JoeAm Chickens Out

This blog is a substitute article for the one I am too afraid to post.
As you know, this JoeAm character uses his words sharply. He is like the American at a fiesta party who will not get out of your face and insists on telling you what’s on his mind, even if you don’t want to hear it. Loud and clear.
Well, yes, I write differently than journalists who hone the simple line of who, what, when, why, where and how, reciting their facts and maybe in a commentary offering up a conclusion, a deduction, an opinion. I strive for literary effect. The twist of a phrase that will bring insight or clarity or humor or even a big hammer to bear on an issue.
This is not always a good style for the Philippines, which is a sensitive place. A place where an intellectual argument can easily be taken as a personal insult, and turn murderous.
So I pulled the blog.
You get this instead.
I have had three readers caution me about the Philippines as it pertains to my style of calling people and institutions out. As much as I can say “these are just words, just arguments”, it does not stop them from being bullets to people whose karabao I gore . . . whose reputation I shoot with words. The Catholic Church takes a lot of word bullets. Well, they are powerful but most priests don’t pack guns. Yesterday I fired a couple of rounds at TESDA, and I’ve slung some adjectives recently at bloggers benigno and ellentordesillas. The Department of Education has taken a lot of pot-shots, and even the Arroyos. That’s dicey.
The blog I pulled criticized President Aquino.
It questioned why he does not advocate for a modern social agenda by backing the HR legislation or a divorce bill. You know, modernize the Philippine social framework. It questioned why he is silent and passive when the Philippines is drowning in people and crams kids 45 to a classroom in public schools. When the nation cannot provide electricity, food, water, health care and sanitation to its teeming masses.
But the blog did it in a style that called him out as “corrupt” for seeing damage to the nation and failing to correct it. Frankly, I don’t know why he is quiet. Perhaps for reasons that are personal, but I fear it cedes his civic authority to the Catholic Church.
Well, my article was a little much, even for me. The blow struck too hard.
Even this caveat that was included in the blog would not soften it.
  • I hold President Aquino in higher regard with each passing day. Let me state that explicitly. He is a good man doing a good job. He works earnestly. He delegates well, letting his staff do their best work, but he is tough-minded and thorough in demanding performance. He is pushing ahead on so many fronts that we can’t keep pace: corruption, trade, finance, poverty, mining, defense, tourism. We get dizzy. History may record that he is single-handedly the inspiring and determined force that turned this nation around.
So I merely ask the questions: Why does Mr. Aquino stand silent when the single most dangerous trend facing the nation is not corruption, or China, or the economy, or global warming, but over-birthing? And why does he stand silent when the modern and compassionate social instrument of “divorce” is not available to release women from bondage to abusive or deadbeat husbands?
Why is it that he can see the wrongs, but does nothing to correct them? What is he getting?

31 Responses to “JoeAm Chickens Out”
  1. chohalili says:

    Philippines is a third world country. Third world country is at a loss and only have what is available to us. The government can not give us the clean water we need. This lack of clean and safe water has brought about the deaths of millions of residents because of the disease in the water. Some of these disease are diarrhea, cholera and dysentery. The children are always sick and they miss school a lot.

  2. chohalili says:

    Only in the Philippines! where divorce is not legal. Only the Vatican and the Philippines and Malta, because of the great influence of the Roman Catholic church. Sexual immorality in the Philippines is rampant. For the families of OFWs, financial progress comes at a huge price-broken families, adultery, wayward children-perhaps million of them. Men and women, separated from their legal spouses, live with other men and women, consigned to their hopeless situation because there is no legal divorce. They bear and raise illegitimate children, often men abandon their legal wives and children because they are not held accountable by the courts due to lack of legal divorce or separation proceedings.

  3. Anonymous says:

    From: Island Jim-e (aka: The Cricket)1. What a mouth-full…sooo much to do about "rights vs. intitlements, vs. privledges, etc.! HR-RR-TESDA addfinum….the bottom line is that we have to realizethat we are not "in kansas anymore!" and act accordingly!2. The "inhabitants" need to find a "PH-Wiz" that willprovide workable and immedidate solutions—give the"scare crow" a BRAIN, the "tin-man" a HEART, and the "lion" a large dose of COURAGE! I am sooo very tiredof hearing, seeing, tasteing, witnissing the "PH-cricus"–especially as it concerns my immediate islandfamily! 3. As a illustration/example of the fundamental problem/issue as I see it: A housewife keeps cutting the boneout of the evening dinner pot-roast…one nite thehusband asks "dear, I love your cooking…but…whydo you remove the bone from the roast before cooking?The wife makes a reply that "that is the way my motherdid it?", so the next time the husband visits with themother-in law he asks her why she cuts the bone out ofthe roast…her reply is "well my cooking pot/pan is sosmall" that is the only way I can cook a roast!!!!The excuses I hear daily provide testament to FEAR,lack of knowlege, experience, concern, attention,education, common sense (fill the bottle when it is empty), ignorance, greed, power, face, lack ofresponsibility, denial, mis-management, leadershippurchased at the expense of the community wellnessand just plain stupidity,etc..!Witness: The way most islanders spend millions ongambling, the lottery, fighting dogs, fighting cocks, entertainment stars,"faces", sports heros and mis-treattheir families–all with the blessing of the church andgovernment! The bottom line revovles around the key question: Ifthe government (elected, appointed, employee/staff)and church are tooo busy playing (blessing/giving lip-ervice) with their "cocks" how do you expect them todeal with the "clear and present danger" which theirmis-behavior (crimnal activities) present to theisland commuity?From my rocking chair I see that they come up a "dollarshort and a day too late!" Maybe the "rulers" should consider "measuring" themselves for caskets…as if the"shoe fits"…they will soon be forced to use them–ifnot by the "island zombies" they have created and fedbut by the resource hungery "out-islanders"!Chirp!(note: Remember what happend to the Texas jack-rabbits!)

  4. "Sexual immorality in the Philippines is rampant."That is the amazing thing to me. The moral custodians, the Catholic Church, refuse to own up to the lifestyles their doctrines procreate. If I may use that word.

  5. I appreciate the Catholic Church. Does lots of good things. But it is a master at not owning up to the results of its preachings. Every time the Church opens its political mouth, I want to shout "Man Up, by God!"Nice tale, of the pot roast. Jim-e's parable of the pot roast with no bone.

  6. Anonymous says:

    From: Island jim-e RE: A illustration for your consideration!I witnessed a good example which may be illusrative ofwhy the "islands" are built on "feet of clay" supportedby a bed of sand (aka: "banana in the ears?") One day my wife and I drove over to our local ciy hall toconduct some business. A one way street runs in front ofthe main building (parallel parking on both sides) and aswe started to approach the font entry we were blocked by a women in a BIG SUV who was talking with several women..we waited a few minutes with the hope that she would finishand drive on…!When the minutes ticked on I gently beeped the horn of our vehicle …with no success or acknowledgement…so I got out of our car and approached the driver side door of the offending vehicle and requested that the driver move the vehicle so wecould pass…the women looked at me and stated "I am very busyand when I finish here "I" will drive on" just wait a minute!I am sure that you can visualize and have empathy for such asituation. Moreover the reader can well understand myemotions at that moment! My wife and doctors have preparedme for such a moment and event…I returned to my vehicle toget my "secuirty- blanket" and suck my thumb to keep mycontrol, center and mental health in balance!!! The driver presented bad manners, lack of concern,reponsibility, consideration, morals, ethics,choices, and then made a bad situation even worse for herbad behavior–Ignorance, etc..! This type of "event/situation" has happened several timessince we "retired" in our island paradise! Each time this"attitude" (for lack of a better word) exhibits itself Ifind myself "flat-footed" as I am sure that there is nohope left for the "salvation" of the islands!Profiles: People find that it is okay to crap and pee onthe public sidewalks, dogs roam free in the roadbeds alongwith the chickens, people stand out in the middle of thestreet trying to flag down buses and "rides"–refusing tomove and expect you to drive around them, store clerks notknowing where anything is at in the store, office managersnot knowing what type of promotional advertising is hungby their company right outside their front doors, trafficofficers that have given up on traffic enforcement, foodhandlers who stick their thumbs/fingers in your food,rest rooms that are filthy, have no paper or working elec-tric hand driers, food service facilities that serve moreinsects than people, people cutting your vehicle off intraffic and in waiting lines (oh sooo sorry I am in a bighurry! Please excuse me!) craftspersons who do sloppyjobs and insist on getting paid super wages for doing a bad job! When bad-parenting, leadership, management, administration,education and good mental health arelacking these are the "idicators" of a doomed sociey,culture and community! The proof of INSANITY (doing abnormal things/actions/thoughts, rituals, habits and keeping wrong actions,traditions)in repetition cycles and expecting asuccessful outcome!These illustrations are but the "tip of the ice-burg" andhave made me very, very happy that as I have done all Ican to assist in the comfort and survival of my island family that I HAVE A CHOICE, I CAN ACT LIKE A ROAD RUNNERAND JUST LEAVE the "others" to stew in the cooking stew-pot that they have made for themselves!Moreover the excuse "that is what my parents" taughtme/us does notthing but to provide a rationalization forfuture bad deeds!So who is left to set a "good example" in a sad, sadisland world? Not I methinks!chirp!

  7. Yeah, I know what you mean. That's what makes me come up with quotes like "Compassion is hard to find on a group of islands where Ego would be the national flag if someone could figure out how to paint it." There is an absence of "well-being of the other person" and a "willingness to give a little of oneself to be kind". I pound out these blogs to retain my perspective and sanity. Rude is the color of the day by Western standards. Here it is just "the way we do it". I stay in my little island of residence, and when I venture out into the surreal world that surrounds me, I pretend it is done by Disney, brilliantly.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Some people think they're being cowardly. I see they're being smart and using their brains to score a point.Some people see a glass half empty.I see that there are enough good Filipino role models to go around.Let's start with Tony Meloto and the thousands of Gawad Kalinga volunteers who have built and continue to build thousands of houses for the poor. They do so without asking for anything in return for themselves except for more donations, more volunteers to help them in their mission. Where is the self centredness in that?Or what about that Efren Penaflorida, son of a tricycle driver who was named CNN Hero of the Year in 2009? He chugs along with his friends in a kariton laden with books, paper and pen teaching streetchildren how to read and write. How is that not a willingness to give a little of oneself to be kind?Then there's that brave woman, Heidi Mendoza, who took on the powerful military and exposed the corruption she discovered, at great risk to her own and her family's safety? Why is that not a good example to other people in public servce?There's my batchmate at the UP, who gave up a more lucrative private practice as a lawyer, to serve our country as P.Noy's Secretary of Agrarian Reform. He's one of the most decent and honorable filipinos I know. You'll find his name in the list of Cabinet Officials and senior public officers cited by the PCIJ for dutifully complying with the SALN law. You might also find a few more role models there.What about all those who have responded to the call to build 10,000 classrooms for public schools through TEN Moves, a joint DepEd and corporate led initiative? Students, ordinary employees, even plain fisher folk who saw beyond their own needs and thought to give a hand. That doesn't look to me as insanity.There is this mountaining group, the AMCI Mountaineering Club with their Big Brother Big Sister program where they use their passion for their sport/hobby to contribute to the betterment of the far flung communities they have discovered in the mountains they have ventured to. What color would that be?There is my friend's son, educated in one of America's ivy league schools, who now works with a non-profit organization in the Philippines. He earns a pittance in pesos compared to what he could possibly make in dollars if he had stayed with his family in the US. Wouls that be bad behvaior in any form?I have a friend here in Australia who partners with her friend in the Philippines and between themselves they have collected and distributed hundreds of second hand books to Philippine orphanages solicited from Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike in Sydney. No one told them to do what they do, they just saw a way to help and thought they'd do it.I can go on and on but the simple fact of the mater is they're there; Filipinos who do care and believe in their ability to effect change. They choose to be part of the solution to the problems they see in our country.They're the Filipinos that make me proud.I'm sure my mom would have approved as well. She always told me to stop whining and find a way to solve the problems I am confronted with.And I say that not as an excuse for the choices I make in life. They're my words to live by.ChaCha

  9. Your mother offers the key to success and self-satisfaction in ten words: "stop whining and find a way to solve the problems". That should be the national slogan for the next 10 years. Thereafter it will be natural.I also like your perspectives, and find them inspirational. I have also started looking around, and I see a lot of good people doing good work. My next personal profile will feature the head of the Tourism effort, Mr. Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. He is brilliant and productive and optimistic. Inspiring, too, actually.We (including me) have to keep constantly in mind that news media do not present an accurate picture, and tend to focus on sensationalism found in screw-ups or confrontation.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Speaking about accurate pictures and the media, here's some good natured poke at you, Mr. Joe..Forbes magazine in April this year featured a story on the World's Rudest Nations for Travellers. Guess who made it to the top ten rudest and who is number three least rude?The answer to that is… you might want to get some slice of that humble pie. Hahaha.Cha

  11. Aiee, Cha. I've eaten enough humble pie in my time. It's amazing I'm not a blimp, but remain trim and svelte. Let me guess, U.S. is top 10 and Philippines is number three least rude?Let's get to definitions, or survey technique. If a neutral person were to meet one-on-one with an American and a Filipino, for sure the Filipino would be seen as less rude. If a neutral person were to drive in Los Angeles or Manila, the opposite would be true. Although now that I think about it, humble hat in hand, aggressive can be seen as rude to the non-aggressive person. In either Los Angeles or Manila.In any event, if I guessed right, I need to polish my cultural glasses, eh?

  12. Anonymous says:

    From: Island jim-e (aka: The Cricket)NOTICE: MORE RATIONALIZATIONS AND EXCUSES DO NOTSOLVE THE PROBLEMS/ISSUES/DISASTERS AND NEEDS OF A ISLAND NATION THAT HAS ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE!1. I would respect a professional internationally recognized expert like the "gallup poll" if they conducted the survey on"rude" otherwise any other "sample" would tend to be "BS" andself serving, promoted by a island "mis-media" as a coat ofpaint to cover up the "rot" and "rust" of the islands!2. The other "half of the glass" is filled with pollution,over-population, blood, flood water, greed, egotism, mis-management, unqualifed leadershiip, bad administratorsmis-educators, and a "shallow" church which insists onkeeping a nation on it's knees and under its "thought-control" etc., Do not be deceived by the "tricks ortreats" or the "paint" that is applied daily to covernthe "rot" and "rust"….(give me chrome and stainlesssteel as a better foundation material!) words, actions,deeds that benefits the few who would rather rain in hell thanserve in heaven!3. No amount of "topical" cure applied by a few "goodmen and women" on a occasional and with little ultimatehistoric effect can solve/resolve and provde "salvation"!4. In my opinion the alternatives of what can save ourrainbow island civilization are now ACADEMIC..! As wehave not acted correctly and in good faith MOTHERR NATURE HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO PROVIDE THE ULTIMATE-SOLUTION! If any one is left to record historic factthey may call it a "act of nature"/GOD/devil-or whatever the church will title it in order to provide "color" for the next "on-the-knees" generationof "pee-ons"!YES! Our "mother earth" may provide the simple solutionto our "misery"/stupidity index! The dis-asters necessary to "flush"/cleanse/erase/terminate or chase the "two legs" out of para-dice may have already left the gate and areincoming on the new tide!Someone once said that "we should act as the next day might be our last and act accordingly"! So I nowinvite anyone who has ears to hear, eyes to see, toproceed to your cooler/ice-box/freezer/refer(if youare among the island population that have one)–for a nice ice-cold six-pack to toast the setting sun andremember that one of your "tomorrows" will be your last!Happy six-pack to your all!Chirp!

  13. Anonymous says:

    The pessimist and the optimist, two sides of the same coin; somewhere in between them lies reality.There is nothing much really left to say except what's been glaringly obvious all along.The people who think they know everything annoy the hell out of those of us who actually do.Meeooow!Cha

  14. Ahahahaha. Well, when two well-meaning and intelligent people like Jim-e and Cha are on opposite sides of the coin, it is best to "duck and cover" whilst figuring out one's own line.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Jim-e,Oh hell I will drink to that, although I know mother earth will always be a mother and will be around for us as many million light years from now.Cheer up while Im digging out my SMB.Joe,On the other hand, fact is that this President is dragging his feet how to handle the RH bill and the over-birthing issue because the chuch has so much influence in the government. This issue had been covered by the Dr. Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere," and sadly we are still held bondaged.He paid for his life for nothing.Whatever happended to separtion of Government and church, it is high time to look into it. Its Jack

  16. Anonymous says:

    From: Island jim-e (aka: the cricket)1. A Gallop survey I can live with, but the "other" types Ileave to ther "gullable" to crow on!2. A child-age-slave cannot eat a bowl full of rational-alizations and excuses. A few "good" deeds needs to havea multiplier that can generate immediate cures for theissues, problerms, disasters, HR,RR and over 30% un-employment that the islands needs to be resolved now!3. The "state of the onion" will be forthcoming shortly,but the fact-truth can be witnessed by anyone that is "sane"….the "fruits/results" to date are anothersign of mis-government, mis-administration, lack of qualified, experienced, educated leadership, a dis-functional educational system, and a church that insistson keeping the sheep on their bellies for the control ofthe rich, fat, greedy developers and dynastic familiesl!4. The SONA Yahoo survey now on screen insists thatone of five topics be addressed as the "main theme" ofthat the PRES needs to give 100% attention to…(National security,education, environment, anti-coruption,and other social issues as choices….)! The realitiy is that the weak kneeed congress needs toget with the program….or be eliminated as they are justthe puppets of the rich who would rather rein in hellthan serve in heaven!Chirp!

  17. Jack, yes, it is amazing how Rizal is held in such high regard, but the Church marches on, dictating the Philippine morality and all that it produces. As I understand it, the separation of Church and State is softer in the Philippines, legalistically. They can engage for instance, and not lose tax status. It is a good topic to explore. I'll put it on my todo list.

  18. "State of the onion." ahahahaha, watch your language you old whippersnapper!Yes, legislators could do so much for this country if they actually decided to work.

  19. Attila says:

    My Filipina fiance was telling me that when she attended school in her town in Negros just over 10 yrs ago the average number of students in the classroom were 30. Now it is 60. I asked her why weren't new classrooms built? She replied that the town doesn't have money for it. I asked her about volunteers who would build them? She said: No one would work for free. It is a pride issue for the individual: Why would I do hard work when the others don't do anything. I will not make a fool out of myself.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Homage to the Mineral of the Onion (I) Erin MouréIn the onion, there’s something of fire. That fire known as Fog. The onion is the way fog has of entering the earth. Into the soil. Through the green leaves of the onion. Look how its leaves extend up into the air. Look how, once cut, an onion’s leaf has air inside it. Air is the generosity of fog. With fog, there is generosity on earth. These two thoughts are identical. They are two thoughts that sustain the earth. In these bellicose days that promise wars, look how the onion helps fog to sustain the earth.—- Hope my little sharing is able to spice up your day :))))Cha

  21. Anonymous says:

    Joe,"State is softer in the Philippines, legalistically." Number one in my oxymoron list. How could it be legal when it is illegal?That would be an iteresting read using tax exemption law to keep the church in line. It is a multi-billion business and yet they asked the government an SUV to do religeous related work or is it really? It is time to keep the church out of politics and meddling with government affairs. Its Jack

  22. Anonymous says:


  23. Aiee. When generosity attaches to shame, we have a BIG problem. I don't get it, this absence of pleasure in caring for others. Unless you have that, how can you have a community? A nation.

  24. Ahahahahaha, it's like a bad blind date. You have to look at the personality.

  25. Absolutely perfect spicing.

  26. You keep feeding me good ideas to blog about. I think when Catholics take charge of their Church and demand greater enlightenment, things can change. It is hard to change them from outside. In Brazil, they are voting with their feet and leaving the Church behind as irrelevant. Same with Muslims. When the great many faithful take responsibility for their radical few, then the world will be a better place.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Joe, Now you are listening! That is the whole idea and you will be surprised of the responses.Surely, when the church start thinking what Jesus had done feeding the hungry multitude then there is a chance to change their point of view.Also, check out the universities owned by the priests and compare the tuition fees with non-catholic schools. A darn good supporting ideas to ask what happened with the tax exemptions? Well, the Brazilians and the Muslims are smarter, lets copy cat them, but how?I like to see the Philippines becomes a better place.Its Jack

  28. Pres. Aquino is not silent on the RH Bill. He has certified it as urgent and he will mention it again in his SONA on Monday. But the damn thing is being held-up in the lower house beause congressmen up for reelection are to darn scared to cross the bishops. The president will not fight their battles for them specially when he knows they will leave him high and dry when their own political survival is at stake. But he has not endorsed a divorce bill and that's a minus for him.

  29. "Certified it as urgent . . ." I shall be listening to the sense of urgency in the SONA, because what I have observed is some measure of equivocation over the months, and certainly not the sense of purpose that we saw in the Corona conviction. The President need not fight local congressional battles, I agree, but he can certainly do a louder job of citing the national need.

  30. Joe,The difference between RH and Corona is this: Corona posed a direct political challenge. It was a him or me. The RH Bill is not in the same class. It is not him or me, it is us and them. He will not stake his presidency on the RH Bill. He will not speak louder than you and me on the issue. That's the political reality unless we find a Churchill who will transform a sympathetic ally from simply being a supplier of war material to actually being a comrade in arms.

  31. Yes, that's consistent with what I see (read). Churchill never succeeded, I would note. The Japanese brought the US into the war with Pearl Harbor. And later, in Tehran, oddly enough, Roosevelt cast Churchill aside in favor of Stalin, resulting in the final ruin of the British Empire. That is, if Herman Wouk in "War and Remembrance" is historically accurate, which I believe he is. Anyway, thanks for the better perspective on this.

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