How the left lost me, and how I lost respect for Gabriela

By Ezekiel de Jesus (Mami Kawada Lover)

The radical left and I actually go way back. But to understand my past and present feelings for the radical left, I need to give some background.

The Arroyo administration

I remember the days of the Arroyo administration. At the time, I was pro-Arroyo. I was aware of all of her administration’s scandals, such as Hello Garci and the NBN-ZTE deal. But nevertheless, I was impressed with her various programs, such as her infrastructure programs like the Daang Hari road, the new airports in Bacolod and Iloilo, and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). I also liked her various social programs under the “GMA Cares” banner

Although the times have changed and I believe that Gloria deserved to go to jail for her actions, I have to give her credit for putting the Philippines in the right direction. Whereas Aquino will be remembered as the president who started an anti-corruption campaign which boosted confidence on the Philippines, Arroyo will probably be remembered (aside from her corruption, of course), as the president who laid the foundation for economic success. Arguably, it could be said that credit for this should go to Ramos, but many of his gains were wiped out during the Asian financial crisis, and it was not until Arroyo’s administration that the Philippines truly began to regain the glory it previously had.

Now, as I’ve said, I’m no Gloria apologist. In fact, these days I’m very much anti-Arroyo. Her corruption scandals made Erap look like small fish in a big pond. The Maguindanao massacre, the NBN-ZTE deal, and Hello Garci were black stains in Philippine history. Finally, it was during her term that she was able to “bribe” some bishops of the Catholic Church with SUVs and other goodies, and thus these bishops turned a blind eye on her actions. I just want to give credit where credit is due, and despite Gloria’s many, many faults, had it not been for her corruption, she would probably be placed in high regard today.

My early view on the radical left

I did not dislike the radical left at first. In fact, during the Arroyo administration, I sort of liked them. Every time they had a rally, I always looked forward to seeing their effigies. I don’t know why, but I always looked forward to what effigies they would burn. There was the one where they turned her into a monster. Many of these effigies also had her trademark mole. I don’t know, I just couldn’t help but laugh every time flames engulfed the effigies. I didn’t really mind at the time that they always held rallies in front of the American embassy. I was young at the time, only second year high school when Arroyo stepped down. I didn’t fully understand what they did. To me, I only thought of them as comic relief.

Enter President Aquino

When President Aquino came into power, I was hoping for change for the country. Arroyo made good contributions, but corruption was still a massive problem. Aquino’s platform of anti-corruption was appealing to me. Finally, we will have progress! We can be the next Singapore! His first SONA was interesting. For once, the leftists actually listened to the entire speech, and they didn’t burn his effigy. As I was already pro-Aquino at the time, I felt that I would be offended if they burned an effigy of him, but luckily they didn’t. Things went downhill though when news came out that Aquino bought a Porsche. They then took to the streets and burned an effigy of Aquino riding a Porsche. I distinctly remember that this was one of the first times that they burned his effigy. And it would not be the last.

A different take on the radical leftists

My stand on the radical leftists would not truly develop until I entered, ironically, the University of the Philippines Manila. UP, for those who are not aware,  is known for, along with the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, having a large number of student activists. On my very first day in the University, I had a baptism of fire. I remember my freshman orientation like it was yesterday. At some point during the program, the University Student Council suddenly barged in with placards such as “Education is a right!”, went to the stage, and began shou ting pro-education chants. “Edukasyon Edukasyon! Ipaglaban!” was their battle cry. And while I had no intention of joining them, I became sympathetic to their cause. All until they began to criticize the government and even call for its ouster. This is where the downward spiral began.

As the months went by, I continued my studies, all while being exposed to their activities. Walk-outs, protests, rallies, room-to-room visits explaining their causes. I liked many of their points. I supported education and the lowering of tuition fees for the poor, albeit not openly. I began to believe that education was a right. I began to be sympathetic to the abuses of the marginalized. But there were times I did not fully understand what their cause was. They were opposed to UP changing its academic calendar from the traditional June-to-March to August-to-May, for reasons that were vague or hollow at best. For example, they claimed that it could cause conflicts with board exams. Which was fine, until I realized that it was possible that it could instead be that these that could be adjusted to fit the August-to -May calendar. When the previous tuition bracketing system, the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program or STFAP, was replaced with the Socialized Tuition System or STS, they continued to rally. I was aware that the left were opposed to the STFAP for various reasons, and wanted it to be scrapped, but when it finally was scrapped, I couldn’t help but feel confused that they were still not satisfied with the replacement STS. They were even calling it a “de-facto tuition fee increase”.

The coup-de-grace for me came on four issues:  the Spratlys/Scarborough issue, the Binay allegations, the incident with secretary Abad, and the murder of Jennifer/Jeffrey Laude. Let’s take a look at them one by one:

Spratlys/Scarborough

It was around this time that I began to read Disqus threads in The Philippine Star and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Originally, this had nothing to do with activists, but rather, to read reactions to the columns of The Philippine Star columnist Bobit Avila. Then, I began to learn the background of these activists. For one thing, I learned that the radical left, long known to be anti-US and anti-imperialist, was generally silent whenever China did something in the South China Sea. Obama visits? Rally in front of the US embassy. American soldiers visit? Burn Aquino and Obama’s effigies. China builds structures on an island claimed by the Philippines? At the most, isolated condemnations from individual activists, but almost never was there any rally from groups like Bayan Muna and the rest of the Makabayan bloc in front of the Chinese embassy. Not once did they burn Hu Jintao or Xi Jinping’s effigy. To my knowledge, the only leftist group which has consistently rallied against China is Akbayan, but Akbayan’s relationship with the Makabayan bloc is sour, and Akbayan is an allied group of the government.

The radical leftists have claimed that they have made some rallies against China, only that these were not reported by the media. I find this explanation hard to believe: even with their smallest rallies, there would be at least one media outlet covering them. Such a rally going unnoticed is very unlikely. After doing some research, I discovered they did have at least one rally against China on the Spratlys issue (and this was noted by the media), but this was rather belated; the rally was held some time after the issue erupted, rather than almost immediately as with the other cases where the radical left rallied.

I began to wonder: why the difference in stance? How come the US, which while it arguably controls the Philippine economy to some extent, it doesn’t annex our territory nor does it have any claims on Philippine territory, and yet the radical left continue to say that they are “violating our sovereignty”? When people from the US come here even just for diplomatic visits, the left come out and condemn these, saying that the US’ actions “violate our sovereignty”, and yet when China, when it actively claims our own territory and territory claimed by other Asian nations, and even “illegally” occupying said islands, the left was generally silent?

If Obama visits the Philippines, does that violate our sovereignty? No. It’s just a state visit. It’s the same as if Aquino visits China, or if Xi Jinping visits, say, Malaysia. There’s no violation of sovereignty, these visits are used instead to boost ties between countries. It’s not like this is the Treaty of Paris or the Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation all over again.

If Chinese ships come into our waters and harass Filipino fishermen, is this a violation of our sovereignty? Yes. So why the silence? While it can be argued that the US bases in the past were violations of our sovereignty (to which I agree), there’s a difference between building bases and territory being “acquired”. At least with the US bases, these were, at least in theory, only intended to be temporary, if long-term. And these could be used in cooperation with the Philippines. Remember that the Philippine Air Force wasn’t always the butt of jokes. During the time of the bases, the PAF was the envy of Asian nations. Meanwhile, China is outright annexing Philippine islands and other islands in the South China/West Philippine Sea  for its own interests, which has earned not only the ire of the Philippines, but some other countries in Asia as well, notably Japan and Vietnam. And yet, barely a whisper from these activists.

Binay

Next, came the issues surrounding Vice President Jejomar Binay. I admit: as a Batangueno, I was once pro-Binay. In fact, I was very much pro-Binay, to the point that I promised I would vote for him in 2016, rather than Roxas who I believed (and still believe) to be an incompetent secretary who failed to impress in the DOTC and the DILG.

I was impressed by how Binay handled Makati. All the services for its citizens. Imagine: free cakes for senior citizens during their birthdays! Free cinema tickets! But little did I know how these services came to be. I had long heard rumors that Binay received kickbacks for every condo built in Makati, even as early as around 2012, long before Binay’s falling out with Mercado. But all that changed with the Makati City Hall Building II issue. Even at the time, I couldn’t believe what happened. It was only when various people made an inspection of the building and confirmed that it was indeed overpriced and not “world-class” did Binay lose my support. And when the Hacienda Binay issue came out, the rest is history. And yet, I never saw the left stage any anti-Binay rallies. I would have expected them to have made even one rally in front of either the Makati City Hall or the Coconut Palace, especially after the alleged overpricing of the Makati Science High School or the Boy Scouts-Alphaland deal came out, but no rally was ever staged by the leftists.

Again, I am aware that individual activists have criticized him, such as Teddy Casino and Juana Change (who, contrary to popular belief, has spoken out against Binay, albeit only on Twitter rather than during rallies), but the lack of a solid leftist stance on him made me worried. It didn’t help that I read rumors (not sure if true, readers can confirm or deny in the comments) that Vencer Crisostomo, head of the leftist group Anakbayan, was an assistant of Binay’s then-spokesman Jonvic Remulla.

It has also come to my attention that, the radical leftists and their various media outlets have said that they want to focus on Aquino’s so-called “mistakes” given that the media was, at the time, too focused on Binay, and Aquino’s “problems” were being ignored. They wanted to bring attention to what Aquino failed to do, or what he handled badly. However, this does not explain why the leftists have been against Aquino since almost the start of his term, long before his first major blunder (the Luneta hostage crisis), nor why, as far as my knowledge goes, no left-sponsored rallies against Binay have ever been held.

Budget Secretary Abad

One of the turning points was the incident with Budget Secretary Butch Abad during a forum in UP Diliman. Unlike most Aquino supporters, I was against the DAP. Not because I felt it was wrong, but more on legality grounds. I didn’t like how Aquino reacted to the Supreme Court unanimously declaring it unconstitutional. I felt he should have gotten over it. I felt his little “feud” with the justices was very immature.

However, I felt that the DAP was implemented in good faith and did have concrete positive benefits (unlike the PDAF which more often than not ended up in congressmen’s pockets). It was just that it skirted constitutional lines, and was a hot potato from the very beginning. I felt that it could erode people’s confidence on the government, so it would just be better to drop it than cause further political damage. It was a case where the end did not justify the means. As such, I was critical of Abad for defending the DAP.

Despite this, I believed that the way the activists handled him was very immature. UP is supposed to be a place for open-mindedness and academic freedom, and yet these activists tarnished these two values the university is known for. I heard these activists didn’t even attend the forum or listen to Abad’s side; instead, they unleashed their anger. I can understand why they were so upset, but if they weren’t even tolerant of what he had to say, to the point of not even attending the forum, then they don’t have the right to throw stuff at him or assault him. No wonder STAND UP (the far-left party in UP Diliman that was responsible for the incident) lost a lot of support within the university, at least according to my cousin who studies Economics there.

The Laude incident

Finally, the final straw to me was the Laude incident. But before I continue, I need to give some background on me and Gabriela, the relevant group in this case.

Even when I lost respect for the various activist groups, even those that I really wanted to support like Katribu (I am a supporter of the rights of the indigenous people), I still continued to put Gabriela in high regard. To my knowledge, they were the most active of the activist groups in Congress, having supported or authored many bills and laws, most notably the RH Law. As a Catholic, I was once anti-RH, but I  became pro-RH when I realized that, questionable provisions aside, it would be of great help to the nation’s poor.

I liked Gabriela because they stood up for women’s rights. Although I am a male, I always supported women’s rights, and believed in equality for men and women. I am proud to see that the Philippines is one of the best countries to live in for a woman, and it makes me happy to see that the gender gap here is minimal compared to other countries. Whenever I see anti-women comments on the internet, while I don’t comment against these comments, I can’t help but feel ashamed at these people. Gabriela, thus, became my favorite partylist.

leftists02

But the Laude incident, oh the Laude incident. I couldn’t believe that this would be the final straw. I supported the fact that they were seeking justice for a transgender. Despite the Philippines generally being considered gay-friendly, discrimination still exists, and this needs to be stopped. But then I began to think about the leftist group’s actions and their intentions. Is the murder of one person really enough to stop us from having American military support, especially now that the Philippine military is too weak to defend us against the Chinese menace?

Why single out Laude? Why only focus on rape cases involving American suspects, such as the infamous “Nicole” rape case and the long-forgotten “Vanessa” rape case? Several women have been killed or raped in the Philippines, both by fellow Filipinos, and by other non-American nationalities. And yet, you only tend to hear Gabriela and other leftist groups if the suspect is an American. If a Filipino or let’s say a Canadian soldier was the suspect, would they have reacted in the same way? In fact, just weeks later, another transgender was killed in Quezon, and this time the alleged suspect was a Filipino. Despite this, the Laude case, probably mainly because the suspect was American, continued to hog the headlines, while the Quezon case was quickly forgotten.

Why?

How come the leftists never made a rally against the Quezon case and other cases? Around one or two weeks ago, a Filipina teen was murdered, allegedly by an Australian, but while in Laude’s case there was a rally in front of the Supreme Court within the week, there was never a rally against the Australian, at least not one in front of the Supreme Court.

My view of the left today

This article comes at a time when President Aquino is once again coming under fire, this time because of the Mamasapano encounter. And once again, the radical left have been quite vocal about their belief that Aquino should resign because of the incident. It’s weird, because there have been many previous incidents where SAF troops have been killed, mostly by members of the New People’s Army or NPA, and yet I’ve never heard of the radical left condemning these incidents. I’ve also heard that, should Aquino (and the rest of the government, yes, including Binay) resign, the left wants to establish a “transitional council” composed of people who “are chosen from various sectors” and led by Chief Justice Sereno (who has disowned the proposal). This makes me feel worried, as the proposal sounds suspiciously like the establishment of a junta. Do we really want to get rid of a president who is putting the Philippines in the right direction, in favor of an untested council whose members we don’t even know (or have even chosen)? Do we really want our country to be the next Thailand or pre-democratization Myanmar?

I understand this article is long. But I want to lay out the rationale for my change in view. My point is: I lost respect for the left for various reasons, most importantly their lack of consistency. Why rally against Aquino, but not against Binay? Why rally against the US, but not against China? Why rally for the case of Laude, but not for the many other innocent women killed or raped by non-Americans? Why should Aquino resign because of Mamasapano, when there have been many more SAF troops and soldiers killed by the NPA, all without the left blinking an eye?

It’s funny: I actually self-identify as center-left. If I were an American, I would be a Democrat. I support more social services, higher taxes for the rich and little-to-no taxes for the poor, free healthcare and education, paid maternity and paternity leaves, among others. Although I am against abortion (a right-leaning stance), I do not support capital punishment, for various reasons, such as statistics showing that capital punishment is not a very effective deterrence against crime, the fact that innocent people can and sometimes are executed wrongly, and that I feel that life imprisonment is a better punishment for such crimes, given that people in life imprisonment will suffer the consequences of their crime for much longer.

I also want to make it clear that, although I am pro-Aquino, I believe that he is not without his faults. He is not perfect, and he will not solve all of the country’s problems. I am not an Aquino apologist. I give credit where credit is due, and criticism where criticism is due. As I mentioned earlier, his reaction to the DAP put a sour taste in his mouth. His handling of the Luneta hostage crisis was very poor. Whatever his involvement in the Mamasapano incident was, he should have handled it a lot better. I am also not a fan of some of the members of his cabinet, such as Jun Abaya who I like to call “pAbaya” for his relative incompetence as DOTC secretary. I feel that he should rely less on his shooting buddies and more on people who are truly qualified for the job. But compared to what our other options are (Binay, Roxas, Duterte, etc.), while I do not want him to pursue cha-cha so that he can run again (and I’m glad he put an end to speculation that he wants to run for another term), he’s doing his job well. I’m surprised in fact. He didn’t really do much as congressman or senator, but when he took up the challenge to become President following the death of his much-loved mother, he did better than many would have expected. He hasn’t always lived up to expectations, but I say, for a President who didn’t do much in his previous political posts, he seems to have made up for lost time.

If I am technically a leftist, then why don’t I support the radical left? Because I do not feel that they are the solution to the country’s problems. Instead, they are only adding to it. They have a lot of good points, but, what else can they do for the country? Is ousting the President and installing, in their words, a “transitional council”, really the solution? Are rallies really the best they can do?

Rather than just rally, those already in Congress should focus on a platform that is less dependent on rallies and more on actual programs that would benefit the nation. The RH Law, divorce bills, they’re all a good start. I want to get this out of the way: I’m not against the leftists. I respect their opinions. I commend them for standing up for the rights of the masses. But if the radical left wants more support from the people, and not to lose support from current supporters, they need to do away the stereotype of being “rally lang walang gawa”, “tuta ng China”, and others.

 

Comments
145 Responses to “How the left lost me, and how I lost respect for Gabriela”
  1. john c. jacinto says:

    The Left will not stop until they put Ka Joma Sison in Malacañang. Only their “national democratic revolution” matters to them.

  2. andrewlim8 says:

    Understanding the Philippine Left – the Makabayan bloc, the legal organizations like LFS, ACT, etc and their underground counterparts (CPP-NPA-NDF) requires a basic knowledge of the political philosophies that serve as its basis.

    Like you, I also attended the State U but my involvement went deeper, to the point I knew of the code words for the movement to facilitate discussion in the open. For instance, the code word for the underground youth movement (Kabataang Makabayan) was “Karina” for which the LFS served as legal front. I mentioned this tidbit so as to emphasize the authenticity of my views, as they come from first-hand experience.

    Like you, I was attracted to its taking up the cudgels for the poorer sectors of society, but history and time has proven them to be so wrong. The inequities and injustices they highlight are real, but their analysis is flawed, their objectives even more so. And their philosophy of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism was once considered by many to be a “scientific and empirical” analysis of society. When religion was all it was, requiring blind faith to believe in.

    Once you get a grasp of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, everything that they do will fall into place. That will explain the contradictions, the cherry-picking of what issues to raise and conveniently forgetting others, and why ideology, and not principles guide them.

    • I actually was kind of thinking of adding a mention of the left’s links to the CPP. The original draft did, actually, but then I decided to delete it, given that I was planning to write another article on that very topic.

      Funny, I was actually thinking if I could collaborate with you on such an article. It would be like a profile or who’s who of Filipino leftists and leftist groups.

    • Also, a little anecdote. Once I saw some activists reading a book called “Araling Aktibista”. I got worried the moment I saw the book’s publisher. The book’s publisher? The Communist Party of the Philippines. Also, the book praises Mao and Stalin. Funny how the left seems to worship Stalin when even the Russians, no, even the Communists from Nikita Khrushchev onwards disowned him (hence de-Stalinization). Luckily, it seems that most UP students are smart enough to know the radical left’s true agenda.

    • i7sharp says:

      Apropos of Marxism, let me share a segue to this:
      https://joeam.com/2015/03/01/the-philippines-myth-of-sovereignty/#comment-111593

      One of the books written by Wurmbrand was
      “Marx & Satan.”
      https://archive.org/details/MarxAndSatan

      i7sharp

      • Karl garcia says:

        I was almost named Karl Marx, but the military chaplain who baptized me did not allow it. It was 1971. Speaking of communism. In quezon I have a distant relative who was second in command to Rene Buscayno. He got out of the movement but was still suspected by Isafp so they abducted him.and reported that fellow npa did the abduction.through some back channeling he was later released,those npas in my dads home province is the reason why my dad took almost 40 years to come home to his hometown, all because he was military.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “For instance, the code word for the underground youth movement (Kabataang Makabayan) was “Karina” for which the LFS served as legal front. I mentioned this tidbit so as to emphasize the authenticity of my views, as they come from first-hand experience.”

      Karina is correct, my name as Kasamang … I will not mention until today.

      “Like you, I was attracted to its taking up the cudgels for the poorer sectors of society”

      so was I. At that time it was also care for the country – they were the only game in town.

      “their analysis is flawed, ”

      Very. Asking too many questions brought me into trouble because I exposed their incompetence and eventually I was thrown out for not taking a FLAG (Free Legal Assistance Group) lawyer after we were arrested – the guy who made us take part in the blockade just disappeared when Metrocom approached. Knowing what can happen to those who are thrown out, I left the country and did not come back except for short vacations.

  3. Ley... HelloJoe says:

    excellent analysis!! Often these rallies are made desperate from desperate people. It’s democracy against development.

  4. Bing Garcia says:

    My point is: I lost respect for the left for various reasons, most importantly their lack of consistency. Why rally against Aquino, but not against Binay? Why rally against the US, but not against China? Why rally for the case of Laude, but not for the many other innocent women killed or raped by non-Americans? Why should Aquino resign because of Mamasapano, when there have been many more SAF troops and soldiers killed by the NPA, all without the left blinking an eye?

  5. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. An impressive personal witnessing of the times from a young man navigating his way through the thorny thicket of Philippine politics.

    2. What I find remarkable is the open-eyed open-mindedness, the refusal to be swayed by peers, and the resulting balance in judgment.

    3. I find myself nodding in agreement with the observations and the conclusions in all respects except one: abortion. I think women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies.

    4. My sentiments are for Left of Center as well. Here in Oz, I vote for the Labor Party. I like their consistent concern for the 99% and not just the 1%.

    4.1. Instead of just conducting rallies and burning effigies, left-leaning students should come up with bright ideas that would benefit the nation. It is not sufficient to oppose; the left must propose. From the post, the only cause they seem to have championed is: “Education is a right.”

    4.2. The author, in his balanced presentation, recognizes the contribution of the Left in Congress. What sticks in my mind though is the abject withdrawal of the so-called “Anti-God Bill” by Congressman Palatino. The enacted bill, as I recall, would have caused the removal of all religious paraphernalia in government offices. A worthy objective for a secular state.

    5. When I first encountered the author’s handle, I wondered what kind of mami kawada was. My association of mami is food, as in pancit mami, beef mami or chicken mami. I was quite amused to find out that Mami Kawada is a person, a Japanese pop singer who specializes in soundtracks for anime and hentai. (I could never imagine that I would write such a sentence as the last one.)

    6. One last note: the clarity of the reasoning is reflected in the clarity of the writing.
    *****

    • >Instead of just conducting rallies and burning effigies, left-leaning students should come up with bright ideas that would benefit the nation. It is not sufficient to oppose; the left must propose.

      This. Actually, they have made many great proposals that I wasn’t able to mention in the article, such as higher wages for teachers. They also sponsor two bills that they are promoting in forums and the like: the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) and the People’s Mining Bill; however, I cannot comment on these two as I have not read their contents. However, more often than not, it is their “violent” or “radical” proposals (e.g. rallies and calls for resignation or impeachment) that get press mileage, which can and does affect the people’s views on them. I kind of wish that these proposals could be put in the backburner and instead they would focus (and further promote) programs that help not just the “elite” or the middle class but the masses as well.

      Also, it’s funny how they like to use the term “commercialization of education”, using it as a rallying cry against increasing tuition fees, leasing of university property to other parties, etc., but never have I seen them make any rallies against the Makati High School allegedly being “overpriced” or the anomalous BSP-Alphaland deal. Aren’t the latter “commercialization of education” as well, particularly the latter? If anything, the BSP-Alphaland deal has many similarities to the UP-Ayala TechnoHub deal, the latter of which is very unpopular among militants because they claim that it is “commercialization of education”. And yet they never rallied about the former. Strange world, isn’t it?

      • pinoyputi says:

        MKL, I of course can’t say it any better then Edgar. An impressive story from a young men that politicaly matures in a very short time. Struggling with political views but stays on track cause his heart is on the right place. The extreme left in the Philippines is dogmatic in their so-called left believes. Maoism, Leninism and Marxism is dead but they are not willing to accept. I met and talked to Sison and Jalandoni, they are from another era.
        It is great that you’re not obsessed as a political fan of a politician but review and judge on the basis of your own ethics and principles. Keep up the good work!

  6. karl garcia says:

    I can’t still get over the fact that you are so young. Brilliant, young man. Mami,that thing mentioned by Edgar about clarity is a commendation coming from one of the most clear and open minds here and anywhere.

  7. Thank you much, Mami Kawada Lover. Almost the same observations on the issues I know something of (maski kakaunti).

  8. Steve says:

    We used to say the left had all the right questions and all the wrong answers. Eventually they even lost the right questions.

    When I first came to the Philippines, in the late Marcos years, you had to respect the left, even if you didn’t always agree with them. The government was evil, the armed forces were corrupt and brutal, and there was nobody else out there who was standing up and fighting back in any meaningful way.

    Of course that changed. The left missed an opportunity by ignoring the snap election and the subsequent wind of peaceful change, even if many of their people were involved as individuals. The subsequent orgy of paranoia and internal purges drove out many of their most competent people, including anyone capable of independent thought. From there it was a long slide into what we see today, organizations locked in the past, incapable of evolution, reciting the same old mantras over and over with little recognition of the changes in the nation or the world.

    The thing that bothered me most, personally, was the policy of recruiting idealistic young people, often through above-ground fronts, and effectively using them as cannon fodder, handing them the most dangerous assignments while the leaders stay safely in the background.

    The NPA will remain active, and dangerous, in parts of the country where feudalism still reigns, where dynasties maintain absolute control, and where common people, particularly marginalized indigenous groups, see no hope in the system. That’s not surprising, but it should be seen as evidence of a need for political reform, not of a need to stamp out the left. If the dynasties and the oligarchs are reigned in, if the political and economic playing fields are leveled, and if the protection of the law is extended to all, the NPA will wither and die a natural death. There will always be leftists among us, but that’s not altogether a bad thing: for all their bias and occlusion, they do sometimes make points that need to be made. I don’t mind having left voices in politics at all, though I wouldn’t want them running the show.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      1. There is an unattributed quote that has this variation: “If you are not a communist at 20, then you have no heart. If you are still a communist 40, then you have no brains.”

      2. The sentiment expressed in the quote resonated with me when I was in my 30’s when I had reached a degree of psychological independence and the boons of gainful employment… and when the world was my oyster.

      3. I would now extend the quote as follows: “If you are not attracted to Buddhism at 45, then you have no compassion. If you have not seen through the pathologies of organized religion at 55, then you have no wisdom.”

      3.1. I am aware that my orientation has to do with my affinity for solitude. If I were a more sociable person, I am certain I would seek and know refuge in some form of communal spirituality.

      3.2. I think it is only in the last century, with the Jungian concept of individuation, that individual experience has become the measure for truth. The claim of religion to Absolute Truth and even the claim of science to Empirical Truth are now subject to individual arbitration.

      4. We live our lives in a series of ideological paradigms.

      5. What astounds me is the easy transmutation of the youth from leftist ideals to their complete opposite, from concern for the welfare of society to only concern for the self (and its extensions).

      5.1. This would not be so tragic if these youth had simply acquired spouse and family, and had taken responsibility for, and turned their minds to, the task of providing familial subsistence if not luxury.

      5.2. But, no, there are many in government service who have not only abandoned the ideals of their youth but have become corrupted and corruptor. From promised liberator they have turned into slinking predator or even mindless oppressor.

      5.3. Of course, some are natural born predators.

      6. I am increasingly of the persuasion that enlightenment consists of the freedom to consider paradigms initially on an equal footing. Ultimately, it may consist of freedom from all paradigms. Freedom from any preconceived ideas. Freedom from culture. Freedom from conditioning. This is not to say we must abandon all ideas. I am talking mostly about freedom at the individual psychological level.

      6.1. At the level of society, we must continue to use traditional methods that work, methods where as much as possible no one person, class or group, and no thing are disadvantaged.

      6.2. We must continue to improve traditional methods and devise new methods with the same condition of least harm.

      6.3. Individually and communally, we must not be attached to particular ideologies… so much as attached to the purpose of these ideologies – which is to enhance the quality of life and to balance the value of the individual against communal values and environmental values.
      *****

      • 5.2. Our favorite VP, I believe, has became one of these. Or, are the left benefiting from his being corrupt, hence their silence on his thieving ways?

        • Funny story, lately Teddy Casino has been seen with people like Oscar Cruz and people of the Arroyo-allied National Transformation Council. This is very odd, considering that Teddy and company used to be so anti-Arroyo before. Could it be they have allied with their former enemies to move heaven and earth to have P-Noy ousted?

          • Joe America says:

            I think the name of this group is “Desperation”. Casino can’t get elected and is struggling to stay in the limelight.

          • manangbok says:

            Not the first time you will see strange bedfellows who band together in the name of desperate politics.

            Remember when Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza (both of BAYAN partylist) ran in the same slate as Bongbong Marcos in the 2010 elections?

            It drove me crazy imagining the mental acrobatics their party would have to perform to justify that phenomenon.

            Needless to say, Satur and Liza lost; same as Manny Villar, the presidential candidate they supported. Well kudos to the Filipino voters … I can still say we are worth dying for 🙂

    • Imagine, it is the year 2015 and they still claim that we are “tuta ng mga Kano”. How? If anything, arguably Japan is the “tuta ng Kano”, and no longer the Philippines. Also, they seem to think we still live in world when our only contracts were with the US. But now, we have healthy relations with the rest of ASEAN, Japan, even China, as well as countries like South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and others. Our nation’s future is no longer reliant on American interests, or at least, not as much as during the time of Martial Law, so I find their rallies in front of the US Embassy (and rallies, or lack of, in front of the Chinese Embassy), while understandable, fairly irrelevant. How can the left stay relevant when they still believe in an ideology that has been discarded by most of the world, even by most historically communist nations? Even North Korea is no longer a true Marxist nation, having switched to a bastardized (if even worse) form of Communism called Juche, while countries like China, Vietnam, and even Laos, while still maintaining a communist (or rather, socialist) form of government, have all but adapted capitalist economies. Arguably the last remaining “true” communist nation is Cuba, and to give Cuba credit, they have a healthcare system that is the envy of even developed countries, albeit at the cost of having a government rule with a carbon fiber (not iron, since carbon fiber is stronger than iron) fist.

      Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the radical left is their, as I say, perverted view of democracy. They say that they promote democracy and want to be the vanguards of it, and yet they want to turn the Philippines into a Communist state, where, with a “dictatorship of the proletariat”, freedom of speech, assembly, and the press is suppressed, where dissidents are jailed or executed without due process. Granted, the latter few can and also does happen with some capitalist nations, but at least capitalist nations generally give more freedom to their citizens than in communist countries. In China, many social media websites are blocked, and those that aren’t are heavily censored. At least the United States has the First Amendment which, some exceptions aside, guarantees freedom of speech. There are capitalist countries like Sudan with several human rights violations (even the United States is guilty of this: Guantanamo Bay, anyone?), but these are still tame compared to the millions who died under Stalin and Mao. Do the leftists want our country to have censorship that would make even the Cybercrime Prevention Act’s libel provisions look harmless? I actually have seen experiences of close-minded leftists. If you discuss with them the flaws in their ideology, you would even be branded a “bourgeoisie”.

      You know what’s sad as well? The left keeps using People Power to justify wanting Aquino’s removal, but history showed that the radical left, for various reasons, actually refused to participate in the revolution. Granted, their original boycott of the snap elections was understandable given that the election was unlikely to be fair, but their non-appearance in the actual People Power Revolution leaves a lot to be desired.

      • Steve says:

        “Tuta ng Kano”, and the habit of dismissing critics as “bourgeois”, would be what I referred to as mantras… phrases that are simply repeated, until they become divorced from any shred of meaning. They say the words because that’s what they say, not because they have any particular relevance to anything.

        The institutional left’s failute to participate in the EDSA revolution (many individuals who considered themselves left did participate, as individuals) was, I suspect, mainly a misjudgment: they thought Marcos would crush the revolt and stay in power, leaving them in a very good position as the last remaining opponent of a wholly illegitimate regime. That was not an entirely improbable assumption: Marcos certainly could have crushed the rebellion, if he’d had any shred of his mojo left… but he didn’t. He fell, and that left the left in the revolutionary’s worst nightmare: opposing a genuinely popular government with a reasonably legitimate mandate (perceived as legitimate at least, which is all that matters). The left never recovered. That’s actually unfortunate, because the nation really could use a functional and evolving left, maybe not as rulers, but certainly as participants. Many left movements in Latin America evolved much more successfully.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “They say the words because that’s what they say” very right. They did that already in the 1980s though, I was with them then because I was against Marcos, it annoyed me.

          “Many left movements in Latin America evolved much more successfully.” Hugo Chavez…

          • Steve says:

            Hugo would be one who failed to evolve in any meaningful way, but to me he belongs more to the history of Latin American pseudo-populist demagoguery than lo the left… more Peron with oil than Castro with oil. I was thinking more of a Bachelet or a Da Silva.

  9. My mind is not that focused as I’m in the middle of doing BIR reports… so would I be terribly wrong if I assume that VP Binay has their support, since from all these analysis, it is emerging that they are condoning or ignoring Binay’s corruptions? Are they beneficiaries of these ill-gotten funds?

    During martial law years, I seem to recall (If my memory serves me right) that he was a human rights lawyer, and by that, most of his clients were left leaning. If this is true, this further increases the danger of having him elected to the highest office courtesy of the still uninformed electorate and these left leaning groups.

    • As far as I know, the leftist groups, at least publicly, are also anti-Binay. However, I can’t help but feel worried that they are extremely vocal against Aquino but a lot more silent when it comes to Binay, despite the latter allegedly being more corrupt. And to think these leftists claim to be anti-corruption. Que horror!

      • andrewlim8 says:

        That their noise on Pnoy contrasts with their silence on Binay is due to tactical reasons.

        Pnoy is the incumbent; ousting him would result in power being handed over to those who overthrew him, and that would include them. Meanwhile, they see Binay as a potential ally, at least at the outset, to help them achieve some gains, even if small.

        It has nothing to do with the principle of fighting corruption. It is just about power, and how to get more of it.

        • Percival says:

          Could it be about money? In my opinion, the left are now bought by Binay.

        • Steve says:

          I think if Binay gets in, the radical left will turn on him in a heartbeat. They want him in because he’ll be controversial and vulnerable, and because a Binay Presidency would have real potential for throwing the middle class into direct confrontation with the “masa”, an extension of the “Edsa Tres” phenomenon. That would be a situation they could exploit. There’s nothing that would work for the left as well as a good old fashioned dictatorship. It’s easy to forget how Marcos and the NPA had a relationship that was hostile but ultimately symbiotic: each needed the other to justify its own excess.

          Or maybe they are not thinking as tactically as that; hard to say!

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Are you saying they are opportunistic? I am not surprised.

          I follow your train of thought. I also think they want Binay in office. He will be a great fodder for their demagoguery.

  10. Bing Garcia says:

    Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma quoted from a reported statement by 14 members of the 1987 Constitutional Convention throwing their support behind the creation of the Bangsamoro in line with provisions on “human development” and “social justice.”

    Quoting from a statement of 1987 Con-Com members, Coloma said, “Ayon sa kanila, ‘The core principle of the 1987 Constitution in mandating a special status for the autonomous regions is the human development of the people of Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras. Hence, the public conversation should not be about semantics but about people — their needs, their aspirations, their choices — and about empowering them with the environment and institutional framework for social justice. Social justice that calls for genuine social change is the central theme of the 1987 Constitution; and here, it is broader in scope and intent than in the 1973 and the 1935 Constitutions.’”

  11. ella says:

    MKL, my salute to you! At a very young age you used your God given abilities to decide which side you believe! Wow! If all those in your age group will think the way you do or read your realizations and reflections and will come to similar realizations … then there is hope for the Filipino Youth and hope for the country.

    It s really unfortunate to see young people in the streets shouting rah rah rah and burning effigies being used by the left who really do not have any sound principle.

    MLK keep sharing please!

  12. BenZayb says:

    Two things captured my interest from this article:

    One – that it’s weird, given the fact that there have been many previous incidents where SAF troops have been killed, mostly by NPA, and yet there’s silence from the radical left who are expected to be condemning these incidents. It seems to me that they are “choosy” with the issues they will and should react to.

    Two, the leftists’ noise and clamor to have the present admin people ousted (or resigned) to establish a “transitional council” to be led by “chosen ones” from various sectors? This sounds to me to be more of harm than good. This write-up is right that PNoy (although a bit indecisive and insensitive at times,) is putting the Philippines in the right direction, and most importantly, not a corrupt President, unlike other high-ranking officials who abuse the country with their self-vested interests. It is hard to put the nation in the hands of what is called an “untested council whose members we don’t even know or have even chosen” – very, very dangerous.

    Prior to coming across this article, I feel the same about these leftists/activists who I look up to during my younger years. I personally disliked them for I sense that they do not fight for the rights of the masses or the greater good for this country – unlike what I used to see them before. Poor you, participative democracy.

  13. federiko says:

    In another time, they were called freedom fighters for fighting the dictatorship. Now they stand to claim among themselves billions of pesos for being human rights victims. Sabihin na nating 10% mailagak sa kilusan, wow, daming pera panlaban sa gobyerno.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      That’s why the effective solution to extremism is to expand the center- whether left of center, right of center; it gives them little reason to go the extreme route.

      Remember that the extreme left only grows when there is an extreme right – which we had under Marcos, which was so corrupt and oppressive.

      • federiko says:

        Extremism begets extremism, I agree. As to the direction of causality I disagree though.

        The bombing of Plaza Miranda by the communists which decimated the political opposition a dastardly act gleefully blamed by the Left on Marcos for instance provoked oppressive security measures to contain them. If you were with them, whether you were a communist or not, you too felt the harsh measures.

        Th attempt to land a shipload of armaments from China via the MV Karagatan in Palanan Isabela is another

  14. Joe America says:

    It has been a nice break to sit back, read a good article, and observe the comments. I am struck by the common read-out that the extreme left is detached from sense for adhering blindly to outdated principles and language, and is anchored to a grand hypocrisy that has them supporting crooks for the simple expedience of destabilizing the standing government.

    I find if I argue for democracy and stability of government (which only incidentally happens to be led by a guy named Aquino), I am immediately branded an apologist at best or yellow-tard, or am charged with being a paid hack.

    It seems to me what is needed is a counter force that is not attached to President Aquino, but is simply pro-democracy. Pro-elections. Pro-stability as the best path to enrichment. It seems to me that what is needed is not “I’m pro-Aquino”, but “I’m pro democracy”. That ought to be the rallying cry, and if there is a march down Roxas or a picnic in Luneta, the color yellow ought to be banned, as well as the color red.

    • You know how little support the militants have in the Philippines when their most recent impeachment complaint was only supported by around four congressmen, all of whom were members of the Makabayan bloc, while the rest who voted on the complaint, even non-administration congressmen and those who do not like Aquino, rejected it.

    • josephivo says:

      There is the destination and the easiest or cheapest or fastest or safest or whatever road to the destination. Democracy is surely the fairest, but what is the destination? Prosperity and safety for all? With what variation? At what cost? How much solidarity? In what economic constellation?

      The left here is focusing on the way, the fastest way and presuming we all know their destination. In other parts of the world de discussion is much more on the destination.

      • Joe America says:

        Opportunity and security for all, at reasonable cost, with super-majority solidarity under a capitalistic constellation that motivates and empowers innovative wealth-building and care-taking, hand in hand. A large ship moving in the general direction of “right” can get there with minor adjustments. To kill it’s momentum, blow it up, or turn an about face simply does not do the job. Thanks for organizing the questions that lead to the answer. Yours sincerely, Joe America

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “Opportunity and security for all, at reasonable cost, with super-majority solidarity under a capitalistic constellation that motivates and empowers innovative wealth-building and care-taking, hand in hand.” Perfect. Sounds more like Western Europe than the USA, where opportunity and security do not seem to be able for all, even now. But Eastern Europe is worse than the USA, they scrapped almost all forms of equal opportunity and security for a Mafia-style capitalism with former communist bosses at the top – horrible.

    • David Masangkay says:

      This is a good read, and it’s worth sharing – to enlighten possible radical recruits, and those who have been misguided all these years.

      @Joe, in one phrase, you summarized the whole article – they “destabilize the standing government”.

      I like the idea of a counter force that is driven by nationalistic values, and not personalities. I think its doable.

      • Joe America says:

        I think it would be like the final push to rid the nation of malcontents, coup artists, and huge egos who think their personal agenda is better than democracy. It would be a statement that if you want a piece of the Philippine pie, do it through legitimate channels. Not your favorite fellow.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      ” is anchored to a grand hypocrisy that has them supporting crooks for the simple expedience of destabilizing the standing government.” It is their strategy and always was.

      “It seems to me what is needed is a counter force that is not attached to President Aquino, but is simply pro-democracy. Pro-elections. Pro-stability as the best path to enrichment.” This was the way Germany did it after Hitler and with the Communist threat in the East. Parties that were democratic stuck together against extremists, even now it is a no-no to enter coalitions with extremist parties even if they are ideologically close to one’s own view.

      “It seems to me that what is needed is not “I’m pro-Aquino”, but “I’m pro democracy”. That ought to be the rallying cry, and if there is a march down Roxas or a picnic in Luneta, the color yellow ought to be banned, as well as the color red.” I definitely agree. Just the flag.

      • Percival says:

        This is hard tho. If you try to enlighten those misguided souls about the extreme corruption of the Binays, Marcoses etc, they will brand you at once as pro-Aquino. Most of them are already conditioned this way.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          I know, the kampihan mentality. But maybe it is time to have pintakasi for democracy, in a positive way. Learn from the Moros but not from their bad sides.

    • Oh, I agree. It’s high time we all stand for the Philippine’s best interests, first and foremost, instead of the interests of one or several sectors (religious or political). (“Philippines first”?) By putting the needs of the country first, like what the Americans and some Europeans did for their own countries, there’s a big chance we’ll progress better. We’ll be working to improve each other’s socio-economic life, knowing that, by denying rights and opportunities to an ethnic group or class, we’ll end up jeopardizing the future of every Filipino (natural-born or naturalized).

      • Joe America says:

        “Philippines First!” It is amazing how our views would change if we adopted that principle. I know, because it led me through a huge transformation in attitude.

        • Transformation leading to a positive view or a negative one of said principle? Just curious–it’s just that, although I see this principle as good, it does carry with it seeds of excesses: “Philippines First” to the point of turning a blind eye to any good that a foreign trade may bring. Or, heaven forbid, degenerating somehow into something coupled with racism or ethnocentrism. (I don’t know the details of WW2, but this keeps reminding me of Hitler’s brand of nationalism–extreme.)

  15. http://harryroque.com/2015/03/06/vp-binay-should-succeed/
    I am posting this here because it seems that this is how the left also feels for the VP.

    • Joe America says:

      Roque is like Binay, no moral foundation at all, working the words to create a new reality that is phony and completely at odds with what the ideals of democracy represent. He’s just another slimeball, best consigned to the growing mound of people we can forget about for being a part of the corrupt Philippines . . . corrupt of values, if not treasury . . .

  16. andrewlim8 says:

    Joe,

    I have this prognosis that in the scenario Binay wins the Presidency in 2016, it will be very unstable right from the start.

    There is the strong middle class that will be wary at the least, cynical at best. But there will be strong voices against him.

    Business communities will play it safe, and plead for calm.

    The Left will just be themselves and wait for the earliest opportunity to turn against him. I predict that will happen within the first two years.

    Corruption issues will hound him, and his allies also. Nepotism will be blatant.

    He will attempt to turn back previous legislation like RH, and attempt to help his embattled partners (Enrile, Estrada, etc)

    Media will not be on his side.

    All the headless chickens will be clucking endlessly, looking like the fools they have always been. Same for the screaming banshees.

    But economic growth will continue, but a slower pace.

    It’s more fun in the Philippines!

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting how you and Steve have the same vision. For sure the nation would be riding on a thin edge between governance and riot. If it came to riot, I would imagine the generals would not be as committed to Binay as they are to Aquino because any riot would be ordinary people, not a bunch of has-been old farts. But for sure the Philippines would plunge headlong into a period of great mistrust. And investors don’t like that environment. So even best case is indeed likely to be slower growth. Fun would take on new meanings, I fear.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      You missed the part where Enrile will get ambushed and Binay will declare Martial Law and will proclaim that he is President of the Philippines for life. 🙂

      • Percival says:

        Yes I agree. When Binay got hold of the presidency, he will do whatever it takes for his dynasty to stay for life. Martial law following chaos on the streets. Will be like Marcos all over again.

        • Percival says:

          Quoting from Rappler (About Boy Scouts of the of the Philippines & Binay leadership)

          “The BSP’s weak corporate governance is an indication of how Binay runs a national organization,” ”This gives us a glimpse on how he is as a national leader.” – Rappler.com

          • Joe America says:

            In the corporate world, there are rubber stamp Boards that bow to the direction of the CEO. THE BSA Executive Board is one step worse, in that it is mainly non-business people, amateurs who would have no grasp of investment details, who DEPEND on Binay and his financial wizard, the long missing Limlingan. What is astounding is that Board members don’t realize this, and as the article suggests, they will CONTINUE to rely upon Binay.

            Pity. It’s a lousy Board that does not know its own weaknesses.

  17. As I see it, the Left in PI do not even FOLLOW the ideology. A lot of them are USING the ideology for demagoguery, that’s all. How many of them live simply and share their resources with the community? Communism, like a lot of things in PI, only gets lip service and showmanship. Being Left in PI, to observers, solely means that you seek publicity for your selective advocacy. All demonstration and talk, action and deed optional. Correct me if I am wrong.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      You are right. Back in the days when I marched with them, I asked too many questions most of them could not answer, they just mouthed phrases and did not know what they were about. When I called out on them to practice what they preached, I got into trouble.

      • Pallacertus says:

        Oooooh a backstory! Mind if we take a peek (questions asked, answers deferred, cliches uttered, the works or lack thereof)?

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          A few examples:

          1) Typical review session after a major Lightning Rally (LR) – similar to today’s flash mobs, we knew exactly where we would converge at what time, for example near Quezon Blvd. and Claro M. Recto – easy to make pasimple there because many people walked around in school uniforms – and take out the banners we were hiding, start shouting “makibaka, huwag matakot” until the cigarette vendors who were in our pay warned us of “kalaban”. We dropped the banners and went back into the crowd, spreading out in a predefined way to a defined meeting point where everybody had to be accounted for by a certain time.

          One of those in our group asked the leader, two hierarchies or more above us why we were not using megaphones, one could carry megaphones. No answer. Our direct leader told us, why are you asking questions like that, we have “democratic centralism”, which means that you are only allowed to ask your direct leader, he will pass it on to the one above him, the guys on top are to decide and disseminate things downwards.

          Some weeks later, our gazette – I don’t remember the name, some stuff is still repressed – mentioned that “some of our comrades have been asking why we are not using megaphones” – don’t remember the answer though, except it was not satisfying.

          2) I asked our leader why we are using rhetorical phrases and dramaturgical forms remiscent of the Maoist Cultural Revolution, are we Chinese? No answer given.

          3) After we got arrested by Metrocom and were in jail, we got prosecuted. The organizer who had brought us there had disappeared when Metrocom approached – “ihi muna ako” – and he wanted us to be martyrs of the cause and take lawyers of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) to do this. I asked him “nasaan ka noong lumapit ang pulis?” and took a lawyer who was a friend of our family, some of us did the same. Finally it lead to my being thrown out of Karina. I was accused of being a government spy and all. Finally I left the country because I did not know what might happen to me sooner or later, didn’t want to try it out, the heat being on me from both the dictatorship and the leftist side.

          Actually there were many questions I did not dare to ask, looking back. But the little that I asked brought me the reputation of being a potential loose gun, I was liked for my rhetorical capabilities kept under close watch.

          As for works, the question why we are making things worse for the people we are actually pretending to serve as answered this way, very directly in private because our leader was my classmate since Elementary School: we have to increase the misery so that people will revolt and we can take over power to make everything better. I just nodded and did not say anything, having already been conditioned not to ask too many questions.

          • Joe America says:

            2), 3) Classic. You were and remain a wild man, in the sense that you think in clear progressions which makes you an outsider to those so tied to doctrine or their prior arguments that then can’t conceptualize. And you were pragmatic enough to realize that dangerous people are threatened by different ideas.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Correct. Even in consulting I am a wild man, meaning I learned the methodologies but often got into trouble “hey guys this may be the methodology but reality is different”. Which is why I am independent now, a problem-solver for projects and situations where the standard methodology does not work, someone who finds a different way, has put out some fires nobody thought could be put out and renewed ruined projects from the top up. Like I asked my business partner who got me to do the Romanian job: “You know why you got me ’cause you know I’m crazy enough to touch this”. He grinned and said “I know that, but you also are crazy enough to find a solution to the problem and make things work”.

              Wild – reminds me that I have to shave. Gonna go dancing tonight.

  18. karl garcia says:

    Pie,
    Do you know Vi Massart, a Filipina whom my family met in France (was not with them)? What about An de Brux the hillblogger?

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Nope, don’t know both of them. I know Dr. Steve Magannon, Cordilleran historian in Paris. An de Brux sounds Belgian(Flemish) or Dutch, any links?

      • karl garcia says:

        Thanks Pie,
        I got ourselves into trouble in the previous blog.after this comment i will take a break.

        Links for Massart

        http://www.philstar.com/author/Vi%20Massartttp://www.philstar.com/author/Vi%20Massart

        she was a chief european correspondent of the star. Article i found above was about Joma Sison.

        As for de brux.

        She comments a lot on various blogs so she can be googled as hill blogger anna de brux.
        She deleted her blog, she is more active on social media like facebook.

        • Joe America says:

          I find your comments always thoughtful, for their brevity and meanings, which are sometimes a little mysterious. And extraordinarily valuable for the insights your real world contacts and history bring to the blog. PiE’s experiences and ability to crystallize complex thoughts clearly is also very valuable. At the same time, I don’t want to lose the essence of the blog, a place for open discussion that strives for a high level of discussion, with some latitude for humanity and humor and digression to thoughtful points. The conversation was drifting a little away from that . . .

          • Joe America says:

            I am more than happy to put willing people in touch with each other directly if they want to explore establishing a community or undertaking advocacies. All I need is permission to share an e-mail address.

          • Karl garcia says:

            Thanks Joe,
            I should stick to the topic as much as possible, and never to be too comfortable,like a too much feel at home attitude forgetting that there is such a thing as house rules. My e mail address is open for sharing, i have not used my email account lately, i only use it to login in here and Raissa’s. I am like a hermit, haven’t even been using facebook for more than a year.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Thanks Joe for taking out the gavel and still being fair, a concept many Filipinos (and Eastern Europeans, since I know them and get along well with them, underdogs get along unless they bite each other) understand only in theory and rarely believe in practice.

            Like written below, I take full responsibility as the probably more senior guy among us two for not reining things in myself. We Filipinos have to learn to play the wayang kulit game Edgar Lores described very early, so we often stay boys inside, which explains a lot.

            I remember my best friend (now in the Northern US) and me secretly laughing while Marcos made a pompous comment inside Malacañang Palace, all the while afraid that someone might notice and we would get in REAL trouble. Beavis and Butthead.

            I remember how I got thrown out of the fiscal’s office in Metro Manila, we were under investigation and I answered out of turn, another friend of mine was being questioned. Pissing off a fiscal = prosecutor personally during Marcos times could cause real problems.

            Punishment in the Philippines it to load it heavily on whoever gets caught, so I understand Karl’s reaction and still am positively happy about yours. Shoplifters in the Philippines either pay bribes, if they don’t have the money they are photographed with a lot of goods, absurdly more than what they originally intended to steal – at least that was the way it was back in the days. My old man got mad at me when he heard I had stolen stuff and gave me a dressing down in front of my mother. When my mother was gone he said: I did that too with my barkada back in the days, but we didn’t get caught like you. So there you have the roots of impunity and hypocrisy in the Philippines – practice the stuff you need later on when you are an adult as a teenager, getting around the rules and not getting caught, the latter being worse than doing it. The practice of heaping more blame than is even justified can be seen in the way poor Noynoy was treated by nearly everyone after Mamasapano.

            Psychologists have written that putting blame on others comes from the denied self, projecting one’s own faults on others because it reminds you of what you are deep inside.

            Hate against Moros is because they remind Christian Filipinos of what they actually are – unruly, tribal and deeply suspicious of one another (witness the blame game after the Mamasapano tragedy) and even more of outsiders (Santiago, the left). Actually Joe I am beginning to understand your emphasis on compassion and Filipinos having to learn it. Might be because you have seen death and hatred, given your experience in Vietnam.

            Just yesterday I went to buy cigarettes from my favorite neighbor, a former Tamil Tigers child soldier who left the movement, never can return because he will definitely be killed. He asked me how is your Internet stuff going, I said I am giving the American the benefit of the doubt, I think he really cares, not like some others – and you proved that to me today. Talked to a former skinhead who was getting pissed outside the Tamil grocery store, the guy calls himself a patriot, code for people who used to be racist but have reformed but still have strong nationalistic ideas. His beard, haircut and clothing like an American white supremacist or the Russian ultranationalists who have imitated the style – globalization…

            Told him about the Muslim issue and the reactions especially Cayetano – his reaction was really cool and got me thinking – “all these holy warriors are crazy – war is easy, I know I have been there mate, I am a true warrior – peace is hard to keep, really hard”…

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              One more thing: I remember now a conversation over a couple – no, several beers with a guy who used to be in the Bosnian war, a Catholic Croat. Shaved head, serious look in his face all the time but with troubled gentleness in his eyes. Told him I can relate to religious wars, we are Catholics too and have problems with our Muslims. He told me, passionate but not angry “In the war, I had Muslim brothers die in my arms, we were allies in the war against the Serbs. People are people, religion doesn’t matter, politics destroys us”. Cool music started to play and he moved his muscular arms to the music, closing his eyes, a guy trying to find peace with his inner demons, deeply human inspite of all he had seen. One thing he also told me when I told him my father rarely spoke of World War 2 – “true warriors rarely take about war, only pigs do that, or those who don’t know”. Thanks Angelo.

              Having said that, I get along well with people like that, former Tamil Tigers, former skinhead who starts crying when he is drunk and remembers foreigners he hurt badly, didn’t want to but had to because his “comrades” would have hurt him if he didn’t do it, former French foreign legion who told me cooly – they learn self-control, top professionals but with deep sadness about what he did in Africa, former Kosovo mercenary sniper who killed Muslims for the Serbs back in the days who alternates between crying about the guys he killed (when drunk) and finding it cool, and telling me when stoned how far a properly adjusted Barrett sniper rifle could reach, how they adjusted for wind, how he held his breathe, how he was trained not to divulge anything when captured, how the guys fell. Telling me how he killed a crazy Serb militiaman who cut of the ear of a Muslim girl after raping and killing her, just to put it on his ear necklace like some Ilagas Steve wrote about. His Serb colleagues whose uniform he shared quietly nodded and all left the ruined house.

              Must be the history that made me leave the Philippines, my having fought Metrocom boys back in the day, don’t know if I would have done the same the MILF did to SAF 44 if we had had weapons. Hate can easily grow and humanity get lost. Healing takes time.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, per my prior note, is sounds like your friends were wildly bouncing between “seeking approval” and “reliving the anger”. That is probably the way to healing unless one goes nuts first. Viet Nam for me was both a curse and a cure. A curse for the waste of it all, a cure for having given me a set of experiences totally unique and meaningful. It filled an empty vessel, and ever since then, the vessel keeps getting bigger and I appreciate all that goes into it.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “Yes, per my prior note, is sounds like your friends were wildly bouncing between “seeking approval” and “reliving the anger”.” Yes they were, we all still are actually.

                The Tamil, the patriot, the legionnaire and me have put the sniper at a distance, he is trying not to go crazy all these years. I actually put the guy at a distance first, actually dared tell his Bosnian Catholic wife about his horny comments regarding their beautiful teenage stepdaughter. His wife freaked out, threw him out of the house then forgave him, but told him not to seek revenge on me, something I found out when we talked again two years later. Told the patriot to watch out that he doesn’t hurt the girl, she is old enough now and lives elsewhere. And I once told George the sniper when drinking at home with his wife, back then when we were still good friends “stop it man, forgive yourself” – and his wife said “that is the hardest thing to do”. We don’t shut him out though, we know it is hard.

                “It filled an empty vessel, and ever since then, the vessel keeps getting bigger and I appreciate all that goes into it”. Reminds me of something Lebanese philosopher-poet wrote in The Prophet, that pain carves the vessel of our soul deeply to make place for joy.

              • Joe America says:

                Yep, that’s about right.

            • Joe America says:

              Thanks for your sensitive note, PiE. Psychology must be a fascinating field. It seems to me that when people are hurt, they generally take one of two paths, over-compensating in dealing with others in an eventually fruitless effort to find approval, or anger to get even. If they are lucky, they will have some life-changing force come along to moderate either extreme. I’ve cycled through both dysfunctions, “looked at life from both sides now.” One can’t carve out approval because people and life are not always fair or on the same wave length, so it is best to just deal straight. One can’t achieve satisfaction by lashing out, because it just returns more anger, so it is best to try to comprehend. That seems to work best, deal straight and try to comprehend.

              Seems to me you have those skills, too.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Had to learn them Joe, after a lot of the oscillation you mentioned. And it still goes on – Cayetano woke the bad side in me and I took a few days break, I used to be a terrifying demagogue like him, I remember giving a speech and causing a riot once in Manila.

                Just a few months ago I was talking to the patriot, don’t drink that much these days, having gone down the path to healing very well. George the sniper passed by, drunk and stoned by the smell of it. Tried to provoke me, telling me “have you been to war, do you know what it means?”, grabbing my neck and threatening to do the special-ops thing on me, then telling me “I can kill you in a second”. My answer was I know, life is fragile, killing is easy, get on with your life that is much harder look at me I managed. He told me “have you killed” – I looked at him and said no, but I have seen death in the eye, he answered “have you?” I said “yes I have”. Patriot said come on George go home, this is all kid stuff…

                Comprehending is about understanding and that entails compassion. Sometimes we guys have been like a group therapy session, with grown tough men crying in their beer. Talking about healing, the legionaire and me probably have healed the most and are back to life, the patriot is in the middle of the healing process, between thoughtful insights and showing me really racist stuff after several beers and laughing out loudly and the sniper will never heal, hardly shows himself now, having to deal with forgiving himself for so much. The Tamil is the strongest, having gone through the worst of all experiences yet very tolerant and with a quiet strength, taking care of his folks plus his wife and children. We talk straight and analyzed matters this week, talked to him about the whole situation, he stayed calm and explained many things, even though I drank one beer after the other.

                Time to share the Tamil’s take on Mamasapano – I believe him because he is a guy who has firsthand experience. The MILF already knew that SAF were about to capture Marwan, they did not quite care about him, probably were annoyed about him being there but they could not throw him out as a foreign “brother”. Letting SAF capture Usman however was out of the question, he was one of their boys. Diagrams that show the first MILF shooting coming from the direction of Usman’s hut corroborates this theory, no shooting from behind the SAF just in the direction of Marwan’s hut from Usman’s crib.

                Also a Facebook friend of ours, a very nice Muslima who lives nearby and was our classmate, told us that SAF were all over the area days before, everyone knew they were up to something, in a close-knit community the grapevine is very fast. This also corroborates the Tamil’s take on what happened. Now why were retreating forces surrounded and shot? Still have to ask the Tamil about this, time to get cigarettes anyway.

              • Joe America says:

                I think you are herein dubbed the Society’s Chief of Wildlife.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                LOL. Just talked to the Tamil, it was very interesting to hear to view of a former rebel:

                1) You usually don’t send just police into a zone like that, near the highway but just behind the ceasefire line. Police even special units like SAF are better in the cities then in the jungle. Something very strange about the whole thing, he says?

                2) The SAF that were sent basically were boys, their combat training probably good, but no chance against seasoned rebel fighters. Rebels don’t sleep, he told me, maybe two sleep while ten lie in wait to guard the jungle – like the sniper you once posted.

                3) Even if you had sent in top dogs like the Scout Rangers, they would have had difficulties in that area. In his opinion they did not want to waste any of their own valuable troops, so they risked sacrificing young men intentionally. Whoever “they” are.

                4) He also said, why did the Army not send in helicopters, are they such fools? Those few kilometers in the tropical jungle from Marwan’s hut are a long way. The place were most SAF died was not far from safety, the rebels waited there and decided to finish them off.

                5) It could be, according to him, that certain factions of the security apparatus hostile to Aquino engineered the situation to cause turmoil and break peace talks. Who knows.

                And finally he said to things that make me understand Iqbal even better, poor guy:

                a) passionately he told me you don’t send any armed government men, police or military, into a ceasefire zone, rebels are highly alert and trained and can be expected to shoot.

                b) Tamil Tigers often used to send negotiators who were not fully informed so that they did not have to be noticed lying. If they failed to reach their goals in the capital, they killed them back home. He remembers a negotiator who left country after he warned him.

                To add my own experience to this: I once visited Sri Lanka and crossed into rebel areas, protected by being in the Toyota Land Cruiser of an important European NGO – yeah Chief of Wildlife fits – and a Tamil driver who knew the lay of the land. First to Trincomalee, where all the international organizations were based. The Tamil driver jumped out for joy when when stopped, finally home again after years working in Colombo. The place was crazy, full of NGOs with their SUVs and high-powered radios – and UN troops. Then we wanted to go to Batticaloa, deep in Tamil territory.
                The Tamil driver asked a soldier which was the best way to go – in Singhalese of course – and the soldier told us don’t pass by X, there are riots between ethnic groups, a man got beheaded and more. We went to Batticaloa and were greeted by a friendly Tamil priest who took us into the no-mans land between the government and the Tamil side of the border, were we met very poor Tamil Veddas who looked like Negritos. He told us behind that bridge is Prabhakaran country, we shall not cross there even if I know them. We went back, passing the government checkpoint where the soldier greeted him with a smile. Back in Batticaloa, we passed by a street where both sides were with burnt houses – the priest told us three weeks ago some Muslims burned all the Hindu houses on one side of the street, two weeks later the Hindus had retaliated. We stayed there for a few days.
                Strange and sad was Kalmunai on the Indian ocean coast. Totally wrecked hotels from the 1970s where the place was booming with lots of tourists, and a beautiful beach we had all to ourselves. Kalmunai is my Tamil grocer’s hometown he can never return to – he will either be jailed for having been a rebel back in the days, or killed by his own for having left as a teenager. He changes topic when we talk about the rebellion whenever his own come to buy Basmati rice or Indian spices. Will try to talk to the legionaire when I he is not just passing through and in a hurry – these people understandably don’t like to talk much, they have very much baggage – but I AM curious to get the POV of someone who was part of an invading, occupying force. To develop a real understanding for all sides.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Karl, don’t worry. Joe as the one presiding very tolerantly over this virtual session just had to take out the gavel and call two unruly and sometimes overly corny Filipinos to order.

          I take responsibility as I am most probably more senior – even though the teen rebel among rebels I was when I left the old country still is there and comes out at times.

          Break is good, I had to take one too and it made my thoughts clearer – double meaning – 2-3 days break in this blog, decades all in all when it comes the Philippines.

          And don’t be ashamed. I was ashamed 2-3 days ago, thought I had lost face, but when I went to the bathroom I looked in the mirror, my face was still there. See you around.

          We Filipinos are definitely OK – our corniness is a sign of creativity and thinking out of the box, our unruliness a sign of energy – we just need to learn how to give it better direction.

          Thinking about things is a first step. Observing oneself and correcting course is the next.

          Actually the person who gave me a good tip was a business associate and acquaintance, he told me that his sifu had told him that the things one learns from the most are mistakes.

          Which is why in consulting there are no mistakes, only lessons learned by analyzing them.

          • karl garcia says:

            my break is over. I just had a nap.

            • karl garcia says:

              in the next Grace Poe blog, if I lose my way, remember me this way…oops. if I am going in the wrong direction, just tap me in the nape or something.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                OK. We must always remember that we are not only not at home, we are on the Internet and “everybody” is watching us. So some humor is OK, but we must remember the context.

              • sonny says:

                mahirap mag-humor sa internet (viz. blogs or comboxes or texts). Madali to pick a fight.

                PiE, I’m amazed that you navigated well in the midst of so many cultures. Kahit bumitiw ka na sa pagka-katoliko, Catholic ka pa rin, as in universal. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Sonny, it has to do with two things: first of all my biography of having been too smart for my own good in a society that pretends to be tolerant but is not – conformity to a certain mindset being the requirement to belong to certain groups, the groups composed of “outsiders” like the Left needing even more conformity because the Philippines is a low-trust society. Even among migrants I did not really fit into any group, so I had to fight it out on my own out in the cold, with just a few people from the family left really close to me but living far away from them for economic reasons. Like most Filipinos, I was used to having my own around me most of the time even abroad, but there came a situation were I had to really go out and try to understand the others to be able to deal with them instead of just sticking to my own privately and going to the motions in public when dealing with the others like a lot of us do. It was hard but it gave me a much broader understanding.

                Second, the people I am descended from in the Philippines are actually outsiders: I have researched on our origins: a mixture of Cimarrones, natives who went for the rugged mountains of Bikol to be free, Agtas and probably some stragglers who did not want to work on the galleons anymore and fled as soon as they reached land at Legazpi City. Independent and resourceful, on the downside quarrelsome and difficult because we were marginalized and had to make it on our own, but good at finding allies in any situation.

              • sonny says:

                PiE, I can believe your take on your provenance from cimarrones. I did read about the remontados of Mt Isarog and their behavior towards the Spanish colonists at various times of Bikol history. (compliments of papers collated by Jesuit Fr Bernad, SJ in KINAADMAN.)

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Yes, that comes very close. My private research into Bikol history combined with family legends – all legends have a true core – leads me to Buhi, Camarines Sur as a probable hub and transition point through the jungle between the Bikol river side and the rugged coast near Manito, Albay and the jungle fastnesses of Partido. My folks gentrified by being heavily involved in planting abaca in the late 19th century, each generation of men marrying successively higher-class and of course whiter women – my grandfather – amateur boxer in his youth, then guerilla cum rice smuggler with a law degree, then fiscal, then provincial judge and high BIR official – liked to talk about “improving the race”.

                Well actually our “race” is an alloy of many and IMHO stronger than the pure metals. To survive in the jungle like a Cimarron, you have to be strong and smart, but also nice when you need to be. Otherwise you lose your head, literally. The “gang” of my great-great-grandfather had a local chieftain, sorry alcalde at its head, who – allegedly insisted that the Guardia Civil “coordinate” with him before passing through his town, and pacified a federation of Agta tribes by grabbing a top chieftains bolo in front of a tribal assembly.

                Family papers indicate dealings with the mestizo Moll clan of Partido, Manito and Tabaco, writer Annie Moll is a modern offspring of this clan, probably Mallorcan in origin by name.

                Land sale papers in Spanish indicate that one of those my great-great-grandfather, who allegedly guarded his land Zorro-style, riding on a horse with a rifle (the karbina being something every Bikol boy grew up with before) and a whip – but designated as indio in all papers – bought some land from a person ethnically designated as a Negrito and leased his land to someone designated as a Chino who signed in Chinese characters.

                Don’t wanna know how much blood was on my ancestor’s hands. But I remember one thing very well – my brother and me were at a fair, always missing at the shooting gallery. Our old man said, boys let me show you how it’s done. Took the rifle and shot down nearly everything, grinned and said – this is something you haven’t learned, I grew up with that. Sparred with us, the boxing moves I learned from him are 30s style, probably he learned that from his old man who looked a bit like Arsenio Lacson, same heavy boxer’s chin and proud of being barumbado at times just like Arsenic. My great-grandfather may have been with the troops of Simeon Ola, a Spanish colonial policeman turned rebel against first the Spanish, then resisting the Americans until 1904. May have been the chief plantation guard for my great-great-grandfather according to legend, then married his only daughter.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Tamad! 🙂

              • karl garcia says:

                unlike you who never experienced “writer’s block”. any subject can have it’s own life with you.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                No, actually I often have writer’s block, I just hide it better.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Often I just start by writing nonsense from the top of my head and them I am amazed by what comes out. If it is too much nonsense I save it on my laptop then distill what makes sense, removing the toxic substances.

  19. Attila says:

    The only time Filipino life has value is when the culprit is American. If the victimizer is a Filipino no one cares and you will not see any protest. This is to show the ongoing legacy of colonialism and oppression by the USA. This anti American sentiment also has an anti – white overtone.
    This video shows how closet racist leftist Filipinos are. According to their agenda white men equates and symbolizes oppression and exploitation that they need to uprise against.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “The only time Filipino life has value is when the culprit is American.” or Muslim, I just realized. Why did even I just feel for the SAF 44, but nothing for the dead Muslims?

      “his video shows how closet racist leftist Filipinos are” not just that, they have EXACTLY the same slogans as more than 30 years ago.

      Not only leftist Filipino are often closet racists. Many Filipinos are – or they are at least tribal. My take of Filipino political parties is like this, I realized it only a few days ago:

      1) Nacionalista Party: Latin mestizo tradition coming from the Philippine revolution. Strong and typically Latin emphasis on state and military, plus national centralism. Different anti-US sentiment coming from the fact that they hoped to be the ruling class and were proud of their Spanish language versus English. Very strong rightist symbolism and aesthetics, witness Trillanes coup. Usually their hero is Bonifacio who had Spanish blood. These people are my people, so I know that they see the Philippine state as THEIRS.

      2) Liberal Party: Chinese mestizo tradition. Typically overseas Chinese emphasis on being close to the business sector. More internationalistic than nationalistic of course, being traders. Their hero is Jose Rizal who had Chinese blood. Aguinaldo who also had Chinese blood allegedly killed both Bonifacio and Antonio Luna, both with Latin origins, one should however not forget that most historians in the Philippines are of Latin origin, these are the people who know how to talk and know how to write. And do a lot of both.

      3) UNA. Mostly “natives” or those who want to be. Estrada is of Latin origin but he feels closer to the “street people”. Newly rich people like Binay (native name) and Manny Villar.

      People talk about this racial stuff only within the family but they are very aware of it. Everybody for example knows La Salle is “Chinese”. Even if these people have been in the country for centuries. Noynoy may have been a unifying figure for many because his father is basically Latin in origin, his mother Chinese in origin, but I remember that many people protested when Cory took Kris to China and spoke to a crowd in Chinese there. For some nationalists especially the old military elite, calling Noynoy a “yellow traitor” who is selling out the country has deep racist undertones, yellow having a double meaning and part of the Latin prejudice that honor is something mainly Latin and treachery Chinese. Jokes by both Spanish and Chinese origin Filipinos against Binay calling him “Negro” and “thief” may have some basis in fact, he is dark and corrupt, but also have an ethnic undertone.

      More and more Filipinos are realizing that they are all on the same boat and are the same people united by a common experience of history. But racial undercurrents run very deep. My old man, partly Spanish in origin, used to make a facial expression like he wanted to spit when he said “Chinese”, he laughed when he heard that Cory was sworn in by Justice Teehankee, sort of like “it figures”. Now he like many has realized that internal racism does not make sense, has a very Chinese origin Filipino is his own movement. And likes what Joe writes in the blog, an American more patriotic than many Filipinos are. Actually I have a somewhat different take on colonial oppression than him – there were bad guys among the colonialists, but a lot meant well, the worst oppression was Filipinos among themselves. This is where I disagreed with the leftists during the time I was myself one during youth.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        May I add that my observations on political parties / ethnic origin are just that, and the correlation may not be as strong as it seems in the above posting. Possibly the influence of ethnic origin if already fading and not as strong as before despite apparent clusters.

        • Joe America says:

          Your characterization is the first I’ve read that makes any sense other than strictly affinity for individuals, although I must say it is hard to peer at Cayetano and see his Latin roots. 🙂 Still, it all seems to fit, with personal affinity these days perhaps taking the place of ethnic roots.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            “Still, it all seems to fit, with personal affinity these days perhaps taking the place of ethnic roots.” Correct – the roots are pretty diluted nowadays on ALL sides – “Latin”, “Chinese” and “native”. So it is more about personal affinities passed on through generations, the roots being in the power struggle for control of the Philippines as a former colony, originally between the Spanish mestizo and Chinese mestizo groups, with mindsets being passed from generation to generation and within the groups themselves regardless of actual ethnic origin and with occasional “adoptions” into groups that also “diluted” the original ethnic composition. “Natives” did not have much of a role of their own, Estrada was the first to give them a voice, maybe because he was a dropout from the “Latin” side and played the “street” to get back his lost role. A lot of poor being for Binay could be characterized in ghetto language as “he may be a gangsta, but at least he’s our nigger”…

            It’s more like what I once read about the USA – that East Coast people are shaped by the English culture of those who originally came there, while Southerners are shaped more by the culture of the original Scottish and Welsh settlers – regardless of actual ethnic origin.

            • josephivo says:

              First time I hear somebody expressing so clearly things you often feel when many Filipinos meet. But I think one should realize that the variation in beliefs / attitudes within each group is much larger than the distance between the means, so there is room for a lot of overlap.

              “Culture” is getting more complex, there are more different aspects in ones life, religion, income, technology, entertainment… politics. Individuals are more mobile. So one can belong to different groups what makes the belonging to e.g. a political family less exclusive.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “First time I hear somebody expressing so clearly things you often feel when many Filipinos meet.” Filipinos are usually not open, sometimes it is even unintentional because they act from the gut and often do not reflect things – or are not good at verbalizing them. Having been in Europe for so long has taught me both openness and reflection instead of living the “unexamined life” that Hermann Hesse once wrote about.

                ““Culture” is getting more complex, there are more different aspects in ones life, religion, income, technology, entertainment… politics. Individuals are more mobile. So one can belong to different groups what makes the belonging to e.g. a political family less exclusive.” Correct, but being insular in mentality, the Philippines takes longer to change.

                Exposure to being abroad or to international business via BPO actually makes ALL Filipinos more aware of how strong the common denominator is that they have, which is why I believe that they will be crucial in reaching the Tipping Point – actually one more argument I missed in my article. I have seen migrants first cluster around being Tagalog, Kapampangan, Ilocano, “educated” and “bakya” in the beginning, only to find new clusters after many years of being abroad, or even being truly exposed to other cultures firsthand like I was, having been physically isolated from my folks very often which was hard at first.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                One more thing about the insularity: Filipinos can easily adapt outwardly, but they usually have an in-group where they are themselves. Have seen that among migrants, they will adapt perfectly outside but will revert to their own ways at home, among themselves. Their kids who have grown up in both modern Western worlds and their own migrant worlds will find it difficult and frustrating, understanding many things their parents do not understand. These are the crowd that will only come to visit but will never come back – or will write frustrated stuff like Mr. AntiPinoy – or will come back and be very frustrated like the guy who does Failippines. Others from the “educated” crowd – i.e. partially Westernized who migrate will remain among themselves but partially adapt to their host country while putting down their original country like GRP, imitating the attitudes of the worst colonizers. Then of course you have Americans slowly but surely going Filipino native like Joe, our own version of “Dances With Wolves” – or Pinoys who have learned a lot from Europe.

                You have multiple dynamics that are forming new subcultures and groups, not one global culture like you have postulated in your recent article. For example some Russian “ultranationalists” and some European “patriots” – reformed racists who still have right-wing beliefs – will imitate the dress code of American white supremacists and have similar haircuts and beards but will continue to have an ideology all their own. European businessmen who have learned all the tools of American management thinking and speak perfect business English, but do not want the USA to control European business.

                I gave you the comparison of today’s world being an American Empire. The Roman Empire also brought people together, Latinized major parts of Europe, but in the end it was brought down by the influx of its own Germanic mercenaries who learned Roman ways of fighting in an organized way, it was subverted by a religion that a Jewish rebel gave the impulse for, brought to Rome by Saul, a Roman who became Paul, and became fully Greek in its surviving Eastern part because Greek culture was too strong for Roman culture to ever fully subvert, inspite of their having had the first equivalent to what is happening in today’s globalization – a strong military machine and cultural dominance.

                While the Spanish Empire managed to totally Latinize the South American continent and much of the Carribean and Mexico, the different local variants of Spanish and the different local cultures that have come about are traces of the different ways THAT Empire worked. Thanks to the Cuban blacks we have mambo and salsa, even if Puerto Rican – and Cuban – migrants to the US brought us the style of salsa tempered by ballroom dance that is now called NY/LA style – more formal and straight and therefore easier for non-Latins.

                Maybe a thousand years from now we will still have many English words in many languages, and many traces of the American global empire’s customs and traditions, but the Empire may not still be powerful. The British Empire also waned, leaving Pakistanis and Indians that play cricket well. Maybe French Arabs will still form a tribe of their own, listening to a music that is a weird mixture of rai and French hip-hop and speaking a language that is descended from the mixture of French, Northern African Arab and American ghetto many speak today. World culture will never be homogenous, like there will always be different racial mixtures. The mixture will just change from what it is now.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Looking at the Roman Empire, its ritual and hierarchies – wearing togas, purple for men of higher authority used to be for Senators among others, even the administrative organization of the bureacracy and having a Curia – survive in the Roman Catholic Church. Whereas the ideology of the Roman Catholic Church especially celibacy are Greek in origin, who other than the Greeks like the idea of men being among themselves – witness a Greek kafenion anywhere in the world and you will know what I mean, celibacy having been established during Greek majority councils whereas the monopoly of authority by the Pope was established because he took over the ancient Roman spiritual office of the Pontifex Maximus which among other things had auctoritas over the Calendar – Julius Caesar was Pontifex Maximus and therefore instituted a permanent calendar, before that other Pontifexes changed the calendar to suit some politicians and change election dates, no SUVs for them then but probably other stuff – and which is why Pope Gregory established the Gregorian calendar while the Greeks and Russians did not, which is why Christmas and Easter are different to this very day in Orthodox countries.

                My point being, you always have had empires influencing local traditions and Empires getting influenced by the mix of peoples that they had in them. Whether in the Roman, the Spanish or the British empires. Same thing with the American Empire, even though they are better at rebranding the stuff the got from others and making it look as if it was always their own – the hamburger German immigrants, malls that were invented by a Hungarian-American architect who wanted to simulate European city centers, Broadway musicals that were the American version of German three-penny operas German Jews brought with them, Starbucks that was an idea sparked by Viennese coffee houses – just sit there as long as you want and relax, damn even the Mafia was imported by Sicilian immigrants, although the descendants of these guys are either gentrified or irrelevant nowadays.

                And then you have different players hitchhiking on the American Empire’s infrastructure – European multinationals like Nestle, IKEA and Carrefour, Taiwanese laptop manufacturers, Chinese MBAs, Russian Internet propaganda which is modernized Soviet propaganda. Hell even Al-Qaida would not have managed without using the Internet. Even this blog is an example, my experiences would have been lost on my original community without it, and I probably would not have rejoined my original community without the blogosphere.

              • sonny says:

                @ Joe

                Two gems, a.k.a. doozies 🙂

                Joe: PiE is the Society’s Chief of Wildlife

                PiE: Joe is the Society’s American gone native, “dances with wolves”

                (No apologies to Kevin Costner nor Mary McConnell; to the tune of Freddie Aguilar’s ANAK; this loop, I like; 🙂 )

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                And you Sonny, are a modern-day Lam-Ang with a library. Warrior with weapon – imagine it with an Ilocano accent – but your weapon is your mind. Mine is too nowadays, the age of Bikolanos using karbinas and Metro Manila boys with balisongs like me is over.

            • sonny says:

              “the unexamined life…” is from Socrates.

              The fall of the Roman Empire was of the Romans’ own making.

              Celibacy was not of the Greeks but of the Jewish Christians coming in during the times of Sts. Peter and Paul at the time of Nero. The small sect of Jewish Christians were set to be decimated by the periodic Roman persecutions.

              “… the watershed declaration of 313 AD by which emperors Constantine and Licinius granted legal rights to Christians … ”

              “… Beginning in 286, Diocletian attempted a dramatic renovation of the empire, including a revived sacralization of the sovereigns, whose adoration ensured the “pax deorum and therefore the safety of the empire and its inhabitants.” For several religious groups, including Christians, this was intolerable, eventually resulting in an attempt to demolish the Church by prohibiting the liturgy, confiscating property, denying legal recourse, and execution.

              While persecution ended in 311 with Galerius requesting “the faithful not do anything against the public order and … pray to ‘their God’ for its safety,” acceptance of Christianity as religio licita “continued to maintain that it was an inalienable prerogative of imperial power to ‘manage’ the relationship between the divine sphere and the subjects of the empire.”

  20. karl garcia says:

    I understand the ethnic clustering,but to avoid confusion,Villar has not jumped ship from NP to UNA,.Cayetano might go ballistic if he lost his main man.

  21. karl garcia says:

    In one very rare occasion I get to hear an NPA leader dropped all the communism stuff and declare that he is Filipino. In one wake of a relative, I was surprised to see Ka Roger (For the life of me,still wondering how.. that was In Villamor airbase, they could just go in an out without incident). My dad talked about communism to him and he said In the vernacular: I am not a communist, I am Filipino! So this communism stuff is only in the recruitment and indoctrination, phase.Well at least he did not say he is Chinese, I would really scratch my head.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, that’s what perplexes me. These are not stupid people, yet their program is stupid. They recruit by being brash and then try to progress by destroying. I stopped scratching my head and just concluded they are irrelevant. And fun to mock.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Leftists are usually those who are too smart for their own good – meaning that they do not fit into traditional power groups. Since the Philippines is tribal and clannish, you need some kind of common identification for people who are not related through anything. This common identification is like the common identification you have among Jehovah’s Witnesses or other sectarian groups. It is a very strict and non-thinking dogma. I have witnessed the same thing among many Filipino migrants abroad – far from their families and often alienated from them, they join the Iglesia ni Cristo which also has a very strict dogma, but in fact becomes the family for them that they lost. Same with leftists.

        Like in an exchange we once had – in a low-trust society were there are hardly any reliable institutions, you are in big trouble without a group to belong to or have to be very strong. Once a group is not based on true personal affinities or blood relations you need something else to hold it together in a low-trust society which is what the Philippines is – and that is a cult-like ideology. Forget the meaning of the words, only the mantra counts.

  22. bauwow says:

    Congrats to @MKL for writing a well thought article regarding the people from the Left. I hope that you should write more often.

    One thing I don’t understand is that one of their leaders, Joma Sison is presently on Utrecht, Netherlands. He seems to enjoy his extended vacation, while his comrades here are the ones exposed to the elements, holding rallies left and right. Isn’t Solidarity one of Communism’s big words?

    • bauwow says:

      @PiE, forgot to add that you should keep on posting. A lot of people including me are learning from your posts!

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Thanks – actually I am learning from posting as well. It helps me order my ideas and develop clarity of thought and expression. First I just ramble out what I think, then I re-read and put more structure, then I summarize and synthesize. Some of it is terrible, some of it is mainly right and partly wrong, but in the end it is the big picture that counts, details are something I usually just get out of the top of my head and sometimes they are wrong.

        Hope to inspire some people to think in a bigger picture and laterally as well, to connect the dots in a different manner and develop new ways of looking at things. My stuff is just my view, the important thing is to synthesize new things. Actually one of the good things I learned from really intellectual leftism – you have dialectics: meaning there is always the thesis, the anti-thesis and the synthesis of the two when they confront and recombine.

        Also very good is the Leninist idea of putting self-criticism first before criticizing others. Imagine that in the Mamasapano situation, for everyone from President downwards. Lenin knew his Russian people, they were just as bad as Pinoys in criticizing non-constructively. What Filipino leftists forgot is that all of these ideologies were once developed as solutions to problems, but you have to adapt the solution to the situation/problems today.

        Walden Bello strikes me as a modern leftist who actually analyzes and makes his own conclusions, he is in fact internationally respected as an intelligent critic of globalization.

        In fact any point of view I respect, as long as it is based on thinking, not on dogma.

    • I kind of wish I could, but my parents are fearing for my safety. They already know about my beliefs and they feel that it could put me into trouble.

      Also, funny how many leftists here come from unions, when, as far as I can recall, unions were actually banned in Eastern Communist countries (remember Solidarity?)

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        I can tell you exactly what the reasoning is: unions are necessary in fighting against the capitalist oppressor – in Communist countries there is no more oppressor so no more independent unions needed.

        But having lived under Marcos and having been a leftist before, I am very careful about any group that believes it can be a saviour and has any kind of slogan, be it “New Society”, “Makibaka huwag matakot” or even “Daang Matuwid”.

        Any group that believes it has a monopoly on being right is dangerous, prefer those that are down-to-earth and focused on real-world results, step by step to a better life instead of promising heaven on earth that does not exist and sometimes becomes hell.

      • Attila says:

        How could you be in trouble? What are your relatives are concerned about? What could happen to you and by whom? Funny but I already got a warning from one leftist Filipino in New York after a heated argument. He told me that I could get killed for my anti Communist provocative talking. I’m from Hungary a former communist country that never colonized and slaved other nations. Even though I’m white they are hopelessly infective in their argument against me. I really embarrass them and they just take it the wrong way. Hungarians were slaved and colonized by the Muslim Ottoman and colonized by the Soviet Union so I make these leftist commies infective in their argument. They can not play the victim card with me. That angers some of them and makes them say that I could be killed in the Philippines.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Yeah, yeah, I know that kind of talk. But when it comes to follow through Filipinos are not as effective as Eastern Europeans. Such threats would no longer scare me knowing both.

          The similarity between Marcos leaving in 1986 and his friend Ceaucescu leaving in 1989: both were on the balcony one last time with their wife to say goodbye. The differences:

          1) Elena Ceaucescu did not sing – thank God for that.

          2) No Russian helicopter came to save the Ceaucescus.

          3) Both Ceaucescus got shot in the head immediately after.

          Now I don’t want to say it would have been better for Imelda to be shot, but after 30 years where is the money they allegedly got? It would fix a lot of problems in the Philippines.

          Leftists CAN be more ruthless than normal Filipinos, but after all they are still Filipinos and usually more talk than action and a lot of show. Not just leftists but most of them, sorry.

          If they threaten you again, laugh and tell them you have East European Mafia friends. 🙂

          • Joe America says:

            Gadzooks, gotta rename the blog The Society of Goons . . . ahaha

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Honorable Goons please. No fists anymore and no more weapons save the mind, the sharpest weapon of all.

          • Attila says:

            “If they threaten you again, laugh and tell them you have East European Mafia friends.” Funny but you are right. Yes Eastern Europeans often revengeful, they don’t forget and don’t forgive and they hold grudges. They are opposite of Western Europeans in many ways. Yes they are both whites but they have different values and mentality. White guilt is none existent, actually they are very-very proud people. Leftist Filipinos and Eastern Europeans are not a good match. It is a conflict!

      • Joe America says:

        I once dated a girl who was a union recruiter and communist in Los Angeles. ahahahaha Didn’t work out . . .

  23. PinoyInEurope says:

    The only leftist leader who really impressed me was Crispin Beltran, KMU vice president.

    Thoughtful and insightful, using the rhetoric only when necessary but with his own point of view.

    Being high up he could afford to I guess, but he is gone now I think and the fools run the circus.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      And in addition: it IS true that businessmen can be greedy, politicians can be power-hungry. But leftists are often naive: human nature is not black and white. One can never get rid of greed and hunger for power, the practice of communism has proved that.

      The solution is: harness greed and hunger for power for the common good. Put businessmen in front of the cart to create jobs, but keep the reins on them. Put politicians in the front row of the cart to run the show, but keep the reins on them as well.

      Let politicians have power, let businessmen make money – but not more than is bad for the common good. That is why neoliberalism is not a solution, just like dictatorship.

      • karl garcia says:

        In short, invisible hand.correction is never a problem with me,so correct me if i am wrong again.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Invisible hand – partly. Anti-trust as well as multiple centers of power to ensure that no business has a monopoly and no politician has power over everything in one area. Because that kind of stuff can always get a little bit dangerous after a while.

          Plus: make it easier for normal people to start their own small/medium scale businesses. These are not the greedy people, these are usually people who want to make a living.

          • karl garcia says:

            underground economy still abounds,business permits remains a hellish nightmare, on the bright side; micro credit, micro business are thriving.
            loan sharks are good, so long as no debt traps are involved.
            Ingenuity and deskarte should not be a rare, and of course your” bisikleta para sa ikaaunlad ng bayan” is the symbol of patience and perseverance plus discipline.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Took me around 30 minutes to get my business registration more than 7 years ago. Just filled up an A4 form, went to the municipal service center, pulled a number and was called after a short while. Showed my ID, the one doing the job wrote down my ID number and entered my data into the computer – my type of business which is IT consulting does not need police clearance – and printed my permit out including official municipal seal.

              The approval of my founder’s subsidy – those who know Europe will now be able to guess which country I live in – took two weeks because I had already applied for it. Founder’s subsidy is for jobless people who want to found a business from joblessness – I was totally burned out and drinking heavily at that time – pinatalsik ako ng Finnish company dahil nakatulog ako sa gitna ng kick-off meeting, Biyernes binatukan ako ng boss para magising, Lunes itinawaga ako sa opisina – please bring your keys with you. No anger though, he even told me this I have to do, pinahiya mo ako sa ibang empleado ko, ang galing mo bakit mo isinayang hindi na kita maipagtatanggol, sana madala ka sa ganito. The unemployment office sent me to subsidized courses to learn how business basics, my unemployment office adviser who was a former IT salesman coached my business plan.

              Advised by an investment banker friend and former project co-worker from Switzerland, I sent out my final application only when I had my first customer he helped me get through connections. Sent a copy of my business permit to the unemployment office one day after registration and took the train to my first customer two days after registration. Thanks to the subsidy I survived the first year, kulang kasi ang binabayaran ng unang customer ko. Nowadays I think they have made the subsidy into a loan dahil maraming mga umabuso.

              My tax number took longer, I had to send them a fotocopy of my business registration and my ID, they probably checked the authenticity of both via centralized databases, but I had that within a month because the tax offices have a huge backlog. No problem though, I declared my VAT retroactively, but they insisted that from then on I pay everything on time and even fined me once for being late. Of course electronic bank transfer lahat dito which makes business very very easy. Recently IBAN/BIC became the standard for all of Europe and money transfers happen within maximum 1-2 days all over. Efficient infrastructure.

              So I can say my views come from different theories and different experiences: Marcos’s New Society which was a form of “National Socialism” in its economic policies, leftist thinking, international business practices and efficient European administrative practice plus social democracy – and of course my own experience in many walks of life including having to fight my way back from joblessness through almost losing my business due to bad cash flow and cheating (actually gulang lang hindi daya pero nahalat rin nila) my first customers up to were I am now. Giving back some of my experience to the country I left. Maybe one day I will return and help coach Filipino businessmen and local politicians. Not for charity of course, but not purely out of self-interest. It might actually be fun.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                When I worked for a Dutch insurance company as my customer, I needed a police clearance – I got within weeks of applying at the municipal service center from a central database where they have the records of all inhabitants. Again I was just about 30 minutes in city hall and I received the clearance via snail mail. Sa Pilipinas ang dami pa rin sigurong mga borloloy at kuskos-balungos, at least narinig ko electronically centralized na ngayon ang Registry of Deeds, pati iyong mga Civil Records ng birth, marriage at death.

                Sa Romania centralized at openly searchable ang lahat ng kaso sa korte at pulis – madali mong ma-research kung tarantado iyong kaharap mo kung alam mo ang pangalan niya at address. Sa bagay, maraming tarantado doon, kaya maganda na meron silang ganoon.

                Sa Spain mahirap pa rin ang mag-register ng business, mahirap ang lahat ng papeles – uso doon ang “gestor” – tulad ng mga fixer sa Pilipinas. Sa Greece naman puro lagay.

              • karl garcia says:

                Thank you for giving us first hand knowledge that the only in the Philippines is just a myth.
                It suppliers change per administration or change back due to TRO, The registration of deeds Yes, automated as shown in the Corona hearings. LTO registration sometimes still reverts to IBM or IBalik sa Manual form time to time. Customs I don’t get it when commissioners say that for the first time and at long last Customs will be automated. My golly, I worked at South Harbor (ATI) back in the 90s it was already automated, they just revert to manual most of the time,because of the government employee union COURAGE.Another supplier driven process are the NBI clearance, Passport,etc.
                Sorry to say as long as we stick to one supplier Automation is useless because of eternal MIGRATION.

              • karl garcia says:

                like the interagency problems, our IT systems in our government, need interoperability. cannot happen again because of interagency trust issues. One ERP for all cannot be also because of the procurement law.Plus enter cloud computing, another game changer that can interrupt the current processes that it is still slowly adjusting.Plus the security issues, which again gives a trustless society to doubt even more.I still haven’t mention Election automation, we all know the story, it’s never ending.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Hehe, I once had some preliminary talks with Ike Señeres. Does that ring a bell?

                Didn’t continue because I went back to Europe and it’s less complicated here.

              • karl garcia says:

                just visited the site, even if 5 % of his pro active topics are to be implemented, that means a lot . we should have a slogan: It’s more complicated in the Philippines.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Yeah, I actually did not look at his present website anymore. But we were talking – en grande kaagad iyong gusto niya. Iyong approach ko naman, jeepney na unti-unti pinagagara hanggang sa maging SUV, hindi SUV agad kaya hindi nagkasundo.

              • karl garcia says:

                You really can’t force,rush, or shortcut change. baby steps,incremental until tipping point is reached.

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  1. […] For an elaboration of the real-world problems faced by the leftist groups, please refer to this Society of Honor post by By Ezekiel de Jesus (Mami Kawada Lover):  “How the left lost me, and how I lost respect for GABRIELA” […]



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