(Below is a slightly edited piece I’ve written for a blog that has gone offline for more than a year now and was posted in 2012 when I was still working for InterAksyon.com.)
Jim Libiran, director of the critically-acclaimed independent film Tribu, was contradicting himself.
“The revolution will not be posted on Facebook,” he said on Friday [April 13, 2012]. [See: Tribu, Jim Libiran]
If true, then the group of media people he brought together wouldn’t be in SM Megamall that evening in the first place.
It was Facebook—broadly speaking—that gathered them all together, including Jim. It was Facebook that prompted them to huddle inside a Mexican chicken restaurant on the ground floor of the Philippines’ third-largest mall. It was also Facebook, more or less, that prompted me to order Spanish beans that were served in a container so small I thought they were joking.
“It’s a side dish, sir,” the waitress told me when I asked why the serving was only slightly larger than a mold on a petri dish.
But I had no time to rant.
I was hungry and I needed to—broadly speaking—work.
All of us were waiting for a flash mob to take place, an action that was planned and organized on—you guessed it, smarty pants—Facebook. [See: Megamall flash mob staged vs. Baguio tree uprooting]
The action sought to raise awareness among SM Megamall shoppers and at the same time, express opposition to the company’s plan to cut down trees in its Baguio mall to make way for a parking lot.
From all appearances, the flash mob was a success—it got serious airtime on Friday after the group marched through the mall’s two buildings. [See: SM Megamall flash mob planned in two days]
However, cutting—okay, uprooting—trees is not the only reportedly questionable action that SM has undertaken.
Shortly before Gloria Macapagal Arroyo vacated the presidency in June 2010, a government water agency and SM Prime Holdings Inc., the mall developer, entered into a lease agreement.
Under that agreement, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System agreed to lease its lot along Katipunan Avenue—a prime location—for supposedly less than half of current values. [See: No refunds please, we’re Filipino Chinese]
Before President Benigno Aquino III assumed his position, SM Prime already paid a P30 million check to the MWSS, at that time headed by administrator Diosdado Allado, a lawyer and, obviously enough, Arroyo appointee.
Supposedly, the check was returned but no one at SM Prime was willing to receive it.
Now that’s something for flash mobs to chew on.
*From Credit is Good But We Need Cash Dept.
The title of this blog entry has been taken from the same title of a 1991 movie starring Woody Allen and Bette Midler. In 1994, the Philippine Collegian took off from the title of the movie and used it for a news article. “Scenes from a Maul” dealt with a strike of SM North Edsa workers that later got physical. [See: Scenes from a mall]