Friday, May 15, 2009

Mrs D's party: Uh-Oh

Have to say that the preparations (as documented by Aquiles Zonio of the Mindanao Inquirer) for Pacquiao’s mother’s birthday leave me a little disturbed. The writer writes “No, she is not Imeldific,” meaning that Dionisia Pacquiao is not Imelda Marcos herself, but one can’t escape the feeling that if Mrs. D is not Imeldific (proper noun), the preparations definitely sound imeldific (adjective).

Five different gowns, each costing in the tens of thousands of pesos. Louis Vuitton handbag for P150,000. P15,000 shoes. Excess, display, love of designer labels, the usual imeldific pomp and glitter. Interesting that while Pacman himself seems to be a quiet, humble soul who seems to genuinely believe that it is crucial to his well-being that he remain a simple man at heart, he is surrounded by every sign of a full-bore trapo machine dedicated to impressing to all and sundry that Pacquiao is NOT a simple man, a tao, but a full blown Panginoon. In our semifeudal culture, the landlord is Lord of The Land, the Panginoong May Lupa, a rarefied being whose exotic and excessive tastes are a stamp of his power. You get the idea that somewhere in Camp Pacquiao, some sense that Pacquiao is extraordinary is trying to manifest and express itself, and is doing so in the usual, monstrous, drunken way of nouveau panginoon. The huge entourages. The huge houses. The armed bodyguards: pomp and circumstance, shock and awe. I’m just waiting for somebody to haul out a couple of cases of Petrus, or maybe have Fat Bastard in a Baby Huey costume jump out of a cake like in the Marcos video.

I’m not suggesting Pacquiao or even Mrs D. came up with all the trappings. More likely there are some close friends/confidantes/ hairdressers/backstabbing politicos in the camp who believe with absolute conviction that they could give to Paquiao A House Befitting a Man of His Stature, or to Mrs D. The Greatest Birthday Party General Roxas Has Ever Known, and who have by sheer force of personality managed to corral control of the budget. However, it seems to indicate that at the very least, Pacquiao either believes that his own aesthetics of simplicity are personal preferences that need not apply to anything else/anyone but himself; or that he cannot control or guide Camp Pacquiao. Money and power attract people, and a mass of people jammed/falling/struggling into a space will sort themselves into some kind of structure, negotiating orbits, turf, responsibility, procedure. Who knows what the hell is going on in there, but it doesn’t look like a party.

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