It doesn’t compute (revised)

My column for today is An unnecessary breakdown in distribution. I have been trying to keep up with The Rice Problem (GMANews.tv has a microsite going, too, The Price of Rice). See in particular, Long lines for rice not the first time in RP history.

But (as an unpublished entry for this blog, postponed and repeatedly revised indicates) it’s tough going. Maybe mañana! For now, what puzzles me is that the government, according to some people who formerly served in it, engaged in mapping the poor areas of the country, with food and patronage in mind. Why then, has government been stumbling around since the Rice Problem began?

Right now, as the Inquirer editorial for today, Immediate need puts it, the political pressure’s increasing for wages to be raised, in response to the Rice Problem.

At the sidelines of the conference I attended, people were quite curious about the Philippines and quite surprised to hear such a big percentage of the population was abroad.

“Why?” they would ask.

“Poverty and the absence of social mobilty,” was my short answer, which would then lead to a longer answer (if there was time).

On to something that occured in my absence.

I read with interest in Ambeth Ocampo’s column, that Rizal translated Déclaration des Droits de l’homme et du Citoyen de 1789 (Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen) into Tagalog. This is of course one of the great historical documents of Western (and World) civilization and brings me to a question asked by in frustration in reaction to my recent column, Resistance isn’t futile.

In his entry Because We Can in FilipinoVoices.com, cocoy (big mango, a blog I’ve often referred to), speaks of the need for a “New Political Party.”

This is, to my mind, actually the formation of a Reform Constituency, which I’ve discussed at some lengths in my March 4, 2008 entry Dodging concrete demands, (see, in addition, Minimum and maximum from February 20, 2008) to wit:

I believe, in light of the above, the urgent need is for:

1. The middle forces to consolidate and pursue a consensus;

2. And having forged that consensus to consider that while some are more focused on the President, and others on longer-lasting and more wide-spread reforms, the two are not incompatible if their goal is a Reform Constituency that can challenge the Right and the Left not just now, or 2010, but beyond.

(And reference to John Nery’s column, as to the role protest, etc. plays in building this constituency; as well as links to the constituencies other people have identified; see also Randy David’s What Among Ed’s victory means -and it did not mean a grassroots revolt; the danger is it might represent the Last Hurrah of the old elite and middle class of Pampanga).

I mentioned the need for a Reform Constituency in my column, The civic imperative: a reflection (which appeared during Holy Week, oh well) on March 19, 2008:

The challenge proposed in the pastoral letter of Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales is whether citizens can cultivate the kind of civic spirit that keeps up the fight day in and day out, and turns a temporary victory in the streets into a triumph of the public good.

In other words, the cultivation of a Reform Constituency, which helps officials by keeping them on their toes, protects gains achieved for the public good, and offers up prospects of preserving what has been built, but extending and enlarging those gains, as well…

The clarion call of our times, then, unites faith with reason. To rebuild a civic culture. To have a common ground in shared values based on a shared belief in how the system ought to work. Our particular political objectives are secondary to this. It is our generation’s mission.

And as I discussed in a reply to a comment also on March 19, 2008:

those who want the president to go, but do not accomplish it before 2010 -but along the way, make it impossible for her to perpetuate herself in office beyond that, then that is an achievement that makes the vigilance from 2005-2010 worth it. if it results in lakas-kampi being trounced at the polls, better yet, come 2010, or if it results in the beginning of the end for them, politically, and the rise of a reform constituency that may not win in 201[0] but begins to flex its muscles and does even better by 2016, then that’s great, too.

If this requires refighting old battles and re-stating old issues again and again, even if it drives some people up the wall, because some things have to restated until properly internalized, then so be it. One big difference in perspective: in his April 18th, 2008 5:42 pm comment, cocoy speaks of “aging 20th century playbooks,” and if your perspective believes a mere 100 years is, indeed, enough to make ideas obsolete, then of course the frustration will be intense. But a few centuries here or there don’t invalidate ideas, to my mind, just as generations passing serves to underscore certain basics about human behavior -including the behavior of those with power and those challenging power and the way it’s wielded.

But it may be that the battles that need to be fought today -and they need to be fought, sometimes along tried and tested lines but also, recognizing that people change and what worked yesterday won’t work today, I’ve also pointed out often enough why this is happening- make some people think that the Reform Constituency isn’t coming together.

It is, and there are tangible signs.

The most tangible of which is Anti-graft bloc, law schools to catch big fish (this effort goes beyond catching big fishes; it’s also establishing the good will and sense of a common cause that will bear fruit in other projects, too; I’m involved in a sub-project that aims to produce charts and diagrams that will help make sense of evidence as its gathered, and also, help illustrate to school kids and citizens how government institutions and procedures ought to work, and show cases where they haven’t worked, or have been subverted by officials).

The Jester-in-Exile has more about it (well, the launching activity, at least) in The Right to Know - Shall We Exercise It, or Shall Our Blindness be Voluntary? and with videos, too, in Filipino Voices — Speak Up. Be Heard. (Else, remain silent and be damned yourselves thereby.)

Responses to my column include The Marocharim Experiment writing of “hinanakit,” but it’s cocoy who really got people thinking: see The Jester-in-Exile’s Because We Must, and Rom’s (aka smoke) Must we? Which, in turn, led to a riposte by cocoy in Because We Can Change the Dynamics of the Game. cocoy expands his views on a New Political Party in Empower Tomorrow (essential, accompanying reading in this vein is A Comprehensive Proposal for an EDSA Reform (edited) by Writer’s Block). As a side note, perhaps we also differ, deeply, in our attitudes towards parties. By instinct, I oppose the idea of political parties, period, because I believe by their nature parties exist to secure jobs for their members, and you have centuries of human behavior and party histories to prove this. In the Philippines’ case, see my Arab News column, The Same Mistakes Eventually. I am more inclined to Making political parties obsolete and exploring Partyless Democracy as a concept (as some people from India are doing), and tying it all together as much as possible, see Politics is a continuum:

1. Politics is a continuum.

2. Politics is about both issues and personalities.

3. When an government is subjected to a referendum the totality of its actions are what’s being judged.

 

The differences in opinion, I’d suggest, boils down to whether cocoy’s belief that old methods must simply be scrapped, or whether the reason they exist points to their efficacy and efficaciousness; and whether the priority can be binding the nation’s wounds, on the basis of letting bygones be bygones because a larger, more abstract, problem needs to be attended to. The abstract problem, after all, has a pretty big consensus behind it: that it exists, and that what exists is a political system out of whack because society’s out of whack. Can you nudge it back into shape? There’s the rub. Of course the most extreme view, and a large part of the problem, are those expounded by New Philippine Revolution: that elections are a sham, that no change has taken place; the justification for revolution by insisting there’s no such thing as evolution.

Or we can simply Blame it on the heat.

In other matters,Conrado de Quiros calls attention to Chess prodigy Wesley So, and how we do well in only three sports: boxing, billiards -and boxing. So three cheers for Wesley! Note how Chess is a popular pastime among many Filipinos, even if public attention isn’t paid to that fact. I admire Chess players, particularly since I’m extremely lousy at it.

Why the Pope wears red shoes was quite unsatisfactory. An infinitely better read is Vintage Vestments: The Philosophical Threads Woven Into Papal Garments or From the House of Benedict, Tradition as Chic in The New York Times (2006) and the full summary of the source, The House of Benedict: The Full Summaries (see older entries still, like Camauro Here Often?) from the must-read blog on everything Vatican-related, Whispers in the Loggia.

 

129 comments

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    • UP n student on April 22, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    But cvj: …. while many Americans will be glad when Dubya leaves office and many Americans were sorry over how history evolved with the Bush years in office, I don’t think that that the American voters who voted for Bush will say that they were tricked. The voters who voted for Bush will disagree with a characterization that Dubya Bush is an emperor, much less a wolf.

    I believe that the vetting process especially for the US presidency is quite thorough that the Americans got the Dubya Bush that they thought they were voting into office — in other words, a Republican who believes in small-government, tax-incentives versus food-stamp dole outs. Even the Iraqi war is consistent with the DubyaBush governor-of-Texas Republican platform of “fotress-America” except when it comes to national security. [The big complaint by Republicans against Bush is that instead of “pay-as-you-go”, Bush fought a war like a Democrat — using money borrowed from the next American generation and the generation after that.]

    • UP n student on April 22, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    The thread about “emperors” made strong allusions to emperors treating their praetorian guards a lot better in order for the emperor to maintain control (i.e. control dissent) over the citizenry — North Korea troops controlling the North Korean population.
    Bencard or Abe should be able to find story lines of how well or how poorly American soldier veterans fare when they return from Iraq or Afghanistan. I know that the the statistic is 20% or 25%. One in five, maybe even higher… Over one in 5 of American soldier-veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan are homeless.

    • benign0 on April 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Rego, i guess the difference is that what Benign0 is advocating is Conditional love which is contingent on success. – cvj

    “Unconditional” love?

    Even marriages end in divorce, Mr. cvj.

    Kawawa ka naman, as usual.

    Only fools stay with abusive lovers. It’s called battered wife syndrome (or spouse if you wanna be really technical about it as you usually are).

    Unconditional love for one’s children is understandable, natural, and even instinctive.

    But unconditional love for one’s country is no more than a romanticised concept used by revolutionaries and politicians for galvanising vacuous minds to blindly follow one ideological cause or another.

    Remember the ORIGINAL concept behind the creation of nations. It’s to uphold the collective interests of a people. When that original point is lost, all you’re left with is your “unconditional love” — no more than a figment of your imagination implanted (probably irredeemably) by generations of social engineering and indoctrination.

    And THEN you start scrounging around for REASONS to continue believing in it.

    – 😀

    • cvj on April 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    @ Rego (re: Benign0), see?

    • cvj on April 22, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    UPn, as can be seen from his spending priorities, Dubya’s praetorian guards are the Blackwater mercenaries and the rest of the Military-Industrial complex. The American soldier is cannon-fodder.

    • Madonna on April 22, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    HA! Benigno dear, Re: unconditional love. Obviously your thinking is that the country is your lover, an abusive lover in the case of the Philippines eh? Something bonkers and fallacious with your analogy to the country as a lover.

    Of course being lovers or in a relationship is contingent on expectations, and mutual responsibilities.

    But love of country? Care to think why pater or mater is the root word of what we usualy refer to country. Our land where we were born is considered mother or father, for which we have a duty to love. This is born of natural inclinations and even sanctioned by religious edicts. That’s why it’s sacred and runs deep. Even Jesus Christ who was martyred and murdered by his own people still identified himself as a Jew, to the very end.

    And so in that case, your conclusions following this wrong assumption are necessarily false also. That’s why your prescriptions dear may sound logical, but they don’t stick or what’s more, they often a leave a bad taste in the mouth.

    • benign0 on April 22, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Our land where we were born is considered mother or father, for which we have a duty to love. This is born of natural inclinations and even sanctioned by religious edicts. That’s why it’s sacred and runs deep. Even Jesus Christ who was martyred and murdered by his own people still identified himself as a Jew, to the very end. – Madonna

    My point exactly, Ms. Madonna.

    This whole “love of country” bullsh1t is based (well, in YOUR case at least) on “sanction[s] by religious edicts” and a sense of “duty”.

    You do fail to mention what the origins of said “religious edicts” and senses of “duty” are. They all originate from the minds of people. There is nothing in nature that ingrains a human beings mind with “religious edicts” and senses of “duty”. They are all social/cultural creations and constructs.

    The concept that all heavenly bodies orbited the Earth was once considered to be a sacred belief and, yes, “sanctioned by religious edict”.

    Men who dared present growing evidence that this was a false belief were threatened with excommunication and even death.

    So, just like Mr. cvj, kawawa ka naman. If invoking the sacred, the religious, and the duty constitute the best “argument” you can come up with to prop up this rapidly crumbling edifice of “love of country”, then all I can say is tough luck and good luck convincing people who actually use the better sections of their brain (you know, the sections that aren’t sanctioned by religious edict).

    – 😀

    • benign0 on April 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Mr. cvj, grasping at straws as usual.

    You shouldn’t equate care with love. You of all people who has a habit of nitpicking on trivial details should appreciate these little differences.

    – 😀

    • cvj on April 22, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    So Rego, anong masasabi mo ngayon? Anyway, it did occur to me that maybe Benign0 really did love his country (in a ‘tough love’ kind of way) and was just putting on an act for the purpose of provoking others. However, i had to eventually discard that idea in the face of his clear, unequivocal and unmistakeable statements like the ones above (at 1:30pm and 2:57pm).

    • Madonna on April 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Benigno,

    First, I dare say ikaw ang kawawa because you’ve been MISSING THE POINT. At a certain age, say past the age of 30 at least, neither environment nor social constructs could be said to be responsible for what you turn out to be. Maybe you are still cursing the environment or social constructs that you are rebelling against — even if they are already oceans away from you.

    Second, I am not convincing people. You are one who has made a career of convincing people of your gothic getreal religion. You have put up your own religion Benigno and you are desperate for people to subscribe to it.

    Third, please don’t twist my meaning about religious edicts because I made a clear example. My point about religious edicts is not because of dogma because though I am Catholic and will remain so by choice for the rest of my life, I don’t subscribe to dogma. The true religious don’t subcribe to dogma to live their lives. People who see the dogma or the surface edicts and miss the deep underlying beliefs or spiritual truths behind them are missing the whole point.

    Fourth, at least admit it, your lover analogy was shot down because it is erroneous and fallacious. Oh, see I mouth quaint words like love or the sacred and such but I aint no person who tolerate BS when I see it. Who say’s being scientific minded exclude being in tune with what can’t be measured or seen like the sacred eh?

    Fifth, it is indeed a duty to love your mother and father, whatever they turn out to be. You can curse them (don’t we all at certain points in our lives?) of course because there may be justifications for it, but there’s no changing the fact they gave you life as much as the land where you where born.

    Words like duty, love and sacred. Ponder on them Benigno. You’re the only who can really know what they mean. That’s why I said it is not subject to debate. Of course you can’t go running to Mr. Webster’s because if you do, you are obviously missing the point. Good luck!

    • Liam Tinio on April 22, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    benign0 does have a point.

    i think his contention puts into light how we measure our achievements and actions in the light of western concepts, not our own concepts.. we are living in a dichotomy.. and this is non more truer in our concept of nepotism.. the western educated side of us tell us that nepotism is absolutely bad but the filipino side of us tell something differently.. and in fact, we collectively see it as true in areas where we are enjoying relative success like in business..

    why cant we apply the same criticism we do for nepotism in government to the practice of nepotism in the successful businesses in the country?

    the real flaw in Filipino cultre, as benign0 points out, is that we readily take and accept that the western concept on government is the best for us.. when in fact, we are more like a barangay type of people..

    we force ourselves to wear coat and tie, although through the lens of a western pov we will look good in it, it is one that is unsuitable for us. for we are something really different..

    • benign0 on April 22, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    That’s why I said it is not subject to debate. – Madonna

    If it is not subject to debate, then why discuss it here in a blog that is renowned for the quality of the debate it hosts?

    Typical Pinoy-style discussion-ender you invoke there, Ms. “Madonna”.

    – 😀

    • Jeremy on April 22, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Regarding the relative nature of time and political ideas, I am reminded of Zhou Enlai who, when asked for his assessment of the 1789 French Revolution, is supposed to have replied: “It is too early to say”.

    • cvj on April 22, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Liam, i agree that there is something to be said for adapting the system to better suit local conditions and culture. The Japanese in particular are good at this, i.e. taking Western democratic forms (and technologies) and making it their own. However, we have to guard against those who label something ‘alien’ just to preserve their positions of power and privilege. As an aspiration, Freedom (Kalayaan) and Justice (Katarungan) are very much embedded in the Filipino psyche.

    On Nepotism, whether you’re from the West or the East (or North or South), it’s practice cannot be good in terms of building a society where people advance based on merit.

    • Madonna on April 22, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Typical Pinoy-style discussion-ender you invoke there, Ms. “Madonna”.

    HAHAHA Benigno, typical ender there too. Again. LOL. Low blow there, you cast aspersions on Pinoy mentality from your judgment of my comments. I could defend myself, but you are unfair to the rest of the Pinoys who you choose to drag into your imaginary mud. Fair huh? Not to say fallacious and illogical. It’s simple really matey but you always miss this simple thing.

    Remember my original comment was on a debatable issue — your erroneous metaphor. And did Manolo ever laid a tablet of rules that we must debate only? An exchange of views is not necessarily a debate. We’re not really college kids here, are we?

    • Jeg on April 22, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    …and in other news:

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

    Link: http://www2.nysun.com/article/74994?page_no=1

    Just illustrates our wrong-headed policy to turn our farmers into laborers and factory workers instead of turning them into better farmers by giving them all the help they needed. The idea then I suppose was we need to produce food anymore, just buy them from other countries. Now we can’t even do that.

    • Jeg on April 22, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    The idea then I suppose was we need to produce food anymore…

    I meant ‘we need not produce food…’.

    • UP n student on April 22, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Thousands of acres of US farmlands have gone green. Corn-into-food became corn-into-ethanol. Do not weep for the American farmer — the economic cycle is now in their favor where they get reasonable returns on investment.

    • Bert on April 22, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Why should a Filipino concentrate on the flaws of the Filipino people? Surely all race and cultures has its flaws and good points.

    Degrading oneself is self-flagellation, a sadistic behaviour.

    • UP n student on April 22, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    to benign0: I hope you are aware that the population of Australia (like the population of USA or Canada) only have a passing interest in the Philippines. Of course, when asked why you left, they will approvingly understand if you say “Australia provides better opportunities for a person of my skills — I believe in self-reliance, not dependency on government handouts”. But I think that you should choose silence as opposed to telling your new neighbors or workmates that “… the country of my birth is culturally weak”.

    In particular, love-of-country is where you may want to speak no further than “corruption, mismanagement, failed coups a way to become Senator”. It won’t get you any pay raise, so just choose silence and not tell Aussie neighbors/co-workers your belief that “…the Pinoys haven’t gotten it yet that this whole “love of country” bullsh1t … is based on “…religious edicts” and a sense of “duty”…”

    • UP n student on April 22, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    An excerpt from a letter to the US Congress:
    Authored by:Lester Brown, is founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute.
    Jonathan Lewis is a climate specialist and lawyer with the Clean Air Task Force:

    Last year, the United States burned about a quarter of its national corn supply as fuel — and this led to only a 1 percent reduction in the country’s oil consumption.

    Turning one-fourth of our corn into fuel is affecting global food prices. U.S. food prices are rising at twice the rate of inflation, hitting the pocketbooks of lower-income Americans and people living on fixed incomes. Globally, the United Nations and other relief organizations are facing gaping shortfalls as the cost of food outpaces their ability to provide aid for the 800 million people who lack food security. Deadly food riots have broken out in dozens of nations in the past few months, most recently in Haiti and Egypt. World Bank President Robert Zoellick warns of a global food emergency. The immediate necessary step is a major increase in global food aid. But beyond that, America must stop contributing to food price inflation through mandates that force us to use food to feed our cars instead of to feed people.

    Taking these together — the environmental damage, the human pain of food price inflation, the failure to reduce our dependence on oil — it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that food-to-fuel mandates have failed. Congress took a big chance on biofuels that, unfortunately, has not worked out. Now, in the spirit of progress, let us learn the appropriate lessons from this setback, and let us act quickly to mitigate the damage and set upon a new course that holds greater promise for meeting the challenges ahead.

    • supremo on April 22, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I would really appreciate if benign0 can declare a benign0 holiday. Once a week is good enough.

    • supremo on April 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Or if that is not possible, I would appreciate it if benign0 can take a once a week holiday from his getreal thing or whatever you call it.

    • jakcast on April 22, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Indeed, the discussion here on how to solve the nation’s ills and problems make for very interesting reading.

    Benign0’s get real analysis has some ring of truth. But the aspect on RP’s failure because of perceived socio-cultural flaws of the people would require year-zero solutions.

    Other view points, like direct democracy proposals, are worth noting; maybe they are just good in theory but impossible to implement.

    If our nation building failed with the purest form of liberal, representative democracy, maybe its high time to consider the other so-called “variants” e.g. Asian democracy or sovereign democracy. An incorruptible, benevolent dictator? Is that a possibility under Philippine conditions and circumstances?

    If there’s such a thing as a failed state, maybe the Philippines is a failed democracy?

    • BrianB on April 22, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Interesting letter titled “Missing Piece”.

    Missing nga.

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/letterstotheeditor/view/20080422-131867/The-missing-piece-in-Philippine-devt

    • baycas on April 22, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    go madonna…

    decena, that is…

    • BrianB on April 23, 2008 at 2:09 am

    From Inquirer Opinion

    What is particularly disturbing about this to-hell-with-everybody-else rhetoric of some governors is that it’s taking place without the President doing anything about it. To be sure, politics is a thankless profession, and the keen pragmatist (often verging on being a cynic) that she is, the President, who has perfected transactional politics, knows a provincial nabob’s thank you is as good only as the date of the latest check signed by the Department of Budget and Management. But still, considering how both the President and the governors have insisted over the years that theirs is some sort of enlightened partnership, it speaks volumes of the President’s brittle hold over even her most vocal allies that they see no problem with adding to her woes in order to pander to their own constituents.

    When you can’t be plentiful in grains you can be plentiful in words,

    • Bencard on April 23, 2008 at 2:12 am

    is that your real name – madonna decena? are you from bicol, by any chance? i had once a teacher, ms. decena.

    • BrianB on April 23, 2008 at 2:31 am

    jakcast, the rich never wanted a real, working democracy only the facade. Hence, we’re never been one.

    • cvj on April 23, 2008 at 3:28 am

    The rich and middle class cheat the masa out of their vote, bags of cash are brazenly handed out to influence our ‘representatives’, corruption is covered up with the connivance of the Supreme Court and yet we still characterize ourselves as purest form of liberal, representative democracy?

    • jakcast on April 23, 2008 at 3:47 am

    cvj, my context was we failed in building our nation in what is in form the purest liberal representative democracy.

    that’s why i’m asking are we then a failed democracy.

    • jakcast on April 23, 2008 at 3:55 am

    @ cvj

    or maybe i got you confused. shall we then say the “pro-forma” purest liberal representative democracy. ours is modeled from the u.s. of a, remember?

    • cvj on April 23, 2008 at 4:14 am

    jakcast, i agree with the ‘pro-forma’ part. The trick is to move beyond ‘pro-forma’. What i wonder is why we seem to overlook the class element in all this? Ours is modeled after the American system but with a very different class structure. We already have an insider like Romulo Neri who has already drawn an Oligarchic syndicracy diagram for us to explain what is holding us back as a nation. How can it not be clearer than that?

    • benign0 on April 23, 2008 at 4:25 am

    HAHAHA Benigno, typical ender there too. Again. LOL. Low blow there, you cast aspersions on Pinoy mentality from your judgment of my comments. I could defend myself, but you are unfair to the rest of the Pinoys who you choose to drag into your imaginary mud. – Madonna

    True, Ms. madonna, you have a point there.

    But then based on my observations over the last few years, the kind of thinking exhibited in your comments does indeed reflect typical Pinoy thinking. Quite unfortunate if you ask me. Maybe you’d be a bit more comortable commenting the way you do amongst the ellentordesillas.com crowd. 😀

    As to my “love” metaphor, well, that’s what you get when you use “love” across a variety of apples-to-orange concepts. Love for kids, love for a lover, love of country? Common denominator = “love”, yes, but the use of the word in this instance makes sense only to the vacuous mind.

    It won’t get you any pay raise, so just choose silence and not tell Aussie neighbors/co-workers your belief that “…the Pinoys haven’t gotten it yet that this whole “love of country” bullsh1t … is based on “…religious edicts” and a sense of “duty”…” – UP n

    You sound worried, UPn.

    People don’t walk around talking about Pinoyness, Aussieness, Japaneseness, Chineseness, or Vietnameseness on a daily basis.

    There are more important and interesting things to talk about outside of cyberspace. 😉

    • jakcast on April 23, 2008 at 4:34 am

    @ cvj, because democracy is government by the people, meaning all, irrespective of class. its just such that in a small country like the philippines, the oligarchic power has not been checked; or the middle class is not there; or the lower class is just so concerned with survival; or the people just don’t care about their rights; or the institutions are weak; or the bureaucracy is half-baked; or the catholic church keeps meddling, or its damaged culture; etc. etc.

    there’s a host of causes or reasons for the ‘pro-forma’ pure form of liberal, representative democracy to fail.

    • BrianB on April 23, 2008 at 4:47 am

    “ts just such that in a small country like the philippines, the oligarchic power has not been checked;”

    Filipinos don’t mean a whole lot to you, do they? 90 million people is not a small country. Oligarchs go scot free for other reasons.

    • jakcast on April 23, 2008 at 4:57 am

    @ BrianB, small country meaning all aspects of power configuration, not only population but natural resources (like land), economic power, technological advancement, and othe hard and soft power components. don’t take it too literal.

    you cannot be considered a big or power country if 10 percent of your population goes to other countries for employment.

    • jakcast on April 23, 2008 at 5:03 am

    @ BrianB, its not all a matter of population. Small country in terms of economic prowess, natural resources (like land), technological advancement, and other hard and soft power components.

    The Philippines is not a ‘big’ country in power configuration. Especially so if ten percent of its population goes out of the country in search of work.

    • cvj on April 23, 2008 at 5:06 am

    jakcast, yes democracy is government by the people irrespective of class because oligarchic power has not been checked, and because oligarchic power has not been checked, the economy fails to grow, the bureacracy is unresponsive, the institutions are weak, the middle class is leaving and the lower class are preoccupied with survival.

    Regarding our ‘Damaged Culture’, this term has been appropriated by people to mean a lot of things but this is what James Fallows (who popularized the term) wrote in his piece…

    “This is a country where the national ambition is to change your nationality,’ an American who volunteers at Smoky Mountain told me. The U.S. Navy accepts 400 Filipino recruits each year; last year 100,000 people applied. In 1982, in a survey, 207 grade-school students were asked what nationality they would prefer to be. Exactly ten replied “Filipino.’ “There is not necessarily a commitment by the upper class to making the Philippines successful as a nation,’ a foreign banker told me. “If things get dicey, they’re off, with their money.’ “You are dealing here with a damanged culture,’ four people told me, in more or less the same words, in different interviews. – James Fallows, A DAMAGED CULTURE

    By James Fallow’s definition, Benign0 who thinks ‘love’ is a ‘metaphor’ and ‘love of country’ is ‘bullsh1t’ is the prime specimen of the kind of ‘damaged culture’ that Fallows wrote about, and for that, i hold the Jesuits and their elitist education accountable (at least in part).

    btw, we are not a ‘small’ country.

    • cvj on April 23, 2008 at 5:11 am

    sorry, the above (at 5:06am) should read yes democracy is government by the people irrespective of class but oligarchic power has not been checked…

    • cvj on April 23, 2008 at 5:13 am

    sorry Brianb (at 4:47 am), i was still writing when you posted.

    • jakcast on April 23, 2008 at 5:13 am

    @ cvj

    I just responded to BrianB (at 5:03 AM) with what I meant of RP as being a small country, i.e. in terms of power configuration. I tell you I meant no ill will.

  1. Bert says:

    Degrading oneself is self-flagellation, a sadistic behaviour.

    But perverts cannot live without them. Kawawa naman.

    • benign0 on April 23, 2008 at 7:24 am

    and for that, i hold the Jesuits and their elitist education accountable (at least in part). – cvj

    If not the Government, the Jesuits are to blame for society’s ills, right cvj? 😀

    On that, note, what’s your take on the concept of personal accountability that is so apparently alien to the typical Pinoy mind?

    • leytenian on April 23, 2008 at 7:36 am

    no question, we filipinos love our country. India and Korea has its own and I’m sure the grass is not always greener on their side. Just like an individual person, she/he has her/his own issue. I will not even talked about our neighbors.
    Love of country is always within us. It is our leaders who are overpaid who are not filipinos. I don’t know where they come from and where they graduated. Majority enjoy sitting at their office and the people expect them to perform and implement. Of course ,they know they are managing Philippines .. my point… we paid you to the job. It is not noble nor close to even right to keep your job if nothing has been properly done. I would say, they should voluntarily step down or as I have said on my previous post. We don’t need plenty. Our issues are so obvious. Everyone here have made a great point. I wonder if our leaders can even understand what we are trying to say….. They do for sure but then again they are not filipinos… they don’t love our country but they hold our money. Why let us fix the problem, we are just the people. We are not paid. Let’s target all of them. para mahiya na mahiya na sila… Heart attack is a natural cause of death. lol

    • leytenian on April 23, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Leaders can be blamed for being incompetent. All of them… In regards to RICE… we have minister of agriculture, finance and budget… These executive ministers should do their job. Who else? what are they doing? Location of farming? what about our senators, congressman and governors who manage their region or land. All of them should be able to assess and even compete with each other. Competition in every region drives Oligarch away or maybe… they are the oligarch?
    They are all useless…

    • Bencard on April 23, 2008 at 8:10 am

    isn’t the preceding post sounds familiar or they all talk the same – same rant, words choice, syntax, air of arrogance and self-righteousness? noticed the all-too-familiar tone of contempt and hate?

    • inodoro ni emilie on April 23, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Degrading oneself is self-flagellation, a sadistic behaviour.

    let me venture a guess: always the lowly second class citizen in one’s adopted country?

    happy anzac day, benigs! whose flag will you be a-fluttering during this i-am-proud-to-be aussie motherhood introspection day?

    • mlq3 on April 23, 2008 at 8:54 am
      Author

    shouldn’t we try to distinguish between democracy as a system, and how one generation’s definition of it can be different from anothers, and how one sector of society’s views of what constitutes it may be different from others? and how the definition that crosses class and generational barriers has to be the simplest, e.g. democracy = regular elections?

    and there’s an entirely different question, which is, national progress -how defined, to what extent achieved? do we live longer, have fewer diseases, than before, do we have more roads, do more people have the ability to read, etc?

    • benign0 on April 23, 2008 at 9:04 am

    let me venture a guess: always the lowly second class citizen in one’s adopted country? – inidoro

    Everyone’s entitled to their “guess”, dude.

    Second class citizen? Guess again. Look at our own islands and check out the queues not only for rice but for drinking water as well (people have been queueing for water there for so long that we take it for granted as normal) and multitudes of people living and eating off mounds of garbage.

    Between the Philippine Government and the Australian Government, which of the two do you think is more inclined do things with the best interests of the general public in mind?

    Being a third class citizen in ONE’S OWN COUNTRY OF BIRTH is a bit more tragic than your perception that I am a second class citizen down here in my adopted land of plenty, don’t you think?

    – 😀

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