Monday, July 18, 2005

Buy us a drink, we’ll listen (Bilmoko muna) | Show of numbers (Paramihan lang ba?) [PJI editorials 17-18 July 2005)

CONSIDER these as jokes meant to elicit bitter laughter—laugh until it hurts.

Three days after the so-called ‘Ayala 1’ anti-Gloria mass action that drew-- as conservative estimates put it-- a crowd of 30,000, select e-mail addresses received a facsimile copy of a cash coupon that were allegedly distributed to rally participants. A coupon was worth P300 and could be redeemed at an office of the local government unit.

An ambulant food vendor who sets up her cart near the Journal premises had signed in a rally attendance sheet plied out by her local barangay chief. She was promised P500. The amount was to be given 2-3 days later for her participation in the July 16 pro-Gloria rally at Luneta. Give or take a thousand, the droves that saw mass action in the latter rally in Manila was about numerically equal to the previous rally in Ayala.

Recall Elvis to provide rock-it-to-‘em commentary: “(It’s) one for the money! Two for the show!”

“Bumili ka ng kausap mo!” was the common-sense counsel given to a bore who wanted anyone to listen to him. The piece of advice could be taken to mean (1) go consult a psychiatrist who’ll take notes— plus a fat fee in bank notes-- and listen as you’re on a couch pouring it all; (2) learn ventriloquism-- throw your voice on a wooden dummy, nobody would notice you’re talking to yourself; and (3) buy gallons of ladies’ drinks at P120 up each gulp—a GRO would oblige to listen.

We could be wrong but rally crowds might be acting out roles on an epic scale as, take your pick, (1) shrink or psychiatrist, (2) ventriloquist’s dummy, or (3) guest relations officer.

Buy us a drink or some food. We’ll listen to whatever crap you mouth off.
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Bilmoko muna

ITURING na biro ang mga ito para tayo makiliti—at humalakhak hanggang sa sumakit ang tiyan.

Tatlong araw matapos ang tinawag na ‘Ayala 1’ ng mga pangkat kontra-Gloria na dinumog ng may 30,000 katao, tumanggap ang mga piling e-mail address ng larawan ng isang cash coupon na ipinamahagi daw sa mga sumali sa naturang rally. P300 ang halaga ng kupon. Mapapalitan sa isang tanggapan ng local government unit doon.

Isang nagtitinda ng pagkain na nakaparada kalapit sa mga tanggapan ng Journal ang nagsabi na pumirma siya sa isang rally attendance sheet mula lokal na pinuno ng kanilang barangay. Pinangakuan siya ng P500. Ibibigay iyon sa kanya 2-3 araw matapos ang kanyang pagsali sa pro-Gloria rally nitong Hulyo 16 sa Luneta. Walang ipinagkalayo ang bilang ng mga dumalo sa Ayala at sa Manila.

Sasagi tuloy sa isip ang hirit ni Elvis: (It’s) one for the money! Two for the show!

“Bumili ka ng kausap mo!” ang payo noon sa walang latoy na kausap na nagpipilit na may makinig sa kanya. Payak ang katuturan ng payo: (1) kumonsulta sa psychiatrist na matamang makikinig—at sisikwat ng tumataginting na bayad – habang nakatihaya ka sa isang likmuan, todo-daldal; (2) matuto ka ng ventriloquism—pagpukol ng sariling tinig sa ukit na tau-tauhan at walang makakahalata na sarili lang ang kausap; at (3) bumili ng galun-galong ladies’ drink sa presyong P120 o higit pa bawat lagok—at obligado nang makinig ang naka-table na GRO.

Baka naman mali na kami pero maaaring matindi na ang ginagampanang papel ng mga nahahakot sa mga rally. Piliin kung alin ang mas angkop na papel, (1) psychiatrist, (2) tau-tauhan ng nagpupukol ng kanyang tinig, o (3) guest relations officer.

Sige, bumili ng matotoma o makakain. Makikinig kami sa kahit na ano pang ihihirit na kabalbalan.
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Show of numbers

EXTANT newspaper peddler turned multi-billionaire Kim Woo-Choong drives a modest-looking Daewoo sedan. He’s the founder of the multi-billion giant conglomerate Daewoo-- its yearly income is probably heftier than our country’s yearly gross national product. Even so, Kim isn’t used to driving flashy cars or gleaming SUVs that we see all the time in Philippine thoroughfares.

Money talks. But Kim isn’t used to flaunting awesome purchasing power. However, he plies some two-bit counsel to aspiring entrepreneurs who dare dream big dreams: don’t ever trust strength of numbers—ratings or ratios included. One is to 100 may be the ratio that pertains to a husbandman tending to a herd of 100 pigs, Kim explains.

In Kim’s view, the herds of numbers don’t count much. It is those few who have the capability to husband resources and multiply such resources that really count.

Kim’s view might not be taken well in this neck of the woods—why, that grizzled taipan merely drives around in a sedan. He ought to see how we flaunt numbers hereabouts.

Take the number of rally participants. The forces opposed to the current Malacañang tenant aimed to muster a million demonstrators to howl like banshees in Makati’s main traffic artery. Thousands went and choked traffic—they might as well be wee pieces of confetti strewn about in a ticker tape parade.

As tit-for-tat show of numbers, the allies of the incumbent Malacañang throne-keeper herded hordes for a similar demonstration at Rizal Park. The results didn’t differ from the Ayala noise-making. Thousands went and choked traffic in the streets leading to the appointed rally site.

There’s a sinking feeling that all this show of numbers—or numerical superiority-- is akin to a basketball game in which the winning team ought to pile up the greater numbers.

But the mustering of greater numbers can be similar to the so-called “pataasan ng ihi.”

And maybe we’re becoming used to spreading piss on earth, in the vain hope that the consequent stink would cause events to happen.

Did anything happen except nightmarish traffic?
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Paramihan lang ba?

TINDERO ng diyaryo dati ang multi-bilyonaryong Kim Woo-choong na isang payak na Daewoo sedan ang gamit na sasakyan. Siya ang nagtatag ng multi-bilyong dambuhala sa larangan ng pandaigdigang industriya, ang Daewoo—na ang taunang kita ay maaaring higit na malaki kaysa santaong gross national product ng ating bansa. Gayunman, hindi nakahiligan ni Kim ang mga magarang kotse o makintab na SUV na karaniwang humaharurot sa mga lansangan ng Pilipinas.

Matinding mangusap ang salapi—pinakikinggan. Pero hindi rin mahilig magpakita sa lakas at laki ng kanyang kita si Kim. Naghahain lang siya ng butil ng payo sa mga mumunting negosyante na nangangahas mangarap: huwag kailanman magtiwala sa lakas ng mga bilang. Ang tapatan na 1:100 ay maaaring isang pastol na nag-aalaga sa kawan ng 100 baboy, paglilinaw ni Kim.

Sa ganoong pananaw, hindi sukatan ng lakas ang dami ng bilang. Higit na makabuluhan ang iilan na may kakayahan na magsinop at magparami ng angking yaman.

Pero hindi yata matatanggap dito ang ganoong pananaw—lalo na ang pananaw ng isang taipan na karaniwang sedan ang gamit na sasakyan. Hindi yata niya namamasdan kung paano magpakita ng dami sa ating lupain.

Halimbawa ang bilang ng mga dumadalo sa rally. Inasinta ng mga kontra sa Malacañang na magparada ng isang milyong demonstrador para maghumiyaw sa pangunahing lansangan ng Makati. Dumagsa ang libu-libo at nasakal ang daloy-trapiko—para na ring ikinalat na confetti sa kalye ang ganoong bilang.

Tinangka namang tapatan ng mga kampi sa Malacañang ang ganoong bilang—naghakot din ng tao para sa isang rally sa Rizal Park. Hindi kaiba ang resulta nito sa ginawang ingay sa Ayala. Dagsa rin ang libu-libo at nasakal ang daloy-trapiko sa mga lansangang patungo sa pagdarausan ng rally.

Kukutuban tuloy na ang ganitong pakitaan ng bilang—o paramihan – ay tulad lang sa basketball, na kailangang magtambak lang ng bilang para manaig.

Baka katulad na rin ng tinatawag na “pataasan ng ihi.”

Nakakasanayan ang pagkakalat ng amoy at amuyong sa hangad na may maganap na kung anuman.

Pero meron bang nangyari bukod sa karumal-dumal na trapik?


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