The price of being famous or infamous

General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

It has been reported that an Egyptian farmer in Qena province has been arrested for putting the name of the country’s military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and an army cap on his donkey, while he rode it through town.

The farmer, Omar Abul-Magd, must have known better that there is a long standing taboo against criticizing the military and parading the donkey as al-Sisi just worsened the farmer’s case as he was clearly humiliating not only Egypt’s highest ranking military officer, but also one considered to be the most powerful man in the country today.

General Sisi ousted Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on July 3 and now acts as vice prime minister and defense minister as well as army chief.

He is popular among the large segment of Egyptian society that called for Mursi’s ouster and his portrait is displayed in shop windows, in cars and on walls in the Arab world’s most populous country.

The reason why I am writing about this is because, like many Filipinos, the Egyptian farmer could have just named his donkey al-Sisi or General or Abdel, without necessarily parading the animal, and still have the satisfaction and pleasure of getting back at him by cussing or uttering profanities at the hard-headed animal, like, goddamn you General!, or fuck you Abdel!, or “putang ina mo al-Sisi ka!”

Naming pets, whatever they are, after personalities, famous or infamous, are always a silly, funny and joyful matching occasion. Somehow you expect your pets to be similar in nature or temperament with whoever your ‘idol’ is in mind at any given event.

Once, we had a dog named Gringo that grew up together with my kids in Zamboanga. It reminded me of the intrepid Gringo Honasan in his younger days. He always emerged the alpha dog even when we brought him to Cebu.

We had a monkey we christened Meldy, after Imelda Marcos. Boy, was she just like the image she was acting – showy and gibberish – especially that she was being pampered.

Lately, we had a parrot, Miriam, who started to be noisy already, mimicking all kinds of sounds. I was hoping I would finally say I found my own Santiago, but unfortunately, she flew away.

I have come across dogs that were given the names Marcos, Fabian, bin Laden, Gloria and other old notorious figures in the past.

There was even a pet pig that possessed a well formed hind legs (hams), looking from behind, that the owner called her J.Lo!

With the PDAF scam haunting us for a long time, I will not be surprised if some pets will soon be having names, like, Janet or Napoles, or Lorna, or Benhur, or Tanda, or Pogi, or Sexy, or Bong, or Jinggoy, or Johnny!

After the Zamboanga siege, I have no doubts that the name Nur, or Misuari, or Habier, or Malik will also be popular among pets.

That is the price of being famous or infamous.


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