Tuesday, May 28, 2013

FRIDAY READ: Dan Brown’s ‘gates of hell’

Read an interesting article written by one of our contributors in the magazine.
 By Churchill Aguilar

HERE’S a part of Dan Brown’s new book “Inferno” which painted a horrific picture about our capital city. He writes: “When the group settled in the city of Manila—the most densely populated city on earth—she could only gasp in horror. She had never seen poverty on this scale. For every one person Sienna fed, there were hundreds more who gazed at her with desolate eyes. Manila had six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade whose workers consisted primarily of young children… All around her she could see humanity overrun by its primal instinct for survival. When they face desperation… human beings become animals. 

“‘I’ve run through the gates of hell.’” 

 Although this is a fictitious book, it nevertheless besmirched our image in the international scene, the kind that can affect our tourism business and in turn our economy. 

Dan Brown is a world renowned writer and he is so good at what he does that he could even distort the views of the world towards the most established religion––Catholicism that is. And if something like equating Manila with the gates of hell gets through without an inch of effort from us of disproving it, then a permanent damage may just be at hand. With a thriving economy like ours as we bounce back from bad leaderships, the last thing we want is anything that will lessen the confidence of our investors in participating in our journey to progress. 

So are we going to allow such an arrogant writer to tarnish our country’s image in the name of literature with horrible implications towards our development? I say not. Good thing the MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino publicly protested on this. He writes to Dan Brown and I quote “While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis. We are displeased of how you have used Manila as a venue and source of a character’s breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity.” Funny because while I was expecting the Malacanang to be the first to react to such book or at least the Department of Tourism, it was Tolentino who stood up to protect our dignity as a nation. 

The likes of him is what we need. The likes of him is what we should all be. This is an upfront insult not only to Manila but to all of us Filipinos. Are we a nation overrun by the primal instinct of survival? Are we in desperation? Are we becoming like animals? Yes, we have traffic jam problems, yes we have sex trade problems and yes we have pollution problems, but aren’t all countries having too? True, we are a poor country, I do not deny that. But in the midst of our poverty I say we still are the most dignified of races with a very strong sense of respect for the elders. Compared to Dan Brown’s country, our kids don’t shout at our parents, we also do not have cases of children going to schools and killing their classmates. We surely have a lower rate of suicide compared to his. And by far, we are way happier than his people, in fact we are one of the happiest people on earth. We can find more smiles here in one day than in a whole year in America combined. 

 So really, where are the gates of hell now?


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