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I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

youarenotninoy

Now, his memory will be emblazoned on shirts sold by some popular local brands, on billboards along the capital’s major avenues, on television, in the newspapers and on the Internet.

That’s the iamninoy project in a nutshell: a merchandising campaign that prostitutes Ninoy Aquino’s image (euphemistically called his ‘memory’) in the same way that Che Guevarra’s handsome mug is now seen on everything from t-shirts to toilet seat covers (i kid you not!). Way to go spreading “the man’s spirit and values within pop culture.”

The “iamninoy” collectible merchandise—mostly clothes, eyewear and sports gear—will bear an image of Aquino’s eyeglasses as the campaign icon.

“The idea is to inspire young Filipinos to look at where we are now and what is it that we need to change in ourselves, so in the process we can change the country,” Raphael Lopa, executive director of the foundation, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview.

“It’s seeing the country in Ninoy’s eyes,” Lopa said.

I own a heath ledger-as-the-Joker t-shirt. I suppose “the man’s spirit and values” are ingrained in me now. Wait … why so serious, Mr. Lopa? LOL!

This moronic scheme, hatched by the Benigno Aquino Jr. Foundation, “ride(s) the buying trend of the young Filipinos of today.”

“Young people want to buy things [and] we thought that if they buy a Ninoy shirt, they may be inspired to claim ownership of his values and beliefs, his fight for freedom and justice,” Lopa said.

So, it’s not just a crass attempt at cashing in on Ninoy’s death, its also a way of promoting crass commercialism. As if having a Starbucks franchise within the school grounds of a high-school campus weren’t bad enough, we have to wrap consumerism in the flag and tell kids – a vast majority of whom spend money they haven’t earned – it’s ok to buy stuff because it might – MIGHT – inspire you to fight for freedom and justice. What stupidity is that?

ninoy is not bono

The “iamninoy” project was inspired by rock star and activist Bono, who launched “Project Red” in 2006 to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa, and bicycle racer Lance Armstrong for his “Livestrong” campaign to help people with cancer live healthy lives.

The two men partnered with several companies to offer products under their respective campaigns to raise funds for their causes.

Here’s where the Foundation started to screw up, thinking that Ninoy is Bono. Both the Red and Livestrong projects are fund raisers. These are attempts at creative capitalism where the consumerism of the haves is made somehow beneficial for the have-nots.

Believe it or not, people who buy Red products or those yellow baller IDs don’t really bother learning about AIDS or cancer. It is enough for them to know that a bit of their money went to some kid with HIV or to some cancer victim. It’s a frigging psychological comfort; a salve for the guilt that comes with the power to purchase.

But that isn’t the avowed purpose of the iamninoy project, is it?

Said Lopa: “With this campaign, we want the young people to see the country and [its] problems and create a full experience of having to make a very important choice, like what Ninoy did, [that may eventually change] the destiny of our country.”

IS the purchase of an iamninoy product supposed to make Ninoy more significant in your life? Are you going to look at your Ninoy t-shirt and go “what would ninoy do?” Is your Ninoy wristwatch going to make you more punctual? Or prevent you from slipping that hundred peso bill to the traffic cop who pulled you over for running the rd light because you were late for work? HAH! Not fucking likely.

Ninoy isn’t Bono; Ninoy isn’t Lance Armstrong; and even if you got every single fucking Ninoy collectible, you are not fucking going to be Ninoy.

Ninoy who?

In fact, who is Ninoy, and what makes him a hero?

Seriously.

What does Ninoy actually represent, other than that he was a victim of a dictator (just like hundreds of other public intellectuals, labor leaders, journalists, and so on)?

Kids today don’t know squat about him, or about what he did. His place in our pantheon of heroes was secured for him by the fact that he was assassinated. Prior to that, he was just one of the many who were victimized by the Marcoses. Fine, he was primus inter pares or something, but at the end of the day, I tend to admire more those who stayed and lived their lives in constant danger of death, rather than those who fled.

I mean, Joma is in the Netherlands, isn’t he? And don’t we all laugh at how he runs the communists here by remote control? Well, if you’re being honest about it, that was exactly what Ninoy’s exile was all about.In the meantime that he was gone, people at home were being harassed, hounded into the hills, and getting impoverished by the importunings of the dictator.

The only time he returned was when, according to him, he felt that the time was right to convince Marcos to hand over the reins of government to him in order to prevent the turmoil that would inevitably result when Marcos died and his lieutenants began fighting for their share of empire (kinda like how Alexander’s generals – Ptolemy and all the rest – carved up Alexander’s empire into smaller kingdoms). Sure he braved death, but at least part of that bravery was openly motivated by the will to power. Not very heroic that, eh?

Ah, but here’s the prestige.

When he returned and died everyone rallied around him as a SYMBOL. And that’s what made him the hero he is today. As heroes go, he is being packaged as a kind of messianic figure – a secular Jesus almost – whose greatest contribution was that his death moved US to fight for our freedom.

Get that right.

Ninoy Aquino’s death didn’t free us.

We freed ourselves.

What sets him apart from all his peers – people like Tanada and Salonga – is that his death happened at the right time and under the right circumstances that allowed it to be used by US as the seed of OUR revolution. The idea of him being killed by the dictator gave us the focal point we needed for our simmering discontent to boil over into massive mobilization. Except, of course, if Ninoy hadn’t died, he would have succeeded Marcos (prolly) and his feet would be touching the same base clay as Salonga and Tanada, and the discontent would have escaped into the atmosphere as nothing more than so much vented steam.

In fact, the EDSA revolution wasn’t even about Ninoy, was it? It was about Enrile and Ramos battling their way out of corners they’d found themselves painted into. It was Cardinal Sin who turned it into a Ninoy Aquino lovefest – and to great effect. The soldiers Enrile and Ramos were smart enough to recognize a tactical advantage and were quick to jump on the bandwagon.

But when the smoke had cleared, the two soldiers parted ways: Enrile clandestinely sought to continue his coopted coup – making the Cory Administration the most coup-bedeviled regime; while Ramos embraced the new order and ended up President.

iamninoy positioning Ninoy Aquino as the coffee-club hero

But no one remembers that now. Or at least, no one wants to remember it that way. Which isn’t to say that Ninoy is no longer relevant.

The cool kids and the kids with money to burn on iamninoy merchandise, they’re the same untethered bunch who, in between cups of coffee frap, cast about for an intellectual way of fighting the perceived injustices of a system that is – all things considered – treating them pretty well. And Ninoy is nothing if not a hero on an intellectual level in that his heroism is is rooted in the willingness to sacrifice a comfortable life for a higher goal – something that the coffee-sipping clique all loudly proclaim from the comfort and security of their middle-class lives. And so, it is a perfect fit.

Radical street fighters love Bonifacio the brawler; while the cool, coffee-club kids who rail against injustice at Starbucks adore Ninoy (when they bother to think about it, at least) who won the martyrdom they’ve all convinced themselves they will be capable off – when the time is right to leave the latte behind. And the iamninoy merchandise? Well, it’s a way of proclaiming that capability to all and sundry, without having to say a word.

Kewl!

All that aside …

As an aside – if the idea is to get kids to buy this crap to give them an entry point to some nobler ideas like patriotism, then what entry point will there be for kids who can’t afford to buy the merchandise? Oh, but I forget, this campaign isn’t really high-minded enough to aspire for any kind of egalitarianism, is it? It’s targeted at kids who have money to burn.

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Filed under: Filipino, politics, pop-culture, society, vacuity, ,

43 Responses

  1. […] Read the rest here: youarenotninoy […]

  2. Mark says:

    I am sorry you feel so strongly about this. I respect your opinion, and would agree that based purely on the press release you read (that’s from the Inquirer, if I’m not mistaken), it may be seen as a purely capitalist pursuit.

    I did get the opportunity to see this campaign grow from the ground up – from the ground up, to actual production, to the way that the Foundation had to make the rounds to get media/retail/LGU partners to buy into the ideas. And I want you to know these things, not to change your mind, but to let you complete the picture:

    (1) The Foundation is not getting rich off of this. Royalties are not, as far as I know, being paid to them by the retail partners – mainly because Tita Cory herself refuses to take a handout. In fact, Analog Soul/Bench/Penshoppe/Team Manila are NOT charging a premium for Ninoy merchandise, but will still be channeling a significant amount to their respective beneficiaries, all of whom were introduced to the media today, and can be found at http://www.iamninoy.com

    (2) The campaign is not just a merchandise effort. The BSAF is launching a series of youth leadership seminars over the next 12 months, starting in Tarlac tomorrow. I don’t know the agenda here, but I will assume for now that it will be in completely good taste and with the best intentions. While it may seem that now it looks like a cheap Che Guevara imitation campaign, you will also be seeing documentaries, books, albums, etc. that tell the story behind the man in ways through mediums that will be accessible and relevant to today’s new breed of youth. The campaign is not about his image, but about his values, and what you see now is just the start. It might not be the best start in your personal opinion, but I have faith, based on what I know in my own limited view, that this will lead to something greater and more nation-building.

    You may not want to be Ninoy, but I hope you will still choose to be a hero in your own way and with your own values, whether or not you buy into the merchandise. It was good reading your opinion though.

  3. Men do not accept their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and worship those whom they have tortured to death.

    Fyodor Dostoevsky,
    Brothers Karamazov

    Cheers!

  4. safaux says:

    i read about iamninoy today in the inquirer too. i wanted to learn more about it so i googled it. your blog came up instead.

    i laughed a little at the quote from lopa saying “kids today like to buy things and we thought…” as a member of the youth demographic, i cringe a little bit at being known as the generation that “likes to buy things.” it’s true, but i like to think there’s more to us than that.

    you say the campaign is not geared to filipino youth of all classes, but more towards youth from the middle and upper classes. i agree, that is one shortcoming of the campaign.

    but i wouldn’t dismiss the entire campaign for that. it may not be all-inclusive, but it doesn’t come off nearly as condescending or divisive as the tone of your commentary. You seem to equate having enough money to buy brewed coffee with being shallow, self-absorbed, and uniformed. And if there’s any kind of attitude that breaks down nation-building, I’d say it’s that one.

    You ask, “is the purchase of an iamninoy product supposed to make Ninoy more significant in your life? Are you going to look at your Ninoy t-shirt and go “what would ninoy do?” Is your Ninoy wristwatch going to make you more punctual? Or prevent you from slipping that hundred peso bill to the traffic cop who pulled you over for running the rd light because you were late for work? ”

    i don’t think that’s the point. i don’t think the people who conceived the campaign think they’re going to change people’s behavior overnight by selling shirts. wearing t-shirt doesn’t MAKE you do anything, but it CAN be a way of declaring your values to the world. if a person wears a shirt with ninoy on it, it’s just a little reminder to themselves and to others that they value what ninoy represents to them. and i do think people are who are willing to wear their values on their sleeve– literally– may just a little bit more likely to behave consistently with those values. Not always, of course. But the act of wearing a t-shirt might just be one more thing that keeps you in check.

    if its worth anything, i was born in october 1983 and therefore never lived in a world where ninoy was alive except as a memory. i read about “iamninoy” today and decided to google his name. and now i’m posting on your blog in a discussion about his history, what he represents, and if its still alive.

    if anything, the campaign opens up dialogue. and i think that makes it effective.

  5. safaux says:

    Ahem, erratum.

    Typo in the 4th paragraph: “You seem to equate having enough money to buy brewed coffee with being shallow, self-absorbed, and UNINFORMED.”

    Not uniformed. Sorry.

    Oh, and let me add hypocritical to that list of adjectives which you insinuate people with money to be. I think calling people names because they’ve got money is as bad as calling people names because they don’t.

  6. rom says:

    safaux: hello safaux. welcome to the smoking room.

    wearing t-shirt doesn’t MAKE you do anything, but it CAN be a way of declaring your values to the world.

    exactly. didn’t I write

    the cool, coffee-club kids who rail against injustice at Starbucks adore Ninoy (when they bother to think about it, at least) who won the martyrdom they’ve all convinced themselves they will be capable off – when the time is right to leave the latte behind. And the iamninoy merchandise? Well, it’s a way of proclaiming that capability to all and sundry, without having to say a word.

    you also wrote:

    it doesn’t come off nearly as condescending or divisive as the tone of your commentary. You seem to equate having enough money to buy brewed coffee with being shallow, self-absorbed, and uniformed. And if there’s any kind of attitude that breaks down nation-building, I’d say it’s that one

    Did I hurt your feelings? If you’re one of the coffee club, listen to the conversation around you. Instead of bristling at my observations of how the coffee-club kids are, maybe you can distance yourself a bit and quit being awed at the awesomeness of your buzzwords and politically correct angst.

    And you were born in 1983? I was born in 1988, and if you’re just now re-discovering Ninoy, and only because of consumerism, well, I can think of several adjectives for that.

  7. safaux says:

    my point is just that i don’t think it’s productive at all to automatically pack people into negative stereotypes, for any reason. who exactly are you talking about, and what’s you level of interaction and experience with these people such that you feel confident saying they’re this way or that?

    but i don’t feel any shame googling ninoy’ s name because i saw it on a t-shirt– or in a newspaper article about t-shirts. of course, i knew who ninoy aquino was before i read the article. but on a normal day, ninoy aquino would not be at the top of my mind. on a normal day, i would probably be more preoccupied with meeting deadlines at work, errands i have to run at the bank, thinking about a scene from a movie i just watched or a book i read, picking up my laundry, and other mundane things that run us from moment to moment. reading his name in an article just triggered curiosity about the campaign and i did something i wouldn’t otherwise do, which was seek more information about it.

    everyday we get bombarded with hundreds of other images on t-shirts, on posters, on billboards, on TV, on the paper, on the internet. if a campaign has message to send and want to get through the noise, why not play that game? for you, what would be a more appropriate/effective way to remind people why ninoy aquino is still relevant?

  8. rom says:

    safaux: what is productive is to see people for what they are, and to call it out. because if you don’t do that, sappho (that is what you mean, isn’t it?) then you’re just living in a fantasy world.

    as for knowing ‘these people,’ did I not say I was born in 1988? I’m part of the demographic.

    and isn’t this sad?

    but i don’t feel any shame googling ninoy’ s name because i saw it on a t-shirt– or in a newspaper article about t-shirts. of course, i knew who ninoy aquino was before i read the article. but on a normal day, ninoy aquino would not be at the top of my mind. on a normal day, i would probably be more preoccupied with meeting deadlines at work, errands i have to run at the bank, thinking about a scene from a movie i just watched or a book i read, picking up my laundry, and other mundane things that run us from moment to moment. reading his name in an article just triggered curiosity about the campaign and i did something i wouldn’t otherwise do, which was seek more information about it.

    that we should resort to promoting banality just to prod people like you into learning more about history? and don’t blame the deluge of information for your inability to sort through it without the aid of consumerism. Some people manage just fine.

    you want people to remember ninoy? teach about him in schools. let the UP start a Seminar about him. make Aug 21 not just a day of wreath laying and statue unveilings – make it about teaching people about Ninoy’s life and work and don’t just focus on how he died and whodunit.

    that part iamninoy got right. but to resort to crass commercialism just to get attention? that’s practically an admission that ninoy isn’t quite as relevant as you think.

  9. Edrie says:

    To paraphrase a line from The Dark Knight: I am not a hero because you either die as one or live long enough to see yourself a villain.

    And, yes, had Ninoy lived he too would have been a villain, what with his messiah complex and all. He is a hero only because he was killed not by the dictator, mind you. They were frat brods after all and Marcos was too smart for that. He opposed the dictator only for selfish, politically-motivated reasons.

  10. Born on 1973 says:

    Choosing a hero is as personal as scratching your balls. Most would do it privately but some go public. So let kids today choose their own heroes may it be Ninoy, Marcos or Tado.

    Let them wear shirts also even if they do not know what it meant. If wearing an iamninoy shirt would make them feel a little “patriotic” let them be. It’s something we don’t see from the youth today kaya please utang na loob kahit feeling lang pabayaan mo na. Baka ma-inspire pa sila gumawa ng kabutihan kahit gaano pa kababaw.

    To quote a LimiTADO shirt “Pinili kong maging masaya dahil mas madali kaysa sa ipaliwanag ko pa kung bakit ako malungkot.”

  11. rom says:

    Edrie: welcome to the smoking room!

    Born 1973: Welcome to the smoking room, too! Hahaha. I know what you mean, and I see your point about the futility of social commentary. But I have a great antipathy for people like Lopa who think that my generation can be led around by the nose with clever marketing ploys.

  12. OneTamad says:

    I’m glad someone came out and said it. We don’t need a new pop icon, we need heroes.

  13. […] August 23, 2008 smoke’s rom thinks ninoy became a hero only because he was assassinated, that otherwise he would have turned […]

  14. […] Comments wearenotninoy on youarenotninoyrom on Is it a war?cvj on Is it a war?rom on Is it a war?cvj on Is it […]

  15. iamninoy says:

    I AM NINOY is a celebration of hope and idealism, a freedom movement, a community of heroes —- heroes who give out of sheer selflessness and serve the country the best way they can.
    http://www.iamninoy.com
    http://www.teammanila.com/iamn…/
    http://www.analog-soul.com/yon…/

  16. rom says:

    iamninoy: i am ninoy is a celebration of consumerism; an orgy of commercialism masquerading as social awareness; a cynical exercise in creative capitalism that presumes the youth are a mindless bunch of peso-wielding sheep.

  17. Yvonne says:

    i think people are just seeing the surface…I think the credo says it all.

    I am a hero.
    I do what I believe is right.
    I do what I believe is good.
    I fight for justice.
    I fight for freedom.
    I am a hero.
    In a big way, in a small way.
    In my own way.
    I am a hero.
    I am Ninoy.

    What if I dont have the money to buy the shift. I can still be Ninoy. It does not say, you have to buy the shirt of merchandising stuff..

    And if you have the money…

    “Everytime you buy an iamninoy item from our retail partners, a portion of its sale goes to various national charities that work for justice, freedom and the well-being of our countrymen.”

    Benificiaries are RMD foundation, children’s hour, KIDS foundation, HAPAGASA and Saint Anthony’s Boys Village Foundation.

    The iamninoy movement
    believes otherwise.

    This advocacy puts its core belief in one thing – that it
    is the youth of today who are empowered and ready to step
    up and wear the mantle of heroism. Not necessarily through
    massive acts on a national scale, but through such simple
    deeds as offering one’s seat on the bus, or by picking up
    their litter, or by treating their peers with the utmost dignity
    and respect.

    which i quote from “http://blog.codesignstudios.com/i-am-ninoy-the-filipino-youth/”

  18. A girl without a sad angry pessimistic outlook says:

    And what do you propose is THE smart and effective way to involve the youth in making the future better? Shut up everyone let’s hear it from our darling sweetheart. She may just be THE hero we need.

  19. Grow Up says:

    “Everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner.” -This is from someone who bashes commercialism.

    The cheap bra photo doesn’t do much for me. Do you think that trying to sell sex is “un-commercial”?

    Not hot for me. You’re right though. You could lose a bit more weight and gain a bit more tone.

    Ultimately, you need a lot more fun in your life and heaps more hope in the good intentions of people.

    Grow up little girl.

  20. Jaime says:

    If ignorance is bliss, then you should be happy.

    I’m not even going to try and defend the campaign to you. Blog about clothes, music and make-up. Once you learn a bit more about this world, then take on the big issues.

    If you think you can do more for the charities that the IAMNINOY campaign is helping, then let’s see it.

  21. […] so much commercialism in the Philippines today. I can agree more to what  SMOKE TALK can say to this issue. I am an active-youth but placing the “iamninoy” in a branded […]

  22. rom says:

    Girl, Grow up, and Jaime: welcome to the smoking room, ye dog of war. LOL! Why you felt you needed to use so many different names, I really can’t say. But the next time you get the urge to do this, remember what Einstein once said when the Reich assembled a hundred scientists to prove his theory of relativity wrong – “If I really were wrong, one scientist would have been quite enough.”

    But, for fun’s sake …

    Girl – just off the top of my head, how about producing a series of documentaries on Ninoy? One that doesn’t dwell almost exclusively on him dying, but one that takes what he wrote – essays, speeches, and whatnot – and applies it to the modern context. Show us what he envisioned the role of the youth to be, then we can aspire to live up to his memory. how about that?

    Grow up – the quote is from a song. i posted the video, 17 August. Scroll down and you’ll see the lyrics there. If you had half the brains you pretend to have, you’ll see that the line is sarcastic.

    And the bra? Who cares what floats your boat? I like how I look like, and if you can’t handle it, you can go scratch yourself.

    As for me growing up, come back when you’ve realized how infantile it is to post under different names.

    Jaime: It’s a good thing you’re not trying to defend the campaign. I mean, with defenders like you, who needs enemies, right? LOL!

    Oh, and the iamninoy campaign is about charities now? And here I was quoting Raphael Lopa as saying that it was about spreading ninoy’s spirit within pop-culture. Hahaha.

    Morons.

  23. rom says:

    yvonne: welcome to the smoking room! I have nothing against the money going to charities. I just think that there are better ways of giving to charity than by prostituting someone who we are taught is a hero.

    also, my beef is against the cynicism that informed the decision to design the iamninoy campaign this way.

    “Young people want to buy things [and] we thought that if they buy a Ninoy shirt, they may be inspired to claim ownership of his values and beliefs, his fight for freedom and justice,” Lopa said.

  24. Jen says:

    and Rom pwns them yet again LOL 😀
    check -fucking-mate 😀

  25. rom says:

    jen: all their base are belong to me! HAH! 😀

  26. A girl without a sad angry pessimistic outlook says:

    “how about producing a series of documentaries on Ninoy? One that doesn’t dwell almost exclusively on him dying, but one that takes what he wrote – essays, speeches, and whatnot – and applies it to the modern context. Show us what he envisioned the role of the youth to be, then we can aspire to live up to his memory. how about that?”

    –Angsty my sweetheart, don’t you watch probe team or other local public affairs shows? I thought you’d be the type to. They apparently have featured tons of documentaries about Ninoy and in the past few years, these, among others, have been made readily available to the public through the internet.

    None of your beloved “coffee club kids”, however, would ever have bothered to pick up at least one of the hundreds of Ninoy or EDSA books rotting away in their college libraries, or even youtube a single Ninoy documentary or speech.

    At least, not till now.

    I know, because my dear, I AM what you would judge as a “coffee club kid” and since last week, I’ve watched heaps of Ninoy documentaries and speeches. Not only that, I even made DVD copies for my friends. Like a real geek.

    Any more top of your head ideas genius? Whatever they are, let’s see them in action.

    Till then, au revoir!
    XOXO

    P.S. Different people have different names darling and coffee club kids CAN share IP addresses while sipping macchiatos together by a pool.

  27. rom says:

    Girl: well, at least you’re not schizo anymore. LOL!

    If local public affairs shows have produced ‘tons’ of documentaries on ninoy, don’t you think they would have at least made some impact on your vacuous life?

    And the ninoy books you’re talking about only ever discuss his death and the revolution. practically none of them talk about his plans for the country and the youth. ah, but you wouldn’t know about that, would you? being as how you’re too caught up in the coffee-club.

    But thanks for making my point.

    None of your beloved “coffee club kids”, however, would ever have bothered to pick up at least one of the hundreds of Ninoy or EDSA books rotting away in their college libraries, or even youtube a single Ninoy documentary or speech.

    At least, not till now.

    I know, because my dear, I AM what you would judge as a “coffee club kid” and since last week, I’ve watched heaps of Ninoy documentaries and speeches. Not only that, I even made DVD copies for my friends. Like a real geek.

    Eek. How pathetic is that?

    SO you’ve watched documentaries and made copies. But ask yourself why. Is it because it’s the kewl and hip thing to do? What if it’s not cool anymore? Are you still going to care? Because if you care only when it’s cool, then you don’t care at all. And this campaign you’re defending so vociferously will have failed in its mission.

    ANd in any case, what sort of information have you gotten? Even the iamninoy website focuses only on how he died, not on what he wanted the country to become, or what role he envisioned for the youth. How does that give you any guidance for living your life? All you’ve really achieved is to massage your ego by thinking you’ve donated pennies and dimes to a charity. Hell, if that’s what rocks your world, why not just go to the streets and give money to the streetkids?

    Or better yet, skip one caramel frap a week and give the money you’ve saved to the first person you meet who needs it.

    In the meantime, enjoy pretending being rich. LOL!

  28. worldwithoutheroes says:

    hello, this is alex. my teacher told me about the campaign and really was so moved i told all my friends about it. i don’t know much about politics so i decided to do a bit of research on the net and i stumbled upon your website.

    i’d have to say, well said rom. kinda sad though. i’d sure hate to have a world full of men who spoke like you and held the same opinions you express so strongly in this post. not that the world doesn’t already have enough. it makes me feel as if i had no place to hold anyone in high regard, as if the philippines had no right to have its heroes. rizal was a womanizer, after all – fed to us by the americans to quell our subversion. aguinaldo had bonifacio killed. and ninoy, as you say, was merely a hero by circumstance.

    they were good men. not everything they did was right, by any means. though what set them apart from us and everybody else were the ideals they kept and the sacrifices they made for us and the country. i was not born when rizal was shot by firing range. i was not there when bonifacio was shot by the hill. i was merely a thought when ninoy was shot in the back of the head. fact is i don’t know who these people are. i never knew of the good things they did or the sacrifices that they made. all i know are the things i’ve been taught on textbooks, their images plastered on coins and bills, and the stories passed on to me by my elders. i never had the chance to know them as they were made known to those who came before me. i’d have to say that perhaps i never really tried. though i’d also have to say that no one spoke to me in a way i would understand. mtv’s all i know. i believe in this campaign because it speaks to us, the youth, in a completely proactive way. says that we can be heroes through the everyday things that we do. i applaud because though i don’t think i’d buy a shirt myself, it has made bold moves to make heroes (in this case, ninoy) and heroism, not only relevant but significant to a generation that really couldn’t give a shit. i don’t think it has reduced ninoy to the status of a logo. i think it’s made him a symbol – of what any right minded filipino should and must be. mass consumerism may have been a tool in this, though the message gets itself across – that we all need to do our part.

    we need a philippines full of good men. who’d dare to be different when people choose to conform. these days all we hear in the news and read on the papers are the faults of the government, rising prices, dying livestock, and ill-stricken children. i’m not saying the government is faultless, nor are prices decreasing, that agriculture is not suffering, and that children are not dying. all i’m saying is that people need a reason to believe the philippines will be okay. hell, maybe it won’t. but i say, don’t give up. come on man. so you don’t believe in who he was. you still have to believe in what he represents. be a hero man. shut up.

    p.s.
    i’m 17 and i drink at starbucks, yeah. i’d say we’re plenty privileged too. but i’ve also spent time with the homeless. i’ve gone to them and have been welcomed into their homes and have lived and eaten as they have. a couple of my classmates and i do regular outreaches. we also teach catechism once a month. hey, us coffee cup kids can’t be so bad, yes?

  29. rom says:

    worldwithoutheroes: hello alex, or whichever personality happens to be dominant at the moment.

    let’s just say that i’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you are a 17 year old coffee-clubber. but since you chose to speak to me in a tone that seems frank enough, let me be frank with you as well.

    No matter how many times and how many ways you people tell me that this campaign is good because it encourages interest in ninoy in otherwise uninterested people, I will not change my mind.

    Rampant consumerism and crass commercialism are objective ills of society – and this is what iamninoy promotes; whereas an appreciation of history and the achievements of heroes and social engagement are an objective good – supposedly this is what iamninoy seeks to achieve.

    An objective good should be striven for for its own sake. And so it is surpassingly stupid to be thankful to something objectionable, simply because it is used with good intentions. That’s like saying the end justifies the means – which it never does.

    Think of it this way: ninoy, among other things advocated self-denial in the service of the country. isn’t it ironic in the extreme that we evoke this memory – this legacy of teaching self-denial – by promoting self-indulgence?

    contrary to what you might think, i have not completely given up on coffee-club kids like you say you are. Which is why I am so pissed that people like Lopa think so little of you that they are comfortable saying that there is no other way to reach you than through banality.

    I say there must be a better way. If you don’t get that, then I truly am sorry for you.

  30. Bencard says:

    i understand that cory aquino and her brood “snubbed” the unveiling ceremony of one of ninoy’s monuments. i don’t believe it was because of pgma’s presence. could it be that they know better about the whys and the wherefores of ninoy’s “heroism” than most filipinos and thought the occasion was not such a big deal?

  31. Jonty Cruz says:

    its a shame you based everything on just one source without doing what we regular people call RESEARCH! The campaign at its start is to raise awareness because lets face it who would try and be like Ninoy if that person wasnt aware of Ninoy. Unlike you who has maybe only ever witnessed ninoy on the tv, Mr. Lopa is an expert and a true follower of all things Ninoy Aquino, so common sense would suggest he knows a lot more of how to raise awareness for Ninoy Aquino an what honors Ninoy than you or me. And comparing the iamninoy campaign to a Starbucks in a school speaks of what you know about a non-profit campaign and flat out commercialism. DO US ALL A FAVOR AND DONT HAVE KIDS CAUSE THE WORLD DOESNT NEED MORE OF YOU.

  32. rom says:

    Jonty Cruz: er … welcome to the equal opportunity smoking room.

    First of all, it’s a shame that you’re dim enough to assume that just because someone is a Ninoy sycophant, he also knows how best to raise awareness about Ninoy.

    Second, seriously, how much research do I need to do beyond reading every single stupid page of the website? Did you want me to go into the hearts of the campaign designers and judge their efforts based on their good intentions? That’s just moronic.

    And third, yes, I will have kids because I don’t want the world to be overrun by morons like you.

  33. Bencard says:

    ninoy was a martyr to his own political ambition. he is not, in my book, a hero where the likes of rizal, bonifacio, gregorio del pilar, jose abad santos and wenceslao q. vinzons, among others, occupy a special place of honor.

  34. well, imelda’s getting her ternos designed for her in homage.

    so quickly do we forget the essential and remember only the superficial.

  35. Tsss says:

    Jonty is Ninoy’s grandson.

    Rom, you don’t get the whole picture.

  36. rom says:

    Tsss: Oh, sweetie. You shouldn’t have told me Jonty’s pedigree. First off, so what if he’s Ninoy’s grandson? Does that make him special? Is the Force strong in this one too? Puh-leeze. We don’t live in a monarchy, Tsss, and greatness – even goodness – isn’t inherited.

    Secondly, if Ninoy knew that someone who claimed kinship with him talked to people he didn’t know this way

    DO US ALL A FAVOR AND DONT HAVE KIDS CAUSE THE WORLD DOESNT NEED MORE OF YOU.

    don’t you think Ninoy would cringe? Seriously. Did you even read his comment before you tried to cow me with his pedigree?

    And as for me not getting the whole picture … I would think that since he is kin, he would be less willing to see his sainted grand-daddy’s name be used as marketing tool. Heroes deserve better than that.

  37. artisano says:

    ram, you are a GENIUS!

    WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BELIEVE IN YOU?

    I respect your opinoin and I hoping you will respect mine.

  38. rom says:

    artisano: welcome to the smoking room.

    It’s rom. A ram is a four-legged animal with huge curvy horns.

    I don’t care who believes in me. You can believe in me if you want, or you can disagree. It’s all the same to me. That’s what it’s like living in the free world.

    Of course I respect your opinion. I respect everyone’s opinion.

  39. AGMG says:

    Your opinion is very overwhelming to comment on how the I AM NINOY campaign is a merchandise effort. Sadly, I don’t think you fully understand the concept of the movement. As we (most of us anyway) know that it is to revive what Benigno Aquino Jr. has left us with. It’s been 25 years since the great revolution. For myself, as a youth advocate of the campaign, I should tell that as part of the youth, we have to relive what was instead of bothering ourselves with non-useless things or doings that don’t do any justice as a citizen. I respect your opinion on the campaign, but I want you to respect what the campaign upholds and what it is doing for the youth. I think that you think it is a superficial thing to have Ninoy as a hero. I tell you, we are all heroes in our ways, the campaign is there to help us realize that in small ways even in big ways we can become a hero not because we have to do something for our country. That’s what it means for the campaign. TO OPEN THE EYES OF THE YOUTH. And by the way Tito Rapa Lopa is one who knows what he’s talking about. He lived all of this and he wants to open everyones eye’s to what we can do by living out and continuing what Ninoy has left for us.

    In a big way.
    In a small way.
    I can be a hero.
    I am Ninoy.

  40. rom says:

    AGMG: And you, my friend are seriously underwhelming.

  41. lester2k1 says:

    i so agree. it’s very saddening to see kids wearing Ninoy or Che emblazoned on their chests and yet they know jack sh1t about these people. on a similar note, cory being hailed as the mother of democracy? come on. my co-author wrote a post entitled ‘fuck cory’
    check that out.
    neway. catch u again soon.

  42. lester2k1 says:

    i so agree with what you say. too bad the archipelagic map isn’t a copyrighted image. we need more people like you- critical thinkers who dare to deviate from the norm.

  43. cadist says:

    Those people who wear iamninoy stuff think they’re cool, or that it is enough to say that they love the country. IMO, knowing or being Ninoy is not really important now.

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