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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  1. oh, no – Bastille hasn’t come yet. Not the true one, anyway. Give it 3 more years to coalesce, then a few more years to finally explode.

    I also hold with MB’s view abt OFWs not being heroes. They are heroes, only to their families, not to the nation. Selfish, not selfless interests (frm the patriotic pov) moved them to leave the country and their families to work abroad. The dollar remittances propping up the economy were only a side-effect of their decisions to leave, and not their direct intention. Heroes, in my eyes, are those who have the capability to leave, yet continues to stay here despite not being financially rewarded. Heroes, are those who teach in far-flung communities, doctors who leave lucrative fields to give care to tribal people, citizens who, despite the overwhelming signs of hopelessness, continue to foster hope with their actions.
    It is a govt cop-out who continues to go by the easy way- promote migrant employment, prostitute our nation’s manpower, sell our national patrimony…
    These are a village idiot’s idea of governing. Let reform fall by the way side, anyway, they’ll all be dead by the time their actions and decisions catch up and punish the nation.

    Who’s complaining? I’m watching time tick. I’m waiting patiently. When the conflagration starts, let those who filled their bellies greedily while the nation suffered be swept aside, burned at the stake, and left for the crows. Leave no corrupt official alive (past or present)

    I’m ticking my list…

    • Jeg on September 5, 2007 at 11:11 am

    On the icon of the new Boycott MST campaign, I have this persnickety comment: The OFWs portrayed there look sad. As if theyre going for a ‘pity’ appeal.

    • cvj on September 5, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Clinton Palanca’s essay demonstrates the wisdom of Carmen Guerrero Nakpil’s no-nonsense minimalist definition of being Filipino i.e. citizenship that you linked to sometime back in this blog (but unfortunately is no longer active).

    The concept Filipino which was formed during a time of opposition to Empire, should not be reduced to an ethnic or a purely linguistic one. I don’t think our national hero intended it to be that way.

    On the ‘Bagong Bayani’ tag, I take it that MB’s point is to beware of flattery and its hidden costs. As an OFW myself, I also do not agree with the OFW being called a ‘hero’. I prefer ‘Saviour’ (‘Bagong Tagapagligtas’) instead which focuses on the results. This term does not apply to any individual OFW, but to the phenomenon as a whole, which Abe Margallo compared to (borrowing from Nick Joaquin) “little drops of water that make the mighty ocean”.

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    “Heroes, in my eyes, are those who have the capability to leave, yet continues to stay here despite not being financially rewarded. Heroes, are those who teach in far-flung communities, doctors who leave lucrative fields to give care to tribal people, citizens who, despite the overwhelming signs of hopelessness, continue to foster hope with their actions” – Devilsadvc8

    .
    I beg to differ.

    Great nations were not built on good intentions. They were built on business sense. Real change in Pinoy society will never be achieved through the “sacrifice” of altruistic “heroes”. True change will be driven by people who find no shame in expecting a buck for their trouble. 😉

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    “This term does not apply to any individual OFW, but to the phenomenon as a whole, which Abe Margallo compared to (borrowing from Nick Joaquin) “little drops of water that make the mighty ocean”.”

    cvj, the full context of that quote from Joaquin reveals that he was highlighting how our little quaint individual “successes” don’t necessarily translate to monumental-scale achievements befitting TRULY great nations. As you will find below (I emboledened the phrase for your reference):

    ==============
    About the one big labor we can point to in our remote past are the rice terraces–and even that grandeur shrinks, on scrutiny, into numberless little separate plots into a series of layers added to previous ones, all this being the accumulation of ages of small routine efforts (like a colony of ant hills) rather than one grand labor following one grand design. We could bring in here the nursery diota about the little drops of water that make the mighty ocean, or the peso that’s not a peso if it lacks a centavo; but creative labor, alas, has sterner standards, a stricter hierarchy of values. Many little efforts, however perfect each in itself, still cannot equal one single epic creation. A galleryful of even the most charming statuettes is bound to look scant beside a Pieta or Moses by Michelangelo; and you could stack up the best short stories you can think of and still not have enough to outweigh a mountain like War and Peace.

    — Nick Joaquin, “A Heritage of Smallness”
    ==============

    – 😉

  2. Devil’s is being a devil’s advocate or speaking with tongue in cheek.
    As per past comments…his mom and sister are both ofws.

    • cvj on September 5, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Benign0, i don’t think Abe appropriated that phrase to agree with, as much as to subvert, Joaquin who in turn was subverting Rizal. As Abe explained in the conclusion to his blog entry:

    “The economics of migration, born out of petty thinking and desperation, is now the big picture. The swellheads in the elite community will not say it loud – that the national development policy revolves around the phenomenon and that the Philippine economy today is consumption-driven, propped by the economic activities of the Filipino diasporic community, small in amounts but large, nay, gigantic, in scope, much like the “little drops of water that make the mighty ocean” to borrow the highbrow gentility of a literary biggie, yet the much admired Nick Joaquin. – Abe Margallo, Little drops that make the ocean, Sunday, August 12, 2007

    I encourage you to go to his blog to read the entire entry.

    • inodoro ni emilie on September 5, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    a hero is someone who does things BEYOND the call of duty. tama si mb, what is so heroic about being an ofw? nothing, because truth to tell they’re just out there to do things primal to their survival–that of their own and their family. the tag was a sugar coating concocted by the government (did this start with ramos?) when it could not generate the job markets they promise year in and year out [asan na ang 1-million promised jobs a year, aver?]. that makes the goverment the ultimate linta! a government full of vision, which, in reality, are mere illusions.

    • Jon Mariano on September 5, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    The comparison of the rice terraces to the Filipino diaspora today is very apt. There was no grand design but the end result is quite visible.

    The farmers who as individuals built the terraces were not considered artists or whatever, same with the OFWs as individuals who can’t be really called heroes. Collectively however, the effect of the moneys sent by them is there. It helped save the Philippine economy in recent turbulent times.

    • inodoro ni emilie on September 5, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    “Heroes, in my eyes, are those who have the capability to leave, yet continues to stay here despite not being financially rewarded”

    no devils, in this context, sila’y mga martir! 🙂

  3. Individually,they may or may not have selfish motives at the start,but once they get to stay and continue the sacrifice, dahil alam nila na di ito basta basta, they become heroes,to their families and to themselves.Since tinawag na din silang bagong bayani,that is a long overdue recognition to them,for those who treasure the recognition let us not take it away from them.

    On another perspective,I also agree that it is be the agregate effect of remmittances that saved our economy many times.

    • leo on September 5, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    mlq3,

    Coincidentally, I’ve been reading up on the topic “minority-dominated economies” or “market-dominant minority”:

    “Market-dominant minorities can be found in every corner of the world. The Chinese are a market-dominant minority throughout Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, ethnic Chinese, only 1% percent of the population, control as much as 60% of the private economy.”
    http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forum/forumnew97.php

    Please, please check this out: The same author’s Aunt is a Chinoy murdered in Manila.
    http://www.amnestyusa.org/amnestynow/hate.html

    And an interview with the author:
    http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people4/Chua/chua-con3.html

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    “The farmers who as individuals built the terraces were not considered artists or whatever, same with the OFWs as individuals who can’t be really called heroes. Collectively however, the effect of the moneys sent by them is there. It helped save the Philippine economy in recent turbulent times”

    .
    Well for that matter, it seems the Philippines is a country that merely STUMBLES into outcomes rather than STEER its way into fortune.

    Kung baga, our fortunes (whether they be bad or good) are merely accidents or by-products of some random event or circumstance. We are not masters of our destinies. We don’t make things happen. We merely coast along on bahala na. 😀

  4. I also do not agree with calling the OFW as bagong bayani. This is just a monicker created by the government to fool us that leaving the country is a heroic deed. Collectively they are heroes, but let’s admit that OFWs leave the country because of their selfish needs, the needs of their families. Being selfish is not bad, sometimes we need to be selfish so that we may survive.

    • Jerome on September 5, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    I would agree that OFWs leave the country because they were driven by the hopeless situation they are in back home. I for one have a stable job but having stable job is not enough. I was driven by a dream, a dream that i would leave someday a legacy for my offspring who would soon be the next generation. A generation with better prospect in life and who will have a choice that sadly for most of the OFWs haven’t. Selfish its true, and can hardly be called heroic. But isn’t that the context of being a hero, to sacrifice for the love one’s deliverance? True change can only come from within..And making a sacrfice for a change within the family lifestyle can create a change in a nation. Thats when a true progress can onlybe achieved…Now that sounds heroic 🙂

    • cvj on September 5, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Benign0, i find your analysis to be inconsistent. First you say, “True change will be driven by people who find no shame in expecting a buck for their trouble.” Then, when Jon describes something that essentially agrees with your statement, you counter by saying that “our fortunes (whether they be bad or good) are merely accidents or by-products of some random event or circumstance.“. Ano ba talaga? The only thing consistent seems to your bashing of the Filipinos which is bordering on the irrational.

    BTW, the miracle of the free market is likewise the miracle of collectively stumbling into outcomes. (Remember Adam Smith’s invisible hand?) If you want a system that tries to ‘steer its way into fortune’, then go to a socialist country. Then again, i suppose you already knew that, but only temporarily forgot it because of your prejudice against us Pinoys.

    • Jeg on September 5, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    The OFWs may have left for their families’ sake, but let’s not belittle their sacrifice. Being away from those you love for extended periods isnt easy especially if you value your family. As a parent you’d want to be there to guide your children, and youd want to be the strength of your spouse. You are giving that up for their material welfare. Im sure that choice gives a lot of OFWs sleepless nights, wondering if they did the right thing.

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    “Heroes, are those who teach in far-flung communities, doctors who leave lucrative fields to give care to tribal people, citizens who, despite the overwhelming signs of hopelessness, continue to foster hope with their actions”

    .
    Jeez. Life’s too short to be a martyr for people who are simply incapable of helping themselves. Even Mother Theresa spent the better part of four decades wondering what the whole POINT of what she was doing in India was (refer to a Time article about her last week).

    Doesn’t anyone here even wonder whether Ninoy Aquino’s “sacrifice” was even really worth it? Anong na pala niya? Naging stariray pa tuloy ang bunso niyang anak. Worse, his wife became a no-results president then a fizzled out Edsa revolution has-been chump in 2005. 😀

    • leo on September 5, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    mlq3,

    Doesn’t allowing Communist China’s aggressive entry into the into the local market aggravate and complicate the ‘minority-dominated-economy’ problem? The ideological factor itself is a complicated and complicating factor. The national security issue, it seems, is being swept under the rug. On top of the economic, social and cultural issues in minority-dominated economy, the ideological issue was recklessly mixed into the hot pot of the Philippine social-economic-political crisis.

    While we have to accept the present realities we must be very careful and try to manage the things that are still within our control.

    Already, Mainland Chinese corruption has spilled over the region and corrupt Filipino officials are having a bonanza. That’s aside from the ideological problem these officials couldn,t care less about.

    To reiterate, doesn’t allowing Communist China’s aggressive entry into the into the local economy aggravate and complicate the ‘minority-dominated-economy’ problem?

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    “You are giving that up for their material welfare. Im sure that choice gives a lot of OFWs sleepless nights, wondering if they did the right thing.”

    .
    I’m sure their “wondering” will end as soon as they fly back and find their remittances squandered on cellphone trinkets, Starbucks lattes, and pilgrimages Wowowee land. They will also find their kids grown up deprived of close parental supervision, dropped out from school, sentenced to a life of mopping floors or flipping burgers whether in Manila or Dubai (the latter, thus, propagating the next generation of orphans to OFW-ism). 😀

    • Jeg on September 5, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Benny: Jeez. Life’s too short to be a martyr for people who are simply incapable of helping themselves.

    I take it benny, that you are against helping people have the capability to help themselves? You are against “doctors who leave lucrative fields to give care to tribal people” and are all for them to 1) give medical care to themselves, or 2) die? I remember someone post something from your recommendations. Something about forced sterilization of undesirables? I forget.

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Jeg: “You are giving that up for their material welfare. Im sure that choice gives a lot of OFWs sleepless nights, wondering if they did the right thing.”

    I’m sure their “wondering” will end as soon as they fly back and find their remittances squandered on cellphone trinkets, Starbucks lattes, and pilgrimages Wowowee land. They will also find their kids grown up deprived of close parental supervision, dropped out from school, sentenced to a life of mopping floors or flipping burgers whether in Manila or Dubai (the latter, thus, propagating the next generation of orphans to OFW-ism)

  5. Mlq3, thanks for the link.

    Just read Manuel Buencamino’s article that you linked here. Manuel,

    I was relishing every word he wrote in that wonderful peace, taking in the seriousness of the article to heart and the ‘severity’ of the situation, until I read the ending:

    ” It’s like she has no fear of harpoons. ”

    I went into a fit of laughter! My dog panicked! Hahahahahahah!

    • cvj on September 5, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Actually Benign0, there is no point. Our actions are an expression of who we are. Mother Theresa continued to do what she did even if she no longer got her spiritual fix because that’s the kind of person she was. Ninoy chose to go back despite the personal risks because that’s the kind of person he was. You, on the other hand, would choose not to help those who are incapable of helping themselves because that’s the kind of person you are.

    Leo, how do you define the ‘minority-dominated-economy’ problem? You’re right to criticize corrupt practices and i’m also opposed to them entering into rent-seeking (instead of value creating) activities, but other than those exceptions, isn’t the increased business activity coming from the Chinese mainlanders a good thing for the economy?

    If they are coming in at the top-end (as big businesses), isn’t that a good thing since maybe they can do what our lackluster local elite haven’t been able to do for decade? If they are coming at the low-end (e.g. small scale business), isn’t that also a good thing because they increase the over-all level of entrepreneurial activity? To me, that’s a better form of foreign investment rather than the ‘hot money’ that can go in and out in a few strokes of the keyboard. Shouldn’t we be trying to assimilate them so at least some of them will eventually be Filipinos just like us?

    • cvj on September 5, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Jeg, not sure if it was from Benign0 himself but the proposal to forcibly sterilize parents of street children came from someone who belongs to his ‘Get Real’ team – a certain Manuel Gallego III. (What’s this about the name ‘Manuel’ and punditry? 🙂 )

    • Jeg on September 5, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks, cvj.

    This Get Real team, what is its underlying philosophy, benny.

    (Yeah Manila Bay. Im a fan of MB’s frequent forays into comedy. MB, if this punditry gig fails to pan out, you can have a successful career as a political comic. Move over, Lewis Black. 😀 )

    • taga de cebu on September 5, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    ‘Doesn’t anyone here even wonder whether Ninoy Aquino’s “sacrifice” was even really worth it? Anong na pala niya? Naging stariray pa tuloy ang bunso niyang anak. Worse, his wife became a no-results president then a fizzled out Edsa revolution has-been chump in 2005. benigno”

    If it were not for Ninoy Aquino,the Marcos/Imedla/Ver kleptocracy would still be lording over this country.Maybe” Bong Bong Marcos” would be the the new dictator.

    Beningno: Have a life!!!

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    “If it were not for Ninoy Aquino,the Marcos/Imedla/Ver kleptocracy would still be lording over this country.Maybe” Bong Bong Marcos” would be the the new dictator.”

    So what? Life under Marcos for the average schmoe wasn’t too different from the life of the average schmoe today.

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    Jeg, I’m sure their “wondering” will end as soon as they fly back and find their remittances squandered on cellphone trinkets, Starbucks lattes, and pilgrimages Wowowee land. They will also find their kids grown up deprived of close parental supervision, dropped out from school, sentenced to a life of mopping floors or flipping burgers whether in Manila or Dubai (the latter, thus, propagating the next generation of orphans to OFW-ism).

    • taga de cebu on September 5, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    “So what? Life under Marcos for the average schmoe wasn’t too different from the life of the average schmoe today.”

    You would not even be posting today in this blog under Marcos!

    • taga de cebu on September 5, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    for Benigno:to inspire you tonight!

    ” The Philippines is a nation of 40 million cowards and one son of a bitch.”
    o by unnamed ranking cabinet member of the Reagan administration, 1982. (attributed to Secretary of State George Shultz)

  6. Taga de cebu,

    Not sure Taga de Cebu. Maybe Benigno would be serving as minister of racial cleansing under Marcos for all you know.

  7. “I beg to differ.

    Great nations were not built on good intentions. They were built on business sense. Real change in Pinoy society will never be achieved through the “sacrifice” of altruistic “heroes”. True change will be driven by people who find no shame in expecting a buck for their trouble. ;)”

    Ah benign0, for once, I agree with you!

    • manuelbuencamino on September 5, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Jeg,

    “(Yeah Manila Bay. Im a fan of MB’s frequent forays into comedy. MB, if this punditry gig fails to pan out, you can have a successful career as a political comic. Move over, Lewis Black. )”

    Thank you. And I love Lewis Black. If only there was a way to capture his comedy in print…

    Manila Bay,

    Thank you. To tell you the truth, I was afraid the harpoon line would fall flat. I’m glad it made someone laugh

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    “I take it benny, that you are against helping people have the capability to help themselves? You are against “doctors who leave lucrative fields to give care to tribal people” and are all for them to 1) give medical care to themselves, or 2) die?”

    No I am not against them (who said I was?).

    What I do rail against is implying that such people are NECESSARILY superior human beings compared to those who are law abiding, look out for Numero Uno, quietly ACHIEVE, and, in the process, make a tidy sum for themselves.

    As I keep harping about before: we are a society that is averse to celebrating WEALTH and instead put the poor and pathetic and the people who pander to them up on a pedestal.

    Name ONE succesful society that was built by such people. The greatest nations on the planet were built by opportunists, profiteers, and adventurers — not by martyrs and charity organisations.

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    “The greatest nations on the planet were built by opportunists, profiteers, and adventurers — not by martyrs and charity organisations”

    As a matter of fact, what I say above IS consistent with the particular circumstance that surrounds da Pinas today.

    It is the very people I talk about above, OFWs and migrants — people who looked to themselves for SOLUTIONS (by pursuing opportunity, profit, and adventure) — who TODAY prop up the pathetic economy of the country.

  8. I agree with manuelbuencamino’s article… I am beginning to totally hate the “Bagong Bayani” thing. OFWs are not heroes, they’re just workers, they just happen to need to work farther away.

    But what’s the difference between them and me? I work and toil hard too.

    I’m just feisty enough to do it *here* and not abroad. My monthly tax payments can buy mid-range cellphones every month, if only for the little scraps of service I get from this government. How dare people tell me that I am not a hero because I’m not paying it in dollars and depression.

    • Jerome on September 5, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    As a matter of fact, what I say above IS consistent with the particular circumstance that surrounds da Pinas today.

    It is the very people I talk about above, OFWs and migrants — people who looked to themselves for SOLUTIONS (by pursuing opportunity, profit, and adventure) — who TODAY prop up the pathetic economy of the country.

    Exactly!!! I couldn’t agree more…

    • Bencard on September 5, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    i don’t think they are intentionally “pro(pping) up” the economy, benigno. they are just helping themselves instead of just relying on the government. their net effect in the overall economy is, one could say, unintended consequence in a positive sense.

    come to think of it, ofw’s are indeed modern “heroes” as were the farmers and local laborers were the talked-about heroes of yesteryears. without denigrating these farmers and laborers, ofw’s comprise what is now the primary wealth producing sector of the country’s labor force. who cares what their personal intentions are? they are helping their country immensely and we, the people, should thank them for it. its part of the market forces in play. the government is not to blame for their desire and effort to improve their lot and that of their loved ones. that’s their God-given right.

    • manuelbuencamino on September 5, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Clinton’s insights are great.

    A couple of comments on some of Clinton’s observations regarding Chinese in Malaysia, Singapore and here.:

    1. On coherent and hermetic ethnic community:

    Singapore is chinese so they don’t have to integrate themselves to a bigger ethnic group.

    In Malaysia, the Chinese along with the Indians are forced to keep to themselves because the government is racist. The NEP policy is an affirmative program for the dominant majority. Also, the Malaysian government wants to keep the Malay identity pure.

    In both Singapore and Malaysia, chinese is the medium of communication among the chinese – much, much more than over here. For example, in Greenhills, which I call the new Chinatown, I see chinese families conversing in Pilipino among themselves. I’ve even seen couples out on dates speaking in Pilipino. These would be rare sights in both Malaysia and Singapore.

    2. “The Chinese in the Philippines, as opposed to the Chinese who migrated to other Southeast Asian countries, are ethnically homogenous; they come mostly from the same region of China and consequently speak their own dialect, which increased their cohesiveness as a community but reduced the relevance of institutions such as Chinese schools, which teach Mandarin.”

    Chinese in southeast asia come mainly from the southern part of China. If dialects are any gauge of homogeinity, I believe one will find a similar proportion of Chinese speaking the same dialect in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia as they do in the Philippines. I attribute this to migration patterns. A family member emigrates, finds a better life, family follows, townmates follow and pretty soon you have a tong (in the good sense of the word). In other words, chinese communities in all of the above asian countries tend to come from the same areas in china. look at the map and you’ll see that travel times or convenience, in addition to “advance parties”, is basically what determined why “they come mostly from the same region of China and consequently speak their own dialect”.

    • benign0 on September 5, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    “i don’t think they are intentionally “pro(pping) up” the economy, benigno”

    I didn’t say they intentially were. They just HAPPEN to be, simply by looking out for themselves — which is precisely my point. You don’t have to INTENTIONALLY help at the expense of any opportunity for your PERSONAL GAIN in order to ACTUALLY help.

    We lionise “heroes” who sacrifice themselves to intentionally help. But if you think about it, those who had no intention of helping are actually the ones who turn out to help the most. I think OFWs, and most law-abiding profit-focused people fit in this category.

    Bill Gates had to be the most selfish, self-centred, and self-absorbed people in the world in order to achieve what he achieved. Now he is employing, enriching AND helping FAR MORE people than those “self-sacrificing” nuts we’d like to believe are our “heroes”.

  9. Benigno, you must mean the richest nations, not the greatest. And if you mean to deride our fixation with martyrs and saints, well I must tell you that there’s no such thing. Put the people who pander to the poor on a pedestal? pray tell, where are those people you are talking about? do you see them being fawned over by the nation? are they even being noticed and given recognition?
    aversion to people who are looking out for NUMERO UNO? and what do you call pinoys aping Manny Pacquiao and Bata Reyes’ wealth? martyr lovers?
    And OFWs are not the only ones who looked to themselves for “solutions.” they are merely the ones lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so. do you think that if there was suddenly a bonanza of free US visas, someone would still be left here? “ang mga korap, ang mga walang kakayahan, at ang kumikita lamang sa koraptong bansang ito ang matitira..” words I’ve written a long time ago.
    how in effin hell can Pinoys succeed elsewhere and stagnate right here in their own country? because mediocrity is rewarded here. rewarded, promoted, and given jobs. and they corner the market amongst their kind, elbowing out those better than them, knowing they’ll be shown up for the untalented fools that they are. Take Malu for example. Her column could have been given to someone else far deserving than her. Yet such crap is allowed space and published. Can it be that Pinoy management is unable to identify real talent from fake ones? Compare companies managed by Filipinos and those by foreigners. foreigners treat our countrymen better and give them their dues more than their Filipino bosses ever did. WTF is THE PROBLEM? under a foreign boss, a creative, ingenious individual, good at problem solving would immediately be scooped up and promoted to a supervisory position. compare that with bossing Juan. he sees such kind a threat to his own position, and would try his darndest to obstruct these individuals from shining. given a choice between these individuals or a sip-sip employee, bossing Juan would immediately choose hands down the sipsip employee to be promoted rather than the more deserving individual.
    is this the Pinoy’s “collective” fault or the ruling elite’s? topple them, pull the rug from under their feet, burn them to the ground. lay waste to the whole system and start anew. The Filipino nation is waiting to be born. Not this one. Descendants of the friars and their ilk still rule us. In fact, it is their blood mixed with the natives that are behind the unnatural Pinoy char faults you so love to hate. I say unnatural, because these char faults were never innately ours. Never originally Filipino. Like a disease, we were merely infected by the damn colonials who came here. It was theirs to begin with, and they bred it in us, passed it down from generations to generations. Well, I’m saying enough! These faults do not make me who I am and I am a far better, TRUER Filipino without them. In that sense, I refuse to be the SUBJUGATED FILIPINO and would rather live like the FIRST FILIPINO.

    • manuelbuencamino on September 5, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Bencard,

    Following your lead, I guess we can call them Accidental Heroes.

    How does that translate into Pilipino, Disgrasyadong Bayani?

    • manuelbuencamino on September 5, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    Benigno,

    You sound like Ayn Rand. I;m not qualified to say whether that philosophy is right or wrong neither can I make a judgement as to whether it;s good or bad.

    All I can say is this :
    I wouldn’t want to live in your cold and heartless world.You have a mean and nasty way of living life.

  10. “So what? Life under Marcos for the average schmoe wasn’t too different from the life of the average schmoe today.”

    What? and you can say that because you’ve lived all your life here? under both (Marcos and GMA) administrations? how do you draw comparisons? jz asking.

    “Doesn’t anyone here even wonder whether Ninoy Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ was even really worth it? Anong napala niya?”

    Anong napala nya? e di mamatay. was it worth it? only for those who valued what he gave us. if his sacrifice seems naught today, hindi na nya kasalanan yon. kasalanan na yon ng madlang pinag-alayan nya ng buhay.
    hane, pag namatay ako, tanungin ko rin si Kristo if his death on the cross was worth the hassle. mas lalo pa yatang dumami ang namamatay at pumapatay, all in His name.

    don’t you worry. if there’s one lesson I learned from our heroes, it is: never, ever, offer to give my life up willingly to a nation not ready to be saved from their very own selves.

    • supremo on September 5, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    “Heroes, in my eyes, are those who have the capability to leave, yet continues to stay here despite not being financially rewarded.”

    Maybe stupid heroes. Mahina sa diskarte. Mahina ang loob. O baka hindi marunong maglaba. Kailangan pa ng katulong.

    Tanga lang ang nagpapaka-martir. As they used to say in the US Army “Be all you can be”. Life is short.

    • cvj on September 5, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    benign0, i think your creating another false dichotomy, that between a completely selfish and completely altruistic individual. people are a mixture of both, at least most of us are. To a significant extent, the’greatest’ (aka richest) nations today were motivated by selfish ends, but that is not what distinguishes us from them. We also have more than our share of selfishness.

    What distinguishes South Korea, Japan, the United States, France, Canada from us is a sense of nation and the love of country that comes with it. You should read that open letter by that Korean to us Filipinos that was circulating sometime back.

    • vic on September 5, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    I believe one other way of building a great nation is first working for yourself and family and along the way contribute to the society by giving what is due and making sure they go to where they intended to. whatever you do after that may qualify you for a hero recogniation or a medal or even a statute in the nation’s capital…

    • ziv on September 6, 2007 at 7:19 am

    Malu already admitted her insensitivity. Some had felt that her reaction rendered the OFWs as cheap, and kadiri. While they are nameless, the experience of the indirect insult was felt, by some, to the bone. Only the poor knows the shame of being poor, and to say their taste is cheap is to add salt to the wound. These OFWs left the country to avoid the shame of being poor, to regain some dignity.

    As for OFWs being bagong bayani. It is an overstatement, imo. The government could do better by making sure the airport staff are respectful of OFWs– and their things, and to protect them from those who are taking advantage of them. Service is what the OFWs need, just as they serve their family who are the direct recipient of their remittances but also benefits the country.

    • benign0 on September 6, 2007 at 7:23 am

    “I wouldn’t want to live in your cold and heartless world.You have a mean and nasty way of living life.”

    Awww. Tough luck then if I don’t give you that warm fuzzy feeling you seem to crave from commentors here. 😀

    Love of country? What is it exactly? Love of country is just a concept concocted by old relics back when “revolution” was the only option for many societies. This feeling (sometimes called “nationalism”) induced in the vacuous minds of the masses was romanticised and often used towards the perverse ends of many leaders (if you think about it, nationalism’s close cousin — organised religion — also has the same effect).

    Both concepts — “nationalism” and “religion” — were used as rallying cries for some of the most horrifying atrocities humanity had ever seen.

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