July 22, 2013: SONA 2013

The president will deliver his State of the Nation Address today.

At 2 p.m., all the “important” people of the government will be making their way to the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Batasan Hills, near where I live.

I really should care more about the contents of the speech, what the president says the nation’s status is; I really should care, but all I find myself thinking about is the terrible traffic jam that will inevitably form along the highway near our village. Inevitably, because, this is a gathering of our country’s “leaders”, and my my my, do those people like to cause fanfare, trumpeting around with their special body guards and police escorts and shite.

Well, aren’t you all special snowflakes.

It’s Monday morning; I turn on the TV and tune into the live coverage of the SONA preparations. Who will be wearing what this year? These people can give the Hollywood red carpet a run for their money.


We don’t have it, but you on the top, say we do.

Do we, really? Or is it just you?

You and your people who do nothing but fight over whose park barrel is the biggest and point fingers at who is allegedly the “corrupt” one. With your right hands, you make admonishing and self-righteous gestures. With your left, you slip a little chunk of taxpayer money into your pockets.

Sneaky, sneaky.

The low buzz of the political analysts on television hum over my breakfast and other mundane activities. Next door, I can hear Mr. Respectable washing his Benz while his missus remarks loudly that the rainy season is dulling her bougainvillea plants. D’you think we can stop by the Rolex store later, honey? My watch needs rewinding.

I drown comfortably in my middle-class guilt.

I don’t know why I will still be watching the address. I care and I don’t care at the same time. How is that even possible?

Perhaps I need to react to the lies and mollycoddling and sugarcoating on TV in order for me to feel a little less wretched at the fact that I was at Starbucks over the weekend, drowning myself in coffee expensive enough to feed a family. Perhaps I need to be cruelly critical of the government and the people in my neighborhood so I can justify the quality tertiary education I am getting, in a country where most people don’t even have money to finish high school.

Perhaps loudly opposing the excesses and greed of this country will make me feel better about my privileges.

I am not the type who likes to dabble in politics. It’s a horrible world, especially in this nation. Like the rest of the people in my generation and social station, I retreat to the world of internet memes and international trends. I choose to read and write and live in the world of art, so that I don’t have to live in this world of grease and dirt.

But where does one start and one end?

I cannot detach myself like the other artists who insist they are not of this country– who run to the West, exiling themselves and denying that the same blood in their veins run in the veins of the people in the East who are living and dying in a land where poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

I cannot detach myself…fully.

I will be listening. With heavy heart and mind, I will be listening. Maybe I’ll make something of it. Maybe I won’t. Maybe this year, I’ll change my mind and start being a responsible citizen instead of just a good neighbour.

I will be listening.

The president will deliver his State of the Nation Address today.

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