Wednesday, June 30, 2010

So Now I am the Boss, eh?

... And I didn't even vote.

Earlier today, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, or "Noynoy" (now, comes the dreaded, somewhat catchy and absurd, "P-Noy," signifying his moniker for his administration) was sworn in as the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines.

This new administration is conscious of its symbols. In an obvious break with the symbols of the recent regime, it has done away with the trappings of power and aspired for a simple, street-smart austerity. Or so how the PR handlers of P-Noy make it out to be.

While I watched this morning - the live satellite feed timing into right nicely between my morning shower and breakfast - I could not help but be moved. Yes, I am totally aware that our next President spent his entire life as a virtual mediocrity, always overshadowed by the legacy of his parents, and not even having the courtesy of going against the grain. In this his younger sister Kris seems to have inherited all the bravura of their late father.

But this mediocrity, strangely enough, is so indicative of my own generation of Filipinos, whose most significant inroads to the worldwide consciousness have been drama queens and starlets, boxing champs and sex scandals. When he took to the dais, and with his plaintive tone addressed the nation and the world, it was as if he took the form and shape of WHO WE WERE - a generation lost, weary of self-doubt, wanting both the answers and the relief and not having to know them or what they cost.

It was the voice of a generation wanting to be validated, wanting to hope against the very real and tangible taste of disappointment.

It was the voice which propelled the dream of EDSA.

Katulad ninyo ako. Marami na sa atin ang bumoto gamit ang kanilang paa—nilisan na nila ang ating bansa sa kanilang paghahanap ng pagbabago at katahimikan. Tiniis nila ang hirap, sinugod ang panganib sa ibang bansa dahil doon may pag-asa kahit kaunti na dito sa atin ay hindi nila nakikita. Sa iilang sandali na sarili ko lang ang aking inaalala, pati ako ay napag-isip din—talaga bang hindi na mababago ang pamamahala natin dito? Hindi kaya nasa ibang bansa ang katahimikang hinahanap ko? Saan ba nakasulat na kailangang puro pagtitiis ang tadhana ng Pilipino?
This statement did it for me. He didn't even have to sell me his program of government. Of course it would be foolhardy to fall for this line. Most of the substance of the speech was to send a message to outsiders that it was BUSINESS AS USUAL, and to everyone else in the crowd what they (what we) wanted to hear - a government that is more responsive, consultative, and proactive - to broaden the base of participation for all.

Mere platitudes? Yes, of course. But he is entitled, no, he is mandated to say these things. He made the sale during the elections, now he is in the aftersales portion - he has to show that what is inside the package is all that is advertised.

But on this day, P-Noy captured the element of what was needed by the common Filipino - the admission that he was incapable of doing all these things by himself. For at the very heart of things, to be simple, all President Noynoy Aquino has to do is to show up and be himself. Yes, he is a mediocrity. An idealistic one, yes, like what many of us aspire to be (or like to think of ourselves being), but the right one for our times.

He is the product of our yearning for a simpler time, where good meant one thing and evil was the other. If only things could be so in real life.
Sa mga nang-api sa akin, kaya ko kayong patawarin, at pinapatawad ko na kayo. Sa mga nang-api sa sambayanan, wala akong karapatan na limutin ang inyong mga kasalanan.

To those who are talking about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: there can be no reconciliation without justice.
Braver words have his predecessors said. Harsher means at times his mother had to implement in order to distance her administration from the sins of the past. But almost a quarter-century after People Power, we are still here, a veritable Sisyphus forever pushing the stone of history, tradition, and political culture uphill.

The proof of the cooking is in the eating, I will give him a free pass to show that he is not corrupt. I have my doubts...

Nandito tayo ngayon dahil sama-sama tayong nanindigan at nagtiwala na may pag-asa.

The people who are behind us dared to dream. Today, the dream starts to become a reality. Sa inyong mga nag-iisip pa kung tutulong kayo sa pagpasan ng ating krus, isa lang ang aking tanong – kung kailan tayo nanalo, saka pa ba kayo susuko?

Kayo ang boss ko, kaya’t hindi maaaring hindi ako makinig sa mga utos ninyo.
I often said (maybe not in this space) that the strength of any organization is within its people.

If we are the good bosses that demand accountable government, if we are the bosses that seek the best in the good and perfection in the imperfect, then we have should have nothing in our hearts but hope for our new President and confidence in at least his willingness to try and in his sincerity to be our representative.

If, however, we remain as venal, short-sighted, and cynical as the last administration has turned us out to be... well, I don't have to say more.

It will be just more of the same.

Always laugh at your boss's jokes, it might be a loyalty test.

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