Wednesday, April 26, 2017

DYSTOPIAS









ALL these environmentalist posts I made yesterday on Facebook, of the YouTube videos above profiling this year's Goldman Environmental Prize awardees, could perhaps together have acted (qua posts/shares) as also my way of explaining to my Facebook friends why I cannot be for the Bongbong Marcoses and the Mar Roxases and the San Miguel Corporation-backed Grace Poes of this world, and why I cannot be a loyalist of any of them, unlike some of these Facebook friends of mine. And I said I'm sorry.
    That non-partisan, anti-loyalist rationale behind those Facebook posts is perhaps also what's behind my belief that says the Duterte government's support for, on the one hand, Gina Lopez and, on the other hand, Bongbong Marcos, is really nothing more than a fragment of Rodrigo Duterte's Big Tent ploy to get contending forces everywhere within his government to fight it out. And they will continue to fight it out from within that Big Tent while he, the President, dangles to all of them bits of promises in order to keep them all within his side of the fence and still in line, so he can do whatever he wants from that secret of a soul that he has unimpeded by any real opposition, if ever there is going to be much of an opposition left in the landscape. That belief of mine continued in telling my friends that this Big Tent ploy will certainly unravel in the end, but also that the pessimist in me senses that that unraveling is not likely to happen anytime soon, despite changes in the Cabinet which were minor. So, the Bongbong Marcoses and Gina Lopezes operating within such Big Tent governments as Duterte's will continue to fight it out from within, while the Dutertes of those governments laugh all the way to the (seas') horizon to meet the oncoming realization of their utopias.
    From my point of view, those imminent utopias today are going to be our dystopias tomorrow. Our dystopias. Mine, and my friends' too, whichever loyalism now they happily belong to. [S / -I]



Sunday, April 23, 2017

LEADERISTS ALL


Isabel Magkoeva, a Russian political activist and socialist opposed to strong leaderism in her country. (Photo grabbed from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Isabel_Magkoeva.jpg)


1.
WHAT kind of leaders are our politicians and those leading government institutions? Well, I'd venture to say that probably 99% are leaderists, Vozhdists.

2.
But before that, we should congratulate Turkey for voting for a dictatorship constitution that emulates ours, and winning. Welcome to the club, Turkey!
    Well, everywhere you look these days, nations are all agog to see the fruits of leaderism.
    Are armies ever going to emerge to resist the trendy global rise of leaderism? As of the moment, I doubt it.
    So, back to our original question: How many Filipino politicians and government institution leaders are displaying a voice against leaderism?
    That is, of course, a statistical question, the statistical data for which would be hard to come by.
    But there are ways of proving the possibility of the number that purports to be the above conclusion, 99%. We can start with a backyard scan of, say, . . . how about a government institution with a reputation for independence? The University of the Philippines? You okay with that?

3.
Incidentally, ever heard of the rumor that the UP is going to bestow on Rodrigo Duterte an honoris causa?
    Talaga? Wow.
    Pero, hoy, teka muna. Ano ba ang honoris?
    A better and more specific question would be: sino ang mga naghonor sa hohonorin ng honoris causa na ito?
    Sabi at tanong ko pa nga sa anak ko na nag-graduate sa junior high with honors: "anak, nakuha mo ang honors na yan dahil sa dunong na nakuha mo at sa pagdisplay mo ng dunong na iyon. Ngunit sino ba ang mga kasabwat mo sa pag-absorb mo ng dunong na iyon? Sino silang mga pumapalakpak sa display na iyon?"
    "Isaisip mo," tuloy ko, "na ang honor ay nag-pre-presume ng existence ng isang hinonor at ng isang nag-honor o mga nag-honor."
    "Kaya," sabi ko, "pasalamatan mo hindi lang ang gods (o si God) kundi pati rin ang mga nagbigay ng honors (o nag-honor) sa iyo, silang mga naghonor sa honorable display mo ng dunong na tinutukoy, dahil malamang sa kanilang pagsusumikap din naman nanggaling ang mga bagay na iyon na na-absorb mo at siyang naging honorable dunong mo. In short, kasabwat o kasama mo sila sa achievement na ito."
    "Uhuh," sabi niya, sabay ngiti at kamot ng ulo sa sermon ko.
    Ngayon, mga anak, pag-usapan na natin ang honoris causa. Hehehe, sermon na talaga 'to.
    Maganda lang naman na malaman natin kung sino-sino ang mga nagbigay ng honoris causa sa isang tao at bakit. Kasama yun dapat sa kasaysayan ng isang honoris causa. Dahil malamang ay sa kanilang pagsusumikap din naman nanggaling ang pag-"honoris causa" na ito sa isang tao na inabsorb lang din naman ng mga ngiti ng tao na ito, totoong honorable man siya ayon sa mga naghonor sa kanya o hindi. Kailangan isaisip na ang honoris causa ay hindi lang dahil sa "achievement" ng isang tao, ano man iyon, kundi rin dahil sa mga kasabwat o kasama niya sa isang institusyon sa pagtukoy at pag-validate sa "achievement" na ito, ano man ito.
    Ang honoris causa ay tagumpay hindi lang ng pinarangalan, sino man siya, kundi rin ng standards ng mga nagsukat at pumalakpak, sino-sino man sila.
    "Hindi ako Duterte, Pa," bulong ng anak ko.
    "Alam ko," bulong ko pabalik. "Ginagamit ko lang ang honors mo sa aking alegorya tungkol sa isang suspect na honoris causa. Okey lang ba?" :)
    "Gets ko naman yun, ikaw naman," sabi niya.

4.
Sorry, we got waylaid there. Back to our question and hypothesis: What kind of leaders are our politicians and those leading government institutions? Well, I'd venture to say that probably 99% are leaderists, Vozhdists.
    On second thought, I think we were lucky to have been waylaid there, for it got us to an incident which probably amply proves our number, if you can put two and two together.

5. Leaderists! Leaderists! Leaderists! Leaderists! . . . [S / -I]





Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy Week Issue


A social media post reacting to a PR firm's "win a date with Sandro (Marcos)" promo that resulted in a backlash against deniers of post-Proclamation No. 1081 atrocities/abuses. Photo grabbed from https://www.newsgra.ph/1646/winadatewithsandro-marcos-event-hijacked-with-martial-law-references/


DIYOS ko. Holy Week na Holy Week ay gusto akong hatakin ng isang tarantadong Marcos loyalist sa debate tungkol sa katotohanan ng mga nakasulat sa mainstream History tungkol sa Marcos martial law atrocities at abuses. Gusto niya akong hatakin sa kanyang alternative facts. Ano ang tingin niya sa akin, tangang isda na papatol sa bulateng pain niya? Hindi ako hangal na kakagat sa gusto niyang mangyari, na ako ay magalit at maglitanya tungkol sa maraming facts ng kasaysayan at tuluyan na ngang mailagay niya sa posisyon ng may burden of proof na siya ngayong magpapatunay na totoo nga ang lahat ng detalye ng History na binanggit ko. At sa bandang dulo, may alas siyang itatapon sa mesa na magtatanong sa akin kung sigurado ako sa aking mga facts at kung ilang units sa History ang nakuha ko sa kolehiyo at sa kung saang paaralan, and so on. Trial niya, at History ang nasa defensive sa aggression ng kanyang confirmation bias. Hindi ako mangmang na kakagat sa gusto niyang mangyaring ang History ang mailagay niya sa gitna ng kanyang dakilang imbestigasyon.
    Pren, sasabihin mo, pero di ba dapat ding mailabas ang katotohanan? Totoo, dapat ilabas ito. At sasabihin ko sa iyong ilabas mo ito sa madla. Subalit dapat mo ring malaman na walang patutunguhan ang pakikipagdebate sa deniers ng anumang kasaysayan, dahil sa either of two reasons lamang. Ang one of the two reasons, malakas ang paniniwala ng isang denier sa kanyang sariling bersyon ng katotohanan, kung kaya’t wala kang mararating sa iyong mga facts. May mababali ka bang relihiyosong malakas ang paniniwala sa kanyang relihiyon o bersyon o konsepto ng Godhead or Godness? Wala. The other reason, mayroon siyang motibo. Kung kaya’t ikaw ang paglalaruan niya. May makukumbinse ka bang isang tao sa prinsipyo ng katotohanan kung alam niya rin naman ang katotohanan at alam din niyang nagsisinungaling siya sa ngalan ng kanyang mga sikretong motibo?
    Wala akong oras makipagdebate tungkol sa katotohanan sa mga taong either may malakas na paniniwala sa kanilang bersyon ng katotohanan, at di kailanman makukumbinsi ng anumang ibang bersyon, o dili kaya’y may suwapang na motibo sa likod ng kanilang mga salita, at di kailanman magpapatinag sa talino ng anumang may saysay na interpolasyon.
    Kung mag-aaksaya man ako ng panahon sa kanila, hindi ang isyu nila ang papatulan ko kundi ito—sila, bilang ang isyu. Itatanong ko sa akademya ng tao, sa bawat nakikinig na may sariling isip, kung ano ang interes ng isang tao sa isang kasaysayan. Bakit niya ba kinikuwestiyon ito? Ano ang motibo niya? Maganda kaya ang motibo niya o hindi? Kinukuwestiyon niya ito sa ngalan ng ano? Sa ngalan nino? Sa ngalan ng anong korporasyon o paksyon pulitikal? At kung sasabihin niyang pure ang kanyang motibo at walang halong selfish interest, dapat ba siyang paniwalaan? Ano ang power o supremacy na makukuha niya sa pagkapanalo ng kanyang metanarrative?
    Para sa akin, sapat nang malaman na natural lang sa isang apologist ng dictatorial system at militarismo na maghanap ng isyu tungkol sa kasaysayan ng anumang dictatorship at militarist rule. Sapat nang malaman na galing siya sa isang pamilya, barkada, ethnic o linguistic group, o anumang sistema ng groupthink, na nakinabang o makikinabang sa sistemang diktadurya o militarista, para maliwanagan ako sa tunay na dahilan sa likod ng kanyang behavior o mental anatomy bilang isang denier.
    Uulitin ko. Sa harap ng mga taong ganito, pipilitin kang hatakin sa isyu nila, kung saan ang History ang magiging isyu. Subalit ang isyu ay SILA at ang MGA MOTIBO NILA. Kung may pagdedebate, dapat ito umikot sa pagkatao, o sa mga facts and figures sa likod ng pagkatao, NILA. Take it from there. . . .
    Hay, sus. Pasensya na, mga bes, at binulabog ko ang Holy Week niyo. . . . Pero, on the other hand, baka Holy Week issue rin naman ‘to. Di nga ba’t may mga denier din dyan na nagsasabing mas mabuti ang naging kalagayan ng Ancient Israel sa pamamalakad ng Roma, o na si Satanas ang tunay na maka-kapayapaan dahil hindi niya hahayaan ang mga sakuna? Well, wala namang masama sa pagkuwestiyon sa anumang mga detalye ng kasaysayan o ng mitolohiya per se. Ang masama ay kung ayaw mong isama ang sarili mo sa imbestigasyon, kahit ikaw ang may dala ng mga kuwestiyon. Pag ganito ang nangyayari na hinahayaan natin ang imbestigasyon sa anumang teksto nang walang pag-iimbestiga sa masama o mabuting motibo ng kumukuwestiyon, may mga rewriting na nangyayari at nagtatagumpay nang ganun-ganon na lang. Tulad, halimbawa, yaong pagkarewrite sa kuwento tungkol kay Maria Magdalena upang palabasin na siya ay nagbagong prosti at hindi babaeng disipolo ni Hesus na ka-lebel, kung di man mas mataas sa lebel, nina Pedro. And for what motive? To deny women the priesthood? Go, take it from there! [S / -I]




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Duterte-phobic Notes of the Week



1. ONE basic thing you need to know about history deniers, fact deniers, fake news writers, and their ilk. They will name anything and anyone as a case to study and confront so to avoid focus on themselves. Don't fall into this trap. They are the cases that you need to examine and confront! The focus ought not to be on anything or anyone other than them! They are the basic issue! Expose everything there is to know about them!!

2. Degrees of Corruption
    True, if you're a media or religious institution or persona fixing every now and then the function of your privilege in order to serve the interests of holding companies or specific corporations or of political factions, you deserve to be called corrupt by the President of the State.
    Then again, if you're a President of the State who has devoted himself to the facilitation of another state's natural resource and market interests in this state, you are not just displaying corruption of the third or second degree, but absolute treason being committed by no less than You as the leader of the government of this State. That is corruption of the supreme or highest universal degree.

3. Planning a Novel
    What if I explore this premise for a novel's plot?---
    The 21st century. China would only have to look at its history where, once upon a time, there was this British-instigated Opium War against it designed by Britain to get its silk, porcelain, and tea. In that looking back would be born enough inspiration for a now-rich China to plan a 21st-century fear-farming War on Drugs false flag on a neighboring state. They will have to do this through---or care of---a potential puppet in that state that they can sponsor and install as that state's new leader. Once installed, that leader can farm all the fear he wants through that new "Opium War", through which fear-farming the leader can facilitate China's slow and smooth entry into the state to get that neighboring state's not just silk, porcelain and tea but resources more precious for a hefty harvest. Does that sound like a good plot for a fiction novel to you? Or would I be plagiarizing life for a historical one?

4. In the Era of Simplified Psychometrics
    Garth Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell have provided a concise, workable definition of the term "propaganda," viz., "Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist."
    Following that definition, it should be easy for us to see why government would be busying itself presently with the labeling of everyone in the divided opposition as "bobos" (stupid people), most especially the Vice-President in recent days.
    Is the intent of this propaganda move to shape the manipulable public's perception that it is the critics of this government's policies who are bobo, in order to hide its own series of boo-boos?
    Is it to manipulate cognitions that everything that it is doing is the smart thing, if not the only smart thing, which process of manipulation may involve the hyping up of the truly smart it's done and hiding beneath the quilts all the stupid moves it had committed?
    Is it to direct behavior towards a derogation of critics and the celebration of this government's being supposedly revolutionary?
    I think we're all intelligent enough to know when propaganda is twisting us or sucking us in. Or are we?
    And if we are and suspect we are being sucked into it, how do we fight it? Do we fight by throwing the same techniques it is using? Or do we fight it by exposing its lies? By exposing all the truths behind its lying?
    Do we expose the whole anatomy of processes in its propaganda that aims to "achieve a response that (will further) the desired intent of the propagandist"?
    What are those desires?
    Are we as a nation intelligent enough to in turn desire answers to these questions? Or are we truly bobos enough to desire nothing, to simply wallow in never-ending trust?

5. THE argument that says Duterte's spitting on due process ought to be thanked because the drug pusher and his addicts that used to be the kings in one's neighborhood are now all gone . . .
    is no different from the argument that says Hitler's regime should be thanked because it furthered the popularity of Wagner.
    Or don't you see the similarity? If you don't, well, . . . perhaps you never will.
    Perhaps you never will see that that legitimization of Hitler by one's deep love of Wagner is the same sort of legitimization that you are placing on Duterte's aggressive wariness towards all his critics, in this republic and outside, a legitimization motored by your understandable love of peace in one particular anecdotal neighborhood.

6. UNTIL that day comes when good people in a land start invoking violence in order to protect rights, violent evil will continue to prosper in that land and in other lands. That is not inciting rebellion. That is a mere articulation of a historical truism operative among a frightened people in repressive, suspect regimes.

7. ARE we afraid? My friends: government is excited about and not wary of creating a fearful people, for the fear-farming reasons we articulated above.
    But it, government, seems to be ignorant of the fact that courage is actually 100% fear. Let us rejoice, then. For as government makes progress in creating more frightened people, its hold on the people is not strengthened, it is lessened. Fear pa more! [S / -I]



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Brief Deconstruction of a Drunken Logic





THE "death penalty" (already an oxymoron nobody cares to deconstruct in our drunken nation) is a direct admission of the Philippine prison system's inability to truly isolate from society perpetrators of heinous crimes. Therefore, it---as a solution to that prison system problem---makes it no different from a man's resorting to drinking wine when he can't anymore drink from his long-broken water faucet. Like Mr. Bean, this man will stupidly applaud his own newfound solution and will avoid arguments against problems that may arise from his habitual wine-drinking. Like this man, the "death penalty", in fits of beating its chest like a man excited with having found a manly solution to his stupid problem, will avoid arguments against historically-proven new problems that could arise from it---such as wrongful executions of persons adjudged as "criminals", or criminal society's countering with its own death-brandishing judgments upon all privileged. Bur even before this, like Mr. Bean, the death penalty (or capital punishment) would avoid the basic introductory question we hinted above, which asks whether death can be considered a form of punishment, or whether a dead man made dead by the "death penalty" can both be considered as one that "has been punished" as well as one now "resting in peace". If it is the death process that is actually being referred to here as the punishment and not death itself, then is it possible to have that sans the death? Thus, torture? Or should we be done with all this stupid nonsense and just call a spade a spade, so to stop all this bullshit about the death penalty being a penalty. Let's all call it what it is, the extermination of what our civilization would judge as our society's "true criminals" (some of whom may actually have logical reasons for considering our neoliberal or "jedem das Seine, mir das Meiste" civilization as criminal by itself). In which case I may be all for it, this extermination after having honestly called itself so, . . . with the hope that I won't end up like Mr. Bean or a knocked-out Manny Pacquiao after a media-publicized wrongful execution happens years from now. [S / -I]



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Caveat to the Global Era of Post-Truth Politics


an international magazine acknowledges the phenom
as worthy of a cover treatment

NOONG mailibing ang supposedly mga buto ni Ferdinand Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani mid-November, nagkaroon ng ineskedyul na malalaking rali laban dito, mainly ng mga ngayo'y oposisyon nang paksyon ng mga dilawan ng Liberal Party at ng mga pulahan ng Left na kaalyado ng Big Tent ng ruling party. Ngunit sa sidelines ay may mga nagkumento---kasama na rito ang isang Trotskyist at anarchist communist kong kaibigan. Aniya noong Nobyembre 25:
    "Mapapangiti at mapapakamot ka talaga sa salimuot ng realpolitik kung makikita mo ang mga nangyayari sa likod ng entablado. Halimbawa, ngayong araw ay may mga belated rallies sa Luneta o sa Plaza Miranda o sa Mendiola Street o sa kung saan man laban sa pagbabalik ng mga Marcos, at ang rali ngayong hapon ay pinangungunahan ng Makabayan group. Alam na natin ang conflict between the Left at ng Marcos family, obvious naman iyon, di ba? Pero mapapangiti ka sa sitwasyon na silang dalawa---ang Left at ang Marcos party---ay kapwa kaalyado ng business interests ng mga lider ng Nacionalista Party at ngayon ng Big Tent government ni Duterte, at diumano ay pareho sila mga benepisyaryo ng Generous Patronage at global neoliberal business interests ng Communist State of Imperialist China. Hehehehehehe. Sino kaya ang mangingibabaw? Ano kaya ang magiging desisyon ng kanilang mga Tatay?  :)"
    Now, of course it may be that the voice of the anti-Marcos rallyists, both from the Left-hating yellows and the yellow-hating Left, together might not reflect the majority's voice, which had yet to be polled during that period of the month and year (in lieu of an absent or inaccessible direct democracy instrument for a referendum call) on the issue of Marcos' burial post-burial. You may aver that rallies are not so much proper democracy as instruments of mob rule. But, you see, democracy also provides individuals the choice to participate or not to participate, to vote or not to vote, and only those who cry are heard. And rallies may prompt people to put up more rallies everywhere else.
    But as regards the Marcos issue or even simply the Marcos burial issue, I do not think democracy (through a majority or a minority) can help this anymore since it has not really been a conflict of beliefs on facts open to the possibility of one side being able to convince the other side of the latter's beliefs' or gathered facts' wrongness; from the git-go, this has always been nothing other than a conflict of faiths (beliefs, period) by the contending parties, faiths akin to religious faiths wherein there is no possibility of one side being able to convince the other side to change its perspective. This is a closed issue to all parties concerned that democracy can judge as a hopeless conflict that only needs a little push to be escalated to the level of war as the only resolution. According to Karl Popper, democracy requires an open society, and the Marcos issue has not for a moment been open to openness from either side.
    And, seemingly, the same might apply for many other issues under the Duterte government (care of its propaganda machine) in this same era that Donald Trump won the US elections (care of its own alt-right and neoconservative propaganda machines) and China's historical claims on the West Philippine Sea that has had an upper hand as another truth contrivance in today's world.
    Welcome to the global era of post-truth politics, the resolution for which set of problematics may not be found in a democratic battle of persuasive reasoning but in the power of propaganda to manipulate the psychology of crowds' or nations' propensity for confirmation bias as well perhaps as in the power of facilely resorting to brutal force. [S / -I]



Friday, January 20, 2017

Isang Maiksing Reminder Tungkol sa Anatomiya ng Pilipinong Botante at ang Ugat ng Abuse of Power sa Ating Bansa






ANO ang mali sa pronouncement na ito?
    
"Jojo, di ba ibinoto mo rin si Duterte? Tapos wala pa yatang isang buwan ay kung anu-ano na ang pinagsasasabi mo tungkol sa Duterte government na binoto mo? Kung gago nga ang Duterte government, ayon sa punto ng ilang kritisismo mo laban dito, aba, isa ka rin sa mga dahilan kung bakit ganito ang nangyari sa bansa natin under the Duterte government. Kaya ang masasabi ko sa iyo ay ito: dun ka na lang sa binoto mo, gago ka! Panindigan mo na lang, punyeta ka!! Di ka namin kailangan sa panig namin!!!"
    Obvious naman na ang nagsulat nito ay hindi bumoto o nangampanya kay Duterte. Dahil ang bumoto kay Duterte ay ganito ang isusumbat:
    "Ang problema sa atin, boboto tayo, tapos sa huli tayo ay magrereklamo. Ganun ba parati? Di ba dapat suportahan na lang kung sino man ang nanalo dahil yun ang pinili ng tao? O totoo nga bang mahilig lang talaga tayong maging parating opositor? Kaya siguro hindi umuunlad ang ating bayan."
    Hokey. 
At ngayon, ang sagot ko sa mga mungkahi na yan, na ilalatag ko ng mahaba at ng ganito:
    
"Ser, ma'am, ang pagkakaalam ko po, lahat po tayo ay nalalagay sa single-issue activism o single-issue politics tuwing eleksyon. At least sa case ko ganun ang tingin ko sa sarili ko bilang botante. Ibig sabihin, binoboto ko ang tao na nagmumungkahi na gagawa ng solusyon sa single issue na nasa tuktok ng aking listahan. Oo nga't marami tayong nasa ating mga listahan na di angkop sa kandidatong iboboto natin at maaaring angkop dun sa kabila, kaya lang hindi iyon ang nasa tuktok sa listahan natin, at kahit man marami tayong magkakaparehong causa sa ating mga listahan ay magkakaiba tayo ng piniling issue na ilalagay sa tuktok ng ating kani-kaniyang listahan. At dahil alam ko iyan, ser, ma'am, nung ako'y bumoto, pinangako ko sa aking sarili na hindi ako magiging loyalista ng sinumang pulitiko at ng kanyang mga pagpangako kundi ng pagtupad sa mga issues sa aking listahan. Kaya . . . dun sa sinasabi niyong pareho na dun na lang ako dapat sa binoto ko parati, nagkakamali po kayo sa inyong pag-iisip na ang binoto ko ay yung tao at hindi yung causa na nasa tuktok ng aking listahan (na maaaring tinupad niya o tinupad niya ng mali o sinuway niya o iniwan na sa daan). Alam niyo, hindi lang naman ang kandidatong binoto ko ang nangako. Ako rin ay nangako. Pinangako ko sa aking sarili na lalabanan ko ang aking piniling kandidato sa ibang issue sa aking listahan na hindi siya angkop. At, alam niyo, ganun din naman ang pinangako ko sa aking sarili pagdating sa ibang kandidato, na kung sila ang mananalo ay hindi ko sila lalabanan sa lahat ng issue, dahil hindi sila ang kinalaban ko kundi ang maraming issue na hindi angkop sa kanila. Susuportahan ko naman sila sa mga issue sa listahan ko na angkop sa kanila. Muli, . . . sa mungkahi niyo, ser, na doon na lang ako parati dapat sa binoto ko dahil di niyo ako kailangan sa panig niyo, at sa parinig ninyo, ma'am, na tila adik na ako sa pagiging kontra parati, hindi po ako pumapanig sa inyo, ser, o sa kabila, ma'am, dahil sa tao ninyo/doon kundi dahil sa causa ninyo/doon kung saan kaisa ninyo/nila ako, dahil nasa listahan ko rin ang causa na iyon. Ser, kung ayaw niyo akong tanggapin sa rally niyo dahil binoto ko si Duterte, aba, okey lang. Kikilos ako nang hindi ko kayo kasabay, dahil hindi ako lumalaban sa ngalan ng isang pulitiko kundi sa ngalan ng mga causa ko. Hindi ko kayo kaisa sa inyong loyalismo, ser at ma'am, dahil tinuturing ko ring kalaban ang anumang uri ng loyalismo sa tao o partido."
   
At dito ay biglang paakbay na pumasok ang aking Facebook friend na si Bert David ng may ganitong mga salita ng pagsuporta sa aking posisyon. Aniya: "Baluktot pa kasi at dapat itama ang pag-unawa ng mga kababayan natin sa kung ano ang demokrasya. Akala pa rin ng ilan, ang inihahalal sa mga eleksyon ay kundi man inihalal upang maging diyos, ay hinalal para maging hari o reyna o diktador, kung kaya't ang mga itoy ay nagiging mandarambong o manggagantso o mamamatay-tao nila. Di pa rin maintindihan na ang ibinoboto at dapat ibinoboto ay ang mga mabuting tao na makagagawa ng mabuti sa bansa at sa kapwa. At lalong di alam na sa demokrasya, kabahagi ang botante sa pang-araw-araw na pamamahala kung saan tinatalakay ang mga bagay-bagay na ginagawa para sa ikabubuti ng madla (hindi para sa ikabubuti ng mga ibinotong akala nila'y dapat lang na naging diyos o hari o reyna o diktador na naging mandarambong o manggagantso o mamamatay-tao ng botante."
    Mismo. Dahil kung ito nga ang anatomiya ng ating pagboto, totoo nga ang kasabihan na ang karapatang bumoto ng tao sa isang representative democracy ay isang karapatan nilang pumili ng kanilang susunod na magiging diktador.
    
Matagal ko na ring sinasabi na tae talaga ang isang purely representative democracy na walang kasama o kaakibat na direct democracy instruments para sa tao. Hindi ito totoong "demos kratos" (democracy) o people's rule, dahil madalas rito, ang ibinoto mong tao ay nandun na, nagsisimula nang umalis sa kanyang ilang mga pangako at umabuso na rin sa kapangyarihang ibinigay sa kanya at di na mabawi ng mga bumoto sa kanya, salamat sa pribilehiyong ito na bigay ng taeng pure representative democracy.
    
At kahit pa matagal na akong nagdadadaldal tungkol diyan, walang nakikinig sa kuto na tulad ko, dahil buo na ang paniniwala ng sambayanan na ang ating kaligtasan ay nasa mga inihahalal, mga inihahalal na sana ay maging mabuti at hindi masama. Buo na ang kanilang paniniwala na ang ating kaligtasan ay hindi nasa pagpalit o pagbago sa sistemang nagbibigay ng pribilehiyong bukas na bukas sa temtasyon ng pag-abuso. Kaya walang natututunan ang bansang ito tungkol sa kasamaan mismo ng sistemang bukas sa abuso ng masama (at ng mabuting maaaring maging masama), dahil sa kanilang malakas na paniniwala na ang taong inihalal lang ang maaaring maging masama (at mabuti), na ang taong mabuti ay di magiging masama sa loob ng ganito kalaking pribilehiyo at poder. At ako'y naging pessimist na tungkol sa future ng bansang ire na reklamo nang reklamo ngunit ayaw umalis sa sistema ng pure representative democracy na siyang ugat ng lahat ng abuse of power ng mga pulitiko. [S / -I]


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Isang Paghingi ng Tulong ng Isang Kritiko



Angry UPLB students march all the way to the Chancellor's Office in the last semestral enrollment to denounce a flawed implementation of SAIS, an online enrollment system. (PHOTO BY CHRIS QUINTANA borrowed from http://interaksyon.com/article/131136/uplb-students-protest-flawed-implementation-of-online-enrolment)


MR. PRESIDENT, anuman po ang naging batikos namin sa inyo, kaming mga mahihilig mamuna sa sistema at kultura ng gobyerno, aaminin namin na pagdating sa iilang mga bagay, tulad ng pagpapatakbo ng mga opisina ng gobyerno . . . parang dun yata kayo magaling. Sabi nila di raw ninyo tinatanggap ang anumang paliwanag tungkol sa inepesyidad. Nagngingitngit daw po kayo sa mahahabang pila ng tila primitibong sistema ng marami nating tanggapan, at galit na mukha raw ninyo ang pinapadala ninyo sa mga nagpapatakbo ng mga opisinang ito sa pagsabing bilisan nila ang paghahanap ng solusyon kung gusto pa nilang manatili sa kanilang mga puwesto. Aaminin ko, Mr. President, akong umiiling sa tila kawalan ng anumang malaking pagbabago sa kultura ng gobyerno sa ilalim ng iyong pamumuno, na may mga pagbabago rin naman tayong nasaksihan sa serbisyo ng gobyerno kahit konti, at di lang po ang biglang paglaho ng laglag-bala sa Nicknamed Aquino International Airport ang tinutukoy ko. Oo nga't may mga atungal pa rin ako at may di maawat na puna sa ilang polisiya ninyo tungkol sa government service at function, at asahan mong di ako titigil sa kaaatungal sa iba pang malalaking problema ng sistema. Subalit asahan niyo rin naman po na ibibigay ko rin naman ang palakpak sa ilang mga magagandang resultang manggaling sa inyong rehimen, at nawa'y kasama na rin dito ang sa pang-araw-araw na takbo ng buhay sa ilang mga opisina tulad ng mga kapitolyo, mga corrupt na assessors' offices, klasikong mabagal at masungit na SSS, atbp. Sa magagandang resulta na mangyayari, Mr. Presdient, may nakareserba rin naman po akong saludo para sa inyo, kung di man ito para sa buong pamamahala ninyo ay, at least, sa mga bagay na di ko maitatangging may magandang resultang nabuo. Maniwala po kayo na hindi ko pinupuna ang ilang Duterte policies dahil lamang Duterte policies ito, kundi dahil pangit ang mga ito; ito rin naman ang dahilan kung bakit hindi rin naman ako nag-aatubiling pumalakpak sa ilang Duterte policies na maganda, kahit pa man Duterte policies ito.
    Hindi ko na po pahahabain pa ang mahabang pasakalye ko, Ginoong Pangulo, at pupunta na po ako sa pakay ko. Ginoong Pangulo, kaya ko po nasabi/naisulat ang 338 words na iyan sa itaas . . . ay dahil mayroon po akong isyu na irereport sa inyo at hihingan ko ng solusyon mula sa inyo. Dahil, maniwala po kayo't sa hindi, problema po itong hindi lang di mahanapan ng solusyon ng ating matatalinong mga dalubhasang akademiko, palala pa po ito nang palala, taon-taon po. Kaya po di maiwasan ng marami ang i-apply rito ang isang folk axiom na nagsasabing "kung may problemang paulit-ulit na di mahanapan ng solusyon, tiyak may kumikita sa pananatili ng problema na iyan." Batid naman siguro natin na marami na rin ang naniniwala na ang dahilan kung bakit di masolusyunan ang, halimbawa, dapat simpleng problema lamang ng trapik . . . ay dahil (daw) malaki ang kinikita rito ng oil companies sa increase ng gasoline consumption na nagmumula sa mga gumagapang na sasakyan.
    Ngunit hindi po solusyon sa trapik ang minumungkahi ko sa inyo, Mr. President, kundi mas maliit pa pong isyu kaysa riyan. Siguradong-sigurado ako na bilang dating meyor ay yakang-yaka niyong mahanapan ng solusyon ito, dahil kahit ako po na isang ordinaryong mamamayan lamang ay tila may mga naiisip na solusyon na rin naman, kaya lamang po ay wala po tayo sa kapangyarihan at siguradong di nila pakikinggan.
    Ang tinutukoy ko po, paumanhin na lang po sa marami kong sinabi bago makarating dito, ay . . . ang malalang sistema sa mga public schools pagdating sa assessment at sa pagbabayad tuwing enrollment, kung saan ang pumipila po ng alas-4 ng umaga ay di pa nga minsan umaabot sa unahan pagdating ng alas-5 ng hapon. Hindi po ako nagbibiro, Mr. President, huwag po kayong tumawa, ser. Tanungin niyo po ang mga estudyante ng UP, ng PUP, ng Bulacan State University, o ng alinmang public university riyan. Ang logic po ng isang kritiko niyo tulad ko kung bakit sa inyo pa rin ako pumunta ay ito: Kung walang ni isang matalinong may-PhD na presidente ng pampublikong unibersidad ang tila nakakita ng solusyon sa palala nang palalang problemang ito sa ating mga public schools, aba, huwag po kayo magulat kung bakit tumatakbo po kami ngayon sa isang dating parating 75 lamang ang grado. Baka nasa inyo na po ang solusyon at hindi sa matatalinong mga gunggong na iyon. Sana nga po. Di po ako isang Mocha Uson, Mr. Presdient, ngunit di po ako mag-aatubiling pumalakpak sa inyo sa isyu na ito kung mahahanapan niyo ng agarang solusyon, as in overnight, Mr. President, dahil sa Friday na po kami naka-schedule na pumila, ser!

(panoorin ang video na ito na nagpapakita ng mahaba nang pila sa
Bulacan State U sa alas-4 pa lang ng umaga ngayong linggong ito: 
https://www.facebook.com/TheBulsuMemes/videos/1860217320924857/)

    Handa ko po kayong ituring na hero sa problemang ito, Ginoong Pangulo, kung mababago niyo ang sistemang ito in three to six hours. Huwag niyo lang pong hingin na isama ko na rin si Marcos sa standing ovation na gagawin kong iyon. At kung iyon po ang hihingin niyong kapalit, pipila na lang po ako, kahit pa isang linggo. [S / -I]




Friday, November 4, 2016

SUSPECT INDEPENDENCES IN THE YEAR OF GEO-REALPOLITIK



photo from http://bmag.com.au/things-to-do-in-brisbane/latest/2015/05/06/experience-the-philippines-at-the-barrio-fiesta/

SHOULD every Filipino behave or think like a neocolonial lumpenbourgeois according to the preaching of his favorite real neocolonial lumpenbourgeois leaders? Sa ngayon kasi ay hinahati tayo sa dalawa ng lumpenbourgeois factions sa ating pulitika ng ganito:
    Kung mas marami kang pakinabang sa Amerika at galit ka sa Tsina, dapat ay anti-Duterte ka. At kung may galit ka naman sa Amerika, for reasons as small as having been served water instead of a lauriat (lao diat) merienda during a visit to an American office, or having been denied a tourist visa once, ay dapat pro-Duterte at pro-China ka na. Ito ang tanong ko: pag anti-America ka ba, ibig sabihin nationalist ka na? At ganun din pag anti-China ka? Baka kailangan nating lahat bumalik sa kolehiyo para mapag-aralan muli ang buong kahulugan ng mga salita, dahil may mga pangyayari sa mga nakalipas na buwan (kung di man sa nakalipas na mga taon) kung saan tila napakadali lang sa ating mga pulitiko (o aktibista man) ang mag-preach o mag-claim ng posisyon ng nationalism at independence, ipse dixitito’y habang may paghinala sa kanila (o sa mga grupo nila) bilang mga resipyente ng pondo galing sa kung anu-anong banyagang bangko, mga kompanya, o mga indibidwal na di-malayong may kani-kanyang interes na maaaring taliwas sa nasyonalismo o independensiya na isinusulong ng mga talumpati ng mga pulitiko o aktibistang ito.
    Here’s my next question: nationalism, according to what concept of nationhood? Or according to whose perspective on the idea of ideal nationhood? Now, I’ll grant that patriotism is what binds us together as citizens of our country, and that—as a friend of mine quipped—this patriotism can derive from different orientations, religious affiliations, political ideologies, ages, economic brackets, and so on. Indeed, we can always choose to focus on the power of the positive fact concerning this common ground’s goal instead of on the doldrums of a non-goal with our often-ready list of differences. For, after all, it's this love of country—albeit a country molded by our conquistadors, the Spaniards—that has retained our wholeness and coagulation as tribes or linguistic groups, and we’ve remained relatively undivided for decades since the fall of the Spaniards and our independence from the Commonwealth. True, also, anyone who has attempted to strike at our motherland in order to subtract from it, e.g. the long Islamist separatist insurrection in Mindanao or the battles in the North before the establishment of the Cordillera Autonomous Region, would always be countered by the center with the ample defense of unity against these many efforts at wedge-building.
    But here’s the problem: we've been ruled by neocolonial lumpenbourgeois interests since the beginning of our republic/s, and these interests have been imposing their neocolonial lumpenbourgeois formulas on the nation for the same length of time, all in the name of patriotism and nationalism! Yes, to the point that the connect between these impositions and the nationalist ideals these lumpenbourgeois factions claimed would be questioned many a time by many a cynic from both the academia and not. In short, it’s not the lack or absence of patriotism and/or nationalism that’s the issue but who the people are who have had a handle on these ideals and used the very same for intents many would regard as other than what nationalist ideals proclaim.
    And as for love, that great intangible almost guaranteeing the ultimate sacrifice for its service, it has been used in the same breath that some leaders of France bandied it for a rationale to side with Hitler. And it is in this sense of a problematic regarding the concept of love that I would here unabashedly assert that perhaps our current President, Rodrigo Duterte, may be allowing an emotional love for Freddie Aguilars country music to influence his pragmatic love of country, by which I mean mistaking self-centered love (controlling love from an emotional utopia) for selfless love (love of a democratic nation). The first kind of love (emotional and self-centered) may be sincere and real in a lumpenbourgeois leader, but is it the kind of love the majority really want (or need) or are truly empathetic towards from their democratic voice, post-election?

MY friend the banker and gallerist Boy David says: “Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago. The challenge is that it is harder to be subtle than strident.”
    And that’s the crux of our problem today as receivers of a media image, isn’t it? Consistency, as a requisite of the art of media image-making servicing the star system-leaning presidential form of politics that we have, would find the need to be subtle about the devil in the details (that would often require analysts to appear on talk shows) waylaid by our political culture as a whole in a manner that would not be done in a parliamentary system’s culture of constant debate. A shallow consistency of and for a media image becomes the science as well as the subject of political scientism, precisely what we see stretched to its utmost level of ludicrousness on Fox News and CNN regarding the US’s own stars in their presidential system. Was his smile the right kind of smile for the right kind of audience? What did his/her offensive statement achieve, poll-wise? Woe to the devil in the details as they continue to dress up as PR and marketing angels upon public ignorance.
    And what details are we talking about? Well, here’s a sample of the sort of Facebook discussion that I would prefer (not that this sample is as “deep” as an esoteric, academic thread, which we do not need to be):

WHILE on the issue of the division in our society/nation, our friend the Perth-based painter A- referred us to a 1970s root division in the study of Philippine history: “Kuyang, nahati sa dalawa ang mga Filipino noon—yung mga nagbasa ng aklat ni Teodoro Agoncillo, at yung mga nagbasa naman ng kay Gregorio Zaide. Tila ang problema ay mas marami ang nakabasa nung kay Zaide. :-p”
    “You zaid it well, kuyang Art. :),” I replied. “Ang problema, ang mga nagbasa kay Agoncillo ay nag-aala-pro-American-Zaide na rin pagdating sa China. Nagiging pro-China Zaides. :v”
    “Lol... :-p,” wrote Kuyang Art.
    “At pa’no naman ang mga nagsunog ng kilay kay Renato Constantino at sa mga namulat at namumulat pa sa patuloy na nagbabagong anyo ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, halimbawa sa pamamagitan ng mga akda o lektura nina Ambeth R. Ocampo, Ka Inggo (Domingo C. de Guzman), Xiao Chua, atbp.?” asked our friend R-. At maganda na nabanggit sila ng ating kaibigan, dahil interesado akong malaman kung ano nga ang masasabi ng mga historyador na ito tungkol sa tunggalian na nangyayari ngayon sa pagitan ng TeamAmerika of anti-‘Dutertards’ at ng all-but-TeamChina apologists ng Duterte-ismo.
    Totoo, marami tayong lalong mauunawaan tungkol sa ugat ng katiwalian dito sa ating bansa kung mababasa natin ang aklat na The Evil That Men Do (a Philippine history book) ni Ka Inggo. At malinaw din sa mga pahayag ni de Guzman na pro-Duterte siya, ayon sa ating kaibigan. Pero pro-Tsina rin nga ba? Marahil kaugnay lang sa tipong pang-malayang patakarang panlabas, sabi ni R-.
    Ngunit, kung usapang geo-realpolitik na, kalayaan how? By joining them when you can't beat them? Hmm. If so, I wonder why those who would be espousing this sort of logic towards China werent so enthusiastic in applying the same logic towards the statehood-for-the-Philippines-in-the-US-federal-union movement’s cause? Is it because China is socialist and worth “joining” our islands to, and the US is not?
    If so, for socialisms sake, it begs the corollary question regarding how socialist China is. Is one-party communist rule, with its own communist party elite of businessmen and new capitalists, socialist? How? How (plutocratically) not? Is the sort of socialism in some parts of the EU despicable or lame to Chinese communist partisan capitalism? Would the sort of socialism espoused by the left of the US Democratic Party be regarded by it as equally lame? What would be their comment on Trotskyist takes against the Communist bureaucracy? Or on anarchist communist takes against this same statist bureaucracy?
    Sana ay kalayaan talaga sa puntong walang pagdidikta o pagdodomina ng mas malakas, was the articulation of our friend R- of an oft-repeated expression of hopefulness among those sympathetic to or hopeful for the President’s veering the Philippines away from the West towards a closer-to-China foreign policy. But sana’ is a too-hopeful prayer-cum-gamble hovering above the current Duterte excitement over a hoped-for Philippine future, wouldnt you agree? Our friend Wilfredo Gallinero’s comment on another post of mine treats of concrete examples for this very topic, and it doesn’t beat around the bush. He wrote: “why don’t we ask some of the former satellites of Russia why they broke away from the USSR (and then aligned themselves with the rest of Europe away from Russia)? Or why Tibet, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Taiwan, do not like mainland China that much. Why not ask millions of Chinese émigrés scattered around the globe why they ran away from their homeland (and would still be wary of going back)? Why not ask millions of later Chinese and Russian immigrants to the United States the reason why they chose to live there instead of in China or Russia? Why not ask the Venezuelans what they got from switching sides? Why not ask the Cubans if they think they deserve a 2016 Ford Everest instead of a vintage Chevy Cadillac?”
    There you go. So, it’s not Duterte, Our Deliverer, then, is it, Mr. Gallinero? Appears more like Duterte, China’s Deliverer. Tama ba ako? And so, who, then, is fit, or should we trust, to deliver for us a truly independent foreign policy, if it is possible?asked our friend R-. This is definitely a question worth delving into in order to look the devil-in-the-details in the eye. Without beating around the bush, let me go straight to my abstract, which goes thus:
    An independent foreign policy is policy reached by choice of principle, not by the dictate of, say, one's campaign or regime foreign-bank donors, for example. And while the rumor that the AIIB donated a sum to Duterte’s campaign may be a wicked lie, it is also a fact that there was instant communication between the AIIB and the Duterte transition finance team after the President’s win. (Remember: while it was indeed the Aquino government that started mulling the possibility of the Philippines' joining the AIIB, President Aquino himself would later issue a caveat concerning being quick to bite the temptation, even though he would later announce in December 2015 that we shall be joining the Bank).
    We are not saying that Duterte is selling us to the Chinese quick, the way the Makapilis sold some of our grandfathers and grandmothers to the Japs during World War II. But remember that the bulk of the Makapilis, who were promised lands through land reform or peace or good times in Japan, did not become Makapilis by choice of sober principle, but either from duress or from sheer hatred of their neighbors or present landlords. Duterte has been expressing a personal anger towards Americans as a nation of loud people, which could be blamed for the impression that his anti-American friendliness towards China is not entirely derived from a sober principle.
    Pero, whatever sort of principle is behind the Duterte plan, ang problema natin, ultimately, is not whom to trust to deliver us to a zone with an independent foreign policy, but that we have a presidential system where the president is the dictator who decides for the destiny of 100,000,000+ individuals outside of his possibly neo-lumpenbourgeois present luxury. One should wonder why no one is yet calling for a referendum on at least one of Duterte's humongous decisions.
    Ser Boy re-entered this part of the conversation with this: “Right now, China succeeds in peeling the Philippines away from the United States; it is whipping a major win in Beijing’s long-term campaign to weaken U.S. alliances in the region. It will feed fears that the right mix of intimidation and inducements could influence other partners to distance themselves from Washington.”
    “The pre-election rumor that Duterte was a candidate funded by the AIIB turning out to be an earth-shattering reality?” I offered a wicked, gossipy conjecture.
    Here, our friend Don Miguel came in with a re-post of a status post by one named Randy Valiente, who wrote: “Mami-miss ko yung mga sigaw sa kalsada ng 'Tuta ng Kano'. Baka nga mas cute pakinggan yung 'Chihuahua ng China'. Chos. :P”
    Hahaha. :)

YES, our thread ended in laughter. But it was not just that ending that made the thread not the kind of exchange you’d read in comment boxes with Duterte loyalists (on one hand) and opposing politicians’ loyalists (on the other) in them. For, given that some of my friends are sympathetic to certain or all Duterte policies, with others not, I believe that they have all been demonstrating amply well the fact that the brain of each member of this Filipino nation of ours can behave or think beyond being a merely neocolonial lumpenbourgeois echo chamber for the preachings of its favorite neocolonial lumpenbourgeois leaders. I think an independent foreign policy can begin with each of our nation’s members’ exercise of its independence from the chains of politician- or party-directed blind loyalism. Otherwise one should have no business waving about the word “independence” when he cannot himself be independent enough to be able to examine or question his own idol-politician’s or idol-party’s suspect use of words. [S / -I]



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What you consider as yours and what He considers as His are two different things: a comic report


A Philippine-American military exercise (photo from http://dailysignal.com/2013/04/19/americas-ally-the-philippines-requires-continued-support/)

DEAR lords and ladies of JoJolion’s Diet. Today I report to you this:
    I, Josuke of JoJolion, was there to personally hand to the King of the Philippines our Emperor’s invitation to visit the Empire of JoJolion immediately after that very period of His Lordship’s visit to the Empire of China. In all honesty, I was sent by our Emperor for the simple reason that I could speak English and some Tagalog and fully understand Tagalog and Bisaya; all of these three languages being what His Lordship the King has at His disposal. You also all know I know nothing much about Philippine ancient history, and I know that some of you have stated on Tokyo television that you would rather that the Emperor sent somebody else. Thankfully, my lords and ladies, you might like to know that while I know nothing much about Philippine ancient history, well, neither does much of the Filipino population! Anyway, my lords and ladies, that night in China when I watched and then sat with His Lordship the King of the Philippines, I was sipping tea and listening to him speak.
    "Today I announce my separation from the United States," said King Rodrigo I of the Kingdom of the Philippines that very night of October 20, there speaking at the court of the Empire of the Communist Partisans of China. Incidentally, my lords and ladies, the 71-year-old King said this between the 70-year old Philippine-US relations and the 72nd anniversary of General Douglas MacArthur’s Landing in the Barony of Palo on Leyte Island on October 20, 1944, whatever all those numbers might mean to you. I just came to learn about this from my Joestar family.
    Well, I am also happy to report that there is one thing you don’t know about this King, my lords and ladies. He actually likes the country music of Freddie Aguilar! As well as guns, of course. That makes Him a sort of cowboy in a Western film, doesn’t it? He even asked the Filipino country music singer to rewrite the lyrics to one of his songs so it can serve as a theme song for His reign, a fanfare of sorts to be sung by electronic minstrels wherever he goes. But here’s my question: Is superior love for Freddie Aguilar's country music enough to substantiate the King's claims of supreme love of country? For it seems he has a knack for claiming this. A knack, Anak, get it? [Pause here in case The Diet laughs]
    Anyway, my lords and ladies, after the King’s appearance at the court of the Empire of the Communist Partisans of China, we went to the balcony of the Imperial Communist Hotel to join a bevy of Filipino journalists on separate tables.
    “Naaalala ko ang lahat ng tinuro sa akin sa elementary tungkol sa mga pinaggagawa sa amin ng mga Amerikano at ako ay galit na galit hanggang ngayon,” whispered the King to me in a Tagalog with a Visayan accent that I could fully understand. We were seated at a merienda table full of what our Chinese chef called His Lordship’s Favorite Fried de-Lima Saba (all in all, five saba bananas on each plate, each banana halved right down the middle and fried and cinnamon-flavored).
    “Ang di ko maalala ay yung mga sinabi ng Nanay ko tungkol kay King Ferdinand of Marcos noong Queen Cory lady pa siya,” the King continued. “Di ko na nga rin maalala kung totoo nga bang si Queen Cory ang nag-appoint sa akin kaya naging Officer in Charge ako ng Duchy of Davao Siti (better known in all the Kingdom by the acronym DDS), wala na talaga akong maalala tungkol doon.”
    “Basta ang alam ko lang,” he continued, “salbahe talaga itong mga Amerikano. Bakit ba nila pinatay si General del Pilar, ang bata-bata pa noon at masunuring bata sa mga utos ni King Emilio del Aguinaldo, isa pang idol ko. Grabe talaga.”
    I attempted to ask the King details about the names he mentioned, but he was quick to follow up with:
    “Pero itong si King Ferdinand of Marcos, ha, di naman siguro totoo na salbahe ito kasi sa tingin ko kung naging salbahe man iyon, malamang dahil sa mga utos ng mga Amerikano, kasi salbahe talaga itong mga Amerikano, naalala kong turo ng mga titser ko sa elementary,” he said, looking at his plate of de-Lima Saba. I here again attempted to ask who---
    “Naalala ko rin yung sa collegium pa ako . . . iyan, mga classmates ko sa Ateneo de San Beda yang mga secretary ko na yan sa kabilang mesa, mga honor students yan silang lahat, gustong-gusto ng mga praile ng San Beda yang mga yan, sus ginoo. Ako 75 lang palagi,” he said, expecting laughter, which I promptly gave him and his joke.
    You laugh, my lords and ladies. But I expected that, that refrain of His Lordship’s overplayed song: “ako 75 lang palagi.”
    Anyway, after a pause I again attempted to ask about where Ateneo de---
    “Naalala ko, . . . ang daming rally noon dito sa Duchy of Maynila (better known throughout the kingdom as DOM). Kasi, siyempre, kaya siguro kami pinag-iinteresan ng mga Komunista noon kasi nandito kasi ang mga Amerikano, salbahe talaga, tsk,” he said, shaking his head.
    There was, again, a bit of pause here as the King rolled up a sleeve and reached out for a fried saba on my plate while side-glancing toward a female journalist. I felt like peeing from all the many cups of tea I had drunk and there stood up, and---
    “Kaya sabi ko, . . . para di na kami pag-interesan uli ng mga Komunista, pabalikin ko na lang si Joma, yung Robin Hood na titser ko, naalala ko, tapos makipagkaibigan kami with the Empire of China and KGB tsars-ruled Rusya, para wala nang gulo ba, o di ba? Mag-share na lang kami sa West Philippine Sea na yan. Tapos, laswik, pumunta ako ng Vietnam ni Bảo Đại, isa pang Komunista yan. O. di ok na ang Pilipinas, di ba? Sus ginoo, believe me.”
     At that moment I wanted to ask permission to go pee, but---
    “Kaya, sabi ko, itong 2016 Philippine-American military exercises, this will be the last, kasi mga salbahe talaga itong mga ito, naalala kong sabi sa akin ng mga titser ko sa elementary. Dito na lang ako sa Empire of China at sa KGB tsars ng Rasya---baka mababait pa itong mga ito, sabi ko, kasi biruin mo binigyan pa nga kami ng perang pangtayo ng drug rehab centers dito sa, saan ba yon? Basta meron dyan. Isipin mo yan! Saan ka ba---” I couldn’t understand the rest of the words he was munching on at that moment as he chewed on more saba. “On the other hand,” he continued, after wiping his mouth with toilet paper he got from one of his pockets, “wala talaga akong maalala na may ginawang salbahe sa amin itong Tsina at itong Rusya o Rasya. Wala talaga. . . . Well, wala akong maalala. . . . Ang parating naaalala ko ay itong Amerika. Sus, ginoo. Elementary pa lang ako, salbahe na talaga ‘to, putang ina!!!”
    I ran out to pee.

WHEN I got back I saw the King winking at a female journalist. I said to Him:
    “My Lord, can we get serious about this?”
    He looked at me as if to say he is always serious about anything and everything under the sun, even when he’s joking.
    “Let's say your Kingdom becomes more pro-China and -Russia than pro-Westeros from this moment forward,” I said, “okay, but what do you give away and what do you get?”
    A lady at a nearby table with her back turned to us almost half-turned at that moment, as if to listen harder to what might be the answer to the question I just threw at the King.
    “Let's do some real math and realpolitik here, my Lord,” I said. “Your subjects are warring with each other on abstractions like ‘sincere leadership’, ‘His caring presidency at the Presidium of Lackeys’, ‘nationalism’, and ‘independence’, which are---for now---still really nothing more to most than noisy, empty kettles of nice words they can't get water from for a jasmine tea of substance.”
    I didn’t notice Prince Wilfredo of Gallinero, son of the King’s estranged brother, sit at the table. He proudly swung the saba on his fork from left to right as he loudly, sarcastically said:
    “Instead, let us ask the former satellites of the KGB-Tsardom of Russia why they broke away from the USSR. Why the Tibetan Empire, The City Formerly Known as Her Royal Highness’ Hong Kong, Bảo Đại’s Vietnam and the Kingdom of Tungning (oh, Taiwan to you, ser Josuke of JoJolion) do not like mainland China. Why not ask millions of Chinese émigrés scattered around the globe why they ran away from their homeland? Why not ask millions of later Chinese and Russian immigrants to the United States of Northern America the reason why they chose to live there instead of in China or Russia? Why not ask Guaicaipuro’s Venezuelans what they got from switching sides? Why not ask Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar’s Cubans if they think they do deserve a 2016 Ford Everest instead of a vintage Chevy Cadillac?”
    Ser Dexter of Amoroso, son of a cousin of the King, was now also at the table. He said, joining the conversation, with the King not minding anyone as he busied himself with his saba, “If we are allied with the US of North America and the KGB Tsardom of Russia starts war, China as our ally would most likely be in charge of the Pacific front and use our islands for bases. And having the US of NA as our ally, well, they’d most likely request use of the burghs of Clark and Subic. That would make us a primary target, and same goes with the Empire of JoJolion and South Goguryeo.”
    We all stared at him, even the King.
    “Well,” ser Dexter continued, “if we are allied with China, same goes din. Either way, no choice. Two-edged sword ang pagiging strategic ng bansa natin. Di ba, My Lord?”
   
“A, ewan ko sa iyo; not my cup of tea,” said His Lordship, who quickly went back to winking at the female journalist while he sipped tea.
    “So, siding with China is safer with that Pacific front scenario?” I asked ser Dexter, in my English with a Nihonggo accent.
    But before ser Dexter could answer, ser Wilfredo there addressed the King, again sarcastically: “Just asking, my Lord, but why are we so hyper about changing our status quo? Our big problem before was Drugs and Corruption. Now we are so involved in geopolitics?”
    “I think they belong to the same category, ser Wilfredo,” I hastened to offer an explanation on the King’s behalf, who might find the good ser not his cup of tea of a conversation mate. “One seems eager to sacrifice all geopolitical complexities in exchange for rehab centers.”
    I couldn’t believe that that was what came out of my mouth. The King there turned to me, stared at me, but soon smiled and moved back his stare to another female journalist at whom he also winked tirelessly.
    “And as for the corruption of others,” I ventured to utter a joke, sensing that the King was up to receiving jokes at this hour of the night, “I dunno if theirs are bigger corruptions than the rumored one that says One actually got his prime campaign money from the AIIB.”
    Sers Dexter and Wilfredo looked at me, shocked, then giggled. The King turned to me again, stared at me, but after four seconds on a grandfather clock smiled at me for having the ambassadorial charm to crack such a joke, only to be frightened by the Kingly stare, haha. He threw his cooking oil-stained fork at my livery, over which act s
ers Dexter and Wilfredo LOLd.

SER Wilfredo was saying: “China will deal first with JoJolion, South Goguryeo, HRH Australia, Bảo Đại’s Vietnam, and most likely the rajas’ India and Indonesia. If we remain neutral it will be worse. Warring factions within our country will be armed by each’s opposing powers. We become like Syria, killing each other 'til the fight between the superpowers end.”
    I suddenly realized that Ser Hubert of Posadas, a freelancing knight of sorts, had been standing behind Ser Wilfredo, holding a cup of tea. He said then, “I do not think there is an exit from this. We have always been primed for proxy wars, so either end of the situation we will still be like Syria. We cannot escape playing the geopolitical game at this point in history. We have to at least take initiative, or be, as always, victim to the external manipulation by foreign powers. And how could we not, with our strategic location and weak military? The end goals, gentlemen, however you play it, are 1) industrialization while expanding our agricultural base, 2) equitable growth, 3) a strengthened local military’s technical capability, and 4) unified internal warring factions. The homework is more internal, regardless of the externalities, because once we achieve internal technology to a level of sustainability and equitably utilize our resources, we can then start to assert control of the strategic location that we have been blessed with by the Lord Bathala. Play them against each other is what I say. Eh, my Lord King?”
    But the King was suddenly not there. Ah, he was now standing in front of a bunch of seated and smiling journalists.
    “Why not concentrate on improving our economy to solve our poverty problem?” asked ser Wilfredo, turning to face the freelancing knight. “We are rich in everything. All we need to do is manage it well and share it fairly among us. That is how our leadership should show genuine love for its people.”
    “Yup,” said ser Hubert, “but as someone exposed to risk organizations and the intelligence community, that is the crux of the problem. If you try to do exactly that, foreign special interests and powers will neutralize you. This is well documented in our own Alexandrian libraries, and if you talk to any careerist in the NSC and NICA or even ISAFP, they will privately say so. It’s just that we are so enamored with our relationship with the US of NA and, as ser Josuke of JoJolion has been wont to point out, the internal colonizers are easily swayed by US of NA companies, Indonesian big money, China money, Malaysian money, that you will find that goal unattainable. Many have tried and literally died.”
    Everyone stared at ser Hubert, shocked at the reality bite he shared, their hands stopping short of bringing their sabas to their respective mouths.
    “The SOP,” ser Hubert continued as he strolled around the round table, “and I have worked with mining companies and contractors, is to start with AID while they steal the land, and many times stealing the health of the community as well. If the community is not compromised, brand their leaders as communists and place them in the OB! Then it will be easy to kill them.”
    Everyone slowly pushed their sabas to their mouths, still eager for ser Hubert to continue.
    And ser Hubert continued. “The AID, he said, is used to get baseline data and a social survey. Third parties then use bribery to buy the local dukes, extract resources. All standard playbook procedures.”
    Everyone slowly chewed on their sabas, looking down at the linen of realization on the table of globalization, as ser Hubert moved on to another table.

I DIDN’T know it was Lady Melanie of Victoriano at the nearby table. She swung around and asked: “So, ser Josuke of JoJolion, what items are on your ‘give away’ and ‘get’ list?”
    “Sa Those Chinese-American Companies In Manila That Cannot Be Named na lang ako manghihingi ng get list ko, ma’am Melanie,” I said, smiling, as I struggled to flaunt my Tagalog with an anime accent. “As for King Rodrigo I, I think rehab centers okey na sa kanya; yun lang yata hinihingi niya, simpleng probinsiyano lang naman daw siya. Tsaka isda promdi Iskaroboro?”
    She smiled and turned back to her table.
    Ser Wilfredo said: “We give away our natural resources and we get low-paying jobs as promoters of their products at the expense of our Overseas Filipino Workers.”
    I said, “Your country is so used to doing those, ser Wilfredo. What's to stop your lumpenbourgeoisie from giving away the same to a new colonial party? :)”
    He smiled and returned to his saba.
    Lady Melanie turned back again, saying: “We won the case at the inter-nations arbitration table, didn’t we? The King won't even get what is ours?”
    “Madame,” I said, “I think what you consider as yours and what He considers as His are two different things? And I think His definition of ‘bayan ko’ is not so different from the definition of it by seemingly China-funded Bayan Muna? A China-centric Asia Union would be their definition of a supreme bayan, different from your definition of the word, true?”
    “Hmm,” she said. “Do you think His ‘Bayan ko’ (pre- & during the election of Kings) is different now, now that he is the King?”
    “Rumor is creeping in, my lady,” I said, “that what we're witnessing now are the repercussions of that equally rumored pre-election Rodrigo-AIIB connection.”
    Ser Wilfredo looked up from his saba, saying, “Silk road, too, eh?”
    “Silk bridge,“ I said.
    “AIIB controlled by China,” ser Wilfredo continued, glancing with a tinge of bitterness towards his Uncle, “will finance that ambitious bridge project. All member states' banking and private sectors will put in their share. Most material and labor will be from China. It is business as usual for China. They have to think faster because their temporary prosperity is diminishing. In the long end, it will be faster to spread their products throughout the continent. Sounds good, but are we sure China will not use that leverage against the AIIB’s member states? As far as we are concerned, what do we need them for? We have more than enough wealth for every Filipino. All that this wealth needs is proper management!”
    He glanced bitterly towards his Uncle, there flirting with the media.
    Suddenly, Ser Raymond of the Red, the jester-puppeteer, passed by our table, saying to us as he danced to Freddie Aguilars music, “One for you, one for me. Two for you, one, two for me. Three for you, one, two, three for me . . .”, as he disappeared into the crowd of standing and talking journalists, among whom was the King, dancing with His cup of tea.
    And that is my report to you, my lords and ladies! Arigato! Heres hoping you will have use for it before His Lordship arrives for his visit! Just remember this, though, my lords, my ladies. To the King of the Philippines we are a friend. We are not the anime. Get it? Not an anime at all, hahaha. Kanpai!!! [S / -I]