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wilfrido david
wilfrido david WHAT IS the big deal about a SONA? It offers nothing more than the "long-gone's" valedictory address, in a way. Every Filipino knows the situation the nation is in. PNOY said nothing new, as far as newly-elected presidents' debut SONAs go---and that is blaming the past administration for the nation's ills, promising to get rid of graft and corruption (ho-hum), and other such stuff that dreams are made of. So what else is new?

Actually, plenty---we have so many new faces smiling and waving at the TV cameras covering the event, overshadowing even the Oscars that has become more of a tradition than anything else in Hollywood. Did I miss Aling Dionisia (Manny Pacquiao's fast-rising, omnipresent Mom, entertainmentwise)? She would have belonged!

Expectedly, PNoy's address got mixed reactions from the crowd and the general populace, depending on one's experience or sympathies. You have the poor who are usually ecstatic and taken by the gist of the speech's promises of reform. You have the well-off supposedly hit by the "bato-bato-sa-langit" portion of the report but who stare at the ceiling, innocent-looking yet squirming in their seats. And you have those still in government who think they know better, belittling PNoy's "vain" attempt at coming up with something really substantial, something more flavorful, something that would otherwise soothe their tastebuds.

Those who became millionaires during PGMA's watch will soon be needing sleeping pills to get a good night's sleep or will start thinking of applying for a US visa (this is the usual escape route of government fugitives, as if you didn't know!). But then again, they can always hide under the Ombudsman's protective wings and be assured of a safety net, whatever.

For the most part, PNoy's SONA smacks of parinig or palipad hangin, although in some parts blunt, reckless even. It could have been more of an opportune moment for his detractors and political enemies (past and present) in attendance, fair-weather friends in the crowd who are anxious to pull him down---that is, to put them in a corral and sprayed with disinfectant. And that's putting it mildly!

Kids from Smokey Mountain should have been recruited to collect the plastic after the crowd had dispersed. There was plastikan left and right, more than Doctora Belo could handle. Cheeka-cheeka and kiss-sabay-hug was the order of the day among the ladies and half-hearted handshakes between the old and the newly-elected members of the House (an unwelcome task among the gentlemen, however). Imelda Marcos and family mingling with the crowd was a sight to behold. Political enemies trying hard to be civil with each other, even only for the moment, presented a picture worth a thousand words---that people can behave when they know it will all be seen on media. Those who had tape recorders at home but don't know how to operate them probably instructed their children to record the entire proceedings---you know, to preserve that once-in-a-lifetime moment when you thought you looked your best in your formal gown or new barong or three-piece suit. Unfortunately, we cannot all be beautiful or handsome, and some are just repulsively ugly no matter how heavily made-up or botoxed! (No amount of money or status in life can change that.)

PGMA was conveniently out of the country. Ping Lacson did not show up by force of circumstance. Manny Pacquiao still looked every inch the boxer that he is, even with his wife Jinky resplendent in her beige gown beside him. Imelda Marcos with her puffy, mascara-laden face and fat-fraught body still had a semblance of her former self (that's what the life of the rich and infamous does to you). Former President Ramos with his huge ears flapping as he commented on the PNoy's SONA. Erap mumbling his own take on the speech with his former First Lady expressionlessly agreeing with his every slurred word.

The SONA was just an excuse for the grand show that it was---of political personages and personalities and/or clowns, depending on how you size them up. It left much unsaid, rather than offer more what really needed to be tackled. PNoy was provided inaccurate information by his supporters cum advisers and the usual "reliable sources." In the process, he was made to look like the champion-apparent swinging his sword in the air or shooting his shotgun in the dark. The head of the pack barking at the wrong tree. Because of this, PNoy has already and undoubtedly made enemies. Shades of Barack Obama! The honeymoon is on the wane and, with a little more time, the marriage will be on the rocks, and all roads will lead to divorce---steering away from disaffection and estrangement depends on how good he handles his presidency.

I, for one (not that what I think matters), was particularly impressed with the speech. It was precedent-setting in that it was delivered in the National Language---even if it left the international diplomats twiddling their thumbs and shifting in ther seats. It was faultlessly delivered. No flubs (except in the ending---did you notice?). I wonder if everyone foreign there were furnished with printed translations of the speech?

Speaking in our own tongue, even in a mixed crowd, or before the media, is worth emulating. English may be our "second" language, but it should not be spoken like we had the experience or the skill to resort to it at every opportunity. We should at least be conversant or glib enough to feel comfortable speaking it. Those police officers interviewed on TV during or after the commission of a crime and those senators or congressmen with their heavily accented law-speak could learn a lesson from President Noynoy: Make sure that you are understood by your listeners rather than court praises for your impeccable English.

Mabuhay po kayo, Pangulong Noynoy!

"Sona" naman may mangyaring tama para sa bayan during your term!

[About the author. Wilfrido David first retired as Computer-Analyst from the Ayala Group of Companies. He immigrated to the US in 1985, worked there for another 25 years in the Medical Field (Medical Lab Tech), until he retired for the second time. Sometime ago, he was involved with FAANM (Filipino-American Association of New Mexico) as correspondent-contributor-writer-editor, publisher—all rolled into one. He says about that stint, "I ran out of energy, patience, and money but kept on with my duties until the next set of association officers were voted in." The earliest writing he did was for his high school paper in Holy Angel University. His present writing derives from the perspective of a Filipino expat in the US who faithfully keeps up with what's happening in the home country, as gleaned from his Filipino channels on DirecTV, aside from CNN and HLN.]

-Posted: 8:05 AM 7/29/10 | More of this author on eK!