Crass act

    A SURFEIT of world-classiness this Monday.

    At the send-off rites for the Philippines AirAsia’s Clark-Kalibo maiden flight, world-class referenced, casually, to the yet-to-groundbreak Aeroports de Parisdesigned terminal.

    At the signing ceremonies of the NLEx Corp.- Pampanga’s Best naming rights agreement, a liberal dousing of world class virtually at each mention of the partnering tocino-conlongganisa company and the country’s premier road-builder cum keeper.

    Yay, one can only take so much honorifics, aye, superlatives, in a day. Or face attacks of nausea.

    For an antidote, I thought about writing about the phrasal compliment of the day. Only to find out that, indeed, I have already done one titled – what else? – World class in December 2014, thus:

    IT WAS the fourth-place finish of the Honorable Oscar Samson Rodriguez in the 2004 World Mayor Prize that initiated into the local consciousness the title “world class.”

    The sheen of such global feat of excellence naturally reflecting on the City of San Fernando, thence dubbed world-class city. And everything therein soon upsized to the over-the-top label.

    The pedestrian overpass along the once Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Road, now Jose Abad Santos Avenue, made of steel, fiberglass and plastic and not of the usual concrete and cinder blocks, hailed as worldclass.

    The city transport terminal, also along JASA, tagged world-class at the time of the Rodriguez mayorship, now sadly fallen into noclass disuse.

    The performances staged by the city theatre and choral groups, world-class, in the equally world-class mini-amphitheatre of the worldclass Heroes Hall.

    The Giant Lantern Festival that draws in thousands of tourists, mostly domestic, annually to the city – world-class. Ditto the Good Friday actual crucifixion rites in Barangay San Pedro Cutud.

    To be fair, the propensity for world-class tagging is not exclusive to the City of San Fernando.

    The North Luzon Expressway was instantly tagged world-class highway after the Manny V. Pangilinan Group acquired its operations. Aye, it followed, rather preceded, that the man is one world-class businessman.

    To the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway is appended a world-class status too.

    The roundabout currently under construction at the junction of the MacArthur Highway and Manuel Roxas Highway going to the Clark Freeport is world-class, if only due to its primary purpose of facilitating transport of delegates to the APEC meetings in January 2015.

    Would you believe, the Clark International Airport’s tiny terminal had been hailed worldclass too? This, after some obscure foreign magazine tagged the CIA as the “world’s best airport in a special eco-zone.”

    Within the first two years of his return to the mayorship of Angeles City, the Honorable Edgardo Pamintuan landed eighth in the 2012 World Mayor Prize, fittingly earning accolades as world-class mayor.

    Thankfully, as rightly, subsequent programs, projects and activities in Angeles City were not automatically labeled “world-class.”

    Just about the only thing tagged world-class in the city – and for the longest time now – is Fields Avenue. And the tagging comes not from home but from abroad, which makes it really authentic. “Original,” as the ace reporter Joey Pavia is wont to say.

    Yeah, right. Fields Avenue is world-class – in notoriety. Hit Fields Avenue in the web and find another, but as correct a meaning to worldclass.

    Which makes us now really consider how world-class is defined: “ranking among the foremost in the world; of an international standard of excellence; of the highest order; great, as in importance, concern, or notoriety.”

    Rodriguez and Pamintuan, having been not only nominated and voted upon but appraised by some panel of judges prior to their being awarded runner-up finishes to the World Mayor Prize, are correctly considered as world-class. (Damn ye who smear their feat claiming it was trolling that did it).

    All the others, not even debatable, outright disagreeable.

    The odiousness of comparisons readily damn the NLEx and SCTEx vis-à-vis thoroughfares of Singapore and Malaysia. And we’re looking only around Southeast Asia here.

    Just wait for the completion of the elevator equipped pedestrian overpass fronting Systems Plus school in Balibago and laugh at the worldclass pretensions of its JASA counterpart. Sneer and snicker all the more with the escalator fitted pedestrian overpasses in some cities of Asia, Europe and America.

    World class performing talents, concededly, we have – in Lea Salonga. But not out of CSFP.

    How compare for world-classiness San Fernando’s Giant Lantern Fest with, say Rio’s Carnival, Bunol’s La Tomatina, Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, Harbin Ice and Snow fest in China, Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year, not to include India’s Holi festival?

    World-class has been loosely used, indeed misused and abused, hereabouts.

    So, am I saying that it be totally stricken off the local lexicon?

    No. Only that it be qualified to be properly contextualized, as in third-world class…

    COME TO think of it: It takes but a single letter for class to crash to crass.


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