Monday, November 23, 2009

The Winner and Still Champion

If politics makes strange bedfellows (viz. the teaming up of Manny Villar and Loren and Legarda for the 2010 national elections), then this is equally if not more true of moral convictions.

To be blunt, I find the adulation heaped by the Philippines on another Manny, i.e. boxer Manny Pacquiao, to be terribly misplaced. Pacquiao is being hailed as a national hero because his (sole?) talent is delivering a brain concussion to his opponents in the ring before they can do the same to him. And it's not just Filipinos who are elevating Pacquiao to demigod status. Other foreigners residing here with whom I've spoken are also make a big deal out of his seeming victory.

Except for my wife Lydia, I thought that at least in the Philippines, I must be rather isolated in in my dissent with this national mindset. To my surprise agreement with my objections came from a source with whom I would normally have very little in common philosophically: a Filipino Catholic priest, who in a column in the Nov. 22 "Philippine Star" criticizes the brutality of professional boxing and the physical damage that it inflicts on its participants. As a result he considers this "sport" immoral.

Indeed , how can such unnecessary and degrading violence benefit this country or for that matter any society, especially when presented as a form of entertainment or a praiseworthy professional aspiration? Politicians here spent millions of pesos in government fund on junkets to travel to Las Vegas to see Pacquiao in action. That money obviously could have been much better spent on this country's needs.

As far as I'm concerned professional boxing is more pornographic than any display of graphic but non-violent human sexuality could ever be. Yet it is the latter that society condemns as shameful and deserving of censure here and the former to which children are exposed by their parents with no qualms. Go figure.

Contrast the "achievements" of Pacquiao with those with another Filipino, Efren Peñaflorida. Were it not for his receiving the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year award, few in the Philippines would likely ever hear of this man. Yet Peñaflorida rose above his own poverty, formed a group of teens to help other adolescents, earned a college degree, and through his organization of 10, 000 members has delivered education to hundreds of slum and street children in Manila via a "pushcart classroom" program. Rightfully, today's "Philippine Daily Inquirer" newspaper featured this story as page 1 headline news.

Between Pacquiao and Peñaflorida, who has made a greater impact and a true contribution to this country? Who is truly a hero of the Philippine people?


Alan said...

But he's a hero posthumously -- eight people got his organs. In life, he entertained by suffering violence; people made money betting on him.

Which is the greater good?

Boxing is absolutely pornographic, but if nobody wanted to watch, there'd be no boxing.

Secular Guy said...


Pacquiao is alive and well. You might be thinking of some other fighter.

As for porn, I don't have a problem with it per se. What bothers me is the choice of material and forms of entertainment that are popularly classified in that category.