The “big bang” theory of Philippine social dynamics

bigbang1When we look at events and see two trains collide or economic growth slip or a Senate investigation, we see the tangibles. In astronomical terms, they are like the planets and stars. And that is what we mostly argue about.

But in between, surrounding and a part of the tangibles are some hidden forces and mysterious interactions.

The forces – not the events – make the Philippines so confounding. She is a place of division rather than diversity, of both struggle and fun, and oddly addled rather than organized?

  • ad·dled ˈadld/ adjective/ unable to think clearly; confused. “This might just be my addled brain playing tricks”

I’d like to propose that a gigantic weight, the accumulations of history, of tribal origins, of invasions and occupations, of popes, kings and imperialists, gathered into a critical mass sometime last century and then collapsed upon itself. The nation and all its history and deeds collapsed into a little pinhead of energy. That energy then exploded out into what we are seeing today: events propelled by a strong force that pushes things away.

The tangible bodies that collapsed to make that explosion – the characters and times and events – are fun to debate, but that history need not be understood to witness the force that is driving the Philippines today. The characters and times and events are gone now.

The force remains with us.

I would like to propose a theory:

“JoeAm’s Big Bang Theory of the Repelling Force in Filipino Social Dynamics”

The Philippines emerged from her powerful big bang driven by a dramatic force that repels. It relentlessly pushes her components apart. It divides and works against unity and achievement.

What evidence exists for this?

We see it in every human interaction in the Philippines. When two parties are near one another, by distance or idea, an energy emerges to define one party as more powerful than the other. The less powerful person is pushed away and gains an energy called resentment.

  • In a customer service setting, the clerk is more powerful than the customer.
  • In government offices, the officials are officious, and obviously in power over citizens.
  • At the airport or train station, ridiculous processes convert traveling humans into rats scurrying about to Pavlovian bells. It is a chaotic place.
  • In politics, even good people are diminished by those whose need is to reign supreme; the good are never celebrated. Until they die.
  • On the road, the big black SUV is dominant.
  • Crabs pull others down to diminish them and elevate themselves.
  • Trapos wheel and deal to accumulate debts owed them, and to lord it over others.
  • In the family, the elderly rule, even if they are ignorant.
  • In a conversation, subtle efforts of one-upsmanship, whether showing off clothes or bragging or making an adamant point of argument or tearing others down, are ALWAYS present.
  • In blog debates, losing is not an option.

And so the resentments, the negative energy, builds. It is represented in all the envy, anger and negativity – and nonsense – that surrounds us. The Philippines is a nation of dueling entities, a kind of anti-gravity force that pushes people against one another.

The idea of nationhood, of unity, is an illusion.

The nation’s people tear at the character of one another rather than appreciate differences. Issues get enmeshed in personal attacks, taking arguments off track. The nation’s diversity generates friction and mistrust rather than union. Her churches promote politics and project superiority rather than teach compassion and humility. Her media magnify the conflict.

The Philippine repelling force is akin to magnetism where a polarity of like forces pushes people apart.

Sense becomes nonsense when winning is more important than result. Order becomes disorder. Wrong becomes right.

And so the Philippines pushes apart. She fights her own best interests. Makes illogical decisions. Disobeys the laws. Divides into warring entities, tribal forever.

There are other forces in play around the world. In America, there is a balancing force, an inward force toward strengthening self rather than outward to diminish others. Ambition. Self improvement. Competition on a fair playing field. Respect for differences.

This force counters the negative, repelling force. When properly organized, it generates progress and wealth.

The Philippines is missing this unifying force. She has no national unity because of all the fighting. Pride is found only in victory. It is found in the win of a contestant, not the fielding of the contestant. It is found in proving the Philippines is better than someone else, not satisfaction in standing beside them.

The duality, always the duality. Always comparing. Always going for the win . . . at someone else’s expense. Always pushing someone down.

Discipline and self-sacrifice are weak powers in the Philippines because they do not create wins. Success is found in individual authority. Even the flaunting of laws is acceptable; it is a victory over government. To concede to the good of the community, to do good deeds, is not winning. Therefore good deeds are not necessary.

Out the window of the bus goes the trash.

To be for someone else, or to concede to them, is not acceptable.

And thus we have the rules of the road and all personal interactions. We have the nature of debate, with personal outcomes more important than the good of the Philippines.

Now, in making these observations, I am likely to be subjected to the charge of being a holier-than-thou outsider.

My assessment . . . the theory . . .  trying to grasp why the Philippines underachieves . . . does not matter. Whether I am right or wrong does not matter. The polarity of power and subjugation MUST occur. The winner must be defined, inter-personally.

It is the Philippines, after all.

Fortunately, there is a ray of hope in our universe of events and mysterious forces. If we twist our telescope just right, we can sight some new values, some new pressures coming into play. We can see people placing community over self. And group achievement over personal power.

These are the methods brought to the Philippines by global travelers, returning OFW’s, the middle class, the fair dealers. And by the innovative and ambitious who only want a fair chance to compete. These are the values formed by social media focused on doing right by the nation.

This force is one of hope, and promise.

To which force do you owe allegiance, I wonder? To division or unity?

Many contributors to the blog are for unity. They’ve been around. They have a greater interest in knowledge than winning. Some are in it to win it.

If we take a look, we find that the new force, the force for progress and national success and wealth, is easy to recognize.

  • A win in debate is not important. Knowledge is important.
  • The success of others is not a threat. It is a call for celebration.
  • Difference in others is not a threat. It is richness.

It is possible for Filipinos to set aside this need to push others away. It really is. It is possible to stop needing a win, in favor of listening and making good decisions. It is possible to take pride in the achievement of others, and to find enjoyment in exploring differences. Rather than rejecting them.

Here’s to the force of togetherness!

To listening over talking.

To knowledge over winning.

To giving over taking.

To the richness of diversity over the bitterness of division.

To the force of unity, where the nation’s win is more important than yours or mine.


139 Responses to “The “big bang” theory of Philippine social dynamics”
  1. “Here’s to the force of togetherness!” Now the first question of a typical Filipino will be:

    Good – who is going to benefit the most, and who are just going to be carabaos before the cart.

    It is hard for anyone to overcome this distrust, based on old forces that are still there and very felt.

  2. I read this in rappler:

    How can we help open the minds of our brothers and sisters from the south.

    I distinctly remember a person from the province when interview during the 2013 elections about Binay and the person apparently thought that they were voting for the Makati Mayor Binay instead of the Assistant Nancy Binay.

    Should we push for pictures in the ballot? This would favor Poe and Binay.
    Should we push for a spiel contained in the list of candidates for them to state what they stand for?

    Any ideas?

    • Joe America says:

      I think the campaign period will need to be an exercise in mass education. Without any strong leadership, little outside of that is likely to get done. It will be most interesting to see what develops on and after the 11th regarding the “stop Binay” rally.

      • Speaking of the Stop Binay rally, have any of the usual leftist suspects said anything about it? Excluding Harry Roque who is pro-Binay and his frat brod.

        • Joe America says:

          I don’t think it has received enough publicity to attract attention. It is really just a starting point.

          • Dodong says:

            There might be problems that might occur during the rally on June 11 for Binay might organize his paid troops to rally for him on the same date specially that it will be held on Binays turf. And the Pro Binay might have a greater number than the Anti Binay which will be in favor of Binay for there will be a perception that he is loved in Makati that an organized rally against binay was outnumbered by the supporters of Binay. But it all up to the media how they will paint the story. I hope that more people will join the anti Binay rally as a show of force against abusive , deceptive and corrupt public official.

            • Joe America says:

              The date as I understand it has been changed to June 10, and it will be a simple walk rather than a rally. I’m not sure if there will be much of a crowd, as it has been put together quickly and without a lot of publicity . . . and some confusion on the date. I think no permit has been issued, so the crowd could be dispersed. It is a start, however, to a citizen’s initiative. This is the current promotional poster:

      • Anybody know what happened to the Kaya Natin Movement? Ningas Cogon?

      • David Masangkay says:

        @Joe, campaign donors need to be educated too. Instead of spending so much money for the campaign of the politicians, wouldn’t it be wiser to spend on voter education? Independent minded voters= better election results= better leaders= better environment for businesses. Same cost, better long term impact.

        • Joe America says:

          I agree wholeheartedly. I wrote one blog that was actually aimed at those businessmen who fund candidates. Stability is so important to Philippine commercial success. I’d think they would be nuts to let Binay walk away with a win. The stability that promotes their profits would erode.

        • chit navarro says:

          I believe the first area to be educated is MEDIA! If only newswriters / columnists / newsreaders / TV commentators look at the glass as half-full and not as half-empty always, in favor of the current adminsitration, and sya it like it is – straight, direct to the point, and be embarassed in praising a CORRUPT Leader, then we can move forward sooner to better leaders and better governance.

          As it is, MEDIA is nothing – news spins are so confusing – they just focus the positive on those that have the money to spend…no matter if he / she is corrupt…

          • Joe America says:

            Yes indeed. The headline writers of the Inquirer obviously have low self-esteem, as it pertains to the Philippines. They are always twisting things into good guys and bad guys and seldom speaking the truth. President Aquino said “we are going to continue flying the air routes we always have” and the headline writer twisted it into a macho dare to China: “President defies China”. Like. what, the headline writer is a wuss who needs to feel like a tough guy?

            Hint. He is making news, not reporting it.

            And he is a wuss. (Or she, I dunno.)

  3. About Laylo, that survey firm is quite suspicious. Remember the time I told you about a survey that the Manila Times commissioned and which was done by them?

  4. josephivo says:

    What of the things happening in the Philippines are caused by Filipino soul? What is caused by political patronage? (see PDI today ) What is caused by the stress dictated / created by our absolute market thinking? A rural society living in an urban environment? The gap between an animistic core and the Catholic coating of religion here? Societies are breaking down all over the world. See the illegal immigrants worldwide, the ultra-rights in the US, ultra-religious in the Middle East, ultra-nationalists in Russia, the collapse of the European idea, the success of populism. To call a lot of the current Zeitgeist (spirit of the age) as Filipino is not correct.

    On the other hand the sun is shinning too. Worldwide in no single moment in time there was so little violence, so little diseases, so little huger (percentage wise), so little illiteracy… Some of our old millennium goals are getting closer to fulfillment but people seem to expect more, faster.

    Just thinking aloud. For me more it seems that more is going on than just what is created by the immature, askew, often unethical politics in the Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, in some respects, it is refreshing to look out and away from the drudge and bickering and tabloid lifestyles here to see that there is a bigger picture, calmer and more mature. The last leadership article helped me to do that. This one aims more at emotions and attitude. As if it were possible to entertain a massive national self-improvement session focused on taking the edge off of everything and getting on with business.

  5. bauwow says:

    To listening over talking.

    To knowledge over winning.

    To giving over taking.

    To the richness of diversity over the bitterness of division.

    To the force of unity, where the nation’s win is more important than yours or mine.

    Wow! That is all that I can say.

    Hope that the guru, Edgar Lores will post soon. Hope he goes cosmic!

  6. “Man cannot aspire if he looked down; if he rise, he must look up.”–Samuel Smiles

    I’ve been here a bit over a month now, and I noticed most of the readership understand the sentiment above. But 2 or 3 commenters here, I would lump into the subject of this article, ie. “if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem”.

    One pattern is apparent now, one commenter lays-out best practices, and the riposte instead of constructive, is destructive, ie. that’s not gonna work/why?/i dunno it’s just not gonna work because it’s foreign. Reminiscent of Socrates’ cave allegory.

    The other pattern I’ve noticed is, you present a concept, instead of a healthy, fruitful dialogue, the riposte is ‘we’re not so different from the rest of the world’; ‘they’re messed up so we should feel OK with being as messed up’. See, America has it’s problems tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Default acceptance of the lowest common denominator.

    So my answer to the first pattern of riposte, is to differentiate between challenges and impossibilities/priorities and impossibilities. The strategy here is to attack at all angles, imagine an oval circle written in the middle of it, the Philippines, and a variety of arrows pointing inward representing solutions–no need to stack these arrows in a single line… 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, that’s inefficient, and represents wasted effort.

    To the 2nd riposte, the US has problems, read this: Now unless the issue has something to do directly with what the US is doing in the US or what the US has done in the past or present outside the US, then focus on the ideas being presented, not from where it comes or the baggage associated with where it comes. Focus on the idea on its own.

    If the idea needs to be Filipinized then do so,

    but I would caveat that this represents pandering to lesser minds (upon further thought last night). Filipinos should be able to read great works or think great thoughts without these ideas being re-interpreted or re-formed to fit the Filipino mind, or culture. This idea that the Filipino is special, albeit in a slow way, is destructive–I’ve seen this in jameboy’s post and Irineo’s who I see both as being at two ends of the spectrum here (Irineo though offers solutions).

    I just read a great article in the current Esquire, but it doesn’t seem to be online, so here’s the closest to it, Defense attorney Judy Clarke’s anti-death penalty crusade summed up: By saving the worst among us, Clarke believes she’s saving all of us. But the macro-view take away, and why it’s related to Joe’s article above, is it’s about going against the grain, about representing principles larger than yourself.

    • jameboy says:

      “I’ve seen this in jameboy’s post and Irineo’s…..”
      I wish you could add your thoughts on the subject matter instead of analyzing why people share the kind of ideas they have.

      If you think I don’t participate in the problem-solving or you were not satisfied with what I shared engage me. And if in engaging you still feel the same way you are free to disengage. There are a lot of ways in participating in the discussion. You don’t have to force your self nor whine because you don’t feel the flow of the conversation.

      Criticize if you must but make sure you don’t lose the break handle. 👌

      • jameboy,

        You are the subject matter, “Sense becomes nonsense when winning is more important than result”.

        And I did engage you, but instead your ran away citing being “stingy” as the reason–the think with stinginess is, you either have it (thus hiding your wealth of knowledge) or you don’t (bluffing), and based on Joe’s Binay/left article, no ideas seems on par here:

        As for ‘the break handle’, I’m more addled by why you seem to comment when it’s 2-3am there, and I’m on my lunch break here. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

        • jameboy says:

          You are the subject matter…..
          If that’s the case, you’re off topic, hence, you lose.

          You engaged me and for a while I engaged you, but it seems you are really intent on ramming down my throat your idea that I already said I respect but would not submit to. With all those malicious insinuations you made in the course of our discussion I maintained a modicum of civility and not really stoop to the level you want me to go. I even politely turned down your insistence in adding more rounds in our conversation because I can see that we’re not going to see eye to eye on the issue.

          And you still hound and stalk me up to now? I don’t mind hounding and stalking so long as its based on the issue at hand. I’m very cautious in not repeating a mistake I made not so long ago that tick Joe to remind me of not hitting below the belt and I’m not about to do such thing again.

          Focus on the issue my friend and if you think I’m wrong or lying, then, you are welcome to even violently criticize me. Share and criticize if you must, that’s how we all should be doing here. ⛔

          • In light of that last comment, I would like to add the 3rd common riposte–‘I’m the victim, woe is me, I’m being attacked, everything’s out of my control, imperialism, intellectual racism, welfare, etc. which is part and parcel of delicadeza, playing the drama queen.

            How are you still up at 2-5am Philippine time, jameboy?

    • Joe America says:

      Two very instructive articles. Indeed, the US is many nations, within, and anyone wanting to find a criticism there is sure to find it. More often than not, that form of argument is a diversion from the real point, being candid about the Philippines. I also admire attorneys who do the difficult work of representing the accused on the point of principle, as Judy Clarke does. The mind is elevated above what people think. That is a huge step.

      I am also perplexed by those who seem so convinced that the Philippines is screwed up that the argument almost become “I’m in favor of being downtrodden.” When I first started blogging, I’d get the label of “naive” about every time I suggested a solution. So I started filling up the texts with caveats and disclaimers to soften the impact like indicating it is an “example” not a proposal. The idea that change is possible does not always sell well.

    • Every culture is unique and special, and my take on languages is here in my blog:

      Filipinizing stuff makes international memes part of national culture, enriching it. The problem Philippine culture has had since it fell under colonization is that the languages which carried the culture lost their strength, became peasant languages, unsophisticated.

      Every other country in Asia has its own national language, OK my idea for the Philippines as a possibility was three, Swiss-like, but does using Japanese make Japan less strong, or using Korean make Korea less strong – I doubt it. But there are many ways possible here.

  7. BFD says:

    I suppose the division that you’re speaking of is a strength that we Filipinos have.

    Let me explain.

    Case 1: Japan

    We all know that Japan is a highly organized country. They’re very nationalistic and very unified, one mind, one soul with one core authority, the Emperor.

    But look at what it did to them, it turned them into a monster, bringing misery to other neighboring countries, raping and killing and grabbing territories, until they were stopped by dropping the atomic bomb.

    Case 2: China

    At the present time, same case with Japan of old. Because they’re a huge country with a centralized government and suppressing their citizens, they are now grabbing a ridiculously vast area through the nine-dashed line. They are even roaming the Middle East waters with their ships to affect its geopolitical landscape.

    My point is sometimes a country that has no dissent in its midst would likely be arrogant and mischievous in its ways and inflict harm on its neighbors.

    I don’t want the Philippines to be like that.

    • Joe America says:

      The division is a strength if we consider criticism and dissent to be a healthy aspect of the democratic form of government. Totalitarianism leads one to rule like Marcos, and that’s not good. But there is also totalitarianism within the views expressed that has individuals not listening, not compromising, representing their views for THEMSELVES rather than for principles that benefit the nation. It is that individual totalitarianism – people elevating themselves for money or self-esteem – I’m discussing, not dissent that is founded on doing good for the community, the nation.

      • BFD says:

        Oh, I see. That is the richness of it. If that one “totalitarianistic” individual comes into power, then all the other segments of society band themselves together to oppose it, to be able to build again. That is us. That’s been our way of life.

        We might not be able to be like Japan or China in terms of unity in diversity as you would call it , but at least in my opinion, we never cause hurt to other neighboring countries like those two (Japan of old and China now or even your country, US) have done with their neighboring countries.

        • Joe America says:

          It is hard to hurt or offend other nations when one is absorbed in one’s own political bickering and poverty. The Philippines is only now emerging as an international influence of any regard. The US has offended other nations by being powerful, doing jobs that are often difficult, dangerous and thankless, and on occasion making mistakes that, in hindsight, are easy to criticize. If you look around at the free world and wonder why it is free, then you can put the US role in its proper perspective.

          • If given the opportunity, if given the power, I’m sure the Philippines would project power outward. So it’s not for the lack of trying, Marcos certainly attempted it:

            The thing with international politics is, there’s no concept of friendships, there’s ONLY interests.

            Judge your gov’t’s ability to protect or further its interests (and how well those interests coincide with its people’s desires), not on whether your country can or cannot “cause hurt” on other nations–the fact that it’s causing hurt internally is evidence enough.

            The country to compare is Switzerland, neutral but takes care of its citizens. Everything is done from a position of power, not weakness. Or maybe Tibet/Nepal, Buddhist nations, who are weak, but have non-violence as its core national character

            Philippines though has nothing at its cultural core that would suggest non-violence as national virtue, in reality violence is a big part of society, from fraternities rumble to state violence.

            Institutions-wise the Philippines has the potential to reach a certain economic level, from which it can decide–from a position of power–if as a nation they will avoid projecting power out. But here we already know the answer, based on the South China sea.

            So the Philippines won’t be a Switzerland or Tibet/Nepal, based on history, and if powerful, will project power just like China and the US, although maybe not 1930s Japan–takes a special kind of crazy to do that, one path we are hoping the Chinese will not follow.

            • The Philippines is the crossroads of sea lanes: – in that situation you are either powerful or a victim.

              The Kingdom of Tondo was powerful until Brunei took over around 1500, then the Spanish.

              Sea-wise, the Philippines is in the same situation that Germany is land-wise – at the crossroads and in the middle. In that situation you have three choices, as evidenced in German history – victim (30 years war, post-Metternich), hegemon (need I say more) or honest broker (Bismarck, Merkel especially in the Ukraine crisis between Obama and Putin) – Philippines is moving in the direction of honest broker under President Aquino.

            • BFD says:

              @LCpl_X (@LCpl_X)

              I think he tried that scheme to get back Sabah since in our eyes we were duped by Britain when a referendum was held there, if the Sabahans wanted Malaysia or the Philippines. You can read all about it on the net.

              So the Philippines at that time under Marcos concocted that scheme, not to try to “project it’s influence outward,” but to stake a claim albeit under that circumstance. We do not grab lands not ours, if I might add…

              • BFD says:

                Let me quote Mark Twain

                “But I have thought some more, since then… I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way.”

                Read more:

                But this didn’t happen. Hundreds of thousands of our ancestors died fighting the Americans…. to be free…

              • “We do not grab lands not ours, if I might add…”

                Unless, you are yourself from Sulu, BFD, then it isn’t “yours”. The irony of that massacre, was Marcos killing Tausugs, further undermining the whole notion of your “ours”.

                “It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way.”

                I’m a fan of Mark Twain, he’s a California writer, but the best test of America’s legacy here isn’t found in Luzon, or Visayas, for that matter, but among the Tausugs, and why with everything that’s happened since, they are more favorable to Americans than to their fellow “Filipinos” up north.

                And remember Mark Twain wrote in the early part of the century, before the galvanizing affects of the Japanese and WWII. So the conquering in the beginning, gave way to partnership in the closing years post-WWII–though the Communist threat and Marcos vis-a-vis American relations propelled relations downhill once more.

                But the Tausug irony and legacy is the point of my post, re power projection.

            • Joe America says:

              Nice assessment of Philippine leadership temperament.

              • BFD says:

                I think you cannot judge us by that one massacre alone. If you are to go by history, I can point you to massacres of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos by the US Army during 1900s whose only fault is to defend their land from the invading US Army. This is where the great promise by Dewey turned into a great disgust and misery for the Filipinos.

                When I say ours, it includes all of the territory on the map of the Philippines, as it is defined by our constitution. You cannot say it isn’t ours. Sulu included. Now, you might know something I don’t know since I’m not from there, but the last time I looked, only Sabah remains in other country’s hands.

              • “I can point you to massacres of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos by the US Army during 1900s”

                BFD, I’m not judging you, I’m offering an example that refutes your noble “us” perspective–citing that the propensity for violence is internal, but can also be expressed externally. I can also point to you lives saved by the US military, but we are talking about projection of power.

                “Now, you might know something I don’t know since I’m not from there, but the last time I looked, only Sabah remains in other country’s hands.”

                You’re missing nuances here, Irineo can fill you in with the history.

                For power projection, I want you to just focus on the irony re Sabah, read up further on the Jabidah massacre, read up on who the Tausugs are, read up on the Sulu Sultanate. Focus on the irony vis-a-vis power projection–don’t worry about geography right now, but if you’re so inclined you should visit Sulu, get their take on the Philippines/”Filipinos” and Malaysia.

                “You cannot say it isn’t ours.”

                This is kinda central to the BBL discussion directly below.

  8. karl garcia says:

    I was waiting for the “meta-analysis” of Edgar since Irineo no longer synthesizes our comments.

  9. edgar lores says:

    1. Ahaha! We have gone supernova, have we?

    2. The current intangibles in modern astrophysics, I believe, are dark matter and dark energy.

    3. There was indeed an explosion in physics at the turn of the last century, the 19th century, and the beginning of the 20th century. We all know about Einstein and Special Theory of relativity, which initiated postmodernism. But that is another story.

    4. In our national narrative at that time, the country was engaged in the Philippine-American War (1899 – 1902).

    5. And now, a century later, here comes JoeAm, an American engaged with, and at the same time bemused by, the dynamics of Filipino society, putting forward his “alternate universe” theory of the Filipino Repelling (or Repellent) Force (FRF).

    5.1. “Opposites attract and likes repel” so the saying goes. If true, that would mean that we are a pretty homogenous lot.

    5.2. And we are, aren’t we? We attend the same church; we arrive late at parties; we treat other people’s money like our own; we take umbrage when we are criticized especially by foreigners; we believe rules are made to be broken; we point with our mouths; we expect pasalubongs; and we love adobo. The list of homogeneity is endless.

    5.3. In JoeAm’s examples, the FRF has to do with status in transactional interactions, in egoic role-playing. There is a social and interpersonal hierarchy.

    5.3.1. In the hierarchy, the average Juan/Juana is at the bottom. Above him/her are anyone that Juan/Juana must transact with, be it in the home, the barangay, the upper class, the church, businesses, and the government. In almost all relationships, the FRF, the cringe factor, must be established.

    6. How do we overcome the FRF? Let me put on the table three anti-repellent notions:

    6.1. One, we must acknowledge our basic equality. No one has put it more succinctly than Lincoln in the opening line of the Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago our father brought forth… a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

    6.2. Two, in recognition of our basic equality, we must accord each other a basic respect. This respect goes beyond the accident of circumstances. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights enumerate these accidents as “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.“

    6.3. Third and last, we must individuate. Individuation is defined as “the process by which individuals in society become differentiated from one another.” It is the development of the individual as distinct from the collective herd. As we post our comments here, we are establishing and defining our individuality. Are you sometimes surprised by the positions you take, by the intelligence of your opinion, by what you write? I am. Let us continue to amaze ourselves.

    • Joe America says:

      6.3 is absolutely brilliant. Counter-intuitive to the max. To build a strong community, a nation that moves as one, we have to have the ability to accept our individuality (nay, BUILD it), and accept it in others. From that, we can create sense of nationhood and solve problems on healthy psychological terms rather than negative. That is, sense enters the picture rather than defense of emotions.

      And, yes, the Philippines is largely homogeneous, but some new forces are entering the picture. The middle class has them. Fair dealing rather than anything goes. OFW’s have them, too.

    • karl garcia says:

    • Bert says:

      I am proud to be in your classroom, Edgar. Sitting besides bauwow at the 4th row and having the advantage of having a panoramic view of everything and everyone in front of us, we delight and learned so much from the wisdom of your words.

    • i7sharp says:

      “6.3. Third and last, we must individuate….”

      How about … we must “baranganize” – passionately availing ourselves of whatever good we can find in our barangays?

      And let us be as precise as we can.
      For that matter, how about … we must be “the most precise” of nations?

      One of the things I like about “precise” is that it is a 7-letter word.
      Another is what we can do with it if, say, spelled backwards:


      1. “Every Square Inch Covered in Every Region in the Philippines.”
      2. “Every Single Inhabitant Cared for in Every Region in the Philippines.”
      3. …
      (Just a couple of examples of how can be precise.)

      More on “7” later.

      • edgar lores says:


        individuation is NOT being anti-society. It simply is being the best one can be in whatever calling one chooses, or whatever calling chooses one.

        In being the best you can be, you become a useful and productive member of society.

        I have some misgivings about the barangay. To me the smallest political construct should be the town. Why?

        o In terms of levels, government should ideally consist of three tiers: town, province (or suburb and city), and national.
        o There is an economic cost to having an extra layer. This is a quantitative difference.
        o There is also a freedom cost, although this is hard to describe and harder to quantify. This is a qualitative difference.
        o It may be that the tightness of social control in the barangay works against individuation.
        o If we move in the direction of a federal structure. another layer will be added.

        Perhaps, because Filipinos are a fractious and unruly lot, it may be that the minutiae of control that the barangay structure affords and exercises is necessary. I leave that to sociologists to study and understand.

        Knowing that you have spent some time organizing a barangay database, I would be happy to hear your views on the pros of social dynamics in the barangay construct. I stand to learn and be corrected.


        “Perfect” is also a 7-letter word: TCEFREP.

        o “To Chase Enlightenment, First Research Extrasensory Perception.”
        o “To Capture Elusive Females Requires Extraordinary Persistence.”

        • josephivo says:

          Yes to the Barangay. 200 is the maximum number of people one can relate to, your social circle, at one per – extended – family, that is roughly the optimal size of a barangay. At this level relations can be “personal”, individualized. This level cannot be expert in everything, but it can be for the essential human things, celebrate, grief, solidarity, anger… The more specialized things like infrastructure, brain surgery, international relations and rocket science to be organized at higher levels.

          • Joe America says:

            I second that. It is a flexible and immediate way to prepare for or help after disasters. It is an authoritative way to stop interpersonal conflicts, impose order, or communicate without electronics. It is a way for people to be involved with their city. The cost is low compared to benefits. True, the barangay may only perform at about 25% of potential, but that can improve if service-minded people get into government.

          • edgar lores says:


            Thanks. “It takes a village to raise a child.”

            I am not questioning the existence of the barangay — or “purok” as I knew it to be — as a geographical and social unit.

            I am questioning the barangay as an administrative unit.

            I am aware of the advantages of the barangay in its law and order, and quasi-judicial functions. As I said Filipinos are a fractious and unruly lot. Weighed against these advantages is the unnecessary level of authoritarian control at the microscosmic level. This authoritarian control has political ramifications. (Which is probably why Marcos resurrected the concept of the barangay.) To me, this points to weaknesses in the national construct, the town construct, the family construct, the school construct and the church construct.

            Has the barangay usurped part of the authority previously exercised by parents, the schools and the church?

            • Joe America says:

              Allow me to interject, as the last question is most interesting. I’d say the barangay captain is more an extension of the mayor, the police, and the courts. It is also party central during the fiesta. Other than prayers at functions, I don’t observe a lot of preaching, or teaching. There is perhaps a squidge of discipline. When the Captain himself has 10 kids and another on the way, certain lessons about responsible parenthood are perhaps missed.

              • “It is also party central during the fiesta.” Based on the old expectation that a chief has to feast his tribe. Which is why Binay-style politicians hit the nerve of the common people whose mentality is still what is was way back in 1521.

                The late Visayan comedian Yoyoy Villame sums up the barangay mentality very well in this cartoon, the Filipino equivalent to Fred Flintstone. Of course he plays to the Manila prejudice that the Visayan accent is “primitive”, and one can see a little bit of Marcos-era thinking (fascism) in the cartoon, the barangay as a harmonious place under a strong leader followed by his people:

              • Joe America says:

                OMG. That’s my barangay. It really is. Even down to the love affair of the captain.

              • Yoyoy Villame rose to prominence is the time of Marcos in a sort of court jester role… But his sly humor shows a deep understanding of the Philippine situation. Like this one about the Philippine school system:

            • josephivo says:

              (Aren’t larger Barangays split into Puroks?)

              I see the Barangay functioning as a first safety net, when families fail because of no knowledge, no means or no interest. It needs some official powers/resources to function well.

              The Barangay level has a very low threshold, easy to access. People know someone in the Barangay hall, or at least know someone who knows someone. They teach you how to deal with “officials”. It is also functions as a “home owner association” for those living outside the walled subdivisions.

              And I might have been lucky to only meet decent, concerned counselors so far. Positively motivated officials exist and the really can make a difference.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks, Josephivo.

                You are on the ground and your anecdotal evidence is strong.

                I am speaking from theory.

                It just seems to me that Filipinos are too enculturated, to use LCpl_X’s term. Even OFWs. who are exposed to foreign vistas, still see and think the Pinoy way, although many have been partly “liberated”.

                (What is the Pinoy way? Think about the two seminal events early this year: the papal visit and the Mamasapano incident. The first was unthinking adulation, the second unthinking vilification.)

                We are too steeped in our culture, conditioned from the womb of the barangay. We are producing conventional-thinking men and women well-adjusted to the mores of the barrio. We are definitely not producing outliers, Nobel Prize winning material.

              • I read, Edgar, that your formative years were in Hawaii – the years when one’s basic makeup is formed according to Piaget, until the age of 7 which is according to Filipino native wisdom the age “na meron nang isip ang tao” – someone beings to have a mind.

                Of course you are not enculturated, you came in as a fully formed observer. I came to the Philippines at the age of three after having been in Berlin – an even bigger sea change.

                So one could say my basic makeup was formed by two cultures – which is why I am able to get both perspectives pretty well. But the Filipino barrio-style conditioning goes very deep, even I find myself reacting that way, how much more for those who are purely Filipino? The only way to move people away from that, towards more modern modes of thinking, is IMHO to fetch them from where they are now. Baranganize, Filipinize, but bring democracy into the barangay, modern memes into the hard-headed Pinoy mind.

              • edgar lores says:


                I agree that our exposure to two cultures at an early age gives us true stereoscopic and cinemascopic vision. We see things on a wider scale and at a greater depth.

                If you moved at the age of 3, I would say you are more Filipino than German. And it shows: you output at a prodigious rate (Filipino outburst) and then you stem and organize the flow (German precision). I tend to output and organize at the same time. The enumeration technique helps a lot in this.

                As to cultural conditioning, I haven’t given it deeper thought, but I was just thinking it depends on whether a culture tolerates, appreciates and encourages heterogeneity. Just a thought: Are societies with polytheistic beliefs more adaptable than ones with monotheistic beliefs? No, probably not.

              • Here in California, they’ve recently revamped this concept of neighborhood councils in large cities; in the suburbs they have HOAs (homeowners associations). Both are similar to the barangay in scope, but overall irrelevant as official units in gov’t, ie. no official voting, limited power, leadership is consensus than a “captain”.

                The actual smallest unit of gov’t is in the city council, the state congress and then on to the US congress (all elected). Depending on what your issue is you want resolved (street racing to why your neighborhood is slowly being bought out by some mysterious real estate company with ties to China) you seek recourse with either of the 3 or all.

                The purpose of the neighborhood councils and HOA is to help you gain a voice with whatever issue comes up. For the most part these Neighborhood Councils (NCs) and HOAs are populated by senior citizens, who not only truly belief in citizenship, but need the socializing effects of these organizations (better than staying at home).

                So most people have nothing to do with NC and HOA, until an issue becomes personal, they turn to their elected city council member or elected state congressperson, and if its a legit issue they’ll advice her to seek assistance from their NC or HOA, which then attempts to rile public interest for said issue.

                Church groups and hobby groups (I was a member of a mountain biking group which lobbied for shared trails or separate trails) also do similar stuff, by getting together, power in numbers.

                That’s basically the main purpose of the barangay. So keep the barangay hall, fill it with library books, maybe computers, internet, have activities stemming from it, let old people hangout there, kids daycare, whatever, but do away with the officialness of it, ie. elections, taxpayer funds, etc.

                The barangay is a good unit, but as edgar has pointed out, it is just an unnecessary extra layer, when other layers, ie hobby groups, church groups, civic groups, neighborhood groups, etc. can do the same (especially with social media, reaching out to other groups, to expand numbers).

                The barangay is too amateurish, too much energy is spent here, there’s too much affinity among people at this level to actually be objective, focus should be in strengthening the city/town unit–with the help of civic-minded groups.

              • “I agree that our exposure to two cultures at an early age gives us true stereoscopic and cinemascopic vision. We see things on a wider scale and at a greater depth.”

                This is the reason, when I come on here, I usually scroll straight to the two of you’s comments.

        • edgar,

          I saw commendable stuff at the barangay level vis-a-vis criminal matters and arbitration, but your point,

          o There is also a freedom cost, although this is hard to describe and harder to quantify. This is a qualitative difference.
          o It may be that the tightness of social control in the barangay works against individuation.

          freedom cost and social control seems on par, and very evident during elections.

          Concession speeches I guess haven’t gotten there yet and usually what happens is the losing party bad mouthes the guys who won. And this drama is sustained til next election, so only half of the barangay is working, since the losing party is undermining it.

          Not all barangays are created equal, some more equal than others, but there’s truth in what edgar is describing here and so maybe the answer should be not elected barangay officials, but other means to get people together to demand neighborhood stuff/issues from the town/city level and on.

          But yeah, that whole election at the barangay level looks too much like high school student body gov’t elections her, at least you have adult supervision and the concept of conceding to the winning party is introduced in high school.

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, the “graceful concession speech” is very rare at the barangay level. Your point makes me laugh because the one campaign I witnessed had kidnappings and assaults, and all kinds of shenanigans. More like a high school gang fight. In the Philippines, we call that “involved”.

          • ” the losing party bad mouthes the guys who won. And this drama is sustained til next election, so only half of the barangay is working, since the losing party is undermining it.”

            Sounds like what Joe once wrote about Philippine presidential elections.

            • It’s similar here too, ie. FOX News or if it’s a Republican president, MSNBC. But the difference is that systems still run, in spite of all the fluff. Hell, without gov’t in DC the whole country would still run, w/out gov’t in Sacramento, my city would still run, w/out my city gov’t, my neighborhood would still run,

              this all goes back to edgar’s individuate, which becomes self-reliance, self-sufficience and independence.

              I don’t think there’s a big difference in the human condition, being a sore loser is part of human emontion whether in the Philippines or here. It’s the tradition that’s stood up to shame said behaviour, that’s different, ie. concession speech. These guys who lose don’t wanna give that speech, but tradition and values associated with it, compel them to.

              Culture is simply a tool, similar traditions can be stood up there too, I’m sure they were there post-WWII but then lost, or simply forgotten.

      • “individuation is NOT being anti-society. It simply is being the best one can be in whatever calling one chooses, or whatever calling chooses one.

        In being the best you can be, you become a useful and productive member of society.”


        I gotta hold of one of edgar’s book recommendation, Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”, if you have not read it yet, it’s an awesome read. I regret only learning about this book here, this should’ve been mandatory HS reading.

        There’s usually a misunderstanding of individualism especially amongst those from communal cultures.

        There’s two types of individualism, the one Ayn Rand wrote about summed up by the word ignoble and the one practiced by the likes of John Muir and Henry David Thoreau, the type that goes inward but projects itself out to others, multiplies good in the world.

        Further point on edgar’s freedom cost and social control, is the willingness of the individual to be disagreeable. There is a negative correlation between the level of creativity and “agreeableness”, so those who are the most disagreeable tend to be the most creative.

        Creativity is a numbers game, so the best predictor of how many creative works one produces in his lifetime is—>the number of works one produces. Redos come with the territory.

        Criticism makes us better, by exposing our thoughts to others, and by externalizing it so we can expect it for ourselves, gaining unique perspective and insight, then develop new/improved ideas for the next version.

        All this hinges on the level of individualism espoused by a particular culture or society.

        Read up on this guy:

  10. karl garcia says:

    On talking not listening.
    My favorite example is Mirriam.
    I read a comment in Raissa’s that made me bow , she is wondering why is Mirriam questioning the unconstitutionality of a draft. Isn’t it the job of a legislator to legislate?
    Ok they have a draft since she is an EXPERT, why not make it constitutional and then defend it

    I am having the impression that our law makers are draft copiers,aside from my rants on recycling bills, and killing bills against their interests.

    Knowledge over winning
    Need not go far.
    Just by reading exchanges of Jameboy and blank, I learn and I see someone who never loses.

    I learn,even when I sound as complaining on RHIro, MRP,Pie,Jameboy most of the time I learn from them and from all of you of course and I will try my best not to complain.

    • bauwow says:

      @Karl, the guru has spoken. His wisdom knows no boundaries.
      The thirst for knowledge is quenched. The view from the 4th row, is becoming clear

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, Senator Santiago is a classic example of a person who burns so much energy to tear things down and puts nothing into building anything.

      Your last line is very important.

      Me too.

    • manuelbuencamino says:

      Hi Karl, Posted this on my FB page re constitutionality of BBL.

      In the news is Senate President Drilon saying the BBL is going to be delayed because 12 senators believe it is unconstitutional. Well golly gee.

      Whether the BBL is constitutional or not is for the Supreme Court to decide. Whatever the Senate – with all of its self-proclaimed constitutional experts – has to say on the constitutionality of the BBL is just an opinion, a position that only the Supreme Court can decide with finality. So don’t waste our time acting like a pseudo-Supreme Court just focus on making the BBL work.

      The question the Senate should ask is not whether such and such a provision is constitutional or not but whether such and such a provision will
      (1) grant the BangsaMoro powers that they are willing to grant or not;
      (2) whether such and such a provision will help bring about peace and economic development to the area;
      (3) whether such and such a provision is the most efficient mechanism for peace and development…in short Congress should focus on passing a BBL that is effective. That is its job. Pass the bill and then let the SC decide whether it is constitutional as a whole or whether to only strike out certain provisions of the BBL.

      Passing amendments after an SC decision that will be constitutionally compliant will be more practical than hoping to pass a law that is constitutionally perfect but will face a challenge in the SC anyway because those who are obstinately opposed to BBL/Bangsamoro will file suit no matter what.

      (2) All this talk that not everybody was consulted etc makes for good news copy but what does it really mean?

      Senate holds a hearing and you have resource persons who claim they were not consulted. For example, Sulu Princess Jacel Kiram shows up and claims the Sulu royals were not consulted. Actually what she is saying is their position was not given preferential treatment. The same thing applies to the Misuari faction of the MNLF and other vested groups in ARMM. Well, you can’t please them all. You talk to everybody, hold both public and private meetings, but after all is said and done you pay attention to the most powerful group with the most followers and largest general support. That’s just the way it is.

      So the princess claims they were not consulted but peace negotiator Ferrer claimed otherwise. She said she talked to three of the royals and the outcome was positive. So now it comes to a question of whom do you believe?

      The fact is the overwhelming majority of ARMM supports the BBL. One must make a distinction between ARMM and the rest of Mindanao because the support of those in ARMM is what counts for more if peace and development of the region is what we want. They are the ones who rose up and wanted to secede.

      If there was no widespread support for secession then the MNLF and the MILF would not have lasted as long as they have. Now the MILF and a larger faction of the MNLF have given up secession in favor of autonomy, are we now going to throw away the chance of peace because Sulu royalty is angry that the government did not send military reinforcement to their Sabah adventure?

      There is a difference between listening to what everybody has to say and acquiescing to their demands. To repeat, you can’t please them all. You try to achieve a balance, you give to each what they deserve but you always exercise proportionality. Does Princess Jacel carry as much weight as the MILF or the MNLF? No. So when push comes to shove, sorry na lang Princess you cannot have everything you want. And that goes down the line, to all the competing and cooperating factions in the ARMM – Misuari, BIFF, ASG, IPs, and politicians who live adjacent to moro jurisdictions.

      (3) Who appointed the MILF as the embodiment or spokespersons for all of ARMM? Nobody. But would any sane person say they are not the biggest most powerful group in ARMM? Can you have peace in ARMM without giving due weight to the MILF? Let’s talk proportionality here.

      Some people bring up the idea that ASG and BIFF etc will create trouble anyway so why make peace with the MILF? Well those are bandit groups, the MILF is an organized force both politically and militarily, it engaged in secession not in banditry. Should we give as much weight to bandits as we do a real secessionist group?

      The MNLF is divided between those who want to give the BBL/Bangsamoro a chance and Misuari who will not settle for less than being given supremacy over ARMM. So do we delay BBL/Bangsamoro until such time as the bandit groups and Misuari and Princess Jacel get what they want at the risk of the MILF taking up arms again because the government was not sincere about peace?

      The MILF has demonstrated that it is for real, it has remained in its zones, it has not angaged in offensive military operations, it killed Marwan’s terrorist comrade, all for the success of the peace. Misuari attacked Zamboanga City to torpedo the peace. Sino ang pakikinggan natin?
      The only issue is peace and development in that war torn area. The biggest headache is now willing to partner with the central government. Let’s focus on how to make that partnership work and stop with all the nonsense issues and political posturing.

      • karl garcia says:

        Hi MB,
        Thanks for your article.

        The funny thing is senator Miriam knows that only the Supreme Court can rule on constitutionality,she even reprimands resource people if they use the constitutionality issue and tells them that it is only the SC that can rule on it.I can’t think of a specific example,but I know there was one instance.

        Yes sir it is their job is to pass BBL, but it is also their job to question,but without posturing and grand standing and delaying. My issue with the bbl hearings is the delaying tactics.

        Definitely it won’t pass before SONA by the rate it is going.Drilon said October(?)

        Here is another issue:
        The non consultation of stakeholders issue for me is (pardon my french) BS.
        Deles and company did consult with stakeholders, I know many lumads showed up, but if they say no one consulted then I am not inclined to believe that.


          “The proposed Bangsamoro basic law in its current form won’t bring peace, says Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The senator will file a substitute bill soon”

          well, this is all politics and to be expected. Hopefully the entire process leads to a good law in the end – maybe even to general decentralization or some federalism because Bangsamoro is only the most extreme case of Manila’s neglected children.

          • Except for the last point, all the points Marcos raises are similar to my BBL article here:

            The provision that allows areas contiguous to the Bangsamoro to join the plebiscite for possible inclusion with a petition from 10% of registered voters

            Possible conflicting rights and claims over “exclusive” and “internal” bodies of water, like the Sulu Sea and Lake Lanao

            Co-equal rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the Royal houses and sultanates

            business and economic implications of the BBL on the Bangsamoro territory, adjacent LGUs and the wider Mindanao community

            The Bangsamoro’s taxing authority, which he said “can be susceptible to double taxation”

            Operational control of the Bangsamoro chief minister over the Bangsamoro police, a power already devolved under RA 9054

            The impact on other LGUs of the “evolving policy” on the devolution of powers to local governments

            Energy implications in Bangsamoro territory and the entire Mindanao

            Creation of “separate” Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit and Civil Service Commission. Under the bill, these bodies will continue to be part of the national constitutional bodies but will have autonomous functions

            Implications on previous peace agreements. Marcos’ father, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr signed the Tripoli Agreement on 1976 with the MNLF

            Now I am just wondering… during the drafting of the BBL, was the House involved?

            If there had been a House Committee to check all of this beforehand, this could have been avoided. Well but I guess BBL or whatever comes will be delayed – not a problem if the public buy-in is much better after the corresponding democratic discussion.

          • Joe America says:

            Smacks of arrogance to me. Only one guy knows the best path forward for all the rest of us. Must be a genetic thing.

            • Indeed it is… but how the rest of the democratic system deals with that is a test of its maturity. For better or for worse, he is an elected Senator – just like Miriam.

              Now at least he might give a constructive counter-proposal, other than Miriam.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, I have a personality conflict with the Senator, so strike my acerbic remark. I do look forward to his constructive counter-proposal. I might even like it. Maybe he has a team of good lawyers working on the thing. I hope he does it soon . . . which he ought to strive for, as a launching point for his Presidential aspirations.

              • Well, Marcos is definitely his father’s son in many ways: not only the arrogance, but also the intelligence and the “killer instinct”. The last point is something that appeals to many Filipinos, the Philippines being a high power-distance culture, even more than Russia according to serious studies. In high power-distance cultures, strong bossman types are liked if one can be part of the group the bossman is for, whether Putin, Marcos, or Duterte.

                Fairness is seen as weakness in such cultures. Destroying rivals admired as strength.

        • Is anyone studying Aceh’s example in all this? Compare/contrast Aceh’s implementation for the past few years now (and I think they have something similar over in Malaysia re Islamization) to this proposed plan?

          The trade police and the vice/virtue police needs to be scrutinized closely.

          Also differentiation between ‘urf ( , Adat there) and Islamic law and how that relates to Philippines Spanish and American laws.

          These are details, and the bigger concept should be peace, but are there groups looking into the Islamic portion of all this?

      • jameboy says:

        Some people bring up the idea that ASG and BIFF etc will create trouble anyway so why make peace with the MILF? Well those are bandit groups, the MILF is an organized force both politically and militarily, it engaged in secession not in banditry. Should we give as much weight to bandits as we do a real secessionist group?
        I think the point is if we make peace with MILF what will stop us in making another peace with the BIFF or ASG especially when the time comes that those groups decides to shed their bandit image and go mainstream ala-MI or MN?

        I mean don’t get me wrong I’m for peace in Mindanao and if the BBL would be the final instrument that will bring about the realization of that objective, I’m all in. But I also understand those people who want to scrutinize and take time to grill, so to speak, the finer details of the BBL while expressing their apprehension about going in another peace exercise.

        Not to be mean, I guess their apprehension is rooted in the belief that peace agreement in Mindanao is getting to be the cottage industry of people who stands to benefit from it and not really for the concern of everyone and their posterity.

        The BBL is there already and I can understand the apprehension of those who are excited to see it approved and implemented. I get that from our experience during the passage of the ARMM. I just wish that we refrain from making enemies out of those whose intention was to really dig deeper into the issue by leaving no stone unturned to ensure everybody will benefit and succeed this time around. 👳

        • karl garcia says:

          okidoki senator jameboy.

          I would be glad to be wrong on the delaying tactics thing that I mentioned if everything turns out fine.

        • “to scrutinize and take time to grill, so to speak, the finer details of the BBL while expressing their apprehension about going in another peace exercise.”

          I agree with jameboy here, but from an Islamic angle of these fine details. 🙂

  11. Hi Joe, this post of yours kind of ties up with my recent one, except I take the opposite view entirely. I do think the Filipino culture has its weaknesses, but no more than any other nationalities’ culture. It is easy to blame the Philippines’s problems on its uneducated masses and selfish oligarchy but truth is that problem exists in most every country. The problem is not in your selves, but in your institutions. And you know what? It is easier to change institutions than to change our selves.

    • Joe America says:

      It is easier to change institutions, I agree. But if the person running it has the same problems of not looking at things objectively then it is still hard to get good results. I agree that each nation has its own problems, and ought to work to overcome them. In the US it is rabid partisanship that is poisoning even popular dialogue. Plus no one has mastered the art of social media as a wholly constructive force. I do believe there is a polarity of expression here that is different at least from what I experienced in the US, where study of self, and self improvement goals, are common. Here they are not. Reading is also more mainstream in the US.

      So all lands may have the same problems, but there are measures of direction, weight and intensity that are different. It is not just me who cites the crab culture in the Philippines. Filipinos commonly do. That is not the case elsewhere, I believe. Certainly, not in the US where success is admired rather than condemned, and ambition is a positive trait, not negative.

      • “Plus no one has mastered the art of social media as a wholly constructive force.” I now know your use of hyperbole – but may I mention that Raissa’s blog is an exception. OK in a Filipino way, sometimes no-holds barred, but in the end a certain consensus that all are there for the good of the country prevails. Passionate quarrelsomeness is simply Filipino, but in Raissa’s blog it does lead to productive results, inspite of occasional altercations.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, Raissa’s blog is highly constructive. My reference was intended to suggest the whole of social media is scattered, often immature, and not contributing much. Plus paid trolls have entered the scene. But there are a lot of constructive people within the noise.

          And as I write that, I’d argue against myself that it is actually capable of influencing the opinion makers, so is a force.

          There, I have all sides of that issue covered. 🙂

    • jameboy says:

      The problem is not in your selves, but in your institutions. And you know what? It is easier to change institutions than to change our selves.
      The person who commits the wrong is not the problem. It is the institution where that person is connected that is the problem. Change the institutions and the problem will go away.

      Ummm, something’s wrong in that analogy. Sort of deflecting the blame from one who creates the problem through commission and omission to one that’s incapable of even thinking of committing such deeds.

      We create and run institutions. Institutions are the reflection of how we perceive our role and responsibility in a system we agree to organize and be a part of. You cannot change an institution independent on the will of those who created it and expect a result that is different from its creator.

      Those institutions are as good or as bad as we are. Their existence depends on our whim. The Bureau of Customs is a corrupt institution not because of it but because of the people who run it. The Office of the President was a corrupt institution when Erap and Greedy Gloria was at the helm. Now, it is an institution where the likes of Napoles can never get a deal on.

      I dread to think that the idea above suggests that since we have a “changed” Office of the President now we are guaranteed that we’re going to have a good and incorruptible leader in 2016. Whoever you elect, Binay or Poe or Mar, the Office has changed for the better and so is the one who will run it as President. A fallacy to the max!

      If we change ourselves first everything will also change. If we change the institution first everything will remain the same. That is the main reason why we have the “Stop Binay” call now. That’s the point of the people who opposes Jojo Binay. They don’t want the institution of the Office of the President to change for the worse not because Binay will change it but because Binay, the person that needs to change his corrupt ways, will occupy it.

      Easier to change institutions? Please. 👀

      • Jameboy, maybe i was not clear, or maybe you just misunderstood. By institutions I meant the broad system of government, not a particular institution like the Customs Bureau (that would be a stupid argument, eh?). I am one of those who believe a presidential system and bicameral congress as in the USA does not work for the Philippines. BTW, you may want to read my blog post today which addresses this point in further detail.

        • jameboy says:

          Well, misunderstanding will surely arise when you go from the man, to institutions and now to the system. Thanks for clarification, anyway.

          As to my post, it’s as clear as day. I see no reason to explain it. 👲

        • jameboy says:

          BTW, you may want to read my blog post today which addresses this point in further detail.
          Hey, charles, you are all intro and no substance. When you put up a statement and its challenged because it’s twisted you cannot just say maybe, maybe. No can do, sir. That’s squid tactic that no longer work. 🐙

          • James, my boy, you are exhibiting what Joe America described as that ugly Filipino trait of always needing to have the last word in a fight and not accepting that you are talking in circles. I am happy to debate here within the limits of my free time (so long as it doesnt get too boring), but please make your arguments rational and not ad hominem. And since you seem to have such a manly fondness of emoticons…here you go 🐌

            • jameboy says:

              charles, we’re veering away from the issue and going to down the usual route of weak alibis and lame innuendos. I questioned the statement you made and all you have to do is explain and justify your reason why it’s not a crazy statement. A maybe, maybe will not put a leg on your statement.

              My being a Filipino has nothing to do with the discussion about your twisted statement. I’m completely blind as to your person even though your picture shows who you are. Let’s not go there.

              And sorry to say this, but you seemed to have been bitten by a bug here that makes you drag other people’s name in the conversation that has nothing to do with what you wrote.

              You’re happy to debate but your post shows you are whining and not debating. Before you judge my argument show reason why your statement make sense. If you can do that my argument will die naturally. I did not just call you names like you are slowly doing now, I quoted you and express doubt on your statement.

              I suggest go back and stick to what you said and why. 👀

              • i’m sorry if I’m impatient but I thought you were intentionally misreading and misunderstanding me just to get your kicks. Well, either that,or you are really slow, in which case it is not my job to get you up to speed, after a certain point, I believe the crux of your confusion lies in my usage of the term “institution”. Look it up, it has a broader meaning than what you originally may have thought. If my meaning is still unclear to you, just read my blog and if you have a legitimate desire to debate, let us do it there. To be fair to Joe and other readers, I will stop replying on this particular thread now as it has become tedious.

              • jameboy says:

                Time to stop ducking and cease making provocative statements ‘cos I’m not biting. Just explain what you said. Why do you have to go around the bush with maybe-maybe or your blog, etc? Here, let me make it easy for you.

                The premise:
                The problem is not in your selves, but in your institutions. And you know what? It is easier to change institutions than to change our selves.

                The alibi or excuse (or what we call “Palusot”): 😎
                Jameboy, maybe i was not clear, or maybe you just misunderstood. By institutions I meant the broad system of government, not a particular institution like the Customs Bureau (that would be a stupid argument, eh?). I am one of those who believe a presidential system and bicameral congress as in the USA does not work for the Philippines. BTW, you may want to read my blog post today which addresses this point in further detail.
                charles, you are very clear on the premise. There was no maybes there. If you really meant ‘system’ instead of ‘institution’ you would have said so. It’s an afterthought because you cannot support the declaration you made. Those two are not the same and you know it.

                The Bureau of Customs or Office of the President are INSTITUTIONS that will remain even if we change the SYSTEM of gov’t. we have today. If we change the SYSTEM from presidential to parliamentary INSTITUTIONS like the Legislative and Judiciary will still be there.

                Your alibi only makes your premise confusing and the reason is obvious. Next time be careful. 😏

      • I might add….in your citing of the Customs bureau…it was a change in the system by the ousted Sevilla that sought to limit corruption…he did this by automation..eliminating human layers and opportunities for kickback etc.. In other words, a useful leader is one who changes the system for the better, not the touchy feely one who forces everyone to go on retreat and do soul searching.

        • jameboy says:

          “…a useful leader is one who changes the system for the better…”

          “…it was a change in the system by the ousted Sevilla…”
          Very clear, humans, the person, ourselves is the one who initiate and do the changing.

          So, for one to say that “the problem is not in our selves” but in the institutions is really inviting confusion and misunderstanding. 😳

          • jameboy, last I checked, yes, the world was still inhabited by humans. You have a marvelous talent for convoluted thought.

            • jameboy says:

              Convoluted thought? I did not write this.

              “The problem is not in your selves, but in your institutions. And you know what? It is easier to change institutions than to change our selves.”

              That’s a convoluted thought that has yet to be explain in a mature way. Your clarification, which I initially accepted just to move on, is an alibi to a twisted thought. You started from institution and when pressed to justify you will jump to the system? You think you can get away just like that?

              Now you seem to be hurting and want to pursue a conversation down the drain because things are coming back at you that you cannot straighten up because of that silly statement above.

              Yes, it’s a convoluted thought you decided to put on board and now it’s hounding you. Good. 👻

  12. It made me happy to read about a group of young House representatives who are calling themselves “Mar Roxas Boys.” I am hoping they are the rays of hope the Philippines needs, the young blood that will catalyze Filipino unity and political reforms by making “doing the right thing” trendy, cool and relevant.

    Bam Aquino should join them. I would love to see their group become the “movers and shakers” of public service in the Philippines.

  13. Kiko says:

    In basketball parlance, the negative force is the “buwaya” or ball hog, out on the floor for personal glory rather than the collective victory of the team by executing strategy, win or lose

  14. manuelbuencamino says:


    I appreciate the post’s good intentions however, in the course of making your point through comparisons, you blur the lines between rhetoric and reality specially in your characterization of America. I’m sorry but you lose me when you get into that frame of mind.

    “The Philippines is missing this unifying force. She has no national unity because of all the fighting. Pride is found only in victory. It is found in the win of a contestant, not the fielding of the contestant. It is found in proving the Philippines is better than someone else, not satisfaction in standing beside them…..The duality, always the duality. Always comparing. Always going for the win . . . at someone else’s expense. Always pushing someone down.”

    “In America, there is a balancing force, an inward force toward strengthening self rather than outward to diminish others. Ambition. Self improvement. Competition on a fair playing field. Respect for differences.”

    Who’s always screaming “we’re #1”? Whose leaders are always proclaiming that their country is the “city on the hill” that is the envy of every other country in the world? Who claims that their judeo-christian roots make them superior to every other country who does not share those beliefs and values? Who claims that their kind of democracy and their economic system is the holy grail? Is a country with that sort of attitude capable of respecting differences?

    Furthermore, capitalism is based on competition rather than cooperation. When there is cooperation in a capitalist system, it is in the form of “trusts” or cartels or “associations” meant to overpower competitors and dominate the market.

    Victory or success in a free market means complete dominance of your goods or services. Market monopoly is the pinnacle of success. The role of government is to prevent monopolies, to keep the playing field level. Unfortunately, government is always playing catch-up because billions are spent every year by dominant players to stay a step ahead of government regulation, to keep the playing field tilted in their favor. An even playing field is a goal not a fact, specially because of the ease in which goal posts are easily moved by powerful players.

    Globally we see the same powerful players pushing their governments to pressure weaker countries to sign on to all sorts of trade and “cooperation” agreements that maintain and even further the uneven playing field. And that is where you encounter what you described as “When two parties are near one another, by distance or idea, an energy emerges to define one party as more powerful than the other. The less powerful person is pushed away and gains an energy called resentment.” Anti-capitalism and anti-Americanism take root.

    Somewhere along the way cooperation and meritocracy became confused with individualism and fierce no holds barred competition. We forgot that society is greater than the individual and the exercise and enjoyment of individual rights must not be paramount to our duties to society. Defeating the competition became synonymous with meritocracy, winning became everything. Going up in the world through merit is different from winning over competitors that’s why their respective rewards and penalties are also different. I would say promote cooperation and meritocracy over individualism and competition.

    And so it is not fair to single out the Philippines while holding up America as a role model when in fact the Philippines, among all the other countries in the world, is the one that tries to be like the mythical America. Because America itself cannot measure up to its own myths.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, for sure, America has her devils and wretched moments in history. And commerce is what drives the American interests in such things as open seas west of here.

      Is America a proper role model for the Philippines or not? If the goal is productivity and wealth-generation, I’d say they are not so very different. And the Philippines is fully well capable of being successful and wealthy. I’m starting to have a fondness for the oligarchs, actually, as I think they do a lot of important work for the Philippines. They take advantage of any loophole given them to take good care of their shareholders. They build the big projects from malls to infrastructure. The problem is the political arena and the social arena and the rules which has all the loopholes in favor of the oligarchs, and not for the laboring masses.

      My challenge has been to figure out why courts are corrupt and why Abaya makes what (to me) seem like bad decisions (the LTO license plate fiasco; the splitting of one common rail station into two to favor one of the oligarchs; the endlessly slow and problematic biddings) and why electricity is expensive and spotty and why broadband services are lousy and the customer experience in most places is lousy.

      The common thread to me is this duality, the power for self over the power for common good.

      Direction, weight, intensity. Ball hog versus team play, as mentioned by Kiko. America and the Philippines both have ball hogs. Kobe Bryant is one. In the Philippines, I merely say there are a lot of ball hogs in the public arena. If that is not a problem, then, yes, I am way wrong in this article.

      • edgar lores says:

        Lack of integrity?

      • Of course I am more partial to the European model, which has its powerful corporations and money interests as well, but more constraint on their power for the common good.

        Of course there is England which is almost like the U.S., there are Scandinavia and Finland which are almost socialist with 60% taxes on rich people, there are Spain and Italy which are bureacratic but with very entrenched powerful families – Mallorca for example is said to be run by six major families, old landowning clans, there is Southeastern Europe which now suffers from a mixture of extreme neoliberalism under postcommunist Mafia oligarchs, there is Germany which is a balance and therefore the most succesful…

        Present discussions on the TTIP trade agreement between the US and Europe are exactly about this balance of interests. Uber met with enormous resistance in Europe, rightly so, because established taxi groups have to meet legal requirements in terms of professional training and knowing the place, plus pay tax and insurance that Uber drivers may evade. Certain aspects of the American way are seen as “Wild Western Capitalism” over here, and they are partly right. Quality of life IS higher here in Europe because certain aspects of competition are kept under control to prevent them from becoming destructive, it is like any ballgame has its rules and its fouls. The Philippines will have to find its own mix.

      • karl garcia says:

        I will be lying if I say I would not want to react when I see the name of Abaya,but I won’t disagree I was jut with him and some of the Usecs (because I was accompanying my dad) but I had no courage to speak up, one because my dad told me to watch my mouth and speak only when spoken to unlike what I do before.I don’t have too speak up, that was a party so they them selves talk about problems and they laugh about it.maybe as a coping mechanism.Well since the DOTC guys are Roxas guys(some of them),they are asking my dad’s opinion if Senator Trillanes thinks that Grace Poe will run as VP,no answer was given by dad (he changed topic)but based on what I see in the news Grace might go for the presidency unless I misinterpret near 100 percent as no way.

        • Joe America says:

          Very interesting. My bookie Sal has been nervous and taking to drink of late. I think he is worried that his assessment of the situation six months ago (that Poe would not run for President) may leave his bets exposed. Plus, he is worried that someone might discover that he left Duterte off the list.

          Binay, Roxas, Poe, Duterte.

          Better put Binay in jail because that is cutting the pie way too thin.

        • sonny says:

          Just kibitzing, Karl. I can relate to the feeling (I was a teen-age ignoramus then). I tagged along with my father and godfather at one of their guerilla reunions with Pres Marcos (pre-martial law) and just helped myself to generous servings of lechon, biko and palitaw and all the 6-oz Coca-Colas I could drink. Heaven.

  15. Bing Garcia says:

    Morales also said the draft Senate report could even help the Ombudsman investigators go beyond its findings of probable cause for graft over the alleged building overprice.

    “It could even go more than what we are finding in the case buildup, in which case we’d be happy to consider the report,” Morales said.

  16. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    To end these innuendoes, tsismis and allegations, WHY CAN’T POE AND THE MARCOSES SUBMIT DNA TEST?

    What if Poe became President or Vice-President and she’s dogged as Marcos Baby the time when Philippines take leadership in Anti-China sentiments?

    It is best Poe and the Marcoses settle this once and for all. I hear this stories sometime ago. Trillanes should investigate this with DNA not some witness accounts and affidavits.

    My country is willing to send DNA Test Kit if Philippine Inquirer cannot.

  17. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I did not know Poe is an American. Poe knows that in AMerica to settle custody, Child Support, murder, etcetera DNA is a must.

    And Poe did not meet the residency requirement to run for Presidency/Vice-Presidency? Huh? Those imported half-bred half-white American German beauty queens to represent the Philippines in International Beauty Contest met residency requirement to represent the Philippines?

    What about those non-Tagalog speaking Chinese merchants? They should be sent where they came from.

    Joe and I cannot even influence voters whom to vote because we are foreigners ….We are banned to exercise our 1st amendment in the Philippines whose constitution is plagiarized from our country.

    So what if Poe did not meet the residency requirement? ……. WETAMINIT …. Now I get it ….. Some Poe operative must be behind this so Poe can get scandal-driven exposure of her run for Presidency.

    Nice. Well, this is the Philippines. Big-Bang is Big-Bucks. Poe-tons and Anti-Poe-tons. Poe-sitron clashed with Binay-trons. Filipinos versus Anti-Filipinos. A Big Black Hole sucking the Filipinos not even light escape.

    • sonny says:

      “Big-Bang is Big-Bucks. Poe-tons and Anti-Poe-tons. Poe-sitron clashed with Binay-trons. Filipinos versus Anti-Filipinos. A Big Black Hole sucking the Filipinos not even light escape.”

      Very smart play on words, MRP. 🙂

  18. jameboy says:

    Okay, I’ll try that. 👍

  19. sonny says:

    “The Philippines emerged from her powerful big bang driven by a dramatic force that repels. It relentlessly pushes her components apart. It divides and works against unity and achievement…”

    Joe you did it again, big time! I don’t know how many theses you have posted so far out of a target of 95 on our Wittenberg, ooops, I mean Philippine, secular church door.

    That you chose to use the Big Bang Theory to frame PH social dynamics made my jaw drop and only now am recovering from such an imaginative leap of an insight. I’ve been using analogies from the physical sciences as far back as I can remember but haven’t thought or dared in this scale. When Monsignor Georges Lemaitre (author of the Big Bang Theory) himself almost scolded Pope Pius XII not to use the theory to explain God & His creative act in Genesis, the saintly Pope realized the wisdom of the explanation and why the good Monsignor demurred. I decided not to follow, likewise.

    From the graphic above, all the free electrons (negative charges) and positive charges in the universe were formed 3 minutes after the big bang. And only after 380,000 years did the neutral Hydrogen atoms (attraction of positives and negatives) start to appear and took another 13-some billion years for the formation of the galaxies of our known universe. Neat. Hopefully, it will not take 380,000 years for Philippine social dynamics to transition from repulsions to attractions. 🙂

    “It is possible for Filipinos to set aside this need to push others away. It really is. It is possible to stop needing a win, in favor of listening and making good decisions. It is possible to take pride in the achievement of others, and to find enjoyment in exploring differences. Rather than rejecting them.

    Here’s to the force of togetherness!” Amen to this!

    • Joe America says:

      Why thank you, sonny. It pleases me immensely that you appreciate the literary drawing of the Philippine social dimension, or is it dementia? 🙂 Big Bang seemed to work better than the pushmi-pullyu of Doctor Dolittle.

      • Maybe it takes a half-“crazy” person like me to describe what seems like full “craziness”.

        See my posting down below. The whole thing is like an iceberg, most of it underwater.

      • sonny says:

        Potato, potahto, dimension, dementia. It’s all in our minds anyway. ha ha.

        You can’t imagine how my metaphor machine went into overdrive. But one must always exercise discretion and discourse sparingly. Cheers, Joe.

    • Sonny, like I already wrote above, but this time I will be really makulit because I think I have found the point in time when the Big Bang happened in Philippine history. Around 1700 when the rule of New Spain over the Philippine Islands was consolidated within the Spanish East Indies, when the state was about nothing but extraction and repression, with the co-opted native principalia and Spanish priests feeding on the system locally, stabilizing it.

      BASICALLY the system is the same even today in many peoples reflexes, with all the overlays from Spain in the 19th century, America in the 20th and the Republic later on. The wayang kulit is played on the surface, underneath the old system from the Big Bang plays.

      Most Filipinos act more subliminally than rationally, and then rationalize, so you have to reach that subliminal level many have and shake them really hard to make them conscious of what they are really doing, then lead them down the road of true modern development.

      • sonny says:

        I’m totally with you there, Irineo. 1700 was just about the time when Spanish encomenderos realized there was not gold in them thar Philippine hills and abandoned their encomiendas and left the Spanish friars and Filipino principalia to work a system out. This is the beginning of how and why the Catholic Church ended up with large tracts of land to till and cultivate. Again the paradigm of how Christianity is thrown to civilize is played out. I remember how the city of EUR outside of Rome was converted from malaria mosquito-infested swampland to a thriving farmland because the Trappist and Benedictine monks planted eucalyptus trees to drain the swamps and in turn attracted other settlers to work and make a living on what was wasteland. Just to emphasize the point, when the Spanish elite built Intramuros for themselves, the monastic orders and the overpopulated Chinese in Binondo were forced out to the nearby Central plains and together they worked the wetlands by cultivating rice and thus began the pre-eminence of Nueva Ecija and surroundings to become the rice granary of Luzon.

        • Thanks sonny, now that is an added aspect for me, real knowledge and learning as well…

          In history, our teachers bored us by having us memorize “encomienda” and some years but never explained it that clearly. And the fact that the cultivation of the Central Plain was begun by the Chinese and the friars also makes sense – even if nationalist historians may not like it and therefore gloss over it. The evidence about the Kingdom of Tondo shows relations all around Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay, but nothing beyond Macabebe…

    • Micha says:


      “Hopefully, it will not take 380,000 years for Philippine social dynamics to transition from repulsions to attractions.”

      In the Wiki graphics that you supplied, there’s a big number there : 73%

      That’s the problem. 73% of the universe is made up of repulsive dark energy that’s responsible for its accelerating expansion and which will, if left unchecked, cause the disintegration of galaxies, stars, planets, earthlings, and yes, even atoms. How do you think the forces of attraction overcome the dominant dark energy?

      Can love be stronger than hate? Good over evil? How? Is there hope or it’s all for naught?

      • sonny says:

        Micha, to be sure (to relate the Big Bang and PH social dynamics) I used the 380,000 yrs to say it took a long time for the primal explosion to cool down enough to form hydrogen atoms, i.e. elemental unit of matter as we know it (one electron being captured by one proton, the fuel for star and galaxy formation); in turn analogous to Joe’s time in our PH social dynamics to stop repulsions from each other and start attractions towards each other for productive national activity. This is the end of the analogy. This is roundabout for sure but quite to the point. The reality for us on earth time is almost instantaneous compared to astronomical time frames. This is way out there to get all worked up about.

        As to the fate of the universe using the model of dark energy (73%), dark matter (23%) and ordinary matter (4%), cosmologists speculate on four possibilities: the Big Rip, the Big Crunch, a Cyclic fate or an infinitely expanding universe obeying the Second Law of thermodynamics. The timeline for one of this to occur is supposed to be at the 16 billion year mark of the universe. Whew! (Micha all this cosmology is coming to you from a C-student of classical Physics. Baryons and Leptons were still to come in my vocabulary then. All we had were electrons, protons, neutrons and nuclear paste to talk about). As to the repulsive and attractive natures of dark energy and dark matter, I have a lot more to learn about and maybe you could help me with what you know.

        And then there is the problem of evil and good that you bring up. Yes love overcomes hate. I can think of South Sudan overcoming the hate of their northern neighbors, for example. Human history is replete with stories of love prevailing over hate. As if the implications that one triumphs over the other is not enough, there is the thought that although there is a hell for sure, some suggest that there is nobody there. Edgar has me fall under one of the Gnostic categories. We have had no chance to explore this. He is partly correct because I believe some and I doubt some and for sure I pray for understanding the other mysteries of Christianity I don’t grasp enough. Yet I hope and try to be optimistic most of the time. And I don’t think anything is for naught.

  20. jameboy says:

    The article is very clear on what bugs the country and her people. In most of what was pointed out I would say there is a universal agreement to its validity. But its entirety left me to conclude that the principal or specific reason why we have those things that contributes to the mixture of clarity and confusion, winning and losing, success and failure, love and hate, and demise and hope of salvation was not because of a big bang effect but simply by accumulation of good and bad habits and things through the slow process of evolution. Let me cite the milestones in our history to give you a hint of why things are as they are at present.

    1. We are the first to declare independence in Asia (but still struggles to achieve economic prosperity for our masses)
    2 We are the major Catholic country in the region. Papua New Guinea & East Timor are the minors. (but crimes and graft and corruption remains prevalent)
    3. We were the first to be introduced to mechanized farming (but we went south later on for some reason)
    4. We used to have high per capita in the ’50 (but no more. We are now one of the largest, if not the largest, exporter of human labor)
    5. Years under military rule twisted a lot of things that made the country go haywire.
    6. Patronage politics remains for the cronies and their toadies did not really disappear.
    7. The elite remains on top of everything.
    8. The Catholic Church is still an immovable force standing in the way of the gov’t.
    9. Political trapos and hoodlums in the form of the Binays and the Dutertes still roam the landscape.
    10. Ferdinand and Gloria maybe gone but their newer versions are just around the corner ready to take over if opportunity presents itself.

    Bottom line, we’ve come a long way in circles. 😳

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