I did not say I hate Manny. He is a sportsman of the highest order, and an inspiration for every Filipino to make the most of their abilities, regardless of social status. A Pacquiao fight can practically put traffic to a grinding halt.
Pacquiao represents the average Pinoy with almost supernatural skills. Unlike the mestizo celebrities, Manny is physically Filipino: brown skin, brawny, rough at the edges, raw. The appeal is very much like Nora Aunor's at her prime. It is but logical for the everyday Pinoy to look up at someone whom he can actually identify with. I definitely recognise and respect this fact.
However, Pacquiao seems to have become too larger-than-life, and it seems he has already fallen into the excesses brought about by the fruits of his success. While it is rather unfair to look at the person with extreme scrutiny that comes with being a celebrity, it is also but rightful that we do not regard these people as infallible which they are definitely not.
There are many other people just as worthy of accolades, like Efren G. Peñaflorida, Jr., a young man who offered pushcart classes as an alternative form of education who is presently getting his fair share of attention when he was recently declared the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year. Efren's achievement can be best viewed as a wake-up call to the Philippine government: the man's effort is so laudable that it makes one think about why one has to resort to pushcarts to reach the underprivileged.
Very sad. Something is definitely wrong. Certainly, we need heroes whose deeds make us think critically, and not just heroes whom we can put on billboards.
For this reason, I am re-publishing the round-up of The Blog Rounds 16th Edition which I hosted last year. This first appeared on my Multiply account last July 23, 2008. I love the subject of heroes, especially so when the heroes are "unsung", so to speak. And for me, as long as we strive to be better persons, the subject of heroes will never ever die.
As for Pacman, I rest my case. For now.
THE BLOG ROUNDS 16 ROUND-UP: IN THE COMPANY OF UNSUNG HEROES
July 23, 2008
"Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they'll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams."
- May Parker to Peter, talking about young Henry's dream to be like Spider-Man, in Spider-Man 2 (Photo from this site.)
One thing I particularly like about the Spider-Man character is that he has always been depicted as being flawed, and yet capable of extraordinary deeds. This is something that I admitted rather unabashedly in Dr. Em Dy's little contest on superheroes. The protagonist, Peter Parker/Spider-Man, is far from being an unsung hero among people familiar with the comic subculture, but imagine if someone like Peter Parker does exist among us ... would anyone be able to recognize him?
For all we know, our world's Peter Parker may be walking among the unnamed, unrecognized, and often unappreciated lot in the sea of humanity. They are collectively called The Unsung Heroes. And some of them are just right beside us.
"My mother is unsung in so many ways. But not to my brother, my sister, and not to me," Dr. Brian announces with pride as he takes a break from his board exam review. Find out here why, she is, to him, both "unsung" and not at the same time.
Dr. Remo speaks of his mother with similar fondness in his post where he makes an interesting analogy of his mother's foray into politics with "cooking tinola".
Dr. Gaya pays homage to fathers as well.
Dr. Che salutes the parents who dream of better lives for their children.
Heroes In And Out Of The Classroom
What would each and everyone of us be without teachers? (Photo of classroom from this site.)
Dr. Martin feels that teachers, particularly those who teach grade school and high school, have yet to be truly recognized for performing their duties and at the same time putting up with the numerous ills of Philippine education.
On the other hand, Dr. Clairebear speaks of our teachers in medical school who, in spite of the status that they enjoy in their respective fields, continue to unselfishly impart knowledge, even without compensation.
Some of us remember those teachers who made a difference in our lives.
In his post entitled "Of Physicians and Physicists", Dr. Ian thanks his erstwhile college physics teacher for helping him in becoming "... not just a good physician but a better Filipino as well" via an open letter.
Dr. J.A. recalls in her post how a homeroom adviser has given a person she termed as a "short-tempered teenager" a second chance.
I am personally amazed that even after many years, my high school math teacher would still be teaching me life's profound lessons, far more relevant than sines, cosines, and tangents.
Heroes In The Hospital
The hospital is never short of opportunities for people to prove their capacity to be heroes.
Dr. Gaya identifies, through her first submission to The Blog Rounds, their batch's answer to the Iron Lady of Israel, her then co-intern Twinkle as her unsung hero "... for her quiet strength in facing failures, and courage in rising despite of and above them."
We all know what Dr. Ness exactly means when she calls Manong Cardo her hero. The way she speaks of his consistency and steadiness with holding patients for anesthesia in perfect alignment makes me wish we have more efficient people like him inside the OR.
Dr. Manggy, on the other hand, talks about dedicated nurses whom he had the pleasure of working with; too bad that somehow, he did not get their names. This is definitely one familiar situation for me as well.
And there are the "bantays", people who give up a great deal of time and money to watch over their loved ones in the hospital. Dr. Joey recognizes the invaluable role that the "bantays" play in patient care and treatment.
Finally, Megamom reminds us to treat our obvious heroes with compassion.
Dr. Che mentions more people who are heroes in their own humble yet invaluable ways: farmers, barangay health workers, the youth, the OFW. (Photo of farmer from this site.)
Dr. Meloinks specifically identifies Mang Roberto, the taxi cab driver who returned his documents, as one deserving of Class I hero classification.
Dr. Emer names Mr. Sencio, his favorite newspaper vendor afflicted with hypertension and diabetes, his unsung hero. It may actually seem that Dr. Emer sees Mr. Sencio as a representative of a multitude of Filipinos who would rather give up basic healthcare just so to be able to provide financial help to immediate family members.
This round-up concludes with the following questions:
1. Are we actually short of heroes?
Dr. Meloinks writes an extensive discourse, classifying the heroes that we know into groups. Yes, he says, we are in search of heroes who are more "real-time, realistic, relatable, and bite-sized". Read about it here.
2. What of "fallen heroes"?
And what sort of help can we give our personal unsung heroes who fall way below our expectations? Our heroes are, after all, human.
3. When does the job end and heroism begin?
Dr. Em Dy provokes every one of us into thinking what exactly does heroism constitute, specifically so in the medical profession.
With this I end this rather kilometric-long round-up. Thank you everyone for your contributions. And yes, as far as I know, at various times and circumstances, we are all capable of being heroes, unsung or not.