Monday, September 21, 2009

Mediocre at best

It was the administration party’s own version of the primaries – the frontrunners, nay the only runners, were Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando. While Fernando has been virtually campaigning since last year (I base this statement on his “performance” in a convention held in the city last year where he promoted himself, not so subtly, as the next president of this country), he was the underdog in this skit for just a couple of days earlier, Teodoro was endorsed by a majority of local government officials belonging to the administration party.

With the way both the Republicans and the Democrats ran their respective primaries, I thought that we may have learned something from the most recently concluded U.S. presidential elections. What I saw on TV was embarrassing. Though the Defense Secretary performed a tad better than the “pink fencer” when two were questioned by the party’s executive committee (or perhaps more accurately, the latter performed worse), their responses to even the most fundamental questions on governance were devoid of any substance. Motherhood statements. Empty. Nada. Mediocre at best. I sure hope someone from the opposition can offer something much better, or we’re doomed, again, for the next 6 years.

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Mediocrity – and while we’re at it, here’s another one: the upcoming attempt by some people to produce the longest longanisa. This comes to us after the recent presentation of the biggest pizza. We’ve also had the biggest salad, the biggest strawberry cake, shake, etc. And all of these feats, according to their respective organizers, are attempts to put Baguio on the map (what map, I’m not sure), to make a world record, to boost the city’s tourism industry.

We live in a city gifted with one of the most beautiful topographical layout, and we want to be known as the city with the longest longanisa. We are blessed with a cool climate, and we go out there as the city with the biggest pizza.

Don’t get me wrong, all of the above may be fun undertakings, but please don’t put these out there as something that Baguio can be proud of. 300,000 residents picking up a broom to clean the whole city, now that’s a world record we can be proud of. Or maybe a city with not one “colorum” taxi. How about a city government with zero corruption? Why not put all that money and effort that go into stuffing hundreds of meters of pork intestines into programs that would get our youth out of the streets and gangs? We have money to waste on an irrelevant undertaking such as the longets longanisa, but no money to put up a police station near Nevada Square to stop the gang wars that regularly occur there that have resulted in a number of deaths.

Baguio was once considered the most beautiful hill station in Asia, the cleanest and greenest city in the country, and instead of working hard to get those titles back, some instead choose to put all their energy into slaughtering hundreds of pigs to “promote the city.” Pearls to swine, indeed.

Wasn’t the rape of Session Road enough when it was turned into an ugly epitome of crass commercialism earlier this year, must you now cover it in blood in an inane effort to “promote local tourism?” With all the expensive lunches and dinners and tourism junkets, this is what you can come up with? The longest longanisa?

On my online status update a few days ago, I quoted film director Joey Reyes, "nobody is more dangerous than a mediocre mind who is made to believe that he/she possesses genius by sheer coincidence of power and position given to him/her." Daniel Burnham, forgive them, for they seem not to know what they’re doing. Sorry for messing up your beautiful Plan of Baguio.

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