Leni’s Bayanihan

Analysis and Opinion

By Irineo B. R. Salazar

A recent Rappler article by Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon is titled “Leni is not our savior”. So many things are so very wrong about it:

  1. The Saint Stereotype. The picture to the article caricatures VP Leni as a kind of saintly figure. That picture is now used by DDS trolls to ridicule her. I remember vividly the portrayal of PNoy as an “abnormal” Sto. Nino in the arms of a Virgin Mary Cory on some troll memes.
  2. The Widow Stereotype. This passage “Leni was also a character to us. Also a widow to a ‘president we never had,’ just like our Yellow Queen, and also the Force of Good against Bongbong Marcos’ Force of (Very, Very) Evil.” Shows it, and repeats the saint stereotype.
  3. The Yellow Stereotype. “Cory, Queen of the People Power Movement, dies on an election year, a year when echoes of a rat villain’s ‘Hello Garci’ and ‘I am sorry’ still hang thick in the air, so who better to lift onto the nation’s shoulders but the reluctant People Power Prince, come to save us all by sheer virtue of his yellow blood?” drips with sarcasm. Yellow Blood? Yellow Queen? People Power Prince? Yes, there was silly talk of Pnoy as Aragorn back then.

Simplistic stereotypes in a quality publication like Rappler aren’t good in a badly informed polity.

 

WHERE IS DE LEON RIGHT?

Some aspects of the article are right. Let us have a look at them:

  1. She says “We love our hero narratives. We like our leaders to have Disney character arcs.”
    • She does write about Duterte “instead of learning our lesson in 2016, we just skipped from one fictional trope to the next, this time to a rootin’ tootin’ trigger-happy cowboy who took the law into his own hands – and how.”
    • She neglects to mention how the Marcosian narrative definitely is one big fairy tale, as in Imelda’s “perception is reality”.
    •  PNoy’s time is simplistically painted as a total failure which it wasn’t at all.
  2. The familistic element is all over the Philippines, not only among Filipino liberals.
    • Gabriela Silang took over from her husband Diego Silang when he was killed.
    • Gloria Arroyo is the daughter of President Macapagal.
    • Bongbong and Imee also draw from their father’s reputation.
  3. Grace Poe, who said she would continue where her father left off, is the best example of both the familistic and the movie aspects of Philippine consciousness. Of course Erap was the biggest example of a movie character mistaken for reality. One must also not forget that Bonifacio himself was a moro-moro actor, one of his many jobs, and that he used his talent in drama effectively very many times. Death has also often played a role in Philippine politics – Gomburza, Rizal’s execution, Ninoy, Cory, the SAF44 and I think just a little bit Jesse Robredo.

What is very wrong is the implication that all sides are just the same.

 

VP LENI, THE HARD WORKER

De Leon does write that: “VP Leni has been proving consistently that her virtue is not just a figment of our imaginations.” – though virtue may or not be meant sarcastically, just like the overuse of Yellow, even Yellow blood, has a certain aftertaste to it. Unfortunately she is very wrong there:

  1. Will has mentioned in his interview of her that she was with SCA, Student Catholic Action, when she studied at UP which was in the 1980s – they do social work. She stayed in a dormitory room then, I recall a socmed posting where she revisited that place.
  2. She was part of the NGO SALIGAN from 1998-2008 which gave legal aid to the poor, including the Sumilao farmers who vouched for her during her VP campaign.
  3. The Kaya Natin Movement For Good Governance and Ethical Leadership exists since 2008 and all donations for what VP Leni is doing now are coursed through it. One of its founders was Jesse Robredo and of course she was always involved in it.

There is the “elitist” stereotype that has been mingled with “Yellow” especially with regards to Cory, who of course was from another social class than middle-class VP Leni, and basically made coffee for her husband and his visitors before he died and she was thrust into politics. Ignoring VP Leni’s work BEFORE she became Vice President – intentionally or unintentionally – plays into that stereotype in a country whose political discourse is already poisoned by a lot of simplistic tropes.

 

VP LENI, LEADING FROM BEHIND

De Leon writes: “the truth of the matter is, she did not do all these good things single-handedly, and she never has.  She can’t do it without her competent and hardworking team. And her team can’t do it without the cooperation of other principled government officials, all the way down to the kapitans and kapitanas of the barangays.” Nobody does anything alone, and aside from what I see as possible innuendo, a crab putdown, these aspects must be considered:

  1. VP Leni takes not only initiative but accepts responsibility while tapping community resources. She does NOT pass the buck to task forces, czars and other people.
  2. Her strength as a community organizer comes from decades of social work and also the Naga model of governance which she was actively involved in, not just cooking coffee for Jesse.
  3. De Leon also writes: “these officials can’t do it without a citizenry that values the well-being of the community over selfish interests.”

The latter point isn’t that simple either.

 

PHILIPPINE CIVIC SOCIETY

The “Why Nations Fail” blog mentions Cebu and Naga as examples of civics in the Philippines today:

  1. “..In our field work in Cebu, we met with local organizations of poor urban people who actually endorsed different candidates.. As one lady said to us: if you sell your vote, you don’t get any services. So vote buying is out, services and public goods are in. When we asked where all this organization came from, we were told it was a direct legacy of the People’s Power Movement which had overthrown Marcos. People had organized to fight for the end of martial law and the dictatorships and after the return to democracy they had stayed organized and used this to try and get the new democratic institutions to deliver..”
  2.  “..The situation in Naga is similar there though spearheaded by a reformist mayor Jesse Robredo, who tragically died in an air crash last year. But just as in Cebu, when you dig into the Naga case you see the power of organization. This has been done by Maria Teresa Melgar in an unpublished 2010 PhD Dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (‘Constructing Local Democracy in Post-Authoritarian Settings: A Comparison between Porto Alegre, Brazil and Naga, the Philippines’)..”

Two tropes are disproven by the Cebu and Naga examples: one that People Power was just a stupid flock waiting for Santa Cory to deliver; the second is that civic society after People Power totally failed. And yes, one can see the influence of Kaya Natin as a group on Filipino civic society right now. Clearly, there are also Angel Locsin and Gang Badoy Capati who have been doing social work for many years and deserve respect as well – the latter BTW has endorsed the VP’s initiatives recently.

The old spirit of bayanihan, communities helping one another, is very much alive now after the typhoon; even communities abroad are donating what they can. The often dormant Filipino goodness is now alive in all classes and nationwide, not only in small groups and among the poor.

 

SOME OTHER TROPES

The saintly trope is dangerous as it feeds into the Duterte propaganda that tries to insinuate that VP Leni is in fact a “santita”, a fake saint. Those who dislike Liberals already will point to Senator De Lima’s affair – “hey look at those who are claiming to be good, they aren’t such saints after all”. There are also DDS who say “those who claim to be good should be judged by higher standards” – cool, as it seems those who don’t claim to be good are not judged by any standards at all by DDS.

Also, DDS and others hating on Catholicism but going by a highly antiquated image of women as either Maria Clara or Mary Magdalene is one of the absurdities in a nation dealing with its legacies. 

Insinuating about “virtue” could also be tapping into another (often Marcosian) trope – that of virtue as “weak” and the native warrior or bayani as the action man. But bayani also implies bayanihan, which is exactly what VP Leni taps. A good society also needs builders, rescuers and civic organizers. Good that the AFP and the Coast Guard have been active in the present crisis. ROTC if ever should probably also include a lot of rescue and disaster management skills as that is also national defense.

 

MOVEMENTS AND CULTS

The insinuation that people worship VP Leni also plays straight into Marcos-DDS propaganda  of the “Yellow Cult”, as De Leon even mentions “yellow blood”. Besides, 1986 had three major elements: the human rights groups, civic groups and yes the somewhat religious and dramatic aspect.

Manolo Quezon also said this in a tweet“Seriously it is human to look for heroism particularly in inhumane times: as the heroes themselves are an indictment of the times that made them rarities. To scorn heroes is to scorn humanity and perpetuate inhumanity”. Heroes can also embody hope, which is why I cannot call those who see VP Leni – not so many – as “God’s gift to the Philippines”cultists. They only would be if they went overboard with fanaticism like plenty of DDS might do.

Not even Trump supporters call the Civil Rights Movement in the USA a CULT because Martin Luther King was a preacher. There is nothing wrong with religious beliefs and democratic/civic values.

De Leon did mention on Twitter that an old article of hers about Heneral Luna and Aldub fans was so relevant again – false equivalence, Mrs. De Leon! There is a difference between fandom and principle, just like there is a difference between principles and beliefs as opposed to extremism and fanaticism.

What is also ignored by De Leon – who gives not one example of Filipinos seeing the VP as a “savior” is that many writers and intellectuals sympathetic to the Left have declared their support for VP Leni recently. Some known critics of PNoy and Mar, even of the 2013 Yolanda response, support her too.

 

EVOLVING THE POLITY

The trope of Filipinos as ignorant sheep following cults and feudal lords is no longer fully true in a maturing political culture. It should not be the role of a quality publication like Rappler to feed stereotypes. Rather, they could try to contribute to a more educated discussion on the different groups and sets of values that make up the dynamic of a society that is evolving, hopefully for the better now inspite of the step back in 2016. Nothing is perfect, but every place is work in progress.

Nuelle Duterte’s take on present Philippine politics in Humans of Pinas is far more nuanced, based on what I think is a keen observation of why Otso Diretso failed in 2019 and also why the masses are often politically passive, echoing a comment made by kasambahay once. I have mentioned in my last article “What is Home” that the big picture is often not found in the Philippine media – but at least some socmed commenters have a good grasp of important parts of it. Discussions are important.

Major Philippine movements like in 1896 and 1986 started with an idea of what people no longer wanted, but with only a vague idea of what the people as a whole wanted. One part of getting to understand what the Philippines can be is looking at how it came to be and what is happening now.

Leading publications and editors should know better than to propagate clichés. Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wilt! is from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Mrs. De Leon’s article seems a bit like mischief to me. Maybe it is even mischief for its own sake.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, Munich, 21 November 2020​

P.S. VP Leni Robredo’s official and personal FB pages document what she is doing.

 

Comments
82 Responses to “Leni’s Bayanihan”
  1. Karl Garcia says:

    • “Heroes can also embody hope, which is why I cannot call those who see VP Leni – not so many – as “God’s gift to the Philippines”cultists. They only would be if they went overboard with fanaticism like plenty of DDS might do.” in the article is based on this tweet by MLQ3:

  2. Karl Garcia says:

  3. Micha says:

    De Leon’s piece was directed to fans and supporters of the VP, not an assault, per se, on Madam Leni’s persona.

    • Well, I don’t see her fans and supporters as cultic in any way. De Leon offers zero evidence for that BTW. Or maybe I am a blinded cultic follower myself, who knows? I do see the article as slyly manipulative – intentionally or not. For whatever reason she did it, conscious or not.

      • kasambahay says:

        hi, Irineo, methink de leon’s article ay parang hurriedly written po with not much thought given to those that give donations to leni. donation monetary or others to grease bayanihan wheel big time, given once, given twice, given time and again.

        and one dont really have to be competent or principled to give donations; donations could well be given for selfish motives and maybe, for their own best interest po.

        silly thing really, to say na competent and hard working ang team ni leni. for a start, they just have to to have shared beliefs at common interest, and it helps po to be conscientious and dedicated too, and the rest follows.

        helping fellow human beings should not be that hard, fulfilling po yan at makakataba sa puso. make you feel good. and less a burden.

        as I see it, lot of competent and hard working people are also working real hard vs leni. creating fake news and disinformation, trying to bring her down and discredit her too. creating their own inter agencies and task forces and may I say, journalists among them!

        it’s a free country.

        • kasambahay says:

          p.s. I dont see leni as mother mary. leni is a damn good public servant, dependable and ready to help.

          to lgus that avail of leni’s help, I say lucky you!

          • kasambahay says:

            anyhow, maybe now, de leon will update her portrayal of leni and include those that make leni phenomena possible, the lgus that de leon mentioned, the cooperative and principled govt officials that de leon mentioned as well, all the way to kapitans and kapitanas of barangays, etc, if de leon be so kind as to actually name these people so they can be duly thanked lalo na ngayong magpapasko.

  4. Thanks for breaking your social media diet to give us this timely reply to Ms. De Leon’s Rappler piece. This needed to be written.

    • Welcome! Actually I did spend maybe 12 full hours on the pre-article (written in Filipino first, very feelingero as I have less distance in Filipino which is high-context, then translated to English, corrections between the two versions, then wrote a completely new article fully in English as I looked at what I see as the manipulative aspects and tropes) so I was able to not be too present on socmed. Hindi ako mapakali sa isinulat ni De Leon, nabuwisit ako.

      I am grateful in hindsight for how my Deutsch teacher in German Senior High, Mrs. Ohm (yes same surname as the physicist who defined electrical resistance, buried at Munich’s Old Southern Cemetery, don’t know if there is any relation) who not only taught me to appreciate Brecht (the best leftists are the writers, not the often manipulative political leftists) but also spent what feels like one semester with us dissecting how political propaganda works and how to identify rhetorical manipulations – intentional or not. Still have that teaching in me.

  5. Joe, many thanks for publishing immediately! Better for me in fact as I can react to the many reactions on Sunday, not on early Monday before starting to work in the home office.

    I feel like Bongbong Marcos somehow, all I did was sleep and now Leni is all over the place. 😀

  6. I had to Google her…

    Ireneo, this was an interesting article for me. Because you and Ms. De Leon are actually in agreement. But it seems like your issue is more on self censorship, than the actual point of her article.

    ie., this stuff can be used by trolls against VP Leni.

    Censorship is my favourite topic here, because I really believe democracy hinges on that very Voltaireian principle: I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It

    Now you guys in Germany seem to have assumed fully that there is hate speech and there is none hate speech, thus one is to be rooted out, the other defended. Its like the word terrorist is just anothers’ word for freedom fighter.

    This is the vein i’m reading your blog as, Ireneo. A call for self censorship.

    As one whose been banned on here several times, notice how Joe finds it very difficult to exercise censorship (of course, I know how this makes him feel… its American DNA, this free speech stuff, and rightly so). And he’s stated again and again, how my ideas (or what I write) seem dangerous.

    And I do agree with him.

    So if read as simply critique of Mr. De Leon’s writing, fine. That’s totally fine. But between Germany and American standards of free speech… i’m totally for Ms. De Leon’s opinion piece.

    Yes, yours of course has maturity and wisdom, and of from your generation; but I agree with Micha, Ms. De Leon is writing for other Ms. De Leons out there, I’m assuming here… none jeepney riding , with maids, doing gimmick all the time, and not really in touch to the folks that VP Leni is reaching out to.

    Read it as simply an Ateneo/La Salle, ‘I’m rich with private education, I can command English so good, that I can play language games with it’, article. essentially a click bait piece.

    But your response to it, was what’s interesting to me. It’s very German and Filipino at the same time. Just reacting to the blog, Ireneo, but the merit of what you’ve written I totally get. You two are in agreement, Ms. De Leon’s is just a bratty less nuanced shallow version.

    • LCPL_X, no attempt to censor from my side – just giving an opinion about an opinion.

      As for German standard of free speech, De Leon’s article would still fall under them, but nobody in the TOP SERIOUS PAPERS would write like that as the editorial culture there is very nuanced. If one asked me about who my “idol” is, the closest thing to an idol I have is Heribert Prantl, Opinion Desk Head of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. His articles – especially those about the German Constitution (he used to be a judge) are controlled passion, but in TV discussions he can let his passion out.

      I did write a more passionate article in Filipino but I wrote this article again based on it, so yes, the article is Filipino at heart and German in mind, both passionate and analytical.

      An editor in the BILD Zeitung would write a lot more like De Leon and would probably have similar college degrees like her BTW, but once you are in that category – street journalism – you rarely move up to the decent publications over here.

      It isn’t about self-censorship but about restraint which quality publications should practice – I think – and the question whether Rappler wants to go the same way as other publications in the Philippines or be more than that. Like I mentioned in my previous article there are NO publications in the Philippines that measure up with Washington Post or New York Times – or with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (conservative, read by managers and elites) and Süddeutsche Zeitung (Prantl said it strives to be “understood by the man on the street and respected by the expert”, makes sense that I who am in between man on the street and expert in most matters read it, but just the weekend edition) and a country with a well-informed elite should have papers like that. I know it is a bit of a challenge to Rappler now.

      • I checked out her twitter, and read a piece of old she reposted,

        she also has a series of podcast that seems very LGBTQ-centric, so that explains your “slyly manipulative” hunch. She’s essentially using Catholic iconography against Filipinos penchant for saint making. All for the sake of elevating LGBTQ in the Philippines.

        Like over here, that will get a back lash i’m sure, it’s like every show here now, movies or series I watch, there’s always two dudes kissing or worst— I’m like where’s the L in LGBTQ?!!!

        But remember edgar’s use of “hagiography” when describing Wil’s articles. And I agreed with edgar, there’s a bad habit over there that we’ve all talked about same-same as Ms. De Leon’s article in question. So if we’ve expressed similarly, Ms. De Leon’s

        opinion I think is valid, looking at responses on her twitter, it seems people are focused on the Mama Mary art than the article– thus, reaffirming her sacred cows slaying agenda. I think her writing ‘s nuanced enough, it’s just LGBTQ bent, Ireneo.

        Ms. De Leon’s podcasts are actually really good, lots of cultural nuance there. I’m into 4 now.

        • If that was her goal – to open echo chambers – she failed marvelously with her recent article.

          One thing you have to do to find common ground is to go for mutual respect. I respect Will even if I am no longer a Catholic, and I only have a problem with fanaticism not religion.

          I also have no problem with political beliefs as long as they are not extremist or terrorist. What annoys me a bit with De Leon’s article is that she seems to know it all much better. That is the best way to close minds, not open them – I prefer a more nuanced approach.

          You can’t force the evolution of a political culture. People, especially often hard-headed Filipinos, have to be picked up from where they are and have to be given time to realize things by themselves.

          De Leon seems to want tolerance but with HER way as the non plus ultra, which would put her among Filipino 100%ers. Just like many Filipino atheists are blatantly rude to Christians – making them a bit fanatic as well. Just some of my thoughts on that.

          • Very true, Ireneo. There’s fast and then theres slow. But progress is progress nonetheless. I still think Ms. De Leon represents the future of said debate, rhetoric may be off, but she’s right, as you are right. Just different styles of approach, is all.

            Improvement being the goal.

            • Interestingly, there was no answer whatsover to my tagging De Leon, Rappler and Maria Ressa on Twitter. I wonder if they expected that kind of answer at all. Few dare confront those who a) speak excellent English b) come from exclusive schools and c) have that nimbus of being high-class in the Philippines. This can lead to them feeling like big fish in a small pond, because even if they face someone who has a) and has better arguments they still can go for leveraging b) and c) and acting dismissive – like De Leon mocked her critics on Twitter the days before this article by comparing them to Heneral Luna and AlDub fans, and had some from their clique pitching in. In that context I see their silence towards this article – widely shared BTW – as a compliment. They might think about it.

              The Philippines has too many self-congratulatory cliques, sometimes there are cliques built around a thought or opinion leader of sorts. Bubbles basically, islands and barangays in an archipelago of thought that rarely interact with each other, with little growth.

              These islands and barangays either ignore each other or fight one another totally up to the personal level. True exchange of ideas would mean questioning the assumptions of the other side or correcting them to arrive at a bigger picture. The discourse between a number of those from here on twitter based on my “challenge” to De Leon there, started by Juana BTW, with MLQ3 pitching in and correcting some of my assumptions on certain tropes/cliches/whatever about Cory, was highly enlightening. MLQ3 is an outlier among the thought leaders in the Philippines because he does discuss openly and fairly. As for De Leon, let us see if she will embody the new culture of discussion she wants to have. So far I have not seen it yet. I have seen more of the elitism I mentioned at the start.

              • This is Juana kicking off the discussion:

                Joe a few tweets after in the thread:

                Then later there is MLQ3 explaining the difference between the Marcosian picture of Cory (which I had almost forgotten but remembered when he detailed it) and the later imagery which he says came from both GMA and Leftist camps.

              • In fact Juana questioning stuff persistently lead to me somewhat sharpening my argument from this article. LCPL_X, that’s the good thing about a boisterous but courteous discourse which you have been saying for quite a while. Nobody gets too comfortable, intellectually lazy. Intellectual laziness is as unhealthy as physical laziness.Though the exchange should be of ideas and counter-ideas, and it should be truthful, not get personal – and the entire exchange on Twitter with several branching threads fulfilled that requirement perfectly.

                in fact even without the picture, words like “virtue”, “savior”, “yellow blood”, “Yellow Queen”, “People Power Prince”, “Force of Good against.. Force of Very, Very Evil” all do look like allusions to a cult. This is why it looks like mischief to me, maybe even for its own sake..

                This opinion in the thread is also an interesting take on Rappler and De Leon BTW:

                TBH they are just acting like Facebook who they routinely criticize. The article was made to create engagement, for us to share and take issue with the author, for DDS to laugh at Competence fans. Like FB who only cares for the money from engagement this article reeks the same.

            • I don’t think you’ll get a peep from Ms. De Leon, Ireneo. You have to tackle her own assumptions, she could care less about VP Leni– the whole point of her article is the Mama Mary drawing (which I agree with Ms. De Leon is a cut worthy of putting salt in).

              So find what cut of hers is worthy of doing the same, and I bet you its the LGBTQ stuff.

              I propose write an article on how LGBTQ movement in the 3rd world is going to eventually get a huge backlash against them, precisely because of the bs they are pushing. I would argue the opposite of the unnatural line that’s so oft used when criticizing LGBTQ,

              my argument would be to stress the naturalness of it all, that animals have been discovered to engage in all this girl/girl or male/male which is the norm amongst bovine, bulls mating with bulls; found in dophins too. That the Jews who saw said behaviour , mostly the male-male variety,

              first with the Babylonians, and I’m sure the Egyptians too, then the Greeks then finally in the days of Jesus, the Romans. pederasty was so common,

              that the Jews had to go the opposite route in order to save humanity and civilization. And based its ethos on anti-pederasty. male-female is what separates us from the animal kingdom, thus not of this world, just like Jesus.

              My point here, Ireneo , is to BBQ her sacred cows, slather hot sauce, then you’ll get a response for sure. Or you could go the opposite route like flattery, and say something like the L in LGBTQ is the only legit, beautiful movement, because one female is good; but two females is heavenly. 😉

              You get the point… LOL!!!

              • When the Pemberton case hit the news on his release, I was trying to explain that the judge had all the facts and, during trial, demonstrated fairness. She had ordered the charge be reduced from murder to homicide because of the circumstances. (She couldn’t find him guilty on murder, basically.) So he was given 10 years and freed in six. That is background to the over-the-top, irrational attacks from the transgender community on the judge, me, and others. All I did was explain that it was a homicide case. You’da thought I had killed Laude myself from the hostility that arose. So, yes, I can see backlash is possible.

              • FWIW, the US Navy does a pretty good job with their medical briefs talking about STDs, the gay/trans scene, etc. and Marine NCOs give their juniors the low down, like keeping an eye out for Adam’s apples, and good advice when you’ve been duped, to essentially just go with flow (its only gay if youre the catcher, not the pitcher , the taker , not the giver, typa advice).

                But my personal issue has always been the DoD-wide policy of doing ports in these sex industry places, why not endeavour to port in less populated places instead?

                I’ve always thought the US gov’t in general should take some responsiblities in off loading a bunch of 18-20 year olds, from small town and rural America into some of the most dirrrties places on the planet.

                In the ME, where terrorists are actually pushing-back against sex industry stuff, the DoD complies accordingly and protects their troops , but when it comes to SE Asia, we encourage it?

                Double standard. Don’t get me wrong, I got to experience Mango Ave of Cebu (and some other places), but when some kid gets pinched for something this serious, people should ask why are we off loading American kids into these cess pools? And expect nothing to happen?

  7. https://www.facebook.com/HumansOfPinas/posts/155199672953537 – putting out the most relevant part of Nuelle Duterte’s take on Otso Diretso’s losing as food for thought:

    —- start of quote —

    The most common thing I’ve seen is the resistance of the left to taking responsibility for their role in helping get Rodrigo elected in 2016. Which is baffling, because they did. Why not just acknowledge it, atone for it, and then work towards undoing that mistake? The other common thing I’ve seen is the resistance of the official opposition to admitting the failure in their strategy in 2019. Yes, there was a 7-hour glitch, but it’s still hard to deny that the campaign wasn’t successful because of squabbling with left-leaning groups, and the perception (not necessarily the reality) of elitism that dogged them. Why is it so difficult for people to own up to shortcomings and fix them? We’re all humans who make mistakes. It takes a lot of guts to admit to and apologize for them, and even more to make things right. But that’s also what captures people’s imaginations and respect, because it’s relatable. No need to look for fake saviors who promise, and fail, to end crime and corruption in 6 months, when the simple heroics of undoing a wrong, for the sake of the greater good, will do. There’s a lot of preaching about accountability on social media these days, and that’s one perfect example of practicing accountability.

    But that’s not going to solve everything. There is still the issue of what some privileged people online and offline call the ‘bobotante’ syndrome. We need to stop saying that. It’s uncalled for, and it’s inaccurate. Yes, there are people who are not critical when it comes to their choices of political candidates. Yes, many are gullible. Yes, plenty are swayed by money. But remember that there are millions in both urban and far-flung areas who are invisible to both national and local politicians except during elections. These folks aren’t necessarily uneducated or ‘bobo’, but they are clearly not well-versed in the concept that the government exists to serve them, and not vice versa. Because all their lives, government officials have been the landowners and elites in their areas, and probably their bosses, too. They’re made to feel important come election time, then forgotten again until the next cycle. Their needs have probably never been adequately served, save for some handouts or small concessions here and there. So they’re trained to be grateful for that little bit of attention every three years. Local politicos prefer to keep them that way because it’s how they keep their dynasties going.

    These are the people that need to be reached. We already have a pretty good online base, if we’re talking opposition to this current administration. It’s the offline folks we need to hear from next. What do they need, what do they want, and how can they be actively engaged to be part of the bigger picture?

    To do that, there needs to be a resolution to the squabbling between the left-leaning movements and the moderates. There is no winning against an authoritarian regime without a united force. But that unity should not be at the expense of one giving way to the other. Resolve the issues in each camp, acknowledge and address mistakes, make amends, and then meet in the middle, because factions won’t get the results you want. There is no room for egos in matters of life and death.
    P.S. I’ve also been reading about people having their non-negotiables regarding potential candidates they’re willing to support. Please let go of this mindset. There’s only one non-negotiable in the immediate future — no Duterte or Marcos relative or ally should be in office ever again. There’s time to squabble about the rest afterwards. Democracy is a work in progress, after all.

    —-end of quote—-

    For those who DON’T know who she is YET, Nuelle Duterte is a psychologist working in NYC, President Duterte’s niece and vocal critic of the regime. She did say in an interview that one thing she shares with her uncle is stubbornness – I guess her liberal mindset is more like her grandma’s.

    • stpaul says:

      She’s really good.

    • Micha says:

      @Irineo

      Off the bat, she made a false assertion. Voters in 2016 were divided between Roxas, Poe, Binay, and Rodrigo. Why is she blaming the left for her uncle’s plurality win?

      And squabbling with left-leaning groups? What the f is she talking about? The divide between so-called moderates and the left is ideological so it cannot be called merely squabbling. If what she wants is tactical alliance, that’s fine with me, but to blame the left for Roxas’ sorry defeat is unmerited. In the 2019 midterms, Otso Deretso’s line up includes Tanada and Diokno who were, by orientation, leftist.

      Which brings me to wonder how does she exactly define the left? Is she referring to the Sison left? The Bayan/Gabriela left? The UP academic left?

      • Well, the Left did support Dutz in 2016, immediately met with him and were in the Cabinet. Dutz even chatted with Joma. They deny it now but there is the historian Joseph Scalice who has done an expose on this:

        https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/09/19/vide-s19.html

        I don’t know what Left she means, but it is true that there were parts of Otso Diretso which worked together well with the left – yes, Tanada and Diokno rallied with Colmenares, Hilbay as well, while the Left of course disliked Alejano and Macalintal deeply, while the classic Liberals in Otso Diretso distrusted Colmenares. Also, I found it a bit weird that Roxas went for his own campaign separate from Otso Diretso while Hilbay had to scrape together money for his own campaign which was very underfunded.

        I think her focus is more on 2019 than on 2016. She wasn’t observing the scene that much and was shocked when her uncle won, slowly came out with a blog then came out under her name around 2018. She does have contact BTW with some left-wing journalists who are not strictly NDF IMO – the likes of Inday Espina-Varona, Joel Pablo Salud and Alma Anonas-Carpio. But you can see that she does not spare the Liberals, and her reference to not seeing the masses as “bobotante” anymore aims straight at the Liberals especially those who are not as close to the masa as VP Leni, Bam Aquino or even more Pilo Hilbay. I also experienced on Twitter a putdown by more elitist liberals towards the Tondo boy Hilbay. There is a lot of petty stuff going on when the objective as of now is to defeat a tyrant. Of course some of the Left may see both Digong and the LP as the enemy to be defeated. Unfortunately they have never offered anything viable, and I think Scalice’s criticism of the ideological Maoism of the Classic Left has a point. I don’t see them as that trustworthy. Your POV may be different as you consider the entire ruling class, it seems, as the class enemy. But I can’t be one to say yes, go for a revolution over there, I am not there to share the risk. That would be the same hypocrisy as Joma sacrificing young people sitting in Utrecht.Still I see a chance of evolution as the Liberals – especially VP Leni if she sticks to her course – are evolving into somewhat social democratic liberals. I as a liberal social democrat could live with that. You are of course free to see it differently. We won’t determine stuff anyway.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Hi Micha!
        I know you described your economic beliefs as Keynesian, and being a Keynesian by Nature and Nurture but you have not directly declared that you are leftist just left leaning imo.
        But if you are leftist do you subscribe to Joma? BAYAN/ Gabriela or UP academic left?

        • https://joeam.com/2020/11/09/what-is-home/#comment-401206

          Well, this is what Micha says about present oppressors:

          Well, I don’t know about you but Lasco seems to be referencing our oppressors in the past tense which makes his analysis of our current predicament both incomplete and naïve.

          Maybe it hasn’t occurred to him that our Republic actually has enemies and oppressors to deal with in the present; and that unless and until we confront and defeat these oppressive forces first, all these overflowing of exuberance for can-doism (including yours) isn’t going to move things an inch for the better.

          *Clue : I’m not talking about that idiot from Davao.

          In past threads Micha has mentioned REVOLUTION explicitly. What’s the score?

          Mali sunt in nostro numero et de exitio bonorum virorum cogitant. There are evil men in our number (our midst) and they are thinking about the destruction of good men. – who are the evil men? who are the good men? And women?

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Short of being amoral as LCX at times is perceived to be.
            To paraphrase LCX
            He said one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero or revolutionary same with rebels.
            In my exchanges with Micha, she espouses the French Revolution.
            But I do not think that means storming the Bastille and off with the heads of the Royals and the Elites.
            Well maybe but I do not know how to eliminate oligarchy without turning the whole planet into a singular ideology she espouses be that a Socio-Communist mixture
            But if it will be like Russia or China then never mind.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              What would happen if we redistribute wealth equally to everyone.

              https://fitzvillafuerte.com/what-would-happen-if-we-redistribute-wealth-equally-to-everyone.html

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Redistribution of Wealth
                I believe that after a few years, everything will eventually go back to how it was before the redistribution of wealth.

                This means, most of those who were poor will end up poor again. While those who used to be rich, will eventually gain back the wealth they had.

                Why? Because when it comes to building wealth, it’s the financial education, and its proper execution that really matters.

                So after the redistribution, the previously poor people will probably commit money mistakes and acquire liabilities because they don’t know how to manage their finances.

                Meanwhile, those who used to be self-made millionaires will do what they know they do best – work hard, leverage other people’s money, accumulate assets, and create multiple sources of income.

                The Case of Russia
                If you think that sounds far-fetched, then consider what happened to Russia.

                During the early 1990s, when Soviet Union collapsed, the successor government of Russia could not manage the huge and inefficient state enterprise sector that it inherited from the Soviet economy.

                So they decided to do a large-scale privatization of state-owned assets. Or in simpler terms, Russia sold a large number of government-owned properties to the public.

                To do this, the Russian government printed out vouchers, each corresponding to a share in the national wealth, and were distributed equally among the population, including minors.

                These vouchers could be exchanged for shares in the enterprises to be privatized, which meant that everyone will be on equal footing when it comes to acquiring these assets.

                But because most people were not well-informed about the nature of the program or were very poor, they were quick to sell their vouchers for money, unprepared or unwilling to invest.

                Most vouchers, and hence, most shares wound up being acquired by the enterprises of wealthy citizens.

                No Accident
                Wealth does not happen by accident. It is the result of financial knowledge that is applied with proper discipline over many years.

                This means that if you want to become rich, then you need two things – financial education and financial execution. You need to learn, and then apply those learnings.

              • Karl, in addition to that culture changes only very slowly, as people are creatures of habit. Some examples:

                1) Soviet Communists used to live in the Kremlin, dormitory-style, I read in a book about Stalin’s rise to power (Court of the Red Czar). Old Communist clothing (like what Kim Jong Un still wears officially) was meant to denote modesty. But what is Russia now? It is again very hierarchic, instead of Czars and nobility like before 1917 you have the powerful and what are literally called “oligarchs”, the very rich, often those mentioned above, often they were the ones in charge of Soviet factories who already KNEW how to run things. There is the equivalent of wang-wang for the cars of VIPs (the nomenklatura or “named class” of Soviet communism had special lanes in the middle and the Tschaika limousines of then ran at breakneck speed, passing traffic, the modern version is with SUVs) and Russian officers have their non-commisioned officers drive for them privately, clean their vacation homes. Putin who came from the poorest part of Leningrad, now St. Petersburg again, the part where many Dostoevsky novels play, acts like a Czar, a real one not a vaccine czar or a traffic czar. Power distance (Hofstede metrics) in Russian culture is much like Philippines.

                2) A Filipino leftist writer who knows some Chinese Communists wrote an open letter to one of his Chinese friends that China has returned to its old elitism. Movies like Zhang Yimou’s “Red Lantern” illustrate the elitism of the mandarins, the civil servant class of old.

                3) Vikings were asked over a thousand years ago “who is your King” and they allegedly laughed, saying “we are all Kings here”. Scandinavia is one of the most equal places in the world until today. Their Kings are a far cry from the English or Spanish Kings of today.

                4) Many Spanish museums are royal palaces and can be closed at a whim if a member of the royal family decides to stay there and wants privacy, I learned last year in Andalusia. Shades of Imeldific.

                5) Polish nobility remained throughout Communism, their families preserved their networks and their own form of speech. Romanian upper classes also survived Communism in a similar way and now live in the nice places in Bucharest, the parts that look like Paris.

                Yes, social welfare, (almost) free education, (almost) free healthcare are possible and I think the best we can do – realistically, considering human nature – is to milden inequality.

                At least create a bit of a level playing field. I don’t know if heavy taxation of the rich like in Sweden (60% tax) will work in the Philippines. Many hated PNoy because of Kim Henares, especially doctors, MLQ3 mentioned to us on Twitter. Maybe the Kaya Natin approach of making the rich donate to help the poor is the best that can be done at this point in time. Abolishing private schools is nearly impossible as long as public schools suck over there. Very hard to change stuff anywhere as people like their comfort zones.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Taxing the rich heavily will stifle investments.
                Many thanks for sharing your stock knowledge again.

              • Micha says:

                @karl

                I have no idea where the author of that article got his silly idea of equally distributing wealth.

                The linked site seems to be owned by somebody who is into financial management. People who are into that kind of profession are, imo, the worst kind of economic parasites. They don’t produce anything of real value, they just make money off other people’s money. They are what can be called freeloaders, non-essentials.

                Financial parasitism is a feature of late stage carcinogenic capitalism. This thing is just about ready to blow up.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Thanks for your inputs.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              I therefore conclude that without population wide financial literacy there would never be the equality we dream of.
              The once rich turned equal will be rich once more.

              Those with street smarts may have the opportunity but those without any literacy will be left behind .. again.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                As for China’s redisreibution, again it is all about the cake.

                https://www.wespeakfreely.org/2019/07/28/cake-theory-wealth-redistribution-divided-chinas-communists/

                Cake Theory: How wealth redistribution divided China’s Communists

                In the late 2000s the Chinese Communist Party faced a divide within party discourse on the path of economic development. Within this discourse the term “cake” became used by party members as a metaphor for China’s wealth and prosperity. The “conservatives” argued that despite the great achievements in China’s economic prosperity the issue of rising income inequality needed to be addressed by distributing the “cake” in a fair or equal manner. On the other hand the “liberals” argued that the primary goal should be to have the “cake” baked bigger and that distribution of its slices can wait later

          • Micha says:

            @Irineo

            A political revolution need not be violent. A transformative policy of universal healthcare, for example, can be attained solely through legislative process and without resort to violence.

            I espouse progressive policies and seeks to confront the inequities of wealth generated by increasingly apparent contradictions of late stage capitalism going berserk and globally destructive.

            Leni Robredo needs to recognize this zeitgeist and not allow herself to become just a tool of unrelenting neoliberal forces like what happened to Cory Aquino; all the while branding herself as caring for those who are in the laylayan ng lipunan.

  8. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    I read the beginning of article, checked myself if I am into idolatry, graded myself safe, and scrolled away. People can say all kinds of things, even those with nasty innuendo. Democracy, remember. But I took it as a reminder before we dive into the Robredo culture. Fact: VP Leni Robredo herself admonished us not to get too bilib with her. “Let me know if I have done anything wrong,” she said in a meeting of supporters last year I think. So there.

    • Will, so you did not get up to this part:

      “Heroes can also embody hope, which is why I cannot call those who see VP Leni – not so many – as “God’s gift to the Philippines”cultists. They only would be if they went overboard with fanaticism like plenty of DDS might do.” Believers are not necessarily cultists or fanatics, just like activists are not necessarily terrorists. Those who believe in nothing at all are the worst – in fact I think a lot of DDS are basically nihilists. You have told me once that “belief rules in the Philippines” and I agree with you. There is a certain arrogance of many Filipino atheists in that they do not respect believers BTW. Also among those who want to prove their intellectuality by calling believers cultists.

  9. stpaul says:

    Out of topic yet an insight into her character. “Kung maaga pala tayong nagsalita mas maraming buhay tayong naisalba,” or words to that effect re :EJK. She has not been afraid of the madman and his army of trolls. That’s a strong resolve. Compared to the men who have just recently found their voices.

  10. Kamote Procopio says:

    I think Mrs. De Leon had good intentions but somehow failed on the delivery. I trust Rappler will work on it.

  11. Let’s see if I get any answers. She wants more open discussion anyway, as LCPL_X mentioned.

  12. Two corrections/errata:

    1) turns out VP Leni was not with SCA during college. I must have mixed that up with another interview by Will, probably with Josie Acosta-Nisperos. Doesn’t change the fact that she was doing social work for a long time – Will thanks for rechecking the facts for me after I couldn’t find it when I looked into your interviews. I really thought I remembered it. But Joe please keep it up there, this correction should suffice.

    2) MLQ3 mentioned on Twitter that the pious haciendera trope wasn’t that current back in 1986. What I do remember is that the stereotype of the “Yellow Queen” arose at some point, but I don’t quite know when. Have asked MLQ3 but so far no answer.

    Interesting discussion on this topic on Twitter from the Tweet I shared above with multiple people.

    I did add some factors that led to VP Leni winning, not mainly being Jesse Robredo’s widow:

    a) the Leni Gerona Robredo for VP FB group focused on her social work – Sumilao farmers etc.

    b) the Never Again FB group decided to back Leni only for VP against BBM – major factor

    c) DuRo or Duterte-Robredo voters who saw both as pro-people were not an insignificant group

  13. Karl Garcia says:

    What is the difference between trope and cliché?

    • sonny says:

      A trope that becomes either boring or a malaprop is a cliche. Yes? Help, Joe. 🙂

      • Karl Garcia says:

        That would be it, Thanks Unc!

      • Haha, I have never used the word, or seen it much. Trope is like a formula, or pattern, or stereotype I guess. Missing something though, in the usage. So, yes, used repeatedly, it would be a cliche. Let’s go with that, haha!

      • sonny says:

        You’re welcome, Neph.

        Thank you,Joe. Thanks also, Irineo.

        “trope” is one of those words I avoided using bcoz the meaning was elusive until Karl asked the question. A run to the dictionary pegged the general vicinity of the meaning:
        the term itself is a) figure of speech that is used in many contexts b) relatively frequently used; recognizable c) can be understood as a theme or aphorism d) has pattern e) can be used in a rally or homily or a polemic. Examples: good guys vs bad guys, the hero gets the girl, ask not what your country can do for you but rather what you can do for your country,
        good guys finish last, et al.

    • I’ve never used ‘trope’ myself.

      But the above discussion reminded me of Orwell’s essay:

      Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically ‘dead’ (e. g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgels for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles’ heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a ‘rift’, for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

      Operators, or verbal false limbs. These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry. Characteristic phrases are: render inoperative, militate against, prove unacceptable, make contact with, be subject to, give rise to, give grounds for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc. etc. The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purposes verb such as prove, serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining). The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation. Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved from anticlimax by such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and so on and so forth.”
      https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/politics-and-the-english-language/

      Metaphors, as per Orwell’s criticism, I think I’m safe; but the last I am guilty of. Whether the last is considered also as trope, I’m not sure. But Wittgenstein considered grammar as logic… https://www.roangelo.net/logwitt/logwitt1.html#Wittgenstein-and-grammar

      And that’s why all this is related to,

  14. By Ninotchka Rosca on FB sharing this article:

    A writer once observed that we need heroes to remind us what we are capable of, individually and collectively. My point has always been to learn and teach the difference between organic heroes and artificially created ones. This blurring of standards is how fake heroes thrive. #BBMTaloForever has a sizeable cult following, even though every day na ginawa ng dios he shows he’s a do-nothing. Think about that and stress the difference between perception based on reality and perception based on lies.

    • By Nuelle Duterte on FB sharing this article:

      “Major Philippine movements like in 1896 and 1986 started with an idea of what people no longer wanted, but with only a vague idea of what the people as a whole wanted. One part of getting to understand what the Philippines can be is looking at how it came to be and what is happening now.”

      It’s actually not that hard to figure out what kind of democracy can work for the population. We’re seeing it now, in those public servants who actually put the public’s welfare as their priority.

      It’s just that a lot of people (no, not the masa) let their egos and avarice get in the way of the common good. It was this same ego and avarice that funded and backed Digong.

  15. A Facebook comment on Joe’s wall:

    Recently, I was engaged in an online Conversation with Ireneo B R Salazar, the author of Leni’s Bayanihan concerning his article and is obviously based on facts. Ireneo’s main arguments are in relation to Margaruete Alcazaren de Leon of Rappler’s take on stereotypes: the saint, the widow, and the yellow.He also adds; “simplistic stereotypes in a quality publication like Rappler aren’t good in a badly informed polity” Quite a judgment, eh? But what is stereotype? According to social psychology, “a stereotype is an over generalized belief about a particular category of people. It is an expectation that people might have about every person of a particular group”. It is here, I believe, where many people are divided, particularly writers in expressing their ideas and opinions in regard to their beliefs or even perhaps morals. (I leave the moral issues to the religious and the righteous) It is interesting to note that Ireneo also acknowledges that Margaurete is right as he chronicles the hero narratives , and the Imelda’s perception of reality as well as other concerns that were once considered a cause celebre. Again, after invoking what he simply thought was right, he also opined and concluded that “what is very wrong is the implication that all sides are just the same” I don’t disagree with Ireneo,and I think at some point there is truth to it. Maybe most of us who are concerned with Philippine politics around the world and who are interested in our government situation, are already acquainted with much information both for the Pro-duterte and the Anti’s. We are also aware that the news that circulates lately is news related to the deeds of VP Leni such as bringing relief goods to poor families affected by the recent natural disaster. She is a hardworking Vice-President whose benevolence is not only seen positively but also seen negatively by her nemesis in politics. She is a an authentic character where competence, hard work, and sincerity have become an insult to the minds of the weak.As a mere observer who has perhaps seen enough politics, I can say the Philippine situation have not evolved to its mature stage yet. A well informed few Are psychologically outnumbered by an uneducated and easily influenced electorate. Thus, I would like to say that the problem found in Philippine politics is not Duterte nor the Pro-Dutertes, and definitely not VP-Leni. As I see it, Filipinos themselves are part of the whole issue. We have the tendency to view things as (“you” are the problem and “I” am the solution) and (“I” am right and “you” are wrong). This is a concept bred from a competitive spirit which may have started early from our home environment or school. Rarely, one admits his own fault as it is a sign of weakness and imperfection. Can we please learn to accept the fact that no one is perfect!!!and realize that Knowledge is different from Wisdom. If we are not able to outgrow this type of mentality, a large group will be dividedinto small groups or the small groups will eventually turn into other sub-groups. The effect may not look terribly bad, but it will lead to a more chaotic and divided state. When the good ones are divided the bad ones rule. By the way, according to my friend Richard the difference between knowledge and wisdom is, knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, and a wisdom is knowing not to put it into a fruit salad. Love and peace to all.

    >>Makes a lot of sense and jibes with a lot of similar observations.

    • from here: https://www.robnagler.com/2020/09/27/The-Coddling-of-the-American-Mind.html

      a really good book about the above comment, Ireneo. IMHO, the quote about “a gift” is the whole point.

      • Probably this quote is the most significant:

        [k4243] The third epigraph at the start of this book came from The Gulag Archipelago, the memoir of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian dissident of the Soviet era.

        [k4250] He then warns his readers to beware of the Untruth of Us Versus Them:

        If only it were so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.

        It applies to so many situations.

  16. Also, this one is important.

  17. The OVP buys rice from farmers to help typhoon victims – helping two parties and eliminating middlemen who it seems earn the most in catastrophes, Tweet by VP Leni Robredo:

    • Awkward intrusion of politics as Briones had bad information. They aren’t classrooms but access to them for kids who might otherwise not be in school. Kudos to the VP. Scowl for Briones. Move on.

      • This reminds me of a story (don’t know if it is true but it would fit into the old school Filipino bureacrat mentality) of a high DSWD official who wanted to sue the international children’s aid organizations SOS Kinderdörfer (German) and Terre des Hommes (French) for kidnapping because they were taking initiative in helping Filipino orphans.

        Also fits into the picture of a Supreme Court CJ getting quo warrantoed for a few missing SALNs when she told everybody upfront she couldn’t find them, and that was previously approved as OK – while others hide their SALNs. It is a place where form matters more than content, a signature in black instead of blue ink can be invalid – or is it the other way around – or where banks refuse to cash checks if you have three names and the check has the first.

    • Teachers (and schools) have to be humble now.

      Over here, schools (and teachers) are doubling down, and seem to be giving F’s and D’s to kids like it was a regular school year— no homework, no class participation, etc. You fail!!!

      I’m like, these kids on lock-down are discovering Google and youtube, on top of tik-tok and twitter, I’m sure, very sure, that now more than ever they are questioning the very purpose of teachers,

      are they grade givers only? certifiers? (not useful)

      or people from which to learn from? (useful)

      If only the first, then bye , bye teachers, this lock-down is gonna go on longer than they think, and they’ve not adjusted to this new normal, and not fought for their relevance.

      Teachers, who just don’t get it, and it is most of them.

      Who needs ’em. there’s the Internet! Grades should be put on moratorium now, and focus on individual projects, give students easter eggs to hunt for, or make something. Make ’em use the internet.

      I’ve been looking at i7sharp’s KJV Bible committees formed for said project and looking closely more into The Warfighting Society.

      Which relates also to K-pop fandoms below, its peer-to-peer learning, community learning, group endeavours, done w/out schools and teachers. Well the KJV committees were king-sanctioned, but the Warfighting Society (USMC) looks more like fandom. fans of warfare, art & science of it. Done separate from institution , and within participants’ own time.

      Collaborative.

  18. De Leon compared political groups to fandom (Heneral Luna/Aldub) or even implied savior cults.

    Manolo Quezon notes that THE civic groups of today are fandoms, not Rotary Club:

    https://opinion.inquirer.net/135580/fandoms-as-civic-associations

    Last Nov. 22, Vice President Leni Robredo tweeted, “Super touching that these K-Pop fans are doing their share through our office’s relief efforts for typhoon victims. Thank you very much @YedamStarIntl (supporters of Bang Yedam of TREASURE) and @filoblinksph (fans of Blackpink) for your generosity.” One reader (@stan_sagigilid) pointed out: “here is ‘Hand in Hand PH’ in fb soliciting donations, collaborat[io]ns of kpop fandoms, kay VPLeni din daw ibigay makuha.”

    I reacted to this tweet by observing that fandoms are the new civic associations. One reader (@1agrohomes) agreed: “oo nga, parang wala nang naririnig mula sa mga rotarians at lions.”..

    • If Leni attached to the K-Pop Party, she could just walk into the presidency.

      • I recall this right now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nika_riots – nothing is really new under the sun, or as Mark Twain said, “history never repeats itself, but it rhymes”:

        The ancient Roman and Byzantine empires had well-developed associations, known as demes,[2] which supported the different factions (or teams) under which competitors in certain sporting events took part; this was particularly true of chariot racing. There were initially four major factional teams of chariot racing, differentiated by the colour of the uniform in which they competed; the colours were also worn by their supporters. These were the Blues, the Greens, the Reds, and the Whites, although by the Byzantine era the only teams with any influence were the Blues and Greens. Emperor Justinian I was a supporter of the Blues.

        The team associations had become a focus for various social and political issues for which the general Byzantine population lacked other forms of outlet.[3] They combined aspects of street gangs and political parties, taking positions on current issues, notably theological problems or claimants to the throne. They frequently tried to affect the policy of the emperors by shouting political demands between races. The imperial forces and guards in the city could not keep order without the cooperation of the circus factions which were in turn backed by the aristocratic families of the city; these included some families who believed they had a more rightful claim to the throne than Justinian.

        Justinian was an upstart, a soldier from Macedonia, his wife came from Constantinople but was originally poor so nobles disliked her – some said she had once been a prostitute.

        The Nika riots had the Blues and Greens suddenly joining to oust Justinian, even burning down the old Hagia Sophia, Justinian about to flee when his wife allegedly told him “do you want to die as an ordinary man or as an Emperor?” and he then offered a bag of gold to a leading Blue, so they went back to his side. The revolt was quelled, Justinian had the Hagia Sophia rebuilt to what it is until today, with a special seat for his Empress that is still shown to tourists nowadays. All of this shows how much of politics is I guess human nature.

        • Philippine politics, as we can see, is often like a sports tournament where even the referees aren’t neutral or are easily intimidated – what has saved American democracy just recently is that the “referees” (GSA, election boards of US states, Supreme Court) respect the rules.

          • Western democracy, institutions, constitutionalism developed out of the experiences from the time of Justinian 1.5 millenia ago to what they are now – but Trump shows how latent the danger is that things go back “to the races” like in Justinian’s time.

            In the Philippines everything formally looks like US democracy but the idea that certain rules are not meant to be broken or bent too much is not quite there among many – but does the country have 1.5 millenia to learn its own lessons, or will others just use its weaknesses? Experience shows that a nation based on certain principles as opposed to self-dealing – which of course will wobble this way or that but never too far beyond the pale – is stronger.

    • I propose that TSoH become an official Blink chapter online, Joe…

      We’ll sponsor a concrete sculpture at the entrance of Biliran (or maybe sonny’s town, or Ireneo’s in Bicol, or karl’s dad’s town), but age it prematurely so it looks like the other Rotary and Lions signs beside it, with concrete chipped off and rebar sticking out.

      • sonny says:

        “… or maybe sonny’s town …”

        LC, don’t tempt me. I still love my town. It’s the right size and ready for a Rotary Club. 🙂

  19. From Prof. Chua, a lecture about 9 misconceptions on Bonifacio. Interesting how many cliches and
    misconceptions circulate about different characters in Philippine history recent and not so recent:

  20. VP Leni talks to Asian liberals, giving a good view of her political direction:

    https://www.rappler.com/nation/robredo-message-council-asian-liberals-democrats-general-assembly-2020

    –start of quote–

    ..Robredo said democrats across Asia must strive to listen and understand the stories of people on the ground, and not just treat them as mere data samples for policy-making.

    “This process requires shedding the idea that, armed with our position papers and PhDs, we always know what is best. This gap in humility is in fact what demagogues are so skilled at weaponizing: They make their crass pronouncements and sleep in mosquito nets to signal a sameness with the frustrated,” Robredo said.

    “But while populism dresses itself up in cosmetic affinity, the liberal response must be to pursue authentic human engagement. To lean towards the ground and share in the struggle of the people,” she added..

    ..”Without listening to their stories, being there as they tell it, looping them in, and getting their buy-in, our projects, smart as they often are, will never get off the ground,” said Robredo.

    “Conversely: The more that the people are looped in – the more they recognize that we are all in this together – then the more galvanized they become. This is, perhaps, the entire point of participative democracy, and it can only happen when we build the necessary affinity with the people,” the Vice President added..

    –end of quote–

  21. https://verafiles.org/articles/shaping-leni-robredo – new book on VP Leni coming out:

    ..“Servant Leader” edited by Danton Remoto gives you the vice-president’s life in one easy glance in a book divided into three comprehensive parts.

    Author Edmundo “Ed” Garcia sits on a distinct advantage as the subject happens to be his former student at the University of the Philippines..

  22. http://www.quezon.ph/2016/11/30/the-explainer-in-the-end-you-must-stand-alone/ – about yellow and the hatred for yellow, by MLQ3:

    —start of quote–

    Today is Bonifacio Day, with its bitter lessons on how, as the saying goes, a revolution devours its own children. Antonio Luna, that other example of a revolution consuming its sons, had famously replied to an invitation to help the Katipunan by baring his teeth and the sarcastic question, “How shall we fight, with these?” When he was imprisoned on suspicion of supporting the Katipunan, anyway, his transformation from revolutionary skeptic to foremost fire-breather was accelerated. And whatever the extenuating circumstances (and there are some), the man assigned blame for both deaths, Emilio Aguinaldo, carries the burden before history that only independent peoples can assign: that there is a particular shame attached to those who, for whatever reason, decide to take the lives of their own countrymen.

    Critics of President Ferdinand E. Marcos assigned that kind of particular shame to the dictator because what might be understandable –though never excusable—for foreigners, he did to his own people: he took away not just freedom, but the opportunity to evolve, from the same public that had elected him.

    Here is a passage full of wisdom because it tells the truth. The Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski pointed out, “It is a mistaken assumption that nations wronged by history (and they are in the majority) live with the constant thought of revolution, that they see it as the simplest solution. Every revolution is a drama, and humanity instinctively avoids dramatic situations. Even if we find ourselves in such a situation we look feverishly for a way out, we seek calm and, most often, the commonplace. This is why revolutions never last long. They are a last resort, and if people turn to revolution it is only because long experience has taught them there is no other solution. All other attempts, all other means have failed.”

    He went on to observe that, “Every revolution is preceded by a state of general exhaustion and takes place against a backdrop of unleashed aggressiveness. Authority cannot put up with a nation that gets on its nerves; the nation cannot tolerate an authority it has come to hate. Authority has squandered all its credibility and has empty hands, the nation has lost the final scrap of patience and makes a fist. A climate of tension and increasing oppressiveness prevails. We start to fall into a psychosis of terror. The discharge is coming. We feel it.”

    André Bellessort, in One Week in the Philippines (November 1897), as translated by E. Aguilar Cruz, wrote this haunting passage on what the “psychosis of terror” must have been like, as the revolution shifted from its first to second phase: “In addition, news reports and slogans that virtually spread by themselves assume the forms of legend in this country. Before the insurrection, it was rumored in Tondo that around six in the evening people would see the apparition of a woman whose head was crowned by serpents; everyone interpreted this vision to mean that the fatal hour was approaching. Another report had it that in Biak-na-bato a woman had given birth to a child dressed in a general’s uniform –which meant that arms had been landed. These tales and apparitions over-excite the people’s imagination, which soon drops the supposedly hidden meaning and gets lost in pure fantasy.”

    Writing nearly a century later, Sheila Coronel, the journalist, vividly recounts what the 1980s was like: “Those who did not live through the 1980s will find all this too melodramatic. But the Philippines was a different place then. We were a country ruled by a dying dictator being kept alive by frantic doctors and dialysis machines behind the walls of the highly fortified presidential palace. As Ferdinand Marcos lay on the throes of death, palace factions conspired, the army was restive in the barracks and the air was rife with rumor and intrigue.”

    John Adams, reflecting on the American revolution in which he played such a prominent part, estimated that a third of Americans supported the revolution, a third stayed loyal to Britain, and a third were undecided. Some American historians estimate that it may have been more along the lines of twenty percent remaining loyal to Britain, a smaller group being active in seeking independence, with the vast majority sitting on the fence.

    I do not know of any attempt of this kind being made to estimate those who favored, and were against, our own revolution against Spain or our war to defend our independence against the United States. In our peaceful campaign to restore that independence in the first third of the 20th Century, we have the beginning of opinion polling to suggest more were for independence than against. We can estimate, too, those who took up arms during World War II versus those who could not, or would not, fight; but again, when, in 1972, Ferdinand Marcos abolished our (imperfect) democracy to impose his (far more imperfect) strongman rule, we cannot say what the majority felt because even as Marcos held referendum after referendum, hardly anyone thought they were anything but rigged.

    But since he controlled the numbers and controlled the army and police, Marcos could claim he had public support. I have written elsewhere of how, after a time, the public discovered the antidote to his rule. In the end, his own numbers did him in: when those computer tabulators walked out of the Comelec counting, Marcos was only a winner in his own mind.

    But let me add that things seem to occur in cycles, and those cycles last about a generation. In that sense, what came to be in the time of EDSA in 1986, in the estimation of some political scientists, at least, came to an end in 2016. Yellow is finished, they say; and they may quite possibly be right, in the sense of a political scientist’s approach to things, thinking of political faction and dynasty and rhetoric. It is, after an all, an epic conclusion because thirty years is a long time, maybe not for a nation but for the people living in it.

    To be able to write “The End” to an era is natural and healthy. It is necessary, if evolution is to take place, which, after all, was one of Marcos’ fundamental sins –preventing his people from naturally figuring out the future without him.

    Which also brings me back to the counterpart to the end of yellow, which is: that there are those who claim yellow is dead because yellow must die if their dreams of restoration are to succeed..

    ..There is difference between reacting to yellow with a shrug, or even a grimace, as quite a few millenials do, and reacting to it by frothing at the mouth, as Marcos loyalists and quite a few quite anti-Marcos but not anti He-who-made-Marcos’-burial-possible do.

    Why is yellow so hated by them? There has to be more to it than simply hating one, then two, administrations and their programs. Malou Mangahas, another crusading journalist, once wrote a summary of everything that was achieved in those topsy-turvy six years from 1986 to 1992. Read what she wrote, and while you’re at, read what Randy David had to say, too. As for the past six years, you’ve been around to judge –and more importantly, to compare.

    The hatred runs deeper than that, it seems to me, for two fundamental reasons. The first has to do with what yellow has come to be identified with –People Power. Manuel Buencamino put it this way. Referring to the Filipino people and EDSA, he pointed out that, “Their valor and audacity proved that Mao’s famous adage on power was just another lie foisted by oppressors. Edsa established, once and for all, that power comes not from the barrel of a gun but from the hearts of the people.” That is, the hatred is ideological.

    The second is psychological; it comes from self-hatred. Teodoro M. Locsin, writing in 1986, once pointed out, “cynicism is only fear—fear of knowing what one is. To debase the good is to rise in self-estimation. If all men are vile, then you are not worse than you might think you are. You just know the human score. To face and recognize goodness is to sit in judgment on oneself. Avoid it.” In the face of truth, deny it by saying everyone lies; in the face of examples, however flawed, of honor, say all are dishonorable; in the face of history, substitute it with fiction.

    Among the most eloquent summaries of our national story since 1986 was penned by Eric Gamalinda in 2009, upon Cory Aquino’s death: “We wanted Cory Aquino to be strong so we could remain passive. We wanted her to save us so we could refuse to save ourselves. She was there so we could continue the infantile neurosis that has always sustained the Philippines’ need for a ‘guiding’ power – God or a dictator, choose your daddy – and has always justified its corruption and poverty. She was, as so many predicted during the heyday of the people power revolution, our Joan of Arc. We knew we would burn her for allowing us to corrupt the vision we wanted her to sustain. We forgot so soon that she had achieved what no man in our supremely machismo-obsessed country had done – to get rid of the Marcoses. For that alone, we should be grateful. If the Philippines never rose from the ‘long nightmare’ after she took over the presidency, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”

    That is the unkindest cut of all. It is no coincidence that in his day, Ferdinand Marcos wrapped himself in the flag and shrieked against yellow; no coincidence that yellow would come to haunt people like Joseph Estrada and Richard Gordon, those who remained loyal to him, even after he fled. No coincidence that yellow could be seen in every instance where resistance arose to power being exercised in the wrong manner and the wrong reasons –even by those claiming yellowness as exclusively theirs..

    —end of quote–

  23. sonny says:

    Not entirely off-track, I share an apolitical infomercial as a real-time glimpse into a part of the Philippine future – a decongested Manila: 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.