‘Good Bad Mother’: Pigs as symbols of failures and success

By: ATTY. DENNIS GORECHO - Columnist/CDN Digital | June 06,2023 - 08:45 AM

Pigs can be symbols of failures and success. | CDN Digital file photo

We grew up watching films and animated series  with pig characters like Porky Pig, Miss Piggy, Three Little Pigs, and Babe.

The “Good Bad Mother” is a Korean drama in Netflix about a village piggery with the concept that falling down is a way for one to see the world in another perspective.

The narrator notes that pigs live their entire life staring at the ground. The anatomy of pigs causes their inability to lift their heads and prevents them from seeing the sky.

There is only one way for pigs to look up at the sky:  to slip and fall down finding itself facing upward. Falling down is an opportunity to see another world which one has never seen before.

“Good Bad Mother”

“Good Bad Mother” is the story of single mom and pig farm owner, Jin Young-soon (Ra Mi-ran), and her son Choi Kang-ho (Lee Do-hyun). Young-soon has lived a tenacious life to protect her child whose strictness as a tiger mama forced Kang-ho to study obsessively. The son became a successful cold-hearted prosecutor.

But when a tragic accident leaves Kang-Ho with the mind of a child, he was forced to move back with his mother, leading the two to go on a journey to recover their relationship.

There were several incidents that almost led to the  shutting down of the piggery: fire, foot and mouth (FMD) viral disease and petitions by the village people for its closure for being a nuisance.


In the recent case of Municipality of Binan, Laguna, vs Holiday Hills Stock & Breeding Farm Corp. and Domino Farms, Inc. (G.R. No. 200403 Oct. 10, 2022), the Supreme Court addressed the issue of piggeries as subjects  of police power.

The Binan local government unit (LGU) officials issued an ordinance that sought to abate the two hog farms which are located near residential subdivisions.

To invoke police power, LGUs must establish two requisites: (1) the interests of the public generally require an interference with private rights; and (2) the means adopted must be reasonably necessary to accomplish the purpose and not be unduly oppressive upon individuals.

The Supreme Court noted that nuisances are of two kinds: nuisance per se and nuisance per accidens. The first (per se) is recognized as a nuisance under any and all circumstances, because it constitutes a direct menace to public health or safety, and, for that reason, may be abated summarily under the undefined law of necessity.

The second (per accidens) is that which depends upon certain conditions and circumstances, and existence being a question of fact, it cannot be abated without due hearing in a tribunal authorized to decide whether  or not such a thing does in law constitute a nuisance.

What sets a nuisance per se apart from one per accidens is its characteristic of being a direct menace to public health or safety. It is the law of necessity that justifies the summary abatement of a nuisance per se. The obstruction must hinder the  public use of streets, highways, or sidewalks, or the interference with the safety or property of a person must be immediate.

The hog farms were considered a nuisance per se since they emit an unfavorable stench or foul odor  of distressing or annoying character that immediately interferes with the  health and safety of the residents.

Foot-and-Mouth disease

Although the piggery in “Good Bad Mother” was not closed despite complaints of being a nuisance, the pigs were buried alive due to the onslaught of Foot and-Mouth disease (FMD) in the nearby areas, except for a piglet named Lion.

FMD is one of the most devastating and highly  contagious viral disease  of cloven-footed livestocks caused by “picornavirus” and is characterized by vesicles on the feet, snout and in the mouth.

Virus transmission occurs through respiratory aerosols and direct or indirect contact with infected animals with excretions and secretions.

A study from the University of the Philippines identified factors to lessen the risk of FMD virus contamination, like proper disposal and waste management, putting pigs of different ages together, and a good diet.

The disease usually is managed through quarantine, restriction of movement of animals in quarantined areas, slaughter followed by burial or incineration of infected and exposed animals and disinfection of production sites.

The  series writer said in an interview that when pigs give birth, they can only spend 28 days together. They have to teach their piglets before they get separated.

She added: “So as people. All mothers have to leave their children behind as humans die at one point. So this series started with a question ‘What kind of life and ways of living should we teach our children before we leave this world.’”

Failure may seem like a setback, but it allows us to unlock great potential, to refine our path and to learn what works and what does not.

Perhaps falling like the pig gives us the opportunity to rise again, and realize that failure and successes go hand-in-hand.

(Peyups is the moniker of University of the Philippines. Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, e-mail info@sapalovelez.com, or call 09175025808 or 09088665786.)

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