‘MONEY (THAT’S WHAT I WANT)’ The Lessons of Being Candid

By | February 2, 2017

“It is better that the truth be known than that scandal be covered up.” – St. Augustine

TORONTO – The feeling must be exhilarating. It is as if power radiates from one’s fingertips. Wait out, then sue at the opportune time and collect the rewards. Sue again and silence the lambs.

This situation is actually happening in the Filipino community. I personally know people who sue other people for principle; others for the money, or for the prospect of making money. Still others do to stifle dissent.

The first category deserves respect. The second and third are worthy of condemnation and disdain.

Small Claims Court is a favorite venue. Monetary claims against a person or entity are capped by law at $25,000, quite a princely sum for someone like me.

I remember how an official of a community organization was financially punished for her courage and honesty in stating how helpless she was in trying to make a clean slate of the association she was turning over to a new leader.

She had asked, and repeatedly snubbed, by a former colleague who was managing the affairs of the most-profitable cottage industry in the Filipino community anywhere – the beauty pageants. Beauty contests thrive, for example in Toronto, for a variety of reasons.

Many of our young women, or in some cases their parents, are so obsessed with how they look with sash across their bodies and crown on top of their heads that proclaim them “queens”. Except these “queens” have no dominions, no true realms but for the limited space of the organization they represent.

Still, being “queen” gives them the false sense of being above the rest of the inhabitants of their illusionary kingdoms. What we have are actually fiefdoms formed and shaped by whoever leads it.

These “fiefdoms” follow an annual routine of recruitment to restock their aging stables. To entice parents and their young, organizers propagate the lie that by joining the contest, they’ll be helping the less-fortunate in some far-flung areas of the world.

This may be true; it may likely be a total lie. Who’s going to know when the location of the poor recipients is concealed just like the amount supposedly handed out to them?

But there are suckers, and they just let it pass for the promised sash and crown.

Once winter is over, a storm of beauty pageants will again blow in the community. That has been my experience since coming to Toronto six years ago.

I wonder why the leadership of some community organizations, which are actually adept at fundraising schemes, doesn’t change hands. If they do, the one up front is usually a marionette manipulated by someone else.

There are many examples – charities that are not real charities, foundations that are foundations in name only supposedly driven by benevolence and almsgiving, associations named after our heroes, etc. Very few exceptions exist, however, and their goals are beyond doubt.

One might ask: where are they getting all these funds knowing their pockets are just as shallow as ours? How can they manage to grant handouts year after year after year when they lead a life of questionable integrity?

It’s risky to pose these questions to the individuals and organizations. Not only would you be ignored, you might even be hailed to court. You could end up paying damages which would replenish their finances. Fundraising for personal gain it might as well be.

There is a lesson to be learned from actual events that already took place sometime ago. To everyone’s utter surprise, the community official I mentioned earlier has been ordered to cough up money to pay damages she’s alleged to have inflicted on the other person’s reputation. What reputation?

For all we know, and for all that posturing as a community organizer, the person is a crook. Beneath the veneer of concern is a cunning racketeer placed on a pedestal by her enablers.

The community official was just being truthful in vocalizing her difficulties leading an organization. Expressing them, she found out later, had been a costly affair for her finances though her standing as a respected leader remains intact.

Haven’t you asked this question: What’s there in these beauty pageants that’s so attractive to some individuals and organizations other than giving organizers the platform and appearance of legitimacy?

If I may venture an answer . . . for prospective titlists, it’s the sash and crown and the status that go with them. For the organizers, well, it’s the money . . . hard currency that flows so easily from the gullible.

Reminds me of The Beatles’ “Money (That What I Want)”.****#