Friday, December 31, 2010

Shoes: The Apotheosis of Truth, Beauty and Freedom

Reclining Venus, Goddess of Beauty by Canova

Reclining Imelda, BBC News
A huge portrait of Imelda hangs like a mini shrine over her shoe collection at the Marikina City Footwear Museum. Madame donated 749 pairs of shoes to the Museum.

What do these Shoes actually symbolize? Avarice? Wretched excess? Transcendent vulgarity? Uh-uh! These shoes epitomize Truth, Beauty, and Freedom.

The Truth
"I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty." There you go. It was not 3,000 or 2,700 as some reports have it but 1,060. So it would only take Madame less than a year to use all these shoes if she uses at least 3 pairs per day - not 2.5 years as some accounts related.

"One Thousand and Sixty only, to be exact."

President Marcos even defended the First Lady's collection by emphasizing that it took her 20 years! 20 years to amass these 3,000 pairs. Much ado about nothing.

The Beauty
"They went into my closets looking for skeletons, but thank God, all they found were shoes, beautiful shoes," Madame smilingly told reporters.

"This Museum is making a subject of notoriety into an object of beauty." Do I detect a Freudian slip in this comment...

"More than anything, the museum will symbolize the spirit and culture of the Filipino people." Did Madame mean our dystopian tendency? I cannot obliterate the image of 3,000 pairs of shoes trampling over the Filipino people.

The Freedom
Lance Morrow's essay on the topic elucidated that the purpose of having riches is "to buy freedom - to purchase choices, immunities from the will of others, or of fate." For Imelda, it was not a question of using these shoes per se. Rather, it was the knowledge that these shoes gave her options.

"What's wrong with shoes? I collected them because it was like a symbol of thanksgiving and love?"
At the end of the day, our preoccupation with Madame's shoes is but a smear campaign that tried but failed to undermine the good, the beautiful and the real that is Madame.

"Much ado about nothing, really."

"Bakit mayroong mga Pilipino na naninira kay Presidente at kay First Lady? Hindi ba nila alam na kami ang Tatay at Nanay ng Bayang Pilipino? Kung kamote ang Tatay at kung kamote ang Nanay, kamote ang Pilipino! Ang kamote ay hindi nag-aanak ng kamatis."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Different Way of Thinking

"I have a different way of thinking. I think synergistically. I am not linear in thinking, I'm not very logical."
Madame definitely has a different way of thinking. Consider the following Imeldisms:

  1. "Continuous persecution of widows and orphans is a crime." Swindle and theft, on the other hand, may be justified in the fight for survival. In self defense, anything goes.
  2. "I have never been a material girl." But then again, "They [the poor] want their First Lady to look like a million dollars." And "I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there."
  3. "Tell me who wants to be surrounded by garbage?" But now she wears recycled garbage she makes into jewels. "It's beautiful!" "I am more bejeweled than before. Bejeweled by garbage."

Truly a paradox worthy of emulation. Reason defies logic anytime, right? And in the end, synergism is achieved. Happy, Sad, Pacman. It all makes sense!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Unelected

"I am First Lady by accident. I was not elected by the people but here I am."

with Lady Bird Johnson,  President Lyndon Baines Johnson's First Lady

with Sirikit of Thailand, Queen Consort of King Rama IX (Bhumibol Adulyadej)

with Empress Farah Diba, consort of Shah Muhamad Reza Pahlavi

with Madame Tien, First Lady of President Suharto

with Carmen Polo, First Lady of Francisco Franco

with Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom

witht the First Ladies of the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, and the United States
same group as above (except South Korea's First Lady) with the Taal Lake and Volcano as backdrop

Imelda Attends the Opening of the Sydney Opera House

Is that a sneer I see she's wearing on her face in this photo? She must be thinking, the Australians are nothing but copycats! She inaugurated the Cultural Center of the Philippines, an iconic architectural masterpiece beside the sea at Manila Bay on 08 September 1969 while the Sydney Opera House was inaugurated almost four years later on 28 June 1973. Both edifices are dedicated to the propagation of the arts; of the true, the good, and the beautiful. Both sit astride an abutment into the harbor. They are nothing, but third-rate trying-hard copy cats!

Imelda on the Philosophy of Beauty

Truly a beautyful mynd!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Principle of Deniability - Always Attribute What You Say to Others

"And my scientists tell me that these forces are so powerful that we can use them to protect you, our American friends, against Soviet missiles." -- on the hole in the sky where cosmic forces supposedly enter the Philippines, during a lecture to 20 American scientists in January 1982, cited in Raymond Bonner's Waltzing with a Dictator

Note how she emphasized the point "And my scientists tell me..." If challenged, it can always be attributed to her scientists!

"I am beyond logic and rationality."

"How can I stop what I'm doing? It becomes a resource not only to a president and a husband but a resource of principles and commitment. A resource for humanity. This is perhaps what makes me so controversial. I am beyond logic and rationality." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda Meets Paul VI

"God is love. I have loved. Therefore, I will go to heaven." - to Pope Paul VI, who responded, "Oh, how wonderful, how childlike."

In photo above (l-r) Imee, Irene, Paul VI, Imelda, and Bongbong.

Imelda at the United Nations General Assembly in 1977

Imelda Marcos Speaks At UN
Imelda Marcos addresses the U.N. General Assembly, suggesting that the Assembly convene next in Manila. 1977.

The Philippines is the Geographic and Geopolitical Center of the World

"This is the Philippines... This is China, this is Russia... This is the east, the west. And the equator. As anyone could see, the Philippines was right at the center of the globe. I'm surprised nobody saw this. As Chairman Mao said, you can change ideologies anytime, but you can never change geography. Geopolitics! This is what will make the Philippines great and beautiful again."
  -- explaining her "masterplan for the country" by drawing a map of the world, quoted in Today, April 1998

It is so obvious and staring us all in the face that we failed to see it! We need an Imelda to point us to the true, the good, and the beautiful. God, as Imelda says, is truth and beauty made real.

Imelda Let Her Hair Down...once in a while, if you know what I mean

Imelda Marcos, the eternally coiffured former First Lady of the Philippines, in a rare image with her hair down.

This is the only photo of Imelda I've seen without her hair in an elaborate coiffure. This image could be from the second half of the '70's, before the 1979 Iranian Revolution that sparked a worldwide oil crisis and when the Marcoses' rule was at its apogee. It was a time when the Philippines was at the forefront of development financed by cheap petrodollars from the first oil price shock of the early '70's, with all opposition to their rule silenced, exiled or coopted - Imelda would have felt secure enough to let her hair down.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Excerpts from CNN's Anjali Rao's Interview with Imelda

Imelda Marcos: Beauty is not an extravagance, beauty is life! And beauty is the only thing that can feed the soul.
Anjali Rao: You are such a flamboyant character Mrs Marcos. Why is ostentation so important to you?

IM: It is not ostentation. Because, and flamboyant. And in fact they try to picture me as someone who's "Imeldific" meaning extravagant, excessive, frivolous....And when they asked me if I was and I said in a material world if you are committed to God, beauty and love, you may be perceived as such, but that is for instance, if you are a believer you put flowers incense at the cult altar of your God. For the non believer that is a waste and a frivolity.
You cannot quantify God, beauty and love. And I am committed to that. I am allergic to ugliness because I am a Filipino. You know, in the Philippines they don't stop at good projects just done right, it has to beautiful. In fact, when they greet everybody during the day, they don't just say "guten Morgen, guten Abend, buenos dias, buenas tardes, good morning, good afternoon" they say "Magandang umaga." Meaning beautiful, beautiful morning; beautiful day, beautiful afternoon. We are brainwashed to be beautiful!
AR: Looking at the Philippines though, as a nation in its entirety and how poor it is in many parts. Is it not ironic to you that you're putting on this extravagant show of wealth while all these people are starving and living in desperate conditions?

IM: Well, in the first place, this country is not poor. This country, we were using gold before we were using iron. And we have 92 industrial minerals for industrialization. .We have the five strategic minerals for outer space technology. We have all the minerals!

AR: But the statistic is something like eight out of every ten Filipinos earns less than US$2 a day. Do you think it is right to be putting on a show of extravagant jewelry at a time like that?

IM: Yes. if you compare. But this extravagant jewelry is not for the sake of extravagance or money. This is extravagance of garbage thrown to me by governments around the world. And all the lies and all the vilification and shame that they try to put me on. But all of this I am trying to recycle. I think I have a great attitude! With what they have done to me I should have been 10 feet under the ground already, or in an insane asylum.
IM: Beauty is not an extravagance, beauty is life! And beauty is the only thing that can feed the soul. And so, you can feed the mind with all the knowledge you can get from the internet. You can get all the food you can get and have good nutrition for your body, but it's only beauty that can feed the soul because beauty is life and God. I take beauty very seriously.

AR: I can tell.

IM: Very seriously.
IM: Even Confucious said the difference between the peasant and nobility was shoes. And thanks God when the world went to my closet they found shoes not skeletons! Then I would have been not only frivolous but evil if they had found skeletons. And the deeper they went to my closet, the more beauty they found.
IM: Well I have been privileged to have the best, best, best and the worst, worst, worst! But thanks God, when I had the best, best, best I maximized it to the fullest and also my potential. When I had the worst, worst, worst, I recycled it. So when people say: "What is your secret Mrs. Marcos that you can still walk around at 77?" I said: "because I have no problems. My potential I maximize, my problems I recycle. They have problems with me, but I have no problems. I am at peace with the truth.

AR: How do you want people to remember you?

IM: I wouldn't know. I have no control over people's minds and feelings because after all, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I am so sad sometimes, when people don't see beauty and see the truth, and beauty is God made real. Here I am, I see beauty in everything including garbage that I can now create all the garbage thrown to me into jewelry. For me beauty is God made real, for me beauty is spiritual, beauty is life, without beauty there is no life... I am at peace with truth beauty is God made real.
IM: You know I have been blessed. My dreams were puny, but in the reality my dreams have become....all I dreamt was a little house, with a little picket fence by the sea. Little did I know I would live in Malacanan Palace for 20 years and visit major palaces of mankind. These last 20 years I have been beleaguered and persecuted and deprived. Name it and I had it. I had been attempted assassination, I had been tried, the trial of the century in America, the 901 cases here and I am prevailing. And I can really say I had no mission that failed.