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On Pacquiao's Loss and Heroism

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As any boxing fan, or perhaps as every Filipino will know by now, Manny Pacquiao lost to Erik Morales via a 12th round UD in MGM Grand in Las Vegas. What was hyped to be a classic fight became just that - a clash of two great fighters too fiery fans would have wished it lasted forever...A prime candidate for fight of the year 2005!

But that's the sportswriter in me speaking, not the blogger.

The issue at hand now is that after a loss, the Department of Tourism is out to give Manny a heroes welcome. Furthermore, while GMA calls Manny a hero, the media is as generous with the term and calls him such. Interesting!

Sassy (Houseonahill.net) posts about how she disagrees about this label on Manny and thinks media is too loose with using the word "Hero", apparently also in reference to GMA's labeling of Pacquiao as hero in her public letter immediately publicized on national TV just minutes after the fight was concluded.

I had to comment, so pardon my venture into philosophy yet again:

The word hero can be abused in meaning, but should be taken in the light of the triumph of the human spirit. If politicians will be abusive about its meaning then they should read more Frank Herbert and Joseph Campbell.

I will not blame a man in winning or in defeat. The way the word hero is misunderstood to this day is an etymological problem. Our modern societies have been created from wars and culture of conquest, and thus the word 'hero' is a relic of our old selves.

While new meaning is attributed to it in the light of 'will power' and 'fighting adversity', we [as social beings can't help but be] confused because the word holds as captive in the old meanings in our collective memory.

I will not blame anyone in a case as this. It is a philosophical problem when we consider concepts [and how they are understood]. If this gap is not bridged then there is no problem there... Its a problem of conception.

Now if there is a willful deceit in the act of labeling, say for purposes of econopolitik, so much so that even with knowing that its a wrong ascription, there somehow people can be faulted.


Interestingly, we may ask thus: what in boxing makes a man 'great' or in other respects, 'Heroic'? Joseph Campbell's book, "A Hero with a Thousand Faces" may give politicians and the media an answer. There is a Hero with all of us. There is a journey within all of ourselves, that by the time we accept our own heroism, we need to go through a series (cycles) of very difficult situations in our lives.

In this sense, the word Hero is ascribable to everyone, though not in the loose or ambiguous manner that Politicians or Media may want it to be presented.

Yet, for any boxing fan, or any man rather, who will take time to think it hard enough, the word Hero can conjure many meanings that may be possible in this Campbell sense. In fact I would be saying that perhaps 'hero' in the sense of a class act of gentlemanly acceptance of defeat is possible. In an interview with Chino Trinidad over live TV, Manny Pacquiao was quick to urge the viewing public to accept the loss as a loss. In the sense of rarity, and in the face of the usual conceit, a humble acceptance of defeat is most admirable. It is, in effect, "heroic".

If the fight is to be adjudged in the annals of sporting, Fighting adversity is 'heroic'. With one eye blinded with blood gushing from his wound, Manny Pacquiao fights on and despite this, still presents himself as a very worthwhile contender to the 130lb natural that is Morales. It would be remembered that Manny first fought as a 112-pounder, and naturally tips at the 120+ range, not the heavier 130 lbs.

Thus, it is not to discount him by labeling him a hero in that respect. Furthermore, in an age where not every Filipino is proud about his race, and some will even forget about fighting for culture or for its own people... to say words he uttered in a loss is heroic enough. While there will be levels to patriotism, and in this sense it can argued that patriot and hero are as loose terms as who remains in power, I cannot take it away from Manny Pacquiao that from any boxing fan's perspective, his fight is great despite his loss or and his stand as the wounded fighter is but superb gallantry.

People can label Manny whatever, and the term maybe loose. Politicians may abuse the ambiguity of the term, in the same breath as they label OFWs as heroes... But nothing can be further from the truth. In today's time, where the pragmatist wins, and modern man has more 'important' concerns than remembering one's country or waving its flag, when one man remembers to do something to the contrary and says "I lab yo Phelepens....", Hey, hats off to you, man. Whether I'm a Filipino or not, as a humanist I am bound to be proud of someone who is proud of who is and who he had become.

When a man can be so proud of his efforts and be proud as a Filipino despite a loss, it is such a rare class act that is uncharacteristic of most colonials who find people to blame or loopholes in the system to criticize for the loss. Losing is part of history and humanity. No race is exempt from it. In this sense I have to use my dictionary - There with the entry saying 'rare post-colonial integrity', a man in this condition is called a hero, still.

Respect for you, Manny.

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posted by Jdavies @ 3/21/2005,

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The Author

J.Davies

Jdavies lives in Quezon City, Philippines and has been blogging since 2002. A brand manager in a leading technology company and a freelance new media/web strategy consultant, he has refocused his blogging from personal, political & sociological observations, to marketing-related efforts and Internet trends that are relevant to his career and branding advocacies.


About This Blog

This blog is a depot of thoughts and observations on marketing trends which remain personally relevant to the Author as far as his marketing career is concerned. Having evolved from the personal blog of Jdavies, much of the earlier work contained herein are laced with personal speculation, political views, and similar advocacies. These posts are being kept for posterity's sake and for no other reason. No effort is being made to claim that the author will not contradict himself from his previous positions or that such advocacies are absolute.

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