This post is both a personal post and a pageant-related post. It is to both pay tribute and to lament at the fate of a particular person who I have placed (and still will place) in high regard.
I will not identify this person by name (though people in pageant pundit circles will definitely know who he is…) as I still have extreme respect for him (though if he chooses to malign me, I will disclose his identity and expose his very words and deeds, so he better exercise due prudence if I were in his shoes).
I will refer him by the code name of “Henry VIII”, as his recent behavior is similar to the behavior of that English monarch. He was the founder of an exclusive pageant-oriented club I had the pleasure of belonging to–at its peak, it featured the best and most intelligent pageant fans and pundits from all over the world sharing and exchanging opinions and ideas (yes, these are the people I generally refer to as the “pageant fans and pundits” in my reviews). The club once upon a time featured the founders and operators of a major internationally renowned pageant website. Henry VIII was undeniably the leader of the club and when times are good, we willingly obeyed his every whim and indulged his fits of temper. He is also a big-hearted, generous, larger-than-life personality, and we did love this fellow (and as far as I’m concerned, I still care for him).
I think several members of that club actually received material rewards of his generosity. I almost did, as we had discussions about covering one pageant that was held annually in my shores, that he’ll provide me with funds for a digital camera to use to cover the events of that pageant in behalf of the major international pageant website. He mentioned Western Union, though I don’t know how that would work (I only know how to receive Western Union remittances only last month, since my brother moved to Dubai and he entrusted me to pay some of his bills still due locally). In hindsight, perhaps it’s a good thing that never materialized–I have this gnawing feeling he would hold that against me and label me a “user”if I receive any material generosity from him. But I would always remember his generosity of spirit, that I had received (and that will be what I will value from him). The most material thing I received from him was a Christmas greeting card when he went on a Caribbean cruise.
Henry VIII also was co-owner of the aforementioned international pageant website who paid for its day-to-day operations (though most pageant fans and pundits outside the club were unaware of this arrangement). It was also through Henry VIII that I also became contributor to that website (he invited me to contribute articles), that my homestretch reviews for major international pageants were found on that site for a while (though I still maintained loyalty to my original website, Mabuhay Beauties, though I decided I’ll devote my national and local pageant/modeling search writeups there). Henry VIII also acted as editor to my writeups, sanitizing risque content (yes, admittedly in my male pageant reviews) and correcting tense agreements, amongst others. I have a high regard for his very critical eye (and put up with his sometimes abrasive language).
Henry VIII in recent years was often not in the best of health, and we at that club were often in pins and needles in concern over his state of affairs. It came to a major head as I submitted my post-pageant review of Miss Universe 2010–after I submitted my piece to Henry VIII, I was surprised that he had not responded as he would typically do after I sumbitted my writing. Three weeks later, he then posted on the club with dramatically alarming news–first, he had a major falling out with the founders and operators of said major international pageant website that he is withdrawing his financial support of (and in turn, affiliation with) the site. He declared that the webmasters of the site are nothing but phonies and money-grubbers, so he expelled them from our club. He also declared that the reason why my final review of Miss Universe 2010 was not posted was because of the machinations of the “phony” and “money-grubbing” webmasters of the site. I still believe his version of the events, as he would of course assert that it’s the absolute truth. We remaining members of that club stood loyally by him.
The club continued to hang tough and generally stay together intact for over a year until earlier this year, there were some later defections that I have no idea what triggered the issue, and there were some postings that Henry VIII seemed to vehemently disagree with that led to him to declare that he would be closing the club for good.
His declarations then later seemed to soften as he did declare that he intended to have other people run the club instead, under the site of the original club. But during the confusion after his declaration, I and a few of my friends in the club discussed about what to do when the club finally closes over Facebook. Some suggested about opening another club with the same members–we didn’t mind keeping Henry VIII as a part of the group when we discussed this and thought that at least Henry VIII would be free to come and go as he pleased, so he can take best care of his health. It was intended neither to usurp him nor disregard the hard work he did to build up the camaraderie that we had but to continue on what he started, with him getting the rest and freedom that he needed without worrying over us or the day-to-day operations of the club.
But once one of us set up the structure for the new club (he happened to have a fabulous blog featuring various aspects of gay culture), then Henry VIII posted on Facebook a rage-filled agony-soaked missive ranting about idiots and traitors in our midst. The folks I happened to chat with then noticed that their online access to the club was then suddenly disabled, and several of these parties were un-friended by him on Facebook. He may declared his intentions about yielding over control of the club to some of these people anyway with the same web set up, but his volatile actions (he created a private Facebook club for us, which he then deleted two days later) made most of us wonder about what his real intentions are. I preferred to stay out of the fray and through this, I’m neutral and I did not really take sides. Though I disagree with his missive, I kept my mouth shut and still support him, and simply let him vent, hoping everything will then settle down. I wanted to reason with this person and send a message. I consulted with people he’s still friends with but they wisely advised it is prudent to not send it and let him simply blow off steam and hope he will eventually reflect on what he did. Unfortunately, that seem to never come as later events proved it would be impossible for him to listen to reason.
The new club proceeded forward and most of the old members joined the new club. There was a motto from the old club about “Friendship with Respect”. I have to note based on the current line up of members of the new club, we actually practiced this principle without explicitly expressing it as that motto better than the old club ever did. The disagreements were relatively muted and tamed compared to the more heated days of the old club. Though we miss some of the sharp witticisms (as tactless and outrageous they sometimes are, they could be very amusing), there is still a lively exchange of ideas from time to time.
Recently, Henry VIII tried to help out in reviving the old club. Since several of us he still considered his friends still have that high regard for him, we also willingly joined the revived old club. But then yesterday, he learned and got hold of the fact that several of us are also members of the new club. Because of that, he again went on a Facebook tirade, declaring he is un-friending us and labeling us traitors who conspired against him in silence.
This was the last straw, and I finally decided to speak out my mind. In his state of mind, unfortunately, he didn’t take my response well, calling me some condescendingly racist epithet and hurling out harsh expletives. I decided not to go down to his level and the last fighting words I said was that I classified him as an abusive bully (which if you read the actual text of his missive, you might agree with me), but I still wish him well and bid him adieu, that it has been nice knowing him. I’m sure he would read my remarks as sarcastic, but I actually did mean it when I said I wish him well, and that he finally would find the peace that had eluded him–lounging with cocktails, perhaps. Despite everything, I do forgive him. I will always remember the generosity of spirit that he possessed (and hopefully still does) and will remain grateful for that.