A couple of weeks ago my friend and I were reading the newspapers at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf when I found this editorial in the Manila Times (March 18). It made such an impression on me that I tore it out of the paper (Yes, it was me, but it was my friend who lectured you on the nature of the poppyseed muffin, so I was the nice one). I’ve been carrying the clipping around in my wallet; during lulls in conversation I take it out and read it to friends. It has brought them great joy and laughter, and now I share it with you. Remarks not in italics are mine.
“The Armed Forces announced yesterday it has expanded its troop deployment to Metro Manila’s upscale subdivisions, including Forbes Park, Bel Air, DasmariÃ±as Village, Urdaneta Village and the Ayala-Alabang villages. ‘Just as in the poor neighborhoods, we want to know the problems in Bel Air and other villages. Rich subdivisions also have problems that need looking into,’ the army spokesman said. Some of the problems, he said, are pot sessions, extravagant lifestyles, and high-stakes gambling.” Is that Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga? Is that a Ferrari? Put your hands up, you’re under arrest! And what’s that you’re putting up your nose?
“‘This is also an immersion program prior to the soldiers going to Mindanao. You can call this proactive R&R.’ ” Cause you know the jungles of Mindanao are crawling with rebels in Ermenegildo Zegna. (Note: Probably not a good idea to wear the new metallics if you’re in hiding.)
“The soldiers were ordered to wear barong Tagalog, polo barong and shirt and ties when making their rounds. They hid their riot guns in designer attache cases.” Sir, requisition form for 200 Louis Vuitton man-bags, sir! “Part of their duties was to visit mansions and discuss the NPA insurgency with anyone who cared to listen. But several village millionaries protested the soldiers were talking to their maids, drivers and gardeners.” “Alam mo naman si Neneng, pag may construction worker, natataranta, kung sundalo pa kaya!”
“‘They are organizing the househelp against us,’ one villager said. They complained many maids and socialites found the visitors cute and handsome.” “Children, you istef dut or I’ll trow you dis! Sige, kukunin kayo ng sundalo…Hi pogi, may girlfriend ka na?” “Is that a gun in your pocket, or..?”
“Leftist organizations have joined hands with the villagers and have demonstrated for the troops’ ouster. ‘Sa usapang ito ay magka-pamilya kami,’ a militant said.” Don’t you guys ever get it? When the troops see the vast socio-economic disparity with their own eyes, they may go over to your side!
“The army spokesman said the rich have to be involved in the national life. ‘They live an air-conditioned, isolated life. They don’t know what’s going on in the country, especially in Mindanao. It’s also in the name of fairness. We don’t want the poor to say we are picking on them.’ ” You take that one, it’s too easy.