Kwentong Barbero: Gone President
Barber Egay was back from his sabbatical, sort of.
One month away from his scissors and razors.
Away for 30 days from our little barangay getting famous for side mirrors of Hondas and Toyotas gone in minutes after being parked and yes, even laundry left to hang overnight.
Well, also away from us barbershop hangers-on who have been making his barbering miserable with our ‘demand’ that our hair be cut special this and that way when there’s not enough on our tops in the first place to cut special this and that way.
But Egay adores us hanging around his barbershop with Ancient Amang regularly feeding him Kris’ asado siopao ,street-smart Buting giving him racing tips straight from the horses’ mouths, George, the ‘professor,’ and I updating him on what’s roasting at Hogs Hills as well as the latest on bsA reading from his twin teleprompters the ‘good news’ for his ‘bosses.’ Also, where bsA has gone to and where he plans to be gone to next.
Buting informed Egay that at the same time he was roaming the boondocks somewhere bsA was enjoying the sights in Spain, France, Belgium, Germany and the USA.
The President was gone on a working trip, I said, to drum up investments and support to our sea dispute with China.
That’s the official line, George said, but the get-away tour, for that’s what it’s all about, has been more of self chest-thumping.
Amang, checkmating George again as he has done a hundred times, surmised that the matter of bsA convincing foreign businessmen to park their cash here could have been just squeezed in on the sidelines as Europe is in no mood to palaver business because it has its own money woes aggravated by the US-Europe ‘war of sanctions’ with Russia, the ISIS terror and the civil war in the Ukraine, among other headaches.
George opined it is not enough for bsA to wave those credit upgrades papers which the rating gods do not give out of the goodness of their hearts nor bestow them cheap. The foreign businessmen don’t give a damn who the little lady bsA keeps on blaming has plunged the country into ‘the lost decade.’ The reality is they do not see roads, bridges, airports, transportation but which bsA is saying are aplenty – on the drawing boards. They are not assured of reliable power, they are appalled at seeing contracts and agreements whimsically changed and even stopped in midstream. They groan at dealing with the long line of bureaucratic signing desks with half open drawers.
George said that even in the best of climes, after 4 years of ‘It’s more fun doing business in the Philippines’ campaign, the response has been feeble, lukewarm, measly. The foreign businessmen would just plunk down cents, nickels and dimes. Then they would send off bsA with an armful of investment pledges so he won’t be crying and rumpling his hair as he sneaks back home.
Street-smart Buting heard the kargador at the palengke saying that the Thais, Indonesians, Malaysians and even the Vietnamese whose country has been almost turned into wasteland by the Nam War have been gorging themselves with the cookies in the foreign investment cookie jar, leaving us to pick off the crumbs.
Sad, I said, but the President is really working hard to promote the Philippines as an investment hub. This month the President will be gone to Beijing for the APEC Summit. The President will not talk politics, particularly the country’s sea squabble with China, in deference to the host country. It will be ‘holding hands’ all the way to next year’s APEC when the Philippines is the host.
Amang said there’s no guarantee bsA will not play the spoilsport and button hole Xi Jinping in the washroom. Where he will warn the Chinese premier he is in for a surprise if the sea dispute would come to a shooting war as GI Joe will be at our side. Or so bsA thinks.
Buting also informed Egay that bsA earlier flew to Bali for the Democracy Forum where he again played Tarzan crowing that his election was a second demonstration of People Power in the Philippines. Oh, he has not forgotten to nudge the little lady closer to the edge. Why is bsA so hateful of her?
George noticed, and he is sure all of us here in our little baranagy noticed, too, that bsA disappears every time things are not so right or going awry in the country. Could have been playing the Playstation while the nation agonized the whole day during a hostage-taking turned tragic; could have been also playing the Playstation while Zamboanga trembled in fear as bullets whizzed by. Could be having a nice smoke inside a bunker while Ondoy and Yolanda drowned everything and everybody in their paths. Seemed he was gone safely somewhere everytime storms come to visit us. Like he has a direct exclusive line to Mang Tani.
Amang lamented bsA is not there when he was supposed to be there.
Oh, bsA reappears, George said, after the smoke had cleared and delivers his famous one-liners. Like, ‘Buti buhay ka pa! or his latest quip that he does not attend wakes of people he does not know. Which explains why he didn’t pay a wee bit respect to the dead littered on the streets of Tacloban. Who the heck are they, anyway? He doesn’t know them.
Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post Writers Group calls it ‘The vacant presidency,’ referring to Obama being ‘totally detached’ from issues confronting him.He’s checked out. Given up. Let down and disappointed… he is in withdrawal.’
Buting sighed Mr. Krauthammer could be talking about bsA.
George said having a ‘vacant presidency’ for six more years gives him the creeps. But now that bsA declared he won’t go for another term gives him a nice feel though he will have to wait and see..
Egay, who have been silent all the while, said he can’t blame bsA disappearing once in a while. He didn’t know the job could be so hard, made harder by his bungling men.
Then Egay declared he will be gone again roaming the boondocks somewhere. Why? To get away, he said, from us guys demanding that our disappearing hair be cut special this and that way!
Photo via Flickr. Photos of the President from facebook.com/PresidentNoy. Some rights reserved.
Originally posted by Manuel Calleja on Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles.