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Why is it easy to hate Cedric Lee?

Filipinos find it easy to hate Cedric Lee, the man who assaulted a TV personality caught in the act of raping a friend of Lee. So Lee says. A heroic deed if indeed true, just like the stuff in Philippine movies. Only, people would rather give Lee a good beating instead of hailing him as a hero. In most media surveys, at least 90% of the respondents do not believe that he attacked a man only to thwart a rape attempt. 

People are simply not convinced he is telling the truth. But what if he isn’t? Is lying through one’s teeth enough to incite hatred among the people? Others have done far worse than assault, yet the general public was not too quick to condemn. The public reaction to Cedric Lee, however, is one of unanimous contempt.  

Why is an intelligent, charming, good-looking man with a high-class background  so easy to hate? 

It is precisely because Lee isall of the above that people find him easy to hate. Cedric Lee was born to a rich Chinese family. He graduated from an elite university and soon afterwards decided to go into business on his own. He went on to head some big corporations in the Philippines. 

For a 44-year old, he has done quite well, so well that he has been able to buy most of the things money can buy, like cars, loyal friends and the prettiest of women – all the privileges that would make most Filipino men die of envy. He has become a millionaire at an age when others are still struggling to even pay the rent. This said, the public would leave him alone if he just lived quietly enjoying his millions.  

But no, Lee seems unable to avoid being caught up in controversy after controversy. This kind of behaviour irks the  plebs who do not have the privileges Lee takes for granted. People find it hard to understand why a rich kid like Lee who has so many advantages in life can’t control himself better.

The kids who grew up in the slums have frequent brushes with the law but that can’t be helped most of the time. But what is Lee’s excuse? To the general public, a president of construction and mining companies who figured in the assault of several people and is now accused of extortion can only be a villain of the first order.

People will now lump him with those who engage in dubious money-making activities with no regard for the law because they have the money and the backing of powerful people. It does not help at all that Lee is inclined to associate with high-ranking officials.

The public consensus seems to be that there was connivance between the police and Lee when Lee turned his victim over to them. The police did not bother with verifying the details of the case because they were on Lee’s side. Lee’s connections with retired generals have been raked up as the likely source of his untouchability.

People assume he is protected by the higher-ups which is why the rank and file police did not query his story. In the past, he figured twice in the news for alleged assault, one against a former national athlete and one against his ex-lover. Both cases were settled out of court.

One can’t blame the people for lacking sympathy for someone like Lee. Of late people have been bombarded with news about how the rich in the country manage to slip through big holes in the justice system. Weeks before the Lee case, the burning issues of the day were exposes of big-time politicians as masterminds in the biggest areas of corruption in the land.

These millionaire politicians are accused of pocketing the money meant for the very people they have sworn to serve. It was while these news items were hogging the limelight that Lee’s notoriety suddenly stole the show. Everyone’s attention was diverted to his case. Lee’s antics came at the opportune moment for these politicians. The people were seething with anger over their abuses and Lee appeared at just the right time to take the brunt of it.

‘Cedric Lee would do’, the people probably thought. He acted like a goon when he attacked someone. He also has money and connections to power. He represented the same class of people that made the public angry weeks before.

If Lee ever gets convicted,  the people’s anger