The month of November 2009 brought the country of Philippines and Filipino people to the world's attention, not once but three times in the month. However, these 3 episodes portrayed varied dimensions of the Filipino - first being courage, second being compassion and the last one moronism to the largest extent. I rejoiced with my fellow Filipino friends on the first 2 occassions but I hung my head in shame for the third incident.
On 14 November 2009, legendary boxing champ Manny Pacquiao fought Miguel Cotto at MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a fight labelled "Firepower". Pacquiao was promptly conferred the "Order of Sikatuna" by his home country. Pacquiao's victory brought a sense of hope and pride to the Filipino people, especially those who were ravaged in recent floods.
A week later, on 22 November 2009, another Filipino, Efren Peñaflorida, shot to world fame by winning CNN Hero of 2009. Peñaflorida was duly awarded the title of "Order of Lakandula" by his President. Peñaflorida's achievement gave Filipino's the assurance that even when government policies failied, a common man's dream and commitment to his countrymen produced better results than the powers that be.
One day later, on 23 November 2009, the world heard about Ampatuan Jr. In one of the worst political massacres ever seen by Philippines and in recent times, by the world, the Maguindanao Massacre hit the TV screens and newspapers across the world. I'am not one to comment on political issues in my host country, but the official reactions to this incident makes my skin crawl. Following, calls of justice from across the world and the reaction by Filipinos to this incident, there seems to be some progress. However, I wonder if the person responsible will end up with another Order of something noble or will be duly charged with the Order of the Noose ! This is one of those instances, I whole-heartedly support the capital punishment, but alas, Philippines does not impose capital punishment.