Noynoy's Dorothy. Aquino's Yellow Brick Road. Oz!

Revised 0858 hours 17 September
MANILA – Wizard of Oz? Emerald City? On 23 September will occur a one-night screening all over the US of The Wizard of Oz to celebrate its 70th anniversary ( The movie has been remastered; on DVD, it will be available for download 29 September. Netflix will screen the newly restored classic online 3 October free (Carrie Specht, We'll get to all that later.

In the meantime, let me entertain you with my trick basketball shot. An hour or so ago (14 September), I was just reading about one of my favorite people, Phil Jackson, who brought the best out of Michael Jordan and the rest of the Chicago Bulls team into those unforgettable, historic age of long ago. 6 Championships for the Chicago Bulls. How did Phil Jackson do it? Adam Fluck referred to what I call the Jackson MO (Modus Operandi) as a 'holistic approach' ( The holistic approach sees the whole, like this: The ball is greater than the sum of its parts!
So, I'm a basketball fan after all? No, I'm a great fan of the greats. I neither play basketball nor watch it, but I love Michael Jordan; he's the best. I neither play nor watch golf, but I love Tiger Woods; he's the best. I neither play nor watch tennis, but I love Maria Sharapova – yes, she's my Champion and she's on a slump; and yes, it happens to the best! I am neither in India nor in ICRISAT, but I love William Dar, a great Captain of the winning Team ICRISAT. He happens to be the best.
And now the cat's out of the bag. I pity Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III because the ball is in his hands and he has neither the holistic approach nor the winning team! And he doesn't know he's Dorothy Gale yet; or, is he? Gender doesn't matter.
First things first. Those of you who are pushers of Noynoy for President, you should have been greatly disappointed with his 'Acceptance Speech' at Club Filipino at Greenhills, Mandaluyong City on 9 September 2009. It is a romantic piece – a romantic failure. On 2 counts:
(1) It fails to unite the people.
(2) More importantly, it fails to define the stakes for the stakes-holders.
Noynoy simply says, after running around the bus, yes, he is willing to get onboard and carry on the fight. (For the complete text of the original speech in Tagalog and my own English translation, click here: 'Noynoy's Intent.')
Noynoy says:
I accept the challenge of the people.
I also accept the words, wish and will of my parents.
I accept the responsibility of carrying on the fight for the country.
I accept the challenge of leadership in this fight.
I ask: 'What fight?'
Ah, the 64-million-dollar question. Dollars. And why does my metaphor use an American capitalist tool of commerce? Because I know that we can ignore the American capitalist in language and in politics only at our own disadvantage. English enables us to engage in the commerce of ideas with the rest of the whole world – our very own language Tagalog encumbers us. 'Dito nagagapos ang kahabag-habag / isang pinag-usig ng masamang palad' (Francisco Balagtas, Florante at Laura). 'Here in shackles one to be pitied / One who bad luck had persecuted' (my translation). In using Tagalog to announce himself to his legion of fans, Noynoy Aquino was acting like a celebrity that he is, and dangerously limiting himself to those whom I have already called tongue-tied nationalists – they link talking in Tagalog to nationalism and reject the value of any other language, like Ilonggo and Ilocano (click here for my 'Unggoy, Ka Freddie. Aguilar must decrease, Charice must increase'). On second thought: Perhaps Noynoy is not at all at home with the English language? Then he cannot be at home with other leaders of other countries, like GMA is with Barack Obama, so how can he speak for the Philippines abroad?
I ask again: 'What fight?'
He says, 'Fight for the country,' but he does not define what is the fight; he does not tell us the rules, the borders, the limits. Is he implying it's a free-for-all?
If he says, 'Fight corruption,' he's only against; in other words, he will cure the disease by cutting off the signs, kicking out the corrupt, exactly like cutting off cancerous cells in the hope of curing the cancer. Not looking for the cause of the disease and getting rid of that.
If he says 'Fight poverty,' he's still missing the point – the poor are not the problem. It's the system: The opportunities are not distributed equally. It's the perspective: The schools teach (and the parents encourage) the children only to study and look for a job after graduation, never to study and create a job for themselves and, in so doing, create jobs for others. We look for a job, that's why we cannot find it! Poverty is the sign, not the illness. It's the patronage: Politicians encourage squatters for votes; squatters encourage politicians for food and fun. It's the madness in the method: Parties don't want automated voting because nobody can miscount the votes – don't discount that they enjoy the miscount. Figures don't lie, but cheaters do figure.
If he says, 'Fight overpopulation' and I'm around, he will hear from me at once, wit or without. You see, I have 12 children from 1 wife and 0 extra-marital affairs. To those who favor the Reproductive Health Bill, I dedicate this simple logic. Argument in favor: Assume we are now about 90 million Filipinos; the carrying capacity of the Philippines is only 50 million mouths, no wonder there are millions of poor Pinoys. Argument against: When we were only 50 million, why were there millions of poor Filipinos? The number is the sign, not the disease.
If he says, 'Fight abuse of women' and 'Fight child abuse' and 'Fight illegal recruitment' and 'Fight terrorism' – he will still have missed the target. And I'm surprised that he misses the target when it's big, huge, gigantic – if you are holistic about it. It has to do with faith; I shall now borrow from the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi and give you what I call The Christian's Prayer:
The Christian's Prayer
Lord, help me become an instrument of Your Peace:
To go ahead and just do it!
To love and not to hate.
To pardon and not to injure.
To believe and not to doubt.
To hope and not to despair.
To seek light and not darkness.
To seek joy and not sadness.
More to console and less to be consoled.
More to give and less to receive.
More to love and less to be loved.
And yes, as I said earlier, it also has to do with the culture; it also has to do with the system.
It's the culture. There is the Filipino 'heritage of smallness' (Nick Joaquin, We have romanticized 'Isang Kahig, Isang Tuka' (One Scratch, One Peck). In the very narrow street where we live, there are 10 candy stores within a walking distance of about 200 meters – how can any of them grow? The explanation: They don't really want to grow; they just want to earn a little ('kaunti lang'). And that's exactly what they get.
There is no Filipino cultivated culture of greatness, no national yearning for greatness, except when the Great Ilocano Ferdinand E Marcos ruled that 'This nation can be great again!' But he disappointed himself; and we disappointed ourselves.
What we have today is, if we believe the media, a national yearning for solving the problem by changing the problem. Are the public officials corrupt? Change them! Of course, we've been doing that since Manuel Luis Quezon was President. And we still have corrupt public officials, not to mention corrupt private officials. That's another problem.
There is also the heritage of mendicancy of the Filipino. In labor unions, there is the mentality to demand for higher pay instead of to think and work better so that the company earns more and they will be deserving of more. The other side of mendicancy is patronage, that is, the rich set up situations and encourage the poor to be dependent on them. The extended family system also works that way.
It's also the system. There is too much power in the President; there's too much filibuster in the Senate; there is too much bluster in the House. That's why I'm in favor of the parliamentary system; I believe my kailian (townmate) from Pangasinan, former President Fidel Valdez Ramos is in favor. (Aside from GMA being in his disfavor, is Senator Noynoy in favor of anything? Yes, Reproductive Health, and he's single.) I'm in favor of the Federalism of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, from Cagayan De Oro City. Both are designed to strip the power of Imperial Manila, the wellspring of graft and corruption, not to mention incompetence. 
And finally, I ask: 'What leadership?' Where is Noynoy Aquino in all that? Like the movie The Wizard of Oz, he should be remastering his presentation. He should be building his team. He should be imitating Phil Jackson and being holistic in his approach to his dream of becoming President of the Philippines. To do that, he should do more than the Jackson MO; he should do the Noynoy VMO – Vision, Mission, Objectives. To do that, he needs a team like the Chicago Bulls, the likes of Phil Jackson as coach, his own Michael Jordan as star player and Team Captain in truth if not in title, his own Dennis Rodman for rebounds, his own Scottie Pippen for forward and all-around, his own John Paxson for drama.
In his 'Acceptance Speech,' Noynoy was neither accepting a current Vision nor presenting one; therefore, to accept the Mission 'To carry on the fight' is improper and ill-considered, not to mention it's ungrammatical – no antecedent. To fight for what Vision? You can't have a Mission without a Vision for your Country; a Vision is not only for Yourself, otherwise it's blurred. And you can't have Objectives without a Mission.
That's Noynoy's Colossal Problem – if he cannot solve it, he will prove to be a Colossal Fool. Without a Vision, our young men shall fantasize, dream dreams and, on waking, dream some more. How can you have a Mission to bring about the Vision you don't have? How can you define your Objectives when you can't formulate your Mission because you can't describe your Vision because you don't have any?
The problem with Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III is that he began to travel the road to the presidency of his country by romanticizing it. He was listening to voices crying in the wilderness along the Yellow Brick Road:
'Noy, let's go President.
If we have 1 million signatures, will you say Yes?
Eh, if 2 million, will that suffice?
May the ghosts of your Mother and Father visit you if you let this chance go by!
'Someone told me that if my decision is right, the path to travel will be easy.'
Are you running now?
Thanks to you, we can dream again.
Your young men shall dream dreams. Then they all have to wake up!
Noynoy says:
He (the boy) pointed to a new singer, singing rap-style but the song had a social dimension.
I ask: 'What social dimension?'
You're not Harry Potter, Noynoy, no. Or you can be – but you'll have to train. You will need years to train and bring out the magic, the best in you. That will be 6 years; somebody else will have to be President of the Philippines in 2010.
In any case, Noynoy, the Yellow Brick Road to the presidential palace at Malacañang is paved with honest intentions, but honest intentions are not good enough.
Yellow, yellow, yellow! Here then is my political interpretation of the Wizard of Oz applied in the Philippine setting. Noynoy, your father Ninoy Aquino was the Yellow Hero: After 3 years of self-exile, he wanted to return and be welcomed with yellow ribbons tied around old, old trees; but they assassinated him even before he could set foot on his old homeland again. Your mother Cory Cojuangco Aquino was the Yellow Lady: She could not be cheated of the presidency in 1986, and she brought forth the Yellow Brave Lion – its silent roar and rage drove fear into the heart of the enemy.
You are now The Boy Who Cried Yellow. Noynoy, you think that the way to Malacañang is a Yellow Brick Road. It is. But it's not like you think it all ends up with, not like Dorothy thought it would be as she thought of how wonderful it would be to finally meet the Wizard of Oz.
Like Dorothy, you are lost; now you are told to seek the wisdom of the Wizard of Oz. It is a Yellow Brick Road you are told to travel and when you reach the Emerald City, you will find that the Wizard of Oz does not have the magical powers he has been reputed to possess, and someone tells you that what you seek has been inside you all the time, the way to get back home.
But before that, while on your way to the Emerald City, you will have to save the Scarecrow, save the Tin Woodman, save the Cowardly Lion. And you will have to answer for yourself who the Scarecrow really is, who the Tin Woodman represents, who the Cowardly Lion can be. You will have to study the power of the metaphor.
You will need a Good Witch of the North. Who could that be? And just to put in a bit of virtue-less reality, you will have a Wicked Witch of the West. Guess who!? And the Wizard of Oz in your story, who do you think he is? He will be exposed as someone who is less than truthful. No, I'm sure it's not Jun Lozada, but he's a good candidate.
That's your Dream Team, Noynoy. You need a Dream Team. Learn from Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan and the rest of the Chicago Bulls. You have to be the Team Captain. Remember, Noynoy, you are Dorothy. You're not the Wizard of Oz –unless of course you are also a pretender to the throne. Dorothy was just a kid and she got lost like you, and she was also an orphan, no parents to go back to.
And you will lose your Silver Shoes before you get home; who or what is that? You will need a loyal running dog Toto, or Tuta; who can s/he be?
Go home, Noynoy! You have no choice. Home is where your heart is. Not unlike Dorothy, all you have to do is clap your hands and say out loud the name of your destination, and you will be there in an instant: '__________!'
Which one will you shout: Philippines or Malacañang? The enigma is that you can't have one without the other.

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