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Dec 31

Assessing Adrian

My last column for the year is Let’s get loud.

In Adrian E. Cristobal, public man of letters; 75 by Lito Zulueta, he points out that the late Adrian Cristobal was a public intellectual, and he tries to compare and contrast public intellectuals elsewhere with our home-grown kind. I attempted a similar effort in Assessing Adrian, triggered, in part, by Conrado de Quiros own reading of a the man, who was his friend.

On a related note, see The Role of the Public Intellectual by Alan Lightman and The Future of the Public Intellectual: A Forum in The Nation.

May 2008 be as good for you as we all hope it will be for our country.

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180 comments

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  1. DevilsAdvc8

    if there was a complete absence of factual information, no amount of compulsion can produce one – and that’s that!

    Bencard, the courts are not forcing the military and police to do the impossible. only forcing them to get out of their tired old excuses. simply put, the courts now put the burden of proof on the authorities. they don’t have the missing person? fine, then prove it. instead of just paying lip service to endless denials. they deny custody yet refuses courts or anyone else to look into their records (always claiming national security)(so, they coulda let only judges look on the records. or do they mistrust judges as well?) they deny custody yet they won’t allow search of their premises either in their camps or wherever the missing persons are said to have last been seen.

    i’ll rephrase your comment. if there is a complete absence of honesty, no amount of compulsion can produce one – and that’s that!

  2. Bencard

    “i’ll rephrase your comment. if there is a complete absence of honesty, no amount of compulsion can produce one – and that’s that!” devilsadvoc8.

    if “honesty” is a given, then we have no need of proof. that is an ideal state that cannot exist in this world. btw, how do we deal with fabricated, doctored or tampered files?

    in any event, i have no problem making the recalcitrant officer accountable for unjust refusal to disclose, or provide access to, investigative record of “extra-judicial” killing or unexplained disappearance of a reputed enemy of the state, or any one else for that matter. in my present jurisdiction, refusal to disclose (discovery) in criminal cases is a form of prosecutorial abuse that is severely sanctioned by law.

  3. UP n student

    Cut-and-paste from Tony Lopez/Manila Times:

    VIRTUAL REALITY
    By Tony Lopez
    The writ of amparo, RP style

    (Amparo is Spanish for protection.)

    …..

    As a legislature, our Supreme Court has adopted what is called the writ of amparo. The writ of amparo is a concept enshrined in the Mexican Constitution since 1857 and adopted by a dozen other Latin American countries but which in the Philippines nobody has heard about until the 1991 bar examinations when Ateneo law professor Adolf Azcuna incorporated it as a perplexing question. Not surprisingly in the 1991 bar, Ateneo graduates were the topnotchers. Adolf is now an SC justice which may explain why the High Tribunal is suddenly warm to the idea.

    The writ of amparo, says our Supreme Court, is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

    In Mexico, the writ is applied against government officials, particularly the president. Here, the writ is applied against both public officials and private persons, both government corporations and private corporations. In that sense, the writ of amparo becomes a very powerful protection for rights of citizens and of corporations. Amparo is Spanish for protection.
    —-

    One beautiful thing about the writ is its power of discovery. It wants to know what the respondent has done to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the person or persons responsible for the threat, act or omission and what information the respondent has in this regard.

  4. Jojo

    Fishball, no doubt being a “titan of a writer” could qualify someone as a national treasure. I’ve read some of Cristobal’s work which I thought were quite pretentious. His piece on Bonifacio still pales in comparison to the tome that Teodoro Agoncillo wrote (now that fellow is a national treasure). What I find disgusting are people who highlight his supposed writing skills in order to gloss over his fidelity to the dictatorship. Ismael Kadera writes beautiful poetry and fantastic of novels, but this does not erase the fact that he collaborated with the brutal, paranoid Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha.

    What I do would like to read are the works Cristobal wrote in behalf and in defense of the dictatorship. Someone ought to mine the “works” produced out of the Presidential Center for Strategic Studies (PCSS) that he headed.

    Rizal compromised himself because he was confronted with death (which makes him all human). Cristobal swore loyalty to the dictatorship at its inception (1972) and stood close to it when it fell (1986). Who is the Rennaissance man here?

  5. anthony scalia

    cvj and bencard,

    oops, my eyeglasses failed me again! at least give me credit for getting most of the letters right. kung baga sa lotto, i got the first few numbers of the winning combination 🙂

    your post ‘spoken like a true collaborator’ hit me in the head like a Jaworski or Maurice Lucas cheap shot. that caused my ‘confusion’

    for bencard – how do you rate James Woods’ series ‘Shark’? its being shown here just now. i enjoy it. its nice to see a legal drama from the prosecutor’s side. in ‘The Practice’ the prosecutors there were like the opponents of the Harlem Globetrotters – whipping boys

    you might be interested to know – in the 1991 bar exams, the very first question in political law (thus the first question in the entire bar exams) was define writ of amparo!

  6. DevilsAdvc8

    in my present jurisdiction, refusal to disclose (discovery) in criminal cases is a form of prosecutorial abuse that is severely sanctioned by law.

    and that would be in the great free, good ol USA is it? and I suppose Bush has been severely sanctioned by that law you’re talking about? or perhaps you’re not familiar with what is going on in that country right now?

    anyway, going back. the reason the writ of amparo was executed by the SC was bec authorities before could just refuse to disclose any info on the guise of protetcing national security w/o facing any kind of sanction. you do agree that such blanket protections like that must not exist bec such things are prone to abuse…

    its the same war being fought in your host country, i understand. does the executive have the right to blithely disregard, countermand, or even destroy its other co-equal branches? and all for the *cough,cough* supposed threat to national security…

    if that is the case, then any criminal govt can just raise that excuse and wreck havoc to its citizens.

  7. UP n student

    DevilsAdvc8: you give me the impression that you do not understand how the US-of-A system works in regards the separation of powers between Supreme Court, Executive, and Legislative.

  8. UP n student

    In a nutshell (since you as Filipino has more important things to think about than Bush versus Pelosi versus US Supreme Court)…. So of course, The US President is not allowed to cross the lines that have been clearly defined by US Supreme Court rulings. BUT….
    — when there has been no Supreme Court ruling as precedent, then the US President can lead, e.g. more wiretaps or extra-tough-handling-of-Padilla. Not only is the US President presumed-on-sound-legal-standing-until-proven-guilty, he is REQUIRED to make tough decisions that pushes the envelope.
    — Someone then sues. [If no one sues… well… life goes on.] Someone suing — even if the one suing is Pelosi or the Governor of California or the ACLU — does not mean the President has to stop. And if the one suing is an OFW-non-US-citizen… tough luck!!!!!

    ——————
    As for the US Congress… the US Congress is ALLOWED to pass laws… in fact it is their job. If no one complains about these laws… then business-as-usual, the law stays. But reasonably-intended laws sometime violate rights of US citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution. Case in point — the ongoing struggle by the US Congress to write anti-pornography laws (to benefit the majority) that do not not violate the Constitutional right to freedom-of-the-press/freedom-of-information.

  9. cvj

    Bencard, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Writ of Amparo.

    Anthony, today’s move on crowd are the collaborators under the present dispensation. (That’s why you take comfort in Beancurd’s words.) The good thing for you (and your fellow collaborators) is that you are able to articulate your justifications for being such in real-time, something which Adrian Cristobal to my knowledge, has not done. Years from now, assuming this comment thread still exists, your justifications can then be evaluated by future historians.

    does not mean the President has to stop. And if the one suing is an OFW-non-US-citizen… tough luck!!!!! – UP n Student

    UP n Student, aside from its own laws and institutions, the USA is embedded in a larger world of international law, which in turn is an expression of the values of civilized society, unless of course you’re willing to concede that the US is turning into a rouge state.

  10. DevilsAdvc8

    DevilsAdvc8: you give me the impression that you do not understand how the US-of-A system works in regards the separation of powers between Supreme Court, Executive, and Legislative.

    that’s ok Up n. you give me the impression of having no grasp of current events in the US-of-A as well. 😀

    and it’s sad that you think being a Filipino, one shouldn’t concern one’s self with the outside world. you can go on and withdraw yourself from the outside world, but the outside world won’t stop from influencing you and those around you.

    our little shit of a country won’t matter if the US decide to invade Iran today because of insignificant-fucking-Bush (accdg to u) you don’t see the confluence of events as it flows bec accdg to you, Filipinos should be as myopic as they can, and concern ourselves with our own little world.

  11. Bencard

    UPn student, i couldn’t have explained it better than the way you did. thanks.

    if i may add, the court can only act on justiciable cases, i.e., non-political, non-academic, and real and actual controversies between real parties. courts cannot, on their own, initiate cases for adjudication. they are not omnipotent bodies that reverse, countermand, dictate, or interfere with the acts of the executive and legislative branches. they interpret the law and the constitution and apply them to a case pending before them. their pronouncement as to the constitution may or may not invalidate legislative or executive action. thus it is the constitution that sustains or voids those actions through the instrumentalities of the courts, but not the courts themselves.

  12. Bencard

    devils, not to be partisan but i think upn stude gives the impression of being more conversant of the u.s. system than you (though i can sense you watch cnn or bbc more avidly).

    cvj, u.s. is a member of the u.n., which i think is the hot bed of anti-americanism. the greatest detractors of the u.s. are those nations who either practice totalitarianism, or simply hate its unique superpower status. most of these countries were beneficiaries of u.s. humanitarianism and generosity, at one time or another and many still are. as to individual detractors, many are actually pining to “live in america”, others are illegally staying in the u.s., and still others are “green card” holders or naturalized citizens enjoying their freedom of expression to the fullest.

    as any country whose primary concern is the interest and protection of its citizens and residents, its general well-being as a nation, and its territorial integrity and way of life, it is not above pursuing measures that make outsiders and even some of its homegrown ideologues and “bleeding hearts” inside its borders unhappy. that’s just too bad.

    as an imperfect human society, u.s.a. is not immune from mistakes, excesses, injustice, even criminal transgressions. while that may be the case, u.s.a., as a nation, never wavers from its adherence to the rule of law that is primarily based on universal concept of justice. thus, the infamous japanese-american quarantine during world war ii, the my lai massacre, the abu graib prison abuse, to cite a few, were brought to the world’s attention by americans themselves (albeit with initial denials, if not unsuccessful overt attempts at whitewash), and corresponding actions of reparations were taken after due process.

  13. Boy Mejorada

    I dread to think what would have happened to our nation if the likes of Cesar Virata, Blas Ople and Adrian Cristobal and so many others who worked in the government abandoned their posts when Marcos took over. We should not forget that government must continue to function no matter how bad the leadership is.
    Sometimes, it’s those in the second or third layer in the bureaucracy who serve as a counter-balance to the blunders and mistakes in the national leadership. They have to struggle and sacrifice to right the wrongs caused by those at the top. It’s a tough job doing that.
    Being in government at a particular time doesn’t translate to blind loyalty to the President. Not all those who work in Malacanang are admirers of President Arroyo, or the other presidents who occupied the palace.

  14. DinaPinoy

    Sometimes, it’s those in the second or third layer in the bureaucracy who serve as a counter-balance to the blunders and mistakes in the national leadership. They have to struggle and sacrifice to right the wrongs caused by those at the top. It’s a tough job doing that.
    Being in government at a particular time doesn’t translate to blind loyalty to the President. Not all those who work in Malacanang are admirers of President Arroyo, or the other presidents who occupied the palace.

    personal enrichment SHOULD BE the sole criteria for condeming a gloria-collaborator.

  15. Jojo

    I agree, Boy, but the people you mentioned did not belong to the “second or third layer in the bureaucracy.” They were at the center of things: Virata, presiding over the spread of cronyism and helping to sanitize the economy when it was looking bad, Ople making sure that workers did not go on strike (yes, he sent us abroad to work, but within the country he presided over draconian labor laws), and, well, Cristobal — the supposed author of Marcos’ attempt at ideology: the democratic (sic) revolution (many of its ideas borrowed from the leftists tracts then). There were people like Ting Paterno who, indeed “serve(d) as a counter-balance…” but they were largely marginalized, and none of their counter-balancing ever resulted in minimizing the consequences of dictatorship.

  16. Bencard

    i don’t think the word “collaborator”, in the pejorative sense used here, applies to those who work for a duly-constituted, constitutionally-elected, chief executive. i thought collaborator is a term appropriate only to those who serve the japanese occupiers or the marcos dictatorship. thus, no one regards those who served under quezon, osmena, roxas, quirino, garcia, macapagal, ramos, and estrada as collaborators. even those who worked for cory aquino (whose presidency was constitutionally questionable but remain unresolved) are not referred to as collaborators.

    pgma is a legally and constitutionally elected president. her government is legitimate in spite of contrary opinions of her enemies (that don’t count, anyway). the people working for her are not “collaborators” in its derogatory sense – they are serving the country and its president.

  17. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    oh no? are you thinking now that im a paid gloria hack? just because i don’t share your views on ‘Hello Garci’ im already a collaborator?

    “your justifications can then be evaluated by future historians”

    oh yes, i totally agree. especially when we look back and ask, who could have created those jobs, who could have created economic opportunities, who could have lifted the marginalized and made them middle class?

    actually we don’t even have to wait for the future to answer those questions. you can even answer them now, in the negative – not those shouting ‘patalsikin na now na’ ad nauseam, not those who still romanticize about another people power/EDSA, not those who waste their time on questioning the ‘legitimacy’ of gloria, (and for your enjoyment – NOT GLORIA)

    and since you were not able to rebut my assertions on ‘Hello Garci’ it means you agree that what i wrote is true. which explains why you resorted to a cheap shot

    what does the country need right now? jobs, or booting out gloria? both? if only collateral damage were not possible with another people power/EDSA. and most glaring of it all, those who just want gloria kicked out aren’t creating jobs themselves!

    and for your peace of mind – im not saying that gloria should go scot-free. since it appears that people like you have smoking-gun evidence on her cheating, file cases against her on June 30, 2010 at 1 pm. put feet to your claims, my friend.

    in case you havent noticed, for almost 3 years any people power attempt went pfffft, the latest of which was the Manila Pen stupidity of Trillanes, Lim and Guingona. since you are a corporate guy, you surely know that you only devote resources to tasks that would generate the biggest return possible. Perish the thought about another people power/EDSA. Tagging people as ‘apathetic’ or ‘nagpapagago’ will get you nowhere. Cases filed on 2010 will do the trick. Or if you cant wait for 2010, try an idea i floated earlier in other blogs – lobby/work on congressmen to vote for impeachment next year.

    by the way, you still haven’t answered my query – as per beancurd (i got it right now), please name one non-collaborator who does his fighting in the comforts of another country.

    i hope these ‘non-collaborators’ are not under the illusion that they are the 21st century equivalent of the Propaganda Movement of the 1890s

  18. DinaPinoy

    i guess if you don’t scream ‘patalsikin na! now na!’ then you are a ‘passive’ collaborator. that’s my understanding (being implied) of the word according someone.

  19. cvj

    anthony, i don’t doubt the sincerity of your conviction so i don’t think you’re a paid hack. as in the time of Marcos, you don’t have to be corrupt to be a collaborator.

  20. cvj

    Boy, it was Cesar Virata’s and Jobo Fernandez’ policies (as dictated by the IMF) that caused the economic collapse in 1983 to 85. They may have been honest but they were still misguided ideologues.

  21. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    so not a paid hack, but a collaborator nonetheless? (sigh) then there must be tens of millions of us collaborators here

    DinaPinoy,

    “i guess if you don’t scream ‘patalsikin na! now na!’ then you are a ‘passive’ collaborator. that’s my understanding (being implied) of the word according someone”

    the problem with that notion is that it deems kicking out gloria (or any president) is the be-all and end-all of solutions for the Philippines (though in one sense it is, because when gloria is gone the destabilizers will stop ruining the country)

    EDSA 1 and 2 have shown us – kicking out the president doesnt solve problems a bit.

    it has to be instilled in every Pinoy’s heart and mind that EDSA/people power is not and never a magic pill. if it will take gloria sitting till 2010 to prove that point, so be it

  22. hawaiianguy

    I can understand why Adrian C. is in the spotlight. His visibility as a Marcos ghostwriter earned him both flak (as collaborator) and even admiration, for his creative writing. Marcos was credited with having written so many books, including Tadhana, but was not this piece done by some intellectuals-for-hire UP professors?

    cvj is right, one may not be necessarily corrupt if he/she works with the Marcos regime as a “collaborator.” Like a mercenary, he gets paid fabulously for his service to a despot.

  23. cvj

    Anthony Scalia, i agree with your estimate that there are millions (if not tens of millions) of collaborators many of them from the otherwise decent folks in the upper and middle class. That may be of comfort to you if you seek safety in numbers. It is up to each of us to assess where we stand in relation to Gloria Arroyo’s cheating and its consequences to our institutions and its effect on our social capital.

    Why blame EDSA Dos when the enabler of Gloria Arroyo’s impunity is apathy and the support of collaborators? There is no foolproof way of choosing our leaders. Even in the best of circumstances, e.g. an honest election by intelligent voters, the people can still make a mistake. The question is what to do collectively when we discover that we have made the wrong hiring decision.

  24. UP n student

    cvj: When… the President-in-situ by your judgment is wrong for the country, the action is follow-the-collective-will as defined in the Constitution. All you have to do is go through this Quezon-blogsite and open to the mathematics that while there is you and Blackshama and Anna-de-Brux on the same side of the argument, there are others, also Filipino citizens, who are on the other side. It is idiocy to clap ones hands at Trillanes-and-company whose actions are in fact contra to the collective-will of the Filipinos as codified in the Philippine Constitution.

  25. UP n student

    An interesting quote which may explain why Abe Margallo and a few others cheer Trillanes coup-attempt.
    —“The totalitarian phenomenon,” observed the late French political philosopher Jean-Francois Revel, “is not to be understood without making allowance for the thesis that some important part of every society consists of people who actively want tyranny: either to exercise it themselves or–much more mysteriously–to submit to it. Democracy will therefore always remain at risk.”

  26. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    im not seeking safety in numbers per se. mind you, not all anti-gloria want to kick her out before 2010. i just want to point out that the kick-gloria-out-now school of thought has very few supporters. it just so happened that these very few are columnists, bloggers, other media people, which explains why ‘kick-gloria-out-now’ is so loud

    For your illumination, please visit

    http://www.angtagalnaman.blogspot.com/

    By the way, as posted in that site, the “wala na bang iba” manifesto is the manifesto of ‘collaborators’

    The members of the ‘kick-gloria-out-now’ school of thought will surely want to join ‘The Trillanes Fans Club’ at:

    http://philippinecomedian.com/2007/11/trillanes-fans-club-launched.html

    “The question is what to do collectively when we discover that we have made the wrong hiring decision”

    In a democracy –

    a. you live with it, and make the most out of it. or

    b. you impeach – but thanks to the bright boys of the opposition, it won’t happen. or

    c. another people power/EDSA – but the people have spoken: for many reasons and despite gloria herself, gloria should stay till 2010. please respect these people – the ‘collaborators’

    as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. opposition-sponsored (wait, they are the only ones trying to replicate people power) people power attempts always go pffffft.

  27. Beancurd

    UPn student:

    What collective will are you talking about? the constitution? If you are a student and therefore a bit young, then i guess you did not vote to ratify the constitution. so there goes your collective will theory, a collective will that failed to collect your will.

    The same goes to all the others who did not participate in the constitution’s ratification, including me. If that is the case, are you saying then that the “collective will” is a mere accident of your birth to Filipino parents? is that collective will or a derivative one?

    or to those, who did not participate in the ratification of the constitution, by their default? is that again collective will or an imposed one?

    You know what your (and the likes of you) problemt is? the same as that of the technocrats in Marcos’ time. it is essentially in investing too much worship in theory that you fail to recognize realities. You are so convinced of the theory that you fit the realities to it instead of the other way around.

  28. cvj

    UP n Student, it is precisely the process for aggregating the collective will as defined by the Constitution that has been subverted by Gloria Arroyo. It is dishonesty to condemn Trillanes and company while closing ones eyes to what GMA did as recorded in the Garci tapes and confirmed by her subsequent actions (and inaction). You have to go to the root cause. Inaction by GMA’s collaborators to a clear violation of the electoral process does not absolve her. BTW, i don’t think Blackshama is on the same side as me or Anna de Brux.

  29. cvj

    An interesting quote which may explain why Abe Margallo and a few others cheer Trillanes coup-attempt.
    —”The totalitarian phenomenon,” observed the late French political philosopher Jean-Francois Revel, “is not to be understood without making allowance for the thesis that some important part of every society consists of people who actively want tyranny: either to exercise it themselves or–much more mysteriously–to submit to it. Democracy will therefore always remain at risk.” – UP n Student

    What segment of our society came up with the mantra “We are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward.“? As far as i’m aware, it did not originate from Trillanes’ supporters.

  30. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    Trillanes and his supporters are part of those who want “…to exercise it (tyranny) themselves.”

    and as far as i know, the people who live by the immortal words “We are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward” have helped create jobs, help lessen the number of the marginalized. they have awakened to the reality that ‘moving the country forward’ is not necessarily equated with ‘kicking out gloria before 2010’

    only those who keep on making failed coup attempts and always nipped-in-the-bud people power attempts call the present regime a tyranny. these people are undermining the job-creation efforts of the resident ‘collaborators’

  31. Jojo

    Hawaiian guy, yes, Tadhana was commissioned by Marcos, paying Serafin Quiason (who was then National Archives director, I think), Samuel K. Tan (now known more as UP’s foremost advocate on the Moro struggle), Zeus Salazar, among many others to write the book. I remember then that they were paid so high and were given so much leeway in their teaching responsibilities. Salazar and Tan have publicly admitted being ghost-historians for Marcos but not Quiason. Some people say many others were involved, including the esteemed Reynaldo Ileto who wrote the now-classic Pasyon and Revolution. This, I think, is something worth exploring further.

    UP was full of mercenaries then who served the dictatorship. It was not only Cristobal and his cabal at the PCSS (some of whom are now red-blooded anti-Arroyo democrats kuno) who helped the regime legitimize itself.

  32. UP n student

    Beancurd: Are you serious?? It is so juvenile to say that because you did not sign the Philippine Constitution, that the Philippine Constitution does not represent the collective will of the Filipino people. You write as if you can cite a survey which says that two-out-of-five (or worse) of Filipinos believe that he and his neighbor are not bound by The Constitution.
    If not the Philippine Constitution, where is a piece of document – authored by Filipinos, for Filipinos, with the intention of expressing how the Filipino nation should conduct itself — that has been replicated over and over again and made available for Juan and Juana and Carlo and Manuel to review and say “yeah” or “nay”, too. The Bible? Not even authored by Filipinos!

  33. UP n student

    Beancurd: You know what your problem seems to be? It is essentially in investing too much worship in theory that you fail to recognize realities. You are so convinced of your theory that you fit the realities to it instead of the other way around.

  34. Bencard

    the will of the filipino people is not necessarily the will of each and every filipino. beancurd’s and cvj’s and other like-minded people’s wills may not be disregarded but are just a small drop in the ocean of the nation’s collective aspirations. in all practicality they don’t count!

  35. Bencard

    there’s not much anyone can do about cvj’s self-pronounced “judgment” about pgma’s “cheating”. it is ingrained in his psyche and no amount of argument and reason can put him back to reality. just let him be. his version of “truth” cannot, and will not, change anything. most assuredly, even the collective effort of all like-minded haters of pgma will not impede in any way the nation’s march to a better life for most, if not for all, its people.

  36. hawaiianguy

    Jojo,

    You seem to know a lot more of those UP professors who wrote for Marcos, for money’s sake. I’m not aware of Ileto being one of them, he certainly makes more sense and appears intellectually honest, at least for me.

    “UP was full of mercenaries then who served the dictatorship. It was not only Cristobal and his cabal at the PCSS (some of whom are now red-blooded anti-Arroyo democrats kuno) who helped the regime legitimize itself.”

    Don’t you think this is also happening under Gloria’s regime, which by any indication, is the most unpopular so far? (at least, judging from the surveys). What would you say of, Angara, for example? And those UP folks who do the lawyering for Gloria, despite all the odds?

  37. Bencard

    hawaiianguy, i’m not sure to whose drumbeat you march on but are you certain it’s fair to label people who work for an administration, no matter how unpopular (according to surveys), mercenaries or collaborators? you sound more thoughtful than some of the anti-gma commenters here. then again, do you have anything else to offer besides gma’s “unpopularity”?

  38. hawaiianguy

    Bencard, I don’t mince words. The word “collaborators” for those people around Gloria is kinder; I call them paid lackeys, sipsips, kapalmuks, kakutsabas, and oh, many of them are kurakots.

    And for Gloria, I don’t consider her a legit president. Some people who tampered the votes for her are personally known to me. I believe in the “Hello Garci” tapes, no matter how others say they are “no evidence” of Gloria’s guilt.

    Now you know which side I’m from.

  39. DinaPinoy

    citizens as collaborators?

    The silence of the Lions
    E Leung
    Nathan Road
    http://www.xanga.com/nathanroad

    Whenever I ask my American friends what they know about Singapore, I draw mostly blank stares.

    Here in the United States where I’ve lived for over two decades, most are terribly uninformed about The Lion City. They may remember an American boy caned a while back or cite its ban on chewing gum or praise their experiences with Singapore Airlines. But almost nobody is aware of Singapore’s role as America’s ninth largest trading partner, or that the two countries conduct joint military exercises or that President Bush lavished praise on Singapore for being a staunch ally on the war against terrorism. I’d be surprised if half can even find Singapore on a map.

    The few Americans who volunteer additional impressions of Singapore usually express one of two extreme positions. Some say Singapore is a medieval dictatorship where an evil sultan enforces his will with chains and torture chambers. Others, particularly those who have visited, claim Singapore is an idyllic bastion of democracy, freedom and rule of law. “Disneyland with the death penalty”, a Los Angeles Times writer once put it.

    The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between.

    Singapore is undoubtedly governed by a one-party dictatorship led by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). But unlike authoritarian regimes elsewhere, there are no surly government thugs kidnapping dissidents in the dead of night breaking bones and extracting confessions.

    In the Lion City, Americans would find a more sophisticated form of dictatorship, a sort of dictatorship with a double latte. Dissent is crushed not with violence on the streets but with verdicts in the courtroom. Opposition candidates rarely garner enough votes because Singaporean law, written by PAP legislators, renders it easy for government officers to sue their own citizens for slander — a concept laughable in genuine democracies. Understandably, most Singaporeans prefer to remain silent (or at least temper their criticisms) than risk having their lives ruined by PAP-initiated lawsuits.

    But intolerance for dissent silences more than just the lions in Singapore. It also renders Singaporeans invisible abroad.

    Singaporeans I’ve met here in Los Angeles are mostly good-natured people, speaking unaccented English and enjoying successful lives. But while exemplifying the American dream, they’re also a people who seem painfully ordinary and unwanting of attention — like those desperately trying to avoid eye contact.

    I remember my walks to class as a university student at UCLA a few years ago and passing recruiting booths for various student associations. Almost every nationality had some sort of organization: Hong Kong Student Union, Korean Student Association, Filipino Union, etc. That is, every nationality except Singapore, despite the several hundred Singaporeans enrolled there. There was even one for Macau, a country with barely one-eighth of Singapore’s population.

    Elsewhere in American society, Singaporeans seem equally invisible.

    In the legendary Asian communities of Los Angeles, many Asians flaunt their ethnicity and wave their homeland flags with pride. Most adopt a hyphenated label (“Taiwanese-Americans”, for example) to stress one’s heritage along side their American identity. They may march against injustice inflicted on their people in street demonstrations. Some even run for political office, touting their nationality and immigrant status as an asset. Asian-American pride can be boisterous, omnipresent and even controversial.

    But not from Singaporeans. In the United States, they remain silent, going about their business on the fringes of American consciousness. In all my time in America, I cannot remember ever seeing a Singaporean flag or political activity involving Singaporean issues. No wonder Americans dont know anything about Singapore.

    Perhaps Singaporeans appear absent because there are fewer of them in America than, say, immigrants from Hong Kong. But it isn’t just a matter of less Singaporean pride in America. It’s a matter of NO Singaporean pride.

    But this is hardly surprising. Most in Singapore also seem to choose apolitical and unnoticed lives. This tendency remains a legacy of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s dictatorial Founding Father who engineered a nation of people domesticated through intimidation and force. “If you don’t fear me, then I’m meaningless”, he once boasted (let’s see an American president try to get away with saying that). Even today, Singaporean sheepishness remains so stubbornly in place, the government must coax citizens into activism, like the Youth Consultation Exercise earlier this week.

    Granted, it’s arguable Singapore’s apolitical nature contributed to the volcanic rise of Singapore’s economy. But that was a different era, before the advent of globalized economies and when communism and despotism infested half the planet. Today, almost all nations agree that true democracy, freedom and capitalism form the tripod for a happy, prosperous and enduring society. It’s an agreement that seems to fall upon deaf ears amongst PAP elites.

    So while Lee succeeded in erecting a first-class city, he also succeeded in engineering a submissive population afraid to assert individuality, whether at home or abroad. And that’s unfortunate. Their culture has much to offer here in the United States, with its exotic blend of East and West with a pinch of Islam. A Singaporean stitch would be a treasured addition to the American cultural fabric — if only Singaporeans would cease hiding behind it.

  40. Bencard

    hawaiianguy, o.k., you may not mince words but are you willing to testify under oath concerning your declarations (of course, after revealing your true identity). if you’re still a filipino, you may be doing your country a great service by testifying, if not gma’s enemies who are salivating for a “smoking gun” to justify ousting her. talk is cheap, very cheap, you know, especially in the philippines.

  41. hawaiianguy

    Bencard, “talk is cheap, very cheap, you know, especially in the philippines.” Agree! and that goes for all directions, for or against. But talk is cheaper for those with power in their hands – as if they have monopoly of ideas, and the use of violence (in the name of protecting the state).

    Yes, I’m a Filipino. I am in deep pain about what’s happening to our country. Maybe you don’t feel it, because you see a different image coming to your direction. I wouldn’t blame you for that, and hope it will be mutual.

  42. BrianB

    The rise of Pessimism

    wwwdotnewstatesmandotcom/200801030023

    Progressive ideology relies on the capacity of human beings to live fulfilled lives in a just and co-operative society. That people whose beliefs imply optimism seem to spend most of their time wallowing in pessimism is one reason that leftists sometimes lack personal credibility (another reason being that egalitarians so clearly enjoy being very well-off). But miserable idealists need to make a New Year resolution to look on the bright side. Pessimism is becoming an impediment to progressive politics. It is 50 years since J K Galbraith coined the phrase “private affluence and public squalor”; today, the dichotomy is between private hubris and public pessimism.

  43. BrianB

    Singapore is not a real country. We could have at least a couple of Singapores right here in our own back yard. If the Cebuano elites could have it their way, they’d build a Singapore in the middle of Cebu City, including Mandaue.

  44. BrianB

    Exotic blend of east and west? Huh. East and West blended in Singapore but it’s anything but exotic. I think the two polarities neutralized one another. What you get is a bland taste.

    When I’m abroad and a stranger I don’t like ask me where I’m from, I quickly say Singapore.

  45. BrianB

    “I am in deep pain about what’s happening to our country.”

    Hawaiian guy, I am numb with pain.

    Anyway, you still see that girl from American Idol around? What’s her name?

  46. hawaiianguy

    BrianB -She is Jasmine Trias, an American girl whose parents were Filipinos from Cavite.

  47. BrianB

    No, the other one. I remember Jasmine Trias. The other Filipino-Hawaiian.

  48. hawaiianguy

    Ah, you mean Camille Velasco. There’s no other one but her.

  49. BrianB

    Yep her. She still around? What’s she like?

  50. UP n student

    BrianB: Don’t go there (Cebu as an independent state per United-Nations rules)… there is paranoia about the US-of-A doing behind-closed-door maneuvers to buy off enough Mindanao Muslim leadership-kuno to and then to allow US-of-A bases in BangsaMoro-kuno.

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