Hiatus

Posted: March 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog.  While it is true that this was not the longest time that I was silent or inactive, my inactivity is directly a result of my wife’s poor health.  I did a number of pieces when she was recuperating from a Whipple’s surgical operation August last year.  However, we’re again back to the hospital last December and two weeks ago for a number of medical issues.  Currently, we are soliciting blood to replace that which Rosalie used from the PGH Blood Bank.

It’s relatively easier to post in Facebook or tweet or retweet in Twitter than to compose a blog post.  

I am also engrossed with finishing my classes at the University of the Philippines, commenting on research proposals, marking papers, and composing examination questions.  Classes will end on March 27 while final examinations will commence after Holy Week.

This post is the best I can do at this time.  I can only write about what I will write about in the future.  Tomorrow, I will join a symposium jointly sponsored by the Asian Center and the Department of Political Science on the Sabah crisis.  I will speak on President Aquino’s management of the crisis and will surely transform my presentation into a blog post or two.

Next on the pipeline is a discussion of the role elections play in Philippine politics.  The key questions to be addressed include limited electoral choices, money politics, non-existent political parties, among others.  Not to be ignored is the continuing enthusiasm of Filipinos for elections, a phenomenon I alluded to in an earlier post (10 things we must know about Philippine elections).

I will not write about the (electoral preference) surveys.  I know I do not have the expertise or gall to make predictions or the organization and resources to conduct nation-wide opinion polls.  At best, what I can write about is movement in voters’ preferences.  For instance, pedigree and alignment with President Noynoy Aquino are principal reasons why candidates Grace Poe and Bam Aquino improved their standings in the latest polls.  Consider Grace Poe’s sales pitch: “Tatak FPJ” or roughly translated into English “Brand Fernando Poe Junior”.  FPJ was the box-office king of Philippine movies and is continuously perceived to have been cheated during the 2004 presidential elections.  

Bam Aquino, meanwhile, has capitalized immensely on his facial and jocular similarity with President Aquino’s father, the assassinated former Senator Ninoy Aquino.  In his campaign spiels and pitches, Bam continuously mentions that he is a member of the Aquino family–a family dedicated to service and sacrifice for the Filipino people.

Some observers noted that Poe’s surge is a result of empathy for the perceived wrong done to FPJ.  My response: nobody benefits from a sympathy vote if you are not related with the object of sympathy.  Example: if I run for senator of the Republic, I will not benefit from FPJ’s misfortunes unless I am Susan Roces or Lovi Poe. 

 

Others believed that Bam does not have an entirely empty performance; that Bam was an honor student of Ateneo University, served as chairman of the National Youth Commission, and was associated with the establishment of thousands of new enterprises across the country.  It’s my view that these accomplishments are less known than Bam’s surname.

In early April, I will present a paper on corruption within the uniformed services (police and military) in the Philippines during the annual meeting of the Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA) in Batac, Ilocos Norte.  The paper will examine the hypothesis that corruption is the norm rather than the deviant behavior within the uniformed ranks.  If true, the implications of such normality will be teased out.  If corruption is the norm, does this mean that thorough-going reforms within the police and military are impossible?  What makes the situation so intractable?  An entrenched web of corruption and crime among politicians, military, police, and criminals enabled one way or the other by money electoral politics?  Does this mean that the initiative is the hands of citizens and voters?  What can we do? What must we do?

During May, it will be most likely that my posts will be on the May 13 elections and the results.  

However, I will also write a post or two regarding changing Filipino attitudes vis-a-vis Filipino-Chinese (or the so-called Chinoys) across time.  During the Spanish colonial period, pogroms were launched by authorities against the Chinese migrants.  Later, the migrants were restricted to the Parian.  Eventually, a Chinatown will emerge.

As late as the 1950s and 1960s, anti-Chinese laws were passed and implemented such as the Retail Trade Nationalization Act and the Anti-Dummy Law.  Chinoys controlled the retail trade of rice and corn and the so-called sari-sari stores from where you can buy any household item from salt to sewing thread to cooking oil.  Chinese capitalists also employed dummies to hide their illegal ownership (because it exceeds legal limits) of business enterprises.  When the anti-dummy law was passed, Chinoys responded by marrying Filipinas and naming them as owners of the businesses.

During the martial law period, President Ferdinand Marcos bought the support of the Chinoys in two ways.  He increased the quota of Chinese migrants into the country and accelerated the naturalization or the process of acquiring Philippine citizenship.

Today, we consult a lot of Chinoy professionals, doctors especially. We shop in malls and deposit our money in banks owned and operated by Chinoys.  Are these the unintended consequences of the anti-Chinese laws of the past?  Driven out of retail, they went wholesale. Driven out of trade, a substantial number went into the professions.  As professionals, they interact not only with Chinoys but with Filipinos. In contrast, the Bumbay remained a petty money lender and is generally unintegrated with Filipinos. 

Attitudes towards Chinoys are quite different in the Philippines compared to Indonesia where anti-Chinese riots in Jakarta happened as late as 1997-1998.  Did Pinoys react adversely when Lucio Tan started gobbling up Philippine Air Lines, Philippine National Bank, and Air Philippines?  Are we aware that he apparently wants to buy anything that has “Philippines” in its corporate name?  How are we to react to Henry Sy’s alleged plan to build an SM mall in every major town in the Philippines?  How many more local businesses will be displaced? 

Like I said, keep tuned in!

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Comments
  1. bongmendoza says:

    hi infinitezip. i will be unable to complete a number of what i planned to do. three weeks after this post, my wife died and i had to cope with the great loss. i eventually spent a month as a visiting professor in Guangzhou, China, returned to photography after 20 years (albeit digital rather than film), and started dabbling in photopoetry the results of which you see in https;//bmmphotopoetry.wordpress.com.

    thanks once more. let’s keep in touch…

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