Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pacquiao Phenomenon

MANNY Pacquiao is phenomenal. By sheer boxing prowess he has touched every chord of the Filipino psyche, or so it looks—but more so his demeanor in the ring that makes the simplicity of Manny Pacquiao all the more outstanding.
He has brought down the curtains from ecclesiastical palaces to shanties and suspended sessions both in the sabongan and in the Congress as a herd of congressmen trooped to Las Vegas devoid of qualms and delicadiza.

The rosary prominence, the kneeling in prayer before and after the fight, and a doting mother that brings a chapel of saints as part of her spiritual support have become his permanent fixtures that even a priest would be ashamed and feel silly of doing in public—a western public at that, which disdains and makes legal issue even the making of the sign of the cross in classrooms.

What seems to be against the trends in promotions and advertising were his statements during the weigh-in, such as: “We don’t know what happens tomorrow…” and left everything to God, which sounds frail since Mohammad Ali proclaimed he was the greatest and trail-blazed arrogance as a psychological part of winning the brawl.

There is, of course, no question about Pacquiao’s greatness. Neither is there in a country that affords him a hero’s welcome. Even the Catholic church with the universal catechism on hand is willing to wink on questions such as the morality of boxing just, perhaps, to sustain the euphoria of being on top of the world and winning against the Britons who earlier on tagged Filipino OFWs as slaves and prostitutes.

Even just for few minutes, the Filipino was given the luxury of a lull from the stigma of being the most corrupt country in Asia, not to mention being one of the poorest and the scariest of kidnapping and human rights violations.
The flooring of Hatton was as fast and as short-lived as a firecracker, but a good time enough to breathe a fresh air of relief from a socio-political milieu that has been painfully degenerating since the conjugal dictatorship of the Marcoses.
In the Philippines the aspiration of the bishops is to “Christianize politics” (as may be seen CBCP’s Pastoral Exhortation on Politics).

The reality, however, is in this country everything, both Christianity and Christians, become politicized. Which is why, Pacquiao is coming home not only with laurels of victory but with a halo of politics. Watch out for the next round.

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