Ping Pong

Panfilo Lacson;s brought the “Hello, Garci” issue back to center stage: ‘I heard Arroyo, Garci talk,’ says ex-sergeant: She asked about 1-M votes, claims ex-ISAFP agent. See Ellen Tordesillas and An OFW in Hong Kong for more.

I believe Dean Jorge Bocobo was the first to argue that the real story -and scandal- all along, boils down to a question: how could the President of the Philippines end up with a tapped phone? Senator Lacson seems to be inclined to pursue that question, trotting out Doble, who says the intelligence service could tap people, with the connivance of a telecoms firm. Doble says the President was, in a sense, “collateral damage.”

DJB may be right in that, if you ask how a President could be the victim of wiretapping, it establishes that wiretapping took place; you would then have to resolve whether what was wiretapped -the conversations- are useful for other cases, along the way verifying the authenticity of those conversations.

Who knows, maybe Ping and Pong are better-prepared this time around. The Senate, convened as a committee of the whole, has a chance to hold orderly but in-depth hearings, which can ask:

1. Who ordered the so-called “Operation Lighthouse”? For what purpose? Who decided it should be undertaken by the ISAFP?
2. On what basis did ISAFP conduct its eavesdropping operations, and how, and to what extent, and on what legal basis, did the telecoms company assist ISAFP?
3. How did ISAFP’s tapes end up being sold?
4. The President implicitly confirmed the authenticity of at least one event supposedly recorded in the tapes. What is the legal implication of this admission? At which point, if any, did she break, bend, or mishandle the law? Even if a victim of the wiretapping, what if she had authorized the operations in the first place, in aid of reelection?

Certainly, there’s plenty of opportunities afforded by these questions, for investigations in aid of legislation, much as I disagree with this limitation on Congress’ powers of inquiry, which I’ve long argued we already approach from a Wilsonian point of view, and it’s time our jurisprudence caught up. They are questions independent of the stand some like myself have taken with regards to the President’s fitness for office: as I explained at the time, what mattered less was what the tapes contained, but how the President (mis)handled the issue. These questions, in the time that’s passed since, goes beyond the President’s being in office or not, or whether the public is resigned to her finishing her term (I believe public opinion is inclined to let sleeping dogs lie). But whoever is president and will become president, has to worry about the possibility the ISAFP can run around wiretapping people, from the President to has-been movie actors.

Jove Francisco reports on how the President didn’t sound combative even when she insisted combat operations will continue in Sulu and Basilan.

Overseas, Paulson says no quick fix for credit problems. He’s the US Treasury Secretary; and so Wall St. remained on edge. Meanwhile, Chinese central bank raises interest rates, pointing to concerns over higher inflation. Economist Nouriel Roubini explains why “the Fed actions on Friday have been so far ineffective and the investors’ panic and rush to the safety is in full swing”.

On the other hand, guarded optimism from The Economist about the country in The Jeepney economy revs up. Its cautionary tone is explained as follows:

All good news, but worries remain. However welcome the growth in call-centre jobs, it is engineering and business graduates who are queueing to take them. A recent International Labour Organisation study noted that the country’s average annual productivity growth between 2000 and 2005 was just 0.9%, compared with 10.3% in China and 4.9% in India, suggesting that “many new job entrants are underemployed”.

A chief problem, despite foreign interest, is a rate of investment that is at 20-year lows as a share of GDP. Poor infrastructure, especially roads, hampers businesses of all sorts. Gil Beltran, a senior finance-ministry official, says the government intends to increase annual infrastructure spending from 2.8% of GDP to 5%. Successive administrations have had a poor record of keeping such promises.

The public finances still need a lot of fixing. Tax revenues as a share of GDP are still below pre-1997 levels, while public debt is high, at around 75% of GDP. The next big job, says Mr Beltran, is to simplify the mess of illogical tax breaks that cost a fortune in lost revenues. Efforts to drag big-business tax-dodgers to court have so far got nowhere. A swingeing tax rise on Jeepney owners looks like squeezing the poor to spare the rich.

The Inquirer editorial says former Chief Justice Andres Narvasa was wrong in suggesting finding out who ordered Ninoy Aquino killed is a lost cause. A fascinating comparison of Beijing in the 70s, 80s, and now, in Haggling and horror at Tiananmen.

A whole heap of interesting reading in the blogosphere. A heart-breaking entry in fish in a bowl, on a friend’s losing a daughter.

Iloilo City Boy is back to blogging, and has two insightful pieces: the first is Oil Spills Are Cheap In This Country : The Petron Oil Spill A Year After. The second, The New Hacendero.

Iloilo City Boy’s look at how landlord-tenant relationships are evolving in Negros serves as a reminder of how things on the ground are changing, ot necessarily for better or worse, but changing -this is something that caffeine sparks looks into, in terms of the OFW phenomenon, with its complex issues. The Journal of the Jester-in-Exile provides a thorough update on the debate sparked by Malu Fernandez’s writings, but caffeine sparks provides the broader context on OFWs and how they are increasingly flexing their political muscles. Incidentally, [email protected] points to another writer in trouble.

The language debates has a thoughtful piece by A Nagueno in the Blogosphere (who thinks regions should be allowed to formulate their own education policies, an advocacy I strongly support, and this means greater latitude when it comes to language policies), and Demosthenes’ Game (who does make a good point that there are probably those who oppose English instruction because it goes against the interests of the politburo, which is interested in filtering ideologically-inconvenient information) making an observation I find curious:

Which is something we’ve been doing here for ages, voting with our feet I mean. After all, no private school here can remain in business very long without giving English pre-eminent position in its curriculum. No, the issue here is the failure of our so-called democracy for the past two decades to heed the will of the people, instead paying obeisance to the all-knowing ‘nationalist’ academicians of our cultural politburo. Look where that got us. Only now is the situation being rectified, and none too soon. No, the issue was never which was the better curriculum. The issue was always about choice. And that those who had none should have the same as those who could, and did, vote with their feet.

What I find curious is that if you ask the owners and administrators of public schools, their problem is that people are voting with their feet -but not in the direction Demosthenes’ Game assumes. Generally, the problems I most often hear, are three:

1. Private schools are hemorrhaging faculty to the public schools, which now offer, at the very least, competitive salaries and in some areas, better salaries than private schools.

2. Private schools are also experiencing a decrease in enrollment. Parents are taking their kids out of the private schools and sending them to public schools. In some areas, it’s because substantial investments have been made by local authorities in the public school system, which then becomes competitive, but in other areas, the public school system has been expanded, is mediocre at best, but exists, and that’s all that matters; in these areas, parents move their kids from private to public school because it’s much less expensive for the parents, regardless of the quality (or lack of it) of the education being provided. The drop in enrollment is being experienced both by establish private schools (belonging to the religious orders, for example) and the increasing number of small private schools.

3. Whether public or private, school administrators face pressure from parents to pass the kids, regardless of whether they’re qualified to move on to the next level or not; for private schools, the pressure is to keep moving kids along from one level to the next, to keep parents happy; in public schools, it’s because so many kids are entering school, no one can be made to stay behind: the quota system at its worst.

Red’s Herring reflects on Nick Joaquin and Rizal; Philippine Commentary reflects on Ninoy Aquino and takes Conrado de Quiros to task for not exploring Jovito Salonga’s assertion that the Plaza Miranda bombing was ordered by Jose Ma. Sison. Big Mango offers up some thoughts on political parties.

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  1. esp a carrot

    • cvj on August 22, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Ok, i wouldn’t want to stay criminally ignorant for longer than necessary so i’ve decided to bump up Jose’s ‘Why We Are Poor’ in my reading list. Particularly relevant to this thread is what he says about the role of the novelist:

    Since i am a novelist, let me tell you about what i think a novelist’s duties are. First, of course, is to tell the truth, to present an untarnished mirror to his own people so that they will know themselves as they really are. In doing this, i also want to give my countrymen a racial memory, and, at the same time, convince them of the necessity and feasibility of a nationalist revolution – a continuation of the Revolution of 1896. In my own case, i also would like to articulate what i think are the aspirations of my own people, their search for social justice and a moral order.

    And here we come to the single, most important function of literature – and the writer. It is only through literature that we learn compassion, ethics, the difference between right and wrong. Even in so-called primitive societies, this function of literature is achieved through folk epics handed down from one generation to the next. The Bible, the Koran – they are also literature. Jesus Christ told parables not just as a storyteller, but as a teacher. – F. Sionil Jose, from A Golden Chance for Mindanao

    I agree with his take on the role of the novel but i think his comparison with the Bible and the Koran unintentionally obscures the distinction that the novel as a narrative form had a historic role in the formation of nationalist thought (as pointed out by Benedict Anderson). The religious texts he used as comparison do no such thing.

    • cvj on August 23, 2007 at 1:19 am

    Devils, thanks for sharing. All i can say is ‘Ouch!’.

  2. I think most Filipinos read books as assignments in school.

    But those who don’t go to school,but can at least read,read another kind of novel which is the komiks,where the icons are Carlo J. Caaparas and the likes..

    About Novels, we always try to be an affinity to Latin America that is why until now,Filipinos are still fascinated by the telenovelas like “Marimar”.

    I wonder why,we do not translate foreign novels,even in plays in the CCP to Filipino.

    Les Mis would be appreciated by Filipinos and could relate them to El Filibusterismo.

    or for the global minded why not translate”Dekada 70 to English”

    Is it because it was already presented in movie form with subtitles?

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 7:18 am

    “brianb:but should writing be as ‘nationalized’ as you seem to suggest?”

    No, but write with open eyes, ears, etc. Not with open thesauruses.

    “Authenticity means being true to yourself, and we all have a right to express that truth in the way that feels most apt to us.”

    You think snobs and conyos speak aptly?

    Mlq,

    I didn’t exaggerrate about Nick Joaquin. He was no novelist. He writes novels like a painter painting on a huge, with exaggerated sweeps of the brush and always dramatic body language (that’s how I view his novels and it irritates me no end, so over-acting). But even then, even if our novelists focus on aethetics they could still make us proud by being exceedingly good at their artistry. Are they? I just think they are pretentious. Took me some years before I could say it, but once I said it I am entirely convinced it’s true.

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 7:29 am

    “have have also been perplexed over the lack of interest in translating, say, orwell, into filipino, and why rolando tinio seemed the only one ambitious enough to attempt to translate shakespeare.”

    Only people who truly understand these works can translate them. Again, Butler’s Erewhon, specifically the “College of Unreason.”

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 7:35 am

    cvj,

    thanks for quoting. I especially like that part about “racial memory.” Why oh why would I read a second rate American or English novelist carrying a Filipino passport when I need a first rate Filipino writer. I think this answers your questions, too, ROM.

    • DJB on August 23, 2007 at 8:24 am

    BrianB,
    With all your erudition and ebullience, all you need now is something to believe in!

  3. Rom,

    When you said you were an anglophone,you mean that your native tongue is english,correct?

    so remind me or any one else, when addressing you in Filipino or any language for that matter.

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 8:44 am

    DJB,

    You make me laugh. Isn’t it obvious? I’m a humanist.

  4. Please allow me to digress,

    The telco is now denying any part of the claimed by Doble.
    And the chief of staff claim that the narration about the basement is entirely false,since he now occupies the quarters and it has no baseement.

    Is that so,CSAFP?

    I know even senators Ping and Pong,know if this is true or not?
    Pero garapalan na,at deretsukhan na ang pambobola.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on August 23, 2007 at 9:33 am

    BrianB, how many literary awards have you won?

    • inodoro ni emilie on August 23, 2007 at 9:43 am

    “The language debates has a thoughtful piece by A Nagueno in the Blogosphere (who thinks regions should be allowed to formulate their own education policies, an advocacy I strongly support, and this means greater latitude when it comes to language policies).”

    it’s about time to renew this call. and push for the right regional bilingualism program.

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 9:52 am

    “BrianB, how many literary awards have you won?”

    I won Editor’s choice in 1998 from Story. Why?

    • benign0 on August 23, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Interestingly enough, i find that the observations I made long ago about Pinoy movies seem to be aligned with the observations about Pinoy literature if the statement “And That Filipino writers are pre-occupied with themes of poverty, homosexuality, and cults” is to be believed.

    More importantly I pointed out that what is ABSOLUTELY missing in Pinoy creative arts (inlcuding cinema and writing) is a CELEBRATION OF WEALTH. In Pinoy cinema wealth is almost always associated with evil and it is almost always implied in Pinoy cinema that rich characters acquired their wealth illegitimately.

    mlq3, you also posited that Pinoy artists worship “style ahead of substance”. I think there is more than enough evidence of this predisposition in Pinoy society. The jeepney is our best and favourite example — its garish SUPERFICIAL design is in stark contrast with the design under the hood (or beneath the yero).

    Masyadong “conscious” ang Pinoy. You see that in the way Pinoys sing and dance on stage. They exude subtle body language and facial expressions that tell their audience “don’t take this too seriously I just do this in my spare time”.

    Maybe it also explains why the “glamour” of call centres suck in our brightest engineering and science graduates. Taking up engineering and science in university is no joke and not for the faint hearted. So I find it curious how minds that invested so much blood sweat and tears learning how to do differential equations can stomach a career doing mind-numbing call centre work just to be able to sip lattes in Starbucks and buy the latest Nokia gadget.

    Could it be that Pinoys are just so easily beholden to shallowness, superficiality, and credentialism as to be completely clueless about substance? Pasikatan lang at pasiklaban. Clearly in line with mlq3’s other observation that members of the Pinoy literary community merely “write for each other”.

    Maybe that’s the reason why we remain “perplexed over the lack of interest in translating, say, orwell, into filipino” and wonders “why rolando tinio seemed the only one ambitious enough to attempt to translate shakespeare”. Perhaps the substance of works in English and other languages are just to “substantial” for the Pinoy mind and his language faculties. 😉

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 9:55 am

    “Could it be that Pinoys are just so easily beholden to shallowness, superficiality, and credentialism as to be completely clueless about substance?”

    Benig0, I believe this is rooted in the Filipino’s lack of intellectual confidence – arrogance is a better word for it. Filipinos don’t allow themselves to think on their own, as if other people are going to think for them .

    • benign0 on August 23, 2007 at 10:08 am

    “Filipinos don’t allow themselves to think on their own, as if other people are going to think for them”

    You’ve just succinctly summarised an entire chapter in my book. 😉

    You’re spot on the reason why Pinoy political debate is so focused on talking about politicians rather than understanding underlying ISSUES. It emanates from what you described above:

    Pinoys don’t think.

    We expect our politicians to think for us. This becomes very convenient when things don’t work out for us. We simply blame them (then launch the odd Edsa “revolution” or impeachment bid to act on this blame). That is why we are always on the look out for “heroes” and end up voting for heroic morons like Trillianes, Erap, and (almost) FPJ. We see the dashing figure but are not inclined to take the trouble to pick their brains.

    Our literature merely reflects this lack of substance.

    • Beancurd on August 23, 2007 at 10:17 am

    I wonder why people argue about taste?

    • Jeg on August 23, 2007 at 10:17 am

    mlq3: i have have also been perplexed over the lack of interest in translating, say, orwell, into filipino, and why rolando tinio seemed the only one ambitious enough to attempt to translate shakespeare.

    Let’s do it then. Anybody who has the time, pick a text to translate, post it in a blog somewhere for students to access for free, and for other people to critique and correct. We can start with essays in English and go on from there. We can make technology work for us.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on August 23, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Wala lang. I just thought I tasted some sourgrapes reading your posts.

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 10:20 am

    “I just thought I tasted some sourgrapes reading your posts.”

    I bet some of the names I mentioned would be intimidated by me. Not that I look like I could murder a crocodile.

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Besides sourgraping is just sourgraping. It’s not as if I would sourgrape over Sionil Jose’s success too, or Lhualhati Bautista’s. I don’t know any of these people and they may even hate my guts when they do. In fact, people like Butch Dalisay go about the same social circles as I do. I don’t even know anyone who knows Bautista personally and most of Jose’s posse are fat and ugly (I don’t mean this literally). Granted, I might think people like Dalisay have reputations that are more vulnerable to criticism. It’s possible that I am venting my frustrations on weaker individuals in the literary higher ups. It’s possible, but does that make my opinions less valid.

    My belief is, real motives are more complicated and harder to discuss than the issues. Getting into my head is a harder thing to do than arguing against my points. Right?

    • mlq3 on August 23, 2007 at 10:38 am
      Author

    jeg, come to think of it, oo nga no? now the problem is:

    1. foreign copyrights (i guess, forget about translating copyrighted works) and,

    2. it should be a wiki, not a blog, no?

  5. Another reason why I love this blog, is diversity of topics and the brilliance of commenters.

    Now, I am beginning to understand more the points of Benign0,that his pointing out of flaws of this nation,may not necessarily mean that he hates this country,and not rubbing salt to the wound.maybe he just wants us to damn wake up and get real.(style nya yun eh) as per one commenter:”to each his own”.

    And to Brian, thanks to the literary topics, which unleashed his literary side,and how he feels about it. Nice to know that your story earned an award.

    And as to Devil’s and others thanks for the links,which I might find time to look at, one of these days.

    And for me,I am here to learn,which I am.(Many Thanks!)

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 10:47 am

    “jeg, come to think of it, oo nga no? now the problem is:”

    But this way we’re making sure Bautista will have the least literary impact worldwide. I think there are a few writers who can translate her. International publishers will eat it up, I promise. Baka wala lang incentive sa mga translators at dahil na rin sa ina-anticipate na bangayan. Maybe National Bookstore can commission one and get International rights pa, pagkakakitaan pa yan. I particularly like Gapo. My opinion of International publishers is that they love this sort of mature material. Dekada 70 is too middle class in perspective. But who knows. Any boook would do.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on August 23, 2007 at 10:49 am

    I don’t know why the word “charlatan” keeps coming to mind.

  6. Wikibooks has a collection of great “master pieces”,just in case you want to save money and time.(for those who want to translate them to Filipino)

    But it is beginning to get noticed,I noticed they deleted the”lord of the Rings” series as of date.That is why it has set the new 80 year or hundred year rule,I suppose.
    When it is too old,it is already open house.

    I understand there is a group organizing wiki philippines,maybe some willing translators can put there translations there.

    • Jeg on August 23, 2007 at 10:53 am

    mlq3: 1. foreign copyrights (i guess, forget about translating copyrighted works) and,

    We can choose works already in the public domain.

    2. it should be a wiki, not a blog, no?

    Wiki would be better.

    • sparks on August 23, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Maybe it also explains why the “glamour” of call centres suck in our brightest engineering and science graduates. So I find it curious how minds that invested so much blood sweat and tears learning how to do differential equations can stomach a career doing mind-numbing call centre work just to be able to sip lattes in Starbucks and buy the latest Nokia gadget.

    From a generation who actually knows people who work in the call centre industry, I think it is a disservice to claim that new graduates do “mind-numbing” work just to sip lattes as you say. If you mean they do so to earn more money, then I agree.

    While it may have been “glamorous” in the early years, most young people now know its a highly stressful job, and if you don’t perform well, you’re easily replaceable.

    If you haven’t been in the Philippines for a while, then you won’t know week after week there’s nothing else in newspaper job ads but call centre placements. Why would any thinking being choose to ignore a loud and booming employment opportunity?

    The friends and acquaintances I know decide to do call centres to save up, then move on. Those who decide to stay can count on very high returns as they climb up the ladder. It is all quite rational benign0. Even Australia is fighting to keep its call centre seats.

    • BrianB on August 23, 2007 at 10:58 am

    “I don’t know why the word “charlatan” keeps coming to mind.”

    Depends if you know the meaning of the word “charlatan.”

  7. For the other way around Filipino to english, maybe its time to put them to wikibooks ,but it will not apply to the one hundred year rule.What if the author is dead?

    mahirap pala,ang daming sabit.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on August 23, 2007 at 11:56 am

    I don’t use words I don’t understand. That way, I don’t lose my authenticity.

    • DJB on August 23, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    MLQ3,
    A translation is considered to be a “derivative work” and is very much like an original creation in that it can be protected by copyright. So there is nothing preventing us from translating Orwell into Pilipino! (except as noted below:) The big problem is, there may not be the required vocabulary, or even idiom to do a good job.

    Here it is in the Intellectual Property Rights Act:

    173.1. The following derivative works shall also be protected by copyright:

    (a) Dramatizations, translations, adaptations, abridgments, arrangements, and other alterations of literary or artistic works; and

    (b) Collections of literary, scholarly or artistic works, and compilations of data and other materials which are original by reason of the selection or coordination or arrangement of their contents. (Sec. 2, [P] and [Q], P. D. No. 49)

    173.2. The works referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Subsection 173.1 shall be protected as a new works: Provided however, That such new work shall not affect the force of any subsisting copyright upon the original works employed or any part thereof, or be construed to imply any right to such use of the original works, or to secure or extend copyright in such original works. (Sec. 8, P. D. 49; Art. 10, TRIPS)

    • mlq3 on August 23, 2007 at 12:06 pm
      Author

    djb, i can’t believe you really think the vocabulary isn’t there. even if precise words are lacking, you simply invent them, them way shakespeare did.

    • benign0 on August 23, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    “Another reason why I love this blog, is diversity of topics and the brilliance of commenters”

    KG, the “brilliance” of the commenters in this blog merely reflects the quality of the blog itself. 😉

    sana nga we can extend this environment that encourages healthy exchanges of ideas to the broader society so that Pinoys are encouraged to:

    (1) think;
    (2) challenge even the most sacred of traditions and dogmas;
    (3) critically evaluate information; and,
    (4) have a bit of foresight.

    …which should have the effect of adding that key ingredient to the proper practice of democracy: SUBSTANCE.

    Without that key ingredient, our democracy will be nothing more than the farce that it is today.

    • Rom on August 23, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    karl:i understand tagalog ok.

    brianb:even snobs have the right to express themselves as snobs. you may not like it, but then again, that’s a matter of taste.

    • benign0 on August 23, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    “djb, i can’t believe you really think the vocabulary isn’t there. even if precise words are lacking, you simply invent them, them way shakespeare did”

    I think the problem is more complex than simply a lack of words or idioms. This problem I find is not completely understood judging from the reactions to my assertion that “there is no Tagalog word for ‘efficiency'”.

    In this simplistic example, we can always easily invent a tagalog word for “efficiency”. In fact, the easy solution is to spell out “episiensy” and then unilaterally proclaim it a Tagalog word.

    But the problem I highlight is not that. What I highlight is the deeper issue of why, IN THE FIRST PLACE, Tagalog lacked a SPECIFIC word to articulate the concept of efficiency (the amount of output for every unit of input). Compare that to English where the word “efficiency” and the concept itself goes way back. I think it became an official technical term when development of steam engines started (a milestone in that the use of steam power marked the beginning of our dependence on fossil fuels).

    I interpret this original lack as an indicator of the LIMITS of our culture to READILY comprehend certain things. Surely there are other far more subtle concepts beyond “efficiency” that cultures with far richer and deeper CULTURAL CAPITAL are able to articulate NATURALLY that are beyond the reach of the collective intellectual scope of our society.

    The sooner we recognise this as a REALITY, the sooner we can take measures to CORRECT this pathetic situation we are in.

    • hvrds on August 23, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    “But certain inconveniences arise from the commercial spirit, Men’s views are confined, and “when a person’s whole attention is bestowed on the seventeenth part of a pin or the eightieth part of the button,” he becomes stupid. Education is neglected. In Scotland, the meanest porter can read and write, but at Birmingham boys of six or seven can earn threepence or sixpence a day, so that their parents set them to work early and their education is neglected….”

    “There is too ‘another great loss which attends the putting boys too soon to work. The boys throw off parental authority, and betake themselves to drunkenness and riot.”

    “The workmen in the commercial parts of England are consequently in a ‘despicable’ condition; their work through half the week is sufficient to maintain them, and through want of education they have no amusement for other but riot and debauchery. So it may very justly be said that the people who clothe the whole world are in rags themselves.” Adam Smith .. the Wealth of Nations, describing the conditions of peasants being put to work in the early manufactures at the dawn of the industrial revolution.

    A word of caution on being too harsh on pinoys who are forced into circumstances where they have no choices.

    • DJB on August 23, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    I think translations should be done because they are necessary, not to “preserve a dying language” or for the vanity of it. Let’s face it, something is always lost in translation, so the impetus to them must go to the value of the substance in the work, which may, for some reason or other be inaccessible in its original.

    But the English original of Orwell is surely more accessible to Filipinos than a fresh translation with INVENTED NEW WORDS largely meaningless to all but the inventor.

    Still I am not really against it as a literary exercise. A Tagalog version of Animal Farm could be downright surreal and bizarre, almost Kafkaesque….

    Now there’s a challenge for translators! We have all the vocabulary in Tagalog or even Pampango to do Kafka. But try it and see if you get Kafka and not Pepe and Pilar!

  8. My favorite quotes in this comment thread, so far:

    “If people are stupid enough to think that even matters of literary valuing should be subjected to laissez faire, they are not thinking but ranting.” – BrianB

    “i think brian is pointing to the problem of aestheticism -art, not even for art’s sake, but for the sake of proving how artful the writer is- which connects to a larger point brian always makes, which is the clannish, cliquish, extremely self-satisfied yet paranoid and therefore, vengeful but ultimately sterile, world he sees not just in the literary world but in what passes for high society in this country.” – mlq3

    I also like the following simile(?) – if political families are essentially different from literary cliques:

    “like political families who may not even have to use fraud and terrorism to win elections, but who simply have elections down to a science, literary cliques are then in the best position to submit to the juries of their peers who handle the awards.” – mlq3

    And the most worn out clichés:

    “The jeepney is our best and favourite example — its garish SUPERFICIAL design is in stark contrast with the design under the hood (or beneath the yero).” – BenignO

    “There is no Tagalog word for ‘efficiency’”.- BenignO

    But three quick questions to BrianB:

    1) mlq3, has written:

    ”but since writing is communication, brian, i suppose, fiercely contests those who, to his mind, view writing as a means to gratify the writer’s ego instead of serving the public -whether to entertain, instruct, enlighten, challenge, etc.”

    Alright that’s quite authentic, immediate to me. But, if mlq3 had more leisure time to reflect on his message and come up with a version suggested below, would you consider it as an exercise in “mannered writing”?

    “But since writing is dialogue, Brian, I suppose, will hold in contempt anyone who thinks writing is not also action.”

    2) “(Joaquin) writes novels like a painter.” Isn’t that a compliment since novelists are supposed to be artists too?

    3) Would you consider “mannered writing” as inherent in the poetry of those deemed to be craftsman of the beautiful and agreeable? Keats, for example, changed “A thing of beauty is a constant joy” to the immortal “A thing of beauty is a joy forever?

  9. Rom,
    I stand corrected,I just got lost in translation, I mean definition. That is the point of many,one word may mean many things.

    • DJB on August 23, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Back on topic: I have bad news. You know all that praise for the Supreme Court last year because of its unanimous decision on EO464–it was undeserved because they actually upheld the part of EO464

    • DJB on August 23, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    …that the Palace needs to actually shut down the investigations, at least for the top officials: executive privilege.

  10. Something lost in translation:

    Second stanza of Mi Ultimo Adios

    En campos se batalla, lunchando con delirio
    Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar
    El sitio nada importa, cipres, laurel o lirio,
    Cadalso o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,
    Lo mismo es si lo piden la Patria y el hogar.
    (Original, by Rizal)

    Others are giving you their lives on fields of battle,
    Fighting joyfully, without hesitation or thought for the consequence,
    How it takes place is not important. Cypress, laurel or lily,
    Scaffold or battlefield, in combat or cruel martyrdom,
    It is the same when what is asked of you is for your country and
    your home. – Austin Coates

    On the field of battle, fighting with delirium,
    others give you their lives without doubts, without gloom
    The site nought matters: cypress, laurel or lily:
    gibbet or open field: combat or cruel martyrdom
    are equal if demanded by country and home. – Nick Joaquin

    Sa pakikidigma at pamimiyapis
    ang alay ng iba’y ang buhay na kipkip
    walang agam-agam, maluwag sa dibdib
    matamis sa puso at di ikahapis

    Saun man mautas ay di kailangan
    cipres o laurel, lirio ma’y putungan
    pakikipaghamok at ang bibitayan
    yaon ay gaon din kung hiling ng Bayan.
    – Andres Bonifacio

    From: Rizal and the Revolution by Floro Quibuyen

  11. no tagalog word for efficient: expanding the vocabulary is nothing new,it is just a matter of consensus and acceptance like episyente which is differentiated from epektibo.

    More on accepting words as part of vocabulary of course is the word “boondocks”.,which is now part of the American vocabulary.

    • cvj on August 23, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I think translations should be done because they are necessary, not to “preserve a dying language” or for the vanity of it. Let’s face it, something is always lost in translation, so the impetus to them must go to the value of the substance in the work, which may, for some reason or other be inaccessible in its original. – DJB

    Filipino is by no means a dying language. The reason why there is a need to translate works into Filipino is not vanity, but because there is a demand for it. It’s the same sort of demand that drives the translation of imported telenovelas, which as far as i know, are not translated into English.

    As for something ‘being lost in translation’, that is a given but this is not necessarily a bad thing because the reader will at least be able to better appreciate the spirit of the work. You yourself sell the English (King James) translation of the Bible, not the Hebrew/Aramaic or Greek originals.

    • benign0 on August 23, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Abe, as I said earlier: “This problem I find is not completely understood judging from the reactions to my assertion that “there is no Tagalog word for ‘efficiency’”.” 😉

    • mlq3 on August 23, 2007 at 1:37 pm
      Author

    djb, accessible to whom?

    re: efficiency, the handy-dandy dictionary on my computer says the ff:

    efficiency |iˈfi sh ənsē| noun ( pl. -cies) the state or quality of being efficient : greater energy efficiency. • an action designed to achieve this : to increase efficiencies and improve earnings. • technical the ratio of the useful work performed by a machine or in a process to the total energy expended or heat taken in. • short for efficiency apartment . ORIGIN late 16th cent.(in the sense [the fact of being an efficient cause] ): from Latin efficientia, from efficere ‘accomplish’ (see effect ).

    so it’s a latinism and we can go into a long disquisition as to why the english didn’t coin a word for efficiency until the dawn of the scientific age, for a concept that required the adaptation of a latin concept itself not precisely related to the new word. and why filipino somehow seems defective for having to borrow an english word for a western concept. but it only, at best, suggests how belatedly, in western terms, we’ve adopted western ideas of well, efficiency.

    interesting survey of “efficiency” in other languages:

    japanese: seinou, kou, kouritsu, nouritsu, jitsuryoku

    hungarian: hatóerõ, hatékonyság, termelékenység, hathatósság

    norwegian: effektivitet

    russian: действенность

    spanish: eficacia

    french: efficience

    italian: economicità, efficienza

    in swahili, swedish, danish, finnish, dutch, portuguese, and indonesian, apparently, none!

    imagine that, how culturally impoverished and economically backwards the swedes, danes, finns, dutch, portuguese must be (benign0 would, of course, sieze on the lack of a precise equivalent in indonesian and swahili).

    • benign0 on August 23, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    “but it only, at best, suggests how belatedly, in western terms, we’ve adopted western ideas of well, efficiency”

    mlq3, but that was PRECISELY the point I was making. The reality is that “efficiency” is not ingrained in our cultural fabric because we do not have a strong tradition of scientific achievement built upon an aspiration to become efficient.

    Catch my drift?

    i find it baffling though that you’d do an “audit” of the existence of equivalent words for efficiency across a swath of both progressive and backward societies. In no way did I assert that lack of a word for efficiency in Tagalog WHOLLY accounts for our abject backwardness. What I did do was cite it as an INDICATOR though. Big difference, mate.

    The fact of course is that the swedes, danes, finns, dutch, and portuguese are progressive societies even if they lack a specific word for “efficiency”. And it is a fact that they are progressive despite this APPARENT gap. Tough luck for Pinoys, then. We share that particular property with them but the similarity pathetically ends there.

    We as Tagalog speakers are in a position to know with some level of authority that Tagalog completely lacks a concept of efficiency. There is a fallacy involved in arriving at the same conclusion for other languages we are not familiar with simply because a search for a direct translation for “efficiency” in those other languages yielded zilch. However because I am not formally trained in the field of logic, I cannot name the fallacy.

    Remember how you yourself struggled to define “efficiency” in Tagalog. For all we know a Swede (despite lacking a specific word for “efficiency”) given the same challenge may fare differently. But who are we non-speakers of Swedish to say? 😉

    • Beancurd on August 23, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I think the problem with “efficiency” lies not in the lack of an equivalent Tagalog word but in the effort to transplant a foreign concept in the domestic setting that has specific terms for certain situations that may suffice as an equivalent for efficiency. The English term is certainly an abstract or general one, but Tagalog deals more with the concrete and specifc. That is not at all indicative of a limitation on the part of the Tagalog language.

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