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Showing posts from February, 2011

Open defecation in Bangladesh applied to Filipinos' efforts to change

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I have often asserted that Filipinos are a people who are primarily driven by hiya (shame). Unmoved by any calls to higher purpose or noble pursuit, Filipinos continue to do the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. As such I remain convinced that any political solution pitched as a "cure" to the malaise that grips the Philippines at the very threads that weave the very fabric of its society (whether it be the latest "messiah" running for office or the current top-down change initiative in vogue) delivers incremental improvements at best.

What the Twitter cat fight between Gringo Honasan and Jim Paredes reveals about the Edsa "spirit"

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I read with bemusement the catty exchange between Jim Paredes and Gringo Honasan that was immortalised on Twitter.com last Friday, the 25th February. Imagine two senior citizens of the Republic -- both household names and key figures in a "revolution" touted as one that defines Filipinos' place in history at that -- engaged in a tiff of the sort that would draw cheers and hoots the way a mud wrestling match would. Hold that thought and draw a hard association between that and this "spirit" of Edsa that we are supposed to re-visit, and there you have what the whole exercise was really all about.

Heroism with trainer wheels: commemorating the Edsa People Power frolic

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Not being in Manila at the height of the festivities marking the 25th Anniversary of the Edsa "People Power" "revolution", I was relegated to some semblance of keeping tabs on events in real time via a live feed courtesy of Google set to display content with the keyword "edsa". The feed normally captures news reports as they come through the wire. Unfortunately it also captures "tweets" made on the popular "social media" website Twitter.com. So literally every second, some kind of update from someone somewhere in the world with something to say with "edsa" in it scrolls in.

The persistent myth of economic growth

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Development in understanding in recent years is making real limits on growth a lot more palpable since it is becoming quite evident that our approach to measuring economic value and the costs of acquiring said "value" (i.e. our monetary system) is woefully incomplete. Yet economic growth remains the be-all-end-all that pervades every aspect of human aspiration. Corporations scramble over one another to get into the next market to expand into. Shoppers are continually trawling vast malls looking for the next must have. Credit is wantonly extended to grease the entire endeavour.

Senator Bongbong Marcos's safe assertion: Philippines could be Singapore today if not for Edsa I

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Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in a recent statement made crack that the Philippines "should have been a Singapore" by now if the Edsa "People Power" "revolution" of 1986 had "not prospered". This is of course debatable and an easy assertion to make since it is by all intents and purposes unknowable and unprovable anyway.

Remembering the 1986 Edsa "revolution"

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I was a teenager in 1986 when the first Edsa "Revolution" erupted. The sound of this "eruption" for me was the murmer of a crowd queueing at a fishball stand or playing pusoy dos with their pals on a sidewalk while smoking Marlboro "Blue Seals". An anticlimactic account, yes, but the thing about the first Edsa "revolution" was that it came together spontaneously as ordinary people milled rather than massed into Edsa as what was to become the seminal event emerged from the collective stand. Indeed, back then the stand was clear, the phenomenon was emergent, and the sponteneity was very evident. That phenomenal nature underpinned by such clarity cannot be replicated -- specially if the attempt is engineered by people with top-down agendas (as what's happened since). For the first Edsa revolution was, at its most fundamental, a bottom-up movement.

Have the advocates of Filipino reproductive health lost the plot?

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Of late, there is the issue of (1) "the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill" and (2) President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's backflip on his earlier promise to prioritise it. Without having to get off my armchair and just from browsing the little niche of the Net that I inhabit, it seems the "advocates of the RH Bill" have been up at arms over the above two challenges -- getting the Bill passed in Congress and overcoming the hurdle of Noynoy's backflip on his promise.

What is wrong with this picture?

It often helps when one is merely a bemused outside observer. Because for me, the issue remains quite simple.

Reproductive Health and Mortal Sin: Filipinos know better

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The Catholic Church has been progressively taking its gloves off in recent weeks as it steps up its Inquisition against the "evils" of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill being pushed by law makers and activists alike. In a recent development marking the Church's steepest descent yet into its old Medieval habits, a local parish issued a statement where it said that it will refuse communion to people who support the RH Bill.

Short of implying that people who support the RH Bill are evil, the Parish Pastoral Council of Santuario de San Jose in Mandaluyong City encouraged those who favoured the passing of the RH Bill to cleanse their soul through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Why indeed should we not bury former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Fort McKinley Libingan ng mga Bayani?

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Why not bury former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Filipino Heroes' Cemetery)? That is the question that came to light recently in the wake of the burial there of former Secretary and retired General Angelo Reyes, who was in the middle of being implicated in a big-time corruption scandal at the time of his death on the 8th of February this year. Marcos's son, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr today "reiterated his call for the burial of his father, the late former President Ferdinand Marcos, in the Libingan ng mga Bayani". Television personality Karen Davila was quoted by ANC 24/7 as having quoted Bongbong saying that "if Angelo Reyes was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, my late father should also be buried there".

Why the Church failed to make its position on the RH Bill intellectually appealing

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The forces of modernism are in the midst of a fight for the progression of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. That powerful bastion of Filipino-style primitivism, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), has in recent months brought to bear its vast fear mongering communication channel -- the "Holy" Catholic Mass -- to disseminate its threats of fire and brimstone to those in its flock who dare harbour impure thoughts on contraception. Among those who had so far succumbed to this might is no less than Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III who earlier withdrew from a commitment to prioritise reproductive health in his list of legislation to push.

Love and other vices on Valentines Day

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Valentines Day. This day always brings out the best and worst in people. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the rest of the population whether they be men or women, or boys or girls who feel left out on that day -- a day which in the cosmic scheme of things is really just another 24-hour segment in the Earth's journey through space and time as it orbits the sun.

The age of "people power revolution" needs to be supplanted by a modern "institutionalisation revolution"

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What do (1) the disastrous ascent to power of Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, (2) the crystallisation of trial-by-media into the backbone of Philippine criminal justice, and (3) an over-reliance on noise-making and stunts to instigate change movements all have in common? Answer: people power. The idea that spectacular and noisy mass movements -- in all their chaotic and unstructured glory -- can result in a deep structural change of the sort that yields enduring value started in the Philippines with the transpiring of the 1986 Edsa "Revolution".

Retired General Angelo Reyes: a high price to pay for a "committee report"

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The Philippine Congress mirrors not only its constituents. It mirrors its constituents' favourite form of entertainment -- low-brow noon time variety shows like Wowowee. Not much comes out of Congressional "inquiries" and "hearings" other than an opportunity for our honourable politicians to rack up media exposure mileage. But while shows like Wowowee turn the desperation of its impoverished contestants into mass-audience entertainment, the entertainment value of Congress is more akin to a bullfight -- where a bloodthirsty audience cheers on a flamboyant matador's graceful ritual killing of a maddened beast.

To those who presume to judge former Secretary and retired General Angelo Reyes

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We, mere observers, who do not know former defense secretary and chief of staff retired General Angelo Reyes at a personal level only have the Law to frame our regard for him. Granted, Reyes was a primary suspect in the on-going probe of massive corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). But in the eyes of the Law, he remains innocent for now as the Law presumes a person innocent until proven guilty.

Subliminal messages lurking within Valentines Day marketing

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This week is the home stretch in the race to make Valentine's Day 2011 a happenin' day. Do consider though what Valentine's Day -- or any occasion celebrated with a spectacular display of conspicuous consumption -- really means. There are many disasters going on around us, not least relevant to Filipinos is the devastation caused by heavy rains and unstoppable flooding going on outside the awareness of most citizens of the Philippines' Imperial Capital.

Heidi Mendoza: writing about something I have nothing much to say about

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I would like to write something about all the "revelations" about corruption in -- shockers! -- the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The trouble is, it's just too much trouble. In the constant din of digital chatter in "social media" and hearsay reports flying from one broadsheet to another in mainstream media, it gets difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. In our usual form, we've all but turned this into another Shawarma topic.

Have Filipinos earned the right to be free?

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I believe in a human being's "inalienable right" to freedom. Every human deserves to be free -- that is, as an initial state. As the song goes, we are all born free. But from then on the evaluation begins. Indeed, one needs to be free to be be subject to this "evaluation", otherwise there is no basis for it.