Thursday, August 24, 2006

Priorities

Not that I have much right to say anything about any of the cases because I've kept mostly to the sidelines recently but: there seems to have been more vehement reaction to former SC Justice Isagani Cruz's opinions on gay people than on the latest impeachment bid, on missing leftist leaders, or even on the nursing board exam scandal.

I wonder why that is.

Could it simply be that all the indignation that would have gone into the impeachment complaint had already spent itself, and that there is no more passion in the fight? In which case, perhaps Justice Cruz could simply take a page from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's playbook, mumble some insincere apology, and stick to his guns. Then this furor too will fade away even as he holds fast to his old opinions.

Could it be that leftist students belong to a lower class of society and therefore are not worthy of the same attention as gays and lesbians? Could it be that no one really put much stock in the Professional Regulatory Commission in the first place? It's just nurses, after all, and they're all heading out of the country anyway.

Or perhaps there's really no identification with national issues anymore, and young urban Filipinos as a whole feel much more comfortable in the roles defined by global culture. Hopelessness, resulting in identity transference?

Whatever it is, it's not a very hopeful scenario. I'm sure that this time around, the timing was purely coincidental. In the future, though, all Arroyo's spinmeisters need to do is spring a controversial non-issue the next time another scandal hits. Shades of "Wag the Dog."

Then again, they wouldn't even need to. In this country, there's something new to raise our hackles at every corner, but not enough will to see them through the resolution.

10 comments:

  1. Dom, in MLQ3's blog, a comment by Senorito_ako made me think. He said they don't have anything going on in New Zealand (maybe that topless parade only!) they have to read about other countries' problems, if not they will just talking about the weather!

    For us, we have so much to think about that it might be causing people to press the "don't think button"...

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  2. Maybe people are generally ok with how the impeachment is going?

    Or maybe people recognize this debate on the issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity as something greater than the impeachment? After all, some of us think that working for the acceptance of gays in society is analogous to the fight to end racial segregation.

    The fight to eradicate homophobia is a fight to end an injustice; perhaps an issue that can be considered as important as, or indeed maybe even more important than presidential impeachment.

    However, I think the real reason is that Isagani Cruz's article has hit many of us at a very personal level. When he all but states that a "pansy" deserves to be mauled for being effeminate, it hits a raw nerve.

    Let's say someone slaps me in the face. Ultimately, is that slap in the face more important than, say genocide in Darfur? Probably not. But you bet I will devote more time thinking about being slapped than the children of Darfur. That's just being human.

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  3. Hi, Jon: well, that would be a nice problem to have.

    Hi, Roy: Oh? I'm willing to bet that if Isagani Cruz keeps writing about his homophobia, people will eventually 'move on' anyway. It's turning out that that's what we're good at: moving on, and getting on with our lives.

    I don't mean to say that Cruz's statements should be condoned, just that people are attaching more importance to it than other issues which are just as real and which have more impact.

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  4. The people's muted response to another murder at the House--of paramount importance in another place and in another time--all the more convinced me that they do not feel any sense of ownership over the central government anymore.

    The government belongs to somebody else. What the minority and majority in the House were fighting about is no longer relevant to them. Their priority is what hits them in the gut.

    That is why it is far easier relating to Dumaguete, for instance, than the goings-on in Manila because it is closer to, and is in fact, home. The local issues facing us are more real, and the solutions to problems within our reach.

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  5. Hi Dom. this is olga uy. visiting for the first time. just want to say hi!

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  6. Hi, Olga: thanks so much for dropping by. I forgot the URL of your blog. I'm glad I have it now. One more for my blog roll.

    Hi, Willy: so true, and also quite scary. I don't think this disenfranchisement is tenable in the long term: beneath this apathy are some frightening possibilities, as Doronila's been writing in Inquirer the past few days.

    That said, I agree with you: I'd rather be acting local; there are some very real problems to solve right where I am.

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  7. Oh my gosh! You have lots!!! Thanks for including me :)

    i used to have links too, but i lost them when i experimented at changing my template.

    still haven't gotten round to putting them back.

    i will include yours together with my other favorites.

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  8. Dom, I don't know what to make of your entry. Ummmmm, well for the gays, taking up the cudgels against proponents of homophobia is important. At a personal level, it has more impact than let's say the impeachment, the nursing scandal. However, not talking about those other issues doesn't mean I don't care. But for me, the more urgent matter at hand is the fact that someone is enticing homophobia in a national broadsheet and also I can't live with someone telling me how I should and shouldn't act like that old fart former justice wrote in his column. You know those issues you've mentioned, let those interested in them speak against them and advance their personal advocacies for those issues. Pat for one has an advocacy for the missing student leaders. But you can't say that, for the gays at least, we are attaching MORE importance to it. Because it is important. It is a real issue. And it has widespread impact to the future generation of gay people. Presidents come and go and rob the country's coffers in between. Nurses go and go and seldom come back (God bless them). But the gays. The gays are here to stay. So help us God!

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  9. Hi, Darwin: thanks for the comment. No, I'm not saying it's not important, and neither am I saying that you don't care about the other issues. But I'm more curious about the evolving zeitgeist of the Filipino people. Some disturbing trends I'm seeing:

    1) Our indignation is 'ningas-kugon': burns bright and hot at first, but ultimately, cannot sustain itself. My guess: the next time someone comes up with a homophobic statement, you won't get the same level of indignation.

    2) Our mode of identification has shifted. These days, people see themselves as gays (or geeks or whatever) before they see themselves as Filipinos.

    3) Hopelessness. You provide the symptom: "Presidents come and go and rob the country's coffers in between." Why the feeling of resignation here, that we can't do anything about this? When are we going to call out corruption with the same vehemence that we call out bigots?

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  10. Well, I for one, cannot talk about something I don't know that much about. So I don't know much about the nursing board scandal nor about the latest round of impeachment whatever. But I know bigots when I read or see one like that old fart Cruz. As for corruption, well whether we talk about it or not doesn't mean it will go away. It's a deeply rooted cancer in our society, that I know of. And that I'm paying my fucking taxes to the fucking government whose politicians do nothing but come up with inventive ways to squander the taxpayer's money. The reality is that politics is something that doesn't interest me. But being Filipino does.

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