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Dec 02nd
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako Pakyaw THE Symbol of our “Ethnic Pride”? Ain’t no way, Hosay!!!
Pakyaw THE Symbol of our “Ethnic Pride”? Ain’t no way, Hosay!!! PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 20:55


A Cup O’ Kapeng Barako


There is no such thing as objectivity … I actually think it is pernicious as a goal. – Molly Ivins, the late syndicated columnist, in her defense of being opinionated


I don’t really know exactly what Ms. Ivins meant by that.  Pernicious means deadly or lethal or destructive … something like that. As a columnist, yes, I am opinionated.  But am I lethal? Am I deadly? Am I destructive? I don’t think so.


Well, perhaps, I “stir up” emotions among the people within our placid Fil-Am community, and that fact perhaps bring out the worst in some, that they do things that are, well, “pernicious,” perhaps?


I don’t do things that are pernicious.  And that’s simply because, I am a coward, you see.


So … before some of you guys go pernicious on me and stomp on my column and apply feces on my photo again, let me wish y’all now a Happy Thanksgiving.  (I kid you not, a couple of years ago, someone with a seething pernicious hate towards me cut the photo off my Kapeng Barako column, smeared feces on it and mailed it to me with cussing hateful words).


And guess what?  That made me laugh so hard.  And if that poor soul is still alive, I also wish him a wonderful Thanksgiving.  But if he had kicked the bucket already, so to speak, may he rest in peace.


Okey ngarud, enough hating already …   


Did y’all, by any chance, read the MegaScene “Flipside” column of my colleague and good friend, Nelia Bernabe, last week?  Yes, of course, I was on cloud nine.  She wrote about me and my opinionated thoughts.  So I said to her: 


Hello Nelia,


Read your story.  Thank you so much for the “plug” of my infamous name and for my “much-hated” Kapeng Barako column.


It’s an excellent piece.  It’s well-written … and truly one of your signature columns.  I like your original version better though, where you said at the very end of your story, “Jesse, my friend, bring it!”  That was a very powerful ending, I think.


I also think that I understand the reason why you decided to delete it.  You don’t want the “WOLVES” to be after you!  But that’s okay.  It didn’t take anything away from the overall excellence of your story.  It’s still a very powerful piece.


There’s one thing I couldn’t agree with you on though, no matter how much I tried.  It’s that portion where you said that Pakyaw is the “symbol of our ethnic pride.”


May I beg to differ?  To me, he’s not!


Someone who is ILLITERATE and whose skill and aura are only in the world of boxing is not THE symbol of our so-called “ethnic pride.”  We can do better than that.  I am sure there are many other Filipinos who are more WORTHY to be the symbol of our ethnic pride. 


The fact that we are all groveling at Pakyaw’s feet and doing all kinds of hallelujahs for him, point to the fact that we, as a people are SO LACKING and SO HARD-UP … and SO DESPERATE for a symbol.


To me, Pakyaw is merely a PUNY symbol of the Filipino people … NOT THE symbol at all as we claimed him to be.  We are NOT a puny people!  We are not that insignificant as a people “grabbing at straws” and fawning at a mere puny symbol, and an illiterate one at that! 


True, he’s a good boksingero and we thrill at his boxing feats.  And we all rejoice when he knocks out his opponents.


But really, I think it’s INFANTILE of us as a people to look up to him and grovel endlessly at his feet and put him on a pedestal as a “god” and install him as THE symbol of our ethnic pride just because of his boxing skill and feats. 


As they say here in America: Ain’t no way, Hosay!


Take care, my friend.  Once again, thanks for the plug. 


(Signed) Jesse


Y es, I am aware that many of my columns seem to consist of e-mails extracted from my e-mail box, but I think e-mails written spontaneously in reply are mini-essays written in splendid honesty.


So … here’s Nelia’s reply, en toto:


Jess, thank you so much!  There’s so many things that I would like to say but out of respect to you and those who think that Pacquiao is the symbol of our ethnic pride, I will keep those things to myself.  But let me just say something briefly.  It is really unfortunate that somebody who is “illiterate and whose skill and aura are only in the world of boxing…” has become that symbol.  I agree with you that there are many out there who are deserving but right now, Pacquiao is “it.”  You are an exception Jess because most Filipinos in America won’t think twice about throwing that phrase – ethnic pride – freely to describe how they feel towards Pacquiao.  I think for these people and this is not an emboldened assumption on my part, they take Pacquiao’s wins at their face value. No need for any other explanation.  It could even be as rudimentary as the fact that he is a Filipino.  It does not matter that he is illiterate and he’s rags to riches, he’s a success story coming from a country that’s been nursing a soiled image for decades and a country that badly needs to turn that soiled image around.  You can call their hero-worshipping a DESPERATE AND HARD-UP FACT BUT IN THEIR MINDS, THEY’RE SIMPLY ELATED.  It really does not take much to please or make a Filipino happy.  Live and let live Jess.  If that’s what makes people happy, who are we to stop them?


Anyhoo … I like that ending a lot too but knowing you, I really didn’t have to make it official.  I know that the underlying allure to “bring it” exists regardless if I say it or not.  The wolves don’t bother me.  I just rather not deal with them.


Again, thanks my friend!  You make this world an exciting place that’s for sure.  Take care!!! 


(Signed) Nelia

P.S. No rebuttal from me after this e-mail :O)…it’s Friday and time to kick back plus my daughter from Los Angeles is flying in tomorrow with her dog.  Life is short Jess….  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!!


Nelia, my dear friend, you mollify me.  Yes, let’s all live and let live.  And let’s all have a blessed and a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends, families and loved ones.  And let’s all be thankful for all the blessings that this wonderful country had given us.  JJ


Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 21:04

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