The Philippines in the spotlight

I carry my being a Filipino as a badge of pride.  Need I say more given the title of this blog?  So when I hear “Manila” or the “Philippines” being mentioned in the morning news as I prepare breakfast here at home and go about getting ready for work, I stop and look and find out what’s up.

So first there was the infamous Bus Siege that sadly led to some fatalities.  I think the experts are better left to do the finger pointing because then they can make a good case of how we bungled this one so badly that it now provides a textbook case of what NOT to do in a hostage situation.  (Sigh of exasperation.)  If you haven’t yet, read “Ten Things the Philippines Bus Siege got wrong” on the BBC website and I am sure you will agree with ten out of ten points raised.  

Then we get so close to bagging another Miss Universe title when a major, major blunder of an answer was blurted out by the crowd favorite: Ms. Philippines.  I don’t even have the energy to look for any links.  Now she has a “major mistake” she can look back to and speak about.  Please don’t give me the excuse that it was a “beauty” and not “brains” contest.  Or that she was nervous — these question and answer portions in beauty contests are trick questions and dress rehearsals for the beauty queen who will be fielded and paraded to the public once crowned, so presence of mind (no matter if you can’t speak English, as long as it manifests itself somewhere between the ears) is a very important consideration.

See, to me, it’s not how smart the candidate is — it’s what comes out of her mouth.  You can be a dean’s lister and a genuis, but if you cannot blurt out a sensible answer to a simple question, then how can they expect you to smile, wave, and say something nice when they send you out to the press and the public. 

Well, we can try again next year.

Fortunately for me, there is too much happening in New York now that I don’t think either incident made an impact on the people working around me.  So no, I haven’t been asked about the bus siege, but I might not escape a Miss Universe query.  It doesn’t help that US websites and programs are paying particular attention to Ms. Philippines’ blunder — and I think it’s a good sign in a sense because it shows us our candidate actually made an impact.  As I said, there’s always next year.