JoeAm: The Anti Anti

Good Filipinos seem always to be pushing a rock up a mountain. Maybe the nation ought to be renamed the Republic of Sisyphus.

King Sisyphus was a figure in Greek Mythology who was an oligarch for his time, ripping people off for wealth and consigning them to miserable lives. But he got in trouble when he trapped the god of Death, whose name somehow escapes the part of my brain dedicated to Greek mythology, underground.  The gods were going to execute Sisyphus for his evil deed, but like a good oligarch, he had some favors to call in. So the gods allowed him to live. However, they gave him the punishment of forever rolling a huge rock up the mountain.
When the rock got to the top, it always rolled back down to the bottom.
Poor Philippino . . . I mean, Sisyphus. He would have to start pushing the rock up all over again.
Sisyphus by von Stuck
The Philippines is that way with its presidents. You get a good one who motivates Filipinos to push hard. I think of Cory Aquino. The nation was with her, pushing. Going up! But by the end of her term, the rock had rolled back down to bottom again. It was a real struggle for Filipinos to get the rock moving again, what with President Estrada and then Arroyo sitting on top with their heavy bags of gold, making it too heavy to budge.
Now it is a new phase of the Philippine Sisyphus era and President Noynoy Aquino has managed to get the rock about half-way up. He is pushing hard, and he has the people working hard, pushing, too.
Well, except for the characters off to the side who are throwing thorns onto the path, or throwing sneeze dust into the face of the good Filipinos who sincerely want a stronger nation. These are the antis, the odd people who take pride in their words, the ones they use to denigrate a nation and its people. You wonder as to the patriotism of such people. They live in Australia and the U.S. and snipe as if they went out every day to look at the Pasig River pushing its plastic down to the Bay.

I bet they make just wonderful Ambassadors, ragging to their neighbors and friends about the screwed up Philippines.

When is the last time you got an uplifting word from these relentlessly negative people? When is the last time they helped your spirit soar with a joy of being alive, of being optimistic, of seeing a way forward? 

That is not their style. Their style is to mock, to ridicule, to condemn. To humiliate.
If you get high on anger and arrogance, by all means read there. They are listed in the Philippine Blog Center (see that red button over there in the right column). They are collected way at the bottom and to the right. As far down as the editor could push them.
Man, their modus operandi is to crap on everything.
I can’t stand them.
They mock good people.
They taunt the sincere.
They twist words in a sick kind of manipulative way that better belongs in the commercials run by that lying Mormon dude running for president in the United States. Mitt Romney is the Sotto of the States. He has never met a quote he didn’t mind turning inside out. His middle name has been changed to “Twist”, and it was not in honor of Oliver Twist. They picked that name over “Flip Flop”. It was a close call.
But I digress.
Do you know what one of the biggest joys in the world is?
It is not lying in a hammock watching a football game and shouting at the quarterback about how he could do his job better.
It is facing a tough problem. Smack head on. Looking it in the eye as if it were the bear that Davey Crockett grinned down. Then working earnestly to deal with it.
One of the biggest joys in the world is to overcome an obstacle, a big hairy stubborn one. Through innovation and diligence and hard work.
The anti crowd will never know that joy.
They register defeat with just about every word that rolls off their keyboards.

Intellects of steel, hearts of stone.

The rest of us, we face the problems daily, head on. We  recognize the vibrancy of where we live, the essential goodness that surrounds us, and work forthrightly to find a better way forward.
Hey, I’m not all that different from the everyday Filipino. I’m happy or angry or sad depending on what’s going on, both nationally and locally.

To me, the Philippines is great, truly. A little intricate, perhaps. Not as fancy or rich as America or Australia or some of those European countries. But our nation has character. And it has characters. Good ones and bad ones. We are an exciting novel, like the ones written by Dr. Jose Rizal. Alive and passionate and deeply breathing of the good island air. We are enriched in some soul-struck way beyond money. Maybe it is the history, covered with tears.  Maybe it is the good cheer during fiestas, putting aside the struggles to love and laugh for awhile. Maybe it is something as simple as hope for a good meal tomorrow. Ha, maybe it is not having to shovel any snow today. I don’t know where it comes from, but I  know the antis can’t touch it. And I know that I thank our Maker for the blessing of being able to call the Philippines home.

Photo source: wikipedia commons
43 Responses to “JoeAm: The Anti Anti”
  1. So, how did you get to this from yesterday's pro-Sotto interpellation? :))P.S. Was that Hades you were thinking of as the Greek whose name you can't remember?

  2. Elasticity. And appreciating the eccentricities of the Philippines, even the dark godly role of some of the players.Yes, of course! Hades it was! Sisyphus had good intentions, interestingly enough. He wanted to trap Hades so that the people above ground (us) would no longer have to die our assorted painful deaths.Alas, Sisyphus is still somewhere rolling that rock, and we are mortal.

  3. Well then, at least take comfort in knowing we'll only get to do it once; dying that is.Or am I being too presumptuous in thinking we belong to the valiant and not the cowards destined to die a thousand deaths?Ahaha, from Greek mythology to Shakespeare, this is what happens when you get all literary and pretty with your prose 🙂

  4. andrew lim says:

    PUNO LOOKS LIKE A PIG BUT YOU DONT BURN THE HOUSE DOWN JUST TO ROAST HIMIf I were a Spanish conquistador and I just discovered the country, I would be so happy to report to Mother Spain that the people here are so divisive and so easy to turn against each other. Their sense of country and of race is so weak. They are easy to conquer!If I were Sotto and the CBCP I would be so relieved that another issue has taken center stage and we would likely be forgotten. Time will run out and the RH bill will be scuttled.If I were Bongbong Marcos, I would be happy to see that my chances of making a full comeback is good. I can clear my father's name and have him buried as a hero. After all, those born after EDSA now comprise a large part of the voting population, and they have no negative opinion of me and my family.If I were a Chinese leader, I will not waste time sending the military to Scarborough Shoal to secure its resources. I will just wait on the sidelines and watch the Filipinos implode and self-destruct. Then I will just walk in and grab what I want. If I were Fr Bernas, then I will have been proven right: Filipinos will burn the house down just to roast a pig. I am just being satirical. But you can pick up my points. Look at the larger picture. Think beyond your lifetime and your kids' lifetime. Puno may be a pig, but you do not burn the house down just to roast him.

  5. If I were Admiral Dewey, I would report back to a congressional committee investigating the Philippine American War in 1902 that, indeed, Filipinos cannot rule themselves. They most assuredly would descend into chaos.I think the President will be fine, and Puno may or may not roast, depending on what evidence is presented. And I think Ms. Miriam will hold the stage quite nicely, allowing Mr. Sotto to smirk off to rise another day.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If I were Ms. Miriam I'd jump on Puno and Sotto simultaneously to redeem my name.

  7. Edgar Lores says:

    Same voice but different tone.Same song but different key.If the Filipino is Sisyphus – and whether mortal or immortal – then he should take heart from Camus’ words in spite of the absurdity of it all:• First: ”…his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth”.• And: "There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night.”• Then the conclusion: “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”I have no wisdom on mortality. For the moment, passion suffices.

  8. Anon, yes, she needs some reconstruction work after the Corona fiasco. A determined, ethical professional would indeed jump on both. Puno is not a proven case yet, but it certainly is stinky around the edges. Sotto is clearcut, and the Senate integrity has been damaged.

  9. Ah, back to our book lists, eh? I tried to read "The Myth of Sisyphus" when I was maybe 30 and trying to get off of meditation and into philosophy. I got to page 28 and went instead into marijuana. hahaha Camus' essential question, the root of man's reason for being, was "should I commit suicide or not". Fortunately, he answered in the negative, as you have so inspirationally pointed out.

  10. JoaAm, There was a US president who likewise silenced his critics with his self-righteousness. Criticizing him was equated to being unpatriotic. Those who had something negative to say were likewise branded as "armchair quarterbacks". The US went to war. "No Child Left Behind" and, of course, the financial crisis. We know too well what happens when "antis" are silenced, ignored and ridiculed.

  11. Objective criticism is important. It's the best. Unbalanced, agenda based criticism, or political criticism, is certainly allowed under free speech rights. But it is best balanced with opposing views. I am banned from GRP so I cannot offer "balancing" views there. I offer my opinions here, and balance their tinny agenda in a small way.

  12. So I think you ought to take your message to them, not me. They are the people silencing criticism.

  13. JoeAm;"The anti of the anti?" I think the agenda of GRP and antiPinoy are laid out very clearly. Your blog's title is "The Society of Honor".

  14. chohalili says:

    Greek Mythology? bah humbug! while the Pinoy in the USA are struggling with a typewriter or email the Pinoy in the Philippines are already blogging, texting and tweeting. Pinoy to Sisyphus pushing rocks is patuka sa manok, already Rambutito in the Philippines is hauling buildings and cities. I like Zeus the philanderer like Erap impregnated many mortals.

  15. The Society of Honor represents the belief that people can come together and discuss issues, even disagree about them, and do so with maturity and civility. And frankly, I am pleased that that is exactly the tenor of most remarks here. The readership is intelligent and courteous. I believe that if you set high and honorable expectations for good people, they will live up to those standards. I find it peculiar that you hint that by criticizing the antis I am being dishonorable. Do you believe I am dishonorable because I dislike seeing the President of the Philippines undermined, or decent Filipinos criticized for being loyal to him, or uneducated, poorFilipinos ridiculed for voting for not having the grasp of what it takes to modernize the Philippines? I am honorable only if I tread the GRP line, or at least accede to it? So to be honorable, I should roll over to those thugs who represent the worst of old-style Filipino behavior? Intimidation and closed-mindedness and everything win-lose, for me or against me? Vindictive enough to ban gentle Joe America?Not gonna happen. Not gonna roll over. If you wish to defend them, you are welcome to do so. I won't delete you or spam your remarks, as long as you stick to the issues and don't go personal or obscene. In defending them, you do define your values as aligned to the values they represent.

  16. The Philippines IS progressive in electronic communications, that is true. Except for the poor people who can't afford the devices. But it is that electronic power that there is hope for a vibrant, open, non-corrupt, non-Sottofied Philippines.Zeus looks a little like that character in the right column, don't you think?

  17. Precisely, your blog is different from GRP and AntiPinoy. Why would you expect their blog to be similar to yours.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Pretty much so. JoeAm's, honorable character is a spitting image of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy also!

  19. Anonymous says:

    " It is not lying in a hammock watching a football game and shouting at the quarterback about how he could do his job better. It is facing a tough problem. Smack head on. Looking it in the eye as if it were the bear that Davey Crockett grinned down. Then working earnestly to deal with it."Joe, a wise person once said, "In any game, it is the spectators who always make a lot of noise, while the players just play on."

  20. Anonymous says:

    Joe, while I respect your opinion, you also have to accept the fact that PNoy deserves the flak that he's been getting over Puno. Puno is the acid test for the "Daang Matuwid."

  21. chohalili says:

    @ Mr. Joe, which character on the right side? Manny Pacquiao or JoeAm? if character we talking about I have a lot to say between the two but will hold for now. I tell it next time.

  22. I don't expect them to be similar. Where did I say I wanted them to be similar? I'd prefer that they be fair and honorable and courteous. Not thuggish and vindictive like the worst elements of the culture they condemn, whilst condemning the best aspects of that culture. Why do you prefer that I leave them alone so they can be thuggish and vindictive with no challenge?

  23. Yes, exactly. And most art critics can't do the Mona Lisa.

  24. He does, and he is responding to that flak to clean up his act.

  25. chohalili says:

    I know it, the wise one! the ruler of mankind and dispenser of good and evil.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Criticism, anger, outrage are healthy but one has to observe the golden rule and take the blood pressure medication the doctor prescribed. Protect yourself is good advise.DocB

  27. And may the forces of enlightenment reside forever in the hearts and minds of princesses, in disguise.

  28. Anonymous says:

    There are a lot of well-meaning individuals here, JoeAm included, that want nothing better than to see the plight of poor Pinoys improved. Good governance requires feedback and the occasional bashing and shaming. Common agenda. There are boulders along the way like the RH bill that seem to divide these well-intentioned people more than unite them. Different agenda and efforts sort of cancelling each other out or at cross purposes in hindsight. Paralyzed on a hot button issue like RH and FOI but fast and loose on something like Sotto and Puno. DocB

  29. Anonymous says:

    There is the ballad of Atty. Alex Lacson, author of "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country". "Matino at Mahusay". Run smack against power brokers like Binay, lost 2010 senatorial elections. Well, good intentions not good enough to win?DocB

  30. Right. Perfect and set-up for today's blog. The internet media have to bridge the gap to reach the broad masses who are more attuned to local influences. Starting early will help.

  31. Greg says:

    I know it's off the topic, but I couldn't let such a beautiful phrase pass without comment:"the Pasig River pushing its plastic down to the Bay"Such a rich image.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Was hoping JoeAm will say " the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

  33. Thanks for noticing that line, Greg. I liked it, too.

  34. Ah, anon, but I don't believe the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think that's the way to heaven.

  35. That is what I meant by "similar" – You want them to abide by your own standards.

  36. As they wish President Aquino and Filipinos to abide by theirs, yes, and to the extent that you agree that my standards are better than theirs, yes.What are the "highest values" of community standards that we all should aspire toward? Courtesy or its opposite? Construction or destruction?You seem to be arguing for their standards, but you won't come out and say so. It seems you'd prefer to nag at the edges of mine.

  37. GRP and the anti-Pinoy are not the government. If these blogs banned you, that is their prerogative. We should not criticize the critics for their criticism. We must criticize their criticism and argue on the substance, not because of the stand that they chose.

  38. When they let me in the door, I'll do that. Until then, I'll criticize their values.

  39. "What Goot is a Goot President if 99.99997% of Filipnos are not Goot" still rings true unfortunately.Philippnes have had goot credentialed foreign-educated ivy-school graduate Presidents. It is always the hangers-on and the rest of the Filipino people that brings their president down.Prayers do not work in the Philippines. God has abandoned PHilippines when God's messenger, Magellan, was garroted by Lapu-lapu. Cebuanos must be athiests because they venerate Lapu-lapu in the killing of the Messenger of God.

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