Saturday, January 19, 2008

System Downgrade

It is revolting!
It is revolting indeed!
It is revolting!

Be forewarned; I am feeling rather talkative today. (Pay no mind to my poor attempt at writing haikus)

Just this morning, I woke up, at five in the morning, six in the morning, eight in the morning and ten in the morning. In any case, suffice to say that I caught today's paper, which is usually delivered around nine, so I'm told. The headline is rather big, bold-faced, strong and emphasized, as headlines are wont to be. The Government is hitting back.

New York based Freedom House has downgraded the Philippine's state of democracy from "partly free" due to a spate of political killings specifically targeting leftist political activists. Quite predictably but not as reasonably, the Government reacts, not like an educated writer serenely imbibing and digesting constructive criticism but rather a thoughtless child who single-mindedly insists to her playmates that she did not cheat at hopscotch.

"We don't know who fund foreign groups such as Freedom House, nor were we told about their research procedures," saith the Press Secretary, which is quite true. However, though we know not how such groups work, we do know they're wrong. "Let us be undaunted by outside forces that rely on propaganda rather than systematic and thorough research and consultations to underpin their statements." Yes sir, we don't know how you did it but we know you did it wrong.

What is the proper procedure then? The Press Secretary said Freedom House should have, at least, sought the government's side to "verify" information they have on the Philippines. This, ladies and gentlemen, is known as Command Control or, to put it more graphically, re-touching, if not completely modifying, the data. After all, we really cannot have a proper research unless we swallow the "information" to be provided by the government, right? Really, what part of "independent research" do people not understand?

Oh, never mind that we can expect the government to deny being behind the disappearances or killings of journalists and activists in our beloved nation. Never mind that there are more missing people on the "dark" side than there are on the Jedi forces; they have probably been missing due to any number of reasons from mass tribble attacks to Klingon terrorists. Hell, they could even be having tea in France, for all we care! Really, those people aren't dead, at least not until their corpses float on the Pasig River. Had they asked, really, they would realize we have a free press protected by the military, freedom of non-subversive speech and constitutional processes that uphold human rights for members of the middle-class or higher.

News travels fast and I'd like to quote, the alchemist, Sir Isaac Newton's third law: For every reaction, there is an equivalent and opposite reaction. To put it as I see applicable right now, though, would be: For every opening, there is an equivalently painful opposition. Indeed, in the very same paper, I have read an advertisement denouncing the second Edsa revolution.

It's a rather clever whole-page ad, which invites the reader to learn what the world press wrote about the second Edsa revolution and weep for Philippine democracy. With a collection of quotes dexterously culled from different publications, we can see the illustrious names of Time, New York and Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Herald Tribune; a delightful read, really.

Yes, we know that the downgrade of the democracy status was due to a spate of political killings or disappearances but we all know that it is only Filipino for us to dig up old grievances, right? Why bother learning from past mistakes when you can just dirty your opponent with the muddy snowballs of his/her failings? We all know that progress can only be achieved by grappling at each other’s throats not quite unlike crabs in a basket pulling each other down.

Of course, any sane minded reader would know that such paid advertisement only remotely relevant is most definitely not propaganda. We know perfectly well that the 2001 Edsa II revolution is responsible for the 2008 downgrade of our democracy status. As our beloved Senate Minority Leader said, "Our democracy during the '50s is as tall as Ramon Magsaysay. Now, it's disheartening that the country has (been) dwarfed (in the fight against) corruption and in the implementation of law." Yes, we are aware, everything has dwindled and height really matters in presiding over a nation.

On a side note, which I am positive is irrelevant, the Philippine Airlines also received a downgrade from the US Federal Aviation Authority, effectively limiting the number of US flights it can make.

Anyway, back to the point, when the government is faltering like this, we really should take the chance to pull the rug from under their feet, y'know? Perhaps by the way of another people power, which a writer for Time has been quoted as claiming to be "an acceptable term for a troubling phenomenon... mob rule."

If you still do not sense sarcasm dripping at the edges of this page, please look to the part where your browser has its scrollbars. You will see a viscous yellow-green fluid... No, that's not sarcasm; it's mucus.

You know what I think? I think that we are over-populated and can afford to lose some people. An admin dies and people quietly pay homage to the dead. A member of the opposition dies and you'll have all the legions of hell on top of you screaming bloody murder. What's it got to do with anything? Oh, I dunno, say I was an unscrupulous member of the opposition who gets my kicks out of ripping out the spleen of other people. Do I ask for an admin's spleen? Hell no, I'd go for the opposition dudes, y'know, the helplessly pathetic uninformed ones. See, that solves the problem of overpopulation and racks up the score for the dark side. Two birds with one stone, y'know?

I think there are too many of us here, but that's not the problem. What I find troubling is the fact that we are sharing these shattered islands with idiots who, at the first pang of hunger, begins its war cry like a helplessly stupid infant. We have a lot of people who attribute the lack of paper in their wallet to moths, cockroaches, alligators or crocodiles, anything but themselves. Y'know, I see people go to church for their daily bread, spiritually speaking. How about the physical bread? No, they don't go to bakers, silly; they flock into the streets!

We are a democracy, rest assured. We can freely elect any porn star that happens to look just right with promises of alleviating, if not completely solving poverty. Bah, we cannot trust those elites! Rich people only care for themselves, but we're gonna vote for an equally rich guy simply because we love his moves on film. Dang, baby, if he can knock out those baddies, he can surely put food in our bellies, clothes on our skin and roofs over our heads. (My money's on Chuck Norris, if it comes to that)

Personally, I think killing is not so bad an idea in a country as perpetually discontent as ours. We can never find the contentment called heaven so death would only be the coup de grace, right? Okay, there was a redundancy in there somewhere... but I guess I'll also lie on my back and wait for the Government to proofread my posts for me. It's so much easier that way.

Oh yeah, one more thing, know what the motto of that particular newspaper is? "Ze truth shall prevail, yarr!"

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