By Isabel T. Escoda
Having once been a colony of the United States, it may be natural for Filipinos to closely follow American politics these days, especially the presidential campaign. Perhaps, Indians, Malaysians and Singaporeans don’t follow British politics as avidly, and maybe not much by the Vietnamese once colonized by the French, or the Indonesians once ruled by the Dutch.
Events in the US are so fraught these days, with Americans so polarized, one could rightfully call the nation the DSA, “Disunited States of America.” A sad commentary on what is arguably the largest melting-pot country on the planet.
Filipinos’ fascination with the US could be because there now are 4.1 million Pinoy immigrants to that country. What’s ironic is that the majority have traditionally leaned towards the Republican Party whose illiberal policies don’t favor immigrants who they feel are overwhelming the majority white race. Demographics show that next to black Americans, Chinese and other Asians have been tipping the balance in a country which has long prided itself as being a white Christian country.
Recently, a Paul David Cruz wrote a commentary in the Philippine Daily Inquirer titled “So What If I Don’t Want to be Filipino.” What’s interesting is that he’s a 29-year old professional who said something most Pinoys would find shocking because it denotes a lack of patriotism. But he made salient points that can’t be denied by many who share his sentiments and hanker to leave the land of their birth.
It’s interesting to compare President Duterte with President Trump. The latter has had three wives (and several mistresses), attacked many women for their physical appearance, built a wall on the border while insulting Mexicans he called rapists, called Haiti a “shithole,” once made fun of a disabled reporter at a press conference, and threatened to lock up Hillary Clinton during the last presidential campaign.
President Duterte himself seems to have a wobbly ego, especially since he once told a group of Chinese-Filipino businessmen, “If you like, just make us a province of Fujian.” Probably said in jest, his spokesman scrambled to declare it was so. What was not a joke was when he issued a grim warning in 2016: “Just because you’re a journalist, you’re not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch. Freedom of expression cannot help you if you’ve done something wrong.”
I’ve been fascinated to watch Duterte giving speeches where he invariably veers off from a prepared script to lapse into his favorite “p_tang ina mo” calling mothers whores.
This makes me yearn to suggest Filipinas should say “y_wang ama mo” since many men are devils who become crooks, bent politicians, paedophiles and killers, among other scoundrels.
The late writer Christopher Hitchens once described former President George Bush as “unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, extraordinarily uneducated——and apparently proud of these things.” Such a description perfectly suits own our president.