Tuesday, 22 December 2015

How a statement from a "Beauty Queen" comes a series of different Interpretations and criticism

How a statement from a "Beauty Queen"
comes a series of different Interpretations and criticism

(or how Pia Alonzo Würtzbach's statement
easily identified with reaffirming Yankee relations in the Philippines)

Source: Philippine Collegian

At first, this person congratulate ms. Pia Alonzo Würtzbach for winning the 2015 Miss Universe Beauty Pageant at Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Her victory is a fine moment for the Filipino people who ceaselessly supported her bid for the crown.

However, despite her victory, it seems that her position, coming from her answer (as stated in the picture above), regarding the presence of United States Armed Forces in the Philippines is reflective of the sentiments of those who are unaware, intentionally or not, of the countless abuses and violence done by these forces, as well as its domestic counterpart, especially against Filipino women, children, communities, and even the environmenr on the pretense of security and stability.

To most people, her statement be justified on the pretext of the growing tremor with China. Along with a series of cold war-era rherotic and showbiz patriotism, it seems that the people who dare to criticise Würtzbach's statement leads to red tagging, harassment, rather than discourse to resolve different opinions regarding her statement.
Otherwise, those who create "counterstatements" on those who criticise Würtzbach's statement subjectively thinking that the pageant has nothing to do with foreign policy nor even politics, disregarding the fact that there are certain questions that are politically tainted in nature. After all, it is a beauty contest, and it has nothing to do with topics controversial in nature, if not Würtzbach speaks on her own statement according to them.

But for this person's take, her statement is also open to interpretations different from the officially accepted one of "totally reaffirming subservience of the Filipino to the Anglo-Saxon". For according to professor Maykel Andrada of the University of the Philippines, it is History that provide Pia Wurtzbach's answers in regards to US-Philippine relations. And it is full of irony, if not subversive or even parodical.

According to Andrada, he stated that After Würtzbach stated that the Philippines "have always had friendly relations", she stated that the United States had occupied the country and remained its colony from 1898 to 1946; and that is through McKinley's "Benevolent Assimilation" that is commonly studied in mainstream Philippine history, Würtzbach may have studied history quite well that the so-called friend was once a coloniser.

Secondly, Colonial Mentality has been revealed in her statement, given that American culture has also been Philippines's own for generations. Being described then and now as Brown Americans, having White supremacy as basis for beauty, having English as superior language for the learned, as well as Hollywood and its "Star System" for movies past and present. That somehow made the Philippine popular culture technically an annex of American culture, while those of its neighbours remained clinging to its own rooted yet modernised culture such as those of Indonesia and Malaysia (that was also colonised by the British and Dutch).

And lastly, the Philippines is a Neocolony, or even a Semicolony, through her statement that Americans are always welcome in the Philippines. It seemed quite general in referring to these "Americans", whether it is a "Tourist" looking for fine beaches, "Investor" seeking future markets, and even a "Soldier" known treating the Philippines as a "Rest and "Recreation" site. 
True indeed that Filipinos are "Friendly" towards to the American people due to long colonial and neocolonial relations between two countries. But with these Americans describing themselves as "Powerful", "Rich", "Progressive" in front of its vassals and being internalised as such, these words are enough to make the Philippines dependent in their aid rather than rolling its own sleeve and stand on its own to assert its independence. 

"Justice and Humanity" as its "basis" for occupying the Philippines
And yet, contrary to what most people thinks of as "affirmative", Würtzbach did not answer if she is in favor of US military presence in the country. Maybe she's intelligent enough to evade an answer in front of the American audience, particularly the sponsors who had made the Pageant well-known. For on the first place, who owns that beauty pageant such as "Miss Universe"? And obviously, that question is more of a "begging one" that can be answered simply by a "Yes" or "No."

But anyways, Würtzbach statement is open for interpretations, be it talking about the Americans whom afforded to solidarise the struggling Filipino people, supported its ideals and aspirations at the expense of being censored or imprisoned, or the Camouflaged men who once babbled "benevolent assimilation", "freedom", and "democracy". But the problem is that most people chose not to think deeply about her statement and instead merely nod as if enough for a good answer.

And if one afforded to criticise or reinterpret the statement other than the "official" one, they start to cry with a series of red tags and other whining rants, worse, attacking activists and other patriots out of "showbiz patriotism".

At first, it may sound offending about her statement, and once this person even think that "Antonio Luna should brought life to tell that the Philippines is a virgin yearning for a whore's love"; but since other activists (like Jose Maria Sison) has afforded to reinterpret Würtzbach's statement such as focusing on amicable relationships between American and Filipino people than those of governments (including the armed forces), this person would say that her statement is likely to open for interpretations. Remember: Mark Twain of Tom Sawyer was against American colonisation, that Jane Fonda visited the Philippines and met activists, that David Fagen defected and joined the Philippine revolutionaries, yet these people are Americans. 

After all, in a nation easily colonised by modern gadgets and promises of democracy and freedom, the Philippines has easily forgotten its heritage, its patriotism, save those meant for tourism. Pia Würtzbach may be right in her statement, but on the other hand, given that no one afforded to think critically and instead nod about Uncle Sam's right to interfere in someone else's business as its former colony, she showed that hers is a country of overdressed monkeys, an American experiment that created a generation of helpless "brown Americans" crying for the big white man.

People may have watched Heneral Luna and other movies featuring heroes just few months ago, memorising every phrase and even making fan art out of it; but then it easily forgets it altogether thinking that all is but history and meant to be forgotten. Yes, meant to be knowing that it has nothing to do with the current state of themselves as individuals, what more of a society that is less interested in statecraft and more of consumerism. Is this what independence and freedom the Philippines had after 1946? In 1946 there's still a generation of struggling patriots trying to assert that the revolution remains unfinished, while this coming 2016 what you see is a generation of whining kids becoming assholes thinking that to forget is divine.

You may call those who adhere in the ideals of the pasts with red tagging or any other bullshit, but in the end, it makes the name caller more of a marionette of a dying "republic".

Again, cheers to Würtzbach, but there are those who desired victory, a victory for Filipino Nationalism, a victory for the Filipino people and its realisation of an aspiration from an unfinished revolution.