Sunday, March 24, 2013

WHY MY TWO CANDIDATES NEED TO BE JERKS IN ORDER TO WIN IN THIS ELECTION




 
photos from http://www.liberalparty.org.ph/ and http://soksay.blogspot.com/2013_05_01_archive.html


YOU know what they say in fiction, where there’s no conflict there’s no story. And you know what they say in public relations, negative publicity is better than no publicity at all.
     These two axioms seem to escape the campaign of two of my candidates. I have been campaigning on my Facebook wall for the senatorial candidacy of Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Risa Hontiveros, if only because they are two of my chosen candidates that need the boost, being not yet in the top 12 of the most recent surveys. I do this, aware though I am that their image seem too clean, and therefore not that relatable to people. It’s possible they’d lose.
     Empathizing with the people, it’s easy to relate to Loren Legarda—the mataray face that rarely sports a smile. There is ready conflict in that face alone, seeming to say by itself, “I am a fighter.” Theres that other fighter on the Senate floor easy to relate to, Alan Peter Cayetanofierce, sublimely sardonic, who can mix feigned respect into his arguments. It’s also easy for the masses to relate to Chiz Escudero—talks with nary a comic flair, robotic in his legalese, but all in relatable Tagalog, never mind if much of that legalese is beyond the average voter-fisherman; there’s all the flavor of conflict in his stance alone, defensive and offensive at the same time; the triangle rift with Heart Evangelistas parents could help him further his bid if managed well. It’s easy to relate to Nancy Binay, even. Daughter of a father constantly chided by a colonial mentality for wearing that dark skin, survivor of many an allegation of corruption, consistent organizer of rallies on Erap’s behalf. It doesn’t matter if it’s true the daughter is running on and in the fathers behalf, it’s still him, and there’s ready conflict in that position alone, whether you like it or not. There’s also a ready conflict in JV Ejercito’s name, son of a man beloved by the masses for his defiance of all protocol imposed by a worldly world, a man deposed by a "more corrupt" Gloria Arroyo.
     My candidate Risa Hontiveros, on the other hand, is being wrongly sold, merely as maganda, which doesn’t count for much even to Miss Universe juries. Jun Magsaysay’s story, meanwhile, is a seemingly forgotten story. There is no conflict behind the face anymore. For my two candidates to win, they have to be jerks. That’s why it would serve Hontiveros’ campaign abundantly if the Church starts hitting her personally. It would serve Jun Magsaysay’s campaign abundantly if defenders of the Fertilizer Fund Scam starts maligning his name now.

photo from http://www.ivoteph.com/senator-2/candidate-for-senator-2013-risa-hontiveros-and-his-profile/

TO be called nothing is to be insignificant. To be called an asshole or a jerk presupposes haters. And where there are haters there are defenders. An asshole or jerk tag, therefore, signals conflict, and conflict reboots people’s attention to issues of evil and good, right and wrong, heroism and villainy. The “asshole” or “jerk” comes out to the majority as either a champion or an enemy. To come out as an enemy is to lose in a campaign; but at least one lost in a fight, not in a non-fight.
     In short, like Loren Legarda, it’s not important to enumerate the wars one will fight for, though that would be a bonus or necessary for a springboard, but it’s important to project the aura that you are fighting, or defending, or offending. Not simply smiling.
     The art of politics is the art of projecting a story of conflict. The art of being a politician is the art of projecting the face of a fighter, the face of a jerk. It is no wonder that even in art, the greatest of artworks are often politically incorrect. Because art is primarily concerned with itself, its own art. The cause of the art often overpowers the cause of a thematic cause. But the correct thematic cause within an artistic cause is always a bonus, especially after a win.

BUT there are two kinds of jerk-ness.
     As a social liberal, I’ve often come across the complaint that within social liberalism’s campaign of virtue and empathy and sympathy, some social liberal celebrities turn out to be unworldly assholes. Impressions like this come, of course, after one such social liberal celebrity’s stumbling into a large mistake (whether true or not) that starts to show tragic flaws in his person on mainstream media, certain disappointing flaws that qualify his asshole-ness to conventional wisdom, flaws which mainstream media could in turn embed into an encyclopedic definition of this “asshole”’s sensational image, perhaps permanently waylaying too his boring heroic social liberal achievements into the dustbins of memory.
     One example of this victimization by achievement-dustbinning is that one done on the person of John Edwards, a US senator who fought long and hard for the popularization of the concept of universal healthcare (along with housing vouchers and universal college education) as an agenda for US legislation even before Barack Obama became a US senator. We know of course what happened to his media-managed story, and what he has come to be known as now. An ass. The problem media had with his jerk-ness was the disconnect they read into his espoused causes and what he later “did to his wife.”
     Some leftists would also include the true compassion for the poor in Che Guevara as belonging to this roster of victims of Western media pigeonholing, he whose image has been handled by American rightist media—or so those leftists would aver—to revolve around certain Cuban executions alone. The problem media had with his jerk-ness was the biased disconnect they read into his espoused objective and what he had to do to the enemies of the state, never mind if the West itself did the same to its outcasts, mostly blacks.
     The problem with social liberal jerk-ness is it’s passive and tagged, requiring lots of explanation. There is the other kind of jerk-ness, the managed jerk-ness, often associated with false progressives, although any political bent can appropriate this approach.
     Unlike the social liberals whose flaws are observed and hyped by the enemy, false progressives traditionally flaunt their character flaws as hallmarks of ordinariness to which the masses must (and often do) relate. In short, they manage these flaws in the media to gain the applause of the masses’ own, as if their flaws are proud reflections of the masses’. One could say that their argument is full of bread and circus, an ongoing argumentum ad captandum aimed at duping the object of their treachery by pretending to be on their side in a pre-defined conflict with a pre-defined elite.


photo by Associated Press, linked from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/anthony-bourdain-paula-deen_n_1522031.html

NOW, I’m not going to illustrate my characterization of the asshole and jerk (social liberal or otherwise) further with names from the political arena, these names often being with a following cloaked in the diaper of confirmation bias, talk about whom—therefore—would lead us nowhere rational.
     Let me talk instead about two chefs, embroiled in a seemingly similar contrast of positions in 2011, as a metaphor for what I mean by jerk-ness that presupposes conflict, which consequently raises the bar of any contest.
     In mid-2011, famous chef Anthony Bourdain, still streetwise but well-loved enfant terrible of food television, added another name to his roster of named worst chefs, this time the equally famous and well-loved Paula Deen. Bourdain called Deen most dangerous to America for her unholy connections with evil corporations, all the worse because shes proud of the fact that her food is f---ing bad for you. His reactions main gist was contained in this clause: “I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it is OK to eat food that is killing us.” He finished up with a painful punch: “Plus, her food sucks.” One would have thought that that last sentence was all he really wanted to say.
     This time, however, he got a target who fought back. Said Deen: “Anthony Bourdain needs to get a life. You don’t have to like my [and those others’] food . . . but it’s another thing to attack our character. I wake up every morning happy for where I am in life. It's not all about the cooking, but the fact that I can contribute using my influence to help people all over the country. In the last two years, my partners and I have fed more than 10 million hungry people by bringing meat to food banks. She added, I have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable.
     Many food writers, while conveying their admiration for Bourdain’s TV show and personality, sided with Deen on this latest exchange—after Bourdain’s last word on a tweet that went: “Resolved: Next time Im asked (for the millionth time) who the worst cooks on Food Network are, Ill just shut up. Who cares?”
     The food nation was divided.
     At the outset, Bourdain did come off as an “asshole,” as some comments put it, sounding quite unfair in implying Deen has been a major contributor to Americans’ obesity problem, though that statement could have been positively taken as simply in cognizance of Deen’s broad fandom, a fandom who seems to be worshipful of her fatty, fried foods dipped afterwards in mayonnaise heaven. Was Bourdain being envious?
     On closer examination, however, since we might find it hard to connect Bourdain’s rant with Michelle Obama’s campaign to reverse childhood obesity, we may glean a simple elliptical point in this latest Bourdain sardonic grunt.
     You see, many food writers missed Bourdain’s point when they failed to review his own record with beurre blanc dips and fatty foie gras. And they seemed to have been taken in by Deen’s argumentum ad captandum, wherein she dangled her connection to food banks as her bread and circuses recipe for applause against Bourdain’s merely chain-smoking, punk rock-loving enfant terrible image that seems to constantly hate the majority’s good taste even while celebratory of their street taste. Understandable, yes, considering food writers are not trained like political scientists to accept the fact that champions of mass behavior are themselves posited in a sort of rebel’s ivory tower stance (in defense or in offense).
     That was sad, because—for one—every time Bourdain says something philosophical on his show or in his books, its always with a tongue in cheek, albeit substantive with allusions. Sad, likewise, because media might have noticed those times when he’s totally serious, as when in the throes of a (to him) rarity, sentimentally enjoying fatty chicharrones with pan de pais in a Puerto Rico small-town plaza. If media had taken the time to review his record, though of course I am speaking from a position of perfect hindsight, they would have seen the reason why he has earned the love of many—he has been one Ramones-loving “jerk” of a champion passionate about empowering peasant food” in their purity, beyond the apostasy and sacrilege of fusion. He praises local food because of their local-ness, not their bastardized here-from-there-ness. Taking note of that significance, they might have been able to conclude that its possible it wasnt really those other chefs (that he named worst) that he hated, hed easily be Emeril Lagasses friend tonight after being the enemy yesterday, but the corporatizations of food around them, including those food idealizations espoused by Food Network.
     So, that said, we cant and mustn’t take Bourdain seriously and literally on any sudden Jamie Oliverian concern about fat’s popularity, or any sudden un-Bourdainly rally for healthy haute-ness for that matter, knowing him to be that ongoing champion of much unhealthy stuff that he now seemed to be rallying against. Those unhealthy stuff he’d raised like flags before include the ever-No Reservations-popular foie gras, accompanied by such delights as, say, Quebecs cheese-heavy poutine, that pop up every now and then in his shows. As for his supposed hatred for “corporatization,” it must be clarified likewise that he has been a staunch defender of Ferran Adrias recipes using such corporation-churned products as Smint.
     So, lets keep it all in context from now on. The Bourdainene thesis is: pure peoples food versus culinary bastardizations and simplistic fusions by importation. When he imports, he makes sure he doesn’t bastardize, even when he attempts variations. Therefore, when he says “I dont like your piña colada, its so unhealthy and bad,” he really means that this corporate invention is no better than crappy corporate cheese by Kraft that needs a Ferran Adrian artistic doing-over to be acceptable to an un-duped people who’ll be paying for it. Hed preach against promoters of obesity like Deen while praising a coconut-water flavored roasted pig in Bali, its lard dripping, for the same reason. Food integrity.
     Its not what the kid says, its what he means, then. Hes that kind of a jerk, that sort of “peasant food”-championing asshole that the food media couldnt, at least for a couple of weeks, connect to a food thesis.
     Now, having said that, clarifying things on Bourdains behalf which seemed to require a lot of explanation, let me say now that I doubt that Bourdains rant would have discouraged many a Bourdain fan from his shows. It might even be safe to say that his fans will remain his fans whatever the hell he says to offend others. In fact, I think the only moral one could derive from this brouhaha is with the fact that non-fans of the man got interested in what he was talking about, some getting interested in what he really meant to say, if only to see whose side they could side with. One would have thought, were he running for political office, that this jerk-ness was all managed.

PARENTS teach their kids not to be jerks.
     A friend of mine once ranted over a just-transpired experience with an (to her) asshole, “Why did God create assholes? I know they’re where shit come from.”
     But, then, of course, there are assholes and there are assholes. And the good thing about them, all sorts of them, is they actually liberate us from our own stupid shit. Theyre something to be thankful to God for, since it is, after all, by their mere existence that we are able to churn out revolutions from our guts. We begin to discuss right and wrong, good and bad, left and right. A conflict of views ensues, and a real contest is instigated.
     But sadly, presently, if the poll surveys are to be our mark, it seems that Jun Magsaysay’s having been an asshole to the Fertilizer Fund Scam’s backers and defenders and Risa Hontiveros’ being a female jerk to the RH Bill-hating male-managed Catholic Church (“they must respect the separation between Church and State”) have already been so quickly pigeonholed as soft by media, thus into the dustbins of short-term memory. The resultant on their media image has been different from John Edwards’ (realigned) or Che Guevara’s (biased). In contrast to, say, presidential sister Kris Aquino’s image after her public dramatizations of her husband’s purported evil manners that have instigated a debate on many a Facebook thread, they (Jun Magsaysay and Risa Hontiveros) are coming out too clean, seemingly perceived as devoid of enemies and therefore boring.
     Someone must hype up their having, like Anthony Bourdain, been jerks once. [END]






Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mas mabenta sa mga network ang bakbakan at iyakan sa Sabah kaysa ang mapayapang usapan sa geopolitics (o, Ang tunay na kuwento sa likod ng Sabah invasion)


photo from http://blauearth.com/2010/09/24/ma-mon-luks-masuki-siopao/

AWAY SA TOPIC
JANUARY 9, 2013. Naroon kaming tatlo, ako, ang kaibigan kong pintor at ang kaniyang asawa, sa Ma Mon Luk Quezon Avenue kasama ang ilang mukhang pulitiko sa ibang mga mesa na dumating lulan ng mga Pajero nila na may kasama pang mga police escorts.
      Kung maririnig mo ang usapan namin, parang see-saw: ang kaibigan ko'y gustong mag-focus sa mga simbolo ng pop culture habang ako ay nakatuon, at least sa araw na iyon, sa mundo ng geopolitics. At lahat ng ito ay sa harap ng mainit pang siopao bago dumating ang aming wonton soup.
      Geopolitics. Don't we just love this topic? Isn't this the alphabet we'd like to see in our soup? By we, of course, I can't include Philippine television.
      Unti-unti, nadala ko rin ang kaibigan ko sa topic na mas gusto ko noong araw na iyon, at napunta na nga ang usapan namin sa pagtulong ni Mr. Ma sa mga Hapon noong panahon ng giyera, mga Hapong gustong magpalaki ng teritoryo para makakuha ng yamang maiuuwi sa kanilang Emperador at mga isla. Painful memory, but almost forgotten. Sa isang mesa naman, pinag-uusapan ang isang tumatakbo sa pagka-senador na si Mitos Magsaysay, na sabi'y dismayado at di natuloy ang ZTE deal ni Gloria Arroyo with China (see ZTE scandal). Pero bagamat politics na may geopolitcs pa rin ang usapan from table to table, walang cinematic theme sa Ma Mon Luk, walang barilan kahit me mga talk of wars of the past. Dito, everything's pure, boring Discovery Travel and Living television around a hot siopao while waiting for one's wonton soup.


photo from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-07/ignored-sultan-s-malaysia-invasion-risks-peace-southeast-asia.html

AWAY SA LUPA
FAST-FORWARD sa February 9.
      Around 200 kataong pinamunuan ng kapatid ni Jamalul Kiram III na si Agbimuddin Kiram ang nag-land “illegally” sa Lahad Datu, isang town-district sa “Malaysian state” ng Sabah. Supposedly iyon ay isang irredentist siege na nag-a-assert ng claim ng Sulu Sultanate sa state ng Sabah. Ang mga taong yaon ni Kiram, na ang karamiha’y heavily armed, engaged in a standoff with Malaysian police, telling reporters Malaysia is "only renting" Sabah from the heirs of the Sultanate and should be the one to leave.
      Ang pangulo ng Pilipinas, si Benigno Aquino III, ay nagpadala ng mensahe kay Kiram na mag-stand down at i-settle ang kanilang claim sa pamamagitan ng isang peaceful process. Tinukoy niya ang kabuhayan ng mahigit 800,000 na Filipino (documented at hindi) sa Sabah na madidiskarel ng isang bayolenteng konprontasyon with the Malaysian forces. Inusig ni Aquino si Kiram sa kanyang ginawa at sinabihang pabalikin na niya ang kanyang mga tagasunod at pag-usapan na lang ang lahat, habang sinabi rin niyang nararapat arestuhin si Kiram sa kanyang ginawa, dahil siya’y nakikipag-giyera sa ngalan ng Pilipinas, na isang krimen ayon sa Konstitusyon. May mga nagalit sa media at sa oposisyon sa tough talk ng Presidente.
      Si Kiram naman, for his part, ang nagsabing siya’y naubusan na ng pasensya sa gobyerno ni Aquino (at ng mga nakalipas na gobyerno), at ito'y matapos ang isang diumano’y sulat niya sa Palasyo ay ayon sa kanya'y hindi binigyan-pansin ng kasalukuyang Pangulo. Malacañang searched, or pretended to search, for the letter. Sa kasagsagan ng standoff, nagpatawag ang Palasyo ng isang press briefing upang ianunsyo na ang nasabing sulat ay nakita, kung kaya’t makabubuti na sa lahat kung magpunta na si Kiram sa Maynila para mapag-usapan ang kanyang claim. Ngunit, dagdag pa ng announcement, di ito nangangahulugan na abswelto na si Kiram sa ginawa niyang paglabag sa batas ng Pilipinas.
      Nang tangkain nang arestuhin ng Malaysian forces ang grupo ni Kiram, nagkaroon ng palitan ng putok. Nabalita agad na may mga nasawi, kasama ang ilang sibilyan. Nagkaroon ng isang exodus ng mga manggagawang Pilipino (karamihan Tausug) by outrigger boats and small launches. Bagamat binalita ng Philippine media ang pagkasawi ng ilang Malaysian police, majority ng reports ay tungkol sa mga nangyayari sa partido ni Kiram at sa mga displaced Filipino workers, understandably.
      Ngunit tila sinisi ng media at ng social networking public opinion ang tough talk ng Aquino administration sa mga mensahe nito sa partido ni Kiram na tila raw siyang nag-udyok sa partido ni Kiram na ituloy ang “invasion” at naging sanhi na nga ng pagsiklab ng putukan. May tila pagkiling daw ang gobyerno natin sa mga reactionary forces at interes ng Malaysia. Yun ang sinasabi ng pamilya Kiram at tila yun din ang slant ng maraming reporting ng media at propaganda/amateur “reporting” sa Facebook. Gumamit ng hindsight bias ang mga opinyon ng kritiko ng gobyerno para ipagduldulan ke Aquino ang hard tone na ginamit niya para takutin si Kiram, na ayon sa kanila’y isang tonong tila di umobra. Hi-nype-up ng mga opinyong ito ang isang “amateurish handling” daw ng gobyerno sa ongoing crisis, at tinawag pa nga ang later “disengagement” call ni Secretary of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas na mabagal ang pagdating sa huling minuto.
      Sa kasagsagan ng conflict, umapela rin si DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman sa media na huwag tawaging “refugees” ang mga Pilipinong pabalik ng Mindanao galing Sabah. “Can I also request the media not to call them refugees because they are not,” she reportedly said. “They’re returning citizens. They are not refugees. Kasi iba ‘yung refugee. It’s as if you’re fleeing your country and you don’t have a country; they do. They are Filipino citizens, working in Sabah [who are] unfortunately not documented.”
      Tila nag-backfire ang statement na ito ni Soliman, what with media’s focus on the horrors of the ongoing armed conflict. Soliman ought to have been aware of the fact that media’s micro-journalism was painting a patriot out of Kiram’s person and a Malaysian collaborator out of Noynoy Aquino’s.


photo from http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/photo/33989/evacuees-from-lahad-datu-villages-seek-shelter-in-govt-centers

AWAY SA DEPINISYON
OKEY. GUSTO kong dito simulan ang sanaysay ko tungkol sa isyu. Let us examine Soliman’s statement.
      “Kasi iba ‘yung refugee. It’s as if you’re fleeing your country and you don’t have a country; they do. They are Filipino citizens, working in Sabah [who are] unfortunately not documented.”
      Technically, mukhang wala namang mali. Dahil kung may paghahanap man ng refuge na nangyari, tila ito’y nangyari noon pa, noong lumikas ang mga workers na ito sa Mindanao patungong Sabah bilang mga economic refugees mula sa bansa nilang walang maibigay sa kanilang trabaho o kabuhayan.
      Technically also, di natin puwedeng masabing bansa nila ang Sabah, unless they count themselves as subjects of the Kiram monarchy, and many of them do not. Kahit ang isang Pilipinong nagkaroon ng titulo ng lupa roon would have a readily existing technical dispute between himself and the Kiram royal family.
      Technically, ang Sabah ay bansa in transit. On paper, it may be said to belong to the Philippines, ngunit wala pang may may-ari, dahil puwede mo ring sabihing technically ay maaaring di i-honor ng Kiram family ngayon ang 1962 ceding of Sabah to the Philippines ng previous Raja Muda na si Muhammad Esmail Kiram I. Puwede mo ring sabihing hindi rin atin ang Sabah kung wala tayong kakayahang i-enforce ang ating claim by force, which force would technically strengthen the claim. Technically, therefore, wala pang may may-ari dahil in transit, pinag-aagawan ang sovereignty, by both paper claims or claims by force (or disguised force).
      So, umaksyon na nga si Kiram III para sa kanyang sovereignty claim, na meron nang force element, through his irredentist move. Sadly, though, ang action na ito ni Jamalul Kiram III demonstrating sovereignty also presumed a sub-sovereignty, parang provincial sovereignty claim under the Philippines' national sovereignty claim. Malungkot ito, sabi ko, dahil may kontradiksyon. Malungkot, dahil ang kontradiskyon na ito ay hindi makita ng mga kritiko ng gobyerno, kung kaya’t tila kulang ang sumusuporta sa posisyon ng sarili nating gobyerno.
      Kaya tutulungan kong magpaliwanag ang gobyerno rito kung ano itong kontradiksyon. Ganito ang takbo no’n: ikaw, Kiram III, habang sinasabi mong ang provincial sovereignty claim mo ay dapat tinutulungan ng national sovereignty claim, gumawa ka ng isang unilateral na aksyon na nagpapakita na wala kang pakialam sa national sovereignty claim. Kaya ka nga gumawa ng sarili mong action demonstrating your own sovereignty, e. In effect, habang sinasabi mong Pilipino kang dapat tinutulungan ng Pilipinas, ang action mo ay walang pakialam sa Pilipinas, di nakinig sa Pilipinas, di pinansin ang concerns ng batas ng Pilipinas, at di nag-isip sa puwedeng mangyari sa mga Pilipinong nasa Sabah. At, kung totoo ang lahat ng sinasabi mo sa propaganda mo tungkol sa kadakilaan ng aksyon mo, prinesume mo na tutulungan ka ng isang bansang ayaw mo na o di mo kinikilala. Ano ka ba kung ganon? Masasabi kong ikaw ang hindi naging Pilipino, ikaw ay naging Kiramian lamang. Pero, of course, hindi nakita ng mga kritiko ng gobyerno yung kontradiskyon na iyon, kaya suwerte mo (at suwerte ng mga propagandistang nasa likod mo).
      Ang action ni Jamalul Kiram III ay hindi para sa Pilipinas. Ang aksyon niya ay para sa kanyang pamilya lamang, o para sa isang faction ng pamilya Kiram lamang, dahil ang pamilyang Kiram ay isang pamilyang mayroon ding kani-kaniyang claim sa soberanya sa kanilang apelyido at pagka-heredero. In short, mga kababayan, kung meron tayong claim sa Sabah, tayo sa Pilipinas, ang kalaban natin sa claim ay dalawa: ang Malaysian claim at ang claim ng faction ni Jamalul Kiram III. Sa palagay ba natin ay ibibigay sa Pilipinas ng faction ni Kiram ang Sabah kung makuha na natin ito mula Malaysia? Di matatapos doon ang giyera. Tayo naman ang gigyerahin ng royal forces ng Sulu.
      Entonces, tama si Soliman. Refugees nga ang mga lumikas na Tausug noong nasa Sabah pa sila, dahil ang Sabah mismo ay lupa that doesn't have a country yet. Nung bumalik sila sa Pilipinas, napunta sila sa isang bansang kanila at siguradong sila lang ang nagmamay-ari.


photo from http://positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/2013/3/what-you-should-know-about-the-sabah-conflict

AWAY PARA KANINO?
SUBALIT umiikot ang talakayan ngayon sa nakalipas, sa History ng Sabah, na tila may malakas na patunay na sa Pilipinas na nga ang Sabah. Ngunit, assuming na pakikinggan ito ng Malaysia, di ba iikot din ang tanong sa kung ano ang ibig sabihin natin ng “Pilipinas” na may karapatan sa Sabah? Ito ba’y ang buong Pilipinas bilang estado o ito ba’y Kiram family lamang (na kinikilala natin bilang mga Pilipino)? Kasi kung ang latter, ibig sabihin hindi natin ipinaglalaban ang karapatan ng Pilipinas sa lupa ng Sabah, ipinaglalaban natin ang karapatan ng isang pamilyang Pilipino upang makuha nila ang kanilang inangking lupa. Ito ay dapat klaro, sa dahilang kung tayo ay makikipag-giyera sa Malaysia, dapat alam natin na nakikipaggiyera tayo hindi sa ngalan ng Pilipinas kundi sa ngalan ng isang Pilipino-kunong pamilya. Ang lupang ipaglalaban natin gamit ang dugo ng ating mga anak ay upang maibalik sa pamilyang Kiram ang kanilang lupa. Tanong ko: ipadadala mo ba ang anak mo na gawin ang patriotic act na ito para sa isang inagaw na islang pagmamay-ari lamang ni Lucio Tan?


photo from http://pattaya-times.com/a7855-thailand-facing-competition-battle-in-asean-economic-community

PUNO’T DULO NG AWAY
SO, OKEY. Technically Sabah is the Philippines', as per the former sultan’s ceding of Sabah to the Philippines in 1962. Pero this is all technicality looking at the past. Technicality looking at the future would shed light on the behavior of the country's leadership, at maaaring magbigay-sagot sa atin kung "bakit ganun ang behavior ng Malakanyang at tila pumapabor pa sa Malaysia."
      Eto. Bakit ba nag-apura na si Jamalul Kiram III at ang kanyang mga funders at gumawa na ng isang desperate na show of force para i-claim ang kanyang proprietary rights sa lupa ng Sabah (habang hinihimok ang gobyerno natin na tulungan siya kasama ang “ating” sovereignty claim)? Hindi ako naniniwalang nagpadala nga ng sulat sa Malakanyang si Kiram. Tumakbong senador ng Lakas-Kampi-CMD noong 2007 at nakabili ng million-pesos worth of weapons, pero di makalipad sa Maynila para makalapit sa ilang mga opisyales ng gobyerno? Simple lang ang rason. Ayaw talaga ni Kiram at ng kanyang mga funders ng peaceful talks na alam niyang (nilang) walang patutunguhan. (Ngayon na lamang sila nanghihingi ng talk with the president, matapos nilang makita na wala silang ipoprogreso sa standoff maliban sa pagkalipol ng kanilang angkan).
      Oo, iniisip nila noon, bago ang bakbakan, na walang patutunguhan ang peaceful talks. Kasi nga naman, in a matter of months na lang, come 2015, magsisimula na ang ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), isang magaganap na economic at political revolution sa Southeast Asian region that would recontextualize (and postmodernize) the Sabah dispute. Prime movers ng ASEAN Economic Community ang Philippines at Malaysia. Why do you think inapura rin ang Bangsamoro treaty? Why do you think Malaysia finally agreed in the Aquino period, after starting to entertain the idea in the Ramos period, to have nothing to do with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) [with Indonesia’s help] any longer? Gusto na ng ASEAN region na tapusin ang mga maliliit na territorial disputes sa rehiyon para imbis na papunta sa secessions ay magtrabaho na ang lahat para sa integration, kahit man may mga autonomous na regions sa loob nito. Naniniwala ang ASEAN governments na narito ang tunay na power para sa lahat ng ASEAN members, at sa mga corporations ng ASEAN member countries, laban sa superpowers at kanilang mga super-siopao intereses.
      Alam ng gobyerno natin na hindi padadala si Kiram sa mapayapang usapan dahil alam niya rin na getting obsolete na ang sultanate claim. At alam din marahil ni Aquino na walang saysay ang makipag-usap kay Kiram, kung kaya’t ang unang naging hakbang niya ay ang takutin si Kiram ng arrest, dangling the Philippine constitution, at para takutin ang sinumang iba pa na gustong sumunod sa movement ni Kiram.
      Habang nangyayari ang Sabah invasion ni Kiram, ano sa palagay niyo ang binabalita sa PTV-4, ang government channel? Ang pag-uusap ni Noynoy Aquino at ng Sultan of Brunei. Ang Brunei ang isa pa sa hinihimok na sumali totally sa integration, na may tila konting problema sa integration dahil sultanate din ang lupa ng Brunei. By the way, ang Malaysia ay mayroon ding mga sultanates, being a state with a constitutional monarchy. . . .
      Itong lahat ang macro-view at future view, hindi ito ang past view. Sa pananaw ng mga Pilipinong sumasang-ayon sa integration, ang malaking kalaban natin ay hindi ang Malaysia kundi ang economic at political bully na China! Makakaalis tayo sa pagka-inferior sa China (or, more properly, makakacompete tayo sa standing ng China) kung mag-iintegrate ang Malay race, economically at first at pag-isa ng aviation routes nito sa 2015. Who knows kung susunod na agad ang United States of Southeast Asia in a matter of a few years, towards a supranational union.
      Ito. Ito ang puno't dulo ng lahat ng kaguluhang ito. (With some sidebar stories, perhaps, about Lakas-Kampi-CMD interests to boot).


photo from http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/we-need-to-know-our-neighbours-in-asean-better-1.236693

TINAPOS NA AWAY
MALAYSIA helped the MILF and MNLF movements precisely to protect its interests in Sabah. Tapos, bigla-bigla, ayaw na niya. Ito ang rason: may mas maganda nang interest na hindi lang para sa kanya, para sa lahat din. Hindi maaaring walang rason ang mga biglaang pagbago ng ihip ng hangin kung bakit ang magkaaway ay biglang magdedecide na huwag nang mag-away. Ito yun, ito ang rason. At iyon din ang rason kung bakit may free flow na ng workers to and from Malaysia na di na istrikto sa dokumentasyon. Sa mga susunod na dekada, hindi na foreign country ang Malaysia, parang ibang state/province na lang ng isang rehiyon na may iisang ASEAN passport.


photo from http://www.internationalist.org/philippineselections0504.html

DAHIL SA MGA KAAWAY?
Okay, so, now that it's out of the bottle, tanong ngayon: bakit tinago ito ng Malakanyang at hindi na lang sinagot ng diretso ang puno at dulo? Ito pa siguro ang pagkakamali. Sa takot na any loud masses-directed announcement regarding the AEC would mobilize pro-China Philippine leftists to sing anti-globalization songs, Malacañang contrived diverse rationales for its actions that looked "favorable to Malaysia." But that reason, the AEC reason, is the only reason that will pacify the nation. Well, understandably, of course, the pro-China Left sa buong rehiyon ay maaaring makalikom ng following ng madla para ibalik tayo sa middle ages ng division.

CONSPIRACY:
President Aquino issues warning to people who plotted the expedition of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s men to Sabah. MALACAÑANG PHOTO BUREAU

WALANG KAAWAY?
Noong di pa nagsisimula ang bakbakan, may pinakalat na feelers ang Malakanyang na may intelligence reports daw silang nakuha na may kinalaman ang dating administrasyon sa pagsalakay ng mga Kiram sa Sabah. Marami ang natawa rito. Ipatatawag daw ng Palasyo ang ilang tao noon ng administrasyong Arroyo, kasama na rito si former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales, ang parating pinaghihinalaang may pakana pag may ganitong mga pangyayari (Glorietta explosion during proceedings for Arroyo’s impeachment, LRT explosion during proceedings for Joseph Estrada’s impeachment, etc.) Sabi ng oposisyon at ng media, ano na naman daw stretch ng imagination ito ng Malakanyang? Bakit daw naghahanap ng kaaway na wala rito? Nasa Malaysia raw ang kaaway natin, at bakit daw di tulungan ng gobyerno ang ating kapwa Pilipino, ang mga Kiram?
     Pero kung intelligence reports, iaassume ba natin na walang katotohanang mayroon nga nito? Sa pagkakaalam ko, matagal na ang understanding ng Lakas people with CMD (Christian Muslim Democrats)/PDSP (Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas) people, kaya nga Lakas-Kampi-CMD alliance, which latter party includes Kiram (under Norberto Gonzales’ PDSP’s banner). Natatandaan mo ba noong pinag-uusapan pa lang ang ASEAN Economic Community na mula pa sa panahon ni Fidel Ramos? Tapos nagpatayo si Gloria Arroyo ng quasi-consular office sa Sabah noong panahon na niya? At di ito pinayagan ng Malaysia? Nung luminaw na ang usapang ASEAN Economic Community noong latter part of 2007, biglang sinabi ni Gloria Arroyo na di na interesado ang Pilipinas sa sovereignty claim nito sa Sabah. Marami ang umangal. Ano ang nasa likod nitong pagbabagong ito? Noong 2007, pinatakbo ng Lakas-Kampi-CMD si Kiram for senator. Bakit? Kung wala ka nang sovereignty claim na isinusulong, bakit kaalyado mo ang isang taong may patuloy na prorprietary claims sa Sabah? Ha? A, oo, may proprietary claim pa nga pala. Sinabi ba ni Gloria Arroyo na di na rin interesado ang Philippine government na suportahan ang proprietary claims na ito? Ibig sabihin, kung magkaka-ASEAN Economic Community, at ang Sabah ay magiging autonomous province ng ASEAN Economic Community, at rendered obsolete na ang sovereignty claims ng lahat ng bansa, at least mayroon pa ring proprietary claims. Shortly after Kiram was adopted by Lakas-Kampi-CMD's senatorial slate, pinalaya rin ng Arroyo government si Nur Misuari early in 2008. Naaalala rin ba natin ang dating attempts ng Arroyo government later for a Bangsamoro treaty on ancestral domain na nauwi sa pag-teterrorize ng ilang paksyon ng MILF dahil sa conflict ng gusto ng Malakanyang at ng desisyon ng Korte Suprema tungkol sa treaty? At may pamumugot pa ng ulo ng ilang miyembro ng Philippine Marines na nangyari?
     Tanong: ano ba ang maaaring interes ng mga tao ng Lakas-Kampi-CMD sa Kiram clan? At kay Misuari, gayung delikado pa ring challenge ang waning MNLF sa stronger MILF? Or, by a stretch of the imagination, ano ang puwedeng interes ng mga funders-we-don't-want-to-believe sa Sabah? Hmmm. Alam niyo, ang oil reservoir sa ilalim ng sedimentary rock na pinagkukunan ng mayaman-na-ngayong Brunei ay parehong source na pagkukunan mo kung magdidrill ka sa Sabah offshore. Matagal nang binalak palawigin ng Malaysia at ng Petronas ang drilling doon, pero dahil nga sa claimants hindi ito magawa (ng hayagan).
     Balik tayo sa funders. Noong pinaplantsa pa lang ang Bangsamoro treaty ng Noynoy Aquino administration, wala kang maririnig kay Nur Misuari. O baka lang hindi marinig dahil walang lumalapit na taga-media. Noong malapit na ang araw ng pirmahan at kumpirmado na ng government media ang withdrawal ng support ng Malaysia sa MILF (at waning MNLF), at Malaysia pa nga ang tumulong sa pag-uusap ng lahat ng partido, heto't nag-iingay na si Misuari laban sa treaty bagamat may mga delegates siya rito, na kung tutuusin mo ay wala namang mababawas sa kanya (unless maging unreasonable siya tungkol sa hatian ng natural resource revenues at sa territory na masasakop ng autonomous region). Or, heto't may mga taga-media nang lumalapit kay Misuari (sino kaya ang nagsabi sa kanila na puntahan si Misuari?). Ngunit ito ang tanong ngayon: kalian ba nagkaroon ng multi-million peso weapons ang mga Kiram? Sino ang nag-supply sa kanila? Bagamat sa una ay dineny ng MNLF na nasa likod din sila sa napabalitang sabotahe sa Bangsamoro treaty between the Aquino government and MILF at sa pag-provoke sa mga Kiram na gawin ang balak nila, noong Marso 5, 2013 ay kinumpirma ng MNLF spokesman na si Hadhi Acmad Bayam na mayroon silang mga Malaysia-trained na tao at mga nakatagong weapons na ipapadala para tumulong sa mga Kiram.
     Ngayon, corollarily, sino ang may kapangyarihan o access para ma-monitor ang accounts ng pamilya Kiram, their capacity to buy weapons, outgoing funds and incoming funds, big and small? At sino ang may capacity to monitor a sudden influx of journalists to Sabah prior to the Kiram's Sabah announcement of an "invasion"? Dalawa: Philippine government and Malaysian government. Ano ang findings ng intelligence nilang dalawa?
     Of course, we can choose to believe na walang funders, na lahat ng $3,000 ArmaLites ay donated lang ng mga concerned citizens. Oo nga at mahirap magpatunay sa publiko, lalo na kung may mga bagay na di puwedeng sabihin sa publiko regarding how governments can monitor the traffic of funds and sources (e.g., ipapaalam ba ng US na ang naintercept nilang Iraqi weapons ay galing sa team ni Oliver North kung hindi nag-leak sa media? Syempre hindi, internal na lang yon). Mahirap talaga para sa press release managers kung may delicacy sa paglabas ng information sa media kung may diplomatic repercussions din dito vis a vis a flammable public lacking in knowledge about the whole picture (inclusive of opposition partisans na may sariling propaganda agenda na nagbubulagbulagan sa whole picture). Tandaan natin na marami sa mga weapons ng MNLF ay nanggaling din ng Malaysia, at maaaring makasira sa role ng Malaysia sa mata ng publiko (both Philippine public and Malaysian public). [Conversely naman, puwede mong ilabas sa media ang mga bagay tulad ng existence ng isang Jose Pidal account na common knowledge sa isang bangko, pero iba naman ang haharang sa iyo roon sa paglabas ng detalye. Batas, hindi diplomatic issues.]
     We can choose to believe na walang funders, and even choose to believe all sorts of meme reports of rampant rape and torture sa isang Facebook wall na may larawan lamang ng nahuling mga bihag na galing sa kampo ni Kiram. Nagkalat ang “reports” sa Facebook na ni-layout sa Microsoft Word na nagsisisigaw ng katotohanan tungkol sa nangyayari sa Sabah na mga pagsasamantala ng mga Malaysian forces doon. Tila nanalo ang propaganda ng mga ganitong “reports” sa unang bugso sa mata ng matatalinong tao sa Facebook. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, kanya-kanyang confirmation bias na lang ito, sabi pa nga sa sociology. Hay naku, galing na ako riyan. Sa advertising industry, ang liit ng tingin namin sa masa (kasama na ang well-educated masses), madali mong mabilog sa pamamagitan ng mainstream at guerrilla media sa ngalan ng katotohanan.


photo from http://www.loyarburok.com/2011/10/04/perubahan-dan-kepeluangan/

AWAY NG MALALAKI VS. MALILIIT?
NGAYONG narito na nga tayo sa usapang AEC, sasabihin ba natin na tila biktima pa rin dito ang maliliit na tao na may mga buhay na nasawi at kailangan pa rin silang tulungan? Teka nga muna, sino bang maliliit, ang mga tao ni Kiram? Kung sasabihin nating ang AEC ay panaginip lamang ng mga malalaking industriya para sa kanilang mga sarili, thus an issue between people in power or big business and ordinary people like the Kiram warriors na namamatay sa sagupaan, hehehe, sino ba itong latter na tinutukoy natin? Ano ba ang interes nila? Di ba big oil business din para sa kanilang amo?
      Mas mainam na tanungin kung sino ang caught in the crossfire, sino ang kawawa. Inisip ba ni Kiram ang maaaring mangyari sa kanila, silang mga undocumented workers na Tausug sa Sabah, pag nakipagbakbakan siya sa Malaysian forces? Ano ang pakialam niya sa mga aliping Tausug na hindi miyembro ng royalty, ang interes niya ay ang claim niya sa oil reserves. Wala siyang pakialam sa maaaring mangyari sa kanila, pero ang nakakatawa, lumabas sa media na siya pa ang champion ng Tausugs. Ang micro-journalism nga naman, oo, at ang kanyang profitable na anecdotal factualizing at conclusions from one premise.
     Iyan ang nakakalungkot kapag puro facts ng politics on the ground and on Facebook walls ang kina-cover ng media, hindi ang facts ng geopolitcs behind the curtains na maaari sanang magbigay-linaw sa tao kung sino ang tunay na kakampi nila at sino ang huwad na champion. Lumabas na champion si Kiram ng mamamayang Pilipino at traydor ang sabwatang Pilipinas-Malaysia. Subalit sino ba ang magpapaganda sa buhay ng nakararami at sino ang mangingiwan lang sa maliliit sa tabi? Kaya lang kasi, ang mga usapang ganyan, PTV-4 lang ang nagcocover, boring.
     So, global conspiracy kaya itong AEC ng mga malalaking industriya? Subalit ang "global conspiracy" na ito ay transparent, lahat ng dokumento tungkol dito sa ASEAN Economic Community na ito ay available online. Pero magkakainteres ba ang ABS-CBN News o ang GMA 7 dito? Walang tensyon e. Syempre do'n sila sa mabenta. Isang babaeng ni-rape ng Malaysian police, kahit hindi kumpirmado at sinubo lang ng Kiram party o ng anti-Aquino part ng media, gagawing geopolitical reading. Nagsasaya ang opposition propaganda.


photo from http://www.prolanguage.co.th/

AEC LABAN SA AWAYAN
KUNG interesado sana ang media sa dapat ipinapaalam sa tao, o kung interesado sana ito sa konsepto na hindi dapat parating government-averse fourth estate ang media, at kung di rin sanang masyadong matatakutin ang government sa pagsiwalat ng tunay na impormasyon, disin sana ay matagal nang malinaw kung bakit inapura (as against “minadali”) ng Aquino government ang mga bagay-bagay tulad ng K-12, Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, etc.
      Kung may gagawa ng dokumentaryo tungkol dito, mainam sana kung ito’y all about the preparations for the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community launch, mga preparations mula pa sa panahon ni Fidel Ramos o beyond hanggang kay Arroyo kung kelan ito finally pinirmahan noong Nobyembre 2007, at hanggang sa Aquino period, kasama na ang pag-apura sa K-12, ang RH BIll (kasi kelangan kang magpakita na may interes kang magbawas ng liability para sa regional welfare fund), ang Bangsamoro treaty, airlines development at airport plans para sa ASEAN Single Aviation Market, etc., etc. Isama mo na rin diyan ang pagluwag ng Burmese government ke Aung San Suu Kyi, ang takot ng China kaya pinalibutan niya ang Spratlys at Scarborough Shoal, etc.
      Subalit kailangang i-brainstorm ng mga producers sa Ma Mon Luk iyang dokumentaryo na yan. Alam mo naman, sa network may awayan ang programming people tungkol sa topic, tungkol sa market, tungkol sa profit. At madalas nababasura ang usapang maganda ng geopolitics laban sa madalas na nananalong tensyong bigay ng micro-journalism, tulad ng bakbakan at iyakan. Sa Philippine news television, maliban sa PTV-4 at ABS-CBN News Channel talk shows, tila walang may gusto ng Discovery Travel and Living programming kung saan ang usapan ay umiikot lamang sa mga nakaraan nang labanan habang nagsasalo ang lahat sa mainit pang super-siopao. [END]