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Methinks that no degree in education (even from an Ivy League institution of learning), let alone amount of opulence (well-gotten or otherwise), can make someone understand well enough what “word power” means. It takes mother wit, not a doctorate in philosophy or savings account in a bank or a collection of boxing trophies, to know what proper words to use in airing his or her thoughts about, for example, uber sensitive topics like gender and the like, as well as which highbrow words to use in lashing back at the very ones who deserve such retaliation for a damage done and unlamented.

On behalf of my fellow LGBT members, I am reasonably exasperated by Manny Pacquiao’s not so well-thought-of or intelligently crafted answer to a question regarding same-sex relationship. I’ve been too busy to view the video with the controversial interview, but the world champ and super rich athlete has been quoted as saying: “Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations? If you have male-to-male or female-to-female relationships, then people are worse than animals.”

On a personal level, though, Manny’s “supposed” abhorrent statement did not hit me too profoundly as I was reading it on Facebook posts and on various news outlets on the Internet. Although I cannot say that I’m fine with it, I can safely say that I’m the type of person who only gets hurt the most with below-the-belt comments from people who matter to me the most, for example, my loved ones. So had that been said by a family member, or a best friend, or one of my idols (Regine Velasquez, Lara Dutta, Lisa Ling, Cathy Santillan, the late Maya Angelou), for sure I would’ve been the first to eat my heart out and bleed.

But by and from Manny Pacquiao? I’m afraid that, because he’s not quite educated (in the face of his fame and wealth) or well-versed with linguistics, including in Tagalog which is not his mother tongue and in which he so confidently expressed such disapproval, he just used those words for lack of better ones.

Does he deserve the fistful of reproval thrown at him online and in the streets by the hurt hundreds of thousands?

If anything, I am sorry for him because he’s failing in this department of education and culture, although, apparently, he’s top one in sports. In a nutshell, he does not know what he’s talking about! But the damage has been done. And although he’s expressed regret and said sorry for how he blurted his opinion and our wounds may be healed in the long run, Manny has left a scar on the sensitive skin of the many.

I think the best lesson to be learned from this is that words are powerful and that we should also be able to know the difference between message and meta-message, because, more often, the latter will linger longer than the former. It’s not just the words that Manny Pacquiao used—it’s when you start to imagine yourself being compared, be it to or with, an animal that hurts.

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