Idols, Villains and Martyrs – the Endless Philippine Cycle

MorionsRecently, Senator Trillanes was deprived of his PNP security detail, leading to speculations that Duterte might make a martyr that will finally mobilize the people. Edgar Lores has mentioned idolatry as a major Filipino weakness (link), but I think that he mainly tackles the aspect of living idols. Figures perceived as strong like Bonifacio, Quezon, Magsaysay, Marcos and Duterte – or figures perceived as compassionate like Tandang Sora (link) and Corazon Aquino. Martyrs that mobilized the people like Gomburza (link), Rizal and Ninoy Aquino are also an aspect of idolatry.

Hoping for magicians

The father of one of my German university classmates said that Filipinos are “voodoo Catholics”. A bit true, especially if one looks at how Edgar Lores relates split-level Christianity and idolatry. Pro forma most Filipinos are Christian but in daily life it seems many forget the rules they learned. Same with democracy and rule of law – the entire system is gamed from top to bottom while lip service is rendered to its principles. The Preamble of the Philippine Constitution is the “clean kitchen” while the “dirty kitchen” is what one sees if one walks through Manila with open eyes.

From time to time, Filipinos want stern figures to force them to clean the dirty kitchen. Strongmen. They may be hated after a while, especially if they fail to really change things – or the economy fails. Martyrs are revered, but to some extent I think they, like Jesus, “wash away everybody else’s sins”. Large parts of the middle class that threw out Marcos were the same class that put him in power. Their materialism at the expense of society as a whole did not change after they ousted Marcos. Pointing at Marcos as a villain does not change the fact that they enabled him in his early years.

Same old song, once again

Kind and honest figures like Corazon Aquino and her son may rise to power after people are fed up with excessively ruthless and dishonest leaders like Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. But they become culprits much faster than the ruthless players, as there never are miracles in real life. The economic progress during the time of President Benigno Aquino III was respectable but not fast enough for many who said “they did not feel it”. The painstaking rebuilding of democracy in the time of Cory was considered a failure as well by many. Easy to blame idols of all sorts, I say.

  • Will a strongman make me stronger? Only if I learn self-discipline.
  • Will a good person make me better? Only if I learn to act better.
  • Will a martyr wash away my sins for good? Only if I forgive myself.

But changing oneself takes self-knowledge. Most Filipinos lack that, prefer pretense to reality. There is a story about how a lady guest professor from Russia got into trouble for saying most Filipino students cheat during exams. Just like many people got mad at recent tarps calling the Philippines a province of China (link) – more than at so many de facto violations of sovereignty. “Filipino pride” is often a stubborn kind of denial. Probably because of too many pontificating hypocrites in the country’s history. Sometimes, those who mean well also turn into naggers.

Be good – enough!

Expectations of perfection and saintliness make people cheat, because they can never be fulfilled. So many Filipinos admire dead heroes while living examples of virtue make them uncomfortable. The defense mechanism of many is call them “hypocrite”, to try to topple the idols of morality. While playing the split-level games most people play in a country where the system hardly works. And the system hardly works because people play games. Sometimes to avoid being blamed. Usually a culprit caught is blamed for the sins of the world, shamed for life, no holy martyrdom.

How about just being good enough for a start? Because in most modern countries, people are not heroes at all. They just do their job and follow the rules. And they mostly don’t game the system. Gaming the system is a clever workaround if you are under oppressive rulers who steal from you. The more people have been under unfair rulers, the more you will find game-playing, which is a spectrum with many shades of grey. People who have seen little fairness often don’t act that fair. Unfortunately, this is like the prisoner’s dilemma (link) – who is bold to take the leap of faith?

Possibly more would take the leap of faith if the priorities in Philippine society were the right ones. Concentrate on drug lords instead of drug users, for examples. Waive bank secrecy to investigate (not in general) instead of having that laborious and ultimately useless exercise called SALN filing. Otherwise, Passion Plays with idols, villains and martyrs will keep repeating themselves uselessly, with the same dysfunctional behavior on the ground and in the dirty kitchen of national reality. Society as a whole is required. Grown-ups who act, not children who wait for the magic of idols.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 14 July 2018

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As “National Parent”

President Rodrigo Duterte 080816Duterte says he can order rounding up “tambays” (link), citing the parens patriae doctrine (link) – the power of the state to “intervene against an abusive or negligent parent, legal guardian, or informal caretaker, and to act as the parent of any child or individual who is in need of protection.” Yet one wonders what kind of parent or guardian would put children in jails like those shown in a recent Al Jazeera report (link) which says that “Philippine law prohibits jailing minors but in the absence of separate detention facilities for them, they usually end up in the same jail cells..”.

The same government wants to administer mandatory drug tests to minors starting 10 years old – and not even the Church seems to oppose it (link). If that is parenthood, it not just conservative, it is reactionary. It makes every child a suspect, born with original sin but without any grace of God. One might be tempted to think that the government and church are back in the early 19th century, and that the Spanish in their palace are saying “nothing good will ever come of these Indios”- except that some supporters of Duterte proudly call him “Indio” (link) for his anti-Catholic rhetoric.

There are even ideas being floated that could scrap the 4Ps (link) which have proven effective in reducing poverty, giving poor children more of a chance to go to school. No child should ever be disadvantaged for the circumstances that made its parents poor – it is not the fault of the child. Unfortunately, the anti-tambay measures, the so-called drug war and more marginalize especially the poor Filipinos. There are those who say that as intelligence is mainly inherited, the poor will most likely be poor because of stupid genes – some are even those smart enough to know better.

Some people may be poor because of bad luck. A sickness they could not pay for, no large enough family, no OFWs or corrupt officials in it to help out with the costs – and savings can be depleted. PhilHealth coverage as it is today in the Philippines is new. Or weaknesses of personality that lead to gambling or drug addiction, dragging everybody down. The medieval mindset in the Philippines sees mental illness and drug addiction as stigmata. Add to that the Social Darwinism of the rich and the new middle classes. The old middle classes may just look away – or at most offer their prayers.

Lowering the age of criminal liability is dropped for now (link) but the mindset is still there. Native wisdom says the children have a mind of their own (may isip) at 7 years, which corresponds to what Jean Piaget (link) says. Almost all earliest memories we have start around that age. But is a child of 10 aware enough to know the full scope of all of its actions? Even teens can be a bit amoral at times. Guiding the young means teaching them to be part of society. Just punishing them teaches them:  “don’t get caught. If caught, don’t admit”. Are these the only “values” that “Punishers” really have?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 30 June 2018

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Diyos ko Lord!

Temptation Adam Evasabi ni Rico. “Bakit naman?” sagot ni Manny. “Iyong sinabi ni Duterte na bobo raw ang Diyos”. “Totoo naman ah, bakit niya pinalpak ang kanyang ginawa, tayong mga tao. Bakit ganito tayo. Hindi tayo ginawang mga Superman?”. Pumasok sa kusina si Ryan. “Anong kalokohan iyan?” sabi niya. “Kulang pa yata kayo sa kape”. Linggo ng umaga tila may hangover pa ang magkakaibigan, tulog pa iyong isa sa sofa. “Gisingin natin si Winston” sabi ni Manny. “Huwag, patulugin pa natin”. “Baka naman hindi lang halatang gising ang Intsik na iyan” sabi ni Rico. Tumahimik ang tatlo.

“Tama naman si Duterte” sabi ni Manny. “bakit tayo ginawang makasalanan ng Diyos tapos siya pa ang magbibigay ng parusa. Sadista yata”. “Tulad ng Lodi mong si Duts kung ganoon” sagot ni Rico. “Ulol, dilawan! Masyado kang bilib sa simbahan mong iyan. Dinala lang iyan ng mga Kastila rito para gawin tayong mga duwag at masunurin. Puro na lang opo sir, opo haciendero, opo prayle”. Naglabas si Ryan ng tinapay at peanut butter. “Kain muna kayo, usapang gutom iyan, tama na”. Sinimulan na rin niyang magprito ng kakainin nila. Tuyo, itlog at kanin, sabay bawang at sibuyas.

“Paano naging malice kaagad noong kinain ni Adam iyong mansanas?” sabi ni Manny. “Saging na lang” sagot ni Winston habang medyo nagigising. “Kabaklaan iyan, matulog ka ulit”. “Ummm..”. Lumabas si Ryan sa kusina para pumuntang CR. “Hindi naman malice ang kalibugan, ano kayo? “Pero ayon sa Bible, masama tayo dahil galing tayo sa tsuk-tsak” sabi ni Manny. “tama si Duterte!”. Tumayo si Rico para kumuha ng tinapay. “Pinapatawad naman ng Diyos ang original sin” sabi niya. “Si Duterte naman, walang patawad pati sa batang 10 years old, gustong i-drug-test”. Tumahimik.

“Bago dumating ang mga Kristiyano sa Pilipinas, masaya pa tayo.” sabi ni Manny. “Huwag mo lang patulan ang may asawa, basta dalaga at gusto ayos lang noon, at kung mabuntis pakasalan mo”. Naubos ang kape ni Manny, dinagdagan pa niya. “Malisya lang kung ayaw ng babae, kung rape”. “Ano ba iyang simbahan na iyan, ginagawang masama ang natural na bagay?” Bumalik si Ryan at binaba niya iyong ulam na prinito niya. Kumuha ng pagkain si Manny. “Mahirap naman kung sa libog lang idadaan lahat” sabi ni Rico. “baka magkasakit lahat, tapos di mo alam magulang mo”.

“Medyo malabo nga sa akin na pinagsasabihan tayo tungkol sa sex at pamilya ng paring bawal makipagtalik at magpamilya” sabi ni Ryan. “Pero kanya-kanyang paniniwala iyan. Kaya nga belief”. “Bilib ako kay Duterte” sabi ni Manny. “Alam na namin iyan” sagot ni Rico. “Dilawan!”. Nagising si Winston. “Ano ba na naman iyang pinag-uusapan ninyo”. “May Chinese plane na naman sa Davao” sabi ni Rico. “Bakit ako na naman ang tinitignan ninyo?” sagot ni Winston. “Magkape ka muna” sabi ni Ryan. “Magsisimba na ako” sabi ni Rico. “Lumad ako, di ko kailangan!” sagot ni Manny.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 24 June 2018

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Know Bady’s Perpek

Martin Andanar (cropped)not even the tall, blond and blue-eyed people from Norwegia (link)! A Filipino actually good at something is very suspect, or did a Filipino ever do things right? With a Chinese it is different, they are assumed to be capable of anything. I meant able to do anything, forgib me, for I am imperpek.

Besides, perfect is boring, boring, boring. Look at Mar Roxas, does he get the kisses, or Duterte? Who is more of a celebrity, is it studious Aika Robredo, or his father’s own scholar Sandro Marcos? Striving for excellence is so yesterday, so American neocolonial, Thomasite-inspired social climbing.

Professionalism is Square
Knowledge is Arrogant
Decency is Hypocrisy

are among the dont’s that the New Filipino is learning, quickly and well. Why be professional if you can always buy a professional to do things for you? Americans liked Filipino professionals because they were servants of neoliberal imperialist capitalism. Real Filipinos are free. Let others work!

Knowledge is arrogant. Remember how the yellow ilustrado pretenders nitpicked about Mar Roxas having graduated from Wharton? With no graduate degree? What is decent? Leni acts as if Duterte is not attractive. Honest women like Lorraine Badoy admit attraction to the country’s alpha male.

Sloppiness is Cute
Rudeness is Refreshing
Stupidity is Unassuming
Indecency is Honest
Negligence is Human

are the traits of true Filipinos. Now isn’t Norwegia a cute word, doesn’t that endear PCOO in the hearts of true Filipinos? Screw all the Westernized yellow Ingliseros with their ideas of spelling!

And isn’t Duterte’s rudeness refreshing to all of us who don’t want to behave like in a reception of Spaniards, friars and servants in Intramuros? And those of us who assume we are not stupid – are you saying you aren’t carabaos like the rest of us? That you are more highly evolved? Chinese even?

And would you trust Mocha who admits that she is as horny as the rest of us are, especially when we are abroad away from our husband or wife and sleep with someone else? Or do you trust Leni? And those pedantic moralistic yellows, what’s wrong with their attitude to life? Perfection is scary.

Germans and Japanese are too perfect. Chinese do not scare us because their products break down. But they are smarter than us and will help us where Uncle Sam has left us very, very disappointed.

We thought they were all white and blue-eyed, and then they showed us Obama. We feel cheated.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 15 June 2018

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You Raise Me Up

is one of the theme songs at Duterte-related gatherings. It was sung today in South Korea, though not by him, and was requested by the crowd in Hong Kong not too long ago. Could the theme of this song be one of the keys to why so many Filipinos seem to NEED Duterte somehow? Let us have a look at the words of the refrain:

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

A Duterte supporter I know recently told me that the poor get more respect now in the Philippines due to Duterte. My answer was “I don’t know” – in that context more of an “I don’t quite believe that”. But how do people in the overseas “Filipino barangays” feel when their “King’s entourage” comes to “Meet and Greet” (link) like in Seoul? Maybe like teens when their favorite star comes? But they aren’t teens. But maybe they are like teens in one way. Lack of confidence. So they derive a bit of it by admiring a “lodi”, which is the recent Filipino slang word for idol.

Pulling others down

No issues with upliftment, as people need a sense of dignity that comes from self-worth. If “you raise me up” was all there was to President Duterte, he might be for the Filipinos what Martin Luther King once was to Afro-Americans. But there is also a side more like Malcolm X with his controversial anti-white statements. My tweet (link) says this:
The President has freed Filipinos from the colonial shackles of “good manners and right conduct”.
Freedom from hypocrisy and servility, called “decency” by yellows, is the achievement of our times.
Finally, no more forced bowing and smiling when hacienderos pass by. /sarcasm (bold for clarity)
There were the times when sakadas had to give forced grins to hacienderos and these smiled “benevolently” back. Deep inside, many Filipinos doing simple jobs abroad may still have a memory of of much more feudal days past. Someone who skillfully uses those complexes towards old overlords and colonial masters manipulates those feelings.

Lowering all standards

There is rage for sure. Muhammad Ali (a follower of Malcolm X) used his swearing as a form of defiance and pride. “We wish you a Merry Kano, we wish you Amerikano, we wish you Amerikano and a Happy Negro” is a Filipino joke about a Christmas carol, with a bit of sly insight in it. Uncle Toms were always “Happy”. Ali was defiantly rude.

But Ali had style in his rudeness, his cussing was poetry. Duterte’s cursing is not. Especially not the perverse stuff. The “jokes” about the dead Australian missionary and kissing IMF President Lagarde (link) might appeal to certain Pinoys who feel white women are out of their league, or even “white men and mestizos are taking all our women”.

Lowering standards for public servants while portraying those who take the effort to educate themselves as somehow being “un-Filipino” (Leni Robredo’s daughters, for example, and she is NO landlord) encourages dumbing down the entire nation. Even Marcos (Sr.) said “intellectual elitism is the only valid elitism” in a speech I heard myself once.

On others shoulders

Now I don’t fully agree with Marcos Sr. there. There are highfalutin intellectual elitists who put down normal people. Or specialists who talk down to laymen when they should be providing the service of somewhat simplifying things. American science books awakened my STEM interest because they explain well. German science books were harder.

That was decades ago and German books explain better – or have I become smarter? But they made me feel stupid. Now how stupid and incapable are Filipinos going to feel if everything in their own country is done by the Chinese? And dependency to a new elite is taught? Will it be “I am strong when I am on your shoulders” – but only then?

Really being more

BMW Isetta, Bj. 1955 (2015-08-26 2997 b Ausschnitt)Instead of “raised up to more than I can be”, why not BE more – like this here (link)? The BMW Isetta was one of the most successful products of BMW in the 1950s and 1960s. The small car whose picture I have posted in this article. Affordable for the general public then, still very thrifty. Big gas guzzlers were for American GIs.

There is a bit of a cult following for big gas guzzling US oldtimers over here in Munich, probably nourished by those times. But imagine if everybody had done whatever was necessary to buy US cars back then. Little would have been rebuilt, and most probably BMW would not have had enough incoming money to finance research and become what it is today.

Patience and solidarity

Germans still drove “baduy” (uncool) little cars in a time when Manila already had the newest American cars, really? Unfortunately, the new Filipino middle class of the 1960s voted for Marcos and martial law because many other Filipinos were swelling the slums and cramping their (life)style. Marcos promised discipline with “selda ng lasing”.

Cells for drunks is what that means. Does this sound familiar to the even more brutal war against drugs these days? Like the newcomers to the middle class in the 1960s, the new Filipino middle class today cares mainly about itself. Somehow the new German middle class in the 1930s was similarly selfish, despising those seen as “asozial” (link).

Postwar West Germany tried to leave as few as possible behind. That this no longer was done as consistently since unity is one reason for resurgent populism. Yet the lessons of the successful rebuilding still apply – better to help others keep pace and life is better. Meanwhile, postwar Manila saw its first slums and gated communities (link).

Now the Philippines has a highly antisocial TRAIN law which puts burdens on the poor via indirect taxes which raise prices – a truism. Here it is those who wanted tax cuts at all costs, even if at expense of the poor, who are antisocial and lack solidarity.  Even the 4Ps (link) which could help many out of poverty are now being considered for removal.

Will the poor in the Philippines get even poorer and risk getting shot as drug suspects, or just stay poor and hope to be “raised up” by the existence of their Lodi Duterte? Many urban poor during Martial Law idolized Imelda Marcos. Will Filipinos now acquiesce to new masters, even idolize them, while these smugly take their seat? I really wonder.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 3 June 2018

 

 

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Macho at ma-appeal

Young women in the Ukraine teasing a boy who is pockmarked a Wellcome L0032776(Achtung Satire!) si Solicitor General Calida, kaya gusto yata siya ng isang dalagang estudyante. Kayong mga dilaw diyan, huwag kayo magreklamo! Ayaw ng mga Pinay sa tite ninyong malambot, pero marami ang umupo sa kandungan ng matigasin na si Digong noong kampanya habang nagpapahipo! Ayaw ng babae ng sobrang bait na lalake, anong laban nito kapag may humamon na adik sa kalye? Buti pa iyang mga katulad ni Duterte at Calida, shoot to kill. Hindi kaya ito nila Bam Aquino! Not counted ang computer games. Eh mga #BabaeAko? Pangit at mataba.

E ano ngayon kung maraming kinikita ang security company ni Calida sa mga pondo nang gobyerno? Wa-is si Calida, gusto ng mga babae iyon. Aanhin nila ang isang patay-gutom na walang diskarte? O kaya baklain na puro morals-morals diyan? Matira ang matibay, ganyan ang takbo ng mundo! Tsaka iba ang dumidiskarte kapag mahirap tulad natin. Mga dilawan na pinagpala na may pera na, huwag na huwag nilang subukan ang kahit konting lusot at mahuhuli sila. Buti nga kay Sereno! Mga dilaw at puti, mga kolonyalista silang nagnakaw sa tunay na Pilipino, iyan ang katotohanan.

Panahon na natin para makabawi. Dapat umusog na ang mga dilawan at mga kaibigan nilang puti. Tayong mga tunay na Pilipino na ang dapat kumain ng husto, kasama mga kaibigan nating Tsino. Walang masama kung mga Tulfo, Teo, Calida, Montano, de Castro atbp. kumita kapag suwerte nila. Tayo naman siguro titirahan nila nang kahit kaning baboy, di tulad ng mga suwapang na dilawan. Tama merong hanapbuhay ang iilan noon, pero ang hirap naman ng trabaho diyan sa call center! Mga mang-aapi talagang dilaw at puti, gusto tayong pahirapan. Buti pa ngayon, diskarte na lang!

Kayong mga padise-disente, mga wala lang kayong sex appeal, putang ina ninyong mga bakling. Dinig ng buong ilog Pasig ang mga ungol ng isang sosyal na hindi pa nakadanas ng mga tiradang tulad ng mga galing kay Digong. Buong gabi sila, puyatan daw talaga. Di kaya ni Mar Roxas iyan!

Kaya iyan, di kami bilib sa mga reklamo ninyo, inggit lang kayo sa galing namin sa lahat ng bagay. Pati suwerte. Masuwerte ang lalakeng kumakapit sa amin, at ang babaeng nagpapakwan sa amin! Pinagpala ang bansang Pilipino sa kagalingan namin! Huwag maniwala sa mga paninira. Pek iyon!

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, ika-1 ng Hunyo, 2018

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Speaking in Tongues

01237jfArnaiz Harrison Avenues Special Schools Barangays Churches Pasay Cityfvf 05is the message of Pentecost. How one could wish for bridges of understanding between people. Worldwide and especially in the Philippines where (link) “political and religious institutions have been grafted unto a recalcitrant native disposition” (Edgar Lores). Recalcitrant = unwilling – and  (link): “When confronted with the many problems of modern society, we Filipinos always seem to apply family/barkada analogies” (contributor Francis, Society of Honor). Someone I know noted the “insular mentality” of Filipinos. I said imagine how isolated the world was for those in 1521.

Alien invasion

Then Spanish ships came in, like in Star Wars when Imperial cruisers appear in the sky of a planet. What was not understood, or seen as hostile, was not truly assimilated. Some Filipinos just seem to recite moral, legal or democratic principles, either like over-eager or bored pupils back in school. For those who always openly acted as if it was bullshit – seen from the “barangay” point of view – someone like Duterte was a godsend, just barely finishing school and going to the movies instead of caring about what Congress debated. Some formerly over-eager types found their inner rebels.

Trouble in the Philippines is that the lowest common denominator often becomes the standard. Higher standards tend to be seen as elitist or hypocritical. Liza Soberano seemed to have to curse (link) to be accepted as a true Filipino by many. Many institutions above the original tribal culture indeed came from colonialists and were used by the over-eager pupils to show their superiority. While the bored pupils waited until after school – or for the present times – to beat the nerds up. Even worse, many native traditions were destroyed by colonialism, so “barangay culture” regressed.

Personal knowledge

Some Filipino intellectuals, confused and lost when using maps like Filipino migrants also are, unlike the migrants had a “nationalistic” excuse for it: “maps are the colonialistic top-down view”. Good that UP also teaches excuses. Few are taught that Polynesians had navigational devices (link) that also have a certain level of abstraction. You cannot just rely on your senses alone out there. Filipinos who confined themselves to fishing near the coast forgot these crafts. Those who stayed mostly in the barangay relied on their senses alone and on the accounts of the people they knew.

Responses to drug war critics that they should look “on the ground” are typical for that mentality, just like Mocha’s statement that she did not see any EJK victims coming home from work at night (there was a Winnie Monsod “Bawal ang Pasaway” episode where she said that) – or someone I know who said Leila De Lima is a drug lord. Because all relatives in Europe and Canada say so. Such thinking works fine when you and your relatives personally know everyone you deal with. Lacking “personal knowledge” of a matter can even disqualify in today’s Philippine Congress (link)!

Severe limitation

Going back to the barangay mentality and casting off the tools that extend senses and perceptions severely limits judgement. “Western” tools developed over centuries to inform and educate larger societies are for example news reports, written accounts and summaries (extension of senses) and deduction, induction, analysis by experts (extension of perception). Instead fakery is believed. Videos and fotos may be spliced or a bit skewed yet people think they really saw what happened. Popular commenters like Mocha and Tulfo make people think someone they know told them.

In the barangay – in fact in all agricultural societies – a certain homogeneity was more important than the plurality of views in modern society. Personal sympathies very important for cooperation – while in larger units morals and laws as abstract rules allow even anonymous people to cooperate. Eight so-called Justices in the Philippines applied barangay or barkada rules towards CJ Sereno, even though they couched their reasons for it in “integrity” the true reason is I think very visible. Unwittingly or wittingly, they tore up the ground rule (or illusion) that Filipino laws are impartial.

Goodbye World

Imagine a Philippines were every multinational company has to go by the whims of the President. There are already stories of how Filipino mayors can be autocratic, and that parts of the provinces are ruled like by small datus who make the rules up by themselves. The Filipino elite, though often biased in favor of its own rent-seeking businesses, did at least maintain a pretense of impartiality. Although that pretense became weaker and weaker over the years. Fraport was a warning sign. Then came Gordon and Acosta with all their baseless accusations about Dengvaxia and Aquino.

Who will still invest in the country then? Will the Imperial cruisers leave, 500 years after 1521? Unfortunately a country cannot be un-discovered, so the pristine innocence of then is forever gone. But returning something even worse than that, the confined barangay mentality of colonial times with its frustrated and frustrating lack of perspective, short-sightedness, self-involvement, envy and malice – will not help. The mentality of the village in the Noli, of Justice De Castro and many Aquino-haters is not only backward. Its neediness is easily exploited by smart “alien invaders”.

Gaining perspective

Aguinaldo’s provincial need for self-aggrandizement was successfully exploited by the Spaniards when they gave him money to exile himself in Hong Kong in the 1897 Pact of Biak-na-Bato, same thing with the USA who brought him back on a steamship. Did he hope they would make him the President of his own Republic? He invoked the “Protection of the Mighty and Humane North American Nation” (link) much like Duterte today says Xi Jinping will protect him from ouster (link) and that Filipinos must be meek and humble so Xi will have mercy (link). Provincial thinking.

Broader perspectives are needed for national leaders. The old elite perspective seems gone now. With notable exceptions, it was not really understood anyway, just the over-eager pupils reciting. The whiz kids who have gone beyond reciting to understanding and adding own ideas to matters are now teaching the Filipino nation – former Solicitor General Hilbay and CJ Sereno are examples. They excel in matters of  law and justice, matters already more assimilated into Filipino culture than democracy, since law was – after priesthood – one of the first vocations open to “the natives”.

Both are making the principles behind the law more visible to a larger audience than ever before – even more than the late Senator Santiago did. But an episode of the Word of the Lourd (link) shows how few Filipinos on the street understand “quo warranto” at all. Lourd de Veyra has a certain type of Filipino humor that has become rare nowadays, one that has a certain self-irony. Westerners gain the dispassionate distance needed for better judgement through logic, Easterners through mindfulness, Filipinos through humor. But not the caustic, attacking “humor” of Duterte. Maybe, maybe, there is a beginning in such discourse. A speaking in tongues, a bridging of minds. Maybe even democracy in the Philippines, how the polity organizes itself, may yet learn from this. But that plant has the shallowest roots of all, a recent import like hamburgers. Let’s have Jolibee.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 20 May 2018

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Talo si Sereno, Panalo si Duterte

Wikipedia scale of justice3ayan mga DDS, inyo na ngayon ang Pilipinas. Si VP Leni napakadali na lang sigurong tanggalin. Tapos si Panot kukulungin na dahil sa Dengvaxia. Wala nang husgadong aayaw sa kaso ni De Lima dahil puwede silang ikuwaranto ni Calida. Ayan makakaganti na kayo sa wakas. Sa mga elitista. Magiging pare-pareho at pantay-pantay na ang Pilipino. Siyempre may mayaman pa at mahirap. Pero wala na iyong sobrang galing mag-Ingles. Wala na iyong mga pa-rule-of-rule-of-law diyan. Lahat ng desisyon manggaling kay Tatay Digong. Tulad noong panahon ni Mahoma at Lapu-Lapu.

Walang Korte Suprema noon. Walang Katoliko. Walang mga Unibersidad na puro demonstrasyon. Walang mga borloloy na batas na sobrang komplikado. Walang dilawan na druglord. Walang adik. Pero wala pang Facebook at Globe. Huwag kayong matakot, hindi tayo babalik nang todo-todo ano. Pero iyong mga nagmamagaling ngayon hindi na pupuwede. Lahat na parang iisang barangay. Kung ano iyong kaya ng Presidenteng kantahin, iyon lang ang tugtog. Rakrakan ni Baste OK din. Mga librong Western na nakakalason sa isip ng kabataan, tatanggalin. Kailangan ba ng China iyon?

Sila Tulfo, Acosta, Calida, Topacio at Gadon, mapupunta lahat sa Senado. Mabuti pa sila kaysa kay Bam Aquino na bakla. Kung anu-ano ang gustong gawing pakulo para sa technology development. Hindi kailangan ng Pilipino iyan kapag nandiyan ang China. Kailangan nila nang tapag-alaga. Parang mga Kuya at Ate na magbibigay sa kanila ng payo, para hindi sila lumayas sa daan ni Tatay. Pagkat alam ni Tatay Digong ang tamang daan. Walang tuwid na daan sa mga isla, puro baluktot. Kaya huwag kayong umasa sa anumang pangako. Mag-adjust kayo. Para ito sa ikabubuti ng lahat.

Mga journalist. Isa-isahin talaga sila. Bastos sila. Meron bang mga anak na sumasagot sa Tatay? Western countries siguro, mga masasamang ugali. Nasa kanila ang droga, Dengvaxia at democracy. Mga bagay na pampagulo sa lipunan. Unti-unti silang makikibagay o mawawala. Tulad ng dilawan.  Happy-happy na lahat sa wakas. Simple at komportable ang magiging buhay. Huwag magtanong. Basta alam ni Tatay Digong iyan. Supreme Court? Bakit may drug lists naman sa may barangay. Paano kung mamarkahan ka? Problema mo iyon! Para ka bang Serenong di marunong makisama?

Mga seaman, alam naman siguro ninyo ang mga lumang kuwento. Sa mga mapanganib na lugar sa dagat o sa may ilog, may mga babaeng nakaistambay at umaakit sa mga seaman. Mga Sereno ito. Mermaid din ang tawag sa kanila, halimbawa doon sa pelikulang Pirates of the Carribean Nr. 4. Huwag makinig sa kanilang kanta at baka maligaw pa kayo, mga Pilipino! Huwag magpa-akit! Huwag maniwalang sila mga babaylan ng katutubong Pilipinas! Lalake lang ang namumuno noon!  Inakupo mga DDS atbp., sana ganyang kadali ang mundo ano? Gising sa panaginip..

Irineo B. R. Salazar
ika-12 ng Marso 2018, München

 

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Common knowledge ang mga narco-list

Tangena trial by ordeal Madagascardahil alam ng barangay kung sino ang adik. Pilipino may pakiramdam. Westerner lang ang bobo na naghahanap pa ng prueba, tulad ni Delimaw na puro ganyan ang hinihingi – e alam naman na ng buong Bilibid na siya ang No. 1 Drug Lord! At huwag kayong humirit ng facts-facts at logic-logic, mga putangina kayong mga dilawan. Rappler ang nag-imbento ng facts-facts, di ba mga dilawan sila? Logic-logic, pautot lang iyan ng mga propesor na Kastila sa Santo Tomas noong araw. Walang silbi sa tunay na buhay. Pampahaba lang ng kuwento. Tulad ng proseso. Kung alam na adik, tapusin!

Proseso pagkakakitaan lang iyan ng mga huwes at abogado na pumoporma sa bar exams nila. Putangina tapos iyong Konstitusyon pa na iyan. Para lang iyan sa mga tanga na di maka-adjust. Iyong mga tipong kailangan pa ng red light at green light para alam kung kailan sila tatawid. Ganyan daw sa Alemanya sabi nila. Bobong mga iyan. EU pamandin sila. Pero tanga talaga sila. Plano ng plano. Akala mo Mar Roxas. Buti pa si Tatay Digong, alam ang gagawin na walang plano. Kaartehan na iyan. Paano mo malalaman kung ano bukas? E bukas baka tinokhang na pamilya mo!

Hay naku, iyang mga de numerong prueba, facts-facts, logic-logic, proseso, batas, Konstitusyon, plano – papel lang iyan, wala ka pang tunay na nagawa. Buti pa si Digong umaaksiyon agad. Sa Boracay merong mga SWAT at helicopter. Sa Kuwait, umaksiyon sila Mocha at Thinking Pinoy. Ngayon, malapit nang umurong at makipag-usap uli ang Kuwait sa Pilipino. Kailangan nila tayo. Kasi genius tayo. Kahit walang plano kayang-kaya natin. Kung baga sa tugtog, widow tayo palagi. Tanginang mga Mozart at Beethoven na puro nota. Buti pa si Freddie Aguilar, magiging Senador.

Tsaka matapang tayo! Hinamon natin ang mga Arabo. Pinaalis ng Pangulo natin iyong taga-EU.  Ano ngayon kung nag-resolusyon na naman ang EU Parliament. Magrosaryo na lang kaya sila ‘no! Dilawan talaga sila, umaasa sa dasal at papeles. Tayo umaasa sa aksiyon, sa tapang at sa pusila! Resbak pa natin ang mga Intsik. Malakas tayo diyan. Bilib sila sa atin. Kaya pinapautangan tayo. Kaya magpapasok ng maraming negosyo sa bansa natin. Pati si Donald Trump niririspito tayo. Iyong Casino ng Galaxy, mauna pa sa Casino ng Kano. Mas sikat tayo kaysa Las Vegas at Macau.

Sa Hapon malakas din tayo. Kalimutan ninyo iyang comfort woman statue. Laos na Maria Clara. Biktima iyan tulad ni Sisa. Laos na ang paawa. Mautak na Pinay ngayon, kikita ng husto sa lalaki. Hapon, Intsik o iyong lubak-lubak na mukha man ang pinag-uusapan. Huwag bobo, sabi ni Mocha! Huwag sobrang guwapo, sabi ni Calida. Mga sobrang guwapo mga bakla. Si Coco Martin, tiyak na dumaan iyan kay Brillante Mendoza ano. Pero babae ka man o lalake, ikaw muna ang bibirahin bago ka makabira sa huli. Ganyan talaga ang buhay. Hindi tayo mga santo, kaya babuyin na natin.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
Munich, Mayo Uno 2018


https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/04/27/1810010/release-narco-list-does-not-violate-human-rights-palace-says-despite-past-inaccuracies

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the order of President Rodrigo Duterte for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to release the government’s list of so-called narco-politicians did not violate the human rights of individuals to be named as they were running for elective government posts.

He said that the list would just “confirm” what was supposedly common knowledge among residents of a village who knew the people involved in illegal drugs in their communities.

 

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When Bridges Collapse

Bridge ruins through the Donskoy Chulek Riverand people mostly get wet like in Zamboanga today (link) – just rebuild them. Diplomatic bridges burning like those to Kuwait recently (link) are more serious. The EU-Philippines bridge still stands, even if there have been differences (link) – with most of the drama on the Philippine side. One should remember that the EU Parliament represents the people of Europe, and that there is a sizable segment of the population that does not want to fund governments that harm their people. And of course the EU has strings attached to its help – it wants to develop allies with similar values. Every major player in the world does. And so do major political groupings. Why does the Naumann Foundation, close to the German Free Democrats (Liberals, also color yellow over here) invite the Liberal Party with VP Robredo to Berlin? Why does Akbayan partner with European Socialists?

Bridges and Respect

Bridges are important in this world. Some may be at times heavily guarded and seldom crossed, like in Cold War days the Glienicke Bridge or Bridge of Spies between West Berlin and Potsdam. Bridges between people and groups are even more important. One major bridge is mutual respect. The Mogadishu rescue operation in which German commandos stormed a Lufthansa plane held by Palestinian terrorists only got to “roll” when the Chancellor’s Chief of Staff – who was onsite at the airport in Somalia – personally asked the Somalian President for permission by phone, and got it. Ever since borders have fallen in Europe, police may cross borders in hot pursuit of criminals – but must radio their colleagues in the next country to take over the chase. Italian police help out on one particular weekend of the Oktoberfest when many Italians come – to keep them in line as guests.

Now what would happen in the case (highly improbable) that Italian police saw it fit to interfere in a fight between, let’s say, drunken Italians and equally drunken Australians protecting their girls from Italian advances – a kind of fight which is indeed possible given the ways of both countries? Not just mediate and talk to the Italians, separating the crowds, but dealing with the Aussies also? Forget it. No more Italian police in Munich next year, I am sure. But that isn’t happening for now. Serbian police hitting Albanian soccer fans (link) is more likely – the Balkans are a lot more tribal. Now how about maids in Kuwait? Yes, one died. Many may want to leave, but already seemed to have been some cooperation in place between Kuwait authorities and the Philippine Embassy. If escapes were necessary, there are discreet ways to do that. But it seems Mocha wanted a presscon.

Bridges and Borders

Fools. Kuwaitis have dealt with a real occupation by Saddam Hussein. And Arabs have their pride. Cayetano’s strangely worded “apology” saying (link) “We are apologizing for certain incidents that the Kuwaiti view as a violation of their sovereignty” in combination with the arrogant demeanor of Cayetano sounds somewhat like saying “oh, we didn’t know you were that sensitive”. Coming from a country, the Philippines, that is known for hypersensitivity to foreign criticism – not only during this administration but even before, even making a big fuss about Spanish biscuits or American TV. But that same country is arrogant, even pushy when it comes to defending even Filipino criminals in other countries. Now things have gone beyond the usual wars of words. Filipinos have crossed a real red line and ACTED in a foreign country. And not just caused shame to Kuwait by filming it.

There is allegedly a story in the Middle East where two sons allow the neighbors to steal their goat. The father tells them to get it back. More bad things are done to the family, every day. The father keeps repeating to them to get back the goat. Meaning: restore respect, restore old boundaries. Europeans also have their boundaries – the deportation of European politician Giacomo Filibeck was specifically mentioned in a speech of a partymate in the EU Parliament (link).  The attack on him was seen as an attack on all. Strangely, Duterte has not reacted with his usual personal slurs. The warning of possible trade privileges being taken away (link) was part of the recent resolution. No need for drama at all. What else is there to deal with except Duterte and the Philippines? Well, there are millions of refugees, restive Russia, troubled Turkey, a now-difficult USA, and Syria and..

Bridges you burn

True, a Filipina was killed in Kuwait. Might have been that some wanted to leave their employers. But if you already agreed to work with Kuwaiti authorities, you stick to it. Lodge a protest if they don’t let certain maids go. And the EU? If you sign agreements that your dried mangoes, among other things, may be imported without customs duties into the EU and one of the conditions is that you adhere to human rights, then don’t complain. Nobody in the EU is telling Duterte what to do. Simply giving a fair notice – something Boracay never got – of consequences to the relationship.

There was a woman from Mindanao I knew who liked to say “that’s unfair!” in a mock-sissy tone. Fairness is for sissies some do think. Fair or not, “you have to die one death”, they say in Bavaria. Meaning you have to make some choices. Tokhang or sell your dried mangoes duty-free to the EU. Be decisive. “He who dies earlier is dead for much longer” is another Bavarian saying. Real strange. But maybe it means eternal life and rest in peace. And at some point decisions are forced upon you. It is fair if you know your choices well in advance. In contracts, laws, treaties. In daily life as well.

Mutual trust is the second aspect of bridges of understanding. Fairness and predictability breed it. Even if the Philippines miraculously were able to get rid of Duterte, many might not trust again. Even an intact bridge might not be one people cross if they are unsure of what is on the other side. Unpredictable and unfair shakedown artists – or reliable partners of all sorts? A bridge can have gates that are closed on one side. Kuwait has temporarily closed its gates. What is most likely next. Which bridges will still collapse? Which bridges will be burnt, built, restored? Or even abandoned?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 27 April 2018

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