Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pacquiao, NOT Arroyo, Can Unite the Philippines

Today, our very own boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, will once again take on the dreams and ambitions of our nation – a nation where millions of people wallow in utter poverty, a nation so divided, a nation beleaguered by corruption.

When the "Pacman" faces Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas today, he's not just fighting for himself as a boxer, but for the Filipino people and the country as a whole. 

As BBC News describes it: If Hatton loses, many thousands will sigh. If Pacquiao loses, a nation's heart will break. 
Millions of us Filipinos see in Pacquiao something to aspire to, because we see in him our hopes and dreams. 

In his early years, Pacquiao toiled in the streets to earn a living and to survive. This is why people can relate with the boxing superstar. 

As our "Pambansang Kamao" climbs the ring today, we will see once more the Army (the Philippine Army and the New Peoples Army) lay down their arms and call for a truce, even the Muslim insurgents in Mindanao . Crime will almost cease in the towns and cities across the country. 

Every human activity practically grinds to a halt as thousands gather around their television sets and movie houses to witness their hero carry their hopes and dreams. This phenomenon does not only occur in the Philippines . Filipinos all around the world always gather in anticipation of a big Pacquiao fight. 

A victory by Pacquiao in today's match would catapult him to the international boxing Hall of Fame. One of only two fighters who have won the championship title in six weight divisions.

As promoter Bob Arum said, "Pacquiao is a symbol of his people". 
President Arroyo calls Pacquiao "truly one of our nation's heroes who can unite us even in times of divisiveness". 

 "The Filipino people are the real source of my strength. My utmost intention is to unite the Filipino people through my efforts in boxing," Pacquiao proudly declared once. 

Recently named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine (officially outpolling US President Barack Obama), Pacquiao could become president of our country. 

After the Pacquiao fight, however, can we stay united as a nation? Will the "great unifying force" personified by the "Pacman" dwell among us?

Boys Rite of Passage: Circumcision

By Joe Espiritu

      A few days ago a group of boys scarcely in their teens underwent the rite of passage. This is a ceremony, which transforms boys into men... Hopefully. The foreskins in their peckers were cut off on preparation to – you know what. As hospital garb of patients, they wore loose T shirts to hide their fronts which are without briefs.

       They went away from the center proudly holding the T shirt fronts away from their wounded organs. Peer pressure made them smile to show they were brave. They must had been administered anesthesia or they would have been caterwauling in pain if they nobody was around. Watch out when the anesthesia wear off, They would be an ordeal to parents for a day or two.

       There was a time when the ceremony was strictly a pre teenage affair. A group of boys with a few centavos go to the village circumciser. He is usually an old man with a small bolo with razor sharp point. After negotiations, he would make the boy sit in front of him. There were no antibiotics or anti tetanus then. He first chews tender guava leaves, inserts the tip of his bolo upside down beneath the foreskin and with a wooden peg whacks at the bolo point.

       It usually takes two or three whacks before the foreskin is cleanly cut. If the boy is brave enough to observe the proceedings he sees his foreskin turns white first before it bleeds and falls away to the sides of his barangay chairman... Then the circumciser spits the masticated leaves on the bleeding organ and pronounces the ceremony over.

       Some wonder why boys have to undergo such pain. Others would like their ears cut off – no not this organ – than be named p-s-t P S supply the vowels... There are other cultures that forego circumcision. Some South East Asians, Europeans and those living in some parts of the Philippines who go through their lives uncut. The Jews consider this ceremony a part of their culture. Ancient Jewish warrior fights to death knowing that he could be identified as a Jew when captured.

       There are those who say that circumcision is done for hygienic reasons. We do not see any reason for it. There are those who say that uncircumcised guys smell like a boar in heat. This could be uttered in derision perhaps to discredit the guy with the girls. What girl would be friends with a guy under social stigma?

       This time, the circumcising team was led by Board Member Dr. Ben Molina and Board Member Trabajo. The people who did the honors were girls. Come to think of it, in the old days, when a newly circumcised pecker is seemed by a girl, it swells up like a ripe tomato. We assume that the ones who performed the ceremonies were the girls as they were the one wearing gloves. There was a man with them but he seems to be the driver. Besides, he did not have a small bolo with him or was chewing tender guava leaves.

       If the carabao cannot go to the mud hole, then the mud hole must go to the carabao. This non sequitor merely says the Dr. Molina and team did not wait for the boys to go to them but they met at places where the boys were told to be. In that way they went from barangay to barangay to do the honors. Thanks to them there will be boys who will be no longer called p-s-t you supply the vowels.