For a nation obsessively in need of a hero, Manny’s defeat yesterday, had it occurred two or three years ago would have been catastrophic and irreversibly traumatic for us whose national psyche is too fragile it rests on one man’s ability to throw punches and draw blood from an opponent whose background is as sorry as ours.
The fewer number of Facebook status expressing dismay, hopelessness, and bitterness due to Manny’s loss to Bradley (at least on my page), compared to what I imagined it would be, had been glaring (at least for me). Have we become less sore of a loser? I have proofs to say that as a nation we still are.
Have the Filipinos become less interested in the legend of Manny? Have the Filipinos thought Manny has already become too moneyed they failed to see their hungry faces reflected in his?
Has his story gone too magically realistic it was rendered unbelievable and felt too scripted in a country were people eat magic realism for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Have we as a nation shifted our search for a hero to something else? Or have we realized we did not need a hero after all?
Have we thought maybe Manny is just too much of an outlier he can’t be a Filipino? Or has his career like the careers of our many local movie stars’, after having burst into a bright supernova, is now on a road to becoming nothing but a black hole, the star a has-been?
We seem to have cared less now because we realized it is not wise to gamble our national sanity on a champion who, vicissitude they call, will sooner or later face defeat, and that it is far wiser to gamble on our institutions, on our future together as one nation, on a shared belief that this nation is on its road to greatness.
Maybe having a hero was important. But as in all epics, it’s the members of the army who carry out and win the war.