Sunday, October 09, 2005

Kenkoy and President Roxas

In 1931, a young politician named Manuel Roxas founded a society called the New Katipunan, which encouraged the Filipinos to turn their eyes back to their country instead of being too “Americanized”. Many people however, took note that Roxas addressed his New Katipuneros in English and wore woolen americana suit.
The malicious Kenkoy, eager to join the New Katipunan, donned himself in the uniform of a Katipunero(the likes worn by the Filipino army under General Aguinaldo), and paid for its one peso membership fee. In the comic strip, Kenkoy was able to meet Roxas in person, proudly telling him in his usual pidgin English that he was now a New Katipunero. Roxas told him that a katipunan uniform is not really necessary and that he should avoid talking in English “porke pangit ang ganyan”. Kenkoy, however had the last laugh when he asked Roxas, if English was so bad how come the receipt for the membership fee was itself written in English? Upon hearing this, Roxas had swooned and tripped backwards to emphasize the joke, leaving only his upturned legs shown while big exclamation marks hang in the air, in comic effect.
When Roxas became Philippine President in 1946 during the inauguration of the Third Philippine Republic, one of those invited to the banquet was Kenkoy creator Tony Velasquez. Indeed, the President was an admirer of Velasquez. As a gift, Velasquez gave the framed original art of this Kenkoy issue, and the President, who enjoyed the joke, kept it hung in his study in Malacanang.
Well, at least we know of one President who had appreciated an original comic art.

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