I’m very rarely affected by blog posts. I always approach them with the perspective that it’s someone else’s opinion, and the fact that it was published is not an affront to my sensibilities should I find myself disagreeing with it. In fact, I’m often appreciative for the disconnect, as it allows me to see things from a different perspective and gives me a better idea of the big picture.
An entry on antipinoy.com, however, has irked me a little.
It’s not because the author seems to think the idea of pride through association doesn’t exist. In the article, the author claims to not feel personally proud whenever Manny Pacquiao wins a big fight. The author feels proud for Pacquiao enjoying the fruits of his labor, but it doesn’t make him/her proud to be a Filipino. It’s was Pacquiao’s effort, after all, and solely his.
Valid as this perspective may be, I find it hard to believe the author doesn’t feel a quark of national pride when Pacquiao’s fist is raised in victory. We always feel some semblance of personal pride when someone we associate with succeeds at something. It’s why proud fathers go “That’s my boy!” and why a school cheers for its varsity team. Pacquiao hits a particular nerve with the common Filipino – this is someone who rose from poverty to achieve international success. Like most Filipinos, he dropped out of school because his family couldn’t afford it. He moved to Manila in search of better things, but found himself living on the streets. Had he not endured through adversity and pursued boxing, he never would’ve made the Philippine National Amateur Boxing Team, and never would’ve caught the eye of one Freddie Roach. He literally changed his poverty-stricken life, the life of the common Filipino, by working hard, persevering, and getting a little lucky.
When Filipinos feel proud when he wins, it’s because he was one of us. He was every child you met on the streets, asking you for money. He was that doe-eyed dreamer who told us, every time he got drunk, that he was going to make it someday. He’s the typical Pinoy who eats hotdogs with rice and sings far more than his talent should allow. That’s why we associate with him, and that’s why we go “That’s our boy!!!” when he stands triumphant in the center of the ring.
I won’t make any sweeping generalizations, though. Not every Filipino associates with Pacquiao, and I assume the author of the antipinoy post doesn’t, either. I can see why he doesn’t feel that personal pride during a big win. No qualms there.
My problem isn’t even with the ridiculous assertion that associating ourselves with Pacquiao is a foolish thing to do, especially if we want to better ourselves as a nation. From the post:
And to associate ourselves with him is foolish thing to do. Discipline- Manny has it; our nation knows no law. Hard work- Manny has it;our nation is in a deep sea of mediocrity. Focus- Manny has it; our nation doesn’t know where to go, thanks to our president. Coaching- Manny has it; our nation didn’t listen when we educate them to vote intelligently and here’s our by-product:national shame. Training- Manny has it; our nation has it but it was only a loose cannon to them. Winning attitude- Manny has it; our nation has this attitude of being a loser and they are contented with it.
The number of logical fallacies is appalling. From exaggeration (“our nation knows no law”); to dramatic aggrandizing (“our nation is in a deep sea of mediocrity”); to biased assumption (“our nation doesn’t know where to go, thanks to our president”); to non-sequitur (“Coaching- Manny has it; our nation didn’t listen when we educate them to vote intelligently and here’s our by-product:national shame”); and further violations of those previously mentioned.
The most glaring fallacy, however, is the assumption that majority of the Filipino population is composed of hypocrites. The only way associating ourselves with discipline, hard work, focus, coaching, training, and a winning attitude could be foolish is if we were the opposite. You may call me naïve, but I’d like to think that CNN Heroes of the Year, mothers who get their families by on less than 100 pesos a day, and individuals who willingly spend lonely years working hundreds of miles away from their families to be breadwinners are lazy buffoons content with mediocrity. Even if we lacked these characteristics, seeing Pacquiao as a role model as described in the antipinoy article isn’t foolish. It’s actually quite commendable, as we recognize what we need to be better Filipinos.
I won’t fall into the trap of sweeping generalizations myself, though. For all I know, I could be naïve, and majority of the Filipino population could be as rotten as the article implies. We could all be foolish for associating ourselves with such a hard worker. I’d prefer to keep my assumption that we’re most likely a mix of the two, and that it isn’t generally foolish to identify ourselves with Pacquiao. Again, no qualms – I don’t really know if I’m necessarily more correct than the antipinoy author, or if I’m just kidding myself.
My real issue with the post is that is bears many characteristics of what we would call, in the vernacular, a “whiny bitch”. I won’t assume anything about the author, so the “whiny bitch” statement isn’t directed towards him/her; it’s directed towards the article itself. For all its complaints and criticisms of feeling proud for Pacquiao, its implied hypocrisy, and the sorry state of Philippine sports, it doesn’t provide a solution; not even a ridiculous one. It’s all just words put together to say “This all sucks”.
There are no recommendations for any of the issues. In regard to the “illusion of pride”, all the post offers is a rather condescending (in tone) reality check that illustrates the obvious fact that Pacquiao isn’t going to be fighting forever. When he retires, the article asks, who are we going to use to hide our national dysfunction? I understand that this should be the impetus for readers to stand up and say “We will have no need to hide!”, but saying it is much more effective than implying it. The article says the Philippines’ national sports program sucks, but doesn’t say what could make it better. Again, it’s all implied, and the meaning is hidden within negative remarks.
The post, without a concrete message of empowerment, is akin to a bully who makes fun of you for being stupid. He’s not helping you; he’s crushing your self-esteem and instilling long-lasting psychological issues before you’re actually spurred to action. This is assuming, of course, that you’re actually spurred to action and don’t end up just resigning to the fact that you’re stupid because he says so. Bullying works both ways, and so do posts like this one. Not everyone is going to be defiant; some readers are going to accept that Filipinos are mediocre and they might as well live with it.
It’s one thing to point out a nation’s faults, but stopping there is disgustingly irresponsible. It bears a tone of hatefulness, of disdain for one’s self. “Anti-Pinoy”, indeed.
It’s a shame, too, as unpopular opinions like the post’s have an important place in the grand scheme of things. We all need to see things from as many perspectives as possible, as a nation or personally, if we are ever to improve ourselves and the situations at hand. I assume this is the reason for antipinoy.com’s existence; if it isn’t, it should be.
Because of this, antipinoy.com needs to do a few things better. It’s got to make sure the logic is sound in each of its arguments, preferably backed up by solid facts. It also has to make it a point to offer concrete solutions in every post; as I explained, implying one simply isn’t enough. Most importantly (and ironically) antipinoy needs a little more perspective in its posts. I understand the site is founded on personal opinions, but there’s a line between conviction and bias – conviction is informed and cannot argue against itself. Complaining with conviction, even if it turns out to be in error, opens minds. Biased complaints close them.
I don’t want another whiny bitch on the Internet.