Things that are sort of a big deal

I always check the comments section on news sites that have them. They help give me an arbitrary and unbalanced peek at how your average Filipino thinks.

One of the big stories over the long weekend was the plagiarized commencement speech delivered at the Ateneo by Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Co. chairman Manuel Pangilinan, and the reactions are more of a story than the actual story.

Beat It!

People have called his offer to resign from the university’s board out of propriety ‘silly’, with one commenter adding that everyone knows that Filipinos are copycats, and that it shouldn’t be a big deal.

That there is debate on the issue is in itself rather troubling. The sentiment seems to be that a. it was wrong, but not that wrong (he didn’t steal government funds, for example) or b. it was wrong, so Ateneans shouldn’t be so high and mighty about themselves, or c. what’s wrong with that?

There is an honor system at the Ateneo, and unless things have changed since I spent 12 of my formative years there, plagiarism is wrong.

True, MVP did not try to pass of some doctorate dissertation “on my travels to Egypt with Dr. So-and-so” as his senior-year research paper, but copying is copying. He did the right thing by manning up and offering to resign.

Trying to rationalize it as a Filipino cultural thing, or as some sort of minor sin trivializes both the act and the supreme act of ballsiness that MVP did in reaction to it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in double standards, patriots everywhere have been tearing into comedian Adam Carolla (who used to have girls jump on trampolines) for slighting the Great Brown Hope, Dr. Manny Pacquiao, PhD, and by extension, the Philippines.

How we can jump at some podcast poking fun at our absurd adoration for a boxer, but not really care all that much about someone using someone else’s words without permission or acknowledgment  is pretty puzzling.

Is it okay, for example, for a Filipino to excuse plagiarism because, you know, that’s just who we are? Is it not okay for some comedian to make a big deal about the big deal that we make of Pacquiao even if, you know, that’s who we are?

Let me tell you, not even on my travels to Egypt with Professor Edward Said, have I ever seen a people so into contradiction.

9 Comments

  1. It’s a family thing. We can say shit about each other, but we hate it when outsiders poke fun at us.

  2. well :

    It’s a family thing. We can say shit about each other, but we hate it when outsiders poke fun at us.

    And that’s exactly the problem. You can’t have two different standards for respect and morality, one for yourself and one for everyone else. Well, actually, you can — just don’t get cheesed off about it when somebody else applies the same inconsistency to you.

  3. Digressing a bit, I can’t help but think that MVP isn’t just embarrassed by the situation, he’s probably smarting from the flak he’s been receiving–from his alma mater at that.

    And Ateneo losing him is really bad news. I daresay if you lose a visionary like that, it’s really hard to recoup.

    Having said that, I hope him offering his resignation sets a precedent for people in power. For willing to man up, apologize, and do the honorable thing by offering his resignation, I applaud you, sir.

    Then again, Fr. Nebres, don’t accept it 😀

  4. BenK :

    well :
    It’s a family thing. We can say shit about each other, but we hate it when outsiders poke fun at us.

    And that’s exactly the problem. You can’t have two different standards for respect and morality, one for yourself and one for everyone else. Well, actually, you can — just don’t get cheesed off about it when somebody else applies the same inconsistency to you.

    true. true. we’re getting predictable, really. sure way to hike up their hits and publicity.

  5. Oh gawd nakakahiya…yung reaction ng mga Pinoy. Sapul yung banat ni Mr.Carolla ha, right between the eyes.

    And did MVP made that speech? Siguro naman someone made it for him, and kung sino man yun eh malamang unemployed na sya. 😀

  6. @Anonymouse: Rabid and misplaced ‘patriotism’ is getting pretty boring, actually. And I guess people are getting tired of reacting to every perceived slur by now.

    This Adam Carolla thing didn’t get as much hatorade as Chip Tsao or even Alec Baldwin.

  7. @1T: Apir! Oh man, laking kawalan ni MVP if ever. A man that gets shit done. I adore you sir. Adopt me please?

    Excited din ako cause i get to use a cool abnoy word na tagal ko ng alam, ngayon lang sumulpot yung time na pwede ko sya gamitin – COXCOMB.

    ok lets use it in a sentence – “The Philippines is a nation full of coxcombic beings.”

    ayus.on to the next word on the list – PSYCHASTHENIA….

  8. Yes, I’m aware of Manders’ technique. I tgohuh hard about doing all those computations on the GPU myself, but there is a big difference between our samples.He only has lines for which to draw shadows, while I have polygons with arbitrary number of edges. For a line, no matter of the light’s position relative to it, the shadow always has the same shape. This is not so for a polygon, and depends both on the shape of the polygon and on the position of the light. One way to do this would be to draw the shadow volumes for each edge of the polygon, in the same way as Manders draws shadows for his lines, but depending on the level of detail of that polygon, this could result in a great number of Draw calls (order of tens), as opposed to a single Draw call for the whole object’s shadow, as it happens now. These add up, and may actually hurt performance more than benefit it.This is one area where DirectX10 geometry shaders would come in handy, as they could be used to generate the shadow’s geometry on the GPU, for any convex shape imaginable. But since XNA is DX9 only, for now I’ll have to stick to doing all this on the CPU.One other idea would be to move these computations on another thread, and use multi-threading, but this is dangerous territory as well.

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