No Manny, No Manny But You

Praises have reached Heaven about Manny Pacquiao being on the cover of Time. I’m happy for his achievements and deeply admire his discipline during training and his unparalleled gifts as a boxer, even as I hope he wouldn’t self-destruct because of his misguided political ambition, gambling, excessive luxury, opportunistic lackeys and manipulative friends who make money and suck publicity mileage off him.

With friends like that, who needs enemies?

There is something to be said about people with the conviction that the only hope for the future lies on their hands alone. Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, Darth Vader was once an idealistic young man named Anakin Skywalker who wanted to put the world right – his way. There is a world of difference between wanting to be of service to humanity through philanthropy and through political power.

Manny is now officially the best boxer in the planet and unofficially the living national hero of the Philippines of this generation. Next he’ll be running again for Congress after his first bid backfired. In the diabolical alchemy of Philippine politics, his image will transform from a knight in shining armor into a mercenary. The pride and honor he gave the country will be phased out like WordStar because he will be like the rest of us.

Or worse, be just like them.

There is too, something to be said about the unfathomable zone between a messianic complex and delusions of grandeur. Manny has achieved so much to throw it all away. It is even doubtful at the pinnacle of his career, he knows who his true friends are.

What I want to say about his as a symbol has already been said by Condrado de Quiros in his November 9 column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. That’s the thing about being a blogger who’s always…preoccupied – you get pre-empted.

I’m quoting him because I agree with his view (on this one, at least) 100%. Here’s Condrado de Quiros:

“The reason this country worships Manny Pacquiao the way humankind’s ancestors worshipped the sun is out of sheer need. The reason this country grinds to a halt everytime Pacquiao fights is out of sheer hope. Having nothing to be proud of, indeed having everything to be ashamed of, we look up to Pacquiao’s fights as something to prop us up, as a source of replenishment. His victories aren’t just our victories, they are our very survival. Man does not live by bread alone, he lives by circuses too. Lacking the one, we make do with the other.”

Tomorrow, I’ll be rooting for Manny to rock Cotto’s world – literally – in the first round.

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