Connect to share and comment

Filipinos watch Obama inaugural in envy — and Twitter about it

There were no street parties for Barack Obama in the streets of Manila, although some did organize late-night television viewing with friends — “sharing wine and vittles and ‘insider’ gossip on American politics,” as one columnist wrote — to catch the Obama inaugural, which took place here at the ungodly hour of one in the morning.

Some Filipinos did stay up late to watch the event — and posted their thoughts about it on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

“The crowd at the Obama inauguration reminds me of People Power 2. Just like us Filipinos eight years ago, the Americans are now hoping f,” read an incomplete tweet by a journalist with the handle Ederic.

He was referring to the so-called People Power 2 uprising, also called Edsa 2 after the majorManila highway where it had taken place in January 2001. That revolt removed then president Joseph Estrada, who was facing corruption allegations, from office.

Ederic followed this up with another tweet: “I hope Obama doesn’t do a Gloria,” referring to present President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has been accused of corruption. Her  political opponents in the Philippine Congress have been trying to impeach Arroyo year after year since 2004 for allegedly cheating her way to victory in that year’s elections.

Another Filipino journalist, Tonyocruz, posted this tweet: “Edsa 2 anniversary today. Did you remember?”

Many Filipinos apparently did not.

 There were no celebrations to mark the anniversary on Tuesday. There was hardly any mention of it in yesterday’s or today’s papers, whose front pages were dominated either by news on Obama or on the corruption scandals and controversies that continue to bedevil the Arroyo administration.

Indeed, to many Filipinos, People Power 2 had been a travesty. Not only is Estrada out of jail after being pardoned by Arroyo — talk is rife that he is considering running for president again if he could.

Worse, former president Corazon Aquino, the country’s icon of democracy who led the movement to oust Estrada and, prior to that, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the first People Power in 1987, had publicly apologized to Estrada, saying she was wrong in helping to remove him from office.

Imelda Marcos, the dictator’s widow known as the “iron butterfly,” is still fluttering about, trying to clear her family’s name, still preaching truth and beauty, reminiscing every chance she gets about the good times she and her husband had while still in power.

“Wow. People in the U.S. are having fun,” Ederic said in another tweet about two hours before Obama took his oath. "Looks like they’re having a fiesta.”

It’s probably just me, but I thought I hinted some envy in that. 

Click here for more reaction from around the world.