Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why not also “bang-bang”

AS usual, militant groups always come up fast with acronyms, posters and grafittis. Immediately after the inaugural of President Benigno Aquino III, they slugged with: “Itigil ang bang-bang, hindi lang ang wang-wang!” They were referring, of course, to the extrajudicial killings that cross-boarded to the new administration without letup right on the very same platform of impunity that, according to some observers, have been reared pretty well by the previous dispensation.

Like the poor, street cries are here to stay—despite the prevailing high hopes and fresh expectations lodged on the new administration. While there are a thousand and one travails to attend to, it should be quixotic to think that the new president will sway a large dent in, say, corruption. His campaign slogan “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” was just that—a slogan. And like all slogans, they are meant to sell or inspire at the most, but hardly to execute.

But there is symbolism, albeit dry, to the wang-wang phenomenon—if one can call it that after it generated a high trending in social networks and big rating in traditional media that may have prodded the police to confiscate rather unusually all sirens from every cranny of the country.

For one, it verbalized a sentiment that every Filipino here and abroad had been nursing for some years now. It somehow became a rallying point of the disgust for arrogant display of power that has been characteristic of every politician all the way from the barangay tanod to the officials of national import. Call it a micro-booster, but it penetrated deep into the entrenched make-believe of politicians who projected their jurisdictions as their personal property by branding every waiting shed, lampposts and what not with their names—not to mention big billboards and tarpaulins with their splattered faces that came anyway from peoples taxes.

This gesture, though simplistic, may even trigger a paradigm shift from a leadership that is substantially feudal to one of servanthood. The new president’s simple declaration in his inaugural address that “Kayo ang boss ko” may actually shame the aristocrat and the wise in that it sincerely hits the recesses even of Christian leadership. If only for that, change has already become.

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