Senator Santiago launches her ‘Stupid…’ book, thanks Filipinos who inspired her
“I would like to thank all the millions of stupid people in the Philippines because they inspired this book,” Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Wednesday said to wild cheers from an audience of mostly young people.
The event was the launch in a Quezon City bookstore of Santiago’s book, “Stupid is Forever,” a collection of the senator’s witty one-liners that she delivers ahead of her speeches on otherwise serious topics such as the pork barrel, Vice President Jejomar Binay and governance.
Santiago, who has been fighting lung cancer since June on top of chronic fatigue syndrome, spoke only briefly to the crowd at National Bookstore inside TriNoma mall.
But she stayed long enough to pose for group pictures and selfies with more than 200 buyers of her presigned book.
“As I said I will not speak long because I will pretend that I was not introduced as the President of the Philippines in 2016,” she quipped, again to cheers and applause.
Her collection of jokes and pickup lines is yet a rare addition to the several books that Santiago has written on law, politics and the social sciences and a couple of autobiographies.
Speaking to reporters after the book launch, the senator joked that she would write next about morons, saying “there’s a difference.”
Asked about her three pet peeves, she curtly said: “Just one: the Senate.”
“Hi, sexy,” she blurted out when asked for a greeting for Pope Francis who is visiting the country in mid-January, laughing at her own answer.
The 132-page book, published by ABS-CBN Publishing, is a second, enlarged edition of The Miriam Dictionary, also a collection of witty one-liners that was “well-received” in the 1992 presidential election, Santiago said.
“This work is premised on my firm belief that despite what the Bible implies, God definitely has a sense of humor,” she said in the foreword.
Samples: “Politicians never get lost in thought because it’s unfamiliar territory.”
“Most people live and learn. Politicians just live.”
Of her enemy, she wrote: “Googling him yielded no results.”
And more: “You’re the reason God created the middle finger.”
“In Philippine politics, I know many men and women who are able to rise above principles.”
No prominent personality or politician, including senators, turned up at the book launch.
Santiago said she wrote the book because of the “decided lack of humor” in discourses on politics and economy.
“Everything seems to be taken so seriously. At the very same time, we don’t get to the crux of the matter. Sometimes a joke is much better than a punchline because it illumines the situation, it gives you a world view of the situation taking place in our country today,” she told reporters.
“I think if we laugh more and took ourselves so seriously less, the public debate would be much better for our insights,” she added.
Long line of buyers
The senator was heartened by the long line of buyers that snaked from outside the bookstore to her table, saying this was proof that Filipinos tended to prefer jokes, than lectures and speeches.
“We have our own sense of humor,” she said. “In our indigenous way of using humor, we can see the situation better.”
In fact, some of her jokes have become so familiar with youngsters.
To test the crowd at the start of the program, the emcee asked: “What’s the plural form of iced tea?” Some hollered the answer: “Bottomless.”
Yes and no
Would the huge turnout of buyers prod her to take another crack at the presidency in 2016?
The senator turned serious, and said: “Yes and no.”
“Yes, because that shows I have popular support. No, in a way, because I’m fully aware of the responsibilities that I will assume. People seem to have very high expectations of me, it frightens even me,” she said.
“I’m going to think about it. First of all, I have to get rid of the last few vestiges of cancer. I’m in remission, as they say. The cancer is no longer in its original strong state; it’s now in a very weak state, and I’m very stable now. But still, I have to be in the best of health if I’m going to be President of the Philippines because there are so many things that need to be done simultaneously,” she added.
Otherwise, as she loves to tell her audience, “In a corrupt country, if you want to succeed in politics, you must keep your conscience under control.”
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