Contrast in tragedies define men

In a span of 48 hours, my beloved Philippines took a one-two punch from two contrasting but equally tragic incidents. One was dreadful — the other one, amusing.

Yesterday, August 23, a former police inspector took foreigners hostage inside a tourist bus. For about 10 hours, the drama unfolded right before the world’s shocked eyes. When the smoke cleared, 8 people died, including the hostage taker. Today, people continue to condemn, curse, point fingers, and mourn all at the same time. Everything is detestable at this point.

And then this morning, we Filipinos tried to lick our wounds by watching our dear Maria Venus Raj battle it out with 82 other beautiful women for the ultimate Miss Universe crown. The last time we won that crown was in 1974. This year, we got so close. We ended up 4th runner-up. Venus, obviously intoxicated by how far she has gotten, got lost along the way and gave a disappointing answer to judge William Baldwin’s question.

I’m sure most people around the world have read or heard about these two contrasting “tragedies” that fell upon us Filipinos. Many of my fellow countrymen are livid about the first one, while being very forgiving and sport about the second. If anything, this about sums up who Filipinos really are.

We abhor senseless acts especially if they involve losing lives. We are embarassed by stupidity. We have strong opinions and great ideas. We know when to laugh at defeat.

We are still a great people. We are still the ones who started the People Power Revolution that the rest of the world replicate. Most of all, we are human. We make mistakes. We sin. Just like everybody else, regardless of race, religion, or education.

Despite this contrast in tragedies, I am still — and will forever be — proud to be a Filipino.

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