Manny's new ride

- Dong Magsajo () - October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Over the weekend, as the Filipino Flash Nonito Donaire was pounding on a listless Omar Narvaez en route to defending his WBC and WBO bantamweight titles, word leaked out that another boxing superstar from the Philippines had made quite a handsome purchase. After struggling through what was essentially a complete waste of time (calling that Narvaez guy a “fighter” is the biggest oxymoron ever), I decided I’d make better use of my time by trying to research about Manny Pacquiao’s supposed new ride – a $225,000 supercar.

Turns out the rumors were true. Manny Pacquiao has indeed added another stunner to his already growing collection of awesome cars. This one, however, is reportedly going to stay in his Los Angeles abode, at least for the foreseeable future. What was the car he bought for the insane amount of money he spent? Nothing less than a Ferrari 458 Italia.

For the benefit of the uninformed, the Ferrari 458 Italia is no entry-level ho-hum pretentious poser. The model is quite new, having been unveiled just two years ago at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. And it’s no slouch. The Ferrari 458 Italia is a 4.5-liter V8 beast which boasts of 560 horses and a whopping 540Nm of torque. It features a 7-speed dual clutch transmission that helps propel it from zero to a hundred in about 3.4 seconds. It has a top speed of 325 km/h, and it is considered by many as perhaps the best road car Ferrari has ever made.

“This car, I feel, is the best Ferrari ever made. In fact, it’s better than anything I’ve ever driven in my entire life. It’s not just the power, it’s not just the drop dead gorgeous looks, it’s the incredible technology and attention to detail,” C! Magazine publisher and occasional STAR contributor Kevin Limjoco once said after driving the 458 Italia in Spain.

So, amidst all the brouhaha surrounding our President’s purchase of a used Porsche 911, how does the purchase of this eye-popping stunner stand in the eyes of the casual beholder? I’ll go out on a limb here and say that it won’t receive half of the talk – much less criticism – that PNoy’s Porsche received. Why so? Because everyone and his mother knows that Manny Pacquiao, our rags to riches hero, is spending money he worked hard for and earned right before our very eyes. And as a result, despite the fact that he is a member of Congress, the perception is that he has no obligation whatsoever to feign sensitivity for his Filipino brethren – many of who can barely even afford any means of transportation.

Do I hear the word “unfair” being whispered in the background? Most certainly. But such is life. In the Philippines, society and its “public judicial system” are cruel and biased. A President, born to a traditionally wealthy family, is expected to temper his materialistic urges – especially because his family name connotes “honesty and integrity”. Meanwhile, a hometown hero who rose from the ranks and who had come from a life of poverty is more than allowed to enjoy the fruits of his labor. In fact, even when his wife dangles a designer bag as loot for information on his alleged infidelities, the news is regarded as “entertainment” and not in any way questioned in moral debates. (If a general’s wife had done the same thing, we’d have a full-blown Senate inquiry faster than anyone can say “Hermes“.)

What does this bias say about the Filipino psyche and his perception of all things material (supercars included)? It’s that we take everything of materialistic “value” and use it as a means to measure morality – but only for those we inherently mistrust. Sad but true.

This much I’ll say… I do believe that Manny Pacquiao deserves to enjoy every little centavo of his hard earned money. By all means, MP, milk that Ferrari for every last bit of horsepower that it’s worth (But please do it with proper driver training and in a safe, controlled track). I’m sure that in the eyes of many, you are the first Filipino truly worthy of owning such a supercar. So do not mind the chattering around you. But please do us all a favor and also be the first to recognize and acknowledge that it is not just you who deserves his loot.

Once upon a time, each grown man was a little boy. Once upon a time, we all dreamed we’d be driving fantastic automobiles. Some of us have found ways to live out our dreams and earn the money to make them reality – whether via a life publicly led like Manny’s, or via wealth poured down through generations like PNoy’s, or even via shady means like some politicians may have. But before we crucify anyone, let’s live out our democratic systems the way we all ought to. We are all innocent until proven guilty. Let’s not begin to ostracize people just because they drive cars that are better than ours. For all you know, just like Manny, your next door neighbor earned it the hard way. Rich or poor, before making any decision about the morality of anyone, let’s properly inform ourselves. And in the meantime, why don’t we give crab mentality a collective middle finger?

If anything, Manny’s new ride ought to serve the one single purpose it has stood for since he purchased it. If a once small and insignificant man can work hard at his craft to become the best in the world at what he does, what’s to stop any Filipino from doing the same? You want your own Ferrari? Try to be like Manny. He literally fought for his. He didn’t bother to criticize those who had theirs before he did. The moral of the story of Manny’s Ferrari: Go for what you deserve. Making the most out of your talents – and then getting your just rewards – is the highest form of respect and appreciation that you can show for what God has given you.

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