The Big Bigot in the Sky

Stick with this. I’ll get around to the Philippines shortly.
I’m fascinated by developments in Egypt. I’ve visited the country twice, clambering into tombs and temples in the hidden reaches of the Sahara well off the beaten tourist path. Some of those sites can’t be visited today because of they are in pits of Muslim radicalism and unrest.
It is sad and shows the absurdity of the human condition. Egypt could be perhaps the top tourist destination in the world but for the lack of stability. So many antiquities to see and places to explore.
The Egyptians overthrew the dictator Mubarak in search of greater freedom, but ended up with a military command running things with an iron fist. Democracy has not yet emerged, nor the principles upon which it is based. Free speech has been curtailed. The American leaders of pro-democracy organizations were arrested, then allowed to leave the country. The Muslim Brotherhood won many congressional seats and is angling for the Presidency. Christians are afraid for their lives. There are too many voices speaking and they seem to speak defiantly. Divided, not united.
Most people in the U.S., I’m sure, had hopes for something more dignified, compassionate and inclusive . They see a grand cacophony of chaos. Not the balanced order and intelligent governorship of their idealized vision of democracy.  Egypt’s military leaders now seem to be striving for some kind of macho confrontation with America.
This is the kind of erratic departure from diplomatic civility that goads many westerners into thinking the whole Middle East is a snake pit of anger, dysfunction and unreliability. “Those crazy Arabs . . .”
Against that backdrop of disharmony, the Philippines looks stable, indeed. It’s governmental institutions are working as they are supposed to, regulating, spending, pushing and shoving, impeaching and balancing. The military is busy fighting terrorists and building up against China, not tossing presidents. Various blowhards in the media and online are venting their clearer vision of the way things ought to be. Making things as they, indeed, ought to be. Loud and constructively argumentative, but not revolutionary.
The confined Muslim community in impoverished southwest Mindanao is restive, but the greater unconfined Muslim community is engaged in the business of commerce and making money, not trouble. Lesson: hopeless poverty leads to trouble anywhere and one ought to build opportunity for people.  Guns don’t bring peace. It is better to spend money to build an employment infrastructure for skilled and ambitious people to rise. Without relocating to other countries to do so.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines wields its ancient, heavy power of morality absent responsibility. But it does not run things.
The greatest threat in the Philippines has nothing to do with rebellion or dysfunctional government or the military or religion. It has to do with Filipino values. And, I suppose, the absurdity of the human condition, that it can’t seem to resolve disputes pragmatically and harmoniously.
A small cadre of well-to-do power brokers feels no compunction to lead the Philippines to greatness, preferring that their families instead acquire greatness, and great riches.
Filipino values promote a trade in favors instead of a drive for competence. Accepted values provide a lush bed for corruption and pollution. But, bottom line, Filipinos far and wide seem intent on failing to do the best for their nation, whilst ironically striving in some desperation to show people a loud Filipino pride.
A Filipino’s ability to feel compassion for neighbors seems negligible. Noise, trash, dogs, rude behavior. Those kinds of pollution and inconsiderate behavior thrive here. In western eyes it is inconsiderate, that is, but not here. Here it is the way it has always been.
 The Philippines lacks a national comprehension that one has to give value to get value. Robust self-engagement fails to produce wealth. One has to give goodness to get goodness. When everyone is cheating and polluting, they end up being cheated and sick with pollution. And they fail to build a globally competitive community. Overabundant self-engagement erodes the vitality that sacrifice and working together can assure.
Case in point: tourists stay away because the modern era is clean. Or it’s youth want adventure . . . but no surfer wants to surf amongst plastic bags. The tourist slogan is fundamentally irrelevant.
The Philippines is used up by other nations. The wealth-creation goes to China, Japan, Korea and America, oftentimes illicitly. It isn’t captured in the Philippines and allowed to circulate and grow. Onions are smuggled in to avoid Customs fees. Turtles are poached, killed and sold abroad. Coral is poached, hacked up and sold abroad. Ores are dug up with little compassion for nearby residents and shipped abroad where their value is multiplied. Resources which could translate into wealth are stolen, right under regulator noses. Rather like logs . . .
This is a nation that seems to be without a national conscience.
And there is no young Turk executive, a Filipino Abe Lincoln, to swoop majestically into office to change things and open the Philippines up to development and wealth. Perhaps President Aquino has cracked the door a bit, but it is tumultous, full of friction, this push to end corruption when one’s family is a part of the tradition of favors. And when the crooks do not go down easily.
 Is Binay such a person?
American firms set up call center businesses here to take advantage of the cheap labor. And boy do people labor. For a pittance.
For too many people, it is a survival economy; they live on the edge of human civility.
Most Filipinos don’t care. They are happy because Manny keeps winning. And “Showtime” keeps shouting its glee across the land. And they can watch the tragedy-rich teledramas and know that others have it worse.
And the oligarchs fill the time in between with loud commercials that define Filipino “needs”, and the  people spend their precious money on whitening creams, cosmetics, beer and cigarettes.
And the disasters roll in as if God were angry at these little islands.
No one here, of course, is responsible for the damages.
Someone else did it.
Ultimately they have to come up with the only excuse left, the Big Excuse . . . God did it.
That Big Bigot in the sky, always picking on fun-loving Filipinos.
14 Responses to “The Big Bigot in the Sky”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Hate to say it, Binay won't be that savior.His family is extremely corrupt.He requires at least a unit for himself in any building development in the Makati district before he'll issue a building permit.Probably exceeds Corona's wealth with the power he wields.He's duped a lot of people with the purported "success" with Makati. Fellow pinoys really do believe he's the second coming. The real deal. The man that will reform the country!He's not. He's out for his own self interest, and nothing more. The Philippines is pretty much screwed after Noynoy's out of office.And yeah… Pinoys are happy as long as they've got (associative) pride. It's easier to complain about stuff than actually doing anything. -patrioticflip

  2. brianitus says:

    That's why government does not ban people from ranting and hurling curse words on the internet. It's easier to complain and blog about what's wrong. The vent is there. Energy wasted, if you ask me. I mean, if people got together, seriously thought about the issues or acted on them as a collective instead of just being scattered around the internet, I think we'll get somewhere. As for Binay, from what I heard, he knows how to take care of the people around him. That is the reason why the people of Makati appear to be "happy." Makati is the Binay kingdom.Just curious about your angle on associative pride as a source of happiness. What exactly do you mean? If pride was edible, we won't import rice anymore.

  3. patrioticflip, interesting. I had heard that a couple of years ago, which is why I attached the question mark. brianitus is saying essentially the same thing.brianitus, associative pride is pride that comes from someone else's success. It is a good substitute if you don't have much in the way of personal achievement to hold onto. Corporate productivity in the U.S. is ramped up by motivation techniques such as promotional opportunities, bonuses, raises, various perks . . . that induce personal pride in achievement. That is not the motivation here; getting favors and granting them is. Very different.

  4. AJ says:

    Binay is not that great, I studied in Makati and I've seen its two sides.Just 2 roads separate the high-class Rockwell Powerplant from a middle to lower-middle class subdivision. A few blocks more and it's closer people who seem to be in Class D. On the other side, just after Makati ave, you'll find families who are actually under Classes D to E.Binay's a great politician, he's great with different people and he knows how to get what he wants by saying the right words.But no, I don't believe he's going to raise the whole Philippines from where it is right now.

  5. AJ says:

    Oh yeah, almost forgot.They blatantly attempt to subconsciously influence people by putting giant B's all over the place. On the school roof, on water tanks, on window grills, in the middle of the quadrangle; you name it.The B supposedly stands for "Bayan" (I guess community is a good translation). But of course, everyone knows better.

  6. Hmmmmm. That seems to make it unanimous.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I've got relatives living in Dasmarinas Village and they don't think much of Binay.Success of Makati = Success of Private BusinessmenBut what do I know? There's so many rackets going on in this country it's tough to determine whether the success of one city is because of good government or private citizens fed up with all the BS.On Associative PrideThere's nothing wrong with loving your country. To me "majority of pinoys" that get off having associative pride are people that, as Joe pointed out, are all too happy to declare they're "Proud to be Pinoy!" without having much in the way of personal achievement or drive. 'Associative Pride Pinoys' accept the status quo, and diss anyone that has a differing opinion, often relying in personal attacks to make their point. Intelligent discourse is not allowed. That's probably why Chinese businessmen have done so well here, because they're not shackled by this mentality. They were foreigners in this land. The current generations of Chinese "taipans" had to endure a lot of ridicule and racism in the beginning. And now they pretty much own all the big businesses in the country. Meanwhile, I heard DZMM AM radio JUST LAST WEEK blasting the "Intsik" (and other racial slurs) blah blah blah. -patrioticflip

  8. Anonymous says:

    Binay is a great politician, I'll leave it at that. -patrioticflip

  9. brianitus says:

    Dasma? Old money? Ayus. I think Binay is more like of a dude who knew what to do with very good opportunity. Binay is an accidental millionaire…billionaire. He knew that there's a milking cow in front of him.Just an opinion on that funny thing called Pinoy Pride. That expression only seems to make its strongest appearance after a Pacman fight or if some singer makes it abroad, at least before getting eliminated on AI. It's almost stuck in an online form. Sometimes it finds its way to end up on TV. But if you try to find it existing in a daily form, there's none. Is it just a marketing ploy to sell t-shirts? Maybe "Proud to be Pinoy" is all wrong. Shouldn't it be just "Happy to be Pinoy"? Correctly phrased, it should even be "Joyful to be Pinoy," as all joy is fleeting. :)I see a different Pinoy offline. I guess my opinion is pretty much tainted because these are the people in the barrios. And these are the people who toil under the sun daily for a living. I wouldn't diss them that much on AP. I pity the Philippines if they choose to represent themselves with the online Pinoy and their kind of behavior online.So what's wrong with the Chinese? I can't believe that people still play that old racial stereotype. I wonder how many parts Chinese were the people who duped the Filipino people. How "Chinese" is…Ligot and Rabusa? How "Chinese" is ? Joe, sorry for the longer-than-my-usual comment.

  10. brianitus, long comments that share the great insights you have provided are very much welcome.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I don't live in Dasma. Quite far from it, to be perfectly honest.I agree with you, brianitus. People in the 'Real World' are a tad more sensible. There's this weird disconnect with people when they start going online. Maybe it has something to do with our insecurity as a nation and how we're perceived by the international community?We're actually shocked when *gasp!* Not everybody loves the Philippines as we do. So we get defensive. Real defensive.-patrioticflip

  12. brianitus says:

    I don't think it's fueled by Pinoy insecurity at all. It's more like personal insecurity. People go online to be found, seen, read and heard. It's always a battle of egos. Online debates are starting to look more and more like glorified pissing contests.

  13. AJ says:

    Heh, I just realized that adding "Great" as an adjective makes things look positive.

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