I join the nation in remembering the dead. I lay a wreath of finest flora and light a candle for the Filipino gentleman. Oh, you didn’t know that he died?
The Filipino gentleman is the simple male protagonist in folktales and legends who in the utmost humility initially would stay by the sidelines, and make way, letting his arrogant competitors strut their stuff, and in the end, in the simplest of efforts, this prince would demonstrate unassuming and unpretentious feats of heroics to ultimately win the hand of the dayang-dayang. (That means princess; if you’re more familiar with the European counterpart.) The ultimate Filipino action hero, Fernando Poe Jr. has had his name become synonymous to staying last on a queue to make way for others.
The Filipino gentleman is the archetype of “Juan”, the meek boy born in a humble Family, with a peasant father, a homemaker mother and a child among several siblings, who studies hard because of his high value for education, and would help his family and community outside the classroom. He would go on to university and serve the poor with his career. Curse words are not on his lips. Quarrels is not in his fists.
As far as I know, as far as I have been brought up, this is a component of what I thought as highly honored Filipino values. This is Filipino. The tradition and culture of simplicity, modesty and sacrifice. This is our version of the European concept of knightly chivalry which transcends in the modern age in Filipino males offering seats for women and for the elderly. How sad that this is now but a legend; or has it been a legend all along?
Some of our countrymen have delighted in the President’s habit “to shoot from the hip, like when he called the Pope a “son of a whore” and made jokes about raping an Australian missionary”. He has “vowed he would end crime by ordering security forces to kill tens of thousands of suspected criminals, then pardon himself if he was found guilty of mass murder”. (www.jordantimes.com ) (Now, that sounds more like the lines of an FPJ antihero.) The President would echo these scheming statements before ASEAN dignitaries; what blatant barrage of the impressions and expressions of “kill, kill, kill”! “To his critics, Rodrigo Duterte is a foul-mouthed, serial adulterer fixated on killing criminals. But the millions who voted for the Philippine leader see him an anti-establishment hero.” (www.dailymail.co.uk)
Remarkably, this new version of Filipino heroics is spreading like a viral infection among the Chief Executive’s subjects; (or has it there been all along and the President just awakened this dormant ill, or did the President enlist a horde of his clones to government service?) Recently, Presidential Communications Officer Martin Andanar has been reported to have made a play of words, in slurs against EU officials of deprivation of sexual intercourse; and this is supposed to be funny and protective of the administration. Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez in the recent month, suggested that the Commission on HUMAN RIGHTS get their budget from criminals. Similar braggadocio is flagrantly flaunted by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre. Even among the understudies of their ranks, similar arrogance among the hallowed halls of government service with a DFA appointee/blogger proclaiming the agency needs him more than he does. This is now the new Filipino gentleman.
Would you beg to disagree?
Across history, nations and cultures, heads of state are representatives of the whole nation , of the people, of the values they embody; as Queen Elizabeth of British majesty, JFK of American youthful, free spirit and resolve, of Mao Tse Tung of enormously solid Communist China, King Fahd of the robust wealth and welcome of Saudi Arabia, and Lee Kuan Yew of the innovative development of Singapore. Regretfully, the Filipino is no more the modest and pacific son of a peasant. The Filipino now is the confident go-getter, big talking, liquor loving, all set for a fist fight when any opposition comes rushing; (typical of the drunken braggart with his buddies along a barangay street).
Join me now in lighting a candle for the dying and death of the Filipino maginoo, the Filipino gentleman; as reflected by the approval of millions of Filipinos. Reactions may range from strong agreement to lukewarm half approval swayed by companionship and conditions to disturbing disagreement, but the overwhelming vote of confidence in the elections which continues through various issues, reveals the inner genuine character and values of the Filipino. This is what you really are. This is what we really are. “Juan” is gone.
Or could it be… that all along… the simple, modest Filipino maginoo was a pretense all along? Perhaps, even in the beginning, the Filipino has actually been the big talking braggart, and is now just coming to his own. Could it be?
“…the meek will inherit the land and will enjoy great peace.”