Because we all deserve to be informed


Schadenfreude is defined by Merriam-Webster as enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.

This is probably what Christopher Lao suspected of the bystanders and a TV news reporter, upon whom he unleashed a torrent of blame after his car was pushed on to dry land. He’s the dude who, in an act that baffled everyone who witnessed it live and on YouTube, bravely drove his car into what appeared to be waist-high floods during the last rains.

He must have really wanted to go wherever he needed to go and had a lapse in judgment, which he could have simply admitted. But what should be a simple news item transformed into a practical joke, which now justifies  Lao’s asking, “Bakit ako?” (Why me?) as his Nissan failed to transform into a metal raft.

He is trending worldwide on Twitter, and somebody even made a fan page for him on Facebook, which has over 30,000 likes as of press time.

As our actions necessarily stir up reactions from others,  Chris’ action drew comments from over 20,000 people who thought it funny, an epic fail.

But it isn’t so much this misfortune that got everyone talking about Christopher. It’s the things he said as soon as he got out of his flood-soaked car that made him the online sensation he now is.

However, whether or not to like the social media pages created to diss a flood victim online requires a lot of thinking before you click, because this clearly shows how prone social media is to abuse by some netizens who think they have the freedom to bash a person they hardly know, effectively making a group of cyber bullies out of them.

Christopher could have simply said he underestimated the flood, and no one would have noticed his five minutes of fame. Besides, he made a good point by saying that no one informed him. Perhaps no one would have. Tulak boys have a lucrative enterprise during flood season on the streets of Metro Manila, and  warning  potential “clients” is contrary to their business interest. Our driving readers are thus informed.

Surely we will all one day forget Christopher, but will he forget that one rainy Tuesday that made him the star on viral video? Schadenfreude—the social networking pages dedicated to that unfortunate incident are so full of it. It begs to add another word to our vocabulary that is the opposite of schadenfreude. It’s mudita, the Buddhist idea of deriving pleasure from the well-being of others.

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  • Jao Romero

    “But it isn’t so much this misfortune that got everyone talking about Christopher. It’s the things he said as soon as he got out of his flood-soaked car that made him the online sensation he now is.”
    so is it schadenfreude or not? if it is not his misfortune which drew ppl to ridicule him, then what did? as you rightly pointed out, his misfortune was not the cause of the ridicule. so it is incorrect to claim schadenfreude for the phenomenon. maybe it is something as simple as revulsion to arrogance. is that schadenfreude?

    so i ask again. were the ppl enjoying Lao’s misfortunes or were they ridiculing something else? could they have sympathized with him if he just kept his mouth shut?

  • Anonymous

    Ang tindi mo! me pa-schadenfreude, pa-schadenfreude ka pa. siguro lawyer ka rin ano?

    Pero etong comment ko sa mga phrases ng napakagandang essay mo na nagju justify sa unjustifiable.

    “unleashed a torrent of blame after his car was pushed on to dry land” – – – – masyadong mabangis tong c lao, parang china na nang bu bully sa Philippines at iba pang bansa sa spratlys. Kung tignan mo para siyang first class citizen at ang tunay na pinoy ay kaya niyang batuk batuklan. katulad noong reporter.

    “had a lapse in judgment” – – – – in the first place kung lawyer ka o law student ka wala kang karapatan sa phrase nato, ipinakikita mo lang ang pag ka bobo mo.

    “bravely drove his car into what appeared to be waist-high floods during the last rains.” – – – – di dapat bravely ang ginamit mo word, dapat insanely, kasi katangahan ang ginawa ni lao.

    ““Bakit ako?” (Why me?)” – – – – dapat pa bang imemorize ito? eh siya ang gumawa noon, foolish question!

    “Besides, he made a good point by saying that no one informed him.” – – – – alam mo kung matino ka at may pag i isip di ka susuong sa hindi mo alam!

    I rest my case your horror! sandale taga-up pala siya noh!

    • emelou

      uve got it right man…all u people with pseudo-analytic-hindsight-commentator tendencies, theres no such consequence as this…kung hindi nagmayabang yung gunggung na yan. he should have known or are we supposed to have informed him of the possible consequences of his acts??? Ang unang words nya, “I THINK it is a problem with the ano e, ” its not entirely a lapse of judgment, its a lapse of thinking altogether.

      • Alvin


  • Anonymous

    I don’t respond to these pieces – this will be the first time.  I just wanted to say that this unfortunate young man – who in real life is a nice young man, polite, hardworking (not a rich kid by any standard), intelligent, quiet and studious, liked by all those who know him (my daughter was his classmate) – does not deserve the meanness heaped on him by cyber bullies.  If I were in his shoes, driving the first and only car I have, rushing to get to my baby, I might also react the way he did.  He does not deserve such vitriol.

  • Manuel

    We have an unfortunate cult of laying blame on others or on things or circumstances. Several accidents can in fact be prevented if only people cared. Consider a car crash. As soon as the driver who crash his vehicle to a lamp post for example blurts out one very common excuse: nawalan ako ng preno. A car does not “miraculously” loses its brakes (unless sabotaged e.g. brake fluid line was severed) in order to cause an accident. If proper investigations are carried out instead of just accepting that the car “lost” is brakes, one can easily discover that the car was not properly maintained, its brake pads already beyond the thickness required to stop the car, etc. Consider this most often excuse about fires. It is usually blamed on faulty wiring! There are no such thing as “faulty” wiring if in the first place construction are carried out properly according to PEC standards, and inspections too are done on a regular basis.

    The point is that the above mishaps/accidents are preventable with proper care and maintenance, and no short cuts like, “kumakapit pa naman ang preno, puede pa ibiyahe” or “di naman nag-sho-short-circuit”.

    How does this relate to the above article? This unfortuante incident would not have happened. It is basic in all drivers to know one’s vehicle (and as, above care for it). A car in the video has a low clearance from the ground and of course any flooded street is a concern. The driver obviously was playing with his fate by just going headlong without considering his car’s limitations. Second, he coud have gotten out of the car surveyed and scanned the road and used points of reference to calculate how deep the waters was, and then decide if his car can make it or not.

    It is always important to be responsible to oneself first before blaming others and blurt out, “Bakit ako?”. Consider what you could have done first in order to avoid such mishaps! And then accept your mistake with humility!

    Nawalan ng preno, faulty wiring, “nobody informed me” are obviously no excuses, because we can prevent accidents, if we truly become more responsible for our actions we can nurture a cult of self-accountability!

  • Ram Ramirez

    The guy became an idiot for 5 minutes, big deal, it happens to all of us, too bad he did it in front of a camera.

  • Steven Zahl

    Christopher Lao blamed everyone around him for his misfortune. Not realizing that “mga tao” he blamed risked their safety to push his car out of the water.If he did not utter the words “Bakit ako?” and “I was not Informed?” arrogantly, this would have been a NON-EVENT. You are already exhibiting the “Smarter than Thou” lawyer syndrome, Mr. Lao.You reap what you sow.

  • Camillo

    I don’t like what the author wrote about “Tulak boys.”  Were those who helped Lao asked for money?  Did the author check his facts, or is he stereotyping?

    That act of stereotyping was what made Lao’s comments distasteful and reeking of arrogance.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that we have a tendency to enjoy watching others make mistakes and say stupid and even arrogant things immediately after.  It makes us feel better knowing that another person is intellectually inferior to us.  The fact that we don’t really know the person and that we are judging him from the safety of our homes behind our computer, not directly in his face really does not count.  We are just lucky that we are the spectators and judge of this person’s character (based on a single incident) instead of being the one caught in video doing a stupid act and naturally being defensive and arrogant about it when interviewed a few minutes after this stressful event.  This just makes me thankful that none of my stupid acts were caught on camera or that my reactions in my weakest and stressful moments were not immortalized in the net.  Are we all so sure that just because he made this one time mistake in this one stressful event and uttered foolish and arrogant statements immediately after this incident (being naturally defensive at that time) we can safely conclude that this is a stupid, arrogant person?  I am so sure that many of us believe that if we were in the same situation, we wouldn’t have drove through the flood and even if we mistakenly did, we wouldn’t have said such stupid and arrogant things.  I am also pretty sure that this person wouldn’t have done the same things if given a second chance.  I don’t think it is fair for anyone of us to be judged and condemend by strangers just becuase of one studpid mistake. 

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    spell Schadenfreude. deserve to be informed? oi umuulan magpayong k……….oi flush mo toilet para sa susunod na gagamit………..oi lumilindol dont panic……………….oi ung baha nasa kalahati na ng gate ng bahay wag k na lulusom…………wtf?!

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