I’ve never been one of those paranoid people who believe that the media controls everything and everyone. We are all human beings and control our own thoughts and destinies. I may have to change my mind.
As an aside, like most American husbands I know who actually controls everything and everyone – my wife. Just kidding, honey 🙂
I’ve been visiting the Philippines for about 5 years now and have been there 8 or 9 times (I’ve lost track). I’ve married a Filipina and as probably many of you know we’re intending to retire in the Philippines next year.
With few exceptions, nobody I know ever said squat. “Where are you going on vacation, Dave.” “The Philippines.” Nothing – crickets. Or maybe, “The Philippines again? You must like it there.”
When I would return I’d get the standard, “How was your vacation?” questions and the standard, “Glad you had a good time.” And that was it.
Let’s face it, most Americans know more about the changing shape and size of Kim Kardashian’s loboot than they do about the Philippines. They know it’s a tropical island (ok, 7107 islands to be anally precise but who’s counting). They think it’s sort of in Asia. And if they are old enough they vaguely know something about MacArthur returning there, though since he’s long dead it’s possible that ain’t gonna happen.
That’s about it.
But all it takes is for Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, to kill a few (ok, a few thousand) drug dealers, and talk a little smack about President Obama and now everyone I know is an expert on the Philippines.
“That guy’s a loose canon.” I’ve heard that comment often enough that I have to assume CNN is promoting it as the new slogan for Philippines’ tourism, replacing “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” Frankly with Duterte in office I think it is more fun in the Philippines, but then I love Scorcese movies and the Taken series . My son and I once counted the number of people Liam Neeson killed in Taken and let’s just say he could be very useful in the Philippines. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a call.
Janet also has gotten a negative remark or two and handles them with her normal graceful aplomb – by reaming the remarker with a new one 🙂
And of course I have also gotten plenty of, “Are you still thinking of moving there?” followed by a roll of the eyes and a mumbled, ‘That guy’s crazy.’
This rose to the height of bizarre nonsense just the other day. As part of the downsizing of all my junk, which I recently documented here, I sold off my Nikon cameras, lenses, flashes, bags and associated crap. I decided to go the typical old geezer or traveling geezer route with a point and shoot camera. Of course having owned plenty of nice cameras in my life I wanted a good one that I could still get decent pics from and use for vlogging. And BTW, you should all get ready to be inundated with fascinating videos to come on my YouTube Channel here!
I chose the camera I wanted, found that Best Buy had an open boxed one at a discount and Janet and I headed over. As I’m playing with the camera, I’m telling the salesman what I will be up to as a soon to be retiree. Of course he’s glancing at the old guy’s cute wife, but at this point in my life that just comes with the territory.
“Where in Asia are you retiring?” he asks.
“The Philippines,” I say and pointed to Janet adding, “that’s where my wife’s from.”
“Well at least you and your wife don’t look like drug dealers. I guess you’ll be safe.”
“I take it you watch CNN,” I replied giggling. “OK, I’ll take the camera. You can watch me dodge bullets on YouTube.”
I guess the point is that people who didn’t know the Philippines from a hole in the wall now are experts. I find myself defending the country, Duterte and our future plans. Now as a defensive guy I don’t mind doing that but when you are debating it only works if the other person knows something about the subject. Someone who’s only seen a 30 second sound bite knows nothing about the Philippines.
“I hear that loose canon’s gonna kick all the American military out of the South part of the Philippines,” a co-worker informed me. She actually said it like it was a bad thing.
“I guess at your age they won’t confuse you with American military,” she added positively.
“Yeah, I might be able to pass.”
Although if I start smoking a pipe in the Philippines I suspect I could pass for MacArthur.
P.S. If you’re wondering why I posted the particular pic of Pres. Duterte above, which has nothing to do with the drug wars or his row with Pres. Obama, it’s because I think it represents the real Duterte – which is a very good thing!