Manolo: “The [New York] Post reported that the President spent a cool $20,000 on a dinner at Le Cirque. The bill bloat seems to have come from several bottles of wine. The restaurant says its wine ranges from $28 to $12,000. The news item got top billing on Grub Street (in contrast to the American First Lady taking her kids out for burgers)... A Palace reporter tells me the guest list comprised almost 30 individuals: a party composed of lawmakers (plus staff and spouses), a number of cabinet officials, the President’s own people plus US-based allies (FILUSA and its leader) to commemorate the 41st wedding anniversary of the President and her husband.”
Ellen: “At the exchange rate of P47.75 to a dollar, the Le Cirque dinner of Gloria Arroyo and her friends cost the Filipino people P954,000 or almost P1 million. Le Cirque is French restaurant in Manhattan where as the Italian owner boasts, 'the worlds of food, fashion, art and culture converge...' As the New York Post said, it was the wine that accounted for the scandalous cost of a dinner of Arroyo and her friends.”
How nice. In her own country, President Arroyo flashes the finger at an impoverished artistic community with her sham of a National Artist Awards.
(Oo, impoverished. Who do you think is more well-off, the struggling theater artist with his meager pay, backbreaking work hours and triple daily raket, or Carlo Caparas with his cushy, lucrative contracts with the TV networks? Who's wallowing in luxury--the unknown writers, performers, visual artists, cultural workers who devote entire unrecognized lifetimes to preserving this country's heritage, or the pampered stars, starlets, directors, producers, talent handlers and network executives who get ostentatiously rich by pretending to be “maka-masa?” Caparas may have been poor once; he has left that behind long ago. To once more use the masses this way, as a prop for a cynical class-based argument that conveniently obscures the real issue behind his anomalous appointment, is cheap and callous to the core. “Champion of the masa,” my ass.)
To repeat: President Arroyo flashes the ultimate “Up yours!” at the country's artists. Then she jets off to New York to dine in regal style at a chi-chi restaurant where “food, fashion, art and culture converge.”
I won't mince words this time. Screw you, Gloria. And screw you, Anonymous.