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wilfrido david
wilfrido david The Truth Hurts

Our onion-skinned society is up in arms after the American ambassador to the Philippines publicly said that four out of ten male tourists come to the Philippines for sex. The media capitalized on it perhaps to stir up the controversy, like hitting a hornets' nest with a baseball bat, unleashing a torrent of protests from quarters who choose to ignore that fact that the good ambassador was merely stating facts. The truth hurts—like being told to your face that you are ugly. Demanding an apology for that remark won't change the fact that you are still ugly no matter what other people say to comfort you. Why not accept the truth? Just look around you. Go to the malls and see it with your own two eyes, those white male foreigners with a young boy or girl walking hand-in-hand. What do you think they do after showing them a good time, retreat to a hotel room and give them lectures on family life? How about those heavily made-up young girls consorting with older male "tourists," are they doing it for fun? Grow up!

Rest in Pieces

The US government will be much better off economically if it decided to quit all the terrorist wars they are engaged in and pull out all the young men and women who "serve," as President Obama likes to put it. It costs the taxpayers, of which I am one, at least ten million dollars a day. Yes, we are proud that these young men and women risk their lives to protect the world from the further advancement of terrorism, which to the average American's mindset is nothing more than Islamism in action. America is much too deep in their commitment to free the rest of the world, so that everytime Obama makes suggestions to pull the troops out, he somehow hits a snag—with his opponents protesting, and yet they can't come up with a solution to end the war. In the meantime, the war goes on and soldiers come home, more often not dead and in pieces.

Going to Bed

Half of our life is spent in bed—resting, sleeping, or some other type of activity, like reading, watching TV, and even daydreaming. Aren't you just thankful that you have a bed to jump into at night, for whatever purpose? Think of those homeless people who sleep on cardboard beds on any space they could find—under the bridge, by the sidewalk, or a vacant lot, under the mercy of mosquitoes, rats, and cockroaches?

What's more, they have no bathroom to go to when they need to answer a call of nature, no glass of water to gargle with in the morning, no change of clothes, no shower, no breakfast to prepare, no nothing. And yet, we take all our blessings for granted and forget how life could be much worse. We complain for the slightest reason, when things don't go our way. Just be glad you wake up in the morning lying on a warm soft bed—and thank God for that.

Water, Water Everywhere

And not a drop of water to drink, or cook with, or cleanse yourself with. Instead you wade in it, slowly but surely to get to wherever you need to be. Perhaps to the evacuation center for your share of government relief in whatever form—financial aid, a bag of rice, canned goods. Consider yourself lucky if you get used clothes, too. But the most important item of all is usually what we have shortage of—water! What, the President is not here?

He should know better than not to show up—you know, to show his concern! Really, why is it so important for you to see him waving at you and help distribute relief goods. Is it more important than getting your share of the basic wants and needs in this calamitous situation? Food, shelter and water are what you need, not the President's presence!

Distorted Values

In the not too distant past, there was so much to-do about a huge poster on EDSA, of five athletic-looking men in their briefs for all the world to see, as if to brag about their manliness and their bulging crotches. It's funny that the ad stayed there until some concerned father who was driving by, with his young daughter by his side, saw it as offensive, bordering on the pornographic. He complained to the mayor, and after due notice was given to the advertising company about people finding it offensive, it was torn down. Seemingly, all's well that ends well—but not quite!

This time it's about Nora Aunor's feature in a magazine cover holding a cigarette in her right hand. Big deal! The medical community vented their ire on the magazine publisher and also on Nora Aunor herself, suggesting that the cover was tantamount to promoting smoking. They made (or perhaps on her own accord) Ms. Aunor apologize. Nevertheless, you can see how normal everyday people can have polarizing opinions on a really offensive poster as against a small magazine cover where a stick of cigarette was given more importance than the model herself.

And the dust hasn't settled yet over that controversial piece of art displayed at the PICC which got some people so fired up that existence of the convention center was itself compromised. Again, why do we still see huge ads showing women in their underwear, and where even sanitary napkins are advertised. What would the church say if condoms and birth control pills were advertised in the same way? Goodness gracious!

Attending Mass

The Christian faithful go to church mainly out of a sense of obligation. One would think that attending mass makes a good Christian of you, at least, that is our perception of attaining God's blessings, and the granting of whatever you pray for. If only for the inner peace that you feel afterwards, then it is well worth it. In my school years, which was quite a long time ago in the past, in a school run by Benedictine German sisters who imposed discipline short of the Nazi way, we were made to believe that if one didn't go to confession one could not or is not allowed to receive Holy Communion. How things must have changed from the time when I stopped attending mass for the same reasons that seminarians opt out of their priestly aspirations, and that is, doubt beyond one's capacity to continue accepting what you read in the books and what you are told as fact.

As a free thinker, I tend to believe that I am more of an agnostic than anything else and as such I feel like the piece of pork in a can of pork and beans, with everybody else believing that holding the ropes or touching the statue of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo fiesta's mandatory yearly procession absolves you of your sins, and the Holy Week flagellants assured by their act of penitence (showing off their bloodied wounds in the drinking spree that follows).

What You See is What You Get

"At the end of the day" is the most abused catch phrase nowadays, almost as often used as the obligatory greetings that we utter automatically. In this instance, "at the end of the day" is applied exactly where it should be. It could have been a bad hair day, a dog day afternoon, or a hard day's night—it is nevetheless the time when you go through the ritual of preparing for bed at the end of the day. Now comes the naughty part, what exactly do you take off before going to bed? Well, different strokes for different people. The woman takes off her wig, shakes off her boob paddings, her butt enhancer pads, and if the man gets lucky, her T-back. The man takes off his toupee, his dentures, and the false bulge on his briefs. And now they stand face-to-face, almost not recognizing each other were it not for the fact they sleep in the same bed every night. Is there a need for Viagra for him, or perfume for her? Nah, they both know what they see is what they get! What's the point?

Who Invented What?

We have such great inventions in our midst, without which we would still be expending our energy in the same old way as functioning human beings. What can we do without the lightbulb, or for that matter, electricity? Where would we be without indoor plumbing, without flush toilets, tissue paper, or even the lowly nail clipper? Everyday, in a little corner of a man's brain, an idea or an invention incubates, waiting to be hatched.

Who invented the first cellphone? Was it Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? Neither. My uncle did! Unbelievably, he was a plain company executive during the days when telephones hang on the wall and you had to wind one up to make a call. Telephone operators manned a switchboard to get you through. One day he got arrested for fraud and he was immediately dumped in a cubicle at the city jail without benefit of a lawyer. Well, he knew better, he asked for a phone to be installed inside his cell so as not to bother the guard everytime he had to make a call. Now, isn't that the first "cell" phone? Today, even the househelp can have one to communicate with the taho vendor for an order!

Laptops are the in-thing today. The day has come when even the corner turo-turo will have to use one to get orders or get in touch with his meat and vegetable supplier in the market. Who invented the laptop, the Japanese, the Koreans, or the Americans? You don't have to research because I can tell you right now that it was also my uncle who can claim to be the first person with a laptop. He was an efficiency expert, always figuring out how to do things the easy and faster way. When his secretary had to take dictation, he made her sit on his lap, he claimed, for her to hear better. Wonder of wonders, that "lap" top is now my aunt, and she doesn't need to be plugged in or run on a battery. But she will have to be replaced soon—her "memory" is going.


At the rate charges or suits are being lobbed at the Arroyos, they have to hire a barrage of lawyers to cope with what is a veritable Armageddon. Tax evasion for Mikey Arroyo and his wife, election fraud and plunder for Gloria and Mike, and various other cases where Mike is involved—the used "brand new" helicopter case, which is slowly edging itself into the thrash bin (dragging his brother Iggy Arroyo along with it), the NBN-ZTE deal, the DBP behest loan to the prominent Locsins (which is currently under close scrutiny in the senate), jueteng-gate, the Pagcor case, and so on down the line.

Their robotic lawyers have their hands full trying to deflect the charges with their usual "defense" now that the present dispensation is out to get them at any cost. Their arguments only aggravate the issues and they are better off making use of their lawyerly skills. Simply put, if a lawyer can and will defend a known murderer with the full knowledge that he is indeed guilty, why not someone who has the full backing of his cohorts and former underlings who are found in every branch of government and society? Newspaper reports state that Mike and Gloria could be in jail by Christmas because the charges of election fraud and plunder are non-bailable.

But that's being overly optimistic, just let it ride. My son could be a great-grandfather already even before we see anything happen. Is Mikey Arroyo worried? Not a bit, because he always has a smirk on his face when he comes out of the BIR office. Wait until hell freezes over.

America-a Johnny Come Lately

I find it incredible when America is so far behind the Philippines when it comes to Japanese products. We had Toyotas and Mazdas way back in the late sixties, while Americans were still driving huge Cadillacs, Chevrolets, Chryslers and other makes that are now in the car graveyards. America then did not make mid-size or compact cars, and even if they did those were sold merely as novelties or collectors' items. Because gasoline was so cheap then, they did not see the point of manufacturing cars that stayed unsold in the car lots. Japanese cars started showing up in America only in the late seventies, and then the car market suddenly turned around, which the Japanese found amazingly incredulous. The demand for Japanese cars was so great that Honda and Susuki, merely motorcycle manufacturers, started making cars. The rest is history!

Karaoke, the white people are going gaga over it. We had karaoke, which, it is worthwhile mentioning, was known in the Philippines as Music Minus One decades before it became a craze in the US. Of course, there have been vast improvements on it as it became more and more popular. Katol, Salonpas, and Tiger Balm are now in the big pharmaceutical firm's shelves—decades late. Lately, a great majority of Fil-Ams, tuned to GMA-7 or TFC for their noontime entertainment, are into Filipino telenobelas. Soon, Caucasians will be the minority in their own country, and Tagalog will be spoken in America without restraint.

Are You Spokening English?

It is a constant bone of contention—should we emphazise English as the mode of instruction starting in the elementary grades? Indeed, we should, for it is now the universal language. Even nations that used to be patriotic or nationalistic, or however else you may want to put it, did not want to learn English or were averse to it are now starting to realize that learning English in this day and age is a big plus. This is where Filipinos have an edge over other immigrants, be it Europeans or Asians, who speak nothing but their own language. Filipinos being proficient in English makes the Philippines one of the largest call center hubs in the world. It clears the path for employees to rise to higher positions. However, learning English doesn't necessarily make one above being embarrassed, especially in situations where eloquence is more or less required. One has to be confident enough to speak it, not too recklessly, but passably comprehensible.

Not speaking it was a big setback for Senator Lapid in wanting to debate the RH bill—whereas his colleagues spoke English, unaccented or Arneoish—because he spoke mainly Kampangan and Tagalog. Nevertheless, he managed to make his point using Tagalog and a smattering of English. But Senator Jinggoy Estrada was caught snickering when he said, "Ang asawa ko gumagamit ng pills at inamin niya sa akin. Pero hindi naman tumatalab, mayroon pa ngang pinapanganak na triplex and 'fourflex'!" Point well taken, Jinggoy is anti-RH! While Senator Miriam Santiago kept the peace with a slight grin on her face.

Nanung Buri Mo, Abe?

Giang nanu pa, e ya mitauli ing kekatamung sariling amanu (dialect, language?) uling iyang gagamitan mi keni bale. Yng anak kung lalaki, na bayung datang pamu keni America, kimo o balid ya qng English at magkasakit yang makiabe kareng kapagobra at keyang workmates uling eya "proficient." Yng anak kung babae, compiansiya ya at sane yang makipag-Inglisan keng meging obra na qng Pilipinas. Ninu karelang adua yng ating "advantage"? Yng misis ku, pilan nakeng banua keni America, managkas ya mu rin qng Kapampangan. Maniwala ku, na kapilan man, emu maliaring akalinguan ing sariling wika. Ania ustung atin kong kakilalang Kampampangan a balikbayan a magbalid-baliran, pukpukan ye buntuk at kapag megpa-"Eyruyyyy" ya—sakalan ye batal.

Mamun na ku pu, anggang qeng tutuki!

[About the author. Wilfrido David is a resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico since 1985. He is an avid news consumer, habitually tuned to global TV via satellite. In turn, he occasionally comes up with spiced up essays and anecdotes liberally sprinkled with his wry humor, at times irreverent, oftentimes as corny as corn-on-the-cob, but nontheless thought provoking. He thinks of himself as a "junior senior," a mature gentleman with very active brain cells but a waning testosterone count. He is an American citizen by necessity, not by choice, as he so aptly put it. He is as Kapampangan as sisig, no more, no less.]

-Posted: 9:14 PM 10/27/11 | More of this author on eK!