Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Philippine's Wowowee Caste

Around 6:00 am last Saturday, Philippine time, about 30,000 relatively poor people formed a huge stampede that eventually killed 79 of them (including children and old people) and injured around 600 more.

What the hell were they doing there, you ask? They were attending a free-for-all game show where they were promised lots of money if they get through the gates fast enough, that's what.

The usual bout of finger-pointing ensued soon after the carnage, of course, and I got bored rather quickly. As far as I was concerned, those people were victims not just of the thoughtless manipulators (i.e. the guys who pretend to have the people's welfare in mind, while in reality are only concerned about making the people like them) who never really gave a damn enough to think of such a possibility happening, but also of the people's own pathetic simple-mindedness. For one, who in his right mind wouldn't feel apprehensive about racing with thirty-bloody-thousand people in a tight space?

But anyway, you guys should definitely read Dominique Cimafranca's lengthy post about the tragedy, if you're interested. I think he nailed it better than most of the journalists in the newspapers. But we have to wonder, if the problem behind all this is "a persistent caste system that hangs on to our society like an overgrown cancer", how are we supposed to change such an ingrained thing? Kuya Dominique gave a suggestion for starters: ban the stupid game shows, ban them now. I wholeheartedly agree.