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Displeasing personalities

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At Large

Displeasing personalities

Just what exactly is a “pleasing personality”? While on the surface it could mean simply a pleasant, friendly demeanor, why would it be phrased as “pleasing”?

In time, “pleasing personality,” especially when referring to a young (or youngish) woman aspiring for employment, was taken as code for not just a pretty face and alluring figure, but also for a penchant for “pleasing” others, especially superiors. And if the process of pleasing happened to involve sex, well, wasn’t that a matter of privacy between two (or more?) consenting adults?

Well, no. The rather racy implications of “pleasing personality” is one reason the term was dropped from recruitment notices, along with requirements specifying age and civil status. These, some authorities and employers’ groups ruled, made for discrimination, requiring something that applicants were not responsible for and unjustly barred them from jobs for which they were otherwise qualified.

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I thought “pleasing personality” had gone the way of the muumuu (if you have to ask, then you’re too young), until the term was resurrected in the flap over a letter signed by Assistant Communications Secretary Kissinger Reyes. In the letter, addressed to the president of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (who is Leny de Jesus) but with the salutation “To Whom it may Concern” (booboo #1), Reyes informs the recipient that the Presidential Communications Operations Office is part of a committee preparing for the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Asean.

Reyes then asks the institution to refer at least 40 volunteers to serve as ushers, with the qualifications that they should be females only, equipped with communication skills, and, yup, bearing a “pleasing personality” (booboo #2-3).

Aside from the sexism inherent in the request, the letter was also criticized by netizens for numerous grammatical mistakes and awkward idiom (booboos #4-5).

But wait, there’s more. In a statement, Reyes pinned the blame on a female staffer, saying he had not read the letter and that the staffer “basically used my digital signature” and had been reprimanded (booboo #… wait, I’ve lost count).

One wonders what the folks over at the PCOO, paid by our taxes, are smoking on the job. If a lowly staff member is able to send out a letter in behalf of her boss and to attach his “digital signature” without the official’s knowledge, what else have they been able to do in the name of the government?

Which now brings us to the question: Does the new “girlfriend” of President Duterte have a pleasing personality, too?

As gleaned from a report published in a Davao-based tabloid, Mr. Duterte, addressing the 11th Ambassador’s Tour at the SMX Convention Center in Davao, admitted that he has a “young” girlfriend. This revelation was made in the process of denying that the President had ever — or ever been tempted — to steal from the national coffers.

What does the young woman have to do with corruption? Beats me, but we should be used by now to the way the President’s mind works. He may have been speaking tongue in cheek, or making up the story of his young girlfriend, only to turn around and chide the media and the public later for being so gullible or not having a sense of humor, if not irony.

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Or he may have brought up his new, younger lover, real or fake, as a smokescreen to stop any further interrogation on corruption allegations, which have hounded him since even the campaign. Clever parry that, provided his critics buy it.

But did he have to insult his estranged wife and his current longtime companion in the process? As if to explain his having a younger lover, the President pointed out that the two were “rather old.” Meaning what — old in age, capacity, or simply novelty? His partner Honeylet is a nurse and, according to loose talk, the one who takes care of his medical needs. Is this any way to repay her faithful service? I wonder what Kitty, his teenage daughter with Honeylet, would have to say to that? After all, the girl has shown quite a sharp tongue in her social media posts—definitely not a “pleasing personality.”

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TAGS: 50th anniversary of ASEAN, At Large, Honeylet Avanceña, Inquirer Opinion, Kissinger Reyes, Kitty Duterte, Pamantasan ng Lungsod Maynila, pleasing personality, Rina Jimenez-David, Rodrigo Duterte, Veronica Duterte
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