26 August 2010

Sour Grapes

So, recently, I have just found out that the Philippines was rather in the international spotlight. For two reasons, and one of them will be the topic of this entry. The other one will be touched upon on my next entry, so wait for that. For this entry, let's tackle the easier and not-so-tragic topic first.

I have noticed my Filipino friends and their updates on Facebook lately, and how they are so into this new phrase "major major". So I got curious, what was this about. Then I found out that the Philippines was actually a finalist in the recently held Miss Universe pageant, in Las Vegas, early this week.

So, Miss Philippines got in the top 15, and then the top 10, and guess what? The top 5. Given the fact that I haven't been following the show since I am not a big fan, I don't know anything about it, except that I have this idea that most winners come from Latin American countries.

And then I looked it up further, and apparently, Miss Philippines committed a gaffe. She answered a question improperly, or rather, she didn't answer a question at all. And because of that, she was 4th runner up. Basically, fifth place.

So, what was the question?

"What is one big mistake you made in your life, and what did you do to make it right?"

Simple enough, right? However, I can imagine how stressful situations like these can be, and so even a simple question like that can throw someone off, no matter how much practice one has. I for one can imagine the one and only piano recital I participated in, playing Prokofiev's 2nd Piano Sonata, and I tripped playing the second movement, there was a couple of bars that I just played over and over again until I finally remembered how to continue.

Anyway, how did she respond?

"You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say there is nothing major, major -- I mean, problems -- that I have done in my life, because I am very confident with my family with the love that they are given to me. So... Thank you so much that I am here! Thank you, thank so much!"

So that's where major major comes from.

Now, that's the back story.

And then I see Facebook updates from my friends saying that knowledge and eloquence are overrated, and they even started using the phrase major major in a good fashion, basically letting the language evolve to make the phrase carry a good connotation. I find it similar to nigger, and how there are certain subgroups of people who actually use that term in a positive context.

So this made me think. Wow, is this the Filipino psyche's way of redemption? I mean, who are we kidding here? Yes, I agree, that knowledge and eloquence can be overrated, but in a beauty pageant, they are definitely valued! I have this feeling that the Filipino collective has this idea that Filipinos can never fail. Whenever Manny Pacquiao wins a boxing match, Filipinos would brag at how awesome the Filipino is. And I am pretty sure that if Venus Raj actually answered the question properly, knowledgeably, and eloquently, then the Filipino collective would brag about how knowledgeable and eloquent the Filipino is.

However, in this situation, the Filipino failed.

Is that wrong? No. Not at all. It's just perhaps the result of Murphy's Law. Chaos and randomness. There's always a next time. Just because Venus Raj failed this pageant doesn't mean that it is the end of the world. It is okay to accept failure. It is okay to admit that this was a bad performance and channel one's energy instead to a better second chance. That is way better than being delusional and convincing oneself that 5th place is good enough and worth bragging, and that knowledge and eloquence is overrated. Because in actuality, no. We all want first place. We all want the best.

The Filipino collective is just exhibiting symptoms of sour grapes, simply an envious behavior, pretending to not care about something one does not or cannot have.

(The Trail Begins, from my Pisac Series)


  1. I saw that on TV and felt she really blew her chance. But then, I'm not one to cry over spilled milk. She's the 4th runner up, that's it. Life ought to move on for her and for the Pinoys who longed for good news after that awful hostage crisis.

  2. I find it hard to relate because I rarely feel patriotic pride. I see your point though. Well, I guess she is not the first beauty pageant to give a dumb answer...

  3. TNP,

    I totally agree, that's how I feel and yet I find it surprising that there's so many Pinoys out there who basically want to redeem her performance. Still in Lithuania?


    Haha, yes, there are plenty of dumb episodes in beauty pageants. Just search for Miss South Carolina 2007 on YouTube.