Why an American’s blog is popular in the Philippines

Philippine_flag_by_crazyaljery84

It sometimes amazes, sometimes amuses, and sometimes confounds me that The Society of Honor by Joe America has become a well-read blog in the Philippines. Let me suggest why, because I think there are some important lessons here.

Why the blog is popular

  1. The Blog is straightforward. JoeAm listens as much as he speaks, and so do other members of the Society. The key principle is a respectful exchange of ideas, not a gladiator forum to prove one person better than another, or one nation as better than another. It is not a win/lose forum.
  2. A full 97.2% of the discussion thread participants are of Filipino heritage and another 1.3% are non-Filipinos living in the Philippines (random error +/- a few percentages, or whatever guesses permit). Joe is just the facilitator and moderator.
  3. The blog discussion threads are mature, intelligent and informative. Often they are entertaining. Participants are well-read, quick of wit, and loaded with insight. It is an open-sourced seminar, a place to grow smarter.
  4. The literary writing style of Joe America is a better fit to the Filipino temperament – emotional, happy, passionate – than the routine, dry, by the book reflections offered by the mainstream writers. Rules and discipline are important. So is free thinking, humor and imagination.
  5. The author takes the position that diversity is inherently a source of riches, not a reason for conflict. Diversity represents an opportunity to explore the whys and ways of the differences. The blog is a place to grow broader, deeper and wiser.
  6. Existing Filipino media do not provide the depth of thought that is found in the Society’s blogs. The tabloid media are generally thin of fact and interpretation. They offer cheap, easy journalism and are sometimes ethically challenged. The Society is an intellectual oasis in a rather dry desert. It is a magnet for the curious, the thinkers, and the engaged.
  7. The blog targets opinion makers, not the broad public. Some top-flight “names” are in the audience – politicians, government officials, university professors, artists. The blog regularly makes the “must read” list of well-known people. Those who comment in the blog threads are not just speaking to JoeAm or other commenters. They are speaking to influential people.

Points 2 and 6 are key. The blog is not an American blog at all. The blog has precious little to do with America, other than as a shade of coloration on some topics. Nor is it a provincial blog, a confined blog limited by the down-home interests of a specific audience. It is read in the center, at the heart of the Philippines, where people are passionate about the Philippines, well-traveled, generally global by background and comprehension, and maybe or maybe not Filipino citizens. They are of different ages, education, gender, homelands, backgrounds, and riches, but always, always, always put the best interest of the Philippines first.

The sole agenda: Philippine well-being

Indeed, we should add another point:

7. The blog has no political agenda and readers appreciate the rare honesty of expression.

Now some believe differently, and think the blog has a “yellow” bias. But that is because the author believes stability is important to the well-being of the nation, and supporting the government in its broadest sense (with room for criticism of certain acts or decisions) is an important part of that stability. Indeed, it is the patriotic, sometimes sacrificial, thing to do.

To perform best, the nation needs a strong President, backed by the people. This presumes the President is of earnest and honest character, as we find is the case more often than not.

The “strong presidency, strong nation” theme can be found repeatedly in the blog articles and discussion threads.

The ugly American

Without a doubt, some Filipinos don’t like an American getting so deeply involved in Filipino issues. Some attach history to the writer, as if he personally fought in the Philippine American War or shot artillery at Manila in WWII. Others assume the posture of crab and want to pull JoeAm or the blog down, as if the blog’s success were somehow an insult to them. They don’t care if the blog is helpful to the Philippines. Jealousy. Mistrust.

The avid Filipino nationalists might be shocked to discover that most Americans are decent people and would cheer for Philippine progress if they had any understanding of Philippine issues. Most have no idea. They are working too hard dealing with their own calamities, families, politics and recreations.

It is 2015. Japan is an ally, America a useful resource. Rivalry is passé. Strength through partnership is in. That is true at the macro (national) level, and the micro (institutional/personal) level.

An idea

Here’s the best idea I can offer. Just throw labels and judgments away. Throw history out, other than as it applies to issues. Respect differences. Understand that diversity is strength and division is weakness. Grasp the idea that there is great richness in getting outside of one’s regular thinking space. Realize that spices make the dish, and new perspectives make for wisdom. Grasp the idea that it is invigorating to engage in honorable debate with no winners and losers as we . . .  a community . . . simply try to get smarter about things that are important to the Philippines.

Well, there are actually winners under that scenario. We all win. The Philippines wins.

With that as the foundation, plenty of guest articles for variety, and robust, civil participation in discussions, the Society of Honor is poised to become an even more influential – and helpful – Philippine blog.

Comments
128 Responses to “Why an American’s blog is popular in the Philippines”
  1. Marilet Meris says:

    Agree.

  2. neo canjeca says:

    Where but onli in da Pilipins? Wrong. Dead wrong. It is only in JoeAm’s website where you can call a foreigner blogger a true Filipino father rabbit not because of his libido but because of his burgeoning brood, here postings and posterers (blog junkies) must have been in the know during Pope Francis visit when Filipinos were called rabbits.” If JoeAm doesn’t watch out as then . . . Well, other bloggers might tell him why he should. Like I am saying I am free to use them hateless words twisting them (erudite bloggers into junkies) to make a fool of myself. Not there yet. Wait and watch out for more . . .

    • Joe America says:

      I look forward to every twist and turn.

    • neo canjeca says:

      Watch out for what? Thought machinations este opinions of them professionals active or retired inclusive of those turned politicians who unknowingly significantly transformed good P.I. (Philippine Islands) of post WWII- RP into what it is now Ph (pre-Noynoy administration). Without them blogs might just be Facebookish or YouTubish.

  3. Bing Garcia says:

    Rock and Roll Joe!

  4. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Ah, an introspection.

    2. Generally, Filipinos do not introspect. They think and they feel. Very rarely will a Filipino examine why and how he thinks this way, and why and how he feels that way. It is enough that he thinks and feels.

    2.1. In some ways, this is all to the good. The Filipino is spontaneous. He is as you see him, real and genuine. Fun.

    2.2. In other ways, this is not all that good. The Filipino is generally not aware of the undercurrents that flow below the surface of his persona, the undercurrents that, in truth, move and motivate him.

    3. Introspection allows us to take stock of ourselves, where we are in the world, what things — hopefully achievements — we have done, and what more – hopefully goals — we want to do or have to do.

    3.1. The state of introspection is one of self-awareness, and the product of introspection is insight. In a manner of speaking, insight brings about heightened awareness.

    3.2. Insight is like lightning: one can never anticipate where and when it will strike. One walks blind to one’s surroundings, and then in a moment, without notice and without a trigger, one sees the beauty of the day. Realization dawns. Gestalt strikes.

    3.3. Insight may lead to action… or it may not. Sometimes the mere fact of being aware is reason enough. The rising of consciousness is the overreaching arc of evolution.

    3.3.1. Many are still in denial, for example, that Binay is corruption incarnate. Sometime in the future, an event, or just the memory of an event, will make them suddenly realize the truth. It may also be that they are already aware of the truth.

    3.3.2. But, contrary to the Book and popular belief, knowing the truth does not necessarily set one free. As always, it is a matter of personal choice. We humans, and not just Filipinos, prefer the security of enslavement to the uncertainty of freedom. We prefer to continue to wear our chains or our blinders, our Ray-Bans, especially if they are gilded.

    4. I would like to believe that the Society of Honor reveals – or tries to reveal – the undercurrents of our passing, such as they are. It is like a makeup mirror with lights that one sees in those dressing rooms in the backstage of theatres.

    4.1. It shows one’s true face — the mottled skin, the unruly hair, the mole, and the tiny wrinkles but also the natural beauty of the noble features — and it tries to show where makeup may be applied.

    4.2. Most of all — hopefully — the Society, like the mirror, illuminates.
    *****

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, nice build-up to 4.1 and 4.2, what it’s all about. The study of self is as important as the study of history, I think. Sometimes it is hard to be honest, perhaps. But I do believe being in it to learn it, rather than win it, is highly healthy.

      • Yes, it is hard to be honest – especially with oneself. Nietzsche wrote about “Die Höllenfahrt der Selbsterkenntnis” – that recognizing oneself can be a trip to hell.

        Protestantism especially Lutheranism was one of the first religions to force people not to make excuses, to examine oneself after sinning to avoid sinning again. Buddhism also is very honest – brutally so – in its meditative aspects. Both ways of introspection/learning. Or in Germany they like to say “Einsicht ist der Anfang der Besserung” – meaning that insight is the beginning of self-improvement. Cultures that lack introspection and insight are not able to learn that well, while Buddhist and Protestant cultures are and progress a lot more. Even though Catholics also have forms of insight, especially the Jesuits cultivate this.

  5. Thank you for all the valuable insights.

  6. NHerrera says:

    Edgar lores, as always, puts very apt meaningful words and phraseology related to the blog. I write thus:

    The appeal is because the blog is a Halo-Halo with diverse ingredients, mostly of Philippine origin, spiced with some Non-Philippine ones, that appeal to two mutually exclusive groups — those who like the taste and reason and argue why they like the taste; and those who just like the taste.

  7. Micha says:

    Off-Topic:

    “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    FWIW, or if those words still mean anything at all, belated Fourth of July greetings to you Manong Joe.

  8. Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

    I thank God each day that I have found this blog thru the help of the late chair wrecker. I regularly read his column until it stopped due to his death. I still miss him to this day.

    So glad I clicked on his link to this blog, it was truly a treasure find, unfailingly honest (brutal at times, but I like straight talking, no beating around the bush) and mostly compassionate, it made me think and analyze things more than ever. I learned so much here. It was so liberating to be able to participate in the discussions, be able to meet others digitally and learn from them, too.

    Thanks, Joe for this blog and for your patience and your editorial help in my typos.

    Please. Take. Care, Always. We’d love to read more blog articles from the Society.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you Mary, and I appreciate very much having your voice of authenticity here, representing regular Filipinos so eloquently.

    • manuelbuencamino says:

      A comment on your “notes from the editor.”

      I think it was a poltical mistake for Peña to announce the suspension of the entire sister cities program before a thorough investigation.

      Because suspension of the program means suspension of goodies from Makati, Peña has made enemies of 625 sister city mayors, city officials, and possibly the voters of those cities He may even have unwittingly raised Binay’s stock because those sister cities might now conclude “we were better off when Binay was around.”

      “Unpacking the sister cities program and identifying exactly who has received what under the program” as you suggested is the right thing to do.

      But starting out by simply suspending the program in its entirety before any investigation is doing it ass-backwards and could have destroyed any chance of pitting the Binay mayors and their councils against their constituents, something that we right-minded folks all want to see happen.

      • Ditto with his cancelling free bus rides to MRT. I hope his investigations do not last too long, otherwise, those benefiting from these rides will not vote for him as mayor in 2016.

        • Joe America says:

          Yeah, I agree with that, but would want to hear the rationale before finalizing judgment. The sister cities is an entirely different animal, giving away Makati resources.

        • Joe America says:

          Today’s Inquirer reports that Pena did not stop the shuttle service, as a service, but there was a problem because the drivers are casual employees, and all casual employee work assignments were cancelled until their authenticity could be established. The shuttle drivers have since been re-instated. The chief complainant, a guy by the name of Salgado, who is in the Binay camp, is actually a city worker who has not showed up for work. Pena is likely to fire him after going through certain required steps of notification. Pena asked who he was working for, the people of Makati or someone else.

          He knows, and we know, it is for someone else.

          • Right… thanks for the update. Kid Peña should give daily updates and clear reasons for his actions. The VP’s media bureau is working non stop to picture this admin as mapang api, aside from being bumbling, etc. etc.

            http://opinion.inquirer.net/86384/inaapi

            • Excerpts from Winnie Monsod’s Inaapi…(so sad I missed last night’s TV show “Bawal ang Pasaway,” which was aired on Monday, GMA TV for the visual….)

              Inaapi. By the Aquino administration. If the Reader will recall, Binay is the first vice president who was given—at his request, mind you—an official residence: the Coconut Palace. Naturally the tourism and rental incomes from the Coconut Palace had to be given up, and, of course, it had to be refurbished to his specifications. Initial outlay was P50 million, and there were subsequent requests, which were also approved. Is that inaapi?
              He was also given a Cabinet position. True, he wanted the Department of Interior and Local Government. Even then, he was already preparing for 2016 and everybody knew it, including the President. He was given housing, not dissimilar to Imelda Marcos’ Ministry of Human Settlements. Which gave him the opportunity to go all over the Philippines, awarding houses and lots for housing. I doubt whether he ever mentioned to the awardees that he was merely standing in for the President. He was also given responsibility over the overseas Filipino workers, and he made very sure that it was he, the Vice President, who was working single-handedly for them. This has to have given him tremendous advantages for 2016. Is that inaapi?
              Moreover, he had a P200-million-a-year share of the pork barrel—until that was removed—which was given him by the legislature/President. I don’t know if his predecessor also had it, but I am certain that the Office of the Vice President’s budget was not reduced. Is that inaapi?
              This is in direct contrast to how the Vice President treats potential opponents. Take the case of Vice Mayor Kid Peña, who is now acting mayor of Makati

              Acting Mayor Peña showed me the Office of the Mayor on the 21st floor of Makati City Hall (he had to ask whether he was allowed to go inside). The office gave me the impression that we were in Malacañang. The main office was huge—larger than a two-bedroom condo in Makati. There was another office, also large, where the mayor does his work. And then there was a bedroom with a queen-size or king-size bed and a lounging chair. Then there was a huge bathroom, and a huge kitchen, with dining space. And, of course, a palatial conference room. One could live there forever, if one were under siege.
              So I asked to see the Office of the Vice Mayor. You must understand that Peña was the only opposition candidate in Makati who won, in 2010 when he was independent, and in 2013, as a Liberal Party member. It turns out that he was not given the Office of the Vice Mayor (as occupied by Ernesto Mercado); that was turned into the offices of the congresspersons of Makati (Abigail Binay and Monique Lagdameo). Anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words, and you will see the difference between the mayor’s office and where Vice Mayor/Acting Mayor Peña has been assigned for the past five years. Now that’s an example of inaapi.

      • Joe America says:

        Could be if he were interested in national elections. But he is interested in protecting Makati assets, so hard to fault him.

      • Sal says:

        Manuelbuencamino, I had the same gut-reaction as you when I first read about the suspension of the Makati sister city program. However, to Peña’s point, why continue spending Makati tax money for non-Makati residents when the money can be funneled for needed programs that will benefit Makati’s underprivileged families? That made sense to me — spending money that belongs to Makati to help other cities does not benefit Makati residents since Makati (the city) does not need help from those cities.

        • manuelbuencamino says:

          Sal,

          It is a good political move locally, it is not a good political move nationally for Peña’s Liberal Party. Tightrope walking as someone commented earlier

    • manuelbuencamino says:

      Mary Grace,

      Allow me to make a little bit of yabang. I was the one who turned on the chairwrecker to Joe’s blog. I had read a post of Joe’s that I liked a lot and forwarded it to him and either he reprinted all if not most of that particular post or he quoted profusely from it. He called and asked me what I knew about Joe and I said nothing except what I forwarded to him. Chairwrecker and I were friends since high school and worked in the same prop team in PNoy’s 2010 campaign.

  9. andrewlim8 says:

    In an age where wisdom is forced to fit into 144 characters, when emotion and color is instagrammed or dis/approval is reduced into icon clicking, there is a need in the market for the smart discussion.

    Inserted in medias res, the blog sharpens the arguments.

    Mabuhay!

  10. Sal says:

    I enjoy reading this blog because many of the discussion thread participants contribute opinions and ideas that go beyond the personality-based thinking you would run across in Manila coffee shops and tabloids. It is apparent that the moderator and several participants have lived and worked outside the Philippines and they present points of view that are founded on principle and personal experience and not simply emotion and personal bias.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Sal. And for readers who know I have a bookie named Sal, you are not he. He’d make me pay him for a kind comment like that. I think he has drifted to “the other side”.

  11. sonny says:

    I like this blog. For the blogger and blog-followers, I am reminded by a basketball truism: “one plays basketball not to be fit; one plays because he is fit.”

    • Joe America says:

      I think it cuts both ways, sonny, at different phases of life. I play now to be fit.

      Side note, my wife loves basketball. One of our togetherness activities is watching the playoffs. Yesterday’s PBA game between Alaska and Star Hotshots was great, fast, furious, tense, good, bad, heroes, goats. They play shorter than the NBA, but at a pace that would have NBA players dragging. I was exhausted by the end of the game. Blogging is much easier.

      • sonny says:

        I know the feeling of the missus, Joe. During our NCAA days at Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the ladies’ fandom was all the way and then some. And the fast and furious pace, I do agree heartily. I had to get accustomed to the somewhat change of pace stateside.

  12. maya pula says:

    you’re tito Joe, we speak the same language, totally. some might think that pinoys are a strange lot but we are. i went to the America for college, my Asian friends don’t look the canos in the eye over dinner except me. was i strange? no, they were.

    • Joe America says:

      This blog is an opportunity to look an American in the eye and tell him he is wrong. Or right, even, if that is the case. And I get the same opportunity back. Thanks for that excellent lesson.

  13. MGeee says:

    I agree totally and you care more for the Philippines than a number of our countrymen. Thanks for the very good blogs Joe. I hope that your blogs will open and educate the Pinoys on issues muddled by dishonest people. Unfortunately, your blogs are only available in English.

    • Joe America says:

      Glad you gain from them, MGeee. We’ve had a couple of articles translated. It takes a volunteer because the pay here is really lousy and I don’t have the skills.

  14. Percival says:

    “..stability is important to the well-being of the nation, and supporting the government in its broadest sense (with room for criticism of certain acts or decisions) is an important part of that stability. Indeed, it is the patriotic, sometimes sacrificial, thing to do.”

    So sad that many of my fellow Filipinos don’t realize this. Thanks Joe!

    • Percival says:

      I missed to add this…

      “To perform best, the nation needs a strong President, backed by the people. This presumes the President is of earnest and honest character, as we find is the case more often than not…..“strong presidency, strong nation”…”

  15. bendiskurso says:

    To your credit, it is a well-managed website. No trolls here, Joe. All of the 7 reasons are true and positive.

    But the other argument is, without the requisite flamboyance few Filipinos will ever listen to an introspective fellow-Filipino.

    I would even venture to say that Filipinos generally do not trust Asians as much as they do Caucasians. I may get some violent reactions here but it is a common observation.

    • bendiskurso says:

      Having introduced yourself as an American who chooses to live here in our islands, you basically had us at “Hello”

    • Joe America says:

      The blogs that get the most reads are those that are edgy and dealing with top political personalities. Book reviews don’t get many reads.

      • I’d like some book reviews, later when all these shuffling of candidates’ feet, still waiting for the last SONA to announce candidacy and/or Presidential endorsement; the waiting with bated breath of the Ombudsman’s recommendation/ruling re the Binay cases and of course the SC decisions on various political issues filed there.

        Come October, will your blogs be limited to non-political topics or will be allowed to share ideas here even if you cannot offer your comments?

        My little library is so limited – I have a number of John Grisham’s books, also almost all of Robert Ludlum’s, Linda Howard, David Baldacci, Dean Koontz, Robin Cook, I forgot one other great author whose main character in a series is Jack Ryan, ahhh…got it – Tom Clancy.

        It’s quite refreshing to take a breather from all these talks on politics. Later, perhaps, during the 100 days honeymoon period for the next duly elected president, oh, my, that would be in June 30 pa… hahaha…

        • For non fiction, I like the Society of Honor and The Philippine Politics and Beyond, also, The Filipino German Learning Center. I wish I have all the time in the world to read.

        • Joe America says:

          I promise a book review or two when I set election politics aside. That may come sooner than October, because the campaigning seems to have begun. I see Escudero and Poe at it, along with Binay.

          My library is not unlike yours, but perhaps with a few more books. The thick leather-bound tomes on history and philosophy, I leave for sonny and Irineo to perspire over. I’m a binge reader of various authors. It all started with Agatha Christie when I was young, then Helen Macinnes, whose books seem to have disappeared from the shelves. Ludlum. Clancy. Grisham. My latest find was Ian Rankin. A second-hand bookstore in Tacloban had evidently acquired an estate or cast offs of the entire Rankin library, and I bought them all over a six month period. Then Yolanda took out the bookstore and so the tale has a sad ending.

          • Oh, no…that was indeed sad..2nd hand book stores are also my thing… I am super kuripot for myself as so many less fortunate are depending on me…same story for me, Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Mills & Boons (I loved Essie Summers, best, with New Zealand and family as her setting and theme respectively, graduating to thick bound novels mostly spy, detective, medical thriller (R. Cook), suspense (Koontz).

            Metro Manila is a haven for book lovers (Books for Less for 2nd hand books). I found that I can get a dozen still in good condition books for the price of one brand new one. Nowadays, I plan to download e-books in my kindle fire HD.

            • Joe America says:

              Ah, my, way to make me feel low-tech, Mary. I’m still stuck on the musty smell and tangibility of turning and dog-earing the pages. Plus, when I don’t like one, I can toss it across the room.

            • sonny says:

              For better or worse: Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Hardy Boys, National Geographic, Book Of Knowledge, Life, Look, Collier’s Mag, almost all issues Classics Illustrated, Reader’s Digest, Liwayway, Bulaklak, Pilipino Komiks, Hiwaga, Espesyal, Tagalog Klassiks, Photoplay, Silver Screen, Encyclopedia Britannica, TV series: Breaking Bad, Dexter, NCIS, Doc Martin; all-time movies: A Man For All Seasons, Casablanca, Saving Private Ryan, Student Prince.

              I like listening to this recording many times: 🙂

              • ahahaha…, Liwayway… my mother, as a young girl, grabbed that first from my grandpa’s marketing basket instead of the pasalubongs, as she was fond of telling me in my younger days. His old man could only shake his head when she gets missing with all her books and that weekly Liwayway edition. She was a voracious reader (I took after her). She even read the Old and New Testament from cover to cover, the Noli and Fili, Tom Sawyer, and Luha ng Buwaya by Hernandez. In those days, they lived in the highland quite near Tagaytay City.

                I shared with her the Reader’s Digest subscriptions and of course, Pilipino Komiks, Hiwaga, Espesyal, Tagalog Klassiks. I tell you, she read everything.

                Dexter, nope…not my favorite at all.

              • I remembered a comment by a teenager on seeing an edition of Encyclopedia Britannica – he said “wow, they actually took the trouble of printing all that” you see, they can access all these in the internet, complete with sounds and sights and links. They did not know that the printed edition precedes the electronic ones, how about that.

                I observed a 3-year old toddler deftly swiping a tablet, she leaps from one website to another to review her favorite Cinderella, Queen Elsa, Rapunzel (while mumbling a lilting rhyme complete with action, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down you hair..I’m comin’ up”

                She even had a website with a step by step tutorial on how to bake cakes and brownies….I felt really old and jaded…hahahaha!

              • sonny says:

                I tell you, Mary Grace, your mom’s, dad’s, our times there were ways of traveling to distant, interesting and enchanting places from right there at the friendly and cozy neighborhood sari-sari store or school library especially on those warm and rainy Cubao days. Didn’t even imagine malls then. We caught and hang on to the idyllic times of Manila, Quezon City and the provinces when 5 pesos could bring the world to your feet. 🙂

                So now, imagine Rambo, with the black head band and bandoliers and AK-47 in one hand and a copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince in the other, that’s my idea of the badass Renaissance man. Hence my intriguing interest with Dexter and Breaking Bad. 🙂

              • sonny says:

                PS. I like the one with the teen-ager and the Britannica, Mary. Now if you feel old and jaded, I should be ancient and ready for life’s next chapter. 🙂

          • Hey Joe, I’m actually more interested if you are planning to write a book yourself! I’d love to read that… It doesn’t even need to be a physical copy since e-books are in these days…

          • neo canjeca says:

            Puede bang makisabat Joe Am and Ms MGPG, about books in the mid-fifties I bought a thin paperback Das Kapital in Ascarraga and got introduced to Maryanna Flood by Harold Robbins. After high school I graduated to Erehwon (that’s Utopia spelt backwards) in Padre Faura, then followed USIS as it walked about Manila from Escolta to Espana to P. Faura near A. Mabini then to Buendia Makati. In USIS I followed the old west of the James brothers, memorized the lyrics of Red River Valley. Half a century later I relished reading Ann Coulter and O’Reilly to keep abreast of US partisan politics. Joe Am is there an American word to address or refer to a balae (parents of a son or daughter-in-law)? I still search for the antidote against this lifelong malady of mine– from book worm to book braggart.

            • neo canjeca says:

              Right now I am reading DEALING WITH CHINA copyright 2015 a Red Book by a former US Sec of the Treasury who helped the mainland’s poli-taipans (commie-democrats) who replaced the Long Marchers. It is like details of how Tiger Wood swings and putts to riches; Paulson’s is a think tank of a book if not a PhD dissertation on China for Dummies.

              • neo canjeca says:

                Here’s my last posting in this stretch. The Society of Honor blog title (sounds presumptuous eh?) says loud and clear. As US Marine homeless vet will say: “It is CONSCIENCE man! ” If you, before or now, have prefix Honourable to your name or a columnist with outstretched palm or you are a clever thief and still have a conscience, then you should not write in JoeAm’s blog. Before you hit Post Comment, think of the title Dude.

            • Quite heavy reading, you’ve got there. I’m more on fiction, a little reading on China, and Greece in the business section. I wish our youth would developed this fine habit. I

              • neo canjeca says:

                to me no book fiction or non-fiction can outdo the portrayal of the cultural DNA of the mainland Chinese: THE GOOD EARTH by Pearl Buck To re-validate this high school impression, I got to read the book again. .

            • Joe America says:

              Father-in-law and mother-in-law, is all I know. There is no special term to address them. Interesting reading list. “From this valley they say you are going . . . I will miss your bright eyes and bright smile ” Something like that. That is recall from the second grade, not googled.

              • neo canjeca says:

                Joe Am during summers of the fifties
                in the wee midnight hours
                We, the kanto boys of Makati
                Deftly corrupted Red River Valley:

                “Istambay Huwag ninyong hahamakin
                Istambay may naitutulong din
                Kung may patay sa inyong Kapit-bahay
                Istambay ang siyang maglalamay.”

                Because Tambays are extinct specie now
                To make it current change Istambay
                into Tomadors of street wakes for the dead.
                Sing it Joe Am for a good laugh afterwards.

              • Joe America says:

                Hahaha, my wife would have me taken to the asylum if I started singing that. But I can hum it, perhaps.

              • neo canjeca says:

                Joe Am it’s not in-laws vis-à-vis (not versus) in-laws but a name for counterparts like those movie giants Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand counterpart of Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner. In PH they are Balaes.

              • Joe America says:

                I think the correct term is “those people”, with appropriate adjectives inserted.

              • neo canjeca says:

                thanks Joe Am. For every reply to my posts you get a toothless grin from me at 3am here at garden state a true sister city of the big apple. without this state there will be less robust Manhattan and no bedroom community for wall street brokers. about these other people what you see is not what you get in real life in the movie depicting these other people Barbara and Dustin; Robert and Blythe. The Unugly Americans.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, New Jersey, where the gardens are industrial smokestacks and the Italians used to rule the roost. I don’t know about now. When I commuted cross-country to New York, I’d land in Newark and have a stretch limo drive me to NY, cost about $50. Better than Uber.

    • Sal says:

      From my experience Filipinos have a better-than-thou attitude towards other Asians… and a love-hate attitude towards Americans. Many (among the masa in particular) look up to Americans like a kuya or a ninong, while the know-it-all are quick to criticize anything and everything that is American like saying — you Americans never do anything right…why should we emulate you? And of course there are those like me in the middle who pick and choose what is right and what is wrong and draw our positions from that.

      • Joe America says:

        You have that right. Bookended by those who give us preferential treatment, and those who have us pegged as imperialists from birth, as if we sucked oil from our mama’s teat. Most here are pickers, like you.

  16. Mami Kawada Lover says:

    It would be nice if politicians regardless of political affiliation could read your articles. That way, instead of bickering and stealing money, they could try and help the people. They could implement programs that would improve lives, and for the politicians, they will have less headaches because more people would be happy. It would be a win-win situation for all.

    You remind me a lot of the PDI’s Peter Wallace. Both are of foreign heritage, but both have come to love the Philippines as if they were here all their lives. Both can see what’s wrong with society and give opinions on how problems can be solved. In the social sciences, we have this thing called the “ETIC” perspective or the outsider’s perspective. Because of a foreign background, you two can see things differently, sometimes being able to see cracks that the ordinary Filipino wouldn’t. There are two things I want to point out though: in the ETIC perspective, a researcher must stick to that and must also consider the “EMIC” or insider’s perspective. For the Society of Honor, I guess that’s where we (the Filipino readers) come in. Second, Wallace (and the rest of the PDI columnists in general) seem to like Duterte, which disappoints me greatly.

    Finally, I think the #1 group who needs to read the articles here are the progressives. They have a lot of good ideas, but they won’t get traction if they can’t dispel the rumors/feeling that they are communist sympathizers. I mean, people here will get suspicious why they’d quote people (and mostly these people) like Marx, Mao, Lenin, and Stalin (emphasis on the latter), and not even people like Trotsky, Luxemburg, Deng Xiaoping, and Tito (I’m just glad they never qute Kim il-sung, for obvious reasons). Their noise at the slightest action of the U.S. (and to a lesser extent, Japan as of late), combined with relative inaction in addition to confusing comments on China (i.e. marching to the Chinese Embassy but condemning the U.S.), is alienating pretty much all but the hardcore or the extreme poor. They’re in a case similar to Binay (who, as I’ve mentioned here before, they have for some reason failed to fully condemn): both are facing allegations, both have been given the chance to clear their names, and their responses have been blunders.

    • Joe America says:

      Most interesting perspective, MKL. I read Peter Wallace from time to time, and agree he is offers good insights. Agree, insider perspectives are important, and what is most rewarding is when both insiders and outsiders are listening to the other perspective to see what they can learn. The readership here is actually very impressive. Some can’t comment because of their positions, but they read. I’m sure there is a progressive or two among the crowd. And maybe a crook or two, too.

  17. karl garcia says:

    Your blog sharpens the mind. It also teaches patience and restraint and how to deal with people.I love it here.

  18. Melanie Avery says:

    Hi Joe, totally agree with every bloggers here. Absolutely love your blog site. A respite (very good) from my medical mind. The topic/s always catching my interest, and the bloggers obviously highly intelligent, and patriotic. I learn a lot more from reading your blog than from others( just bit disappointed I could not add any to the discussion esp in politics as been out of touch as to what is happening to Philippines). I find Infos from other source/s lack substance. Yours have in depth analysis, and advises are well thought of. Most even attaches the references. As I said before we need this sort but at the “masa ” level , so the poorest of the poor get their chance as well.
    We have to teach you Tagalog .. Fast!!! Again, many thanks. God bless.

  19. Most of my peers would rather talk about the latest episode of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead.

    The common sentiment of a lot of my peers is in the vein of lahat corrupt pare pareho lang lahat.

  20. Monin Navarro says:

    What?!? No “Down with Imperialism” statements? The red shirts must be rallying in front of the Chinese Embassy this time. I just have this to say, Joe. Whenever I am confused about something, I turn to your blog to enlighten me. I wish I could say that more eloquently like the other commenters (is that even a word?) but it is what it is. From one American to another, more power, Joe.

    • Joe America says:

      Commenters gets a red line from the spell check, but I hereby authorize it as an official word. We have lots of quality commenters, and I’m glad you are officially one of them. I get a few anti-american comments on other discussion threads, but they go away once people discover the time (and blogs) I’ve put in trying to understand the Philippines. I figure another 20 years or so, I’ll figure it out . . .

  21. Bing Garcia says:

    Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Sunday law enforcers “could seek the assistance of the Interpol to help track down” Binay’s finance officer, Gerardo Limlingan, and his longtime secretary, Eduviges Baloloy.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      1973 U.P. Graduate Coloma Jr is typical of any U.P. graduates, CLUELESS. Trillanes said Limlingan and Baloloy are abroad. Immigration officers said, they do not have records of these duo exiting the Philippines.

      Baloloy is also getting cash payroll from Makati. How can Baloloy be abroad and at the same time Baloloy signed-off his paystub to claim his monthly pay?

      Trillanes is a “LAWMAKER” so he claimed. So do the Filipinos. If Trillanes were in my country, he’d be laughed out of the Senate.

      Please, do not take my comments as Pro-Binay. I am Pro-Justice. Filipinos understand very well that Pro-Justice makes Binay Go Free. Filipinos sure do know the law. But they’d rather do it the crooked way.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Trillanes, Ombudsman Carpio, U.P.-journalists are soooo clueless. Baloloy got her retirement pay. In check. U.P. graduates did not check with City Hall a copy of cleared check. In the cleared check it shows the account number it was deposited to. Nobody tracked it down. Carpio did not freeze Baloloy’s account.

      Anti-Binays said Baloloy is still receiving cash payroll. They opened their mouth but not checking who picked-up the cash. Of course, It cannot be Baloloys houseslaves. It got to be Baloloy. Walking up the steps of Makati City Hall into payroll department to sign-off the logbook that he took the cash payroll.

      Lawmaker Trillanes, Ombudsman Carpio and U.P. Journalists are not worth their whiles. I suggest to them they import skid-row homeless people in the Bronx because they know better in investigation.

      • chempo says:

        Hi Mariano..
        Makati city engineer Nelson Morales was muderered. I fear for Limlingan and Baloloy.
        Regarding collection of salaries and signatures — anything and everything is possible in Philippines. I have seen all these stuff many times over.
        Why am I not surprised in this day and age, Makati , the premier city, is paying their employees in hard cold cash the old fashioned, and risky way. Because with cash, it is easier to cover-up the thousands of ghost employees…

      • HighFive says:

        cctv / surveillance camera in hallways or in the payroll section may provide an answer.

    • neo canjeca says:

      “Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Sunday law enforcers “could seek the assistance of the Interpol to help track down” Binay’s finance officer, Gerardo Limlingan, and his longtime secretary, Eduviges Baloloy.”

      A lot of bloggers or just may be one or two want to kick somebody in the mouth: law enforcers “could seek the assistance [AFTER SIX MONTHS] of the Interpol to help track down” Binay’s finance officer, Gerardo Limlingan, and his longtime secretary, Eduviges Baloloy.”

      And the media spittle says INTERPOL to get Limlingan and Baloloy. Wake up Dudes.

  22. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I subscribe to JoeAm because I trust Americans than Filipino bloggers. We look at things in every different angles than Filipinos linear observation. We are analytical. We are highly critical. We believe in ourselves than entrust our destiny to God.

    We Bless America !!! Americans blessed America. We made America what it is today. Fanatically religious Roman Catholic Filipinos give up their God to come to our country in a land where prayers are illegal in classrooms. Happy Fourth of July !!!

  23. chempo says:

    Great minds discuss ideas,
    Average minds discuss events
    Small minds discuss people…… Elenor Rosevelt

    Joe what I like here is that even though the discussion may be on events and people, it is idea-centred. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not self-proclaiming to be in the league of great minds. I do declare I don’t have much to contribute. I enjoy reading the commentaries of some very good minds here. There are some jewels of wisdom sprinkled all over your blog from folks like Edgar, Jameboy, Andrewlim… Sometimes I read with my mouth in a perpetual “wow”…

    • Joe America says:

      “League of Great Minds” I like that, actually. We do have some sharp ones, no doubt. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d compile a book of all the wisdoms here. I agree, some are downright jaw-droppers.

  24. One of the reasons that drew me here was precisely the odd circumstance of JoeAm’s nationality. As a compatriot observer and resident of the Philippines (with vested interest in the country’s development), I find this phenomenon very interesting indeed. The posts and comments here are entertaining, even when I find I don’t agree with them sometimes. 🙂

  25. hackguhaseo says:

    “The Society is an intellectual oasis in a rather dry desert. It is a magnet for the curious, the thinkers, and the engaged.”

    THIS! So much of this!

  26. HighFive says:

    Two things I hope will come into existence in Philippines:
    1.To have a new major national tabloid that will be run by Raissa, Joeam & his contributors.
    2. “Bobotantes Community Education Center” in all the cities, towns and barrios.

  27. jameboy says:

    My turn.

    All blogs have the objective to be the one that has the pulse of the nation. All attempts to mirror and reflect the truth of the matter and encourage sharing of information as well as allowing expression of conflicting views and opinions. Members and visitors alike participate in a free and open discussion on everything under the sun. However, that’s where the similarity of this blog and the others ends.

    I don’t know about the Society’s popularity. All I know about it is its credibility. It’s solid. I say that because popularity, in blog world, oftentimes is brought about by notoriety. I’ve known a number of blogs that are “popular” for reason other than being good. In other words they’re popular but their credibility is shot. Not this one.

    Credibility is proof why I’m here. That credibility was anchored in what Joe wrote in the ‘Anonymity’ section and I quote,

    “One of the greatest freedoms available to a free society is the right to speak, for even disagreeable words may have constructive result.”

    “I am very interested in the well-being of the Philippine community.” – Joe America

    Those are the words that always comes to mind every time I put up a post here. It’s real and it’s the deal. I said that because, like the rest, I enjoy my right to speak here. It’s real, man! And all those who exercises such right has only one deal: the well-being of the Philippines.

    Joe deserve a commendation for a job well done. Keep it up, Joe! 👍

    • Joe America says:

      Will. Thanks.

      I wrote the article to introduce our many new readers to the concept of the blog and perhaps gain a few new commenters who were hesitant to interact on an “American’s” blog. The testimonials are very uplifting and I am sure will help achieve those goals.

    • jameboy,

      I agree on all points. Ditto for me.

    • Melanie Avery says:

      Jamesboy, totally agree with you there. “Credibility..Isang beer Lang iyan sa pilipinas.. Sira agad”. This, according to someone I used to know…
      The ability to give opinion, to be heard, to be respected (despite opposing views) is what is lacking in the Philippines. Others, who have the guts to question authority/ties are often made the butt of the jokes. Sadly ” below the belt pa”. Tatakutin ka pa!
      So forum like this is really is like breath of fresh air.
      Thanks again Joe, and rest of the bloggers. I really enjoy all the comments. Keep it coming.

    • jameboy says:

      Guys, my original post was actually twice the size of what you read. I got stuck talking about popularity and credibility and why I think this blog has more of the latter than the former. I just decided to cut to the chase to not veer away from the main point.

      To be credible (and popular) and at the same time be different looks like the in thing now. Hard work pays, Joe. 😊

  28. leo says:

    Joe, I’ve been reading your blog for more than two years now and your blog has been intellectually stimulating and insightful to me. To be honest reading your blog made me realize that I’ve been angry and negative for so long. You’ve made a believer in me. You also have intelligent, well intended and sound commenters to oppose, balanced, or correct (my, yours or others) views. Thank you Joe, as well as to edgar, josephivo, ireneo, micha, sonny, jameboy, mrp and the rest of the good people… (let us) keep the volume high…

    • sonny says:

      Leo, you have pegged the Society rightly. I, too, have harbored negative and passive-aggressive thoughts about what we talk about in Joe’s blog. He has consistently moderated and encouraged healthy communications here. So in your words – let us keep the volume high. Well said.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, leo. A very nice statement to wake up to.

  29. Yvonne says:

    JoeAm, I thank you for allowing me to post some of my essays in your popular blogsite. With your kind permission, I like to contribute some more essays in the coming days in line with my personal advocacy to fight for good governance in the country. More power to you.

  30. DAgimas says:

    i dont just read Joeam, i read also Boo Chanco, Neal Cruz etc to get insights. but the Manila Standard is something i could not figure out ever since. i never read something favorable to the govt

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, you wonder what kind of character it is that requires such negativity, forever running down the Philippines, and therefore, Filipinos. Seem like rather small and empty souls to me. Like, people aspiring to be the least that we can be.

  31. #3…”It is an open-sourced seminar, a place to grow smarter.”
    #5…”The blog is a place to grow broader, deeper and wiser.” ……and a better Filipino!

    I have become an acolyte.

    Damu ug tangkud nga salamat, Joe. And to y’all, I remain awed and grateful.

    Buddy Gomez

  32. Hopefulcitizen says:

    you are getting popular now Joe, your followers/readers are growing in numbers. Cheers to our love for the well being of the Philippines! I suggested your blog to my nephew who is a thinker and an upcoming freshman in UP.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, readership is growing, and it would be good to get some young eyes and brains working here. Tell you son to take the ravings of a certain Mariano Renato Pacifico about UP with a grain of salt. MRP is a fable teller with much wisdom to offer, but he does have his oxen to gore, for effect.

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