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Sep 05

Beyond Binondo and Ma Ling

Am in Baguio for a conference, but here’s an article I’ve been long wanting to point out: Beyond Binondo and Ma Ling by Clinton Palanca. His essay, the fruit of his research for a Master’s Degree in Sociology at Oxford, tackles the question of how different generations of the Chinese in the Philippines have approached the idea of integration into mainstream society. He points out that Chinese Filipinos, and Chinese in the Philippines, are confronting this question all over again at present:

THIS IS not intended to paint an overly rosy picture of the situation, though, and neither the ethnic Chinese nor the mainstream Filipino population should be lulled into a complacency regarding their situation. The ideal of the ethnic Chinese who is integrated and thinks of himself or herself as Filipino while retaining Chinese cultural identity does exist, but so does the bigot who sees Filipinos as inferior and adopts a “sojourner” mentality and an instrumental attitude toward the Philippine economy. These two figures form the endpoints of a spectrum along which the Chinese in the Philippines are ranged. A fragile coexistence and acceptance exists now, but may not continue to do so. It is of more than theoretical importance to understand what the factors are, or were, that allowed the Chinese who did so to integrate into Philippine society at a structural level.

Read the whole thing.

The Business Mirror editorial explains what’s fishy about the ZTE deal.

In blogdom: Ricky Carandang says Suspect Number One in the Hello, Garci business is no other than Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

Has the Bastille moment’s arrived? Tingog.com and Now What, Cat? (who originally opposed calls for a boycott, but joins them now, for reasons she explains in her blog) vows a battle to the death with The Manila Standard Today. The icon of the new campaign’s already been posted by Touched by an Angel and Stacked. This is a battle royale Vic Agustin, chair of the paper’s board of editors, will relish (to be perfectly frank, this escalation makes me worry for the column security of MST columnists I follow, but all three post their columns in their blogs or websites). The Philosophical Bastard is not impressed.

Carla Montemayor is furious, but not just at one lifestyle writer; sari-saring kulay has things to point out, too. But Manuel Buencamino has a different take on the whole thing:

Malu wrote something politically incorrect. She did not write hate speech.

…It’s obvious Malu did not incite violence or prejudicial action against OFWs who preferred Axe and Charlie to Jo Malone, so she didn’t deserve to be banned like some hate-mongering swine.

Political incorrectness is offensive when it’s not making us laugh; but its opposite, political correctness, is lethal when it’s not merely stifling.

He then makes a connection between Malu Fernandez and Jose Ma. Sison:

Take the case of Joma Sison, who tried to impose political correctness on his party during the 1980s. His rigor may not mean much to us noncommunists, but imagine censors board chief Consoliza Laguardia and Manoling Morato with guns instead of scissors and you’ll see the diabolical side of political correctness.

Returning to his initial point,

Political correctness is the reason why so many people were outraged by Malu’s mocking remarks about OFWs.

Our government says OFWs are the bagong bayani… so, in a manner of speaking, Malu was guilty of the most extreme case of political incorrectness: lese majeste.

But I dont buy this bagong bayani stuff. OFWs are Filipinos who were faced with a choice between a job and no job, a measly salary at home and a better-paying job abroad. There is nothing heroic about the choice they made. Sorry.

Besides, the concept of Bagong Bayani does disservice to Filipinos, who, for whatever reason, continue to work here at home.

Bagong Bayani is a cheap political gimmick concocted by cheap inept politicians who cant create jobs so they make heroes out of the victims of their incompetence.

For every hero abroad, there is a heel in Malacaang who lies and steals credit for the strong peso.

The truth is money will flow from abroad whether its Gloria Arroyo, Noli de Castro, or Kim Il Sung running the show, because OFWs will not allow their loved ones to starve to death

Speaking of Sison… .Manila Bay Watch has an interesting take on Jose Ma. Sison’s investigation and the national characteristics of the Dutch (a spirited defense appears online by Gary Leupp of Tufts University: it’s certainly more coherent and possibly, convincing, than other defenses: but as reading Conceptual Stunt Double indicates, it requires accepting certain basic premises, e.g. the undesirability of the Philippines being “capital compost”, or the wrongness of the US anti-terror efforts, in one of the few countries on earth that still likes Dubya and America very much). And here’s an interesting entry in in Literature in a Hurry, a blog by a Filipina TV journalist recently moved to the Netherlands:

My brother was actually the one who told me that the Dutch embassy issued a warning to Dutch nationals in the country and to those who would like to go for a visit. The embassy is afraid that the NPA will retaliate against the Dutch nationals. This after the NPA issued a statement that they are not planning to harm nationals coming from The Netherlands.

My sister teased me saying that story is following me wherever I go. I never actually thought of it that way. Maybe that’s callousness on my part. Or just insensitivity to the importance of a story due to a long relationship with the government network. They don’t want stories about Joma. Because as they say, it just makes him famous.

And here’s a jolly little development: The Jovito R. Salonga Journal. And a rebranding: the blog formerly known as Stepping on Poop is now reason is the reason.

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197 comments

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  1. Karlo

    Karlo, yun namesake mong si Karl Marx matagal ng kinain ng uod. Si Mao din. Ang natitira na lang ang uod, si Joma.

    Kung gusto mo iyang kainin eh bahala ka. Pero huwag mo ng aksayahin ang panahon mo na kumbinsihin ako na masasarapan ako sa lasa ni Joma.

    Hindi ako kumakain ng uod.

    Sir Manuel Buencamino,

    I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I never meant to convince you of liking Joma’s taste, which you yourself has likened to that of a worm. I myself am no fan of Joma Sison. I didn’t have any intention other than the one stated above (historical accuracy).

    …ipagpipilit mo pa na walang purge na nangyari…

    Also, I never said anything to that effect. That the anti-DPA campaigns occured is a matter of historical fact.

    …refresh our minds about the whole “Reaffirmists versus Rejectionists” issue.

    Didn’t that issue peak after Marcos was deposed?

    About this, I do not have enough knowledge to discuss the said complicated era of the national democratic movement’s history.

    I based my previous comment from a biography of Edgar Jopson by Benjamin Pimentel Jr. The book did not anymore discuss the split in the early 90s since the book only covered Pimentel’s involvement in the communist movement until his death in 1982.

    I do know that the division of the movement into the reaffirmist and rejectionist factions occured after 1992. Also, some rejectionists do engage in armed struggle. I think the PCIJ has a special report on this topic.

    Again, I’m sorry for having offended you.

  2. Karl Garcia

    Pleae allow me to correct my self MBW,

    I have not searched enough, we also participated in the Doha 2006 Asian Games.

    It seems though, that we only send a three man team.

    But your suggestion of a team from the Navy might work one day. Sayang yung sinabi mong 30 foot boat

  3. Karl Garcia

    “speculation on personal circumstances constitute her best defense against the TRUTH.”

    Mas mabuti na ang personal circumstances mo ang ispeculate kaysa sa ginagawa momg speculation of the circumstances of the Pinoy in general.

    You can fight back, correct?

    And when we react to your assertions, we speak for ourselves.

    When you assert, I hope you are also speaking for yourself.

  4. Manila Bay Watch

    Karl,

    Sayang nga! Marooned lang doon sa likod ng Manila Yacht Club at nabulok. I don’t know if it’s been dry-docked since.

    Last time I saw it was 3 years ago during a visit – I asked to borrow it so my kids and I could sail in Manila Bay but was told it was really in bad shape.

    I even proposed to help invite British sailing champs to give lectures and “teach” to those might be interested in the PN training and education center in Zambales but no takers.

  5. manuelbuencamino

    Benigno,

    I do not speculate about our personal circumstances. Whatever I think about you I base on your record.

    You have revealed enough about yourself to make speculation absoluutely unnecessary.

    So let’s get back to the topic at hand. PROVE YOUR CASE!

  6. Manila Bay Watch

    Manuel,

    Benigno perhaps has to present HIS case first but as we go along, his case seems to be going from one case to a different case (see jeg’s and cvj’s comments).

    All I know of his case today is that he’s unhappy to be a Filipino. Frankly, he needs a doctor is what I think.

  7. manuelbuencamino

    Karlo,

    Okay.

    By the way, do you think Joma is accountable under the “command responsibility” principle, just like GMA?

  8. benign0

    “I do not speculate about our personal circumstances. Whatever I think about you I base on your record”

    Really? Then how do you account for this gem?:

    Or some wannabewhite pinoy struggling with his inferiority complex 😉

  9. benign0

    “So let’s get back to the topic at hand. PROVE YOUR CASE!”

    Answer my three questions first, dude. 😀

  10. cvj

    Karl, Anna, here in Singapore, they were very impressed with the Dragon Boat team from the Philippines who participated in the races last year. I think they were from the PNP though.

  11. Manila Bay Watch

    cvj,

    good to hear that! pinas can easily produce sailing champs. I have no doubt. doesn’t take height nor built to do that; skills they can easily polish because we have the natural environment to hone in those skills and am pretty sure, there are sponsors who would love to finance a team.

  12. Karl Garcia

    Cvj,
    Good to know,good for us!
    Lots of things to be proud of!

  13. Karl Garcia

    MBW,

    Since cvj called you by your name,can I too? never mind, MBW is shorter.

    sayang no takers ng suggestion mo,me takers yan ..pag sagot mo lahat. (joke)

    but, as cvj said we are doing fine on our own.

  14. manuelbuencamino

    Benigno,

    That gem is not speculation. It’s based on your record.

    Me – “ARGUE YOUR CASE NGA. DON’T MAKE ME ARGUE IT FOR YOU. MAKE ASSERTIONS SUPPORTED BY FACTS.”

    You- “That’s precisely what I’m doing, dude — making a point by asking rhetorical questions.”

    Me- “Rhetorics is the last refuge of those who possess no facts…. So let’s get back to the topic at hand. PROVE YOUR CASE!”

    You – “Answer my three questions first, dude”

    Mate, did you know that rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered? That they are used for effect?

    That’s why they’re the last refuge of those who have no facts to back up their assertions. They are meant to provide weasel room.

    Get real Mr. Wannabewhite Pinoy. Put up or shut up.

    Name me one country in the world where what you said is true – “Compare that to societies who treat ALL human beings with respect regardless of who they are, where they come from, and who they know.”

    And you can forget naming Australia because your adopted country still has to learn that aborigines are human beings too.

  15. tikimusic

    Here’s something that I realised: from what I remember, the total amount remitted yearly is around $16 billion from around 8 million OCWs. Divide the first by the second and you have $2,000, or around P90,000 per worker.

    That’s certainly a considerable amount but might be lacking for combinations of costs like tuition, medical bills and medicine (especially if sickness involves major operations, etc.), rent, electricity, etc., especially if prices for some of these products go up, if the peso appreciates some more, if several relatives (such as siblings) are dependent on remittances, and if economic problems in industrialised nations might lead to less OCW hiring.

  16. Karlo

    Correction on my previous comment
    (http://www.quezon.ph/?p=1499#comment-575887):

    …the book only covered Pimentel’s involvement in the communist movement until his death in 1982.

    Replace “Pimentel” with “Jopson.” Edgar Jopson, the first husband of Joy Jopson-Kintanar (the widow of Kintanar and complaint in the Dutch case against Sison), was killed when fully armed military men raided an unarmed underground safehouse in Davao in Sept. 20, 1982.

    By the way, do you think Joma is accountable under the “command responsibility” principle, just like GMA?

    I’m not sure. The process of making decisions in the underground movement, from what I’ve read, is different in the sense that decisions are made collectively. Ideally, no single individual decides on organizational matters. Also, we do not really know if Sison is one and the same as Armando Liwanag, the present CP chair.

    My opinion tends to follow the line espoused by the Aug. 31 Inquirer editorial, which can be read in the following link:

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view_article.php?article_id=85683

  17. Karlo

    Correction on my previous comment

    the book only covered Pimentel’s involvement in the communist movement until his death in 1982.

    That’s “Jopson” and not “Pimentel.” Edgar Jopson, the first husband of Joy Jopson-Kintanar (the widow of Kintanar and complaint in the Dutch case against Sison), was killed when fully armed military men raided an unarmed underground safehouse in Davao in Sept. 20, 1982.

    By the way, do you think Joma is accountable under the “command responsibility” principle, just like GMA?

    I’m not sure. The process of making decisions in the underground movement, from what I’ve read, is different in the sense that decisions are made collectively. Ideally, no single individual decides on organizational matters. Also, we do not really know if Sison is one and the same as Armando Liwanag, the present CP chair.

    My opinion tends to follow the line espoused by the Aug. 31 Inquirer editorial (Try him). That’s all. 🙂

  18. Manila Bay Watch

    Karl,

    “but, as cvj said we are doing fine on our own.”

    Our own? PNP, PN or Pinas as a whole?

  19. Manila Bay Watch

    Also, re what you said, “sayang no takers ng suggestion mo,me takers yan ..pag sagot mo lahat.” is not quite a joke, it’s been proven true several times in the past.

  20. benign0

    “Mate, did you know that rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered? That they are used for effect?”

    Nope. They are used for making a point. And in your specific case, your lack of any inclination to recognise much less respond coherently to the point made collectively by these three questions merely highlights precisely the point I make.

    Tough luck, dude. 😀

  21. manuelbuencamino

    BENIGNO,

    MAKE YOUR POINT AFTER YOU PRESENT FACTS.

    YOU MADE THE ASSERTION YOU SUPPORT IT WITH FACTS.

    YOU CAN’T WEASEL OUT OF THIS ONE.

    PUT UP OR SHIT UP!!!!

  22. manuelbuencamino

    Karlo,

    so if they decide by committee that doesn’t erase command responsibility. It only becomes collective responsiblility

  23. benign0

    “BENIGNO,

    MAKE YOUR POINT AFTER YOU PRESENT FACTS.

    YOU MADE THE ASSERTION YOU SUPPORT IT WITH FACTS.

    YOU CAN’T WEASEL OUT OF THIS ONE.

    PUT UP OR SHIT UP!!!!”

    As I said earlier. I cited Australia for argument’s sake. And then I made those rhetorical questions to make a point. Seems that point is lost in that metaphorically challenged mind of yours.

    Me, shut up? Tough luck then. You can’t make the TRUTH about Pinoys disappear simply by making people shut up. 😀

  24. Bencard

    o.k., benigno. enough of this self-flagellation. at the end of the day, regardless of our present allegiance, we are still filipino, the philippines, the land of our birth, and which nurtured our forefathers.

    it’s one thing to be aware of one’s deficiencies. but to nag on it every step of the way is a sign of extreme lack of self-esteem, or even self-contempt. we are what we are and we have to stop denying it. then we do our best to change for the better. i think that’s what “getting real” is all about.

    btw, have anybody ever wondered why practically all the countries that have once been colonized and ruled by spain are not doing so well in comparison with those formerly under great britain? specifically, compare south and central america, mexico, parts of the carribean islands, and of course, the philippines, with u.s.a., canada, australia, new zealand, hong kong, singapore, etc. could it be that the spaniards, and the religion they brought with them, taught us that poverty and sacrifice were virtues that would bring us to “paradise”, while the british taught their subjects that there’s no shame in being prosperous through one’s labor and that what he ate would come from the “sweat of his brow”?

  25. cvj

    Bencard, the Philippines had two colonizers Spain and the United States. Nevertheless, your observation is correct in that Britain seems to have left its former colonies in a better position to develop, notwithstanding their arbitrary map drawing that led to millions of deaths. Same can be said for Japan who formerly ruled over Taiwan and Korea.

  26. Bencard

    cvj, so is cuba, among those colonized by both spain & u.s. (the latter albeit briefly).

  27. manuelbuencamino

    Benigno,

    For the last time – JUST THE FACTS, if u have any, that is. Don’t ne a weasel.

    And for arguments sake you can also tell me about the equal treatment of aborigines in Australia.

  28. nash

    Yes, BenignO how are the aborigines doing? And the boat people that Howard refuses to save from the rough seas? Do you hand out Foster’s beer to quench their thirst before you dump them in an atoll? That would at least be humane… Just curious.

    Speaking of Basketball, if Japan can send a team to the rugby world cup, maybe the philippines too….tama na nga yang basketball, it can support itself commercially, let’s spread the sports allocation to others…..

  29. pinoy

    mlq3,

    On rice self-sufficiency, the constitution says:

    “The State shall promote industrialization and full employment BASED ON on SOUND agricultural development and agrarian reform,”

    If past and present administrations have fulfilled this dictum them we could be exporting rice like Vietnam and Thailand.

  30. benign0

    The Aborigines are doing fine, thanks.

    In fact, just this month, the Federal Government sent troops and Federal personnel to the Northern Territory to secure it after appalling incidents of child abuse, alcoholism, and drug use was reported amongst the Aboriginal community.

    Notwithstanding all that some of them are doing pretty well. In fact, there are several of them making it big in the art scene in Paris.

    By the way, how are the Aetas, Ifugaos and Igorots doing over there? 😉

    ManuelBuencamino, the FACTS are staring you in the face. You just have to check them out (if it sidesteps like a weasel and snivels like a weasel, then it must be a…). 😀

  31. benign0

    Let’s also not forget kids and their ENTIRE families living and eating off mounds of putrid garbage in the Philippines. Have they been getting headline news lately? 😀

  32. benign0

    Bencard, are we really “still Filipino”? Seems like a few commentors here have seem inclined to presume to be the judge of who is more Filipino than the other, or for that matter which human being is superior over the other based on how “self-sacrificing” one is (which incidentally is the topic of an article I wrote way back which you can access thru the following link):

    http://www.getrealphilippines.com/solution/selfrel.html

    I agree. “Getting real” is all about implementing change based on a CLEAR understanding of who and WHAT we are as a people. Maybe it comes across as “self flagellation” because a LARGE PART of what we are is, indeed, NOT GOOD. Australian’s for example are renowned in the Western world as self-flagellists too (compared, say, to Americans and Germans who are inclined to a bit of a superiority complex). But then Australia is a nation that itself has an immense track record of COLLECTIVE ACHIEVEMENT so much so that the negative aspects about themselves that they keep harping about — when put in the context of their actual ACHIEVEMENTS — in reality pales in the bigger picture.

    The sad reality is that the negative aspects of Pinoys simply REMAIN HIGHLIGHTED because they utterly dwarf any SOLID evidence of collective achievement over our 400-year history.

    Rock stars who are drug addicts are STILL rock stars. They may write self-deprecating autobiographies about themselves (and may even loath themselves). But the world will always see them as rock stars. Whereas drug addicts who are living on the streets will simply be known as nothing more than drug addicts.

  33. Bencard

    benignO, i get your point. you know, i have been living in the states for over 35 years and in this “melting pot” i have mingled, both socially and professionally, with people from practically all sorts of ethnicity and racial origin. in my observation, one thing that strikes me the most is that no one from a particular ethnic/racial/nationality group ever bad mouth his/her own kind with others outside of his/her group more than filipinos. it seems many of our countrymen have no compunction discussing “the negative aspects of pinoy”, the philippines and its government. no one could be more self-deprecating.

    i remember some years ago when a group of pinoy boys won the world championship of the little league of baseball. who would be the first to question the boys’ qualifications before the world than a homegrown filipino newspaper editor? of course, “honesty is the best policy”, but considering the circumstances surrounding the whole scandal, i believe there was more to it than just “doing the right thing”.

    when pinoys parade in minuscule numbers in public places such as the u.n., the white house, etc., carrying signs and mouthing epithets against the philippine government and its officials, do they think they earn any respect for themselves and their nation?

    i believe its alright to discuss our defects among ourselves and together we find a solution. please don’t think i’m accusing you, benigno, but i feel we should minimize washing our dirty linens before the eyes of the world.

  34. benign0

    “i believe its alright to discuss our defects among ourselves and together we find a solution. please don’t think i’m accusing you, benigno, but i feel we should minimize washing our dirty linens before the eyes of the world.”

    Bencard, no slight taken at all. I am quite aware (always have been) that I am indeed airing out our dirty laundy for the world to see. But then, if you think about it, don’t you think the whole world already sees these things?

    Also, I kinda subscribe to the theory that Pinoys are pretty much motivated by hiya.

    Pinoys muddle along with our less-than-proper/optimal ways of doing things — kapag nakakalusot. But it is usually under threat of exposure that we manage to pull our sh1t together.

    It seems that years of trying to sort things out among ourselves didn’t really yield the level of results required to pull ourselves out of this progressively deepening hole we are in. So why not consider the more radical solution and expose our dysfunction to the world for close scrutiny?

    Your idea of “discuss[ing] our defects among ourselves and together […] find[ing] a solution” sounds really great — in an ideal world. But the REALITY though is that we were really never been known to be a people who thrive together. We seem to achieve more APART than TOGETHER (a theory that I believe, explains why we have so many OFWs and a huge expat population propping up the local economy).

  35. manuelbuencamino

    Benigno,

    I rest my case. Wala talagang laman yun statement mo.

    The only example you could cite was Australia and boyoboy does it come close to a society that treats “ALL human beings with respect regardless of who they are, where they come from, and who they know.”

  36. nash

    Oh BenignO, we Igorots are doing fine. We’ve been self-sufficient since Roman times you know. As always we’ve been exploited by our National government the same way that aborigines are STILL second class citizens in their own land….

  37. Bencard

    yes, benigno, but the rest of the world does not sympathize with “self-loathing” losers. isn’t our “lack of COLLECTIVE ACHIEVEMENT” bad enough without being reinforced by self-described inferiority for all the world to see? how does it feel to be a part of a maligned and ridiculed society which, like it or not, you cannot escape? do we feel absolved from the rap by saying that “yeah, my people are the worst of the worst but, oh no, not me”? or, “see, i can disclose every rotten thing about us so i cannot be that bad, right?”.

    there is a reason why the americans and germans, among others, are looked up to as a people, albeit grudgingly most of the time. i don’t think they would be bothered so much by labels of “arrogance” as they would be by “loser” tag. of course, especially in the case of the americans, there are always bleeding heart ultra liberals who detest their society’s winning ways. that’s why, while they may be ostensibly “hated”, they are the most imitated. i think societies like these, with the kind of world respect that they have already attained, can afford to have “self-loathing” groups in their midst. but not the philippines, i think.

  38. benign0

    That’s right, Bencard, the world does not sympathise with self-loathing losers. And the fact is, that we are such a bunch.

    And yes, it IS in fact bad enough that we lack any form of COLLECTIVE achievement to speak of.

    It is, to put it mildly, uncomfortable, to have to come to terms that each of us individual Filipinos are IMPRISONED within the box of our “maligned and ridiculed society”. No matter where we go, no matter what citizenship papers we sign, we will always be the little brown Pinoy who eats off mounds of garbage and dances the ocho-ocho during elections while his compatriots wade across yet another putrid street flood in Malabon while wearing a silly smile in his face.

    Now take a step back and regard for a moment what I just said in the second half of the paragraph above and ask yourself this: How much of what i described above CAN BE CHANGED?

    Here’s the answer: ALL OF THEM.

    And this is just a small sample of the dirty laundry that I air out for the world to see. There is nothing, NOTHING about the Pinoy that I write in http://www.getrealphilippines.com that cannot be changed. But before we can understand what and how to change, we first have to take stock of what needs to be changed.

    We are constantly patting ourselves on the back for having one of the “free-est” presses in the world, presumably because incidents of monumental impropriety are exposed TO THE PUBLIC. In fact, half the stuff discussed in blogs like these are about exchanging amusing factoids about the “exposed” stupidities of our moron politicians. And we are appalled when — despite this exposure — said politicians don’t even express an iota of hiya despite said exposure.

    See my point? Even now, our beholdenness to our “free” press is underpinned by our sub-conscious recognition that Pinoys are motivated by hiya. Which implies that we find hope in hiya as the key driver for change.

    And yet here we are, discussing how “improper” it is to be EXPOSING the dysfunction of our society to the world.

    Isn’t it ironic?

    =====
    manuelbuencamino, happy that your case is well-rested then. 😉

  39. Bencard

    please don’t get me wrong, benignO. i’m not really advocating sweeping our dirt under the rug. but it seems to me that our media, in general, is the most relentless advertisers of our “dysfunctions”. i think, the real culprit is our utter lack of sense of proportion. i think we have a strong propensity to go overboard in everything, from imitating the ways of “advanced” and affluent foreign societies, to exposing our own flaws. as i said, we cannot outdo say, the americans, in self-criticism simply because they have already achieved greatness. we haven’t, so every time we try to be “more american that the americans” in laying down our defects, we only enhance the world’s perception that ours is a nation of “losers”.

  40. inodoro ni emilie

    “but it seems to me that our media, in general, is the most relentless advertisers of our “dysfunctions”. ”

    and guess who is one-blog media is?

    like as if these dyfunctions are inherent only to pinoys. get real, d.

  41. benign0

    Bencard, no — not a “nation of losers”. That implies that every single Pinoy is a loser (which clearly is not the case). This is why I always emphasize the word collective. There will always be individual winners and losers in any society. The problem is that notwithstanding our different levels of achievement as individuals, the sad reality is that collectively we achieve very little.

    It kinda goes back to the whole point behind being a nation in the first place. Why are we such high achievers elsewhere and so impotent collectively when together?

    And no, I don’t think it is really about outdoing anyone in terms of self criticism. The self criticism of American, for example, is of a different nature. Their challenge is more around sustaining their greatness by critically examining aspects of their society that they perceive to be going off the rails.

    Our challenge is a bit more pathetic, namely extricating ourselves from the hole we continue digging ourselves into.

    The efforts of successful societies build on existing positives whilst in our case, the efforts are focused on trying to get out of the red. So the comparison is not apples-to-apples.

    As to this whole thing about trying to be “more American than the Americans”, Japan did the same thing. The difference is that they approached it by trying to understand the substance behind Western success (the ways of doing things and the disciplines involved), whereas in our case, we only tried to imitate the superficial trappings of Western culture (watching the show but failing to see the backstage where all the work is done).

  42. Bencard

    benigno, by “nation of losers”, i was referring to world’s perception, not as a fact, e.g., as when some wag called as “a nation of cowards and one s.o.b”, in reference to marcos’ dictatorship. i don’t think the japanese intended to “copy” the americans, socially, politically or economically. japan was already a far more successful society before any american set foot on the land. the westernization was imposed by the victor upon a vanquished people who might not have yielded if it were not for the a-bomb.

    my whole point is that we cannot hope to “extricate” ourselves from our sorry state by constantly beating ourselves up, and convincing those who are not yet convinced that we, as a group, cannot do anything right.

  43. Bencard

    btw, benigno, i heard about the brouhaha about the barong tagalog being described as the traditional “peasant’s attire” of the filipinos in the recently-concluded apec conference in sydney. i bet the erudite info came from a filipino wiseguy/gal. don’t you think so?

  44. inodoro ni emilie

    “my whole point is that we cannot hope to “extricate” ourselves from our sorry state by constantly beating ourselves up, and convincing those who are not yet convinced that we, as a group, cannot do anything right.”

    bencard, may tawag diyan: delusional. the irony is, in constantly harping the nation as a loser, he ends up sounding the REAL loser. getreal, loser.

  45. Gooner

    “my whole point is that we cannot hope to “extricate” ourselves from our sorry state by constantly beating ourselves up, and convincing those who are not yet convinced that we, as a group, cannot do anything right”

    that really does depend on what you mean by “beating yourself up”. in solving problems one cannot hope to concoct a proper solution without properly diagnosing the problem.

    benign0’s point really is quite simple. we have a lot of problems and a lot of them INNATE in our culture. the way forward is to recognize these flaws and change.

  46. Bencard

    Gooner, sorry, you missed it but benignO and i have both come to an agreement that we realy do have a problem, as a people, and we have to stop denying it to even begin to find a cure for it. my point is what you have quoted, the CONSTANT self-inflicted blows we heap upon ourselves that will not earn respect for us in the world stage.

  47. tess

    they left the country in search for a better life not really for themselves but for the kamag-anak they left behind… they are heroes to there families and accidental heroes to our country… the money they remit in billions keeps the country afloat.

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