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Honoring My Mother | FAKING EMPATHY (and other Viruses)

MANY years ago during an election period, one of the hot topics in the electoral debates among the aspiring political candidates had been the price of fish, and attempting to link it to the ordinary citizen’s loosening hold at being able to afford what was supposedly a poor man’s fare. The particular fish that was the object of discussion had been the Round Scad, known in Luzon as “galunggong”, or “moro-moro” in other parts of the country.

This had been the contention by some at the time: with the price of the lowly Galunggong steadily going up, the poor had become the most affected and thus deprived of their cheap and standard fare. Of course by appearing to champion the plight of the masses,the aspirants had hoped to win their trust and eventually their votes. However after much interpolation, later, it was discovered that not only had they been unaware of how much the fish actually cost (which had not been quite significant), many had not even seen what galunggong looked like, much less tasted it, in the first place.

In all, it had likewise been proven that in spite of coming up with what many thought had been a relatable soundbyte, the price of gallunggong then, was not really a good example or indicator for harder times.

At the present, in everyday instances especially in social media, it has indeed become quite natural to just say one’s personal opinions about the goings-on outside, in the real world. Sure, this basic right of every person to freely express their opinion or views, is one thing that needs to be respected always. However, like in Peter Parker’s world, some things also require a certain amount of responsibility, and to be truthful is one example.

Just like in the ways of those politicians of old that had been emboldened with galunggong-speak, one hears a lot of talk these days from certain parties, about how the poor folk had become more disenfranchised because of the Covid pandemic and the present state of things.

It should be worthwhile to note however, that just like those non-galunggong eaters of the past, most of these voices have come from the many who wait in the wings, with pockets stuffed with agenda. The welfare of those with less privilege is far from their minds, and this should be the most telling marker whenever one hears their diatribe. Another red flag is their continued-critique of endeavors that have no political slant whatsoever, i.e., responses to the pandemic. We should all be one in the fight against covid, and politics should be out of it.

To a certain extent, their perspectives and opinions had developed through the years under successful platforms which have likewise become status symbols and source of their income and power. Because these have garnered for them a kind of following, their present status had likewise become an end in itself.

In the end, while each opinion should be respected, we should at least know why they are said. After all, the reason behind will always be more important than what we hear with our ears.

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