Philippines, 05 Jul 2022
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Pambansang Kamao and the Immorality of Shame

Pambansang Kamao won an electrifying and inspirational victory, not just for himself, but for each and every Pilipino, on a special night in the United States. Indeed, he has dedicated his struggles for boxing supremacy as a way to uplift his people in their struggle to improve their lives, or more harshly, to downright survive. For the Philippines. For Pilipinos all over the world. For the Pilipino who struggles to support her family as a labandera. For the bus driver who battles hopeless traffic in the smoke-filled alleys. For the petty criminal who must carry an improvised knife in the form of a rusty ice pick, in the inhumane squalors of the local, forgotten slum ? where social structures have been turned upside down. For the forgotten maid physically abused and trapped inside the high-walled gates. For the intellectual middle class striving for professional status and respect amongst global peers, and to make important remittances to ailing and aged loved ones. For the famous whose daily choices encompass the decision to embrace ? and promote ? Western culture and manners, or to remember the hunting and farming roots from whence we all came. The humility, honor, and decency it took to ride the carrabao; to catch the lively fish; to harvest corn and boil rice ? in a lifetime of work with hardened hands, and prideful brows.

It was a cumulative swelling of pride. Of wholeheartedly ripping apart and bruising ? and killing ? the bastion of indignity and sense of infirmity. Even at home, and at the homeland, foreigners held an elevated place in the eyes of its own people. Special treatment was accorded ? and expected. The economy allocated its resources on prioritized tourism; the presidential suites inaccessible and unaffordable for more than 99% of its people. The unofficial license to affiliate with underage girls. The Philippines? children grew up looking up to heroes and models ? of other lands. Fat, old, or ugly, their passports were a ticket away from a hopeless, inopportune life. There were chances for a better life elsewhere. There were chances of unfortunate abuse, or ill fortune ? of horror stories. Local circumstances dictated that it was worth the risk. The statistics on mass migration validates. Even during the days of World War II, President Manuel Quezon attempted to uphold his stature as a statesman, and as a leader of his proud people ? enduring the scathing eyes of wealthy foreigners and socialites. Nothing more than monkeys, from the jungle, who ate dogs. Their lives were expendable. Were they human? Or did they swing from trees? Propaganda and comical cartoons from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries validate.

Aspiring actors and actresses strove to manufacture light skin, pointed noses, blonde hair, by way of powder, surgery, and tint. It hid the essence of what Lapu-Lapu was. Proud and unbending in honest sweat, brown, roots, and local pride. What might have been an attack on a foreign boxer gave the Pilipino a temporary view of what happened in the past ? a time warp ? as Emilio Aguinaldo held his ground against invading forces. Death before dishonor. Nationalism etched on paper with sacred blood. Foreign dignitaries pronounced a writer who was shot by firing squad as the official national hero. Not by the Pilipino?s choice. No sense of Manifest Destiny. But Perpetual Influence. The nationalists gave way to superior arms and forces.

Pambansang Kamao: his actions are the struggle. The fistic attacks on pugilists partially paid back the degraded decorum after Japanese tortures and treatment of the local women. The physical manifestation cured some of the lingering ails of spiritual and consciousness? and the soul?s demoralization. The release has cracked walls into the illusion that the Pilipino is an inferior race, subjugated, and destined for eternal abuse or squalor. Most live below the poverty line. Too many cannot eat. The shopping malls are filled with strollers with barely any cash; window shopping as the daydreaming for a better life.

On May 2nd, many Pilipino-Americans forgot that Pambansang Kamao came from the aforementioned. May 2nd was a public victory. For each punch that landed, represented a day in which Pambansang Kamao was a nobody. The same who would have earned ? and did earn ? the scornful insults of many. The boy often struggled to eat one bowl of rice in a day. The boy used to scrape rust off scrap metal with a stick. That was and is Pambansang Kamao. The adulation came after the forgotten struggles that no one will ever know or find out about. Private victories must occur before public ones.

There is an unfortunate tendency to not ?rock the boat.? To stay within the bandwidth. To be average, and mirror one?s social circle of relatives and friends. Success became a root cause for shyness, of being teased by others. Pilipinos became afraid to stand out from the crowd; afraid to strive for the stars, to give it everything they have; afraid of becoming an outcast due to accomplishments. They look up to a statue and are reminded that the national writer-hero was killed by Spaniards. If you are successful, you?ll be shot. You?ll be killed. Being heroic is tragic.

In an age of capitalism and a globalized marketplace, the value of one?s worth and sense of worth is tragically associated with one?s wages or net worth. Gone is the intrinsic value of a human being, a making of the divine ether, of the profound universe. The marketplace makes him nothing but a tradable and replaceable commodity. The farming roots instilled a sense of worth and pride, by default. The Pilipino has to be worthy.

Pambansang Kamao is revealing an alternative awareness. The blue pill that wakes Neo up and achieve ?enlightenment? on the harsh realities of the real world. A 16 year old George Washington transcribed: ?A Man ought not to value himself of his Achievements, or rare Qualities of wit; much less of his riches Virtue or Kindred.? Shame is an immorality. Harboring it forces the shackles on one?s conscience and the conscience of one?s loved ones. Shame has gripped too many. The celestial fire that Pambansang Kamao strikes in the heart of the Pilipino is a freedom from centuries? lessons of imposed limitations. Human potentiality was not only unexplored, but unaware of itself. As more embrace the daring and cross the threshold of what might be possible ? beyond the frontier ? shame diminishes into the dismal and foul abyss that has dirtied too many minds. Pambansang Kamao reminds that the world?s true treasures ? in humanism ? lies not in the sands of the Middle East; not in the gold mines of South Africa; not in the skyscrapers of New York; not in the art galleries of Le Louvre. But in the cemeteries scattered throughout the Philippines. Businesses were never started, because someone feared risk-taking. Movies were never created because an aspiring actress was ashamed of being too successful within her social circle. A basketball career was cut short because a player was afraid of criticisms. Painting masterpieces never painted due to a bad review from a cynical critique. They assumed the Maker made a mistake when He planted these desires in their heart. These would-be manifestations died in their graves.

Pambansang Kamao made it because he had to. The fate of countrymen rested on it. In an interview, ?I struggle for all of our countrymen. That we can keep our head up high. That we walk not in shame.?

Marv Dumon is a mid-market investment banker conveying operational experience with three public companies. He is also a business and finance columnist for Forbes. Marv received his BA, BBA, and MPA degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact information at You may visit his blogsite at

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Marv Dumon.

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