Monday, September 06, 2010

National Solipsism

Two weeks after the Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis fiasco, national media is still picking over its carcass and regurgitating it supposedly for our benefit. We get live coverage of retrospective investigations and armchair analysis of the shouldas-wouldas-couldas: all par for the course, I understand. I would switch off if I could, but it's hard to turn on the television or open the newspaper without catching a glimpse of yet another angle on the incident.

Yet for all the commentary and the coverage, there's something national media continues to miss out on, or perhaps glosses over: the victims.

Who were the victims? What were their names? What jobs did they have? How old were they? Why did they choose to come to the Philippines for a holiday? What places did they visit? How did they spend their last hours? Who did they leave behind?

We've already heard so much about the hostage-taker and his grievances, of his brother, of his children, even of his hometown. But when it comes to the victims, there's practically nothing. It's as if national media has decided to put on blinders on themselves and on us. Why, I wonder.

Is it because they were not Filipinos and therefore not our concern? Or have we become too inured to the violence in our own midst that we don't really care anymore?

Post-crisis, we seem to be more concerned about our image abroad. We're thinking about how local tourism will suffer because of the incident. We're worried about how Hong Kong will treat our OFWs. And just a day after the crisis, we took a break from the shock and to grief to wink "major major". In short, we're thinking about ourselves and how other people look at us. Even in this crisis, we can't tear our attention away from ourselves and from our livelihoods.

Where, o Filipinos, has our humanity gone?

The victims: Daniel Magadia, 18 M; Ken Leung Kam Wing, 57 M; Doris Leung Chung See, 21 F; Jessie Leung Song Yi, 14 F; Keon Leung, 45 M; Fu Cheuk Yan, 39 M; Yeung Yee Wa, 45 F; Tse Ting Cheung, 31 M. Ken, Doris, and Jessie Leung were father and children, leaving behind a mother and a brother. Tse Ting Cheung was the tour guide of the bus. Please pray for them.

4 comments:

  1. (Referenced from the transcript of RMN’s interview and the account of a hostage incident survivor.)

    Strikes that led to rage: (1) the Ombudsman’s unacceptable offer, (2) the negotiators’ lies, (3) the arrest and “manhandling” of the hostage-taker’s brother caught on national TV, and, the one that led to the killings, (4) the demands that were not INSTANTLY met.

    But what led him to start shooting was a phone call. He hung up and immediately took out his gun. “Bang!” The first shot killed the tour leader.
    - Lee Ying Chuen


    What if Michael Rogas already ended his interview when the negotiator is approaching the bus to hand over the Ombudsman’s letter? What if prudence took the better of him as a “journalist” on that instance of exclusive coverage? What if he stopped feeding his hunger for information or, perhaps, ceased to satisfy the public’s curiosity?

    What if Michael Rogas (and Erwin Tulfo) didn’t transform from interviewer to INSTANT negotiator?

    What if Rolando Mendoza wasn’t led to believe that all his INSTANT demands given to the INSTANT negotiators will be effectively relayed to the police and be conveniently granted? Instant demand like the snipers Rolando wants ordered to withdraw from their vantage point...

    MICHAEL: Okay naririnig po kayo ngayon sa pamamagitan ng RMN. Naririnig po kayo ng mga pulis, meron po ba kayong pakiusap dun sa mga sniper na sinasabi ninyo?

    What if there was no Strike 4?

    Rolando Mendoza, as he turned down the Ombudsman’s offer and as he found out Orlando Yebra and Romeo Salvador’s lies, could have been cut off from communicating his demands to the police because the negotiations already bogged down. Rolando is “twice” angry at that time. Rolando needed another one to trust…another one capable of conveying his demands to the proper authorities who will grant such personal wishes.

    What if Michael ended his conversation with Rolando at the resumption of Orlando’s negotiation?

    Would he send Orlando et al away or not? How would he be able to negotiate? Write notes again? How would he be able to get what he wanted without a right person to talk to?

    Considering Rolando sent the negotiators away and later watched on TV how the police “manhandled” his brother, who would he command to stop the “arrest” OR ELSE he sacrifices the lives of the two hostages in front of the bus? To whom will he give such ultimatum? Would one think he’ll start the murder spree without letting anyone know the reason for it?

    I believe he’ll be the one scrambling to undo what is happening and immediately talk to Orlando again…

    Instead of Michael and Erwin, the bogus negotiators, scrambling to get Rolando’s demands immediately to the police who has custody of Gregorio Mendoza, the brother…

    MICHAEL: ’Wag po kayong magpapaputok, Captain, Capt. Rolando Mendoza... Erwin, pakibilisan lamang ’yung ground commander.
    ERWIN: Ito, kinakausap ko na ’yung ground commander.
    MENDOZA: Ayan, ipinosas na. Kapag hindi nila pinakawalan ’yan, babarilin ko na ’to. Lalahatin ko na ’to. Iisa-isahin ko, sabihin mo.
    MICHAEL: Captain, Capt. Rolando Mendoza, tinutulungan na po namin kayo.
    MENDOZA: Wala, wala. Dinideridiretso nila.
    MICHAEL: Erwin, Erwin… Pakilapitan mismo ’yung pulis na may hawak.
    ERWIN: Sandali, sandali lang, ito, kakausapin mismo natin si ground commander.
    MICHAEL: ’Yung pulis mismo na may hawak.
    ERWIN: A, ano na ho bang kuwan, sagot natin sa…
    MENDOZA: Ayan, ayan. ’Pag umalis ’yang mobile na ’yan na kasama ang kapatid ko, babarilin ko ’yung nasa unahan.
    MICHAEL: Sandali po.
    MENDOZA: Babarilin ko na ’to lahat-lahat.
    MICHAEL: Captain, Capt. Rolando Mendoza...
    (Nagpaputok ng baril, iyakan at sigawan)

    ReplyDelete
  2. (Referenced from the transcript of RMN’s interview and the account of a hostage incident survivor.)

    Strikes that led to rage: (1) the Ombudsman’s unacceptable offer, (2) the negotiators’ lies, (3) the arrest and “manhandling” of the hostage-taker’s brother caught on national TV, and, the one that led to the killings, (4) the demands that were not INSTANTLY met.

    But what led him to start shooting was a phone call. He hung up and immediately took out his gun. “Bang!” The first shot killed the tour leader.
    - Lee Ying Chuen


    What if Michael Rogas already ended his interview when the negotiator is approaching the bus to hand over the Ombudsman’s letter? What if prudence took the better of him as a “journalist” on that instance of exclusive coverage? What if he stopped feeding his hunger for information or, perhaps, ceased to satisfy the public’s curiosity?

    What if Michael Rogas (and Erwin Tulfo) didn’t transform from interviewer to INSTANT negotiator?

    What if Rolando Mendoza wasn’t led to believe that all his INSTANT demands given to the INSTANT negotiators will be effectively relayed to the police and be conveniently granted? Instant demand like the snipers Rolando wants ordered to withdraw from their vantage point...

    MICHAEL: Okay naririnig po kayo ngayon sa pamamagitan ng RMN. Naririnig po kayo ng mga pulis, meron po ba kayong pakiusap dun sa mga sniper na sinasabi ninyo?

    What if there was no Strike 4?

    Rolando Mendoza, as he turned down the Ombudsman’s offer and as he found out Orlando Yebra and Romeo Salvador’s lies, could have been cut off from communicating his demands to the police because the negotiations already bogged down. Rolando is “twice” angry at that time. Rolando needed another one to trust…another one capable of conveying his demands to the proper authorities who will grant such personal wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What if Michael ended his conversation with Rolando at the resumption of Orlando’s negotiation?

    Would he send Orlando et al away or not? How would he be able to negotiate? Write notes again? How would he be able to get what he wanted without a right person to talk to?

    Considering Rolando sent the negotiators away and later watched on TV how the police “manhandled” his brother, who would he command to stop the “arrest” OR ELSE he sacrifices the lives of the two hostages in front of the bus? To whom will he give such ultimatum? Would one think he’ll start the murder spree without letting anyone know the reason for it?

    I believe he’ll be the one scrambling to undo what is happening and immediately talk to Orlando again…

    Instead of Michael and Erwin, the bogus negotiators, scrambling to get Rolando’s demands immediately to the police who has custody of Gregorio Mendoza, the brother…

    MICHAEL: ’Wag po kayong magpapaputok, Captain, Capt. Rolando Mendoza... Erwin, pakibilisan lamang ’yung ground commander.
    ERWIN: Ito, kinakausap ko na ’yung ground commander.
    MENDOZA: Ayan, ipinosas na. Kapag hindi nila pinakawalan ’yan, babarilin ko na ’to. Lalahatin ko na ’to. Iisa-isahin ko, sabihin mo.
    MICHAEL: Captain, Capt. Rolando Mendoza, tinutulungan na po namin kayo.
    MENDOZA: Wala, wala. Dinideridiretso nila.
    MICHAEL: Erwin, Erwin… Pakilapitan mismo ’yung pulis na may hawak.
    ERWIN: Sandali, sandali lang, ito, kakausapin mismo natin si ground commander.
    MICHAEL: ’Yung pulis mismo na may hawak.
    ERWIN: A, ano na ho bang kuwan, sagot natin sa…
    MENDOZA: Ayan, ayan. ’Pag umalis ’yang mobile na ’yan na kasama ang kapatid ko, babarilin ko ’yung nasa unahan.
    MICHAEL: Sandali po.
    MENDOZA: Babarilin ko na ’to lahat-lahat.
    MICHAEL: Captain, Capt. Rolando Mendoza...
    (Nagpaputok ng baril, iyakan at sigawan)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Central to the issue is about avoidance. Or, what is essential is…prevention.

    Identifying the problem areas (where flaws were committed) will certainly help in coming up with preventive measures and guidelines. These then will hopefully ensure a secure environment for the living (and somehow give justice to the dead…for they died not in vain).

    In recognizing the problem areas, however, culpability also needs to be established. Various degrees of blameworthiness will definitely be determined, especially distinguishing those who are only of the administrative kind and, sadly, even those who are criminal in nature.

    ReplyDelete