On May 2, 2009 two brave warriors will battle it out for pound-for-pound supremacy, most likely the biggest boxing fight of the year.
Manny Pacquiao against Ricky Hatton, a fight between two of today's best fighters in the planet.
In the Philippines, however, it is viewed as a fight between the Filipino protagonist against the English brawler.
So, why is it?
Pacquiao is the so-called "National fist" of the Philippines incidentally you can add it up to the ever growing list of national body parts here at our country (national nose, national legs.. so on and so forth).
Pacquiao's career has been closely followed by his loyal countrymen from his flyweight days against mostly Thailanders to his US debut fight in 2001 against Lehlonoholo Ledwaba and to his most recent dream match that turned out to be a nightmare for Oscar De La Hoya.
He's an icon in the Philippines, signing autographs, hosting television shows, starring in his own movie, recording his own song, shooting for commercials, guesting for variety shows and running for politics.
No problem about that...I guess..
I have no problem with his endeavours, as long as he remains a good citizen of our good country, paying the right taxes (no comment about that) and being an "Inspiration" to his countrymen (which I will further discuss later).
What bothers me is the fact is he turned a whole nation mad. His boxing resume is great in any way you look at it but what transpires in the Philippines is all madness.
Life stops here at the Philippines, whenever Pacquiao fights. Zero-crime rate, no vehicles in sight, unofficial peace agreement between government soldiers and rebels take place.
Nothing to worry about...well, maybe there is.
A good example is last December, our driver asks our permission to be excused from work. Reason...He's going to watch the Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight: one word, madness.
About a year ago, I heard one of the most odd news in one of the country's well-respected media organization.
"An old lady dies of heart attack"
What's odd about that?
The heart attack was caused by overwhelming joy with the fact that Pacquiao won his fight. Two words: genuine madness.
National Hero in the making?
He's considered as a national hero. So the question is, what has he done to be regarded as a hero?
The sad fact is he just boxed for 36 minutes (most of the time it doesn't reach 36 minutes) and in return he earned his fat check, seven-eight figure pay days. (Last time he has a guaranteed $11 million.)
Giving Pacquiao the distinction of a national hero is a disrespect and insult to our great heroes. An insult to Rizal to Benigno Aquino, to Bonifacio, to the Katipuneros, to the Hukbalahaps and to all those World war II veterans who fought gallantly in aid of the Americans.
I have nothing against the pound-for-pound king, but please your excellency, I don't want to hear you singing your hit song (which I still can't figure out why it is a hit song) "This fight is for you... My country."
Whenever you sing it it's like you're fooling the 90 million inhabitants of the Philippines (I'm not saying he's fooling us around, I used the magic word "Like").
The nationalism fever is not that bad after all.
Every time Pacquiao wins, thousands of people are all lined up in his fit-for-a-king mansion in General Santos city waiting for the plastic bags laden with rice, canned goods (usually sardines), biscuits, breads, and candies (for the children).
Humanitarian...yes, but this is what I believe.
Give a man a fish and it will ease his hunger for the moment.
Teach a man to fish and he shall never be hungry for the rest of his life.
Consider the Following facts
The Philippines is a third-world country.
A country wherein a great majority of the people will just lined up in lottery betting stations wishing for the slippery-as-an-eel millions rather than to work overtime to earn the sure overtime pay.
A country wherein 50 percent or more are below the poverty line.
A country wherein 70 percent or more believe that they are below the poverty line. (A little optimism, please.)
A country wherein the daily minimum wage is roughly $8.
An inspiration, not so fast
Maybe the facts above is the definite reason why Filipinos looked up on Pacquiao.
Pacquiao is the typical Filipinos "Inspiration."
Our country don't have much, the Philippines is a poor country, nothing much to be dignified with other than sports specifically boxing.
Allow me to rephrase it,
Pacquiao is the typical Filipinos "desperation" (no offense).
The typical Filipinos sees a national hero in Pacquiao, a national hero who made it bigtime overnight.
How worse could it be?
The past year, Pacquiao has achieved the following:
A master's degree in philosophy without even taking up any philosophy class.
A citation making him a military officer (master Sargent, If I'm not mistaken) without even entering cadetship.
The honor of being a Datu (for God's sake).
The (Dis)honor of being quoted in the president's state of the nation address (why oh, why).
A one-sided loss at the local election in his native, General Santos city (thank god).
What an achiever...
Please my fellow Filipinos, Manny Pacquiao is just like any one of us. He work hard to earn a living for his family (not for you, not for me) and you should do the same.
Stop the "nationalism issue"
I'm sick and tired of the phrase "I'm doing this for my country."
Much better, "I'm doing this for my family likewise what I'm doing for my family is a big contribution to the country."
I'm a Pacquiao fan. He's my sports hero, but I'm sure he's never gonna boxed his way to becoming my national hero.
Still, the insanity is not yet over.