Frisco Del Rosario (frdelrosario) wrote,
Frisco Del Rosario

I watched a video about cockfighting in the Philippines.

I watched this video about cockfighting in the Philippines.

A Filipino filmmaker related the lives of Filipino men to those of gamecocks — on the edge of poverty, the men fight for money, land, women, beliefs. Like gamecocks, they live short lives: day to day, peck to scratch.

Impoverished Filipino men and gamecocks' lives intersect in the cockfighting pits, the gambling at which is a billion-dollar industry in the Philippines.

Filipinos will bet on any damn thing. They'll bet on sensible things — like businesses in neighborhoods that need them — and irrational things — like casino games of independent trials. My dad did both — unfortunately, he did a lot more of the second.

The lure of money won — more desirable than money earned — draws Filipinos like fish, especially in their climate where it's hard to earn it. I'll tell you two stories of racial stereotyping:

1) A Chinese fellow told me and another Chinese fellow that Chinese were the craziest gambling people anywhere, anytime, anyhow. I said: "Filipinos kick their asses." And before the first guy could start arguing his case, the other Chinese guy says: "He's right."

2) Chess master Rudy Hernandez — I liked that slick-dressed pinoy chess master, who used to tell me before our games: "Let's go fast. I have a date later." I approached Rudy and two other friends: Tom Dorsch and Jim Eade, also chess masters, couple of great white guys. Rudy was animated and laughing, slapping his thigh with his story about a gambler friend. I join the conversation with fake disbelief: "A Filipino who likes to gamble? No shit?".

I still love this as one of my all-time good lines. Jim and Tom cracked up at a well-timed bit of fake irony, and because we're all digging how much Rudy is into this story that you could tell about any of us. I'm a big-time gambler, right? I documented every season of WNBA handicapping, winning every year (too little to make up for unpleasantly altering the way I watched basketball games).

Back to the topic of Filipinos betting billions of dollars on cockfighting: Doesn't surprise me a bit that we'd gamble so heavily on birds like white guys gamble on ponies. It's government-approved free money *and* watching sports.

What does surprise me is that among the non-diseased bettors, some of them must really dig the cockfighting action, like white guys dig football. Maybe it's like the childhood urge you get to put two bugs in a jar, but never growing out of it.

Here's how I found the video in the first place: I learned tonight that I've always been wrong about the meaning of the University of South Carolina mascots, the Gamecocks. I always thought a gamecock was something you shot for food, like a game hen (so I also learned that "game hen" is just a kind of chicken), and why would you want to name your teams prey instead of predator? So I Googled that, and learned that the term "gamecocks" refers to those congenitally vicious roosters.

Watching the video, I thought "wow, the real meaning of gamecock is even ickier than my misconception — why would you name your team *this*?".
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.