Christopher Lao: A flood of mean, vicious online insult
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Christopher Lao: A flood of mean, vicious online insult

Christopher Lao has become the latest online sensation in the Philippines. And for all the wrong reasons.

The news report  below shows a car practically diving into the water. It turns out that this was in Mother Ignacia Avenue, in Quezon City, that was  flooded this week because of the typhoons, storms and heavy rains that benighted my country.

Based on what I see in the video, Lao apparently took a gamble when he decided to go straight and wade his car into the water. After all, it would seem to me that he had no way of knowing how deep the flood water was because 1) there were no other cars in sight, 2) there was no road block or sign to warn him  and 3) nobody, as he later exclaimed in the report, informed him that the floodwater was deep enough for his car to actually float.

However, the ridicule Lao has been subjected to since the airing of the report has less to do with the fact that he dived into floodwater and damaged his car. It has more to do with his comments in reply, it would seem, to the question of the GMA News reporter.

When he cried “Why me?” and “Nobody informed me!”, he sounded like a spoiled brat and an idiot who probably forgot that he was living in a third world country. Hence, the barrage of disparaging comments online, with somebody even putting up a hate page on Facebook.

But, again, his comments were in reply to the reporter’s question. I am curious now what the reporter asked him and how the question was asked.

I think GMA News mishandled the report on Lao. It should have stopped at showing Lao’s car floating, just to emphasize the severity of the flood. It should have cut out his comments that made him look like an idiot.

We make mistakes all the  time. Unfortunately for Lao, when he made his, a GMA News crew was on the other side ready to ambush him about his embarrassing miscalculation.

If you ask me, GMA News should produce another report on Lao, this time castigating the online community for being harsh on him and for being a bunch of juveniles and, this time, put in context his mistake. For instance, his friends in the UP community are now saying that he was rushing home to his three-year-old daughter because his wife was stuck in her office due to the storm.

It’s outrageous enough that we have a government that is so inept it cannot even block flooded streets, let alone put in place a functioning sewerage system. It makes me even angrier that we victimize citizens like Lao twice over.

(Disclosure: I work at the online news portal of News5, a competitor of GMA News.)