Weekends are for Worthwhile Blog Posts: A Slice of Life Comeback Special

I promised a blog post in my not-so dainty comment on that notorious Lourd de Veyra photo, and here it is.

The elections are closer than ever before, and needless to say things have become as chaotic as expected. The televised presidential and vice presidential debates have made things a thousand times more exciting, as has our good ‘ol friend, social media.

This entry will focus on a series of popularized election related news bits– I start by presenting a brief summary of what happened, and conclude with my two cents on each selected topic.

1. “Ang elite, para sa elite.”

The Situation: Lourd de Veyra was the recipient of Atenean (and even non Atenean) ire when he posted a photo of the mock election results held at the school with the telling caption, ‘ang elite, para sa elite’.

Verdict:

I can spend all day arguing with the netizens of the Philippines about how not all Ateneans are like this– how some of us actually commute and bring baon because we need to save our money. How some of us don’t have our own cars and don’t live the high life. But I feel as though we won’t truly be able to prove anything to these people as long as they don’t see things the way we do from the get go.

But, despite my belief in its futility– here I go.

Mr. De Veyra, Not all of us are the way you think we are. We may be staunchly against Martial Law, but that doesn’t equate to us being #TeamYellow all the way. Some of us have views that go against the majority in the same way that some of us are not as elitista as you think. What they say about the Ignatian education is real– we’re fortunate to be immersed in social realities for each and every subject we have, and that doesn’t at all equate to students who are as self centered and apathetic as you may assume.

2. PBB or VPD? The ABS CBN Vice Presidential Debate

The Situation: ABS CBN held its own Vice Presidential Debate which was not sanctioned by the COMELEC last Sunday. Not all candidates made an appearance– both Bongbong Marcos and Gringo Honasan did not appear at the fiesta/ forum mashup.

Verdict:

Cons: The event felt more like a fiesta than a serious affair.

The disappearance of podiums and having the candidates sit down seemed rather off.

The emergence of beauty queen questions about superpowers.

Those self activating podiums.

Lack of offensive banter

Pros: Lists of actual planned initiatives from the candidates.

We heard about health and education!

Online queries from “netizens” <- still hating on this term

How the male candidates stood up when Leni reached the stage as a sign of respect #gentlemen

3. Brouhahahaha: the Election World and Social Media

(As it it wasn’t this way before) The coming elections have turned social media into a very bitter place– one mixed with everything from hastily made infographics to shared status messages to downright bitter rant posts.

Verdict: Friends, readers, family– social media is a toxic place to be. The longer you’re on it, the longer you feel embittered, pessimistic and simply horrible. My personal brush with SM led to an overwhelming desire to simply give up on this country and find my way out of it. But I stepped back, slept, and came up with these helpful tips for traversing your timelines in the days (and weeks) to come.

a. Verify your infographics. It’s fairly easy to go on Word to paste unverified quotes and tables on photos and circulate them online, accompanied by a ranty, angry caption. This is why one should take extra precaution when it comes to sharing a photo containing incriminating information on your timelines. In case you want to make an infographic of your own– do thorough research and copy past the links to your sources. Present all the data and caption accordingly. This tip also goes for news articles and short video clips.

 b. Give Peace a Chance. As much as it may please you to satisfy the urge to fight an overzealous internet fanboy/girl, don’t. In the spirit of democracy, try your hardest to remain respectful of this person and their opinions. But if you want to take them on, why not?

In case you do, remember: it’s not worth it. One of the major downsides of the internet age is how it has bred a group of people called Wifi Douches– those who are gutsy and bitchy on the internet but do not have the power to replicate their bravado in person.

Now, in case you do have the good fortune of finding someone willing to have proper dialogue with you– remember to argue with factual data. Provide links to support your arguments. Be nice, and agree when things make sense to you. Most of the time conversations like this end up with the seemingly decent netizen fighting you not with facts, but with thin air. If it reaches that point, stop the conversation, leave your timeline and smell the roses. Trust me, it will do much good.

 c. Don’t Break What Wasn’t Broken. A popular photo circulating online in the wake of the elections is one that reminds people to be careful with their words and the way they manage their relationships with the people in their life. This makes much sense these days, especially when one encounters a close friend or family member that suddenly expresses undue support to a candidate that is not to our liking.

If this is the case– respect their views. Ask them why they’ve chosen to support this person. Don’t belittle them for their decision and turn your conversation to platforms and more relevant issues. If you’re in a convincing mood, why not sell your candidate (in a civil, fact based, organized manner). You never know, you might just get lucky!

d. Take a Break. Continuous hours spent reading through comment sections and twitter feeds will leave one feeling dejected and just plain angry at the world. This is why it pays to take a break of at least an hour (minimum) to clear one’s head, relax, and dive in all over again.

Suggested activities: eating, sleeping and smelling the flowers. 

4. Rape Comment Controversy

Rodrigo Duterte gained the ire of several sectoral groups, candidates and netizens alike when a video of him making a ‘humorous’ comment about slain Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill, who was raped and murdered by inmates during a Davao city hostage taking more than twenty years ago.

Verdict:

Rape is no joke. It’s not funny. It’s not even in the sphere of funny because comedians sure don’t bring it up. I cannot even begin to imagine what it feels like to be a rape victim and to hear of someone who trivializes it in that manner. It’s sure to make one feel their blood boil in a fit of shear rage.

On the apology: His party supposedly issued a statement that clarified his apology, although he has not acknowledged that he authorized the statement and still refuses to apologize for the joke. NO GENUINE APOLOGY.

On the logic people use to support him still: Some provide critical reasons for staying on the DU 30 camp– one of which is what my POS prof has come to define as the character one needs to take concrete action on  government problems. Although I find this as a sensible answer, I personally feel that the remarks were very much offensive to women and merited a more sincere apology directly from the mayor.

There was no need for him to make even more excuses about it being a normalcy for him to talk that way. ‘Gutter talk?’, ‘Ganyan talaga ang mga lalaki?’ these arguments in particular irked me further because they seem like the same points old men would use to justify the patriarchy. They’re also an insult to the men who aren’t exactly born with a silver spoon but choose NOT to talk in such an indecent manner. I honestly don’t understand how he can’t get it through his head that there are some ‘jokes’ that just aren’t justifiable– there are some things you can’t talk in jest about and not expect people to react to.

People have their own thoughts about the actions speak louder argument– and here are my two cents:

Your words are actions, Mr. Duterte. You’ve agreed (albeit reluctantly, as you say) to allow yourself to become a public figure, and not just any public figure but one running for the position of the highest leader in the land. Now before you naysayers go and say that image is something we shouldn’t care about, well, guess what we should! If we take our international relations for granted than we can say goodbye to the possibility of inclusive growth because we might as well end up not having any economic growth at all! There wouldn’t be ambassadors and diplomats if international relations was something that didn’t matter because they do matter.

Case in point: Australia’s reactions to Duterte’s words and his subsequent response to them.

Postscript: On My Vote 

Less than a month left to the elections and I have yet to choose my candidates. There is just so much happening both in society and in my personal life that I haven’t had the time to sit down and think things through. This is why I’m particularly appreciative of news agencies and even outside orgs that come up with helpful infographics on the specific stands of each candidate.

For VP: Based on the debates and back story, I’m leaning towards Leni Robredo as my vote. Earlier on, I made the mistake of dismissing her off as someone who seemed to be very Cory-like (i.e. the dead husband legacy). But I did my research and watched some interviews (and the debates), and she’s looking to be someone who, despite lack of experience in public office, seems even more capable than Grace Poe. I’m also particularly enamored with how she seems to live a genuinely simple life. The photos of her waiting for a bus home to Bicol seem real to me, and not like the shots of Kris Aquino’s MRT ride.

What I don’t understand is how Bongbong is still making a dent (and supposedly leading) the VP surveys. How do people not understand just how wrong Martial Law was? Have they even checked Bongbong’s legislative track record? Has he even been doing anything? He sure doesn’t trumpet any bills passed??? It’s hard not to speak about him without a bias because of his attitude toward Martial Law. Had he been more remorseful about what happened then perhaps it would make sense to me to give him a chance. But he’s not, and that’s why it’s so hard to even fathom why he’s doing so well in the VP race.

I initially had an okay regard of Alan Cayetano as he seemed to be doing his work well in the senate. Even now I have to admire him for really sticking to his partnership with Duterte and the promise of eradicating crime in 3-6 months. But I’m afraid that’s it.

(Yeah I think I may have made my decision here so the biases are quite obvious).

On President: Is there an abstain button that I can shade? Because here’s my assessment of the current candidates:

Binay: Corrupt, keeps trumpeting Makati, hated on the administration when he was part of it, doesn’t seem to realize how running a whole country is different from running a city, political dynasty

Grace Poe: Inexperienced in politics, her family members are American citizens, is supported by questionable business people

Miriam: Experienced, talented, highly intelligent, worked her ass off in public office BUT could be dead in a few years

Duterte: ‘Man of action’ indeed but what we don’t seem to realize is that doing something before thinking about it is easily comparable to a seeing a headless chicken run around (and literally run our country). A plan of action is much better than an action without a plan.

Roxas: Possesses a disconnect with the everyday Filipino (read: elitista according to external haters), failed at being DILG secretary, failed Yolanda, and, according to his haters.. simply failed.

One need not be a rocket scientist to realize that all these candidates are inherently flawed– most of them with imperfections that are so glaring one can only hope and pray that we survive the next six years with whoever wins the presidency.

I guess the next best thing there is to do is to pick the rose with the least thorns and hope to God things turn out well for the country. But even I’m not willing to leave the fate of our country to chance.

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