Thursday, August 20, 2009
Public Relations in a Celebration?
As early as June of this year, the San Jose Centennial Commission is created and Mayor Romulo “Muloy” M. Festin of said municipality in Occidental Mindoro is the Chairman of the Board of Directors (BOD). Various activities were laid up until its culmination on May 15, 2010. The Commission is expected to conduct activities such as slogan and logo making contests and the much anticipated theatrical presentations, etc.
This event and celebration is important and the organizers deserves a tap on their shoulders for this selfless effort. Even psychiatrists remind us that the loss of sense of time is a symptom of personal deterioration. Cut a man off from his memories or his vision and he sinks to a depressed state. And same is true in a society, community or municipality.
Man is a “historical” being. We must recall the past not only by recording it, or by making a cultural presentation (or related activities) out of it, but by anticipating the future not only by preparing for it but by conjuring up and creating it. We are taught that history is not to be viewed as a jail to escape or as an antique to be preserved but as a dimension of reality that enlarges and illuminates the present. In a sucess-and money-oriented society such as ours, we need celebrations that are less trivial but more inspirational and posed current challenges.
Any celebration or commemoration that is only sugar-coated, superficial and has no sustainability is doomed to fail before it is started because in this kind of program or project, what is usually being sought is not public conscientization but public relations. Usually, our public and civil anniversaries and celebrations (including Fiestas or other religious celebrations) doesn’t provide an inspiration to change any social problem, concern or predicament that we are in. It does not give inspiration to fight injustice and other structural and social “sins”. It even made as a temporary social anesthesia being capitalized by the ruling few, including local politicians. It is only designed and intended to astonish and catch the public eye. No more no less.
Most of the celebrations of this sort in the past lack real verve or feeling. Yes we are enjoying because the plays, the dances, the musicals, the slogans, the markers, are all there. But under the surface of the Dionysiac carousing we feel something is missing. When we wake up the next morning, we often wonder why we bothered. And we just laced our celebration with fancy icings but vague with meaning and essence for it failed to move us to act or collectively push us to give our own life and limb for the sake of our beloved town, like what Fermin Baretto did many years ago facing foreign invaders.
To celebrate the centenary is to inspire us to act on the most pressing problem of our town. What a shame to celebrate our 100 years of being an established municipality if they did not even lift a finger to our biggest and dirtiest public mess called San Jose Public Market. Not to mention the immorality of the Small Town Lottery (STL), our mega chaotic drainage and garbage management systems, to mention a few.
But hopefully, the upcoming San Jose Centennial would bring not only gay moments but a transforming celebration as well…
(Photo by SanJoseOccidentalMindoro.com)