In the year 2011, during a bout of bad weather in Metro Manila, a certain law student of the University of the Philippines – Diliman was driving in his Nissan when he chanced to come upon a section of flooded road in Quezon City. Thinking that his vehicle could safely ford through the water levels, he drove through and ended up getting his nice car swamped and floating away. Having just managed to get clear, the student was then interviewed by a reporter from the GMA-7 TV network, where he launched into an indignant spiel regarding the weather and the road condition, saying that he “should have been informed” about the flood. And with that phrase along with some other choice lines in his diatribe, Christopher Lao became a viral online celebrity, gathering a share of both sympathetic fans who believe his complaint has a solid point, and detractors who mocked his indignation and eventually resorted to some serious cyber bullying.
It may well have been a testament to Christopher Lao’s strength of character, that the onset of online harassment on social media because of his insistence on his and others’ right to be informed, did not turn him off completely from taking his bar exam despite the increased attention and scrutiny. While he does admit to having felt like his confidence was shattered by netizen abuse over his admittedly undignified rant. How fortunate indeed that never lost his nerve entirely. On February 2012 Lao was confirmed to be among 1,913 passers of the 2011 Bar Examination, finally fulfilling his dream of becoming an attorney.
Christopher Lao was able to persevere in spite of the adversity by learning to erect a remarkable level of detachment, both from “material comforts” and excessive worrying over his personal reputation. In a past interview, Lao had described reputation as a set of limits that box in one’s potential, as a result making them very afraid of experiencing failure. “I asked myself, ‘Why am I not gonna take this Bar? Only because people might again derive joy from my potential failure?’” he recalled. “I’m done with that. They’ve said whatever they want. I just said, ‘It’s time to do things that will make my loved ones proud, myself proud, the Lord proud.’”
This new outlook on life even inspired Lao to get a laugh at his own expense without feeling bad about it. He became a commercial endorser for the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), promoting the “Acts of Nature” free insurance of the bank’s family auto loan. They even produced a TV ad recreating his famous “I should have been informed” tirade, hamming up the role with surprising gusto. This then was a man who got over his embarrassment and turned it into strength.
Some six years have since passed since the fateful day that gave Christopher Lao his unwanted viral fame, followed by this comeback by passing the bar and becoming a lawyer. At present he works for the Ongkiko Manhit Custodio & Acorda Law Offices (OCMALAW), as well as being part of Creative Law, a legal firm that specialized in the field of intellectual property, rendering services to file trademarks, patent inventions and utility models, industrial design, copyright protection, and inter partes cases such as opposition of trademarks and the cancelling of trademarks or patents.
Understandably, in addition to his legal work Lao has a special advocacy for the prevention of bullying in all its possible forms, from the playground, to school, to the workplace, and the internet. Owing to his past experience in that bent, he is especially invested in helping to make sure that nobody else has to go through what he did before.
Atty. Christopher Lao on his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/christopherjohnlao?ref=br_rs), and Twitter account (https://twitter.com/iamchrislao?lang=en). You may also inquire with him and his associates regarding any matter involving intellectual property at the official website for Creative Law (http://creativelaw.com.ph/index.html).
Photo courtesy of iamchrislaos’s IG