In the face of what is happening to the home country of the Filipino immigrants and Filipino Americans, the victory of the Pacman against a formidable opponent is a metaphor of some sorts.
Manny Pacquiao’s TKO is a trope of a national redemption we Filipinos need so bad.
Manny Pacquiao is a trope of a commitment to a homeland.
Manny Pacquiao is a trope of a conviction to honor the land of our hopes, we who have gone away in order to scratch out a life in strange and unfamiliar places all over the world.
We do not buy the blood and gore that goes with fighting it out in order to make sense out of the nonsense that goes with governance gone haywire in the homeland.
We do not buy the pugilist’s destructive intent in his quest for the gold and the glory.
There is violence in the intent even as there is violence in the means to pursue that intent.
There is violence as well in the venue for the pursuit to come about despite the applause of spectators, despite the glee, despite the calculated boisterousness for every hit each pugilist would strike on the head or the body of the opponent.
The spectators, of course, are there to witness the drama of self-destruction and the drama of destroying the other, with each act highlighting conquest, failure, more blood, more struggle.
The spectators—numbed by the scenes of each major act in a twelve act play that commenced with the singing of three anthems, one for the Pacman homeland, the other for Eric Morales’ Mexico, and the last for the Union’s “land of the brave” and “land of the free” —certainly paid with their precious dollars to get a ringside view of the spectacle we call the redemption of a decayed and destroyed Filipino pride.
We count some big shots from the home country.
One is a first gentleman who is a resident of the Palace of Power.
Another one is a gentleman whose revelations were the seed of the destruction of the Reign of Power of a President of the Land, with that President eventually disgraced by a People Power but with the Land remaining in anguish and sorrow and hopeful of better days ahead.
This is how we put in context the Pacman Passover to another triumph of the spirit.
His was a gentle dream: “My fight is for you—this fight is for you.”
Sang, chanted, recited, declaimed, the fighting words ring true of all immigrants in the United States and elsewhere—all immigrants whose desires for home and homeland have been exiled by the exigencies of everyday life.
The fighting words are a mantra as well.
They get to the bottom of things.
They are at the heart of exile, diaspora, overseas life, immigrant life, life in the margin, life away from home.
With this victory, perhaps something good may come out of it.
One lesson learned: there is the urgent and immediate need to fight it out—to be bold and daring, to be strong and focused, to be committed and dedicated.
One need not lecture the migrant and the immigrant. They are the better students and teachers of a life lived outside the homeland.
Pacquiao the Pacman will go home to an adoring crowd.
He will be presented as a trophy. And we praise him for the honor he has brought upon all of us, upon our land.
But not all migrants and immigrants are as lucky even if all the days of their lives they have also fought it out in not so kind countries and climes.
Inq, V2N3, 2006.