In defense of knowledge: Philippine victimhood, the sequel

KnowledgeA recent blog by Pinoy in Europe gave me the opportunity to sit back and reflect for a change, rather than engage in the dialogue. PiE’s point was that it is time for Filipinos to set aside the notion of being victims, which is a powerless role, and aspire to take control of their lives, which is a powerful role.

The discussion thread evolved to the eternal debate between faith and non-faith, but the exchange was conducted respectfully, so anybody could likely find a place to hang his hat and agree with one view or another.

The question left to linger is exactly HOW the Philippines can emerge from victimhood.

The tree of knowledge

God placed the Tree of Knowledge in the garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed the fruit, and the world suddenly changed from easy to hard.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. . . .

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said,‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’

They disobeyed God, evil entered the world, and all of a sudden mankind had choices to make. Along with evil, we got free will. And death.

Well, the devil is in the details, for it was the serpent, a crafty beast often seen to represent the dark side of God, who lured Eve into taking the first bite. So who, really, was the victim and who was the culprit? And what about Adam? Adam only did what the lady of the house commanded, which we all know to be wisdom. He was a victim of obeying his sweetie.

Eve disobeyed God by eating the apple, Adam followed, and we have been going back to the tree of knowledge ever since, ever arguing with the serpent and God and amongst ourselves trying to figure out that which cannot be figured out in the first place.

Why is there a serpent?

Knowledge is imperfect

Given the unanswered question and the circularity of original victimhood, we each develop our own framework of understandings and beliefs that guides us through life. We study, we learn, we build on that framework, but we cannot ever discover the entire truth. We cannot ever grasp all knowledge.

And so we walk into a great world of risk and mystery

Some are more thorough than others at informing themselves, but even the smartest of debaters, someone studied in the classics, in philosophy, in religion, in history, will have a hard time dislodging us from our own understandings and beliefs, even though we are vastly less well-read and infinitely more ignorant.

We trust more what we see and know than what a genius tells us. Because it is ours. It is certain. To us.

Perhaps the tree was incorrectly labeled in the first place. It should have been called “the tree of fanatical dedication to ignorance”.

We know what we know, and if we believe it, it is true. Against all arguments it is true. Sometimes we hold that it is true against factual evidence that shows we are wrong, simply to demonstrate to others that we are right. Or we interject insult into the debate to try to humiliate our opponent into conceding to our view.

And thus we add emotional neediness to ignorance and that gives us our full operating framework. The picture is not exactly a neat one.

Fanatical, needy dedication to ignorance as we go about in a world full of risk and mystery

To wheedle, whine, blame, excuse and complain

Well, it is a wonder we have any confidence at all.

Which raises another interesting question.

What is confidence?

Confidence is the emotional satisfaction that builds up when we have made a lot more good decisions than bad. It is in part a self-fulfilling drive to be better, the opposite of neediness, because when a person feels confident, he makes decisions that need to be made, rather than waffling. And it gives a person the strength to accept that a bad decision is not a personal failing, it is a bad decision. Something to learn from.

That’s why it is best to encourage kids as they grow, to give guidance and praise more than criticism. With a bed of confidence, a child is less needy. The child is more open to knowledge that is not filtered through neediness.

I believe that too many Filipino kids are raised in a family circumstance and schooled in a disciplinary manner that builds hardness rather than confidence. The child receives orders and criticism. Not praise. Praise is found, not in what each child accomplishes, himself, every day, but in his ability to beat someone else. To be first honor.

Which for 97% of the kids, leads to defending why not being first honor is okay.

And thus, excuses enter the picture.

I’d guess that, for way too many kids, an emotional shield grows from dealing with so many demands and instructions and criticisms. The only way to remain whole is to steel oneself, to argue, to whine, to make excuses. To lie. To insult. To win.

At any cost. Preferably a cost paid by someone else.

Follow Jejomar Binay’s spokespeople around and you will see this prototype in action. How many people blamed? How many untruths told? How many truths avoided? How many denials and manipulations issued?

Friends, it is not healthy. It is victimhood.

And with success, with wealth, with power, victimhood invariably gets translated into entitlement.

Trust is like leaping off a cliff

What is the antidote to victimhood?

Confidence, and its cousin, trust.

Let me cut right to the point and not talk around the issue. How one looks at the Philippines and its leadership is a choice.

  • One can be positive, and give Filipinos positive, confidence building strokes.
  • Or one can be negative, and drive the nation to victimhood.

The Mamasapano episode has been a huge, ugly rush to victimhood. The neediness of finding a culprit. The rash of finger pointing. The failure to come away with any new knowledge from a very hard lesson.

The nasty tabloid press thrive on negativity and they pounded Mamasapano into the Filipino psyche in huge doses of negativity, day after critical, emotional day.

So much of what we witness in the press, and from our friends, is negative.

And what a vast, needy dedication to ignorance our view of the Philippines becomes. We see conflict and complaint, villains and more villains, failure rather than success.

We fail to see the positives, or push them aside. We fail to see Manila congestion as a good sign of economic health, fail to notice that the shacks along the riverbanks are going away, or that Manila is no longer as flood prone, or that readiness for disasters is a national success story, or that the Philippines is demonstrating a mature, law-based solution to Moro rebellion and Chinese incursions. That there is a real middle class developing, high-rise homes reaching for the sky, an emerging base of good values and fair dealing. That the nation is leading Asia in growth and rising on every global index published, for ease of doing business, competitiveness, freedom, transparency and reduction of corruption. That democracy here is vibrant and working. That the nation is financially sound, collecting taxes better, putting money to better use . . .

Becoming whole.

The orphan of Asia is growing up.

Will she fall back on what she knows, of bitterness and blame? Or will she strive for the knowledge and confidence that will propel the nation to a healthy wholeness, and leadership in Asia?

The Philippines will be the Philippines either way.

Victimhood or confidence?

For me, for my son and wife, I’d hope for knowledge and the humility that is born of confidence. The setting aside of neediness, the looking forward and striving for productivity, wealth and health. To stop being angry about the past and to carve a new, positive future. To praise our kids if they are first honor or last place, doing their best. To praise our fellow citizens, to trust our leaders.

To make the sacrifices needed to let others be who they will be

To respect the President for being a good man doing earnest deeds. To have the confidence that a mistake is a mistake, a learning point, not a defining moment . . . and to grant him the same consideration.

To believe in ourselves.

To believe in Filipinos.

To work earnestly for what we want.


338 Responses to “In defense of knowledge: Philippine victimhood, the sequel”
  1. PinoyInEurope says:

    Tiwala sa sarili at sa kapwa ang kailangan. Sigasig at tiyaga para maatupag ang nais makamtan.

    Ituring nating parang sariling kabahayan ang barangay at ang bayan at ayusin natin ito.

  2. sonny says:

    Joe, there is much to resonate with in your installment on knowledge as antidote to victimhood. (I hope I read you right)

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Your generation still understood the real meaning behind the English words American educators brought us. For every successive generation after the war, English became more like Latin in the Middle Ages – a “meaningless” exercise in “highfalutin” words.

      This is why so many of our leaders, inspite of education, can mouth high-sounding words without any consequences, act totally opposite to the sense these words have. Like some priests who preached in Latin but acted as total hypocrites. Split-level Christianity.

      That is why much public debate about certain issues is completely lost in formalities and technicalities instead of looking at the real content behind the issues. BBL and Binay.

      We often use English when we express what we would like to be for show, then Filipino when we express what we really are. We pretend that we have only the clean kitchen but the real cooking takes place in our dirty kitchen we deny. Too many pretenses.

      We should finally be just ourselves. Then the dirty kitchen will slowly get cleaner.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Two Filipinos who succeeded through knowledge. Dado Banatao and Dr. Mahar Lagmay:

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        They both exude the quiet, humble confidence Joe meant in his article.

        Not timid like some of us, or mayabang like others.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        I quote from an autobiographical article of the head of our technology initiative in Munich:

        When people ask me why I moved from a management position at Microsoft to scientific research three and a half years ago, I like to reply by joking that my strategy to stay young is simply “radically changing my profession every twenty years or so.” Indeed, from the vantage point of becoming senior citizen card-eligible this year, I can describe my doings till now in four phases. Childhood in Malabon was followed by a second phase of fascination with “pure” mathematics, which started in high school at Ateneo (1959) and led to graduate studies and teaching in Germany (at the universities in Bonn and Wuppertal). Growing interest in computer networks led to Phase 3 in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry (1980-2002), where my professional activities evolved from software development to technology management, culminating in the leadership at Microsoft of a consulting services organization with over a thousand employees in thirty-six countries. I began the fourth phase in October 2002 with a move back to academe, following my interest in studying complex systems, particularly in the life sciences, and a long-standing desire to contribute to science and technology education in the Philippines. Nowadays, I do research and teach at the Physics Department of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich, and the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Computer Science at UP Diliman…

        Lessons Learned and To Be Learned

        The results of the first three years of research and research management activities have more than exceeded my expectations—thanks to numerous talented Filipino students and researchers who have recognized and started to pursue the opportunities in computational systems biology. I am confi dent that we can report on many success stories and a few lessons learned in Filipino forays into this area of world-class science in the near future.

        What I have learned so far is to value scientific knowledge of all kinds—I inadvertently experience the “unreasonable effectiveness” (to paraphrase the physicist Eugene Wigner) in combining different pieces of science and applying the result to diverse problems. Not only the “pure” mathematics of my doctoral research is becoming useful
        for modeling biological membranes, even the consulting approach I learned in my ICT career is applicable to forging effective experimenter-modeler collaboration. But the will to turn science into innovations must be there. For this, the best motto I’ve found so far stems from SCS, the first consulting company I joined in 1984: Das Machbare denken, das Denkbare machen. (Explore all possibilities, execute the best possible.)

        I look forward to many more lessons to be learned.

        He would not like to be called a padriño, but in a positive way he is. His name opened doors for my first job I got in the Munich IT industry in 1996. He is modest and competent.

        I do not even want to put his name here without asking, but he is real. I will meet him again, the first time in many years, next week at the meeting where we are going to talk about Pinay-Pinoy Research & Innovation Initiatives” both in the Philippines and abroad. Especially because serious efforts have started to build “Innovation Ecosystems” which result in faster transfer to industrial application. Many DOST and other scholars there.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Nahiya akong humarap sa kanya ng matagal. Dahil matagal ko ring binaboy iyong handog niya sa akin na career, puro pera at kayabangan lang ang nasa isip at gawa ko.

          Halos dalawampung taon bago ko naintindihan ang gusto niyang ipabatid.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m confident you are reading it right. It is optimistic and seeks to build on PiE’s point in that direction.

    • sonny says:

      PiE, thank you for the kind reference to my generation. Nevertheless we share the similar struggles and conflicts.

      Allow me to draw a connection between the three meaty infinitives at the end of Joe’s article and the still on-going debate on impunity as the culprit that bogs down our positive efforts to move forward as individuals and as a people economically, socially and politically. These efforts point squarely to our collective character. I would submit that a slight correction on our understanding of the cause of our impunity (leaders & followers) might help the situation.

      I was dumbfounded into silence and confusion in earlier discussions on impunity, in private and public. The culprit by acclamation, was the easy forgiveness from the Catholic confession box for anybody and everybody.

      In my own learning gathered in the Catechism and Religion classes, confession was intended to either strengthen or restore a Christian’s spiritual life.

      Experience beyond the classroom through the years has shown that this Christian spiritual life is an uphill climb and struggle to follow Christ to holiness (i.e., a life set apart) and with him as guide and object of struggle, we hope to attain finally, happiness with him eternally. But given the proclivities of our human nature, many times we stumble and fall. Sacramental confession is supposed to give a clean slate and renew strength to continue on that climb. For a brief window of time, we obtain and regain righteous justification. Instead either by ignorance or malice, we reconfigure this paradigm of redemption and vitiate it into a path of dereliction and life of malice, then into opportunities to amass inordinate power, pleasure and wealth.

      What then happens? Patterns take place where there are less who utilize Catholic confession to get back onto the righteous path. And then using degraded intentions and conscience, more give up and still more are those who convert into a life of total perversion and impunity. This we experience either as individuals in private or in the market place and halls of government and other enterprises. Then the Sisyphean vicious cycles take over. Yet we fail to realize that at every turn of the wheel, authentic Confession is always there as the option to break the cycle and take the steps to the true path of forgiveness and redemption.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        You still TRIED to apply what you had learned, understood the meaning.

        Every generation after including mine, mas binaboy until the meaning was lost.

        With the empty coconut husks that are left, you can polish the floor but not much more.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Come to think of it, St. Augustine also went up the path of forgiveness and redemption, so did Count Leo Tolstoy – a deeply Christian man. So am I.

          In the vindictive Philippines, the crime is having lived la vida loca and admitting the lessons one has learned. It is not lying skillfully about it that is punished the most.

          Or one stays in the vida loca like Erap, the eternal teenager and false role model.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Or you toe the line, careful not to make any mistakes – and you do not grow.

          Which is why many people in the Philippines are so limited in perspective, so timid.

          Those who are bold on the other hand are often shamelessly bold, with no limits at all…

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          So in the Philippines, you have those who are too timid ruled by those who are shamelessly bold. Those quietly confident are a hopefully rising minority.

          You have the too forgiving and careless, and the too harsh and vindictive. Those who are forgiving but demand proof that forgiveness is deserved are very rare. Dammit are these simple matters and how they can apply to real life SO hard to understand?

      • andrewlim8 says:


        I invite you to read Lee Kuan Yew’s thoughts on how corruption was handled when he was building the nation: “The strongest deterrent is public opinion, which censures and condemns corrupt persons, attitudes that make corruption so unacceptable that its stigma cannot be washed away with a prison term”.

        Singaporeans acquired that without the use of religious doctrines. It comes from a secular place, and in Singapore’s case, it can be argued strongly that it worked. It would not have worked if the prevailing culture was Catholic.

        Again, you approached this issue from a standpoint of “what ought to be” (which is nice and correct) rather than “what is”.

      • karl garcia says:

        Math question, why do you call Edgar, manong Ed? he writes younger.

        • sonny says:

          Math was blurry initially. Is clear now. I am older than Edgar. I will answer to sonny as from the start. I will address Edgar as is unless he says otherwise. 🙂

          • edgar lores says:

            Manong Ed has a pleasant sound to it. Almost, but not quite, as banal as Kuya Eddie.

            • Joe America says:

              Ahahaha, then Kuya Eddie it is!!! 🙂

            • sonny says:

              My dad, God bless his soul (passed away at 99), used to call my son when he was three, lacay Anton. Lacay is Ilocano for wise old man or simply an affectionate honorific for elderly men or for a wife’s husband. Anton was a precocious child. He was reading Reader’s Digest at three. (My aside). Manong has shades of the term “lacay” and the wisdom attached to it. Hence it was not hard to use “manong” with Edgar 🙂

    • karl garcia says:

      Knowing is half the battle, the rest is up to you.
      From GI Joe cartoon series.

  3. Micha says:

    If the desire is to have a religion-neutral discussion, maybe it would help if we don’t frame, reference, and build the premise of a particular topic on biblical tales and myth, no?

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      For my part, biblical stories are like fairy tales. They are a way of making a point.

      One does not have to believe in the story of the Three Little Pigs to understand what the story is about, or am I wrong with that?

      • Micha says:

        When you’re trying to build a case or a point, build it on fact, not tales or myth.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          See my three very secular examples of how knowledge brings success.

          • Micha says:

            Yun naman pala..,.ba’t kailangan pa ng fairy tales?

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Para mapadali ang pag-unawa. Hindi lahat ng tao intelektuwal o abstrakto mag-isip.

              Ako, meron akong highly sophisticated magazine. Pero binabasa ko pa rin iyong komiks tungkol sa mga current issues bago basahin iyong mga article. Asukal sa kape, ika nga.

              • Micha says:

                In which case you just dumb down their intellectual capacity – not a good formula to excel and to succeed.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Not really. My comics example says it all. You start with the simple stuff and drill down to the complex. But you have to start with what is understandable to tease curiosity. Even I need it from time to time.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Look for the names of the two examples I mentioned by googling and read about them.

                Read the quote from the autobiography I posted. They are factual examples of what Joe is writing about, the articles that you read after looking at the comics.

              • Micha says:

                The desire to be successful is not a complicated concept. No need to dumb it down.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                So let us talk about that, the real message, and stop debating about the medium.

              • Joe America says:

                Thank you. Took the words right out of my mouth. It is the type of digression often seen hereabouts, totally missing the point for the obsession over irrelevancies.

              • Micha says:

                Yup, it’s an invitation to distract the central message by using the wrong medium.

              • Joe America says:

                Micha, if you can’t get past the story, please stop trolling the blog.

              • Joe America says:

                @Micha, I deleted your last remark. This is not a blog about religion and I really don’t appreciate the tenor of your comments. It is about getting positive and you are going negative. You are trolling rather than offering discussion.

        • Joe America says:

          Oh my gawd, burn all the fiction books.

    • Micha says:

      I, for one, am totally on board with the call to assert ourselves, to rise up, to be in charge of our destinies, to aim for common good and common purpose as a nation, as a people; to exhibit more compassion, and knowledge, and understanding…

      This case can be made without resorting to religious tales and myth.

    • Joe America says:

      It’s a story, one that seemed to work better than Winnie the Pooh for getting at our essential victimhood. Any religious connotations are those of the reader.

      • Micha says:

        The story only corrupts our acquisition of knowledge…

        The whole of Christianity subscribe to this Adam and Eve myth so the religious connotation is plastered all over the place.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, it is written, so I don’t know what you want. You are welcome to do a guest blog to do it “right”. Too bad you couldn’t get past it to figure out how to deal with moving from victimhood and negativity to positive, progressive confidence. You sound like you feel victimized.

          • Micha says:

            Not a retiree yet Joe, still have to earn a living so time is a constraint to compose one.

            If that sounds like feeling victimized for you, you bet it is.

            We all do.

            At some point in our lives.

            Ain’t we?

            • karl garcia says:

              Filter out what is trash GIGO garbage in garbage out, but others find trash as gold. No dumbing down in children’s lit. PRO wrestling, known its fake since the seventies yet, I stil enjoy it. I understand that there are Pet peeves, but you know what your pet peeves are,keep them from street people and places that has no pets allowed signages.

  4. karl garcia says:

    Winnie the Pooh is boring.

    • Joe America says:

      Not if you are seven, or get to each of the characters as to what their psychological profiles might be. I like Eeyore, myself, definitely a victim, as opposed to Tigger, who is a lot like PiE. Pooh is innocence and ignorance with an appetite. But strikingly creative at times, like when he rides a balloon up to get to the honey high up in the honey tree. The bees were like Parekoy.

  5. ray james says:

    Pooh-sticks is more than just luck.

    Strategy is more than just knowledge.

    Achievement is more than just hope.

    “The third-rate mind is only happy when it is
    thinking with the majority. The second-rate
    mind is only happy when it is thinking with
    the minority. The first-rate mind is only
    happy when it is thinking”
    A. A. Milne

    I trust everybody has read the MILF/MNLF websites, and understands the game which is being played, otherwise even pooh-sticks would be a bridge too far.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      DATA is not INFORMATION is not KNOWLEDGE is not WISDOM.

      Was on the door of one of my computer science college professors.

    • Joe America says:

      The MNLF site is more antagonistic than the MILF site, which is mainly pushing the peace agreement, and seems mild to me. To be clear, what is the game? Figure that you have to explain it to Pooh, who is not a very complex fellow.

  6. PinoyInEurope says:

    Religion, like English, has often degenerated into meaningless ritual in the Philippines.

    How often did I go to church and see the blank faces of my co-parishioners during homilies.

    The tools given to us by colonial masters, barely understood by the people, misused by the elite.


    Which is why I chose the religious medium for my Easter Sunday “sermon” on victimhood.

    Not to call for going back to faith, but to jolt people into thinking about what some stories mean.


    Same with English – the true meaning of high-sounding word is lost even without translation.

    The 1987 Constitution is lofty in purpose, but how does the practical implementation look like?

    Rizal in the Noli mocked theological students who discussed logic without thinking of the content.


    In the discussions about BBL or Binay, people get lost in all kinds of legalistic debates.

    Rarely or mostly not at all touching on the contents of the issue, the real repercussions.

    Don’t care about TRO, CA etc., I only care about the evidence re Junjun being secured…


    Here in this article, it is about knowledge, self-confidence and trust. Let us talk about that!

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      It is in the same line as Joe’s statement made that the Philippine educational system only teaches memorization and theoretical stuff, not thinking and practical application.

      Like some Medieval monks who debated about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, most Filipinos lack exercise when it comes to true mental muscles.


      Debate personalities who could become President, instead of the policies that they will represent and the consequences they could have for the nation.

      Debate the constitutionality of the BBL instead of its risks and how to remedy them, debate CA, TRO and Supreme Court instead of how to secure evidence in Makati.

      Dammit, I feel like knocking more than a few heads out of exasperation. Why is it that so many people back home and abroad are missing the point, don’t get it?


      First comes knowledge, real knowledge. Then comes knowing how to use it, then actually using it. And old line from one of my consulting trainers – so knowledge is just the start!

  7. Sam Rayala says:

    I love the exchange of views. Intellectually stimulating for a simpleton like me. My only take is that for the Filipinos to rise up from the victim mentality, we have to change our focus — from negative (victims) to positive (champions). If there’s one thing that Banatao, Lagmay, Pacquiao, Arnel Pineda, Lea Salonga, Ap’l D Ap, etc is that if given the opportunity and the right mindset, the Filipino can … and by the way if belief or faith would help them overcome the victimhood mentality, why bitch?

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Thanks – that is exactly the point. Faith can be interpreted in many ways. In Catholicism you have had everything from the Medieval victimhood and serfdom mentality, the Inquisition, the scientific Jesuits, the pomp-loving Borgias, the humble Franciscans and Latin American liberation theology any NPA would love. Since faith is part of the core of the Philippine mentality, it is the way faith is the main driver of people that must be changed.

      I expected that this approach would jolt many people, and send them discussing trifles.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      In a way I am also simple-minded. I think of results, not formalities. I think of substance, not style. I think of content, not delivery. Thinking is just a tool to get there.

    • Micha says:

      “…and by the way if belief or faith would help them overcome the victimhood mentality, why bitch?”

      For most, victimhood mentality is both the cause and the outcome of religious faith.

    • Joe America says:

      That is exactly the point. And I agree on faith, but do wish the CBCP would focus on lessons instead of politics. They too often contribute to the negativity. Cardinal Tagle is a healer. I like his style.

  8. andrewlim8 says:

    That conversation between PiE, Joe and Micha reminds me of China during Mao’s reign. In typical totalitarian fashion the Maoists insisted that culture must (!) be scientific! Hence, they banned movies with romantic scenes, and portrayed revolutionaries shook hands to signify their affection for each other. ha ha ha

    And I am also reminded of Girolamo Savonarola, a cleric in medieval Italy who preached to burn all the books and writings which were not worthy of his views. He succeeded for a while, but ultimately he was burned at the stake. (I remember standing on the plaque marker where he was burned, in the middle of a piazza in Florence, near the Uffizi Gallery. )

  9. Micha says:


    I’ve submitted a valid observation relevant to the topic at hand in response to one of the comments and you censored it as trolling?

    Where’s the honor and the integrity of welcoming all points of view?

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve deleted it a second time. Try expressing your point in a respectful manner, as if there are good and kind people who believe differently than you.

      • Micha says:

        Now that is the special pleading deployed by religious people.

        No criticism allowed when it comes to belief in their fairy tales. It will automatically be considered disrespectful..

        We are allowed to criticize the gov’t.

        We are allowed to criticize artists and movie stars.

        We are allowed to criticize businesses.

        We are allowed to criticize politicians.

        But when it comes to religion, no, that would be disrespectful.

        Ang galing.

        • Joe America says:

          A person’s faith is deeply personal. If discussion is to be open and not break down into camps, discussion ought to be respectful of people who believe differently. Referring to someone’s God as a “skydaddy” is not the tone that promotes honorable, straightforward discussion. It is insulting to those of faith.

          I encourage people here to be respectful of others. That is the editorial mandate.

          If you can’t make your point and be respectful in doing so, I’d rather you leave the blog and return when the subject is not religion.

          • Micha says:

            Ok, changing the sky daddy to God. Here it is then:

            Waiting and hoping for God to save you is the epitome of victimhood.

    • Joe America says:

      You objected to the story used in the article because it was taken from the Bible, which is rather like complaining about someone’s grammar and neglecting the point of their message. Complaining about the color of the pot instead of the food within. Now you are heading down this religion discussion again, which is where PiE’s victimhood discussion went. Okay, we get the point. It is not necessary to beat the horse that is dead already. It is not the discussion we need.

      • Micha says:

        I’ll re-post my earlier comment:

        If the desire is to have a religion-neutral discussion, maybe it would help if we don’t frame, reference, and build the premise of a particular topic on biblical tales and myth.

  10. PinoyInEurope says:

    Knowledge in the Philippines is not seen as a tool for understanding and for accomplishing things.

    It is seen as a tool to get a better station in life – and often to be able to look down on others.

    Catholicism and English were the tools given by the colonialists and misused by the elite.


    Rejection of these tools is as foolish as using them blindly without understanding them.

    Filipino atheists can be as extreme in their views as Santiago in her nationalism.


    We must embrace and digest what was given us by fully understanding and assimilating it.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      To put it very bluntly, Catholicism and English were parroted by native elites to suck up to the respective colonial masters and keep the rest of their people in awe and outside.

      True knowledge was something that always threatened the rent-seekers in their existence, so they did everything to prevent true desire for knowledge from growing in the country.

      It was not the colonial powers that prevented true knowledge – UST was founded by the Spanish centuries ago, Ateneo somewhat later, UP by the US in 1908.

  11. Joe America says:

    I’ve turned off the comment thread. The discussion falls short of the kind of earnest, quality discussion I have in mind for the blog. I’m not sure how to strive for unity and a positive feel for the Philippines when the drive within is so avidly toward division.

  12. josephivo says:

    Confidence is not only about nurture but also about nature, genetic, and most important about the position of the parents in the picking order of the group.

    Talking about picking order, I get the impression that the bulk of the discussions in this blog became related to it. Who speaks with more authority? Some shout louder, some talk longer, some rely on authority… The discussions on the subject at hand gets more and more irrelevant.

    • Joe America says:

      The role of parents needs to be brought to the forefront. The family model in the Philippines, strengths and weaknesses. Some aspects of culture that are dysfunctional to community well-being are deeply entrenched. Family values, crab culture, occupation by rent seekers. It would be good to reflect on that.

      I agree that the digressions in blog discussion threads are pushing the main point aside, and we don’t really make a lot of progress, but end up attending to subjects that are best dealt with separately. The subject of this blog is the force of negativity overwhelming recognition of the accomplishments of the Philippines. It is hard to build a proud, unified community when the force of negativity is so intense.

      Now this can be dealt with at three levels.

      1) To disagree that the Philippines is a negative place. End of discussion.
      2) To agree and complain about it some more. End of discussion.
      3) To figure out how to focus on the positive that actually does exist. We have something to talk about.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        The many links that giancarloangulo and Karl Garcia have posted in many thread here are enough material for a positive blog about the programs that the Aquino administration is taking care of – economic development, educational development for the less fortunate being two aspects that have come out of these blogs very recently. I am really happy to be getting more information – I am very Cartesian in my thinking, very much a detective.

        Gimme MORE guys! It is good to know the good things, they have to be mentioned more!

        • karl garcia says:

          You multi task junkie can’t google ….search philippines, talent,property,growth,gdp or better yet Check the Must Reads section of this blog, use for screen caps of the must reads, then do a google search.

  13. Micha says:

    Pursued to its highest conclusion, the call to be positive and to have a can-do confident attitude – to be freed from victim mentality – will lead us to dismiss – or stop relying on – supernatural abracadabra.

    • josephivo says:

      IS this just a personal opinion or do you have some evidence?

      ISIS is only based on religion and they have a very strong can-do attitude and not real a victim mentality. I think that there are more interesting causal elements such as inequality (see J. Stiglitz), the lack of a functioning legal systems (D.Acemoglu) and of course EDUCATION, learning to repeat is different from learning to think for yourself (personal opinion)

      • Micha says:

        The can-do attitude of Muslim fanatics is in knowing how to blow themselves up for the glory of God.

        There’s no can-do attitude in bettering Muslim society.

        • i7sharp says:

          “The can-do attitude of Muslim fanatics is in knowing how to blow themselves up for the glory of God.”

          “God”? You mean “Allah.”
          God and Allah are not the same.
          a. “God bless America.” Yes.
          b. “Allah bless America.” No.

          Please see my reply to you in “myth”:

          • josephivo says:

            Is this a linguist or a theologian speaking?

            • i7sharp says:


              I simply try to be precise to minimize or preclude farther confusion.
              Am no linguist or theologian. Peksman.

              But anyone, even me, can try to be precise.

              I was not quite twenty yet when I started to work as an air traffic controller. I have done flight plans for various airlines/aircraft. (Just two of the forty or so jobs I have had.)

              Let us focus on the positive.
              Educate me or others on your expertise.
              For the good of the Philippines.

          • Micha says:


            We were talking about ISIS so that goes without saying it’s a Muslim God.

          • josephivo says:

            And is there also a Catholic, a Baptist, a Mormon, an ING… God, or the Christian God is one, the Abrahamic are three? And the God of mixed religions as the Bahá’í faith, the Rastafari movement, Samaritanism, Druzism, Mandaeism…. all different Gods in one happy heaven?

            Yes I know in mono-theistic beliefs there is only One, the others are fakes. But the American One seems a special.

            Did anyone explain you that the Yahweh and Allah have the same Semitic root. Or is your God not the same as Yahweh in the bible?

            Can’t we give everybody his believe as long as they don’t hinder us too much and move on, discuss the subject at hand? If you can’t, shouldn’t you open a separate blog in defending your God?

            • i7sharp says:

              “Can’t we give everybody his believe as long as they don’t hinder us too much and move on, discuss the subject at hand? If you can’t, shouldn’t you open a separate blog in defending your God?”

              Who is the “you”?

              I ask because Sonny, who I perceive thus far the gentlest soul here, has thought you were not talking to me in your previous response.
              I hope you will clarify things.

              Having said that, let me refer you to my previous posting,
     – barangay ARCO
              which had elicited a positive response from JoeAm.
              Joe may have changed his mind since then (given that his responses to me not long after that have been more negative than positive.

              I look forward to an edifying exchange with you (and others).
              Let us keep things simple.
              So simple that (despite the very technical and polysyllabic terms sometimes used) even high school students and I can understand.

              • i7sharp says:


                7-character codes
                Take, as an example, barangay “Santissimo Rosario Pob. (Santo Rosa)” of the municipality of Naval in the province of Biliran.

                Keyword: BBINVSR
                B – prefix
                BI – Biliran
                NV – Naval
                SR – “Santissimo Rosario Pob. (Santo Rosa)”

              • karl garcia says:

                It is either trivial pursuit of the minutiae, just got lucky google searches,or bible. I Know we digress much, but some even comments more,but it is the way you do it.

              • karl garcia says:

                Sorry for trolling you back.

        • josephivo says:

          And what about Christian missionaries?

          • Micha says:

            You mean those missionaries who rely on donations to give care to the poor and the sick and the elderly?

          • Micha says:

            And in which they would really appreciate it if the the recipients would be able to attend the Sunday mass and give thanks to the Lord for all the blessings that come their way?

            • josephivo says:

              These are not the missionaries I met in Africa, building, equipping, manning schools with the people for the people, building, equipping, manning hospitals, teaching agriculture, studying culture, empowering the poor, buzzy bees, caring, involved. Yes as if it was in free time they preached the Gospel too. I was referring to these missionaries, not to padre Damaso and his associates.

              What about the builders of cathedrals, the religious artists, the monasteries, my driven priest-teachers in high school…. A “higher” call can be extremely liberating, energizing. Please check the facts. And in all natural things there is variation, so let’s discuss the mean not the negative outliers.

              As I said victimization correlates better with other variables.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “A “higher” call can be extremely liberating, energizing.”

                My old hobby was to sing in a choir – Afro-American gospel:

  14. karl garcia says:

    In Syria yes, it is getting worse, but others like Dubai, Kwait,Qatar ……and others not yet infiltrated by extremism and fundamentalism, there is strong can do attitude. Financial Security, Human Security and not inSecurity are some of those needed to achieve a can do attitude of course,equality,education,strong institutions as well.

    • karl garcia says:

      You are right, I was going solo on the comment, while the discussion was upstairs.

      • karl garcia says:

        Did it again on missionaries comment. Hey, you are the pro on solo acts.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          I am the Sister Act, being Whoopi Goldberg. You are just doing your own improvisations.

          Which is a good thing, more deskarte, more independent thinking is necessary.

  15. Bing Garcia says:

    I appreciate also the ‘Must Read’. Thanks Joe!

  16. karl garcia says:

    If part of the mission of the missioaries is wealth redistribution, then it is one solution to inequality,look at Africa, it is improving in leaps and faster than a speeding bullet,partly because of the wealth redistribution.

    • karl garcia says:

      Not so publicized but Bill Gates was here, I am sure not just to donate.

      • Joe America says:

        He was checking on the progress of development of genetically altered rice than can grow in stress conditions such as drought or water tainted with salty sea water. He contributes major funding to the project. The idea is to feed the starving. Now that is my kind of guy. He flew into Palawan in a private jet, was scooted off to the rice research center by helicopter, then spent four days a a luxury resort here in the Philippines. Like I said, my kind of guy. He dresses casual, even today.

  17. ray james says:

    What is knowledge?, is a never ending philosophical discussion with real world implications, but no clear answer.

    Knowledge means different things to different people, and can include/exclude facts, faith, belief, experience, opinion, observation, imagination, and deduction etc. One’s starting point influences one’s conclusions, and world view.

    The Confucian and the Taoist, the Rationalist and the Empiricist, advocates of Systems Theory or proponents of Chaos Theory, will all have different approaches, and different reactions to the same ‘facts’, or situation, invariably leading to different outcomes.

    As an example Confucianism tends to be rational, masculine, active and dominating, whilst Taoism, is largely intuitive, feminine, mystical, and yielding.

    The relevance to The Philippines is that inner belief tends to trump empirical knowledge, and that is reflected in politics, where personality and motherhood statements reign supreme, rather than policies and manifestos, where faith can a mask worn to avoid facts and critical analysis, where information is designed to confuse rather than enlighten, and where The Age of Reason has not yet arrived.

    In the general culture, knowledge is not as revered as it should be, but the ‘story’ is given emphasis; the beauty queen is feted, but rarely the scientist. The ‘crook’ is admired more than he is admonished.
    Until such underlying values change mediocrity will overshadow meritocracy, status devalue standards, and there will be more victims than victors.

    In an era of rapid change, increasing competitive forces, digitisation, and globalisation, the strategic drive towards a knowledge based economy, and society, is critical to progress, prosperity, greater opportunity, and less inequality.

    Knowledge is power, but the value of knowledge is when it is shared, magnified, and applied to good effect.

    “I think therefore I am”

    I think therefore I bm


    “If you seek the truth, you must doubt everything”
    Rene Descartes

    • Joe America says:

      Not to nitpick Descartes, who did think because he was, but one must also take risks to move forward. The skills of information gathering and synthesis are active, positive skills. Listening to criticism is a part of that, but detecting the ignorance in the criticism is equally important. Nit-picking is not a major skill, I think. Nor grousing. Healthy character, good knowledge. People can do just about anything.

      Weak character along with too much superstition and obstinacy in lieu of information, and it is a bit of a slog.

      Thanks for the thought-provoking contribution.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        @Joe: “Weak character along with too much superstition and obstinacy in lieu of information, and it is a bit of a slog.”

        @ray james: “Knowledge is power, but the value of knowledge is when it is shared, magnified, and applied to good effect.”

        Which is why it is good that many people are contributing positive things here, and Joe does not have to go it all alone.

        Giancarloangulo, Karl Garcia and giancarloangulo deserve special mention here. My persistent kulit-asar has it reasons.

        Not everybody reading this blog can be expected to know everything, even I who am positive and a good researcher misses out on some things, does not know, and is at times exasperated and frustrated. I read too much bad news because that is unfortunately the focus, but I am also very willing to put together the good news that is blossoming all over the place here, like plants grow on the rich soil that comes out of a volcanic eruption.

        • karl garcia says:

          Thanks for the flattering remarks, but at Raissa’s you did not have to do that. Cannot convert the converted, and mentioning my name makes me want to hide.Sorry, but Thanks. Hope you understand.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Flattery is dishonest. Praise is honest.

            But I understand your embarrasment.

            • karl garcia says:

              I know flattery will lead you know where, but nothing wrong with feeling flattered after being praised. It leads you nowhere because all tires are flat and only one spare.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “The relevance to The Philippines is that inner belief tends to trump empirical knowledge, and that is reflected in politics, where personality and motherhood statements reign supreme, rather than policies and manifestos, where faith can a mask worn to avoid facts and critical analysis, where information is designed to confuse rather than enlighten, and where The Age of Reason has not yet arrived.

      In the general culture, knowledge is not as revered as it should be, but the ‘story’ is given emphasis; the beauty queen is feted, but rarely the scientist. The ‘crook’ is admired more than he is admonished.”

      Which is why you have to use the vehicles understandable to people to move them from superstition to rationality. Those who already have arrived at rationality are lucky and do not need those vehicles. Many Filipinos are still split-level though: even I am, very rational at work but unfortunately still very irrational at heart, extremely emotional but maybe that is why I can reach those who are also on the way. Rise from victimhood and find knowledge and confidence – I have annoyed Joe a lot by doubting, but I have learned a lot here.

    • i7sharp says:

      @ray james
      “I think therefore I am”

      I think therefore I bm


      “If you seek the truth, you must doubt everything”
      Rene Descartes

      About IBM.
      You probably know this.

      Remember HAL?
      2001: A Space Odyssey?

      HAL to IBM

      H, I, …
      A, B, …
      L, M …

      Now, about truth.
      Some people will go ballistic and cry “Religion!” on this:
      “I am … the truth.” – Jesus Christ.

      • Joe America says:

        Well, to be fair to those who go ballistic, your continuously raising the issue of religion in secular arguments is a form of trolling and taunting of them, as it is when they do the reverse. It is most constructive if you deal with the issue in a non-religious way, or, if that is not possible, expect ballastic. And I would be unfair to hold them back. You bear a responsibility to understand that others believe differently than you, and it is most constructive for the blog if you don’t wear your faith on every remark.

        • i7sharp says:


          For the sake of an edifying exchange (keeping the good of the Philippines in mind),
          please give one good example of what you mean.


          • Joe America says:

            At the top of this blog thread, Micha objected to the use of the Biblical story in a secular discussion, and went on what I consider an “attack” on believers. I asked him to cease. He made his point again, I pulled the plug on the discussion thread. I opened the discussion thread, he made his point again and dropped the confrontation. Now you come along with every other comment citing religious views. In my book, that is taunting him.

            For me to be fair, I must counsel both of you, and all who are so inclined to take a blog that is meant to discuss Philippine attitude – positive or negative — and turn it into a battleground of the faiths. Others have suggested, and I agree, that that subject is worthwhile, but in its own space. Let us deal with the Philippines in this discussion.

            • i7sharp says:


              I wonder if seeing the links I share gets your goat especially when they lead to “religious” sites.

              I have set up over 2,000 sites and those that touch on religion number around 7 only.

              This one, below, is “non-religious” and was set up almost 7 years to the day – and I share it now because someone mentioned of rice recently:
              Badly outdated but still very useful, IIMSSM.

              I set up (Yahoogroups) sites with the hope that others (students, etc.) will want to take over them.

              Please note that I don’t try to impose my beliefs on anybody. As a matter of fact I want them criticized or attacked if they are thought dangerous or based on falsehood.


              • Joe America says:

                My interest is twofold: (1) respect for others so that discussion is free of personal attacks or antagonism, and (2) discussion that is reasonably focused on the topic of the blog. I don’t run advertising and the system makes sure spam gets filtered out. I don’t particularly care for your frequent use of the blog to cross-link to your various sites nor do I care for the frequent religious references because both open the door to diversions that are simply unnecessary. These are not really the original thought that I am looking for. I find both aspects of your remarks (links to your own sites and religious references) a bit quirky, but the Word Press statistics tell me that few people are clicking on your links, and I suspect that people have already gotten used to the religious references and just ignore them, too.

                My main point is that I have asked another commenter not to be disrespectful in how attacks on faith are presented, and it is necessary that I mention that to you, too. There is simply no need to stamp “I love Jesus” on your remarks as a soft form of proselytizing on the site. Frankly, you put me, as the editor, in an awkward position, and I’d hope you would refrain from doing that.

                I also don’t want to belabor this point as it, too, is a diversion from the discussion.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “The ‘crook’ is admired more than he is admonished.” The crooks in Spanish times were the tulisan, the bandits. The ones who managed to steal from the corrupt administration, which was foreign, and the present-day masa have the same attitude carried over.

      Similar to the Mexican bandido mentality which derived from the same colonial situation. Plus the Philippines was ruled via Mexico until the early part of the 19th century, many of the Latins who came over to the Philippines were Mexicans and not true Spaniards.

    • karl garcia says:

      CCT really worked for Many families. I loved the story, she knows it is a small amount, but she knew how to manage it, know she is one of the graduates of the program and high school to boot. (Valedictorian)

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Saan ba puwedeng mag-donate sa ganyan? Iyon ang dapat gawin ng mga overseas associations, I have been away for long but people in that eksena know me – and also “fear” my capability of pressuring people plus my “craziness” in pushing people.

        P500 a month is €10.52, that is a meal in an average restaurant over here, Big Mac Menu costs €6,19, a good meal at the Maredo Steakhouse costs around €27, that is almost enough to fund 3 talented children for a month so migrants, husbands of Filipinas and many more over here can afford to help. Hope the honorary vice-consul of the Philippines is there next week, if not I will pass by her office by bike soon and ask what can be done!

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Cool. That echoes the comment of my English bayaw who is of North London working class origin: those that grow up with hunger have a scar for life, and may act like the hungry in certain situation referring more to his grandfather than himself.

      And my comment that those who live in constant fear develop a more short-term mode of thinking, again comment ng bayaw ko: those who do not know if a future is there concentrate on the present, and do not have the luxury to plan for the future.

      Programs like that prevent talented children from having a scar for life due to hunger and shortened thinking due to fear. Kudos to the DSWD for such programs, that explains their huge share of the national budget. Shows that they ARE setting real priorities after all.


      I chanced upon another opposite phenomenon yesterday night when comments were off – students in Iloilo engaged in so-called “survival sex” as reported by Anakbayan, actually just a euphemism for prostitution to pay tuition fees and very prevalent during exam time.

      Something very common in postcommunist Romania as well where everything went neoliberal after 1990, a huge trap that enables syndicates to get young women used to the money, give them drugs to help with the psychological pressure – Orthodox Christianity is very strong in Romania and family structures very strong, guilt and not wanting families to know can break. Use them until 30, the next batches are easy to recruit, 18-20 years old.

      With an enormous “market” for dark-haired Latin types all over richer parts of Europe. Plus these women are “mabait” like Pinays. Romania also has a victim culture in many ways, one reason why I get along with the people from there – but they are moving out of it too.


      Back to Philippines: it is very good that a base is being built for people to come out of poverty in a good way, not just forcing their parents to become OFWs, thereby breaking the families apart and more often than not leaving extremely disoriented children behind.

      P500 a day, that is only €10.52. Next thing for me is to look how I can donate to those kinds of projects – and make other migrants aware of the possibilities. I am not for donating to beggars, but I am all for donating to programs that give children a real future – because:

  18. ray james says:

    I met Bill Gates in my corporate life – 2 meetings and 1 dinner, and a big Microsoft contract! – he is impressive, and obsessive.
    And he made me richer, in both mind and money – what is not to like!

    Hope IRRI focus on rice strains which also inhibit/reduce diabetes risk. The recent increase is alarming, and carries a high social and economic cost.

    • Joe America says:

      Re obsessive. That seems like determination carried to the extreme such that others, and other information, are set aside. President Aquino is determined to the point of obsessive. Determined is a strength, obsessive a weakness. One of the positive sides of resilience for Filipinos is the dogged refusal to bow down to troubles. It is how poverty and happiness persist in the same environment, that being to struggle to exist. Can you imagine if that determination were widely channeled to productive enterprises more valuable than weed whacking along the side of the road or planting rice by hand?

      It would be like a beast unleashed.

      • PinoyInEurope says:


        And what I have learned from comparing two victim cultures with one another: Romania and the Philippines, is that Filipinos are first of all more positive, happier than Romanians and that their moral core is much more intact than Romanians who will more often than Filipinos steal, betray and sell their friends, relatives and even themselves. Filipinos are also more attuned to working hard than Romanians who are for the most part very lazy.

        In Romania, to use your technique of accurate guesstimation, around 79.87% of people have the values of Binay, meaning nearly none. In the Philippines it is just 18.72% or so.

    • josephivo says:

      The solutions exist. But what is good for the food industry is bad for us and what is good for us is bad for the powerful industry. Unpolished, brown rice needs (an expensive) cultural shift. Adding sugar, sweeter foods sell better. Refined foods, no fibers because fibers are difficult to freeze and cook…

      Reed the recent studies of prof. Robert Lustig and his group. They have new research outcomes contradicting all the industries criticism (Wikipedia a little limited and outdated or manipulated by the industry.)

      Rice diversity and yields still an issues? Building in more nutrients? Water consumption?

  19. PinoyInEurope says:

    From giancarloangulos link in the previous thread, enumeration added by me:

    After finishing high school, the beneficiaries have the option

    – to seek employment with the help of the Department of Labor and Employment,
    – skills training through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority,
    – or apply for a student grant and aid through the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

    It is about the CCT program that helps poor, talented students get through high school.

    And this is just one aspect: Gawad Kalinga is another program I have just recently read about thanks to someone who is otherwise not very constructive, but I do want to give him credit.

    Everything that lifts people out of poverty and gives the talented and industrious a chance is a truly grand thing. I will continue to aggregate and summarize information that comes along – actually I did not believe things like this were being done, being one of those often disenchanted.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      A further idea which I may have a look at – or anyone else who reads here and has the time and energy to pick it up, is to encourage Pinoy migrants, spouses of Filipinas abroad who have the money to donate to these kinds of initiatives – if that is already possible.

      Overseas taxation of Filipinos was stopped because many did not want to give money to a government perceived as corrupt and useless, but I am sure that focused donations which truly help named beneficiaries may find an echo. And give Filipino associations a purpose.

      Any information that helps me and others who may want to do something in this area is very welcome, in this thread or in others. Because I believe the children are our future.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        My own experience though in the past has been that government agencies – in a specific case I know the DSWD – have been very inflexible and even obstructionist in dealing with private initiatives to help people back in the Philippines. Wanting everything to be done by the government and impeding private and NGO initiatives by a suspicious attitude and by putting all sorts of “technicalities”, meaning legal impediments, in the way of helping.

        I do hope this attitude has changed a little, any inputs on that are very highly welcomed.

        • karl garcia says:

          CCT or PPP is a DSWD program

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Salamat. Ang tanong diyan, tatanggap ba sila ng donations sa abroad? Noong meron gustong tumulong na mga Aleman – sa bagay matagal na iyon – hindi umobra dahil sa fried chicken ng mga DSWD noong panahon na iyon. Ayaw pati nila sa mga Aleman.

              Iyong buwan-buwanan na €10.52, chicken feed lang iyan dito at maraming magdodonate kung may initiative, kaya lang ewan ko lang kung bukas sila sa ganoon. Isang libong tagarito lang ang magdonate ng €10.52 buwan-buwanan, ang daming matutulungan…

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Hayaan mo, doon muna ako sa research and technology initiative.

                Ang hirap kasi sa mga iilang Pilipino, kapag Kano mapakumbaba, kapag taga-Alemanya binibira nila puro Nazi-Nazi ang maririnig mo o kaya akala mo kung sino sila at kami rito mga redneck at atsay lang kaya minsan sawang-sawa na ako, gusto kong manuntok…

                anyway nakaraan na iyan, I will keep this information in mind since I am starting to move back into my Germany-Philippines network. Sila muna, tapos Consulate, Embassy huwag muna dahil minsan mapagmata sila sa taga-Alemanya, hindi na lahat ganoon salamat sa Diyos, minsan akala mo kung sino sila, puro States-States sila kung magsalita, tapos akala nila lahat ng Aleman Nazi at lahat ng Pilipino rito walang pinag-aralan, ek talaga…

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                @Karl: salamat, nagkasalisi iyong mga posting nating. 🙂

              • karl garcia says:

                Yes you can.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Thanks, very good. Will let U.P. Alumni association know, hindi ako member, but I know many of them. At least they have to be taken seriously by the Embassy dahil U.P. sila, then something can be done, the possibilities disseminated.

                Possibly even a tax-deductible German charity formed. Sa mga association, minsan binubulsa ng mga officer ang mga donation kuno – not at U.P. Alumni but elsewhere, o kaya nagsususpetsahan iyong mga miyembro na may korap kahit na wala, mga gago..

            • I think the best way to help the with respect to the said programs is to utilize the MCCT database and the Listahan database.

              Identify the poorest of the poor and the high probability of success individuals.

              Create a parallel program funded by donors that uses almost the same infrastructure (database/atm accounts) and increase the benefits of the super poor and the high probability of success individuals.

              I think this can be done, although I believe no group is doing this right now (hope I am wrong about this.)

  20. PinoyInEurope says:

    The main thrust of this thread is knowledge and the confidence that grow with it.

    Therefore the main focus NOW should be:

    1. identify all possibilities to help further knowledge
    1a. research and technology initiative like the one I am joining
    1b. education initiatives like the ones giancarloangulo mentioned

    2. spread knowledge about these initiatives to further awareness and support

    3. spread knowledge about positive role models in order to further confidence

    Only knowledge can dispel ignorance and superstition. Only confidence can dispel frustration and negativity. Only evidence that things are truly changing can full convince the disenchanted.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      You need to identify the problems though AND how they are being worked on. I refer to a comment made by Joe regarding the CCT posting of giancarloangulo in the prequel.

      ONLY focusing on the positive is unrealistic. We have to focus on both things to avoid the trap of becoming like Marcos propagandists. And to remain credible to our readers.

      We must remember that skepticism and negativity in the Philippines have their reasons. Therefore light must constantly shine to dispel the darkness without denying it exists.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Let us not become like Marcos or socialist propagandists. In North Korea they report magic harvests while people are starving. That kind of stuff is counterproductive.

        Remember Joe that that kind of stuff can undermine credibility among Filipinos who are so used to hearing all sorts of lies and half-truths. The positive must be mentioned but reality must not be left out – economically or politically. We need to convince as many as possible.

  21. PinoyInEurope says:

    Healthy confidence comes from the following things:

    1a. clear knowledge of one’s strengths,

    1b. acceptance of one’ weaknesses,

    2a. reason to deal with the known,

    2.b. faith in dealing with the unknown,

    3.a. knowing when one should not jump from a cliff,

    3.b. starting by jumping from a rock then progressing.

    The helix that Manong sonny so wisely wrote about…

  22. karl garcia says:

    We can turn things around even in the comment threads.
    Joe is veeery right, so many bad news, we fail to see the good news.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Positivity is needed to overcome negativity. Knowledge is needed against ignorance.

      Facts and proof to dispel doubts. Risk management to dispel fears that are risks.

      It is like biking uphill in the Tour de France, you feel like quitting but you don’t.

  23. PinoyInEurope says:

    Negative things can be turned around and made into positive things. Take vindictiveness.

    My anger at the Embassy – those who angered me once are no longer there – is turning into positive efforts to help the country from over here. Nauragan si Parekoy sa akin, ako rin sa kanya. My anger is turning into competitiveness in helping the country, not destructiveness.

    I once told some people I was very angry at the title of an old Fernando Poe movie in the 60’s: iisa-isahin ko kayo, the ultimate story of vengeance where a billard player destroys a Mafia that killed his father and tried to destroy him just like billard balls, one after the other…

    I will take on those who have angered me one after the other, but by doing better than them – thereby turning Filipino one-upmanship into something almost like American competitiveness.

    One cannot shake completely what one is inside, but one can turn it around into something good. Knowledge gained to fight others can become knowledge for the common good. Hitting heads not to knock them off but to enlighten them can become true search for cooperative knowledge…

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      And if people want to take each other to court, it should be the basketball court.

      And if we are talking about tennis, those that are still balls must become pulot boys first before becoming players, thank you Karl for this nice helix-type analogy.

      And to succeed, we must not only be cyclists, we must also eat one frog every morning, just like Mark Twain and Karl Garcia (not Yogi Berra) like to say.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        A lot of Filipino anger and vindictiveness is a sign of insecurity stemming from a history of victimhood and powerlessness that we must all overcome. It is akin to the anger and rage of Afro-American rappers who also come from a culture that has victimhood in it. The key to overcoming this is empowerment, and knowledge, the capacity to apply it and actually applying it are key to the empowerment that increases CONFIDENCE. And confidence dispels the insecurity that causes anger and vindictiveness, it is the cure to the disease.

        Now finally, as for the aspect of us just writing here and not doing anything – I am making a start by finally doing things. And writing, especially if it is backed up by action, can inspire. It is a form of spiritual leadership, of calling people to action. And if the one writing puts his money where his mouth is, in whichever way is possible for him, it is even more credible. Hopefully many more will do what they can wherever they are, because everything counts.

  24. PinoyInEurope says:

    One thing I very much appreciate with Joe, and this must be said, is his judiciousness and patience. My mail address is again in the “awaiting moderation” list at Raissa’s blog after I posted some stuff about the BBL, some of it very useful other stuff inflammatory or provocative. Before that I was already freed so that my comments were immediately published. No such controls over here, in fact measures taken are always justified openly, something which is a lot of work for Joe.

    OK, the traffic at Raissa’s blog is much higher and I understand the need for akismet over there. But here at Joe there is a very high degree of freedom and tolerance within clearly set limits that are explained, even occasional dissenters like me have a chance to publish their own stuff here.

    I do understand though that at Raissa, the parameters are different and therefore also the rules.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      In fairness to Raissa and Alan, I must say though that my comments in akismet are released after a while, so they do take time to read them and release them.

      But one thing is important though – we must all be prepared for hacker attacks when campaign time comes, including professional troll armies similar to what Putin’s propaganda machine uses in Western Europe to influence opinion on the Ukraine.

      At the moment things are still OK, but I am pointing out the risks that may come upon us.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, and the thing is, it is the “bad” forces who are organized enough to wage publicity and social media campaigns, creating their own truths. The Inquirer discussion threads are often dominated by a triad of opposing forces, generally Chinese against American and Filipino, and in the political blogs, there discussions are dominated by opposing forces, not there to teach and learn, but to dominate. The fact is, it is easier to criticize than praise. I see Gabriella posturing about a Filipino maid about to be put to death for taking drugs into Indonesia. Gabriella is saying that if she dies, it is President Aquino’s fault.

        As if he should have the power to dictate to Indonesia and overcome their laws.

        The argument will resonate because of the blame thrown at him for Mamasapano. It’s like we have a “killer president”.

        If the President argues, he is accused of making excuses. There are no forces for the good other than a social media crowd, not a force, of maybe a hundred people.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “I see Gabriella posturing about a Filipino maid about to be put to death for taking drugs into Indonesia. Gabriella is saying that if she dies, it is President Aquino’s fault.” Idiots.

          They should take care of protecting trafficked women, for example, there are enough.

          They should take care of women beaten by their alcoholic husbands in the slums.

          That would be really working hard for the cause of women, not just posturing.

  25. edgar lores says:

    1. Victimhood, knowledge, confidence, trust – it’s a mixed bag.

    2. The progression in thought seems to be:

    2.1. Thesis: We are victims of our colonial history and our oligarchic present
    2.2. Antithesis: To overcome our sense of victimhood we need KNOWLEDGE.

    2.3. But knowledge is imperfect.
    2.4 So we need CONFIDENCE which can be inculcated by:
    2.4.1. Praise when we are young.
    2.4.2. Good decisions when we are adults.

    2.5. Filipino children are raised in a DISCIPLINARY manner by parents and schools.
    2.5.1. They are criticised instead of praised.
    2.5.2. Consequently, they do not develop CONFIDENCE and are unable to make good decisions and obtain good results.
    2.5.3. Subsequently, they use EXCUSES (PALUSOTS) to justify their bad decisions and results.

    2.6. We must develop CONFIDENCE in ourselves and TRUST in ourselves, in each other, and in our leaders (who prove to be trustworthy).
    2.6.1 We must be positive to become winners.
    2.6.2. The alternative is to continue to be negative and thus… to continue to be victims.

    3. On KNOWLEDGE:

    3.1. Let me say at the outset that I do not mind using religious allegory to arrive at wisdom. The myths of mankind, as (Joseph) Campbell asserts, are “penultimate truths – penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words.”

    3.2. Ray James points out that knowledge is imperfect because it may be many different things other than empirical knowledge. And in the Philippines, faith as knowledge trumps empirical knowledge.

    Example: A divorce law should not be passed because faith says it is adultery. Never mind that annulments are granted, queridas abound, and abandoned women may not get child support, may not get an equitable share of conjugal wealth, and may not remarry.

    3.3. As PinoyInEurope asserts: data is not information is not knowledge is not wisdom.

    3.4. What are the differences? Let me analyse me.

    3.4.1. My name is Edgar Lores. This is a personal datum. Is this information? Not quite.

    3.4.2. If one were to read the biographical data, educational data, and employment history data contained in my resume, one would have personal information on Edgar Lores. Is this knowledge? Not quite.

    3.4.3. If one were to meet Edgar (alone and in company) and hold deep conversations with him (and company) on many things under the sun, one could safely say that one “knows” Edgar. This knowledge enables you to act and interact with Edgar and company. Is this wisdom? Not quite.

    3.4.4. What would wisdom of Edgar consist of? I am not sure. It may consist of (a) understanding Edgar’s world view vis-a-vis the world view of others and of yourself: (b) understanding the interplay of reactions and interactions among these world views and the world; and (c) discerning the truth in these world views… and applying the discernment in one’s own life. So wisdom, like knowledge, is not only theoretical but also practical. However, it is greater than knowledge in that it combines knowledge with experience, greater understanding, intuition and common sense… all in the service of good judgement.


    4.1. Generally, it is true that confidence is built on past successes. We must beware though of the pitfall of overconfidence, such as that possessed by Pacquiao who believes he can legislate, sing and dribble at the level of his pugilistic acumen. Or of Jinggoy and Jejomar, who having hoodwinked the people, believe they can do it on a greater scale.

    4.2. Confidence is such a fragile thing. In its absence, tennis players and golf players choke, and stock markets crash. In its excess, we have people who leap before they look, and con(fidence) men. And we know, that ersatz confidence can come from a bottle (hic).

    4.3. As a systems man, I think the confidence we have should not initially be in the certitude of our answers, but in the acuity of our questions, the effectiveness of our methodology, and the appropriateness of our solution.

    4.4 In IT, we talk of fallback. We are confident that our questions have led us to a correct understanding of the problem, we are confident of our analysis, perhaps more so in our proposed solution, and we have laid out the implementation steps. But if we fail at the last step, we should be able to fall back to where we started. We are confident we will not fail, but we nevertheless prepare for failure. This should give us greater confidence. And system restore, that is the ability to undo error, is not defeat, it is a temporary retreat.

    4.4.1. So confidence can come not only from success but also from failure, if we learn from our mistakes. That is the big if. Have we learned from Marcos, Estrada, and Macapagal-Arroyo? Did we learn from Yolanda? What did we learn from Mamasapano? (I believe the failure of Mamasapano was the absence of a coordinated fallback plan.)

    4.4.2. It is said that Pacquiao is now a better boxer after his defeat by Marquez. We – and he — will know next month.

    4.4.3. If Binay, the conman par excellence, ascends to the presidency, we will have learned nothing. We will know next year.

    5. Both victimhood and confidence are emotional states, one negative the other positive. We do indeed need knowledge to transcend the first and acquire the latter. but we must beware of overconfidence. Who knows? We might even become wise.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      4.3. As a systems man, I think the confidence we have should not initially be in the certitude of our answers, but in the acuity of our questions, the effectiveness of our methodology, and the appropriateness of our solution.

      4.4 In IT, we talk of fallback. We are confident that our questions have led us to a correct understanding of the problem, we are confident of our analysis, perhaps more so in our proposed solution, and we have laid out the implementation steps. But if we fail at the last step, we should be able to fall back to where we started. We are confident we will not fail, but we nevertheless prepare for failure. This should give us greater confidence. And system restore, that is the ability to undo error, is not defeat, it is a temporary retreat.

      4.4.1. So confidence can come not only from success but also from failure, if we learn from our mistakes. That is the big if. Have we learned from Marcos, Estrada, and Macapagal-Arroyo? Did we learn from Yolanda? What did we learn from Mamasapano? (I believe the failure of Mamasapano was the absence of a coordinated fallback plan.)


      Dosvidanie kolega! Now I know why your style looks so familiar to me. You must be of the host programmer generation. Possibly a guy with big glasses. And a white shirt with a pen always in the pocket. Black pants and leather shoes.

      I am an eclectic in everything I do, even IT. A former PC programmer, dBase, Foxpro, then PowerBuilder who upgraded to Sybase, SQL Server, Oracle then SAP Basis (a powerful host-type system simulated on top of Unix or Windows NT) then SAP Applications.

      The younger generation I often deal with uses SCRUM and other methodologies which are close to my own eclectic methodology – systematic trial and error basically, which is faster than the old host methodology you apparently were shaped by and more precise than the PC and UNIX hacker methods which the old host guys rightly saw with a lot of suspicion due to the enormous amount of bugs created, the unreliability and totally crazy unpredictability.


      The way to find confidence is to learn from errors iteratively like in my way of doing things. Often I make programs on limited budget, so I have to make assumptions, let things crash but during tests, then adjust for the assumptions that were wrong. But in a controlled way.

      Used to crash things in production and correct them, with all sorts of Pinoy excuses to protect myself from being fired, but I learned over time to question assumptions on time.

      You cannot question all assumptions though because you will never get finished, at times the users do not even really know what they want so you have to just let things crash and then ask them once again. It takes enormous gumption to do projects that way though.

      That is the aspect of faith that is needed in dealing with the unknown, reason should be used to deal with the known. Even in IT, much more in real life, you never know everything.

      Fallback is the risk management aspect that I have dealt with so often – you have to insure yourself against risks that are likely and can have more than minor consequences. Thus you have one spare tire, but not two in your trunk, two tires blow and you need some faith and luck if that happens on the Autobahn, but it is highly unlikely so you leave it at that. If you are the US President you have a car that is protected even against that in case of an attack, and you have your car armored and with bulletproof windows because it is likely. Many Russian novi richi have bulletproof mobile phones but not bulletproof vests, now that is almost Filipino in terms of risk management – setting the wrong priorities so often.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        First bugfix: it is not dosvidanie, it is privyet kolega.

        Dosvidanie is goodbye, privyet is hello…

      • edgar lores says:

        Crash things in production? A big no-no in the shops I worked in. It did happen but very rarely. User acceptance testing on weekends, after extensive and rigorous three-phase quality testing (programmer [module], project team [sub/system integration] and test team [system-wide integration]), usually caught any bug before the Monday workday began, and rollback would occur immediately.

        It would happen that a bug would go through on rarely used functionality and incrementally and cumulatively wreak creeping havoc. These were the hard ones, but nothing that a bug-fix program (and partial module migration) could not cure.

        I thought newer methodologies were stricter, quality-control wise.

        You like living dangerously, I see. (I do too but only in my private life — and more in thinking than in doing — and not in my professional one.)

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          I USED to like living dangerously, I avoid crashing things in production if I can help it now.

          One gets older and wiser with time. You would be surprised how “Pinoy-style” some German companies work but pretend to be high quality bulletproof suppliers hehe…

          Newer methodologies are partly LESS strict than the old host methodologies, the influence of the rebels coming from PC and Unix worlds is definitely there in some quarteres.

          My totally crazy projects – underfunded, oversold, badly specified – were the ones were I got my crazy reputation, but also my reputation of being able to fix everything.

          But the really bad experiences, my IT Mamasapanos, have taught me one thing – to be more careful and methodic, otherwise I would not have rebounded from those failures.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Ahh, I start to remember my fallback planning projects. Likelihood of something happening – database down, server down, network down computed against the financial loss due to total loss of data, hours of system shutdown etc.

        Valuable SAP systems in big firms are backed up fully every week, iteratively every day – Oracle allows you to redo everything up to the point of the last iterative backup – and usually mirrored to either have full failover NASA-style or a backup system on the ready.

        If the risk of floods or fire is high and the data highly valuable, backup copies are move to secondary sites, a backup server may be in a safe secondary site like the Europol database which is in Strasbourg but has a mirror server in the Austrian mountains.


        Why is Google always there? Because they go one step further and conduct regular fire drill type exercises to test the antifragility of their system. Teams go and cut major connections, make routers fail to test the emergency response of local and national teams.

        There is no blaming at Google – all errors are analyzed and measures taken to avoid them later. You didn’t find the router password on time because the colleague who had it was on vacation. Write all passwords in a fixed place everybody crucial knows so it does not happen again.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Google is therefore CONFIDENT that they will usually be there. Like a boxer who has good trainers and sparring partners and is therefore ready for the real fight. For everything else you cannot control, there is FAITH to back you up.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            In my older IT projects, I went in like an Ilaga fighter who believed that his anting-anting would render him bulletproof. In fact I actually wore an anting-anting beneath my office shirt before. It did not help me in some situations though so I lost my belief in it.

            But now I can say: I believe that anting-antings or God or faith are good if you do all you can to secure your bases. A residual risk always remains in anything you do in life.

    • josephivo says:

      Some comments.

      Once I got a very simple definition of wisdom: “Wisdom is share of mind and share of heart” Not only knowing what you are saying but also have a deep belief in what you are saying. Belief you get through experience or from taking it over from a trusted friend.

      Confidence comes from knowledge and experience but more important from the pecking order of the parents, the group/department/platoon, caste, country… you belong too.
      Confidence and risk tolerance are related, as is knowledge of the limits.

      Too much or too little of everything and their opposite is bad, even for victimhood. All is about balance.

      In my world there are 3 levels, a visible one – the product or service, the underlying processes – physical or procedural, and the mental models we use to select, develop these processes. Your mental module of risk tolerance will influence the process you use and this process will influence the end product. Change can focus on either of the 3 levels.

    • Joe America says:

      So much here. Wisdom is the perceptive joining of a wide range of data, experiences, observations, lessons, and the ability to connect and extract from them either new meanings or meanings appropriate to any situation. It improves with age because the accumulation of experiences, and moreso the connective thoughts and extractions, build and build and build.

      Superstition is a fake wisdom, because it connects and extracts ideas unrelated to any foundation of truth or value. I think superstition is a substitute for wisdom among many in the Philippines.

      I have not yet been able to convince myself that mass-schooled Filipinos are insecure as a result of authoritarian parenting and schooling, so in the article, I referred to it as a hardness. In verbal discussions, that would be a hard-headedness. It actually seems to produce a different kind of confidence, not the emotional/intellectual confidence that I can relate to most of the time, but a blind confidence, assurance and immunity to any opposing idea. I have not yet figured out the dynamic, and I know it is dangerous to generalize. Many do not fit that pattern. That hard confidence is probably a good trait in some occupations (army, labor, domestic service), but not in others (problem solving, president 🙂 ). There is SOMETHING going on, as call center bosses say it is difficult to get their agents to move from form responses to creative, impromptu responses, and beyond that, supervisory capacities.

      So, in general, I don’t really see Filipinos as insecure or neurotic as many Americans are. It’s just that I think that style of confidence helps block wisdom.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        “I have not yet been able to convince myself that mass-schooled Filipinos are insecure as a result of authoritarian parenting and schooling, so in the article, I referred to it as a hardness. In verbal discussions, that would be a hard-headedness. It actually seems to produce a different kind of confidence, not the emotional/intellectual confidence that I can relate to most of the time, but a blind confidencen assurance and immunity to any opposing idea. I have not yet figured out the dynamic, and I know it is dangerous to generalize. Many do not fit that pattern.” I have also seen that HARD confidence among Russians and Yugoslavian people who also have a harsh, authoritarian drill in school. Their elite is different though, just like some parts of the Filipino intellectual elite which is very thin – the milieu that I grew up in before activism thrust me into my migrant existence.

        “as call center bosses say it is difficult to get their agents to move from form responses to creative, impromptu responses, and beyond that, supervisory capacities.” Definitely.

        “in general, I don’t really see Filipinos as insecure or neurotic as many Americans are” there is the same dynamic between Turkish migrants (also proud and hard) and Germans. The third generation is more flexible in thinking and now slowly moving up the ladder.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “blind confidence, assurance and immunity to any opposing idea. I have not yet figured out the dynamic” It must have to do with authoritarian parenting or schooling. I had both an authoritarian (my Filipino nationalist, Catholic father who demanded that I type even assignments without typos and made me repeat them if he found any, remembered till this day as a terror by his former students, shouting and chalk-throwing among other things) and strict but non-authoritarian upbringing that encouraged independent thinking and dispute in finding the truth – my Lutheran German mother who was a language teacher at Ateneo, no excuses for failure for sure, but with a modern enabling approach to all things.

          For my father, open-mindedness was equivalent to lack of principle, to being weak. Something you had said you were not allowed to take back, our arguments taught me to be like an attorney which his father was, aside from having been an anti-Japanese partisan, a rice smuggler, an abaca planter, a fiscal, a judge and finally a BIR official. My mother was more on the analytical, learning side, open to new things, strict but very fair. This is why I understand the difference between both aspects and know their dynamics. BTW my mother’s grandfather was a Lutheran missionary who was in Indonesia and in Namibia – there he clashed with the German colonial government regarding human rights.

          • i7sharp says:

            “… my Lutheran German mother who was a language teacher at Ateneo,”

            Lufthansa, in 1981, hired a German national who taught at Ateneo(?) and was a craftsman by hobby to improve its office at the then newly-opened MIA (Manila International Airport).
            You might know him?

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              I’ll ask my mother next time we phone – on Sundays usually.

              1981 we were still in the Philippines, we left in 1982 due to me.

              So if he was there she will know about him, the department is small.

              • i7sharp says:

                Thanks, PIE.
                “1981 we were still in the Philippines, we left in 1982 due to me.”

                Due to you? I, for one, am interested to know more.

                btw, I was the first occupant of the Lufthansa airport office there. I reported to the LH Manager for the Philippines, Hagen Keilich.
                No, no, I have no German blood. I am as pango as any Filipino; I am a Pampango.

                Lufthansa is the reason I went to Germany nine times in four years.
                To Lufthansa Schulungszentrum in Seihem to be exact:

                My four years with LH were the most wonderful of my working life.
                Many fond memories. Very many.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Activism during Marcos time was dangerous. I landed in jail for a while and had a case open. Kabataang Makabayan ako noon, no more details, even now.

        • karl garcia says:

          Never went past the training stage in the call centers I have tried, but deviating from scripts is a big nono. Ad lib at the risk of low metrics. You are even suppose to show in the screen that you used all help/ knowledge base facilities available.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Drone ka lang naman talaga sa call center – I know some call center / support managers.

            You have more freedom once you are second level support, the most in third level.

          • Joe America says:

            AAh, so YOU are the reason I got angry at Citibank and closed my credit card account. They sent every form letter on the screen, but never read my letters. I read a couple of weeks later that they have a service center in Manila. Two months afterward, I got an apology letter from South Dakota acknowledging they had not provided proper service. I was impressed with that.

            • karl garcia says:

              Lol got to pay 100 K bond at Citi, if you won’t last one year. At WAMU, I handled voice and Letters so that leter from South Dakota probably came from Manila.
              As far as jokes, tried and stopped. I joked and half the room laughed, and got reprimanded,pressing mute while shouting invectives did not work for me too, I failed to coordinate with the rest and they did not press mute,so it was still traceable to me.Busted again.

              • Joe America says:

                Ahahahaha, you are better suited to blogging I think. We need to figure out a payplan, which I’ll get to working on as soon as I develop a revenue stream. Unfortunately, the Roxas group that contacted me did not offer any kind of . . . er . . . consideration.

              • karl garcia says:

                PiE will make comenting at a full time job, if he gets paid per letter.

              • Joe America says:

                He’ll retire rich in a year. ahahaha 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        “Superstition is a fake wisdom, because it connects and extracts ideas unrelated to any foundation of truth or value.” Superstition is pre-rational wisdom lost in translation.

        Not eating pork for Jews and Muslims had it reasons in olden days because pig is very dangerous for your health in a hot climate and if it is not handled properly.

        Rules of chastity in religions had there reasons – illegitimate children caused disorder when it came to inheritance, venereal diseases could destroy society in condomless times.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Moses went up the mountain because his people were dancing around the golden calf, total chaos, and came down with the Ten Commandments.

          I can imagine what his people were up to in the desert before that: killing, commiting adultery, stealing their neighbors property, disrespecting their parents, lying against their neighbors – his community was in disorder so he needed to call on God to stop them.

  26. jameboy says:

    How can we emerge from victimhood? Granting for the sake of discussion we are indeed victims, the next question would be who victimized us? There should be someone who is responsible for the victimization. Is the victimization done only by bad people or does good people do it too?

    What about the system, the culture and the mentality? Does it promote and encourage victimhood? I think we need to explore more those angles to be able to have a realistic narrative about victimhood.

    The election cheatings, jueteng corruption, people in high offices/places enriching themselves, etc. are all acts of victimization we are all subjected to. The victimhood is not only caused by physical acts but also by words and statements or absence of it. In the past, a senior senator telling us, “that if rape were inevitable, one should relax and enjoy it.” Not a good remark from someone who should be advising us to repulse any act of victimization.

    Finally, it is not enough that we just admit of victimhood and go from there. We should also determine why and what victimized us in the first place. 😎

    • Joe America says:

      Let’s presume it is the entitled class of the Philippines, along with compliance from certain institutions like the Catholic Church, that is victimizing the poor, one is still left with the question of, okay, who is going to do something about it.

      It is interesting to me that most poor people seem to hold the government responsible, and not the oligarchs.

      Still, the victims would be well to understand if their behaviors contribute to the negative dynamic. Like voting for crooks.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Victims often become co-dependent on those who persecute them. Prostitutes that want to leave their pimps but keep going back to them for example. Oliver Twist was co-dependent on Fagin and even cried out when he was about to be executed.

        The cycle is hard to break, Oliver Twist managed because the State broke it for him by executing the man who used him. Some victims never manage to leave co-dependency.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          In the Karpman drama triangle, the poor are the “victims”, the rich are the “persecutors”, and Binay is the “rescuer” who will become the new persecutor in time. Who will be the “rescuer” in that situation? Leftist or rightist revolutionaries of some sort?

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Back in 2000, Erap was a “rescuer” of the masses who became a “persecutor” for many.

            Gloria was the “rescuer” who became a persecutor in a very short period of time…

          • Joe America says:

            “Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows.” The carnival barker, roulette wheel operator, and political observer . . .

            • karl garcia says:

              I remember a pundit that sounds like Our Hero, and he basically disagrees with privatization, and he is not alone in this worldview. I see a no win here, keep on blaming government and when they privatize blame them some more

              • karl garcia says:

                I placed it here by mistake, but quite related to round anf round because it is a no win situation for the government.

                Spandau Ballet’s Round and Round was inspired by Dickens? Good to know.

        • Joe America says:

          Dickens writes some of the most beautiful characters, even the evil ones. Fagin reminds me of Binay, but I suppose it is a loose association.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        And in jail, Erap was seen as a “victim” by many, just like Gloria is seen as a “victim” by some now and Noynoy is seen as the “persecutor” who used to be the “rescuer” from Gloria, these groups used Mamasapano to persecute Noynoy and make him a “victim”.

        Which is why victimhood and its alter egos of being a persecutor or a rescuer is such a pernicious thing, and getting out of it so hard yet vital. These examples illustrate that.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          And in comes Joe to “rescue” Noynoy and “persecute” Poe and Napenas, with jameboy to the “rescue” for both. Joe ain’t no victim, no persecutor and no rescuer though, so jameboy will not be a victim, a new persecutor or a rescuer. None of that “comedy” here.

      • jameboy says:

        Let me just clarify one thing before I proceed. I understand the prequel as well as the sequel talked about victimhood in relation to the country itself and not the poor people. That (county) is what I have in mind in responding to the blog. In shifting gear to the victimhood of the poor I have to adjust a little bit and rewind my thoughts to get closer to your premise.

        Who is going to fix the victimization of the poor? Obviously, being helpless and powerless, they cannot do it by themselves. They need assistance. As always the one on top of the citizenry – the government – the one that provides the social order, the system we have in place should spearhead the movement to help lessen if not eliminate entirely the reason or cause of victimization of the poor. Along that line, the ‘not poor’ people, the private sector will be most valuable in the effort for they have the capability to contribute effectively. It will not be easy and will require a lot on everybody involve. But let me jump to the issue of ‘voting for crooks’.

        I’m sure everyone will agree with me that voting for crooks is not just voting for crooks. There is something there that we are not talking about. And we are not talking about it because it’s convenient to glance over it and just blame the poor. And I don’t think that is proper.

        Let me just give some examples why. If everybody running for office is a crook, what is your option? If you keep on voting for good and honest people all your life and get the same lousy results, aren’t you entitled to experiment and elect someone whom you think will directly respond to your needs? You have been voting for years and years for highly educated people, educated in exclusive schools here and abroad, distinguished members of society, intelligent and well-respected people in public office and yet graft and corruption pervades public service, are you not going to assume that there is really no difference in people when it comes to dipping their fingers in government’s empty coffers?

        So there. 😄

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “are you not going to assume that there is really no difference in people when it comes to dipping their fingers in government’s empty coffers?” well said.

          Or – this what I think LP is about – not being corrupt, but making an economic policy that favors their own kind to the detriment of all others. Non-inclusive growth we are having.

          “I’m sure everyone will agree with me that voting for crooks is not just voting for crooks.” Yes, exactly. But I will always prefer murderers to thieves, murderers are more honest.

        • Joe America says:

          I was referring to the people themselves, the blames, the excuses, the mis-direction . . . the sum of which forms the national presence on the global scene and among Filipinos themselves as negative. I agree it is not appropriate to blame the poor, but they are a part of the cycle that can only be broken if people within the cycle do something different. It falls to educators, who can be within the school or candidates for office, to also break the cycle in the method of their instruction. In their own acts. The whole cycle would collapse if everyone in it started with self-awareness and a conscious decision to be a constructive player, and advocate for what is right for the nation, rather than a victim, and a taker.

          • jameboy says:

            Let me slightly correct my self. The poor is not blameless for what’s happening. They are part of the problem and part of the solution. The cycle cannot be broken without their participation. And the sad and hard part of it is they’ll be the first casualty if reform and solution is found for a number if them have grown accustomed to the cycle of impunity.

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, that is true. Impunity is not just a disease of the rich, it seems to me. It is a value that is fairly common, that it is not wrong to avoid the law (motorcycle helmets), it is wrong to get caught.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks for qualifying the original assertion. The professional poor are the quintessence of victimhood.

              • Joe America says:

                They are, but I rather think victimhood is rather like ignorance. There are different classes.

                1. Of no accountability (a child born into a poor family that teaches bad lessons; a family that happened to be in the wrong place when a firefight between SAF and MILF erupts)

                2. Of accountability (an adult who could learn about accountability and victimhood but chooses not to)

                3. Of manipulation (an adult who knows about accountability and victimhood but chooses to play the role for advantage)

                I think most poor are of the first type, but there are some of the second and third. Those of the second who are ignorant for no reason under their control (poor parents and bad education), and can’t find a way forward, are not professionals I think. The third group is professionals.

                The cases of young people who used the CCT program to climb out of their condition suggests a lot of the poor are not professionals. Where professionals are defined to be those who don’t mind their condition and don’t try to change it. Indeed, they use it.

              • edgar lores says:

                Nice refinement and discernment.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      There is the Karpman drama triangle of victim, persecutor and rescuer where people can change their roles. Former victims can become persecutors or rescuers (Enrile was an illegitimate child of a haciendero and a labandera, during Martial Law the worst persecutor, then helped Cory gain power), rescuers can become persecutors (Enrile went against Cory), and persecutors or rescuers can become victims (Enrile is one now in a way).

      Children beaten or abused can become child-beaters and abusers themselves. The slaves of today can become the tyrants of tomorrow, Rizal wrote and was very right if you look at it. The colonialists are gone, Filipinos are victimizing each other in this endless cycle.

      The only way to break the drama triangle is to leave it. Easier said than done though.

    • josephivo says:

      Looking around, I see: Few have parents high in the pecking order of the purok, barangay… the top is small and many settle for acolyte positions. Confidence comes from position in the group. Many look down on dark skin and Malay features. (Where is Mariano when you need him?) Many work in call-centers and are shouted at the whole day. Many OFW’s are in servant positions. Many have so little that they are powerless, having to beg, a mendicant society. Tricycle drivers, jeepney drivers, helpers… feel as (and are treated as) underdogs. Utang creates helplessness. People accept their fate by blaming others. Ambition is a bad word.

      70 years of independence, but something seems still missing.

      • karl garcia says:

        Best sharks hold atms even of office workers.True call center life is like that all day stress management.The rest , I also agree.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “Many look down on dark skin and Malay features.” And those who do not speak English very well. Or those who are Lumad or Muslim. Or making fun of Bisaya accent gid .

          Postcolonial mentality in a nutshell.

          The inverse is hating those who speak English better and/or are whiter and/or are Christian and/or from Manila, the postcolonial capital of the Philippines.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “loan sharks hold atms even of office workers.” Interesting. Let me ask – WHY?

          1. If it is because of gambling or other problems, I have no pity for these people.

          2. If it is because of financial emergencies in the family and no OFW to help – 😦

          3. Then the question is, what kind of emergencies and how can they be helped?

          3a. medical stuff – improve Philhealth.

          3b. Kid’s schooling – improve mechanisms for helping poor students.

          3c. other stuff – please specify which so we can look at it further.

          As for debt, in Germany there are so called “Schuldnerberatungen” – debtor’s advisory offices that help people consolidate and restructure their debts, change spending habits, in Germany there are poor people who have never learned to handle money in the family.

          Also there is private bankruptcy which the courts can declare – you are placed under tight observation and have to pay your debts one by one, but you are debt-free after 6 years.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Fortunately I never needed any of those services, but I know people who did.

            My mother and sister helped me out when I was in the red four years ago, and I took a very well-paid kamikaze project which I actually managed to make work. Paid off the Russian loanshark I owed to, and the local goons I hired to protect me after that.

            The former kamikaze project nearly ruined my health completely and I had to find other ways to get rid of the local goons, but I have survived all and am coming back to health.

          • karl garcia says:

            My bad, ATM cards only and not the whole machine.Office workers can’t aford that.That is why there is 5-6. Credit cards are just more sophisticated. I guess part of the reason why Bill Gates was here, because the hacker that stole from him using his account number, hid here,good news is he got caught.

        • Joe America says:

          Given that most of the stress likely comes from Americans, are “cultural antagonisms” formed within call centers. Are jokes made? They would be a form of stress release. I can see millions of workers forming judgments of Americans based on angry incidents.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            The new Filipino term pakshet probably originated in call centers. There is also a satire I read somewhere of a call center guy who mutes the phone each time to vent his rage at the Americans in Filipino. Then turns mute off again to be very friendly to the customer.

            A UP professor wrote about how his daughter came home crying because someone had called her a “stupid bitch”. That is what I meant in my Tipping Point article – losing awe.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        “Ambition is a bad word. ” Not only ambition.

        Pilosopo, nagmamarunong are bad words too.

        Knowledge, striving for it and sharing it are E V I L !

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        “Few have parents high in the pecking order of the purok, barangay…” I was lucky.

        My father is practically a Brahmin, an intellectual high priest, my mother is German.

        When I went to Germany, I was a migrant half-breed – that taught me a lot of things.

        “the top is small and many settle for acolyte positions.”

        The acolytes in Spanish times were called Ladinos, the subaltern colonial scribes.

        The equivalent of today’s call center workers so to speak, in German the Zuarbeiter.

        Many hacienderos are descended from former katiwala / bastard sons of Spanish priests..

        • jameboy says:

          Still I don’t get the connection of your mini bio to the issue., PinoyIE

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            My having belonged to a very good “caste” in the Philippines gave me confidence from the very beginning. My having to start anew abroad prevented OVER-confidence.

  27. PinoyInEurope says: – I highly recommend the video embedded here as a lesson on confidence.

    Joe and josephivo are the two priests wearing glasses. Edgar Lores is the one with a white hat. Ray James is one of the nuns. Karl Garcia is the boy doing the solo part. I am Whoopi Goldberg.


  28. jameboy says:

    I, for one, am totally on board with the call to assert ourselves, to rise up, to be in charge of our destinies, to aim for common good and common purpose as a nation, as a people; to exhibit more compassion, and knowledge, and understanding…

    This case can be made without resorting to religious tales and myth. – Micha
    What is expected from us is to read it and comment on the idea and not the form. Don’t you have the right to criticize the form? Sure you do but you do it in a manner that you don’t lose the main issue of the narrative. Make it a side dish not the main course.

    I just wish Joe would allow you to make a blog with religion as the subject matter. It is nice to have a space where we can exclusively talk about it than have it crop up anywhere anytime. I say that because I noticed that every time you read something about religion you tend to get to fighting mood not to defend but to criticize it. So, to satisfy not only you but a number of us, if you want to have a discussion anything about religion I suggest you make the first move. If Joe would be amenable about it, of course. 🙂

    • i7sharp says:


      Micha should at least deal with the refutation of his “myth” claims.
      Did I miss his response to findings of Harvard Royal Professor Greenleaf?

      If Micha does not want to deal with that (Resurrection) anymore, let us hear of his knowledge that redounds to improvements in the Philippines/

    • Joe America says:

      We have had deep discussions, one of the most enriching a two or three day engagement between Edgar and sonny on the topic. Maybe I’ll write the blog myself and let others who are new work the subject to their satisfaction . . .

  29. I’d also like to share this interview from Dani Rodrik. The pertinent part is attached below:

    Suppose you’re in a setting where the rule of law and contract enforcement are really weak. And you realize that they don’t change overnight. Are you better off promoting the set of policies that presume that rule of law and contract enforcement will take care of themselves, or are you better off recommending a strategy that optimizes against the background of a weak rule of law? And I say that the evidence is that you do much better when you do the second.

    The best example is China. Its growth experience is full of these second-best strategies, which take into account that they have, in many areas, weak institutions and a weak judicial system, and therefore they couldn’t move directly to the kinds of property rights we have in Europe and the United States. And yet they’ve managed to provide incentives and generate export-orientation in ways that are very different from how we would have said they ought to have done it, which would have been to simply open up their economy or privatize their enterprises. There, second-best strategies have been very effective. The same can be said of Vietnam, say, or

    • mercedes santos says:

      These two countries have the traits of the PHOENIX, don’t you think ? They rise and fall and then they RISE again. I wonder when Greece’s turn will be, perhaps by selling their souls to the Russians ??

    • NHerrera says:


      I will bet that you have read “Why Nations Fail” written by Acemoglu and Robinson which treats of China in the context of the authors thesis — that eventually nations fail if they don’t have inclusive political and economic institutions.

      Whether or not you have read the book, the point is that the authors acknowledge the well-earned economic growth of China, probably adopting what you wrote as second-best strategies. In Acemoglu and Robinson’s terms, the Chinese from Deng’s time loosen the tight grip on the economic institutions, that is moving somewhat towards inclusive economic policies (but not inclusive enough in the sense of Western countries), but enough to grow the economy over two decades of the order of 10% growth per year.

      But the authors posit that eventually this growth will hit some blank wall because of the still exclusive political institution and still not totally inclusive economic institution. Total inclusive economic institution is anathema to the exclusive political institution (ie Politburo and the Political-business elite); and thus inclusive political institutions is not to be parted or loosened that easily. Political and Economic Institutions, further, are two sides of the same coin. With rising middle-class, the elites will be threatened. How to navigate these shoals — holding on the grip or loosening political and economic institutions — then will be the work in progress for China. I suppose in a decade or two we will know weather these economic-political pundits are right or wrong.

      • Yes but I seem to have a problem finishing books I buy from amazon for kindle.

        You might be surprised but it seems that surely within a decade these forces will either do their damage or be dissipated. Such is the timebomb that china is holding that a war with a smaller country is surely in play.

  30. karl garcia says:

    On Must Reads…
    The Forbes article cite our growing population as a good thing, many may differ,but speaking for my self it is a bad thing if our current situation mentioned by Joseph still prevails…ok I take that back, I cant speak for myself on this,because the whole blog tackled the issue that poor is not blameless.

    • Joe America says:

      The poor are like a labor or production base that is not fully tapped. If investment and materials were not blocked from the Philippines (in favor of the favored), these under-utilized people resources would be unleashed, moved to higher value work, and the nation would explode in a 20 year cycle of making hay while the sun shines and the labor costs are relatively low.

      • karl garcia says:

        I like the unleash the beast. I know I have a don’t unleash pet peeves in one of my comments.

        • karl garcia says:

          Some complain of low labor costs and they request an increase in minimum wages and they want it legislated. Huge monkey wrench. I say bloated bureaucracy, I will aldo say not enough jobs in the private sector. I guess that is why we have two eyes.

  31. edgar lores says:


    1. The 3-tiered model as an approach to solutions is interesting. When I compare it to mine, I come up with 5 tiers. Basically, I break down the second and third tiers into 2 sub-tiers each.

    2. Spread horizontally the 3-tier model is:

    mental model -> underlying processes -> product [or service]

    3. My 5-tier model is:

    enquiry -> intuition -> reasoning -> product -> implementation [or publication]

    4. Enquiry. My mental model is initially one of enquiry. It poses the question: “What is the truth here?”

    4.1. I think it is important to ask this question. Many people rush to judgement — Filipino commenters especially — and, because their judgement is not based on an appreciation and acknowledgement of full facts or reasoning, their stance is woozy. Out of the obstinacy of ignorance and pride, they are impervious to the presentation of contrary evidence or reasoning. This is the hardness that JoeAm speaks of.

    4.2. Contrary to the opinion of PinoyInEurope’s father, an initial open-minded attitude is crucial… and it is NOT weakness. On the contrary, being open-minded means one possesses confidence in one’s ability to suss out what is true. It is the opposite of bullish attachment to principles or blind faith.

    5. Intuition. When faced with an issue, the second question I pose is: “How do I feel about this?” The question is directed at the heart.

    5.1. The assumption here is that we possess a compass that points us to true North. This compass is gut feeling or common sense or whatever you might call it. I believe common sense is the accumulated wisdom of all our experiences — individual, racial and human — and a native rationality. It may be that intuition connects us to the Akashic records (or database in IT lingo).

    5.2. All people intuit, some more than others. As an introvert (INTJ in the Briggs Myers classification), I find it easy to introspect and find out how I feel about things. On the occasion, as on the BBL, I must confess ambivalence.

    6. Reasoning. Intuition tells me how I feel about an issue, but it does not tell me why I feel this way. So the third question is: “Why? Why do I feel like this?” The question is directed at the mind.

    6.1. Isn’t the mind a marvelous thing? I do not know how, but the mind comes up with the darndest reasons to support intuition. Reasoning is intuition fulfilled.

    6.2. The first part of reasoning is asking the questions, and framing the questions is a critical step. There are assumptions underlying the framework of our questions, and it is necessary to detect what these assumptions are. These assumptions are based on our conditioning, and it is interesting to note that in the Mamasapano incident our cultural conditioning played a great part in how we perceived and judged the President.

    6.3. Sometimes one has to exert effort to develop logic. Sometimes it is effortless. I like it when I wake up in the morning and the unconscious mind has worked out all the kinks in the night. Everything is laid out and so clear. Then when one starts to put down the insights on paper, there is some forgetfulness… and one tries hard to retrieve all the wonderful intricacy of the night’s reasoning and the elegant phrasing.

    7. Product. The product is the output and can take many forms. It may be a concrete object or a virtual object, an ideation. In my case, the product would be an opinion or judgement. It used to be analysis and design documents or computer code.

    8. Implementation. This last tier is optional. As I peruse the blog and the comments, I note my internal reaction – agree or disagree or nevah mind – and I may publish my reaction. Sometimes, noting the agreement or disagreement internally is sufficient.

    9. One last note on Binay again.

    9.1. Here is how my 5-tier process would work.

    1st tier – Enquiry. What is the truth about Binay? Should I vote for him or not?
    2nd tier – Intuition. Binay is corrupt (based, more or less, on the rags to riches story).
    3rd tier – Reasoning. On the evidence of the Senate hearings, more than less, Binay is confirmed to be corrupt. (Not legally, but in my mind and in the courtroom of public opinion.)
    4th tier – Product. I will vote for Binay.
    5th tier – Implementation. Binay will become the next President.

    9.2. Huh? What happened there on the 4th tier?

    9.3. I think the aberration in the fourth tier occurs because of the framing of the questions in the third tier. The question asked, and answer provided, could be:

    o “What does it matter if Binay wins? All politicians are corrupt anyway.”
    o “What can Binay do for me as a private citizen? He has done a lot for Makati, and he has given me goodies. And I want to see movies for free.”
    o “What can Binay do for me a public works contractor? My kumpare who is mayor of our city, which is a sister city of Makati, is supporting Binay. If Binay wins, I am sure my kumpare can shift and award me with lucrative contracts.”
    o From PinoyInEurope: “Why should I vote for other than Binay? He is brown like a Filipino should be… and as I am. He is my kin and bro.”

    9.4. The burning question should be: “What effect will Binay, who is corrupt, have on the country?”

    • Joe America says:

      Nice five step process. The part you call intuition to me is called perception, not totally an emotional quality, although emotion can be a part of it. It involves taking the results of the inquiry and ensuring that it is through and has context. In the Binay case, it would fit the garage with the hacienda with Alphaland with popular knowledge that Binay owns the hacienda and gets pieces of each project approved, and factors in that his spokeliars try to deflect ill will to others, avoidance of the hearings, and courtroom actions to delay and block. Reasoning is concluding with 99% certainty that he is corrupt. The product is I will do anything in my power to make sure he is not elected president. Implementation is writing a blog or (if a citizen) joining groups to counter-protest him in a major way. The absence of that counter protest suggests others come up with different reasoning and leave implementation to others.

      • edgar lores says:

        Yes, that’s about right. Intuition is part of perception.

        To me, perception is the intersection of intuition, conditioning, experience and reasoning. Or we should probably use the term “cognition” for the entire basket.

        Cognitive dissonance occurs when these elements are not aligned or when perception is inconsistent with behavior. Again in the Binay case: my example is one of dissonance: I know he is corrupt but he still gets my vote. In your case, there is no dissonance, only integrity… of perception and behavior.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, “cognition” is an even better word, thanks. Dissonance is an aspect of that, for sure. I know some people are naturally gifted in cognition, and I suspect it can also be taught.

    • sonny says:

      Neat paradigm and elegantly expressed, too. It parses the Thomistic adage “action follows knowledge” or “whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.” Also helps the tracing of pathology/provenance of evil/good. Great!

  32. karl garcia says:

    Must Reads, re Thailand.

    Political stuation is almost back to normal, there are no more flooding recently.
    If we don’t watch it, their problems could be our problems.Martial law was already made difficult by the anti martial law constitution, but political instability must still be watched.
    No more Martial law and floods might invite Toyota,Mitsubushi and Honda to Thailand.
    let me just say one big, I hope not.

    • sonny says:

      Hmmmm. Then I think Filpino victimhood is not totally to blame. Yay! 🙂 Way to go, Karl!

      • karl garcia says:

        anything with blame is an allergen, it would be nice if victimhood would just be a myth, but it is not. denial is not good too.
        if car manufacturers fo leave due to change in wind direction, then an alternative must soon rise.
        So the population should be the greatest asset, the human capital,if you will.The sleeping dragon like in the Hobbit.
        Education. In fairness to my high school teacher, Brother Armin luistro, who is questioned by COA, for using text books which are dated.
        6 Years an administration make. If you waited for new text books then it will take a few more years, and that would make most plans only good for the next administration. Like the DOTC, lots under study and we cant wait and we hate their guts for it.
        As PiE noted, continuity is lacking.
        How can their be continuity, if you revamp agencies all the time, no continuity if all biddingd wil be subject to a TRO,with matching Supreme Court opinion for jurisprudencr for future reference… …

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “As PiE noted, continuity is lacking.” La la la la la la la… la la la la la… As in Whoopi Goldberg and the soloist 🙂

          “How can their be continuity, if you revamp agencies all the time, no continuity if all biddingd wil be subject to a TRO,with matching Supreme Court opinion for jurisprudencr for future reference… …” Oh happy daaaaayyyss! by the soloist.

          And Whoopi Goldberg is looking very surprised and happy. 🙂

  33. ray james says:

    Education enables, equalises, and empowers.

    The aims and benefits of a well rounded education should be to instil confidence, character, creativity, competitiveness, and capability. A solid foundation for continuing self-development, and the requisite skills and attitude to contribute in a chosen field of endeavour.

    The advent of digital learning and hybrid systems will be the platform of the future, and offers the opportunity of low cost high quality education and customised vocational training.

    MOOCs ( Mass Open Online Courses) whilst still in their embryonic stage are gaining universal popularity and application, and can provide a valuable resource, particularly in developing countries, and help to reduce their obvious budgetary disadvantages

    MOOCs, and allied initiatives such as TED, Microsoft IT Academy, and grants from global foundations, specifically for education, also expands options.

    The development of apps in-country to meet local needs will be the route for many developing countries as it starts to invest more in human capital and build intellectual property which it can leverage in the medium/long term, and as it also increases local skills in IT development. E.G – Customised TEFL (English language) apps for OFW’s, particularly nurses, which are quick and easy to develop.

    Buying old outdated textbooks shows little imagination or desire to apply creativity to problem solving, or put in the necessary effort to be bold and innovative, even as pilot initiatives. Excuses abound as usual.

    M-learning (Mobile) also has great potential, not as an alternative, but as an adjunct, and should be explored.

    There clearly also needs to be more cohesion and co-operation between govt, education, and business with the emphasis upon collaboration and improvement upon the current situation.

    The opportunities are many, and the solutions myriad, unless people choose not to see, or just see education as an assembly line and squeeze maximum profit.

    The Philippines is not even part of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is all the more critical to assess the impact of K-12 which if not implemented properly will mirror PISA findings in other countries – more time spent, but learnt no more.

    The %GDP currently spent on education is far below UN recommendations, and also the % being spent by other members of ASEAN on education. Easy to spot winners and losers, in business, and in life.

    Number of new books published – annually

    US – 292,000

    UK – 149,000

    India – 82,000

    Italy – 40,000

    Vietnam – 24,000

    Thailand – 13,000

    Myanmar – 3,500

    Philippines – 1,000

    A sad indictment of the dearth of intellect and the low value ascribed to knowledge, further compounded by todays press release:

    ‘Education for All’ ending; PH fails to
    meet targets
    04/11/2015 12:03 AM

    It now permeates the whole system with Philippine Universities continuing to fall in asian rankings in recent years, but no questions asked as though it doesn’t matter. No wonder people resort to buying degrees, or Senators falsely claiming them ( and at my Alma Mater, Oxford! – at least we had the sense not to give Pnoy Aquino the honorary degree he craved – always better to work for achievements)

    Let’s hope the next administration – whoever – refocusses and rebuilds. This generation is already consigned to OFW and BPO work!

    • Joe America says:

      I have a blog scheduled for Tuesday that echoes some of your observations. The Department of Education, for being the caretaker of young people’s intellect, is a “failed institution” if you judge by book numbers above, or the dearth of problem solving. The Department itself practices a rote style of work, doing the same thing year after year, even if it can be termed “failed”. I also hold that the Catholic Church as a failed caretaker of Philippine morality. And the Judiciary is a failed caretaker of justice.

      Gross failures, actually. So obvious. But no one does much about it.

      • Joe America says:

        Correction, Pope Francis is trying to redirect the Church, but the political bishops of the CBCP don’t get it. They are among the hardheads I reference elsewhere. Immune to knowledge.

        • edgar lores says:

          Francis is beginning to lose his luster. Three cases in point:

          1. His appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to a Chilean diocese. Barros allegedly participated in the cover-up of a notorious priest pedophile. Even members of Francis’ sexual abuse commission were aghast at the appointment.

          2. The Vatican’s failure to accept the appointment of a gay ambassador from France. Francis may not judge, but the Vatican does.

          3. Francis continues to fudge dogma/doctrine. His pronouncements, like being non-judgmental and like even atheists can be redeemed, may sound liberal but they are not. Redemption is not equal to salvation.

          • sonny says:

            Par for the course, as Jesuits go: be a legend, be an enigma, be a giant, be an inventor, be a musketeer, just be in the thick of things.

          • sonny says:

            I forgot the most important: be a Saint.

          • sonny says:

            Sorry, this I totally forgot: Be obedient. Jesuits are the only Catholic order who specifically take a vow of Obedience to the Pope, whatever he says. Doubly for Pope Francis, because he is Jesuit and Pope. 🙂

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Saint Ignatius was a former soldier who founded the Jesuits. The Jesuits responded to the Lutheran challenge of thinking and reasoning about the Bible by doing so themselves. They were also the greatest scientific religious order with many discoveries.

              They got banned many times, because reason and intelligence can be seen as dangerous by the powers that be. Nearly ended the same way as the Templars.

  34. Bing Garcia says:

    At the closing of the peace council’s first meeting, Dee reminded his colleagues on their goal.

    “Our overarching goal is peace with justice and development in Muslim Mindanao: a political peace settlement that addresses the injustices inflicted on the Bangsamoro religious, cultural, and political identity as a people, as after all, they had their political identity before there was a Philippine nation; the human development of the Bangsamoro people by restoring their human rights and freedom to reverse their economic and social marginalization which has resulted in their human poverty level that is about twice the national average; a process of cultural and spiritual healing to overcome the deep-seated prejudices that continue to divide our people,” he said.

    • sonny says:

      Bing, sonny here. Just following your lead that BBL topic is still aligned to this blog installment.

      I still have my doubts regarding the advisability of continuing BBL talks. I hold softer doubts now than at an earlier stage. Before, I could not overcome centuries-old historical obstacles in Islam-Christianity relationship. Nevertheless I thought to defer to Cardinal Quevedo’s take on the BBL talks, thinking for sure he, extremely aware of the bloody trail of the sword of Islam and now being the head Catholic churchman and go-to man of the Vatican regarding Filipino-Moro affairs, would know. Now I find out he is 100% for continuing the BBL talks. His opinion holds major sway since he has worked for decades with the Moro families and their socio-cultural amelioration and eventual peaceful coexistence with the rest of the country. He provides compelling reasons.

  35. ray james says:

    Your philosophy on IT testing could be called the crash test dummy approach!

    That would be like Mercedes conducting ‘The Elk Test’ on the Autobahn at rush hour!

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Luckily it isn’t my approach anymore – it was only a workaround for oversold, underfunded, badly specified projects where nobody wanted to admit it was that way I had to do… 😦

      But the bad experiences there taught me to be able to fix practically anything!

      Now I watch out that I have well-specified projects, and I am from time to time called to fix stuff that seems totally irrepairable – and which should not be known publicly. I have the reputation to be able to get anything running, and I get good money for such projects.

  36. ray james says:

    1 million peso a year in PH (if you are lucky) translates to circa 10 million peso a year in EU for SAP project managers, and the reason why the best leave for pastures anew, and consequently why key skill shortages abound in PH. Sometimes there is a disincentive to train if you do not reap the financial benefit, or get the intellectual challenge, or recognition for contribution.

    In China, SAP has now trained and certified 10,000 consultants, which it sees as its second biggest market/revenue stream by 2020, and in conjunction with the Govt and key partners established training programmes/incentives (?threats!) which ensure that they stay in china for a prescribed period, but even then expect most to start their own companies in a fast growing market, and be financially rewarded. clever, these chinese!

  37. Joe America says:

    @Karl, i7sharp, sonny . . . I have deleted the digression about site administration and standards as it has nothing to do with the blog topic or the Philippines. If there are any further questions about the matter, they can be forwarded directly to me via the “contact us” tab above. Carry on.

    • i7sharp says:

      @Joe America
      “These are not really the original thought that I am looking for.”

      Can we still talk of “original thoughts”?
      I ask because I still have some – aside from the one you have called “FANTASTIC.”


      Oh, by the way, about knowledge …
      Will knowledge of Shakespeare help Filipinos, old and young alike?
      About ten years ago, using free resources I created a file by which one can access all of his 37 major works – in seconds literally and offline.
      Will share the file for free.

      Salamat ulit.

      • Joe America says:

        I have deleted two similar inquiries and still you do not get the point. The subject of this blog is not “original thoughts”, it is victimhood as it pertains to the philippines, and how to get positive. I mentioned “original thoughts” as a guide to proper discussion. You know what I mean, and there is no need to belabor the point. Nor is use of the site to promote your own works elsewhere a proper use of this discussion forum. If this line of discussion persists after these adequate warnings you will earn the distinction of being the first person I block from this blog in my five years of blogging.

        • i7sharp says:

          Hmmm, …
          Am not really after a “dubious” distinction.
          So let me try another tack:
          Focus on knowledge … and then on victimhood.

          I would like to share a simple knowledge/solution – by me, IIMSSM – that helped a well-known company save fifty million U.S. dollars (USD 50 million) in five years.
          I see an application of it in the Philippines – nationwide.

          What do you think, Joe America?
          May I proceed farther?

          • Joe America says:

            I would encourage you to make the case in your own words, in discussion format, and use links only to complement or support the argument. Using links as the substance of the argument is a waste of time because people seldom click on them.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Yep, summarizing is a very important aspect, I watch myself on that too. Links are not so often needed because people can Google nowadays.

              I commend you once again on your fairness Joe, you warn people amply before doing anything, you explain your rules and enforce them only when abused often. If ever, please do not ban people immediately, put them into moderation for a while is my suggestion. That kind of measure helps cool people down and forces them to think and review their way of doing things, if not they stay in akismet for ever. And is less work for you, especially when campaign time comes and the really bad trolls arrive. Just my two cents on this.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Hey i7sharp, please read my comments to you. It would be a pity of you are banned.

            Your ideas are good but your tone and way of doing things pisses off Joe and others.

            Please think about what I wrote downstairs. Then come back with a new approach.

        • i7sharp says:

          @Joe America
          “Nor is use of the site to promote your own works elsewhere a proper use of this discussion forum.”

          Focusing on the topic about knowledge, may I say …
          I look at what I do as “sharing,” rather than “promoting,” what information I have gathered.

          Let us take for example the information about the Philippine Eagle.

          Students can increase their knowledge of the national bird far faster and easier – IMHO – from a YahooGroups site I have set up than, say, the Philippine Eagle Foundation and/or DENR.
          (Huffington Post once said, afaik, that YGs are a “goldmine.”)

          By googling (the jnternet), can one easily find, for example, that the Philippine national hero and the Philippine national bird share a common “fateful” date:
          December 30, 1896?

          Would you call “knowing” that information as “knowledge” beneficial to a, say, student?

          (btw, I have not forgotten to share more info about the USD50M I have mentioned. I am still drafting a simple explanation.)

          • Joe America says:

            I think you completely miss the point better than anyone I have ever met. And are more persistent at going down the track of irrelevancy and trivia, and add less to the topic of the discussion at hand, than any contributor. Trolls at least are on topic.

            • i7sharp says:

              Good-to-know trivia?
              JOSE RIZAL and the Philippine Eagle share a common historic date. On exactly the same day, December 30, 1896, while Rizal found martyrdom at Bagumbayan, the eagle’s unique niche in the ornithological order was heralded at a London restaurant, on the other side of the globe.


              • i7sharp says:

                That’s a Philippine Eagle eye I use as my Gravatar.
                Sharp-eyed. The “sharp” in “i7sharp.”

                Knowledge about “the best bird in the world” can help people avoid victimhood.
                They are a great inspiration.

                “… renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        @i7sharp: my suggestions to you in order to not annoy some people especially the owner and barkeeper of this virtual “Cebuano beach bar” who calls himself Joe are:

        1) Put together your thoughts in such a way that their relevance to the topic being discussed is clear to everyone. To me they are clear, but not necessarily to everyone.

        2) Do not discuss why certain metaphors are used or whether they are appropriate. You may put in your opinion but please do not annoy people by being repetitive. Karl Garcia once corrected me on that point, told me do not nag people. That can turn them off!

        3) IMHO you may mention your own stuff if it is relevant and helpful to the topic, but do it in such a way that you do not annoy others. Shakespeare is a great source of learning, but in this situation you have annoyed Karl and Joe among others, once you have annoyed people they may not be so open to listen to you anymore. And our host is very patient, but he has what the Germans call Hausrecht and determines not only what kind of beach bar we have here, but also the tone that is tolerated and can throw people out.

        The technological initiative I am mentioning here is relevant to knowledge and it is accepted because I have learned to tone down many things very quickly because I am not that obstinate, I am ready to accept authority – it’s Joes blog after all – and adjust to rules even as a former rebel among rebels, a hard-headed maverick with the Kabataang Makabayan that I used to be that brought me close to a death sentence within the organization, our leader who was my classmate since Elementary solved it by suggesting my voluntary exile as a solution. That and the pending case against me at that time with aresto mayor as a possible sentence made me leave – so now you know my story better. You have much to contribute, do not spoil that chance by being too dense and obstinate.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          That leader is still a respected and feared NPA commander now, who has to go to Manila to meet other Pisay grads undercover because he is still wanted. I have Elementary School pictures of us standing beside each other…

          Take some advice from former Kasamang Ryan (me) who has learned to adjust to civilized ways and even to neoliberal methods, even though I am still a believer in equal opportunities – not equality anymore because talents, character and morals differ.

          And yes, even my fourth-year Elementary School Filipino teacher, an ex-military man and Marcos loyalist, told us nearly everything in life may be learned from reading Shakespeare. He told us not to laugh about him being a great poet, wrote down the word we were all thinking about while laughing – puwit – and schooled us. Even me who was KM for a while and the one who is an NPA commander now respected him very much. The lesson here being – let us respect Joe, even if we do not always agree with him. Thanks!

          And Joe would probably tell us that nearly everything in life can be learned by reading Charles Dickens – something my father also said. Let us accept different vehicles to knowledge and not discount them or be doctrinair. This is another important point.

          If you want to write about certain ways to knowledge, I suggest you write an article. Although I doubt Joe would accept it at this point, he is definitely pissed of by you now. Find a way to mend things like I have before, it is not too late but you have to think a bit.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            What Joe wrote about discussion format is also important i7sharp. Your constant use of own links and the format and tone of writing you use sound like self-promotion and preaching. Well, we have to accept who is the minister in this “Church” – it is Joe.

            We can all be lay preachers, some of us are in the choir, some cause the choir and the soloists to sing very differently like Whoopi Goldberg did, but within the given framework.

            THINK about what I am writing you here and you may add your song in harmony with us.

  38. karl garcia says:

    Perception is what you think you know, but there is always another think coming so perception became impression.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      People are always a bit like the blind men around the elephant.

      Those that accept that nobody is perfect and can see everything are the best. You need many to make different perceptions and impressions into an accurate big picture.

  39. karl garcia says:

    Adjunct to number 4 Of PiE,
    Peace process with CPP NDF,etc.
    Adjunct to 5 EDCA,etc

  40. PinoyInEurope says:

    More knowledge on solving problems. Unfortunately this book is only available in German:

    How to tame one’s inner pig-dog by Marco von Münchhausen – he is descended directly from the famous “liar baron” who came up with tall tales, including riding on a cannonball and pulling himself out of a swamp by his boots. From that we have the term bootstrapping.


    In the end all problem-solving is like that: get your arms on solid ground first if you are in the swamp, the pull yourself out, then clean yourself up, then maybe go to the next store to buy new clothes, before that you find a shower but get out of the jungle first please.

    And as for the “inner pig-dog” that likes to make excuses, Münchhausen writes that every human being has him inside. The path of least resistance has its reasons, the inner-pig dog likes pleasure over pain and leisure over work which are both nice things per se.

    The trick is to build good habits and routines while giving the inner-pig dog some goodies from time to time so he is not totally unhappy. My personal path out of my swamp was to build better habits one by one to replace vices while keeping some vices to prevent my inner pig-dog from rebelling and sabotaging my efforts. Thus after getting rid of gambling, overspending, expensive women, bad company and alcohol, I still have a smoking issue.

    No more testing in production due to inadequate testing in QA system, but I still earn good money by fixing messed up projects, a skill I learned the hard way during my difficult years. And my new projects are still on very short budgets and considered nearly impossible so that nobody else will take them, but I have my own methods to deal with that and foresee problems so that measures are in place in advance. Guerilla methods for small firms.

    Good habits according to psychological studies take 6 months to become permanent. The time it took for the Stone-Age mind we all have to register a changed living environment.


    Applicability to Philippines: get people used to working for their money and reaping the rewards of progress, get children educated, get people used to strong institutions – this will take more than six months though because there are many aspects to change here.

    As for democracy and discussions: get people used to discussing in a constructive way. Suggestions like mine are a start one can build on, my BBL article is an example – do not discuss legal details or personal issues, discuss the main problems and possible solutions.

    Joe’s article about China just after this article is another example – problems and solutions. Don’t whine about your kitchen being dirty – kill the cockroaches first, then clean things up.

    • Joe America says:

      One of the dynamics that is blocked in the Philippines is the drive for a career and the fulfillment and enrichment that can come from that. It is the sum of people working doggedly for self-advancement that generates all the wealth. And here, it is proceeding at 15% of potential.

      Blockages are:

      1) Nepotism, or the Pacquiao syndrome, where friends are put in high places and legitimate contenders are driven to the US

      2) Non-competitive wages, except in higher levels of the private sector; jobs reserved for friends.

      3) Weak motivational/coaching/counseling/incentive/promotion disciplines to train and direct top employees upward.

      4) Crab mentality ripping at people who aspire or succeed.

      5) No educational focus on ambition or problem solving and thinking outside the box. Rote learning and obedience stifle personal ambition.

      So productivity is very, very, very lackluster. Removing the blocks requires multiple initiatives.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        So we have defined five problems, the goals that derive from them are:

        1) Create more meritocracy. DOST, UP, Pisay and other institutions are not enough.

        2) Make the economy stronger so that wages are competitive, step by step.

        3) Encourage coaching programs by giving tax breaks to companies that do so.

        4) Broadcast good examples like Banatao, Dr. Lagmay and Dr. Mendoza in Munich.

        5) Change the educational system. UP Integrated School approach (U.P. is autonomous and therefore not subject to DepEd) and DOST approach used in Pisay system now all over the country should be studied and adapted to the entire school system.

        From that, measures can be defined in a SMART way and implemented step by step.

        We are now getting there… 🙂

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Regarding deletion I meant one of the two posts on Münchhausen and the inner pig-dog. Somehow comments were just a bit buggy and going to the wrong place. Many thanks. 🙂

  41. karl garcia says:

    Another allergen are legal technicalities, too many lawyers created too many laws, maybe law makers should also do more repealing, if possible and constitutional.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      That can be seen as part of strengthening institutions. Too many technicalities paralyze institutions. As can be seen in the case of Junjun, Ombudsman, CA, TRO – ano ba iyan?

  42. PinoyInEurope says:

    OK, I will now summarize the post that got lost. To solve problems you need a threefold approach:

    1. Define the problems.

    2. Define the goals that derive from them.

    3. Define the measures that must be taken.

    Using metaplanning, we once defined problems for an internal BPO outfit that was going badly, then goals, and then SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) goals like for example:

    – Every clerk has at least 24 inch flat screens by …
    – The one responsible for getting it done is …
    – The one who supervises that it is done is …


    Applied to the ideas Manong Sonny and me have been jamming, the barangay level approach to this could be:

    1. Ano ang mga problema natin ngayon?

    2. Ano ang mga gusto nating mangyari diyan?

    3. Ano ang mga gagawin natin hanggang kailan, sino ang toka, sino pinuno na responsable?

    This approach could be spread by teams and rooted in the countryside.


    There are five major problems in the Philippines as of now:

    1) poverty
    2) education
    3) institutions
    4) internal security
    5) external security

    Goals I one could define are:

    1) alleviate poverty
    2) improve education
    3) strengthen institutions
    4) improve internal security
    5) improve external security

    Measures that are happening now are:

    1) numerous DSWD initiatives
    2) CCT, TESDA and much more
    3) Mar Roxas, PNP and DILG
    4) BBL, CCP, NDF peace processes
    5) ITLOS filing, EDCA and AFP modernization

    So the Aquino administration is already doing a lot, some stuff needs improvement but these improvements can be discussed like in my BBL article and in Joes China article.

    KNOWLEDGE helps us understand things and know that we are moving up the mountain but no longer in the valley anymore. These things are essential to a realistic and confident view.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Joe, this is the outline of my next blog article. Or if Karl Garcia – or giancarloangulo – wish to write something in the same vein they may. The main topic is:

      – what are the problems of the Philippines by cluster
      – what are to goals that could be defined on the way to solution
      – what measures are already being taken, where is improvement needed

      “The Philippines on its way up the mountain” or something similar could be the title.

      I could be the one to sing, but I want more people in the choir to do so, even soloists.

      OH HAPPY DAY! When Jesus washed, my sins away! He taught me how, how to watch, how to fight and pray, fight and pray! And living rejoicing everyday! OH HAPPY DAY!

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        One more tip from one of my many consultant trainings that I apply and now am giving forward like Oprah Winfrey once suggested as a good approach to “utang na loob”:

        The Stone Age brain that we have can only REALLY remember 3-5 things maximum. Therefore cluster all matters until you have 3-5 major points and make subpoints. This was my approach to the BBL issue, Poe made too many major points in her Senate report.

        This is another thing I share not only with soloists, but with the choir and all listeners.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Therefore, never more than five chapters – appendixes are another matter altogether – in any consulting report that I write. Never more than five subchapters and never more than three levels to drill down to.

          Never more than five top-level bullet points in any Powerpoint presentation that I have, ideally only three and usually just two levels so that understanding is not obstructed.

          You have to have clarity and structure, otherwise you lose your audience…

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      So, if there is a volunteer for an article along these lines, very good. I would be very happy if the Society Members that have not yet written articles but are very active in comments would write some articles as well. If not I will write one, but I shall wait for volunteers first.

      • Joe America says:

        I also welcome guest submissions. They do have to meet my approval as to content. Form is not such an issue, as I provide the editorial service of finalizing all blogs and setting them up on Word Press.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          As I wrote, I will write the article myself if there are no volunteers. But I do encourage Karl Garcia and giancarloangulo – I am a consultant and coach after all – to move one step up from being good commenters to contributors in this Society. They have potential!

          If they need help with writing, I am hereby allowing you Joe to give them my mail address. I will review their contributions mercilessly like my father did with all my high school work.

  43. PinoyInEurope says:

    Hehe, the duplicate post came up because the first post landed in moderation.

    It is a good thing to place all posts that have embedded picture into moderation. I see Joe that you are retooling this blog so that discussions can be controlled better. This is good because the things that have happened recently are nothing compared to what we will have to deal with later.

    Very Lutheran so to speak, they were the ones who banned pictures and saints.

    Pictures can say more than a thousand words, but they can also evoke emotions.

    The very verbal/logical approach of Lutherans was copied by the Counter-Reformation, especially the Jesuits, and that competition finally led to the Age of Reason, junking belief altogether. Lutherans started reading the Bible and understanding it, first step was translation and masses in the vernacular instead of priests interpreting it for the peasants and masses in Latin that no dog understood, to literally translated a German figure of speech. It was progress.

    • Joe America says:

      Three links or embeds goes to moderation.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        At Raissa’s, certain users that are unknown – and certain known users who have proven to be trouble at times like me – go to moderation. Might be worth looking into for here, given the experiences we have had recently and what may lie ahead come campaign time.

        Also her system seems to limit posting length and number of postings within a certain time – a measure against certain people like Parekoy and me. OK the hacker in me tends to test the limits of any system to find out how it works so I know. But it could also be useful here, since keeping postings short forces people to take the time to summarize (it takes longer to write shorter) and a limit on postings per time is very good anti-troll protection. Here you see that I am a white-hat hacker, the kind that helps against the black hats.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Seems that users are identified by mail address at Raissa’s. In the beginning my comments always went into moderation, then not anymore, then length limits and postings per time limits after Parekoy and me had our famous altercation, then I wrote some excellent stuff about BBL but also some vitriol, so my postings went back into moderation, but to be fair to Raissa and Alan they were all released in due time. As an IT person with (80s old school) hacking background, I have understood a bit how akismet works… 🙂

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            In the 80s, I was more of a grey hat hacker, neither white nor black.

            Now I am a respected IT pro, troubleshooter and a kind of Red Adair firefighter, a former pyromaniac and firefighter who has turned white hat because he found his morals.

          • Joe America says:

            The dump to moderation is strictly random. Raissa and Alan have no part in it. It is a systems failing.

        • Joe America says:

          Actually, Raissa is freer in allowing discussions than I am. I would have counseled Parekoy long before about his personal attacks and crude references to sex or body parts. Her system, unfortunately, has developed a lot of quirks that dump comments randomly into spam or moderation. I think she will have to change the format of the blog to correct this because it is becoming very frustrating for people who like to comment. She uses a customized version of Word Press that allows for bells and whistles (numbering comments) but is a bear to administer. You need a technology department, and hers is Alan. I use the off the shelf version of Word Press. It uses Askimet to block spam (very effective system). It does not have the bells and whistles but also does not have the quirks. It is more secure and reliable.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Thanks for the detailed commentary. As a former hacker who often used his old grey hat capabilities to understand legacy systems hardly documented and often very buggy, I tend to observe how the system reacts to input and make up my own tentative theories that I correct when I know more. My capabilities also allowed me to learn systems where I did not have access to documentation or learning material for different reasons.

            WordPress seems to be a very powerful and interesting tool. Your approach is similar to small companies that stick to SAP standard to avoid trouble. Raissa’s is similar to that of many large corporations – customize heavily and then depend on experts like me for help.

  44. ray james says:


    The approach sometimes used is ‘Roll Back the Future”

    Formulate & agree the desired goal/objectives
    Identify current status using key metrics/facts
    and then
    Generate ideas and potential solutions to evaluate
    Determine practical steps/actions towards the goal.

    Apply a combination of SWOT and STEEPLES

    Analysis each aspect of STEEPLES using Strengths


    The outcome of each is prioritised and developed further using metaplanning/brainstorming, applying time frames and actions, and then refined/worked into a proposal or implementation plan – short, medium, and long-term.

    Often undertaken by multiple teams to generate different perspectives and then consolidated, or specialised teams on key areas, or even individually. Flexible to suit needs, and for collaborative working across boundaries/countries.

    As simple as a 1 day meeting or as complex as a 3 month review – whatever is appropriate.

    The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has a list of 179 country indices to utilise for benchmarking and comparative analysis

    The key is to move from the general to the specific. From theory to practice, and from ideas to plans.

    • Joe America says:

      Gadzooks, deja vu, I thought I was back at work for a moment. The horror, the horror . . .

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        And I am a consultant who often bridged enormous gaps in communication. Knew and still know how to talk to the geeks and nerds who often seem to be Martians, but also was liked by Sales and Marketing because I explained things to them very concisely when I was talking to them. Now I am a one-man show on all fronts helping system integrators solve their problems – daring new projects as well as totally messed-up old projects.

        Now applying my skills on the Philippine front, not for money but for my soul’s redemption.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Thanks for the input ray james. As a former Kabataang Makabayan activist who participated at trade union teach ins – Kilusang Mayo Uno leader Crispin Beltran was one of the people I dealt with occasionally and the PC nearly caught him as well one fateful day – I like to simplify consulting approaches to make them palatable and understandable to the respective target audiences. My pragmatic approach of finding problems, defining goals and then measures is more pragmatic and usable than the very complex SWOT model.

      What I do derive out of this is to use SWOT and STEEPLES to help find problems and define goals so that measures can be derived. But use these tools internally ONLY, not for the external communication to stakeholders because it might turn them off as highfalutin.

      Just like in the military you have the top people who go to meetings about strategy and military doctrine – and then those who make these concepts applicable to daily practice, drilling them down from general level to comms and non-comms down to soldier level.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “The approach sometimes used is ‘Roll Back the Future”” Very good!

      “Formulate & agree the desired goal/objectives
      Identify current status using key metrics/facts”
      Define Problems or as-is status is my methodology,
      “and then
      Generate ideas and potential solutions to evaluate
      Determine practical steps/actions towards the goal.”
      in my methodology, define goals and then measures.
      So we are not so far away from one another, my approach is more pragmatic.

      “Apply a combination of SWOT and STEEPLES

      Analysis each aspect of STEEPLES using Strengths


      STEEPLES I would aggregate, one of my consulting coaches told me three to five major points only to help understanding:

      – put political and legal together into institutional
      – put economic and social together into socioeconomic
      – put technology and strategy together into techno-strategic

      then you have five aspects which you can look at via SWOT (strengths and weakness are internal factors, opportunities and threats are external factors – examples are China and the BPO industry)


      There are five major problems in the Philippines as of now as I already wrote:

      1) poverty (socioeconomic)
      2) education (Educational, Techno-Strategic)
      3) institutions (Institutional, Techno-Strategic)
      4) internal security (Institutional, Techno-Strategic, socioeconomic)
      5) external security (Institutional, Techno-Strategic)

      Having mapped STEEPLES to my findings, I have left out only Technology.

      It is not an immediate problem and there are already initiatives – I prioritize but I am already helping on the technological side starting tomorrow evening.


      “The outcome of each is prioritised and developed further using metaplanning/brainstorming, applying time frames and actions, and then refined/worked into a proposal or implementation plan – short, medium, and long-term.”

      Goals I one could define according to my first posting (proposal) are:

      1) alleviate poverty
      2) improve education
      3) strengthen institutions
      4) improve internal security
      5) improve external security

      Measures that are happening now (implementation) are:

      1) numerous DSWD initiatives
      2) CCT, TESDA and much more
      3) Mar Roxas, PNP and DILG
      4) BBL, CCP, NDF peace processes
      5) ITLOS filing, EDCA and AFP modernization

      That is my simplified mapping of your more complex proposal. The tools would be similar to yours though, the communication simplified for the stakeholders.


      “Often undertaken by multiple teams to generate different perspectives and then consolidated, or specialised teams on key areas, or even individually. Flexible to suit needs, and for collaborative working across boundaries/countries.”

      Yep, and you need an approach that multiple teams at different intellectual and communicative levels can truly understand. My principle in accounting SSCs is that you need 200-page studies, but the overview of the business process should fit on one page of paper and be available in different versions for all levels including the actual BPO workers, to be pasted on every cubicle.

      “The key is to move from the general to the specific. From theory to practice, and from ideas to plans.”

      Yes. Take it from a former activist who did union teach-ins (our idol Beltran never talked Lenin to workers, it would have turned them off, he spoke in their language and we learned from him to do so as well, he was Anakbayan congressman later, died falling from his own roof while fixing it) turned maverick consultant. The problem in the Philippines is often that theoreticians (like R. Hiro) are totally spaced out while practitioners are either viewed with contempt, are too pragmatic or both and/or hate theoreticians as being too “highfalutin”.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Thinking about it, I would remove technology as it can be subsumed as a tool for nearly everything, so you would have five aspects:


        so what do I call this now, ISSEE, EISES, SEISE, SEISE? Yeah SEIZE the opportunity now!

  45. ray james says:

    Or just STEP! ( the original model – but recently adapted to be more reflective of real world complexity.)

    But never oversimplify for the sake of it.
    The days of ‘2×2 matrix’ consultancy are long gone. Rigour and validation now rules. Opinions are 100 a peso, but nobody pays 100,000 pesos a day for motherhood statements and stating the obvious, except for some Governments!

    Strategy and planning always acts as the input to the communications and marketing phase.
    Its why every consultant has to be a salesman and marketeer, otherwise nothing gets approved or implemented, and in the areas of transformation or change communicatiins is invariably the key skill, particularly across country/cultural boundaries.
    (Try a project of 80,000 SAP users across 85 countries)

    You ‘sell’ not just to the Board, but to every user as the ultimate customer, and the final arbiter of success.
    Luddites are the natural enemy of consultants, and PTT’s for SAP projects, but all have to be won over.
    Psychology is the consultants best friend. Comes with the territory.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      @ray james: “Or just STEP! ( the original model – but recently adapted to be more reflective of real world complexity.)
      Political” Nice, many thanks.

      “But never oversimplify for the sake of it.” I sometimes oversimplify, I know. But sometimes you have to because of the audience you are dealing with.

      “The days of ‘2×2 matrix’ consultancy are long gone. Rigour and validation now rules. Opinions are 100 a peso, but nobody pays 100,000 pesos a day for motherhood statements and stating the obvious, except for some Governments!”

      Or some old school industrial corporations that are behind the times, like my former bosses and my customer, a very traditional steel plant in Germany where the IT department people hardly speak English. The old school was all we knew, I admit, and all they understood.

      “Strategy and planning always acts as the input to the communications and marketing phase.
      Its why every consultant has to be a salesman and marketeer, otherwise nothing gets approved or implemented, and in the areas of transformation or change communicatiins is invariably the key skill, particularly across country/cultural boundaries.
      (Try a project of 80,000 SAP users across 85 countries)”

      Oh yes, tell me about it. Everything is political and you are in the middle of a war zone.

      Peace in Mindanao is probably easier than some of the non-bloody politics played there.

      “You ‘sell’ not just to the Board, but to every user as the ultimate customer, and the final arbiter of success.
      Luddites are the natural enemy of consultants, and PTT’s for SAP projects, but all have to be won over.
      Psychology is the consultants best friend. Comes with the territory.”

      And I being a former commie know how to talk to the Luddites very well.

      A perennial doubter like me is very good at convincing skeptics on the other side.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Ok we do NOT get 100,000 pesos a day which is 2000 Euros for the German steel plant.

        About half though, but that is before my partner’s 20% cut and our respective taxes.

        Have to upgrade my approach, as I am always doing, thanks for all the information.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          And for the people in the Philippines who can now more or less compute what I earn in an hour – yes even after taxes it is enough to help five Filipino children one month via CCT, I admit it, which is why I am considering making donations. I earn more on tough emergency projects and less on projects where I gain knowledge about strategic stuff, being an IT solution architect and project manager who wants to move up one more level.

          But a normal restaurant meal in Germany costs 10 Euro or 500 pesos, a flat like mine in Munich – 50 square meters in the middle of town – costs around 800 Euro a month and that is still quite cheap, that is 40,000 pesos, so I am well-to do but not filthy rich. 🙂

          OK some Eastern European gangsters thought I was and tried to get my via honey traps to have someone to extort money from for a lifetime, I was foolish first then I was smarter and found my way out. That was a period in a life with a lot of valuable lessons learned.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “stating the obvious” In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. My business partner and me who are both geeks got away with being strategic consultants a few times.

      That way we learned some stuff and upgraded our skills. No place to be ending but somewhere to start. You gave me a good resource to read.

      I may yet do some additional training, first of all it is tax-deductible and second it is helpful.

  46. ray james says:

    European rates, but in the Philippines, and no tax! Heaven, and the best office view i have ever had.
    Only punkawallahs are missing.
    And Oxford won the Boat Race
    A good day for more Krug!
    And always better to create jobs than words – it’s what the philippines really needs.

    • Joe America says:

      Hahahaha, an office view is important. Mine in Los Angeles was 50th floor, floor to wall glass looking all the way to the sea, and in ’92, past all the burning buildings from the local race riot. The whole building would sway like a ship during an earthquake and the window washers would say about 10 Hail Marys before going over the edge.

  47. ray james says:

    No wonder you hated it. A corporate rat in a glass box, with an exercise wheel of filing and paperwork. Technology will be the pesticide for such monotonous jobs.
    Now it is about creativity and intrapreneurship which creates its own tension as millenials take over and the old guard fade away.

    Those with passion chase change, those without chase their pension

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      My home office overlooks the Schlachthofviertel, the old meat-packing district of Munich which is now slowly gentrifying. When I moved in, they still had stalls across the street where they kept the cows the night before they killed them. Heard them cry in fear at night.

  48. ray james says:

    All global salaries are available via Glassdoor website – the ‘tripadvisor’ of company pay and conditions.

    But also in Germany people were paying up to 50% tax ( including 10% reunification and 10% voluntary church tax) so gross is higher than rest of EU – not me, i only work tax-free. Arthur Andersen taught me the ‘ropes’. So 2,000 euros a day is normal gross rate for senior consultant in blue chip multi-national. A man of your calibre should aim much higher.

    I remain a tax exile, but such is life. We all have our crosses to bear, but as long as property prices/rentals in london keep rising, and also cuban cigars ( one of my sidelines) then making money is easy. it is how you spend it that counts.

    Am sad that Americans may Disney-fy Havana. It could become as uncultured as the philippines if not careful. one of my favourite places.

    • Joe America says:

      Seems like an elitist view. The US lost its Indians, its Cowboys, its open ranges, its Industrialist, its Ozzie and Harriets of the ’50’s, its hippies and social idealists, and gained suburbs and malls and freeways and land use regulations. You want poor nations to hold in place for your pleasure?

    • Joe America says:

      Seems like an elitist view. The US lost its Indians, its Cowboys, its open ranges, its Industrialist, its Ozzie and Harriets of the ’50’s, its hippies and social idealists, and gained suburbs and malls and freeways and land use regulations. You want poor nations to hold in place for your pleasure?

      The Philippines has a deep and rich culture, though no longer wholly tribal. It is more diverse than most nations, substantially harmonious, has more beaches than you could ever visit in a lifetime, elegant resorts or scrappy nipa hut lodges. My municipality is now implementing its “no stray dog” policy, so people are tying up or fencing in their dogs, or letting the mangy ones loose so the town will get rid of them. Is that Disney-fyed? It is a change, for sure. I suspect fewer dogs will end up on the dining room table, if there is a table. But people smile about it nonetheless.

      • Joe America says:

        The fiesta street dances are still robust productions and some communities now have incorporated “most gay resident” competitions within the fiesta entertainment, along with the cock fights, motorcycle races, basketball tourneys and so forth. Go figure. Change. Difference. No change. Rich.

        • Joe America says:

          Karaoke, of course. And beauty contests. Lots of food shared. Still, my town also has a noise restriction banning loud karaoke after 10 pm. Come to think of it, Disney shoots fireworks at 9 and then closes.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Guess Makati – and the malls in Manila – are what ray james means with Disneyfied.

            In that sense, he may be right, but that is everywhere. Global civilization.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Joe, it is a British view. Your former colonizers and the rulers of most of the world before you guys took their place. There is a bit of jealousy in that. But what is true is that US culture IS a bit more shallow than older cultures, being first of all younger and second a common denominator of many immigrant cultures, in some ways the lowest common denominator – which also makes US culture easier to export all around the world…

        I made a comment on that myself, many traces of British colonialism remain all over the world, just like traces of the American period remain in Cuba to this day. Hey even Fidel Castro liked to play baseball, dunno why they copied that and not basketball like Filipinos.

        But what you choose to copy probably depends on your needs and your preferences. Bavarians had their US period with a lot of bases – they still like country music to this day. Country music hardly took root in the Philippines except among Anglican church Igorots.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “All global salaries are available via Glassdoor website” thanks.

      “2,000 euros a day is normal gross rate for senior consultant in blue chip multi-national.” Maybe I should have gone the Accenture way. Instead I went for a Munich start-up in 1996.

      Some things prevented me from becoming a really blue-chip consultant – I am a maverick who is selling far too cheap I know, but I never had even one hour of business courses, my masters is in computer science but from a very theoretical university, my professional experience is varied, some say haphazard, I worked as a student doing programming (and some small-time hacking) on the side to finance my studies, then the SAP world, first doing Basis then Abap and then functional stuff, then solution architecture, programming, rollouts.

      Maybe I would have made the jump up if I had had the CONFIDENCE in those days but I didn’t have it, there are privileged people who have and put potential competitors down, anywhere in the world not just in the Philippines. I let myself be put down, unfortunately.

      Well even when I lost my job, then went freelancing with help from the unemployment office, I did not have the full confidence yet to fully realize my potential, I gained more of it in the times that passed, including a 1000 Euro a day assignment to Romania which was all-inclusive, meaning I had to pay my own hotel and flights, but I was considered a total wreck then, burned-out and still with a terrible drinking habit and I needed the money.

      “calibre” that alone identifies you as British. 🙂 My brother-in-law is a North Londoner. Taught my sister diplomacy, otherwise she would probably would not have made it that far. My career problem was always my “communications skills” – meaning I can be quarrelsome.

      “making money is easy. it is how you spend it that counts.” Very true. Well I have enough to be able to have time for hobbies like this one, even if work is coming back now and I have to refill my financial reserves on time. Took things a bit slower to get back my health.

      “Am sad that Americans may Disney-fy Havana.” Attended a Salsa Cubana course yesterday. One of the most important figures in Rueda de Casino street salsa is “coge fly” which is like catching a baseball. In Cuba they still play a lot of baseball, not basketball!

      They were also American-influenced before Castro threw the US out. Puerto Rico went the other way and fully joined the US while the Philippines is in the Middle. Tried Philippine cigars yet? They are similar to Cuban, but are rolled differently.

      All colonial holdovers, just like Pakistanis playing cricket very well. Or Bavarians going for American country music, a holdover of the US bases that used to be over here. 🙂

  49. ray james says:

    I have spent much time in Cuba – and still try to visit regularly. virtually free trips paid for by the cigar club – except for the ‘salsa lessons’
    ( trivia – all of the great cigars are named after shakespearean characters since every factory had someone perched on a high chair who read all day to the workers, and they used shakespearean plays as the reading material)

    Hate the system, and secret police, but am an avid fan of nearly everything else – especially as a one time car restorer/hobbyist, and art deco collector – a living museum.
    Salsa and the women – a match made in heaven.
    Fidel Castro – charisma personified – even in his latter years.

    And Duponts house/estate – Dupont Chemicals – is a wonder. bet he was pissed off at being kicked out.
    also got special tour of Al Capones house. happy days – adventurous nights.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      The original Philippine flag had the same red and blue as Cuba to honor the fact that the two nations were brothers in revolution against Spain.

      The Philippine flag was first outlawed by the USA, when permitted again, the Yanks made the Filipinos use the blue and red of the Stars and Stripes. Todays blue is a compromise.

      You will find this story on German and Tagalog Wikipedia – no not from me although I was a volunteer for a while – but not on English language Wikipedia. Funny why?

      • Joe America says:

        American Wiki editors work for the CIA, NSA and NRA.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Don’t think so. Guess they just have some blinders on. Everybody has.

          People often leave out stuff they don’t want to see. Or are not told about.

          • Joe America says:

            On the 26th of January, the Wiki page on Marwan had his death date as January 25th, with a question mark behind the date. A couple of weeks later, the question mark went away. I haven’t checked lately, but it may be an exclamation point now.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      First time to do Rueda de Casino for me last Sunday. It builds CONFIDENCE because it is fun but requires enormous discipline to stay “in formation” and watch out to do what the “comandante” is saying – it the Square Dance version of salsa, but in a circle.

      A recent flash mob by the group of Baris (Turkish migrant) and Adriana (Italian migrant) in the Munich Olympic Mall, in front of a Starbuck’s clone – to illustrate what this is:

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        one more try:

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          Now it worked. BTW the song “Lo Vengo de Cuba” played here is Cuba’s present street national anthem. I don’t think Cuba under Raul Castro will totally give in to US domination – they will follow a form of modernized, pragmatic nationalism.

  50. sonny says:

    @ PiE, are you sure you are not a consultant to The Club of Rome? Joseph I suspect might have done some consulting for them. Hmmmm

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      I am very sure of that, Manong Sonny. One reason I like this blog is that I am exercising my underused intellectual muscles. IT is not really that big an intellectual challenge.

      And the Philippines is an important topic for me, long ignored or pushed aside out of disenchantment. My head is over here in Europe, my heart I left back home…

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