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More of the same

Netnet Camomot .

I’VE remained stuck in the same levels of Homescapes and Gardenscapes for several days now. Or weeks. I’ve lost count.

Much like the political situation in Pinas where the same surnames crop up during elections—Marcos, Aquino, other familiar political dynasties, with the Pinoy seemingly stuck in the Marcos-versus-Aquino plot for several decades now. If ever Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos will be in the Senate fun run next year, will that finally inspire Kris Aquino to join that run, too?

At least in Cagayan de Oro, there’s only one Moreno so far, with none of his children in the city council or even in a barangay’s organizational chart.

Political dynasties are in Malacanang, the Senate, Congress, or are governors, vice governors, mayors, vice mayors, councilors, etc., all at the same time if possible, proving that the Pinoy is fond of having a suki. If he has a suki cigarette, beer, and burger, he also has his suki political dynasty as he’s burdened by the conscious choice to ignore that family’s graft-and-corruption cases.

Those planning to run next year should begin training now, er, start to make their wishes known now so that their barangay minions can also prepare for that eventuality.

For now, though, until Sunday, Cagayanons will be trooping to S&R and SM uptown for that most delish word: Sale. The Cagayanon who’s still in spring-cleaning mode may have to ignore that word and continue to ask, Does it spark joy?, each time he’s holding a possession whose bleak future can no longer be denied. The yellow smiley nightshirt with a hole and an unidentified stain, does it spark joy? The six cartridges of printer ink that expired in August 2017, do they spark joy? The book whose lines no longer resonate, does it spark joy?

You can ask that same question—Does it spark joy?—for everything, from selecting a political candidate to the friends you keep. If you’re dreading an invite, there must be another reason aside from the weather.

The same goes for the movies. Which of the three—“Black Panther,” “Red Sparrow,” “Tomb Raider”—sparks joy?

We watched “Black Panther” and “Red Sparrow” last Thursday—yes, two movies in one afternoon, with barely a minute in between, we merely hopped from one cinema to the one right across while armed with hot dogs and water in case of hunger pangs. “Tomb Raider” was for the weekend.

It’s easier to compare movies when you’re watching them one after the other. And for this trio, “Black Panther” wins. Because it’s different, it’s not the usual. And that’s what politicians and political wannabes should think of, too, when they’re strategizing for their public relations machinery for the 2019 election. Forget about putting the political wannabe’s face on a tarpaulin, with the line, This community project is brought to you by… That’s old school and will only attract bashing from trolls.

And don’t always presume that everyone knows your political candidate. If you believe that everyone knows this group of supposedly popular people, you’ll realize they’re known by only a few, the ones in their small circle of so-called friends, but unknown beyond that. No wonder they zealously hold on to that circle, afraid to let go, because that’s the only place where they can remain relevant for the rest of their pathetic life.

A politician, however, is not limited to a small circle of fake friends—he has to deal with a nation, a region, a province, a city, a barangay, depending on his level of toxicity, er, his level in the organizational chart. His PR machinery has to be true for that target it’s aimed at. Fake may not be easily obvious in social media but it’s as clear as that leaf of malunggay stuck on the crack in between your two front teeth.

Since the local political level is the one kind of directly involved with the madlang pehpohl, local political officials have to be extra careful in keeping secrets so that their public persona won’t be proven to be fake, too, in the end. Otherwise, even if it’s merely their split ends misbehaving in public, that public will still remember that as a major offense, and no temporary restraining order can comb its way through those splits.

“Black Panther” has had great reviews, it will be redundant to do the same here especially since I watched it a week after it was released. Even Sandra Bullock was raving about it when she was interviewed at the Oscars red carpet. I had no plans to watch any more movies then, since that’s one way to lose weight. All the food ingested before, during, and after each movie meant a two-pound gain the morning after.

I’ve noticed it’s more difficult to stick to a diet when I eat out. At home, I can always have tinolang isda, tinolang manok, protein shakes, and apples. Once I’m outside, though, even if it’s at the clubhouse nearby, the healthy diet is forgotten, replaced by beef salpicao, crispy pata, kare-kare, salted egg shrimps, humba… Yum!

It can be the same for our political choices. We can believe the promises of a wonderful world when we’re choosing city officials, but may go berserk once faced with a list of wannabes for the Senate, vice president, and president, since we can base our decision only on their PR campaigns if we have not talked with them personally. Do you have a selfie with President Rody Duterte? Exactly.

But if you have a selfie with the president but not with your barangay captain, does that mean you have to visit the barangay hall at least once a year? You know, for your residence certificate. Treat that as a meet-and-greet with barangay officials.

By the way, that’s the barangay that used to be your playground, where you and your neighbors played patintero, bato lata, and hide-and-seek. Those were the days. Now, you’re stuck with Homescapes and Gardenscapes. And Netflix. Oh, well.

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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