16 May 2012

Online Storm Against Pacquiao His Own Doing

For all his millions, the fact of the matter is that Manny Pacquiao, the people’s champ, remains remarkably simple – nay, naïve even. Naïve enough, at any rate, to be unable to control his lips from spouting words on issues of no direct or indirect consequence to his life, his boxing career or his constituencies in his home province of Saranggani.

Somebody please advise him – and quick – that he is very much an international public figure; and that the Visayan-accented words that slip from his lips in rapid-fire fashion are always bound to be quoted or misquoted by those who make a living from doing so.

As such, it is always better if he would, when asked about affairs of sovereign states – be it about same sex marriage or anything else – err on the side of prudence and simply say that it is none of his business.

It is, after all, really none of his business.

And finding himself caught right smack in the middle of an online storm – not to mention potentially losing lucrative endorsements – he finds it appropriate to issue clarifications.

“I was stating an opinion,” Pacquiao told a news reporter.

Fair enough. But then, Barack Obama’s stand on same-sex marriage was likewise an opinion. Unlike Pacquiao’s, though, Obama’s opinions are of direct consequence to a country of which the former is neither a resident nor a citizen.

If at all he felt he needed to reply to an interviewer’s questions, something like “that is his opinion” or “ask me about boxing instead” would have served him better. But no, Pacquiao often sounds these days like he has become so big that he has started to believe in his own BS.

Don’t anybody get me wrong. I am a big fan of his boxing; and like any patriotic Filipino, I live and die by the punches that he throws and dodges.

But when he starts blabbering Biblical verses on the local news, my hand instinctively reaches for the remote to hop channels. I just plain cannot stand it!

Call me old school, but I have always felt that prayer is a deep and personal communication with one’s God. The way Pacquiao goes about it, there is always the stink of showmanship to it.

And not that I am being the pot to Pacquiao’s kettle, but allow me just a couple of my own Biblical quotes:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full.” – Matthew 6:5

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6

You get my drift.

There cannot be anything bad about studying the Bible. However, if doing so makes you overly self-righteous to the point that you feel you are entitled to pass judgment on what really is not your business, then there is a problem.

Not with studying the Bible. With you.

At the end of the day, we are all only humans. We are as good or as bad as what we do each passing moment regardless of whether we are able to quote from the Bible or not.

To get back to Pacquiao and the online storm that he himself unwittingly brewed, while everyone is entitled to having opinions, there is always wisdom to considering the where, how and why of expressing these.

Whether or not he was misquoted is irrelevant. That he could not have quietly ducked the question of same-sex marriage in the United States which really was of no concern to him was probably irresponsible; but primarily just naïve.

It does take a bit of sophistication, after all, to know when it is just better to keep your trap shut.

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