Understanding the SONA

Hot Manila - by Alan Robles

Posted at Jul 28 2014 12:26 PM | Updated as of Jul 28 2014 11:59 PM

Today is a very important day. It's that time of the year when the President goes over to Congress and, in a moving ceremony, pounds a large native drum and officially proclaims the start of the pork hunting season.

Just kidding. Actually, SONA -- State of the Nation Address -- is a political event that directly affects the lives of overwhelming numbers of politicians, reporters, columnists, furrowed-brow TV commentators, spin doctors and coup plotters. A couple thousand people, tops. The rest of the country couldn't care less, except motorists cursing the traffic jam near Congress.

But because it's right there on all the TV and radio channels, we may as well try to understand it. So we have prepared this easy to understand, well-organized definitive guide.

The Parts of the SONA

Inside Congress, you have....

The President - some guy who delivers the speech. Scientists suspect it isn't healthy to be near him. A few SONAs ago, he was with a Supreme Court chief justice and a Senate president -- who haven't been heard from since.

The Speech -- a masterpiece of enthralling oratory telling everyone what a great time they've been having under this administration. Some listeners hope for surprise announcements, such as the lucky winner of a slightly used condo formerly occupied by an ex-chief justice. Unfortunately this has yet to happen.

The Audience - this largely consists of members of Congress and the Senate who haven't been arrested yet.

Diplomats - part of the audience, some are waiting for declarations of war. There haven't been any so far but who knows, this might be the year? Diplomats had it easier in SONAs under other presidents, who spoke in an understandable language (English) but this SONA will probably be in the national language - what was that again? - so diplomats will have to pay interpreters out of the embassy's pub-crawl fund.

Clapping - applause by members of Congress who evaluate the SONA based on their secret pork-o-meters. We've always wondered why nobody has thought of adding a laugh track.

Fashion show - members of Congress thoughtfully showing how they've invested the taxpayers' money in tasteful and expensive clothing

Meanwhile, outside Congress, you have:

Howling mob - these are multisectoral groups, spanning the broad political spectrum from the extreme Left to the radical Left, baying for the President's blood, burning effigies and issuing ritual calls for the overthrow of the government. It's nothing personal: they always turn up and call for the overthrow of any government

Water cannon - a very important part of the SONA, usually turned on when the president is speaking. Nobody has yet thought of using it INSIDE congress, which we think would make for great TV, especially if it were directed at the Marcoses.

Participants in SONA wear colors, to indicate their stands, as follows

Yellow ribbon - loves the president

Peach ribbon - hates the president

Red armband - loves the country, hates the president

Green ribbon - loves someone who didn't become president

Gauze bandage - injured protester

Scotch tape - idiot protester

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