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Monday, May 4, 2015

The Emperor Is Fully Clothed

While watching the (very delayed but free) telecast of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, I could hear my eight-year old niece getting riled up and going, "Go, Manny, bugbugin mo siya! (beat him up)"

As expected, another long commercial break followed (I already knew from online reports that Mayweather won by that time) and I talked to her. "I know you're rooting for Manny, but just to be know that pambubugbog (beating someone up) is bad, right?"

"Oo naman (Of course), tito (uncle) Joey, I wouldn't do that. Mali naman talaga gawin yun (it's wrong to do that)."

"That's right."

She skips a beat, and then does a follow up. "But tito...this is boxing. This is different naman (anyway) from pambubugbog (beating someone up), right?"

What makes this substantially different from a professional boxing match?
(Photo from

Not sure as to how her parents would answer that, I just asked her to talk to her dad about the differences between professional boxing and beating someone out of the ring, where there isn't PPV (pay per view) recording the brawl.

The truth was, I knew exactly how to answer her question. No, I don't see a difference between the two. They both inflict pain, one can actually die from the blows received, and as far as I know, violence in any form is against every moral code I have ever read up on, studied, tried to learn, or live my life by.

That is not to say that I deny bloodthirsty lust as a human urge. The few times I have ever been involved in activities that involve violence, there is a release that I inherently understand as both appealing and cathartic. A time for words, yes, but sometimes, you just want to beat the crap out of someone for being abusive, or hurtful, or (insert your reason here).

So, no, I am not in a position para magmalinis. (To appear blameless or 'pure' as far as violence is concerned) But in those times, I felt "justified" in some way: an unkind word was said, or someone inflicted violence on me first. I certainly didn't do it to get paid, but to address some wrong - perceived or real - that I felt needed correcting or just to get back at someone.

Which is why boxing is especially abhorrent in my book. To necessarily and purposefully harm another human being - for sport? And to attain wealth and some unfathomable (to me, anyway) version of glory and honor?

What can be less honorable than beating up another human being who has conceivably done nothing to you, just because you belong in the same weight class?

What adds moral weight to glorifying this blood soaked activity is the fact that fighters and fans alike invoke God into these bouts. You may call me a heretic for my next sentence, but any God that actually approves of this activity is not someone I would call the path to enlightenment. This country claims to be the bastion of Christianity in Asia - I fail to see anything Christ-like in cheering two men beat each other into a pulp for money and fame.

It was quite interesting to see my niece compartmentalize what I would describe to be an action that would cause cognitive dissonance. I know of no school in this country that endorses violence; in fact, students engaged in violent activities are quite often expelled or suspended. But we have extolled boxing as "the sweet science" - the absolute definition of a misnomer, but so romantically poetic to hear - and raised Manny Pacquiao to saint-like status that, in her mind, pambubugbog is undoubtedly wrong but boxing is "different".

Should I envy my niece for seeing the emperor as fully clothed?

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