The Kid Beside Me

Late last year, I defined an anchor-post for my basic principles that is a little different than most. Most people go by Christian values. But I look around both in the Philippines and in the United States and I don’t like the values I see emerging from the Christian faithful.

  • In the U.S., I see a Tea Party that will not negotiate, that believes anyone with a different view is the enemy, to be cut down. And the cutting down, as done by the party of the Christian right, Republicans, is unbearably deceitful and manipulative. Well, that’s true of the left, too, and they, also, claim Christian values.
  •  In the Philippines I look on dismayed as the major church, the Catholic Church, descends into the mud-pit of political advocacy, even though doing so puts more than half the people into the camp of the opposition as potential “sinners” for not toeing the church line.  So don’t vote for Aquino if you want to go to heaven, I guess.
Well, other values can be based on other religious doctrines, or on the atheistic adherence to reason as the guidepost to right and wrong. A people would not rationally do that which is wrong and expect their civilization to thrive.
But I chose a different value standard.
It is based on the well-being of children.
Yes, it puts kids at the heart of every moral decision.
How would I live to ensure that kids are given the best possible shot at a safe, healthy, prosperous and intellectually rich lifestyle?
Learn What This Award Is About
  • Would I behave as Senator Sotto and teach kids it is okay to copy the original work of others, use it wrongly, deny I copied it, and, once informed of the error of my ways, admit no wrong-doing? Or would I show them it is strong to accept responsibility for a mistake?
  • Would I behave as Carlos Celdran did and insert my political views into a private business meeting? Or would I find a more respectful way to argue?
  • Would I behave as Senators Enrile and Cayetano and get down and dirty and personal on television, in the most dignified forum in the nation? Or would I recognize dignity requires unusual strength and discipline?
  • Would I behave as the leaders of the Catholic Church behave, always pointing the guilt-laden finger at others whilst denying any responsibility whatsoever in the “product”, what the Philippines is like socially and economically today?
  • Would I behave as all the corrupt government servants do, using favor and pressure to skim riches from those simply looking for government help?
  • Would I behave as private citizens do, taking every opportunity to take advantage of others if they are caught in a moment of weakness, on the road, in the market, in negotiating for services, in leaving their front door open at night? Or wallet on the table, in plain sight?

  • Would I, if seeing a young woman being beaten by a man, walk quickly by as if it were not my problem?
  • Would I, on the job, take every opportunity to rest and relax and duck hard work or hard decisions?
Each of these questions can be answered very easily if we imagine an eight-year old child is standing right beside us. Watching what we do.
16 Responses to “The Kid Beside Me”
  1. Would I behave like Aquino when I know after his term “happy days are here again” for the corrupts are looming in the horizon?Would I believe that Petron and the rest of Philippine oil companies are charitable institutions when I read in the papers “Oil companies dropped gasoline prices” instead “due to international market forces”?Would I be proud as a Filipino when the Philippine press is promoting tisoys and tisays in all their advertisements?Would I believe the economy is booming when we cannot even export pansit and catsup and aisles and aisles of processed food products including as simple as rice cannot be produced locally?Would I believe in privacy laws when Little Lady in Red Riding Hood and Mr Anonymous surreptiously illegally acquired photocopies of dollar accounts of Corona without being charged?Would I believe in child abuse laws when I see half-naked children sleeping on the sidewalk?Would I believe in the economic importance of Spratleys and Scarborough Shoal when the government disallowed exploratory drilling at Tanon Strait to protect the natural habitat of bottled nose dolphins?Would I believe in the intelligence of the elected officials when I see traffic enforcers wearing long sleeves and tie directing traffic?Would I believe in the ban of smoking in public places when EDSA is shrouded in smog?Would I as an investor invest 40% of my money in the Philippines where I can be over-ruled by 60% incompetent Filipino partners that cannot export pansit and catsup?Would I trust non-Ateneo non-U.P. graduates when these same graduates have not uplifted Filipinos to the stature of Burma?12% of natural-born Filipinos are abroad OFWing, according to U.P.-graduate run newspapers, THE CAUSE OF BRAIN-DRAIN, which 97% in command-and-controlled environment majority are women. If the-cause-of-brains are not in decision-making employment I just wonder what the brains of left-behind Filipinos are made of. If the analysts are U.P.-Ateneo-la Salle Graduates I just wonder what the rest of non-ivy-school Filipinos are thinking. Would I as a Filipino invest in the Philippines when Philippine consulate cannot afford to hand me an official looking envelope with gold embossed return address with a smile?

  2. How in the world Philippine Economy booming when Philippine Consulate in Los Angelescannot even afford to give their kompanyeros an envelope. If Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles cannot afford to give out as simple as an envelope with gold embossed emblem of Republic of the Philippines and offer ballpens at their windows in hand-cuffs and chains I JUST WONDER IF IT IS REALLY TRUE THE ECONOMY OF THE PHILIPPINES IS BOOMING. Who’d want to invest in the Philippines when these “Elite Consular Officers” manning the windows cannot even know how to smile that is in dire need of heavy dose of customer relations and constant pok-pok training to smile. Why can’t these Elite Consular Officetrs smile? Is smiling before a fellow kompanyeros make themselves below their kompanyeros? According to left-behind Filipinos “IT IS DIFFICULT TO GET INTO FOREIGN SERVICE” why would they smile at us when we cannot even pass the exam and instead immigrate to America? They are like those PAL gurang stewardesses. They look down on their fellow Filipino passengers because “THESE PASSENGERS CANNOT EVEN MAKE IT INTO A STEWARDESS” because it is difficult to become a stewardess. First beauty. Maputi. 2ndly, speakengese goot englischtzes. 3rdly beyutipul. Why would they give service to fellow ugly brown-skin-punk’d nose OFW Filipnios ordering them for a glass of cheap whisky on board THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. I AM ABOVE THEM. I am a stewardess. I am a consular employee !!!Filipnios in America do not find this as mistreatment and discrimination. Because all their life in America they hang-out with fellow mistreators and they must have thought Americans are this way beause a Filipino sitting next to them has Citizenship Card and that made them as Americans as white Americans can be.

  3. You ask some very good questions, Mariano, calling into question a lot of the self-destructive nonsense. One thing I notice is that Filipinos tend to BELIEVE commercials. Philippine press is shallow and sensationalist, yes. The economy is indeed a poof piece with little to anchor it against, say, a collapse of the real estate market. Children are routinely abused in the Philippines; true. And I won't go on to the other points you raised because I might get discouraged.

  4. Edgar Lores says:

    1. My answers:1.1 Sotto? No way, Jose.1.2. Celdran? Was that really a private business meeting with the media there? Even so, perhaps yes. Arguably, Celdran was not that offensive and non-violent protest is legitimate. I would equate Celdran’s action to the bishops’ attendance in priestly regalia of the proceedings in Congress on the RH Bill.1.3 Enrile and Cayetano? Hmm. Open strife may not be necessary but may be beneficial. It may be better to display open strife over hypocritical decorum. And the public has a right to know.1.4 Church? No way, Benny1.5 Government servants? No way, too petty.1.6 Private citizens? No way, even pettier.1.7 Young woman? Would not walk away. Would I interfere? Depends on how big the guy was! But my presence would be a deterrent.1.8 On the job? No, not in my character.2. Some questions are easy to answer, others not so straightforward because there are other factors to consider.3. The innocence of children is the voice of conscience.

  5. There you go again, in point 3, reducing my verbosity into one crystal clear statement of unerring truth. Conscience is an angel, unspoiled by our emotional and physical needs. Same as a child.Yes, some of those questions are not so easily dispensed with, and I agree with your "findings".

  6. Anonymous says:

    Answer to all the questions is FAMILY UPBRINGING!Unfortunately, many grown ups now were children growing up watching and living their lives with their role model parents doing bad things, whether educated and living luxuriously, especially the noveau rich.Cases in point: sotto grew up watching his relatives and mother embroiled in murder relative to govt corruption. Jackie Enrile whose father was instrumental in abuse and torture of many Filipinos as well as gaining wealth thru corruption. Ex CJ Corona went to good school but at home the wealth was questionable because the father was a BIR employee.Compare to people with old riches earned the noble way, Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas. Before becoming adults they passed teenage years too. They could have becoe abusive because of the success of their parents yet they did not. The only possible difference between the previous 3 and the latter two persons is FAMILY UPBRINGING!Currently, role models of Filipinos are noveau rich and famous people, that is rich corrupt govt officials and employees for the former and Pacquiao and Revillame for the latter. The former greed for money thru illiegal means need not be elaborated but for Pacquiao becoming a model for kids as a rag to rich person thru personal effort but by trying to swallow everything from a lousy singer to tv host to politician to religious preacher, his persona has deteriorated. Revillame, under the theory that "gaudy sells" outsidely appears to be compassionate to poor people but his methods of exploiting sexy women and low income/uneducated children and families as laughing stock and showcase of his show at the same time borders on human trafficking.Going to to your questions:1. Sotto definitely -NO to him2. Celdran – people loving him have tunnel vision. They looked only at his Damaso message and the bishops present inside the church. They forgot that inside the church are other worshippers communing silently with God thru different forms of prayers. Celdran disrespected and was notoriously discourteos to these OTHER people by shouting loud whike they were silently practicing their religious rites. They don't see the forest, they only see the trees inside the church by defending the message, remind you not the act, of Celdran.3. enrile was the culprit between Cayetano and Enrile tiff – what else is new with Enrile. He is Bad Boy role model to his children.4. Catholoic bishops – there are few good ones and many bad ones. Problem is the bad not only outnumbers the good, they are also the most talkative and exploitative. Their followers look at their verbosity as signal to tow the line.5. Corrupt govt officials- bad role models all theways with examples above6. Private citizens ripping off their fellow citizens come with the terrotory and those practicing it must have poor family environmental background and upbringing7. Yes, chivalry is lost not only in the Philippines but also all over the world. Maybe it comes with fast pace modern times but still, in the Philippines respect to elderly is still prevalent and practice in the provinces.8. that is individualistic. Unfortunately, Filipinos want to succeed, become rich and comfortable thru the fastest shortest route. It's the culture, mostly in govt offices. Worst is those who are good in the beginning become corrupted as they stay longer in that kind of bad environment. Our friends and neighbors used to ask me why my brod resigned his highly appointed civil service career in the Bureau of Custom! He would have been a deputy commissioner by now. . My answer, it is not in the family tradition to close the eyes, cover the ears, use sleight of hand to become rich quickly. We might be poor but we prefer to eat daily thru the old fashon way of hard work.He he he! Johnny Lin

  7. Nice crisp zingers for the boxer and the game show exploiter. They are popularity gone haywire, bad behavior praised. It is dysfunctional at best, destructive at worst.Nice responses as well to the questions. I need to do a blog about respect for the elderly in the Philippines (#7). I find some aspects of that perplexing. It is a cultural mind shift.Number 8 is enlightening for me about how the "system" spoils good intentions. Your brother is of strong character. I think maybe you and he were blessed like me, really superb parents.

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  9. Edgar Lores says:

    Johnny,We don’t see eye-to-eye on Celdran, and I suspect we never will.As a matter of curiosity, what would you say if I used your argument against Celdran for Celdran?Consider: You say that Celdran was discourteous in the presence of worshippers in a place of worship. This is at the level of the Church.Now let me lift your argument to the level of the nation. I say the Damasos have been discourteous to people of other faiths – and to some believers who disagree with them on the RH bill – in the place and lives of the nation which is sacred. Would it not be righteous for a citizen to protest?I suspect you will look at specifics and say the analogy does not work. The thing is people will keep their perception according to the “principles” they live by. You consider the Church to be a sacred place, and it is. I totally agree. But I consider the nation to be a higher sacred ground because it houses many churches of different kinds. The Truth of a particular religion might be considered to be higher (than the nation) because it speaks of ultimate ends, but we live different truths – such that no one religion should seek to impose its beliefs on the nation as a whole.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @ edgar we will never understand each other untIl you will admit that there is a law restricting disturbances pertaining to places of worship? Comparing it to the entire nation does not warrant an explanation although referring to the nation as sacred is alright but there is no law applicable to the nation as a place of worship. Applying to Celdran by itself is not suitable either unless Celdran has a place of worship or private headquarters in which entry is restricted by law. That is if Celdran is sitting comfortably in his living room with his family and a Bishop suddenly appears without permission and lectures him about RH law, the bishop violated or tresspassed a private property. If there is no law that Celdran violated, he could not be charged. If he discoursed in front of the Manila cathedral, nobody would bother him unless he created public disturbance. The nation has an obligation to keep public order for the safety of the entire population superseding individual rightsArt 133 which Celdran violated has two basic components permanent place of worship like temples, synagogues, mosques or churches and convents and the second component is while doing religious practice which among catholics could take many forms like silent prayers or praying the rosary, novena, daily prayer, attending mass. All these different forms could take place inside the church which is referred to as house of prayers or temple of worship. Not everyone inside the church at the same time are practicing their religious rites similarly. Catholics go to church for different reasons. Some may be attending the mass or big service for that particular hour Celdran violated the rules. Others might be saying their rosaries or novenas for the day and it so happened they were there when Celdran violated their rights.People look only at the bishops or bigwigs attending that service Celdran interfered at. They forgot there were other people inside the church for different reasons practicing their faith. That is what the law protects. Those people exercising their religious rites suddenly the silence of their prayers or commune with God was disturbed by a person whose sole purpose was directed to certain groups present inside the church for another form of religious practice.It was not the message that was bothersome to the unintended victims of Celdran. The innocent victims were practicing their religious rites they thought the place was sacred, free from disturbance protected by law. If one witness says that his feelings was offended while saying his prayers inside the church is enough for the judge to render decision, however Celdran has to prove that all the members of the congregation on that day and specific time were there for the big service and nobody was inside the church praying or practicing his religious right differently from the others. That task, Celdran was unable to prove.Now, explain to me why anti RH advocates were discourteous to pro RH if the discourse were all done in the right places like public plaza, tv stations or even inside Congress while both were spectators during sessions. Cite an example where anti RH barged into the headquarters or private homes of pro RH without permission. By the way, I was pro Rh and very vocal too but There is a limit to morality and legality in expressing views. Celdran message was not the problem. He was already outside the church demonstrating and nobody bothered until he violated the sanctity of a religious group in which he belonged and knew very well there were other people inside saying their private prayers different from the others garbed in red suits. Remember he said, he knew what he was doing and tried to seek apology from the rector of the cathedral because he was discourteous and disrepectful to the parishioners praying in the church at that time.It is about the existing law, however primitive it is. And the law is about respect to the rights of others. It is not about beliefs or superiority. It is the lawJohnny Lin

  11. Edgar Lores says:

    Thanks, Johnny.I get the gist of your arguments. Basically, not Celdran's message but his intrusion into the sanctity of the Church.You will note that in my original comment I compared Celdran's action to the bishops intruding into Congress. For me the paramount issue is really the separation of Church and State.The particular law in question, Article 133, is to me irrelevant. It's on the books, but it should not have used in Celdran's case. But it was used, and to me the judge's decision was unjust and unwise. I'm sure you have heard the saying: "What is legal is not necessarily moral…".You say the law is about respect to the right of others. I agree. The Church should respect the State and all of its citizens. Strange as it seems, we agree in principle. We are just applying the principle at different levels.Thanks.

  12. Anonymous says:

    EdgarThe law was applied by the prosecution. If Celdran and his lawyers were competent they should have petitioned the judge to apply a different law to their client like public disturbance. It is not the duty of the judge to teach the defense. It is the defense lawyers who have an obligation to the defendant.The judge bases its decision based on facts. Only the defenders of Celdran were saying that Damaso was the issue. The judge never explained his decision, according to these same people. Who knows, the judge was thinking the way I did because it was so simpe. The law applies to everybody inside a church, temple or synagogue. Celdran was lucky he did not do it inside a mosque.The law is simple. When somebody says his religios feelings was offended while praying silently inside a church, the big burden falls on the defendant to prove otherwise. How could one disprove a subjective feeling?Johnny Lin

  13. Anonymous says:

    EdgarRH bill/law was not about separation of Church and State.RH was proposed bill contrary to church teachings. It is the obligation of churh authorities to defend their dogma or principles on a bill which happened to be an affair of the state. They joined the fight because their principle was drawn into it. If they neglected their moral duty to their flock, their values preached at homilies would be useless.Bishops were inside Congress but did not interrupt the sessions. They exercised their free speech, so did the pro RH groups. Neither group violated the sanctity of the august Congress. If the bishops were interfering in state affairs like the INC bloc voting during election, then they violated the separation. In the Philippines, separation is only on paper because the first violators are the politicians with their public wooing of INC authorities to vote for them.frankly, it is your right to take side on Celdran case or belueve in the fairness of the law, unfortunately he has been tried and convicted under existing law on a air trial. Different if he was convicted under a non existing law. His lawyers appeared and defended him during the trial; they should have made a better strategy to exonerate their client. It seemed Celdran's lawyers were incompetent or negligent in defending him.Johnny Lin

  14. Attila says:

    "promoting tisoys and tisays in all their advertisements"I was fooled by that also. My very first visit to the Philippines I took a walk from my hotel to the Santo Nino Church in Cebu. I was surprised to see that Filipinos were so different looking than I was used to in New York. They were shorter and brown and Malay looking. A surreal feeling came over me that maybe I ended up in the wrong country. I was dumb founded, how could it be? I didn't know than but most if not all the Filipinos that I knew before were all the Chinese type or the mixed type. My Filipino friend in New York who invited me there also has a Chinese background. Romantic Tagalog movies don't' help either. To learn about the Philippines prior to my first visit I watched a few Filipino movies with Kristine Hermosa and Tony Gonzaga. Oh boy oh boy I was surprised when I saw the real Filipinos!

  15. Attila says:

    "products including as simple as rice cannot be produced locally?"Renato: I was surprised to find out that Honey in the Philippine is also imported, 80% of them. In my family in Hungary we have beekeepers and I'm well informed in the subject. An agriculture island like Negros has almost no beekeepers. The honey that could be harvested from the huge Mango Orchards and Durian and many other trees including Nara and Eucalyptus just go wasted. Pollination by bees increases the yield up to 60%. Most part of the Philippines it is not done at all. They are paying for expensive imported honey instead and doing labor intense manual pollination. What a waste!

  16. Edgar Lores says:

    Johnny,I had a medical appointment this morning, and all indicators are good. To continue…1. Your 9:43 PM post is on Article 133. As I said this law is irrelevant to what I consider to be the main issue which is: the rightness of Celdran’s act in view of the doctrine of the separation of Church and State.1.1 The rightness cannot be evaluated through the prism of this law. It is archaic, it contravenes freedom of speech, it is premised on subjectivity, etc. It has a bearing on the main issue only because it is a vestige of a time when the Church was permitted to be active in the political arena.2. Your 11:12 PM post is more to the point.2.1 I disagree that the RH Bill/Law is not about the separation of Church and State.2.2 It should not be – but it is because of Church meddling.3. We draw the line of separation of Church and State at different points. I think this is the source of our disagreement. In this regard, you draw a wider area than I would. Where do I draw the line?3.1 This is difficult, but I would initially draw the line at the perimeter of the Church’s boundaries.3.2 Basically and primarily this means that the Church can teach its tenets to the flock from its pulpits.3.3 I would extend that to publications of the Church, to news about the Church and its views in news media, and to occasional opinion columns.3.4 I would draw the line at a sustained campaign, lobbying, and any orchestrated attempt to influence state policy. Once the Church crosses this line it enters into the political domain.3.5 I would go further and say that churches can express opinion and give advice to government officials when asked or even when not asked, but churches must not exert any form of untoward pressure on government. The spectacle of a group of bishops in the halls of Congress is an open and deliberate attempt to influence state policy. Whether through inspiration or intimidation I leave to the beholder.3.6 Once the Church trespasses into the political domain it opens itself to similar trespass. This is the justification, the legitimacy and the rightness of Celdran’s act. This is in line with the argument that it is entirely legitimate for concerned citizens to seek to overthrow an illegitimate government.4. The State respects churches. It recognizes freedom of religion. It does not impose taxes. In return, the Church must respect the State. The Church pays no taxes and cannot seek representation in government. And the State is the machinery of government and all the citizens combined.In summary the bases of our disagreement are established in items 2.1 and 3. As I pointed out in my 6:31 post we have the same principles, but our perceptions differ. Our biases differ as a result of our individual developments. You have a religious bias and I a secular bias.And biases are difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.

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