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By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on December 20, 2007 226 Comments 1 min read
Season's Greetings! Previous First step only Next

My column for today is Happiness is a ham .

On a more serious note, Newsstand first brought it up: its been two decades since James Fallows wrote A Damaged Culture: A New Philippines?

I was supposed to speak at the Asian Institute of Management on the subject but the symposium took place at the time I got sick.

My Arab News column, How Fallows’ Essay Gutted Morale of the Filipinos, contains my initial thoughts, originally for the paper I was going to deliver. This is a work in progress, but I thought I’d put the ideas forward, now.

N.B. James Fallows blogs at The Atlantic.com.

And Conrado de Quiros on the endurance of feudalism.

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  1. Madonna, my close friends and relatives who have opted to stay are also focusing on entrepreneurial activities. I guess that should also be factored in the assessment of our country’s future.

  2. SME’s? Small and medium scale? That just won’t do! You have to think big! BIG, I tell ya!!

    (A merry Christmas to benign0, and all of you in Australia.)

  3. cvj,

    merry christmas to you also

    Jeg,

    merry christmas to you

    yes, we have to think BIG. but consider this – in the Philippines, more than 90% of all enterprises are SMEs, and around 60% of all employees are employed by SMEs

    in the US, i think the same proportion exists

  4. Yep, Jeg, small and medium scale — but that’s me and my family’s strategy both for our means of living and contribution to lessening unemployment in the Philippines. I’m not talking about sari-sari store mentality here by the way, and we are certifiably middle-class, nowhere near in the league of the rich. But I agree, we must always think big — but we could always implemenent the big vision with little steps. No problem at all with thinking big.

    Strategic national vision is the job of the government –to map out where our competitive advantage lies, our strengths, our weaknesses, considering our past failures and where are future lies. Sad to say, Fidel Ramos was the best president in terms of strategic vision and implementation we had and 6 years of him was indeed too short.

    As a testament, let me share you this: two cousins and a brother of mine who are barely into their 30s are very successful businessmen and employ hundreds of people combined. All are professionals who went to establish their own firms, with no connections, political or whatever — simply hard work, grit and that thing you call business acumen. And nope, we’re not Chinese.

    Happy weekend to all. Got to rush with my delayed Christmas shopping.

  5. “Thanks Equalizer, Merry Christmas as well! Merry Christmas also to Jeg, Brianb, Butch, Madonna, Dinapinoy, Bencard, tonio, anthony scalia, manuelbuencamino, the Ca t, iloilo city boy, atenistakuno, vanko, benign0, renmin, vic, supermo, ay_naku, willy, hvrds and our gracious host mlq3 as well as all the lurkers!”

    Merry Christmas to you cvj. 🙂

  6. tonio,
    Canada is the first country to adapt Multiculturalism as an Official Policy and it is still an experiment in Progress some 46 years ago. some would say that its more like putting a great divide among the diverse population, but others argue that it really enhance the country’s already great culture and added to its greatness, the mix of the worlds’ and so far it seems to be working and it makes one accepts and tolerates each others. we have no problem among other Pinoys here with regards to our traditions and habits and our attitudes, but accept and tolerate each others and learn much from each.

  7. Big scale, small scale, any scale…I’d prefer whatever scale enterprise anytime over being a glorified slave.
    I hope we have more schools teaching entrepreneurship, rather than nursing and caregiver schools.

    And Merry Christmas to you cvj and the rest! esp to our host mlq3

  8. vic:one wishes that you had defended or promoted the philippines (when you were still a filipino)as much as you defend and promote canada now.

  9. thanks, madonna, for being a good sport. sorry for the use of profanity -didn’t really mean it, just got carried away. guess the fingers were a little faster than the brain that time. on second look, maybe cvj is right that i’m ’emo’ (hope i got what he meant by the term – can’t make myself conversant of text lingo ’cause we don’t do much texting here, if ever).

    best wishes for the holidays to you too, to cvj, jeg, shaman, brianB, equalizer, the Ca’t, vic, devilsadvo8, mb, tonio, rego, ramrod, mbw, tony scalia, benignO, hrvds, and, of course, our gracious host mlq3, and to all your family.

    as for me, after last weekend’s heavy snowstorm (ice, sleet, snow and rain), i’m really ready for a ‘white’ christmas with my family in this part of the world.

  10. rom:
    when i was there I was busy studying and making a living at the same time (working) but I had exposed many shenanigans at work that caused family feuds. The top honcho was my cousin in law and corruptions been going on, long long time ago and the company was a good milking cow as it was a government own corporation. I accept, i lost in the end, but they too all ended up the losers, because the co. closed and they were all exposed as just fakes, because they can’t find employment after.

    and rom, i’m never ashamed to be Filipino and as far as Canada is concerned, we are multicultures, i never leave being a Filipino…

  11. best holiday wishes too to you and yours rom, geo, silent waters. dinapinoy, carl, djb, pilipinoparin, and abe margallo.

  12. rom, on the bus to new york i was talking to this young australian woman, seat mate, on world tour and recommend to her to visit the Philippines, and she said she will in the near future.
    I may criticize the governance and our politicians (as i compare them) but when it comes to my fellow Canadians putting down the Philippines and Filipinos is tantamount to putting down myself and my families, and I never feel inadequate nor superior to my fellow human…

  13. The Ca t declares a ceasefire effective today until Dec, 25, 2007 midnight. mwehehe
    Sa lahat ng mga “kaaway”, kasangga, kababayan at kaibigan, kasama na ang aking matagal na “tagahanga” (aray binato ako na si Benign0) at ang mga MLQ3 forever (akala mo fans club) na cvj, jeg, shaman, brianB, equalizer, vic, devilsadvo8, mb, tonio, rego, ramrod, mbw, tony scalia, hrvds,rom, geo, silent waters. dinapinoy, carl, djb, pilipinoparin, abe margallo, bencard,willy, mita, supremo
    at ibpa.

    Ito ang aking alay sainyo.

    Kuripot ang ninong ko
    Sa aginaldong piso
    Dagling sumakit ang kanyang ulo
    Sa aginaldong piso
    Napudpod ang nguso ko
    Sampung beses akong pinagmano

    II

    The Ca t

    Merry Ca t mass

    Ay naku ninong nalulugi pa ako
    Sa pasahe sa pagpunta sa inyo
    Ay naku kung laging ganyan kayo
    Ay ‘di na muli ako mamamasko

    III

    Kuripot itong ninong ko
    Mayro’n namang negosyo
    At maraming kuwalta sa banko
    May masagwa pang bisyo
    Na kung araw ng Pasko ang bahay
    Ay palaging sarado

    IV

    Aba’t itong ninong ko
    Ay bigla siyang nagbago
    Siya’y naging galante’t bohemyo
    At ang kanyang sikreto
    Nabisto ng ninang ko
    Na siya pala ay mayroong number two

    V

    Ay naku ninong kay gulo ng buhay mo
    Kay hirap-hirap ng napasukan mo
    Ngayon ay pasko number one at number two
    Ay naghihintay na makapiling mo

    VI

    Pumalpak ang ninong ko nahuli ng ninang ko (lagot)
    Kumare pala niya ang number two (patay)
    kaya pati kumpare nagalit sa ninong ko
    Pinukpok ang ulo ng ninong ko (aray).

    Repeat IV, V, & VI

    Ulo nagkabukol paskung-pasko
    At nagpaskong bukol ang ninong ko.

  14. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Everyone!

    Happy Boxing Day to the Canadians!

    Thank you to MLQ3 for being a gracious host.

    The Cat’s ceasefire accepted! I’ll even extend it to January 1, 2008 then hirit ulit!

  15. Dinapinoy, what i was pointing to was your instinctive defense of the Americans. You and the other Fil-Ams. BTW, Bush won in the popular vote in the 2nd election. That reflects on the American electorate and they share accountability for the damage he has done. As for ‘Gloria=Pinoy’, that proposition would only be tenable if she were legitimately elected.

    i’m sorry you din’t get my point. what i was trying to say is that the logic of equating ONLY bush to the americans is FLAWED. why limit it to bush? what about the other american presidents who have been quoted time and again here? true, bush is an embarassment. and it’s true he lost the popular vote 1st time, many democrats felt he lost in ohio the 2nd and felt it should have been contested. and yes, he used 9/11 shamelessly.

    My oh my, what words! what are these ex-Filipinos doing then in these blog all these time? UNBELIEVABLE. Ano yan curious lang kayo or nagmamalasakit pa kayo sa bayang Pinas? If you could only listen to yourselves! But one thing is clear: your loyalty is not with the Philippines any more, because in any tight spot you would rush to the defense of your adopted country and jump to any opportunity to malign Filipinos or the Philippines in general. Mga walanghiya, I am not sorry to say. – madonna

    holier than thou…you don’t even know anything about us. it is not defending our adopted country but defending ourselves to the onslaught of comments like ‘pathological behavior that i still have to understand. That seems to be part of your [sub]-culture.’ why is that? and it’s only the fil-ams? we are also OFWs you know. bakit ganun? kung OFW, kawawa naman nagsasakripisyo para sa familya. pero kung fil-ams, kinamumuhian. and like OFWs, we work out butts off like anybody else. OFWs are heroes, right? and like a true OFW, i will retire and go back home.

    ‘entrepreneurial activities’ you say? you don’t have the monopoly. should i tell you my family import handicrafts from PI and sell them thru swap meet here?

    oh, and by the way, i am from quezon province and i am the ONLY one in my family (siblings) na nasa ‘abroad’. and one of the traits the filipinos have that i love is strong family ties. and i’m missing mine so much specially this Christmas.

    they always sing God bless America, but i always say God bless the WHOLE world. in the same vein…

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

    Peace on EARTH and goodwill to ALL

  16. on the never-ending US 2000 election controversy:

    The consensus was that the US Supreme Court took the role of the electorate and gave the presidency to Bush. Al Gore had no choice but to accept this stinking decision.

    Imagine, the state where the election results were highly disputed, Florida, has Jeb Bush for governor, George’s brother.

    Al Gore had every right in the universe to protest, stage a ‘people power’. But he didn’t. He moved on to do better things.

    So to all who still hang on to ‘an illegitimate gloria’ please do an Al Gore. Move on and do more productive things for the country.

  17. Scalia,

    Your analogy is sophistic. Al Gore didn’t talk to an election official and use generals to tamper with election returns, steal fertilizer funds, approve an overpriced broadband deal, build the most expensive boulevard in the world in the name of his father, condone extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances, etc., etc. ad nauseam.

    No way we can move on.

  18. Maligayang pasko at masaganang bagong taon sa lahat!

    To Bencard, Rego, Madonna, the Equalizer, the Cat, Devils, Abe M., and other Bicolanos and Bicolanas in this forum: Maogmang pasko asin mauswag na bagong taon saindo gabos asin sa mga pamilya nindo.

    And most of all, to our gracious host, Manolo, Merry Christmas and a more prosperous New Year!

  19. BrianB,

    Before you go touting agrarian reform as a magic bullet, ask yourself how 20 years of agrarian reform have been for Philippine agriculture. Most farmers are still poor, and those who have the drive to grow bigger are stymied by the inability to obtain more land and the subsequent economies of scale. There are a few pockets where coops have been successful, but by and large, most of the beneficiaries are either living a hand-to-mouth existence or no longer own/control/work their land.

    The hard fact is this: it’s hard to have a viable commercial farm with 5 hectares of land. And the cooperative utopia that land reform advocates have been envisioning doesn’t seem to find fertile ground in the Philippines, despite 20 years of trying. (Perhaps the reason lies in those discussions about tribalism–or perhaps “familism” if there’s such a thing.) Land reform has largely been a disgrace for our agricultural productivity.

    I’m still trying to confirm this, but I heard that in Cuba, one can own up to 50 hectares. In Vietnam, there’s no limit! And these are COMMUNIST countries!

    I think it’s time to empower visionary commercial farmers who are willing to bring Philippine agriculture into the 21st century. Enable them to pour investment into the countryside. Allow them to buy as much land as they can afford and employ as many people as they need. Unproductive areas can be redistributed to those willing to work them, but if someone is already making productive use of land, he should be allowed to continue what he or she is doing. This way, we assure ourselves of food security and reward agricultural enterpreneurship.

  20. Before you go touting agrarian reform as a magic bullet, ask yourself how 20 years of agrarian reform have been for Philippine agriculture. – Mike

    Here is the assessment by some Philippine economists.

    “More significantly for policy purposes, though, are the findings that per capita expenditure, per capita income, and per capita net farm incomes of farmers owning lands…are significantly higher than their counterparts who do not own land. This shows unambiguously the importance of ownership or control of the land in determining incomes of farmers. Moreover, he also found that the odds that a household is non-poor is higher by between 1.8 and 2.6 times than the odds that it will be poor, if it owns land—again reinforcing the importance of land ownership. For poverty reduction, and for income growth, CARP is crucial.” – Solita Monsod, A Look at CARP’s Impact on Poverty and Growth, 12/01/2007

  21. Bencard,

    All water under the bridge, and no harm done. Like you, emo din ako hehe. Merry Christmas!

  22. DinaPinoy,

    I don’t hate Fil-Ams, neither do I hate Pinoys who chose to migrate. It’s the shameless maligning and sometimes gleeful hatred of Filipinos and the Philipines from those who in fact came from and had roots in this country in general that suck and one should not take it sitting down. Such people who are “pathological” in this kind of attitude could be called ingrates. Hate the attitude, not the people. Oh, and I know a lot about you folks ‘coz as I mentioned I have many, many friends who chose to migrate to all parts of the globe, and we are still friends, after all these long, long years, fyi.

    That said, Merry Christmas to you.

  23. The study Monsod cites points out higher incomes for agrarian reform beneficiaries, but I wonder if that is because of agricultural production or because of rental income (mind you, they aren’t allowed to rent out CARPed land, but many do). It’s certainly how many of the beneficiaries I’ve encountered are making their money. Very few are working their land. And those who do are doing it on such a small scale that it’s little better than working a job. And agricultural productivity suffers.

    There are many excuses, including blaming landlords for styming CARP. But even Monsod’s column points out that some 80 percent (“less than 2/3rds” plus “24 percent”) of CARP’s target has been reached by now. They should focus on finishing the redistribution of those tracts (of which 18 percent have been completed) and then ending this exercise in expropriation so that the real progressive farmers can plan for development and expansion.

  24. ike, according to christian monsod, the official statistics on land reform seems impressive, but the coverage is mainly of government-owned lands and lands that were already occupied by homesteaders, as well as the lesser-value agricultural land. the remaining land, according to him, is actually the land that should have been redistributed first, as it comprises the high-value lands where most of the haciendas are.

  25. Yup, Madonna, you know us very well. We work like dogs here often with two or three jobs & then come home & still do household chores ourselves kasi walang katulong dito sa States gaya diyan. What a life of leisure eh? And then most of what we send to our families there get spent on absolute necessities like high-end cellphones, sneakers etc. etc. Tapos when we get that rare chance to go home to relax, hindi ka rin maka-relax kasi everybody will impress on you na financially you’re responsible for everybody & I mean everybody from your immediate family to your titos & titas at mga kamaganak sa kaduludulohan. Kain sa labas ikaw laging taya. Pambayad sa tuition ng lahat ikaw ang may sagot. Magtatayo daw ng business si pinsan at kailangan pahiramin (aka bigay) ng capital. Pag medyo umangal ka ng konti e mayabang ka na at kung ano ano pa. Sino nga uli ang tinatawag mong ingrata?

  26. Mike,

    As far as I know, there is no prohibition on agrarian reform beneficiaries leasing out their land. What is prohibited is the transfer of ownership of the land within 10 years from date of issue of the certificate of land ownership award (CLOA). In other words, they can lease out the land but not sell it within the prescription period.

  27. Besides the economic benefit of agrarian reform, which should be obvious, there’s also the humanist benefit. It’s the propaganda of wealthy landowners that’s keeping some Filipinos believing land reform is crap. Like population control it has worked everywhere in he globe… are we to be the only exception?

  28. The problem with our land reform is very few people (excepting the communists) are fighting for it. If I can have it my way, I’ll give intellectuals only two options for advocacy: population control and land reform.

  29. “I think it’s time to empower visionary commercial farmers who are willing to bring Philippine agriculture into the 21st century.”

    And who judges who the visionaries are?

  30. not to foist my will on other people but, as an avid student of history and passionate observer of philippine politics, diosdado macapagal, in my book, is the BEST post-war president the country ever had (gma not in consideration since her history is still unfolding). president macapagal was the only president who had the political will to make a comprehensive land reform program, and the amelioration of farmers, a cornerstone of his 4-year presidency. he did it, unmindful of the consequential wrath and hatred of the landed aristocrats – a result which evidently cost him a second term. in the early days of R.A. 3844 (1963) leading up to the the 1969 election (vs marcos), a large part of the country’s farmers and tenants were not fully aware of the significance of the new law in their lives. hailed as an act of emancipation of tenants from perennial bondage, its fruits were not immediately available for enjoyment before the ’69 election.

    most filipinos know what marcos did to land reform. and cory aquino? the CARP that she signed is at the root of hacienda luisita’s, and now sumilao’s, current problems.

    macapagal’s success in international affairs is noteworty. the creation of maphilindo under his watch was the genesis of the larger asean – probably one the more influential organizations of independent states in asia.

    other than the deportation of harry stonehill before serving time in jail, i never heard of any major issue involving macapagal’s presidency, let alone his personal integrity and character.

    i wonder how history would have turned out to be had macapagal won in 1969 over marcos?

  31. we talk of damaged culture but there is not a sinlge advocacy that targets this issue. we can all debate endlessly but unless we do something concrete in this area, nothing will really change.

  32. Bencard,

    not to dispute your choice of diosdado macapagal, but whats your take on Alejandro Lichauco’s claim that the country’s economic problems can be traced back to gloria’s dad, as he was the first to devalue the peso

  33. pinoy,

    what if we concentrate on how a big number of the masa can become part of the middle class, and worry about the ‘damaged culture’ later?

    anyway, we’ve had this ‘damaged culture’ for decades, yet the country is surviving. for sure if at least 70% of Pinoys have full stomachs daily we can discuss it and come up with a solution

  34. Shaman,

    “In short, Al Gore was cheated. Gloria cheated”

    Kaya nga! Because he was cheated, Al Gore had all the right in the universe to do what the opposition here had been doing, but he did not!

    Al Gore realized that he can do more good to his country by no longer protesting the legitimacy of Bush, and moving on to do other productive things.

    Kaya nga i am pleading to those who cling to a ‘pekeng gloria’ to do an Al Gore.

    Obviously you didn’t get the message of my post.

    “Your analogy is sophistic. Al Gore didn’t talk to an election official and use generals to tamper with election returns, steal fertilizer funds, approve an overpriced broadband deal, build the most expensive boulevard in the world in the name of his father, condone extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances, etc., etc. ad nauseam.”

    i can’t believe this! wow sablay na sablay!

    to add – Al Gore also did not order a big brother watch all over the US, did not send troops to Iraq, did not start the Iraq war, did not send thousands of innocent American soldiers to their deaths in Iraq, did not spend billions of tax payer dollars to fund the Iraq war, etc.

    and this coming from a fil-am:

    “true, bush is an embarassment. and it’s true he lost the popular vote 1st time, many democrats felt he lost in ohio the 2nd and felt it should have been contested. and yes, he used 9/11 shamelessly.” (DinaPinoy, Dec. 22 3344 am post)

    in short, the American people also have every reason to stage people power to kick out Bush, but they didn’t. and with a democratic-controlled House and Senate, an impeachment may not be too far off, but thus far no such impeachment moves are being made.

    merry christmas to you

  35. anthony, you don’t take into consideration the electoral college system, which moderates the impact of a popular vote. if the usa followed a popular vote system strictly, the public furor might have been harsher.

    also, re: bush impeachment, there’s also the factor that cheney is much scarier and he’d be president if bush were impeached.

  36. BrianB,

    “If I can have it my way, I’ll give intellectuals only two options for advocacy: population control and land reform.”

    the trouble with most intellectuals now is that for them kicking out gloria is much more important than population control and land reform

    lets try to change the minds of the bloggers here who belong to the “kick-out-gloria-above-all-else” school of thought to heed your call – population control and land reform first and foremost.

    merry christmas to you

  37. mlq3,

    thanks for pointing that one out.

    “also, re: bush impeachment, there’s also the factor that cheney is much scarier and he’d be president if bush were impeached”

    ah ok. so that could be the restraint to any possible Bush impeachment.

    sa atin, di naman siguro ‘scarier’ si Noli. 🙂

  38. re: land reform

    Cory Aquino lost a golden opportunity to implement land reform.

    Before the 1987 Constitution was ratified, Tita Cory was practically a dictator, even though she was under a provisional constitution. She could have forcibly purchased all ‘agrarian reformable lands’ then. But she will be forced to include also her beloved Luisita.

    Could there be civil war then if Tita Cory forcibly purchased all ‘agrarian reformable lands’ except Luisita?

  39. Anthony,

    In Al Gore’s case, one man sacrificed his self-interest, rightly or wrongly, for what reason, I don’t know.

    In Gloria’s case, you’re asking the whole country to sacrifice national interest for the interest of one person.

    No way, buddy! Maybe, you want to be cheated, not me.

  40. what if we concentrate on how a big number of the masa can become part of the middle class, and worry about the ‘damaged culture’ later? – anthony scalia

    My sentiments exactly. This is where Nike’s slogan applies.

    not to dispute your choice of diosdado macapagal, but whats your take on Alejandro Lichauco’s claim that the country’s economic problems can be traced back to gloria’s dad, as he was the first to devalue the peso – anthony scalia

    Regarding the first Macapagal, Alejandro Lichauco is right. DM’s decontrol in 1962 derailed our Import Substitution-driven industrialization just as South Korea (under Park) started its Import-substitution/Export-driven program. If you look at the economic literature, the early 60’s is cited as the period where the Philippines and South Korea diverged.

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