If Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino is again on a warpath against American blockbuster author Dan Brown and his latest book, “Inferno”, he is just trying to be true to himself.
In the same way that he also expressed his indignation when Brown published his best selling book, “The Da Vinci Code”, in 2006, joining the Catholic Church in its outrage over portrayals in the book, which the Catholic Church found offensive and irreverent, Tolentino has again showed his displeasure and chastised the author for describing Manila in the new book as “the gates of hell.”
This was apparently alluding to a female character in the book visiting Manila and was so aghast by the squalor of the place made worst by pollution, crime, human trafficking and the prostitution of children.
“I’ve run through the gates of hell,” the character says after her experiences in Manila, where she herself suffered the horror of being raped in the story.
If Tolentino wasn’t the head of MMDA would he have made a big brouhaha about Brown and his new and sure-to-be blockbuster of a book?
Since it talked about the pathetic social condition of Manila, could it be that Tolentino’s bloated ego had been pricked?
I find Tolentino competent in his job and I highly respect his savvy, but this is no reason to be onion-skinned and getting piqued at something that is true, but unpleasant to the ears.
Would Brown has to be invited still to come if only to disprove that the researches he made about the rueful state Metro Manila is in were full of holes?
Like in any big metropolis there are always the pleasant sites and sights and the unpleasant scenes. This is a reality and it so happen that while the book is fiction, part of the story revolves around Manila, where partly the sights, sounds and scenes described are undeniably true.
The book is simply calling a spade a spade and definitely nowhere near the “entry to heaven” as Tolentino fantasizes calling Manila.
Negating what has been said and portrayed in the book about us is not going to get us anywhere.
It is time for our politicians and leaders to act about the negative pictures painted about us and our country, whether in this book or in other venues.
It is a challenge for them as much as it is a challenge for the ordinary citizens.
This is the reason why we urge people to elect the competent, the honest, the educated and the selfless candidates to run our country and make our laws.
These are the kind of leaders we need, endowed with political will, because we can be sure that that they have what it takes to make a difference in the quality of lives of people despite contrary arguments espoused by the Catholic Church.