The world didn't end after all. No, really, it didn't. Trust me: even if you didn't get an iPhone 5 for Christmas, that doesn't count as the end of the world.
Anyway, what I'm referring to is the prophecy that on December 21, the planet would be overtaken by apocalypse or cataclysm (probably depending on whichever got here first, unless the order was alphabetical). It was a prediction based on sound scientific principles, namely a datebook app beta released by a Mayan tribe centuries ago, backed by solid research in the shape of a Hollywood movie. How could anyone doubt its accuracy?
What do you know, when the date came along apocalypse did not appear. Perhaps it was stuck in Christmas shopping traffic, or was unable to get a cab. You'd think the least it could have done would have been to send a text message. As it was, doomsday passed unremarked, except possibly by foreigners spending their first Christmas in the Philippines. On December 21 they might have been jolted awake by horrifying sounds indicating the world was violently collapsing in a rending crash of unearthly howling. But that was just the neighbor on the karaoke.
There are reports that some actually took the prediction seriously enough to build shelters or move to what they imagined were safe, apocalypse-proof locations ("with extra gutter seals!") and, conceivably, draw up final, end of the world to-do lists. Top of mine would have been: "(1) Buy shotgun. (2) Look for neighbor's karaoke."
The truth is, there's no lack of people willing to delude themselves about imminent end times and Armageddon, just as there's no lack of Filipinos willing to delude themselves about their singing abilities to the extent that they feel everyone in the barangay and outskirts of the National Capital Region should hear them, and so, late at night, set the volume on their speakers to "homicidal".
At any rate, those who are partial to stories of eschatology -- a fancy religious word meaning "snail doom" -- can cheer up, or cheer down as the case might be, because the good (or bad) news is that there are plenty more signs of impending collapse and annihilation.
Just look at the stories over the past two weeks: North Korea now has a long-range ballistic missile capability, the world is warming up much faster than scientists predicted, and Americans are frantically stocking up on assault rifles and ammunition, maybe because they make such great Valentine's giveaways, who knows.
Why, no less a serious person than the Pope himself has articulated his somber vision of civilization's impending collapse and ruination. Naturally, he would make make sure to do this during his annual Christmas and peace messages, that's Catholicism for you.
According to the Pope, world peace is now threatened by......North Korea? Global warming? Religious extremism? Nope. By homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia. Apparently, these three holy terrors will bring about so much insecurity, unrest and international tension that countries will start invading each other and it will be a global conflagration before you know it.
That means we can soon expect thriller writers to churn out novels about the ultimate nightmare scenario: North Korean ballistic missiles tipped with gay marriage warheads. If the writer is American, the missiles will be aimed at US gun shops.
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised about the Vatican's view of what constitutes apocalypse, given how the Church here has resisted the Reproductive Health law and now vows to bitterly fight against any divorce bill. It seems to be part and parcel of the bishop hierarchy's view of the Church as a sacred institution which worships the three who are one and the one who is three, all of whom apparently hate gay marriage.
What I think is that Filipinos will have a problem dealing with Armageddon should it suddenly come. You see, we are so used to typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, mudslides, garbageslides, floods, volcanic eruptions, lahar flows, drought, brownouts, shipwrecks, water shortages and toxic noise and sound pollution that we'd have a hard time telling if it was the end of the world or just another day in the Philippines. We'd really need to have other means of knowing that the end times are happening, some portents that will indicate something is seriously, cosmically, wrong. Here are a few suggestions:
For Filipino bishops: RH bill is passed, divorce bill is pending, no more free SUVs, politicians stop dropping by for blessings.
For Filipino politicians: pork barrel dries up, all posters with their faces on it suddenly vanish.
For Filipinos in general: politicians become honest, taxi drivers accept rides without question
And who knows, maybe some Filipino madman super villain will do his share about making doomsday a reality and build the ultimate weapon: a missile tipped with a karaoke machine. For extra terror, he could strap my neighbor to the rocket.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.
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