide for themselves. Using sense. Not dreams.
How about he explains things straight.
How about he provides a “Quick Study Course” to give people the perspective they need to have to choose wisely. No tippy toes. No delicadeza. No political spin. Give it to them head on.
And then . . . and then . . . how about he asks the people in the Manila region for a little help. To car pool. To cut back on personal trips. To look for work outside the city. To dispose of trash properly. To cross streets at the crosswalks. To strive for discipline in their own lives, so that Manila becomes disciplined.
The best kind of discipline, after all, is not what someone like Duterte imposes on you – curfews and death squad visits at your door in the dead of night. But what you decide to do for yourself, and for your neighbors so they can lead happier and more fulfilling lives.
It seems to me it’s time for Manila residents to get accountable, get some sense, grow up . . . and pitch in to help.