Circus Apathy

Philippine politics – we all know it’s a dirty shindig. Dirtier than any toilet, comfort room, restroom, powder room, the loo, the john, rain closet, whatever you call that sensation, which we have our record-breaking existential release tended to.

Why, not even Lysol, Klorox, or Mr. Clean can mask the bacteria that has bred and continues to breed in such a dwelling, no matter how much one tries to scrub their spell. However, there’s another sensation that overpowers any restroom or this frail system in our country; higher than any statistical or MTRCB ratings.

Filipino politicians – a growing number of celebrities turned government assets and government assets turned commercial models and talk show hosts. An entertainment of sorts composed of circus characters gone awry, who we elected into office, each at its own play.

It’s a growing fad, actually. When an ex-president was charged with several counts of corruption, she posed as a morphed clown with a matching neck brace and a wheelchair. When a royalty was put into trial for having amassed ill-gotten wealth, he followed suit, tried to steer the case as a ringmaster and bagged himself a Showmanship Award. Even an ex-con turned congressman attempted a magician’s disappearing act. Now, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III shares the same blunder, but his show is far more stellar. Not only was he caught red-handed claiming verbatim American blogger Sarah Pope and recently translating American Senator Robert Kennedy’s speech, but he was also caught bathing in his own urine with the talent of (e)scapegoating.

Teachers are confronted with one truth – that students cheat. Whether it be homeworks, research papers, essays, quizzes, exams, seatworks, projects… Public or private, you name it.

Next to cheating, plagiarism looms like a vulture ready for the kill. As an unknown source puts it, “Plagiarism [intentional or unintentional, translated or retained] is tantamount to cheating.”

I don’t need statistics to back up the fact that, in the Philippines, as young as Pre-School students engage in cheating openly for their teachers to witness come exams or that High School students photocopy homeworks and research papers or do the “Copy-Paste” legend from websites – even the smart-aleck in the class as the source. Even dissertations in college and the grad school aren’t spared. Ask any teacher you know and they’ll tell you their two cents worth about such incidents.

Indeed, it is a battle fought everyday. Tactics to avoid it are deployed, but it always succeeds much to the Department of Education’s chagrin, just like our government, which is adept in covering up their resident Judas Iscariot’s betrayals.

If we can’t correct a Senator’s wrong doings, how can we urge the youth to avoid such blasphemies? Shall we allow him to teach them that plagiarizing and giving alibis are legitimate? Yes, there are better things to rant about than Sotto’s shenanigans, but what’s left of our values? Gone with the wind?

Dear Senator, it’s not your pride that plagues you. Not ignorance, not arrogance. Yours is the sin of delusional grandeur scholarly and multiple times done. Please, don’t treat us like a mere audience in your noontime show whom you think you can toy with.

If you’re not man enough to admit even the most minute mistakes, what makes you think you have a face to rule a country? How can you expect us to believe that you’re not cheating on your job if you cheat on your speeches?

It would have been simple, really, such as quoting your source or admitting your shortcomings. However, like a dog, you refuse to clean your coils of shit and instead, let the public smell your circus of the stupid-esque.

Worse, you even have the guts to say, “Ba’t ko siya iquo-quote, eh blogger lang siya (Why would I quote her when she’s only a blogger)?” It’s as if saying, why bother serving this country when no one cares? And now, you dare claim that translating somebody else’s speech is not plagiarism?

Go on and underestimate the power of the World Wide Web, seeing that you presume it as a ticket to your redemption. Careful, dear Senator, it might land you a spot in the next election – your derriere.

The more you keep on barking at the wrong trees dear Senator, the more you present yourself as an eligible replacement for the defunct three stooges. If you must try to pull of an “Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” act (heaven forbid how many more), I hate to break it to you, but we are beneath entertained.

There’s one thing you can claim from Dr. Parnassus though, dear Senator. Go, sell your soul to the devil and oh, before I forget, some unsolicited advice: Make it quick.

Now, that would be a real entertainment.

(As published in SunStar Davao | September 9, 2012, Davao City, Philippines)

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