‘(T)he Filipino has always been one who finds – or tries to find – a way to make light of even the darkest moments. Sometimes inappropriately.’
THE pandemic is no laughing matter. And the current situation in the Philippines isn’t as well. We’ve been on lockdown since March 16, regarded as the longest in the world, and yet no medical authority will be willing to stake his or her reputation to say that we’ve hit rock bottom (or Everest top) and are at the point where we are winning the war. Political types will do that for political reasons; but if we were to rely solely on statistics and science this war is still raging nearly at its fiercest.
But the Filipino has always been one who finds – or tries to find – a way to make light of even the darkest moments. Sometimes inappropriately. We do this by making fun of ourselves, or of others, or of ourselves with others. I remember an example of this last one when I and three other “students leaders” from the Philippines (the three of us from UP were myself, Student Council chairman Jesse John Jimenez, Inter Frat Council chairman Marlon Alexandre Cruz while the lone green Archer was Raymond Co) were chosen to be guests of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung for an educational tour of Germany in May 1983.
One day when we were in Heidelberg visiting Rizal’s shrine we were laughing among ourselves to the amusement of our German guides. They were curious to know what we found funny and we said that we figured that when Jose Rizal was in Germany he had fathered Adolf Hitler. Believe me not one of our guides found that funny. I rest my case.
In keeping with our penchant of finding a reason or two to laugh, I tried listing down what I figured were the Top Ten jokes of this Pandemic Era. And here is my list, from #10 to #1.
#10: Let’s bring in the tourists.” It’s understandable that our Secretary of Tourism would want to help revive the economy via tourist arrivals but, seriously? Only those with a death wish will be happy to visit while our curve is still flattening upwards.
#9: “Panalo na Tayo.” Spox Harry was trying to find a positive spin to the official numbers being below the UP prediction of 40,000 cases by end June, but his effort fell flat – all the more because, apparently, the DOH in its own website acknowledges that positIve cases are in fact already OVER 40,000.
#8: “Tuob is the vaccine for COVID-19.” This is a Cebuano original, subsequently denied by the contributor. As explained to me by a colleague from Bohol it’s a traditional health remedy that old folks swear by. But you need more experience in Quack Medicine to do this right, di ba Governor?
#7: “Inhaling carbon dioxide from wearing a mask causes brain damage.” A second contribution from Cebu. Blaming the wrong cause for the effect.
#6: “Walang mamamatay sa gutom sa loob ng isang buwan.” From a very sympathetic heart.
#5: “We are the model of containment.” Famous last words. Say it again?
#4: “Aggressive contact tracing.” Aggressive only on paper and on sleek presentations.
#3 “We have enough test kits.” Said in February – when in fact we had 2,000 kits in storage?
#2 “Francisco Duque III.” Res ipsa loquitur.
#1: “Sampalin ang veeroos.” Let’s face it. The President has so many for this list and this is just the latest and the most relevant. It ranks together with “jet ski to the Spratlys” and “end the drug menace in six months.”
I suppose he knows how dire the situation is and how desperate we are for a laugh. Which is also why he keeps #2 at his post.
So there you have it, my Top Ten list of Pandemic-era jokes. This is my list; am sure you have yours. Why don’t you make your own and see what you come up with? Just make sure that when you’re done you don’t laugh so hard you end up crying.