Transforming molehills into mountains

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New column by Dong de los Reyes starts today
Veteran journalist Dong A. de los Reyes begins writing a column for The Manila Times, “Two Cents,” today. It will come out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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De los Reyes, 61, is an agronomist who writes technical articles for an online medical magazine and does hands-on farming on his one-hectare sylvan spread in Bulacan.

He has won over a dozen writing awards, nine from the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. He had served as Regions editor for The Manila Times.

Not unlike leading presidential candidate Grace Poe who tacks a black belt in taekwondo, he is a nidan kuro obi (second degree black belt) in goju-ryu karatedo.

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HALED to court to shed light on why he divorced his wife Pompeia, the ambitious political player that was Julius Caesar swore he knew nothing of rumors about his wife’s adultery. He went on to say that his wife should “not even be under suspicion” of misdemeanor—that could sully his prestige, or maybe, erode his political career.

To the court of public opinion in our strangled neck of the woods, survey front-runner presidential aspirant Grace Poe was dragged and made to explain why her husband had served in the US Air Force, why they have bought themselves a family home in Virginia, even why she was a so-so preschool teacher.

Court jesters abound, indeed. They can provide much-needed comic relief to the sturm und drang of the pre-poll campaign.

In a pre-election campaign, it is fair game to hurl inane, even the insane, to sow confusion in a 54-million strong electorate—most of them are barely out of their teen years, young adults, tech-savvy, and lured by the siren song of social media that had turned into a political battleground where pitched battles to win hearts and minds are fiercely fought.

Say, every Facebook user can, as conservative estimates would have it, ripple out to at least 100 netizens, and each of them connects to 100 others; thus, a tickle of ripple—every whit of nonsense or two-bit agitprop plied—can turn into a rampaging storm surge.

So, it dawned on political hacker Andrés Sepúlveda, currently serving a 10-year sentence in Bogota’s La Picota prison for espionage, hacking, and other crimes, he who once commanded an “army” of 30,000 Twitter bots that can manipulate trending of issues: “When I realized that people believe what the Internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything.”

It doesn’t hurt that a dutiful padre de familia provides a decent, maybe, quite magnificent roof over the heads of his family in far-flung US of A—he may likely be paying amortizations for it from hard-earned money. It may worry some people that an erstwhile schoolmarm had been reading Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” to a noisome gaggle of preschool children. Hecklers may also balk that tens of thousands of Filipinos have also served in branches of the US armed forces since the 1900s.

By the way, Grace Poe is a veteran of high school and college taekwondo competitions, bruising her way to a black belt—and she should be having a laugh at all the silly attacks thrown at her. She isn’t fighting back. Not yet.

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3 Comments

  1. Grace Poe is welcome. Let her! It will be most awaited. I can tell and anticipate the fireworks. Taekwondo! C’mon…