HomeAbout UsCover Art GalleryContact UsSubscribe

Preoccupied

E-mail Print PDF
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

You want to know if an ‘Occupy’ anywhere is imminent in the Philippines? Just look at the measly number of ‘Likes’ on local Facebook sites devoted to the movement. Look elsewhere in Asia. Occupy can hardly be relevant when people have too much to do and are eager to get on with business.

I write this having just checked into the Regal Hong Kong to cover one of four simultaneous trade fairs organized by the Trade Development Council. After waiting in line for 20 minutes, I was told my room would not be ready for another 35! The guy next to me exclaimed, “Bloody hell.” Yes, business is that good.

I decided to spend the next half hour checking out the newly relaunched Windsor Mall. Despite the hour (two o’clock on a workday), the confusing layout, and the specialized store selection (mostly toys and kids’ clothes), the place was moderately full. And the rest of Causeway Bay? Packed. Hard to imagine any of those throng (many of them Filipinos) killing weeks in mass protest.

In the Philippines, people are too preoccupied with eking out a living. When we see mass protests now, we Martial Law babies immediately connect them with leftist elements. The knee-jerk reaction of a generation brainwashed by the dictator? Maybe so. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

Filipinos are a long-suffering lot sadly afflicted with amnesia. The People Power Revolution of 1986 occurred a long 14 years after the dictatorship began. You could (at least I could) easily count a couple of acquaintances or friends whose families had someone ‘disappeared’ by Marcos.

But our schoolbooks were so filled with Bagong Lipunan (New Society) propaganda that it took a martyrdom to snap Martial Law babies out of their very comfortable stupor. The Me Generation has probably slipped into a Twitter/Angry Bird-induced coma as well.

When I left Manila, everyone was preparing for the (criminally) long weekend, even as conversations centered on the news that most Metro-Manilans favored a hero’s burial for President Marcos.

The poll, conducted by BusinessMirror’s sister company StratPOLLS, reported that 71.6% of National Capital Region residents want Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Philippine Heroes’ Cemetery); 28.4% said ‘no.’ The survey had only 250 respondents. Maybe they should widen their nets a bit before publishing results like that. But I have a sinking feeling that the 71.6% may actually be a microcosm.

I want to believe it isn’t amnesia but people just being tired of having an unburied corpse. I mean, the thing has long ago drawn the kinds of jokes that King Tutankhamun did when Brits used to poke fun at what they called the hoary old chestnut of the British Museum.

Twenty-two years after Marcos died and we’re still bickering about his remains? I wish the Presidency would quit wringing its hands and bury Marcos wherever it is inclined to.

Mr President, we know where you do NOT want to bury him. We knew HOW we were voting when we elected you. Stop listening to public opinion surveys and get on with business!

Print ed: 11/11

 

On Newsstands Now

DECEMBER 2014:
The Asian Consumer Goldmine

14-12