Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lapsus linguae

EITHER a lack of pies or pack of lies—that’s what critics and detractors heard from the current Malacañang top resident. We need to get a disappointment with an ear specialist quick. If not, we’ll likely hear verbiage as garbage.

Take that outburst, “I am the best president.” That wasn’t an exercise of bragging rights. It wasn’t cold appraisal of one’s competence. It wasn’t a shriek off a delirious imagination. It’s either one of those sound bites or bound sights that ghostwriters fed her. That could also be heard as a ruefully honest confession, “I am the pest resident.”

Remember that spoony admission? “I am sorry.” Some people with hearing problems heard that as “I am rosy.”

Face it, most Filipinos are growing hungrier these days, not even the P30 billion – give or take a few billions – earmarked, no pun intended, as subsidy for rice and instant noodles can curb widespread starvation. So fill our souls with hope or fill our holes with soap and be quick with the screwing. Ease our tears or tease our ears.

Experts point out that hungry people are often hard of hearing.There’s a persistent often pernicious ringing in the ears of a hungry man, the ringing even sounding like a ring tone followed by a too-familiar salutation: “Hello Garci…”

Nobody would dare tell to a hungry nation, “Fiends, romance and infantry men, lend me your ears.” So we must forgive ourselves for gasps in catchment, lumps in judgment, maybe jumps in budget management, why, the Palace top resident stands to get some chunky P800 billion pork barrel this year—no mad bunny, no bad money eh?

Aside from a merry mix-up of minced words in official pronouncements, hunger can also breed hideous behavior. A hunger-prone tribe in Africa, as reported by The Economist, lives in selfishness and conflict, each family member competing with others for food.

The same report notes: “In China, a proverb, ‘Swap child, make food,’ referred to the practice in periods of extreme famine of swapping a daughter’s corpse with that of a neighbor’s and boiling it into soup.”

Whether the pronouncements plied off Malacañang are plain lapsus linguae or painful lapses in judgment, we need not strain our collective ears to hear ‘em loud and clear. We’ve heard those same old tunes before, have we not?

A lack of pies, a pack of lies—they sound the same to the hungry.

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