SONA 2009 redressed

Was it a sardonic statement or a reflection of the descent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer to accommodate the readers shallow taste? Interspersed with photos depicting the demonstrators who picketed in front of Batasan this afternoon that criticized the president in her State of the Nation’s Address and Mar Roxas in his soon-to-be classic wet and wild pictures  boycotting of the SONA to be with the rallyists are Hollywood-like shots of our congressmen and senators strutting in their colorful ternos and Filipiniana on the red carpet.

Philippines Arroyo

The photo montage reminded me of Marie Antoinette saying her “Give them cake.” while the people of France starved in front of her.

It must have been appalling to see your representative in the House looking like wannabe celebrity who thought that the SONA was an annual parade to showcase her taste in fashion. Even hard-liners, activists congresswomen like Liza Maza and Risa Hontiveros-Baraqueil did not let go of this opportunity to make a political statement to the effect that their gowns have meanings, that they were made from indigenous materials, and that they are symbols of protest.

Now I understand why as a nation we are not taken seriously by other nationalities, it’s because we’ve never taken ourselves seriously in the first place. It is this “if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them” stance that is almost farcical if not absurd way of looking at our politics that makes us a subject of jokes. The same approach Sen. Pia Cayetano has been employing these years when she has constantly stolen attention with her statuesque figure and class. Or Jamby Madrigal’s old rich and subdued taste. Or a congresswoman from an unknown district who totes her couture gown she had made-pasadya only for this media-magnet event.

While Arroyo boasted about her accomplishments during the previous year, our vision was directed to her subliminally and sexually charged fuchsia gown. I may sound like a chauvinist pig here, but her choice of color spoke of both dominance and oozing sexuality. It was almost a good opportunity for the rest of the nation to validate whether her boob job was a success, or whether the leak made them less swollen.

Still she has failed to reflect in her SONA the real state of the nation. She boasted the GNP growth that is relatively higher than the rest of Southeast Asia but has never trickled down in the lives of ordinary Filipinos, or her non-committal statement of her stepping down the office next year, or the CARP programs that did not benefit its supposed recipients. Empty promises never kept, or if kept, remained illusory.

Arroyo did not bid a definite good bye, instead she left a looming fear in us that come 2010, she will hold on to her office as hardly as a scum.

Only her dress reflected her true motivations: power, dominance, and a libido that can only be described as “plenty”.


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