Posts Tagged Issues

Set in Stone

Volcanic stonesis what many a Filipino thought or sentiment seems to be. A certain stubbornness in sticking to one’s opinions is even seen as a virtue. In certain circles even arguing against all common sense. Whether one is PAO Persida Acosta insisting that as a lawyer, she knows that Dengvaxia kills, or whether one is Solicitor General Calida maintaining that not being able to find Trillanes’ amnesty application means it never existed. Inspite of footage, testimonies and other indications that it did. Probably a Filipino trickster will have respect for Calida’s grin while defending the obvious untruth.

Truth versus Power

Because that could be seen as higher intelligence than Acosta’s believing the nonsense she states. But that would mean that truth matters little, only power and winning – not learning anything. Because learning means having doubts, making mistakes, verifying assumptions and a lot more. That seems to be seen as a weakness in the Philippines. Or why are unverified drug lists published? That is dangerous in a country were even criticizing the government is now seen as destabilizing. But the chickens have come home to roost. The culture always saw words as instruments of power.

In a passive-aggressive culture (link), criticism can be two-faced as innuendo is used for “attack”. Like the part of an iceberg above the water is smaller than what is below, the facts being discussed are sometimes not what is really meant. Criticism of policies CAN indeed mean “destabilization”. Why? Because whether Filipinos cooperate with someone or not can depend a lot on petty moods. Whether the person is liked or not. Dislike for whatever reason can lead to howling condemnation like the one experienced by President Benigno Aquino III for far less mistakes than Duterte made.

Confrontation with certain types of Filipinos are of course to be avoided, as there are not only the passive-aggressive but also the vindictive types. President Duterte towards De Lima, Sereno and Trillanes. Hinting he would destroy “a female official” just after he started (link) – but for what? Simply for pointing out the obvious about him, for investigating extrajudicial killings? That is a culture were face is far more important than the truth, very obviously. Were being wrong is not the issue, even if everybody knows it somehow – being told one is wrong is what destroys ones esteem.

Truth to Power

Black Box Thinking (link) is a book about learning from mistakes. There are a few examples in the book which show when incapability to speak truth to power leads to fatal mistakes. Co-pilots who are too diplomatic in telling the pilot something critical. Nurses not assertive enough to doctors. Due to inborn “respect” for rank – misplaced in situations were seconds can mean life or death. There can of course be power that refuses to accept any version of reality except their own. That can be dangerous to them, as they can execute or fire those “against” them but not escape from reality.

This is especially true in modern situations where reality is complex and hard to intuitively “see”. That is why seat of the pants leaders like Philippine mayors have difficulty in national settings.  Someone who lives in a city can get a “feel” for it without even being mayor: I can “feel” Munich. Mayors will talk to different people and compare what they see with what they are told and then they can balance their picture, decide and immediately see the results. No need for anyone to tell. Better if, but if the culture is one of face and power (link) better not be “shaimed” (sic) too much.

Well, I did think that Duterte was a good leader originally, because of his “listening tours” (link) at a time when President Aquino was criticized heavily for being insensitive to the common people. But was he? Possibly he also had a hard time, as Filipino culture sees criticism as form of attack. Probably even his statement that the people are his boss was the worst thing he could have done. Filipino bosses can be demanding to the point of unfairness, many Filipinos prefer foreign bosses. Some people probably thought they could nitpick on practically anything, thus abusing democracy.

Powerful Truth

A recent article by Dr. Gideon Lasco on The Scholar as a Rebel (link) does stress the importance of challenging received wisdom as an essential aspect of learning: the best thinkers of their day were called “revolutionary” precisely because they helped build their societies upon ideas — ideas that were nurtured in universities, and viewed as rebellious at the time of their inception. Of course not every trollish social media commenter who says “ugok ka” and “mali iyan” is a useful “rebel”. Dissent must be based on proper reasoning – even if it may come from a new and fresh angle.

Criticism of the policies of a leader does not have to mean disrespecting the authority of a leader.  Protests are a necessary corrective to smugness that can weaken a ruling group after some time. Unfortunately the Philippines is still built on face and power, not on ideas, so sophistry rules. Dengvaxia might be OK, but that can’t be, it is yellow as eggyolk, just like the new MRT wagons! The mentality still “be like”: “look at Panot! Poe lectured that WEAKLING about Mamasapano! Our Digong deals with critics quickly!” Actually, mistakes that happened in every administration could have been used as opportunities to learn how to improve the system as a whole – not in finding a culprit. Even the question “why EJKs” could have been an opportunity to learn, as the reason might have been “police investigations too inefficient, courts too slow, customs too porous”. Yet the culture loves finding a culprit or culprits and punishing them in whatever way possible. Those perceived as weak often become the culprits and those perceived as strong assign blame. Truth would make everyone more powerful. But the perspective of many is so short-sighted.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 12 October 2018

 

 

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Red Oktoberfest Horse

Oktoberfest-Kutscherdoesn’t exist, just by itself. There is Red Horse, but that beer may not be served at the Oktoberfest. Only beers brewed in Munich, as tradition dictates. But the Oktoberfest starts in September, why? Because the weather is still somewhat better then is what I know, as long as it ends in October, OK. Or passt scho, as Bavarians say. That’s OK is what it more or less means. No need to look further. Red October, or the October revolution, wasn’t really in October either. It was on October 25, 1917 in Russia and on November 7, 1917 – by the Gregorian calendar which most of Europe was using.

Reds turned Red October into Red November when they chose to switch to Gregorian in 1918. Greeks finally decided to go Gregorian in 1919 – for civil purposes. Christmas and Easter still differ for Russians and Greeks, this I know. Why should Orthodox bishops follow a calendar that was decreed by a Roman Catholic Pope? Gregory XIII, to be exact, way back in 1582, had reformed the Julian calendar, decreed by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. – both being the Pontifex Maximus. These priests defined the calendar in ancient Rome, but sometimes misused that power for politics.

Weder-Weder and Seasons

Even Julius Caesar made the year of his third consulship 446 days long in the year of his reform. Being Pontifex Maximus and Consul was like being President and Supreme Court Chief Justice. Might be an idea for Duterte when CJ Castro retires. But even in Roman times, the additional days to adjust the calendar to the seasons (or political weder-weder) were done after February, like now. Except that February was the last month, and September – October – November – December were really still the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth months, respectively. After Julius and Augustus.

Almost 16 hundred years later, the 365.25 days used to compute leap years every 4 years proved to be slightly inaccurate. Easter got colder and colder. 365.2425 days is inaccurate every 3000+ years. Pretty accurate though for a Catholic Church that still refused to believe Galileo – at least officially. But on the other hand accepted strong beer as a valid substitute for food during the Lenten season. There is the story that Bavarian monks sent beer all the way to Rome and it was no longer fresh when it arrived, so the Vatican approved it. In reality it is almost as strong as Filipino Red Horse.

Per centum

8% alcohol is what I have found for Red Horse, while the Lenten beers of Munich called Salvator, Maximator, Triumphator etc. have around 7.5%. Oktoberfest beer “only” has 6.4% – not inflation, alcohol percentage. Regular beer like Augustiner Helles has 5.2%, which looks like a little less. Unfortunately, whether we talk about alcohol percentage or inflation, small differences are big. Four half liter mugs of Augustiner Helles make you way less drunk than two liters of Augustiner in the Oktoberfest tent of the same name. Lenten Penance is two liters of Maximator – same brewery.

No October Horse is sacrificed to mark the end of the agricultural season during the Oktoberfest. That was in ancient Rome. There are brewery horses pulling carriages with beer barrels on them during the opening ceremony, but most “tents” are huge wooden pavillions nowadays with tanks and pipes for their beer. The Augustiner “tent” does still use 200 liter barrels though, traditionally. And still the Oktoberfest has a lot in common with other harvest and autumn festivals in Bavaria. Entire oxen roasted, with name and weight indicated, are most remiscent of sacrifice in one “tent”.

Sacrifice

Someone doubted whether one could roast such a large animal in one piece, wouldn’t it take days? After all, lechon takes around six hours if I remember correctly, turkey or goose like three hours. But I have seen that they cut off meat from the outside going inwards, much like with shawarma. Same with gyros or döner, the Greek and Turkish versions of Lebanese shawarma, respectively. Only Greek gyros is pork though, but ancient Greeks were known to sacrifice bulls etc. to Gods. Ancient Greek comedies made fun of the fact that most of the meat was grilled and eaten by people.

So before gyros, there was souvlaki – or similar. But I don’t think that the Greek attitude to sacrifice was imported to Bavaria by King Otto, first King of modern Greece, a Bavarian prince. The Greeks disliked him. Coach Otto Rehhagel was liked, as he helped the Greeks win the 2002 European Cup. Sometime afterwards the Euro crisis came, and Angela Merkel became a new hate figure in Greece. Somewhat like “Panot” aka President Aquino in the Philippines two years ago – for much less than the sacrifices – human and monetary, not animal – they have to endure today under “Lodi” Duterte.

Red Oktoberfest

never existed either, but there was a “Bavarian Soviet Republic” for a short while in Spring of 1919. The house of Wittelsbach, a truly old political dynasty, ruled Bavaria from 1180 until Nov. 7, 1918, when the Free State of Bavaria was declared. A right-wing nationalistic aristocrat killed its founder, a Social Democrat, on Feb. 21, 1919. The Social Democrats managed to get a government together by March 7, but it was so weak that by April, a Communist Republic was declared by somewhat crazy anarchists. A week later, Communists led by three Russian migrants loyal to Lenin took over.

There is a legacy of beer from that short-lived “republic”: the “Russnmaß” or Russian stein which mixes wheat beer (as opposed to beer from malt and hops) with sweet lemonade. Seems the Russn or “Russians” which the common people called all the Communists liked that sweet and sober mix. Didn’t help much. The democratic government had fled to Bamberg and got help from right-wing volunteer paramilitaries, the Freikorps, while the Communists quickly formed an own “Red Army”. Munich was reconquered by early May, democracy restored but true power was with the Right.

Extremists and democrats

Many of those in the Freikorps later became prominent Nazis (link) though some former members of the “Red Army” became Nazis also. Four years later, Hitler attempted a right-wing coup (link). Extremists from left and right clashed in the streets of the Weimar Republic, weakening democracy. Hitler himself got rid of most of the left wing of his Nazi party in the night of the Long Knives (link) in 1934. Non-extremist, meaning non-violent political parties did not stand a chance in those years, even if two became the major right-wing and left-wing democratic parties of postwar Germany.

Democracy is finally about taming our savage desire to hurt the other side, an agreement to deal with conflicts in a civilized, rule-based manner. Just like rule of law is about taming our desire to take revenge – or to just punish those we dislike for whatever reason. We can be very nasty inside. Especially when hungry. So it is better not to go hunting for Red October Horses to be sacrificed. Better sacrifice pigs, cows or oxen, eat them like Greeks or Bavarians, or the Ifugao during kanyaw. Drink Red Horse or Russian beermix. Lenten beer, yellowish Helles, or Cerveza Negra. Prosper!


Romans, Greeks, Filipinos, Bavarians, Russians. Pigs, cows, horses and oxen. Beer and festivals. Politics and calendars. Revolution and sacrifice. Inflation and drunkenness. Soccer and festivals. Greeks sticking to Roman calendars. Communists adopting Roman Catholic calendars. Bogeymen. Christian Popes adopting the title of a pagan priest of ancient Rome. Lodis. Octo = VIII, not X. Finally, just one horse at the Oktoberfest start carries the mascot of Munich, a young lady in a cape. Which lady will be on the Philippine October horse? Smiling, very short, or sharp-chinned? Who?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 2 October 2018

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Quo warranto et ab initio in saeculo saeculorum

Wikipedia scale of justice3Social media is full of memes since the attempt to void the amnesty of Senator Trillanes.  Just like the lack of a birth certificate does not make a person unborn, a missing marriage certificate does not annul a marriage, and whether one has the death certificate of Rizal somewhere in a museum or not, Rizal (and Elvis) are dead. Will quo warranto and ab initio go the way of in saecula saeculorum (“now and forever” in Catholic liturgy – link) which became colorum (link) due to use by cult-like rebels?  Has Solicitor General Calida crossed the line, offended Filipinos?

Laws as commitments

His predecessor Florin Hilbay asked whether anyone sent to buy vinegar (Robin Padilla) can just arrest someone now. There are even memes that ask if a marriage is annulled if the marriage certificate is missing. One thing very sacred to Filipinos is marriage, not just a legal document like so much else but a sacred commitment made. Just like an amnesty is a commitment by a state to a person. Laws are also a form of commitment, like contracts between people are commitments. Morality is also a form of commitment to restrain one’s own baser instincts, and be nice to others.

The left is also defending Trillanes, not because they like him, but because the principle that an amnesty stays is essential to the safety of many former rebels among the left. Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo says that (link) “The State cannot be shackled by an act of clemency it has given to a political offender when the latter pursues subsequent acts inimical to its interest..” which betrays an idea of government “for the powerful, by the powerful for the powerful” not the people. Government should keep its commitments, not be captive to the whims of groups or factions.

Patronage and Impunity

Of course the old rules of malakas and mahina (link) or strong and weak worked out in Filipino politics for a long time, possibly even in pre-Hispanic barangays. The losers possibly even left on their own balanghai (link) to new settlements if the arrangement was too odious – there was space. Then it became convincing the powers that be that one is “right” – leading to phenomena like split-level Christianity (link) or trying to curry favor with the higher power of the time by pretending to adhere to whatever one thought would please them, even if it was only a simulation not reality.

Reagan’s Vice President Bush (senior) told Marcos (Sr.) in 1981 “We love your adherence to democratic principle and to the democratic processes” (link). Marcos must have been very pleased. The system of master pleases patron, even if only for show, to be allowed impunity downwards. Years later, Marcos was to be surprised that American society had eventually developed to also care whether human rights were adhered to abroad, away from the principle of “our SOB” (link). Thus he was “very, very disappointed” when Senator Laxalt told him to “cut, and cut cleanly” in 1986.

What does the Filipino want?

One could defend the old system as “Filipino culture”, but some recent memes show some beliefs might be changing: police ask for your driver’s license application instead of your driver’s license, or POEA wants your passport application instead of your passport.  Are they tired of impunity? There is a major principle that makes rule of law both real and yes, even pleasant for those with less power: legal certainty (link), defined as “a principle in national and international law which holds that the law must provide those subject to it with the ability to regulate their conduct.”

One could argue that the unwritten rules of Philippine society, basically the rules of patronage and impunity, are predictable to those who grow up in them. But is it a nice life having to always watch out who you might offend? Especially the Filipino entitled, who often are unpredictably grandiose? The President with his obvious narcissism is just an extreme manifestation. The others who shout “do you know who I am” to anyone they think is in their way or otherwise offended them are more. Might be that the Philippines is on the road to hell if those who dream of being like that are more.


Does the majority really think the Philippines is meant to be ruled by impunity, by face and power, and by rent-seekers forever? Quo warranto, or what gives the entitled to rule the country after all? Though some Marcos loyalists call the so-called yellows “pretenders” (link) which is a term used for fake royalty and some even say that Bongbong Marcos will soon “wear the crown” of Vice President. As if that dynasty ruled the country ab initio (from the beginning) and had the right to do so in saeculo saeculorum (for ever and ever). Mind your betters, or Magistrate Calida will punish you!

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 8 September 2018

 

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Debasing the Filipino

Mocha Uson 2017is there anything else Mocha Uson’s recent Pepe Dede Ralism (link) show could have been about? Especially with the lewd dance number of the young man at the start? Granted that there has been a bit of a Kulturkampf (link) against the norms of the Catholic Church for a number of decades.

Granted that pre-Hispanic Filipino sexuality was by all accounts less repressed than after Spain, and that America may have brought some modern ideas but also is repressed about sex at times. Something like Nipplegate would not have been worth noticing in most parts of modern Europe.

Granted that it was hard to get the Reproductive Health Law through. And that a Senator Sotto was able to attack a former activist like Judy Taguiwalo for having children out of wedlock (link) when it was the Filipino left that was second to attack certain forms of hypocrisy. Rizal’s Noli was the first.


Even in outwardly more prim and proper days some decades ago, Filipino migrants already had comics with somewhat lewd jokes, including a fairy with spells like “Abra ka dabra, panty at bra!”. Probably Kris Aquino, at the latest, did away with the old prim and proper by rebelling against it.

By the time of Erap, everybody even the papers spoke about his No. 1, No.2, No. 3 etc. so that an alien from Centauri could write into his notebook that “the chiefs of these islands are polygamous, and it is accepted by the natives”. In addition “simple men often just leave their wives for younger”.

Priorities are so clearly wrong. A divorce law and clear rules that a man has to pay at least until his kids are 18 if he leaves his wife would be better than pretending monogamy always works in reality. Proper awareness would help more against teen pregnancies and HIV – that could be Mocha’s job.


But instead of raising awareness, Mocha fools the people. That isn’t new – debasing them I think is. Federalism is important, it ain’t about what pussies (pepe) and tits (dede) you have in each state. Talking to citizens about the big F as if it was not Federalism, but Fucking just talks down to them.

What was that about, making the Philippines Asia’s Red Light District, take your pick of pussy?  What do you want to buy, Marawi or Boracay? Normal or perverse? With or without tokhang porn? Putang Inang Bayan, for sale by Pimp Daddy Duts? Big D, is that what your front seat bitch means?

Duterte and Mocha have catered to a lot of Filipino inferiority complexes – and to crab mentality. What I wonder is if a rest of a sense of national dignity will be awakened by this line now crossed. Now if most Filipinos prefer that treatment, a point of no return may already have been reached.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 5 August 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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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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Kilig siguro sa akin si Sharon..

2397-sharon-cuneta-dead-serious-about-p10mn-bounty-if-husband-kiko-pangilinan-proven-guilty-of-pork-corruption-400x252 (1)isip ni Duterte bago matulog sa kulambo, tapos maglulô. “Tagal di nakatikim ng tunay na lalaki iyan, dilaw lang, wah buring!” sinabi niya. “e baka pati sa sex, simbahan palagi ang sinosonod!”. “Tapos ni walang excitement” inisip niya “e di ba gusto ng babae iyong marunong umaksiyon?” nagsalita ulit siya “anong silbi ng lalakeng puro opisina lang, e kung hamunin iyan ng nasa kanto tatakbo, ang babae walâ man proteksiyon”. “ay walâ, mahinâ” inisip niya ulit. “Tapos mawala pa trabaho ng disente, wala na. Buti pa tayong mga madiskarte, may lusot-lusot sa tabi-tabi”.

Umupo siya sa kama at nagsimulang magsalita ulit: “iyan, putangina, bakit kasi iyang mga disente, nakikialam sa hanapbuhay nating mga mi diskarte? Kung hindi nila hinabol ng hinabol ang mga Marcos, si Arroyo, pork baril, uki pa sana silâ ngayon, di bâ?” Nagkamot siya ng ulo. “Yaman yaman na ng dilaw, ayaw pagbigyan ang ordinaryong Pilipino tulad natin dumiskarti ng kontî man! Eh ngayon, bawi na tayo! Casino sa Boracay. Projek-projek sa Marawi.” Tumawa si Duterte. “Anong alam ng dilaw, Ingles-Ingles lang. Mawala Kano nila, wala na sila. Buti nga”.

Inantok si Duterte at natulog. Pagsikat ng araw, bigla siyang nakaupo sa labas ng isang cottage sa may beach. Tinignan niya iyong kapaligiran niya. “Ano ito, Boracay?”  sabi niya. “Partido ito” sabi ng boses sa katabing upuan. Lumingon si Duts sa kanan. “Leni?” “Oo.” “Anong ginagawâ ko dito?” “Bisita ka namin dito sa Bikol.” “Paano?” “Ikaw mismo ang nagpunta rito, kaya lang matagal kang natulog.” “Talaga?” “Heto muna suman, kumain ka”. “Baka magtae ako.” “Hindi”. Tatlong suman sa ibos ang kinain ni Duterte. “Saan ninyo ako dadalhin?” sabi niya “sa Den Haag na ba?”.

“Kung puwede sana, matauhan ka man lang” sabi ni Leni. “bigyan natin ng kinabukasan ang mga Pilipino, huwag iyong alila lang ng Intsik. Sana lahat may pagkakataon mag-aral ng kayang pag-aralan at makakuha ng trabahong sapat.” Sagot ni Digong “e di ba libre na ang kolehiyo ngayon” “Galing kay Bam Aquino ang batas na iyan” tugon ni Leni. “e paano kaming mga gago na tamad mag-aral? Ma, inutil talaga ako, Maaaaa” umiyak siya at sumandal kay Leni, pero itinulak siya nitong pataas. Kontrolado ang mukha niya, parang empleyado sa Mental.

“Tsaka paano iyong mga mawalan ng trabaho, anong silbi ng subrang pag-aaral? Sa sistema namin, magdependi sila sa amin na may diskarte.” “Sa pagnakaw ninyo, ibig mong sabihin?” sagot ni Leni. “Hende ah, my Lady, Madame Beautipul, utakan lang, abilidad! Mula pa noong 1521 ganyan talaga tayo kung mag-survive. E tanggalin mo ang moral, ang batas, survival of the fittest ang meron. Diyan tayo magaling, kahit walang pari, walang batas. Tsaka mga babae, sabaw ang poke sa lawyer and killer tulad ko! Dilaw lang natikman mo, sayang ang ganda mo!”

Mabilis na tumayo sa Leni, mas mabilis pa siyang sumampal. Biglang napunta sa buhangin si Duterte at paiyak-iyak: “Maa, huwag mo akong hampasin sa tenga, huwag na masakiiit”. Biglang nagising si Duterte sa may sahig, siyempre sa labas nang kulambo. Pumasok si Bong Go. “Anu ang kumalampag diyan?” sabi niya. “Bakit ka nasa sahig!”. “Eh wala, masarap lang ang panaginip ko!” “Gago, tumayo ka, bihis, maraming papirmâ sa iyoh Chinese Ambassador!” Tumayo si Duts. Kinuha niya ang pantalon niya sa may silya at sinuot niya, tapos iyong gusot-gusot na barong.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 23 ng Marso 2018

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Others thinking you think you’re better

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Serenoare dangerous – in the Philippines and elsewhere. Sara Duterte about EDSA veterans (link), Supreme Court Justices about CJ Sereno, probably many about President Aquino’s handling Dengvaxia – which may have proven successful given recent indications (link). Damn, time for Martial Law and censorship! Increase the number of dengue cases, as yellow must be made bad! And they deserve hatred that is deep and personal, just like Harry Roque wishing Leila de Lima a life in jail (link) – yes, they messed up some things, but what did they do to deserve all of that?

Pakikisama and Schadenfreude

One accusation hurdled against Chief Justice Sereno is lacking pakikisama towards her colleagues in the Supreme Court – again a propaganda strategy that is very Filipino. Pakikisama often means subduing oneself to fit into a group. You don’t like the movie everybody in the barkada has seen? Bad enough if you weren’t there to see it with them. Worse if you say you think it is a stupid movie. An individual opinion against the assumed majority opinion – wow, does he think he is BETTER? Put a UP graduate into the midst of some working-class OFWs without escape. What could happen?

They might probably wait for the first slip-up of the UP graduate, and then display Schadenfreude. Sara Duterte brought the word Schadenfreude into the Philippine vocabulary (link) with regards to Mariel de Leon not topping Miss International – because she criticized the present administration. The sentiment against “yellow”, the previous administration and all related to it, is however more like the Serbian saying Da komsiji crkne krava – “If only the neighbour’s cow would die” (link) – related to the Serbian concept of inat: spitefulness, vindictiveness, hardheadedness + much more.

Spitefulness and Feindbilder

There is a similar spitefulness visible and audible among those who hate Aquino, Sereno, De Lima. Aquino? Sure he messed up certain things. But is the present government doing so much better? Sure it was easy to make him – and Mar Roxas – bogeymen due to their plantation owner origins. Feindbild is the German word for a cluster of prejudices and fears pertaining to a given group. There is also the Feindbild of the English-speaking elite, easy to trigger among common Filipinos. Why otherwise would Mocha focus on Leni Robredo’s US visits and her daughter in Harvard?

There is I think deep envy about what is perceived to be a privileged life, as opposed to one’s own.  Why otherwise make a big deal about Leni’s dresses, like some have done – yet admire the dresses of Isabelle Duterte at a lavish debut? Of course, Leni Robredo has already been identified as part of the other tribe, those who have “had it all” (not true for Leni who lived in the dormitory when she studied at UP) while “we” never had anything and now have the right to luxury and the good life. Even if no one can claim that Leni is lighter in color than most, or Sereno’s nose way too sharp!

Country and town

are both called bayan in Filipino. In a town especially a small one, there is a certain conformity. There is indeed a certain sameness, anywhere in the world. You are ruling a quite homogeneous group of people. The Philippines is a country – forced upon a collection of small communities. Countries need specialized people to be governed properly. The probably first specialized people in the Philippines were the town scribes the Spanish friars trained. More sophisticated governance and business brought about the present “elite” universities that are in international rankings (link).

That the provinces and the poor were left behind is an effect of this development until today. But the present government is playing a dangerous game in mobilizing envy of those left behind against those who had better chances. Mayors can still run their cities by sheer instinct, like Duterte did. For larger entities like countries you need truly competent people – unless you want to return to olden days with plenty of epidemics, pogroms and witch hunts. Isn’t the Philippines getting there? Measles spreading due to fear of vaccines. Pogrom mentality against drug users. And witch hunts.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 3 March 2018

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So much Imbecility

Vile imbecilesis exhausting. Wanda Teo’s tourism charts. Bilibid boys threatening to recant. Alvarez’ wife saying he became a Manobo. Certainly he was always a bobo. His Senate counterpart Pimentel is just as much of an asshole, but I think he isn’t as stupid. Touché for Atty. Mandy Anderson. Kudos to the new culture of directness in the Philippines. If the President can insult people, so can others hit back at those who think they are higher. The Ombudsman telling the President “wala siyang pakialam”, that her work is none of his business, is not imbecility but a language every Filipino gets.

It was a matter of time before the crowd that ASec Lorraine Badoy termed as “ninnies” would hit back. Chito Gascon of CHR telling Panelo to focus on his job. After Panelo told Gascon to resign, which he constitutionally has no right to. Fixed-term appointees were purposely created to provide checks and balances – it would be terrible if one group had all the power without any critics. Malacañan saying that commissioners serve at “the President’s pleasure” (link) is another imbecility. Do they think the President is an absolute monarch, like the erstwhile Louis XIV of France?

How often indeed has the President spoken of himself as the owner of the Philippines – may-ari ng Pilipinas? How often has he spoken of my police, my army, my weapons? Louis XIV indeed said “I am the state” but also said in his old age that “I will die, but the state will remain”. Duterte would destroy the government if he had his way (link) but has not laid out any vision of the “more efficient system” that he would like to have in its place. Will it be barangays with drug lists – decentralized impunity? Plus centralized impunity against Lumad schools and the like (link)?

In the meantime, the real deals with China may have been sealed with the visit of the Chinese foreign minister. Will it indeed be joint exploration close to Palawan – with a sizable Chinese military presence to guard it? Fortunately, few were imbecilic enough to see the lapu-lapu being “gifted” by the Chinese to Filipino fishermen as generosity. Or a few firearms as real assistance. Maybe they are like the expensive underwear allegedly gifted to prostitutes by some pimps – with money they earned in the first place. Or even worse, just Woolworth underwear in Palmer’s plastic bags.

20 million Filipinos remain poor (link). What will be done for them? Will they be sent to work on Chinese oil rigs, since the construction worker jobs will allegedly be given to Chinese? And how about the education of the Filipino in general? Seems free tuition is gone by 2018 (link). Does the present administration want a stupid people to call its own? A slave race, with them as overseers? And the city the Chinese plan to build in Manila Bay, will it be like Intramuros? No Filipinos after dusk? Might they let some Chinoys become “Insular Chinese”? How imbecilic will Filipinos be?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 29 July 2017

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A comfortable life

Comfortable anywhere (372543421)is what President Duterte promised in his first SONA (link). I would not want a comfortable life. I like the way my life is now – with its efforts and its rewards, but not comfortable. Someone who is comfortable is in my book depending too much on others, either as patrons or as servants. Getting comfortable means getting complacent. In the same article, Duterte says: “My administration is working to ensure that basic human services are available to all; food and health needs; water and sanitation; shelter; public safety; education; and economic opportunities”. Sure.

Just a few sentences after, the real emphasis becomes clear: “In his speech, Duterte cited Davao City during his term as mayor, wherein he became well-known for bringing peace and order to his hometown.”. This sounds like putting the cart before the horse. Give people a chance to make a decent living thru work and you have a lot less unrest. How is the situation when it comes to water and sanitation in Metro Manila and other big cities, especially the poor areas where there are many addicts? I might take at least a shot of gin myself – not drugs – if I had to endure living there.

How about education and economic opportunities? It could start with small scale industries, there are programs like K-12 Plus (link) which happens to be German-sponsored and combines both education and economic opportunities by training poor people on the job. I doubt that the kids learning metalworking in the San Pedro Relocation Center National High School take drugs. They have a chance in life and most people are not so foolish to waste real chances. As for shelter – if Leni allegedly did not do enough, what is her successor now doing in terms of social housing.

The right mix in social housing – with community centres especially for the youth to prevent disorientation, mixing different income groups to prevent the hopelessness of ghettos, putting people near factories or place where there is work – has proven crucial to defusing social tensions in modern countries. Where is the comprehensive program for this – or even just the first baby steps?

Food needs. Microfinance (link) and rural banks are crucial, not just ranting against moneylenders. Storage and distribution as well. Prosperity is not just comfort. What is being done for prosperity?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 18. February 2017

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