As the Bamboos Sway By Rudy D. Liporada, Asian Journal | SAN DIEGO, 1/13/2012 — At the heel of the new Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) slogan, motto, or whatever Its more fun in the Philippines, viral positive and negative comments swirled all over the internet as fast as the deathly waters of Sendong had buried thousands of Filipinos recently. While there were praises to the enticement for tourists to come visit the Islands and have fun in the archipelago, the criticisms went to the extreme of viciousness.
True, there are a lot to do in the Philippines that could be fun but, and, I must just be cynical about it, given the timing of its enunciation, I find it really more than funny. First the phrase is a copycat from Switzerlands 1950s Its more fun in Switzerland. Virtual questions arose like: Couldnt DOT be more original? On my part, juxtaposed to recent disasters and government inadequacy to control mining and logging that cause them, I do not feel the fun. It’s more like its more SHAM in the Philippines.
Consider, too, that just as soon as the DOT came out with it, President Noynoy Aquino went on national telecast with his cabinet behind him, announcing that there was a bomb threat that could devastate thousands during the annual Black Nazarene procession. He discouraged people from joining the ritual. For those going, he advised for them not to bring their cell phones as improvised explosive devises (IED) could be detonated through them. The effect? The American consular office advised American tourists not to go near the tourist attraction ritual.
There goes a fun missed activity.
The other funny part? Cell phones are not the only detonators of IEDs. The worst funny part? The people did not believe the Leader of the Land. Thousands of devotees, in hordes, still fulfilled their devotion to the Black Nazarene, minus, I guess, the fun loving tourists. Its really funny that the Leader of the Land could countermand one of his dollar inducing Departments by such baseless announcements.
True, he might have been being proactive, protecting the masses based on a tip. Or maybe, he could just be covering up his inadequacies to be proactive or being immediately there when he was needed like in the Sendong or the Chinese massacre cases. This is really funny.
Maybe what is also fun in the Philippines is to observe the funny political circuses that are going on. There is the case of the so called Butcher Retired Major General Jovito Palparan who is now being hunted for the murder of activists. This after he was praised and richly rewarded by the then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Funny that he is now in hiding, presumably, because his patron, Arroyo, is now also in jail facing election fraud and plunder of funds cases. Funny that Erap who Arroyo helped overthrow during his reign, full of gambling, womanizing, and other issues, is now offering to help Arroyo.
There are also many circumstances about the Philippines that to me are funny. Consider that only lately did we consider the Philippine Eagle as our national bird. Initially, it was dictated, through the educational system developed by the United States in the early 1900s that our national bird should be the Maya, our tiniest bird. Did the United States not want to consider the Philippine Eagle because it is the largest eagle in the world and dwarfed the American eagle? How about Lapu-Lapu, the first hero of the Philippines who stood against foreign invaders? He was merely placed in a one centavo coin which amounted to nothing. There are more but they would be for another article. Suffice to say that, to me, these are funny.
Then there is the Korean chorale now singing Ang Bayan Kong Pilipinas and Filipinos applaud, which to me is acknowledging that the Koreans now, in bespeak, actually owning the Philippines. Camp John Hay in Baguio City is now dubbed as Kam Jung Hee.
More than everything else, to me, is how much some of my Facebook and chat friends, sometimes heatedly, point out that I should not be cynical and point the negatives about the Philippines. I also find this beyond funny because this is one thing I find obnoxious. The reason, to me, why the Philippines have not evolved to progress is we are afraid to confront the truth. We do not call a spade a spade. And even the sentence before this is not original.
I know that the DOT slogan had already gone viral. It could, perhaps attract more tourist money and boost the Philippine economy. The fact remains that there are many funny things about the Philippines.
And the fundamental question is who is having fun in the archipelago anyway? Better question yet, for whom, primarily, should fun be in the Islands?