Typically Pinoy

The incident starring the priest and the young unwed mother can be added to the existing descriptions under ‘You Know You’re Filipino If’. I was surprised that Pinoys were surprised the incident happened.

The following explain why the event’s typically Pinoy:

1. As the priest slew the young woman and her baby with horrid, hair-raising, and blood-elevating words, everybody in the audience were silent. Everybody kept to their seats. If the men in there had any decent bone in them, they could’ve (a) gotten up, walked over to the priest, punched his mouth, or (b) gotten up, unplugged the microphone, and address the priest that his mouth has gone far enough, or (c) walked out on the priest (the indignity they’re subjected isn’t worth it in exchange for the Sacrament).  Any one of the options can be justified as saving him and everybody else from further speaking and hearing very bad words in God’s house.  But no.  Everybody just sat there and actually listened to the drivel, up to the last word!

2. In a bigger setting, in church, the Mass goers are told to take their seats and listen to the homily. Priest goes to the lectern. Says his homily. The homily, addressed to everybody in the church, is peppered with variations of “you, sinners…be meek, obedient; you, women who come to church showing your skin in mini skirts…; you, users of contraceptives…like Judas; etc. etc.” The priest ends the homily with the Sign of The Cross which everybody else copies. Amen, says the priest. Amen, replies the Mass goers.

3. Parents of public school children attend a PTA meeting. The President goes in front to lead the meeting. He or she asks suggestions from the members. The parents are silent. They whisper surreptitiously. The President starts lecturing and talking down on the members. The other officers offer some suggestions. The President asks hands to be raised. Parents raise their hands to vote on the solution. Making their way out of the school gate, after the meeting, the parents erupt into a confusion of voices: did you hear her (the President)? the solution, it’s stupid! not workable! etc. etc.

4.  It’s so easy to kick poor and uneducated women about.  There’s nobody to defend them.  The men in their lives fail them.  They don’t know important people whom they can turn to.  Their own families, themselves poor and without education, can’t.  The government won’t.  The Church – priests – elevate them as examples of the fallen Eve (instead of as the risen woman, Mary).  Everybody’s afraid to rock the boat.  These women are made vulnerable because of that.

To sum up, the inaction of those present with the woman in the ceremony is the norm in Philippine society, presented up close and personal. It’s not about the priest, because if friends and family members of the woman did something there and then the situation should’ve been righted there and then. The priest, and priests like him, should’ve gotten into their heads that Filipinos don’t take drivel sitting down hence adjust their behavior to the general demand.  But, the Filipino masses’ generally unchanged middle-ground stance on everything even on issues affecting them directly, beholden-ness to authority, and generally-low regard of women (both by men and other women) continue to deify men like that priest and sustain a Nation that continually fails at honesty and can’t seem to realize it’s true worth.

while Obach is “telling the truth, at least he can say it in a nice way…” (a comment on Facebook)

It’s saying the single mother deserved the tirade but that the priest should’ve softened his delivery a bit.  But how does one publicly shame, insult, and humiliate another in a nice way?  How does one short of call a woman slut in a nice way?  How does one strip a woman of her dignity in a nice way? How does one dump all the blame on the woman in a nice way?  How does one violate a woman’s rights in a nice way?

How does one tell a vile spirited priest to fuck off in a nice way?

Without intending to, the recording documented in real time these side of Philippine society.  It’s the twenty-first century but it appears we haven’t moved out of the shadow of Father Damaso and the behavior and attitude of that time.

On the other hand, at the level of the individual, the uploader, the uploading of the recording to YouTube and Facebook reeks of perverse self-promotion – garnering 1,800 likes so far – rather than of a family’s genuine concern for it’s member.

This reminds me further of the CCTV recordings of the events in the aftermath of the recent hazing of a La Salle University student who died. One particular image, published in the national dailies, showed two young men (identified as frat members) dragging an unconscious male body (identified as the victim) out of the elevator in the condominium identified as the hazing venue. To me, the fact that the condo’s security, supposedly live monitoring the CCTVs, did not immediately run to the elevator area says a lot about irresponsibility.  The incident runs on the same principle.


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