Yesterday, Manny Pacquiao did the country proud yet again when he triumphed over Joshua Clottey. Cue endless cheering and congratulatory tweets and Facebook status updates from Filipinos all over the world. Personally, at the risk of being criticized as “anti-Filipino,” I don’t give a rat’s ass. It’s the same thing every single time Pacquiao will go up against another boxer: Everybody gets pumped up and couldn’t wait for the match to take place. The match happens. When Pacquiao wins, much celebration ensues, and he’s welcomed home like a hero.
An acquaintance of mine put it succinctly: “Pacquiao won again, now what?” Amusingly enough, people responded with comments like, “Now he’s richer than ever,” which is exactly what happens. Soon, all of Philippine media will be bombarded yet again with news of his latest house, more endorsements pour in, and you start seeing him strutting around some more, with his wife and his mother sparkling, glittering away in front of the cameras. I suppose after training hard to pummel and get pummeled, he does deserve ample compensation.
Some people tend to see Pacquiao as the savior of the Philippines, as if in one swoop, he inspires the country, delivers it from its tribulations, and saves us from global anonymity. And inspire he does. The country creaks to a halt every time he’s in a fight, everybody is in awe of him, his every move is discussed to death. Speaking of death, people have also been known to keel over from excitement while watching his fights. Yes, it’s that extreme, and will continue to be so until he retires from boxing. When that day comes, I wonder who Filipinos will turn to next to stay inspired?