Everything’s normal, everybody’s happy » Manila Bulletin News



Leandro DD Coronel

By Leandro DD Coronel


Beauty pageants still go on. Basketball leagues, local and national, take place all year round. Everything seems normal.

Basketball is the one activity that Filipinos enjoy playing and watching, despite our comparative disadvantage in physical height.

Children take their daily walk to and from their respective schools. Wet markets do business as usual, noisy and slimy as the fish they sell. “Double-dead” meat still gets past health inspectors and finds its way into people’s dinner tables.

Offices open their doors at eight or nine to transact business. Banks open theirs a bit later.

Department stores, oh department stores, they’re the happiest places in the Philippines. We Filipinos love department stores. Still booming and making lots of cash.

Traffic is still at a standstill. It’s hard to tell if the one you’re seeing is the tail end of last night’s rush or the start of a new one this morning. Both commuters and drivers are unhappy and make a lot of angry noise.

Congress still spews out a lot of noise that deduct from the collected wisdom of the ages, thing must be normal.

Game shows, soap operas, still mind-boggling in their vacuousness, are still favorite diversions. Things are normal.

Talking heads get on television and share, unmercifully, their “less-than-ten-cents” worth and, equally unmercifully, their mangling of the English language. Why do we Filipinos insist that we speak in English when we can’t speak English? What’s wrong with our National Language?

Anyway, what all this activity (and many other things I omit for lack of space) indicates is that people think everything is normal, that everything is in order. It shows that people are not too concerned about what’s happening, or developing, in the country. Nobody seems to think the country is in crisis.

Oh yes, we’re in a crisis. A political disaster is looming. Powerful forces are conspiring to change things in the country.

The thing is that the changes that are being insinuated are not necessarily good for the country. There’s a creeping takeover of political institutions in the country. Democracy itself is in danger.

Those who can smell the upcoming changes have already taken a position. Many people – politicians, businessmen, lawyers, and many others who have a lot at stake – have decided the safest way to go is to align themselves with those that have the levers of power in their hands.

They’re not concerned about the welfare of the country. They’re only concerned about their personal welfare. They don’t want to be left behind when the train leaves. And so, they’ve gotten on board early to be sure they have a place in the new order.

Many of the rest of us are clueless about what’s going on. That’s why everything appears normal to them. Which make politicians and the government happy. The more clueless the people are, the better. There will be fewer to deal with when it’s just two-minutes left before the game is over.

The few who see the writing on the wall have been screaming and yelling their heads off about the danger ahead. But nobody is paying attention. Because everything appears normal.



Tantrum Ergo. Filipino drivers don’t know what to do when a screaming ambulance or firetruck comes rushing from behind them. Many drivers just wait until the emergency vehicle somehow finds a way to get past the traffic. In the civilized world, drivers must create a path for the ambulance so it can get through. It’s illegal not to make that effort. It’s also illegal not to stop when there’s a school bus in the area, to block a driveway or exit, or to get stranded in a railway junction.

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