Friday, 31 July 2015

"Culturally Political"

"Culturally Political"

It's been long time when yours truly has involve in politics.

Making topics ranging from old buildings, paintings, to a series of socio-economic bullshit that has been both debated and denied from days and months, this person thinks that whatever people tries to escape from it, everything undergoes political arguments, if not settlements, and absolutely affects one's interests no matter one or another tries to deny and escape from it. From the sermon at the pulpit to the latest vitamin shit, politics will always drive people to create, influence, urge people whether to get contented or to resist the current.

However, there are people whom likely to disregard politics knowing that politics are soiled and bloodied. True indeed, but Politics, in its very term, is a practise of influencing people. That from statecraft to religious and cultural affairs, "πολιτικός" tends to relate to every citizen whatever the latter, again tries to escape with the idea that Politics is dirty. 

Well, whatever people say, politics, like culture, is part of this person's life. If people dare to separate their loves from the polis, then sorry to say that politics is fast becoming personal as everyone seems willing to engage in statecraft. Yes, protesters want to fight as they confront the police just to go beyond parameters. It may sound strange but, to think that in a country whose mindset emphasises the family, the clan, the village, the community, then why to deny themselves to have awareness? To have consciousness in favour of interests?

It is obvious that to deny, if not to reduce man's clamor for change is to replace the agora with the market, to replace social awareness with consumerism, to replace the people with the individual as the driving force of history. To think that most people are preoccupied with soap operas and showbiz would say that they have any awareness on what goes on in the society, particularly information that can counter an established view? Behind the edifices of glass and steel is the shantytowns and backward yet arable estates in need of sustainable development and dignified way of life. The system can't provide as such beyond those of Potemkin programs and villages, of anything all for the sake of shutting people up and be contented in a staus quo of semifeudal-semicolonial variety. 

That somehow made some, if not most artists, writers be inspired and compelled to create so as to aware and stand up for themselves and for their communities. Folkish indeed, with all the appearances, realism, anything that tries to capture the imagination of a looker or a reader; but behind those works are politically-laced realities whose bottomline is to call for change. The system, again, denied the will to aware despite seeing it as beautiful such as those of Spoliarium and the Fall of Governor Bustamante. 
For sure in today's setting then maybe Luna and Hidalgo would be making protest art in a way today's painters featuring those via their artworks featured in rallies. Ironically, these two are engaged in politics via the Propaganda movement, and different from today's movements focused merely on "self-help for chrissakes" and posted via social media, they argued (both print and in actual debate) with the staus quo, particularly the friars and the reaction for keeping a "proud jewel" of the Christianised Indies backward and bereft of hope. 
So was Rizal, whom the contemporary youth thinks he is a blogger calling for self-help than social change, not knowing that is he high or not on Absinthe like Hemingway, Weed like Marley, or acid like Morrison given the words he's making in his works. True that he called for change with people idealising Crisostomo Ibarra, yet he failed to go beyond and instead leaving the story open ended for another chapters as if he himself admitted his mistake driving people to revolt. Yet still, he influened those who really yearned for revolt against the system the way those who idealise Ibarra yet in actual as acting like Isagani or Señor Pasta. The masses, driven by realities, has been politicised and hence yearning for a Simoun, Tano, or Elias to lead in a revolt those on high feared about.

Thus, the latter is trying to condition minds using the terms, colours, tastes, preferences of the young if not of the poor just to dissuade them from seeing the truth that is political. True that this writeup, or this page, although cultural, smacks of politics given that the realities made everybody politicised after every observation, both in actual and in visual, with the system trying to replace it with showbiz, markets, shit, anything just to replace awareness with illusions such as what is regularly shown on TV. Even family affairs are also affected by illusions, particularly those of preferences that sometimes becoming object of debates like choosing a degree, a career after college, or even music and TV shows with one insisting soap operas and the other favouring action or thriller. That sometimes undergo arguments to reminisce with.
Ironically, the system's action of depoliticising people is also political!

Anyways, as the system insist to keep firm as it continues in conditioning people, there will be those who able to dismantle knowing that theirs is unjust by spreading awareness. If people afford to say Gandhi's "be the change", hope that change encompasses everything than to limit in its own self, for if the latter prevails (as if trying to be like those of the elites), to is the stunting of an aspiration ought to realise as it requires awareness, enlightenement, enough to organise and mobilise against the storm of situation and time. 

Thank you. And by the way, seems that Brew Kettle drives this person to write this.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

"Praise but no Praise": Notes after Jim Paredes and his statement

"Praise but no Praise":
Notes after Jim Paredes and his statement

By Kat Ulrike

At first, this person admires Mr. Jim Paredes simply because of his songs. Yes, along with Danny Javier and Buboy Garovillo, APO Hiking Society has contributed contemporary Filipino society through its songs, especially during the mid-80s to 90s. And most of which are relevant enough such as "American Junk", "Awit ng Barkada", or even "When I met you".

However, this writeup tackles about Mr. Paredes not as a singer, but an avid apologetic of the present administration known for representing interests like its predecessors. Be it the Landlord or the Compradore, the present Aquino administration has failed to uphold its duty to ensure the welfare of its constituents, regardless of its projects, development plans, anything mostly for the sake of bragging yet failing to ensure as the father of the state.

In his recent post, seems that Mr. Paredes pointed his criticism, or rather say heckling towards those consistently fighting against the status quo, that Mr. Aquino tries to maintain and defend as such. From the common activist clamoring statements in Commonwealth Avenue to those from Batasang Pambansa, Mr. Paredes blatantly judged them not because of opposing Aquino, but for subjectively interpreting them as supporting Binay and China if not "didn't create jobs nor even infrastructure."
And if so, then seems that he didn't see the call of these activists, those ingrates what he described, that all of the culprits behind Pork Barrel Scam and its substitute, the Disbursement Acceleration Program from both Aquino and Binay be accountable! True that Binay and his folk did shit, how about Aquino and his folk too? Don't use the Binay issue just to cover up Aquino's incompetence in failing to ensure his constituents, for both of them did shit! And although good to see Mr. Paredes staged his anti-Binay rallies in Makati, again, the ones he abhorred are venting their rage comprehensively compared to his failed putsch that acts as if supporting the yellow peril. 

So is describing them as Pro-China. True that these activists are Anti-American government and its repressive policies as they rallied at Roxas Boulevard near the US Embassy, but to call them Pro-China? Again, how subjective. These activists are calling for Non-Alignment, of Peaceful Coexistence the way his folk love to say "pluralism" and other similar terms. True that these activists are inspired by Mao Zedong the way they inspired from Andres Bonifacio, of serving the people and be like the foolish old man who moved the mountains; but was he ignorant about these same activists protesting against Chinese interests few months ago? Or even the founding of a group opposing both American and Chinese intrusion? Perhaps he forgot the song "American Junk" with Pidro trying to get it off from his bloodstream! 

And lastly, of telling what Mr. Paredes called as "bastos" lawmakers for not making bills nor even projects. Excuse moi, but these lawmakers are the ones who performed well compared to those who make bills for chrissakes. Neri Colmenares solely pushed for the increase of benefits for the members of Social Security System, while Antonio Tinio pushes for the salary increase of teachers, same as Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela for their laws calling for women's and children's rights and welfare. Do need to say Mr. Terry Ridon calling for junking tuition and other fee increases especially those in State Colleges and Universities and allocating bigger budget for its subsidy? It will be a long rant for posting their achievements as lawmakers. And being a mambabatas pambansa, a legislator, a congressman has a specific duty, and it is to make laws and not making projects that are supposed to be by the executive department! 
Oops! Speaking of projects, or rather say infrastructure as what Mr. Paredes said, it is the executive department, courtesy of the Department of Public Works and Highways should do its job, particularly in building roads, bridges, and maintaining it. But since Mr. Paredes is thinking that lawmakers are also project makers, then how come Mar Roxas of the Interior and Local Government tolerate budget insertions both for his department as well as Congressman Egay Erice of Caloocan?
According to Ted Tuvera of the Daily Tribune, Php 102,000,000 is the secretary's budget and in 2016 be increased to Php 157,000,000! These should be rather allocated to the needs of Local Government Units rather than to these self-proclaimed benefactors that one of them happened to be a lawmaker! No wonder some of these lawmakers are forgetting their primary job which is to make laws to be observed by the people, than making names in a series of projects they shouldn't been there as such. 
Both Roxas and Erice are fellow Aquino's partymates in the Liberal Party, and for sure the late Macapagal the incorruptible, also a fellow Liberal, would be in disgust after seeing a mismanaged nation and a commitment treated as a political gimmick! Will the taxpayers accept what Roxas, Erice, and even the president doing with people's funds? Remember, that presidential wannabe, alongside Dinky Soliman of the Social Welfare and Development, had mismanaged post-Yolanda operations with all the rotting rice, canned goods, funds gone wasted if not pocketed by the scruplous. 

There are so many shits the system, via the Aquino administration has done harm than good to its constituents. Yet Mr. Paredes and other apologetics continues to take pride in it as if people will have cheap, affordable food in their tables. Most of Aquino's actions, especially his "righteous path" were half-baked realisations if not wholly rhetorical, worse, it has been soiled by corruption and bloodied by its repression; haven't he noticed that he is defending an haciendero who failed to give land to the needy tiller and bread for the hardworking and still suffering worker? He even praised Transportation and Communications secretary Abaya despite mismanaging rail transport with all its fare increases, dilapidated trains leading to accidents, and long queues in train stations particularly in EDSA? Perhaps Mr. Ted Tuvera is right to say about Mr. Paredes's view which states that criticising Aquino means subversion (or "communistic" as what he actually said), and if that's the case then is this what Democracy looks like? If so then right was the late Lenin that Democracy is same as in its Greek origins: Freedom for the slaveowners. Not also even wondering from these apologetics and crackpots that the more the system keeps its interests with all its bread and circuses (coming from mainstream media), there are those who still seeking truth from facts to justify rebellion against the status quo, knowing that behind those beauteous wonders lies stinking truths. 

Again, this person appreciates his music, but does not mean he appreciates his rant against those who once he joined and fight for freedom and democracy. Actually, in today's situation his music is for entertainment's sake, save those of "American Junk" for the Philippines is really enjoying American Junk and has to be removed from its system! But for today's relevance? The song of Florante de Leon deserves much praise than he, that despite being a Marcos Loyalist (pardon to the reader), his song resonates the reality under today's administration people called as unjust. 

That's all for now. By the way, here is the song "Against Dilaw" by Florante de Leon with Hajji Alejandro, enjoy!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Braving the Rains, Raising the standards of Rage

Braving the Rains,
 Raising the standards of Rage

(Or Notes after "critics" over protests)

by Kat Ulrike

Source: Philippine Star

At first, this person cannot blame these Activists and its supporters for still chanting and raising their hatred against the system. With all their actions, it shows what V for Vendetta's Norsefire says about "Strength through Unity, Unity through Faith" as they endure anything that surrounds them.

That despite the rain, water cannons, concertina wire-covered barricades, and hundreds of riot policemen, if not a groupuscle of apologetics hidden behind hundreds of dummy accounts attacking them in social media sites, the program continues with all the messages expressing disgust, hatred, shit, in a regime whose path is all but soiled and bloodied. And most of these pictures, coming from this person, as well as other witnesses like Renato Reyes and, had sought how these people chose to take the risk in pursuit of asserting an alternative the system chose to oppose due to their "cherished interests".  

Source: ABS CBN News

And even the ones inside the session hall have also expressed dissent to a regime synonymous with its continuation of past programs, repressions, and inclination towards oligarchic interests. Five decades ago, the system had afforded to say that the "Rebellion of the Poor" established a new political bond based principally on equality, yet that popular demand remains stronger, especially as the system betrayed its own terms and instead favouring their own interests in a way landlords and compradores trying to keep firm in their properties. Yes, to be poor in today's society as what they say is no longer to be under privileged, but reality made it obvious that people from all walks of life are expressing disgust. Given that those on high, particularly the one speaking at the rostrum of Batasang Pambansa and its paid and unpaid hacks takes pride in rising gross domestic and national products, credit ratings, and series of projects soon to be finished.
Yet these are all but half-baked if not wholly rherotical, that obviously failed to ease the minds and hearts of the hate-filled workingpeople, who are consistently raped by rising costs of goods and services, taxes, unjust policies, and half-hearted statments supported by truncheons if not gunfire. For sure one would hear extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, if not rising poverty rates and widened gaps between the afford and the unafford. 

And if one system-sponsored apologetic would afford to tell they are doing nothing besides protesting, then did these apologetics speak about people behind "Pork Barrel" and the "Disbursement Acceleration Program"? Of oligarchs selling the contested isles to China? None of them would dare to speak if not insisting the importance of DAP especially those of infrastructures and scholarships sponsored by profiteers and men enough to be described as those making socio-economic sabotage. True that the intentions may be deemed good but with the overpricing and kickbacks it end soiled with its men be deemed having lack of integrity in making their commitments as civil servants. 
Worse, these apologetics would be counterreactionary as some of their statements clamor for change, but change without dismantling the status quo of repression and disenfranchisement? Of what is social change if it does not require reordering the society according to justice and equity? Even the non-violent Gandhi did expressed disobedience to authority knowing that the authorties action is unjust.

Be it from the yellow or from the orange, or any other colour sponsored by the system, it had created a centuries-old mess that no individual alone that is full of idealism can able to end it. Of what are the programs if these are tainted with the soiled hands of corrupted men and murderers, if not failing to bring justice to the ones in need of employment, good living wage, and affordable prices of goods and services? Of what is democracy if it is not for the poor whom the system being used and dumped afterwards? Regardless of the statements and half-hearted actions, the people chose to assert what is just on their behalf; while these so-called "learned", regardless of their whinings about these dissenters failed to understand their plight, if not intentionally prefering to be both blind and deaf simply because these people dissenting disagrees with all the "achievements" the system loves to take pride as such. Not paying taxes? Paid to attend? Ignorant? Seems that they failed to see these vast mass of dissenters are the ones paying indirectly via "Value Added Tax" if not paying directly with taxes that affected their benefits, and if they paid to attend then maybe one of them able to buy groceries afterwards! But seriously speaking, lack of community empowerment and failure to allocate taxes they paid both direct or indirect to genuine domestic development has its dearest costs such as to ridicule and rage against the despotic order no matter it tries to act as "benevolent". Sorry if they vent rage, of trying to go beyond the barricades, burning effigies, and ridicule the "contributions" made by a corrupt clique knowing that their cause is just such as an alternative the system intentionally prefer not to enact as it requires reordering the basic social structure these people-on-high is trying to maintain. 

Again, cannot blame the ones in disgust amidst comments in social media. For at least they brave the rains compared to the policemen. Why the hate towards these people venting rage for change? For sure those who afford to make comments also hate Aquino too, but maintaining the status quo being enjoyed and limiting change to the so-called "self" rather than urging to mobilise the community for the sake of initiatives? How hypocritical.

Notes after 27

Notes after 27

As the system continues to keep firm its its interests, especially that brought its very own rottenness, so is the vigilance of the people and its means to dismantle it. 

That after seeing marches and effigy burnings, speeches and pamphlets, of braving the rain and attempts to pass through the barricades, alongside fashion shows and sumptuous food served at Batasang Pambansa,  it is clear that as the present administration continues to take pride in its half-baked illusions, so is the hatred that made its constituents vent rage into social media if not in the streets facing the barricades and riot police. Such scenes may find it annoying, especially those complaining about traffic, if not side commenting how meaningless those who are trying seek truth from facts and voicing out its inconvenience, much more an alternative that requires breaking the shackles of interest. 

Knowing that despite rising Gross Domestic and National Products and other economic rates, credit ratings and other terms used by economists and bragged by its apologetics and fanboys, same old problems prevail. Everybody knows that the system behind, not just the administration itself, continues to deny if not countering it with half-baked projects and half-truths whose primary intention is to keep the discontented stop from its dissention. And quite wondering that the more the system asserts its illusory remarks, the more people ridicule and ask "where were its fruits?"

Anyways,  reality is much more enduring than the tales made by the system. That despite all being featured in the business reports, the gap remains widened; that despite reports boasting agricultural self-sufficiency, malnutrition prevailed with fake or expired products including rice putting everyone at risk; that despite promise of justice and equality under the law, harassments and fear against the dissenting remains at large in both cities and provinces. Of what is a righteous path the administration taking pride with if same old issues remain and still aggravated by those trying to keep firm in their interests? Does the reports coming from the state, particularly from the present administration really brought justice to the affected and awareness to everyone? A few would be but doesn't guarantee knowing that these reports, consists of statements and half-baked projects are actually existing gimmick than a constitutional policy. 
In fact, according to Diosdado Macapagal, in his preface from the University of the East thesis "The Welfare State", said:

"The expectation of the nation's resources for the benefit of the few is traceable to the colonial period when in pursuit of the policy of administering and developing the country primarily for the aggrandisement of the colonial power, the government and economy was placed in the continuous control of the representatives of the ruling power and the native who collaborated with them in a coalition of monopoly and exploitation.

When independence was finally restored in 1946, the country remained in the monopolistic hold of the indigenous elite who had reaped the opulence and power from aggrandizing coalition with the colonial master whom they had largely replaced. 

In the exuberance of liberation from alien rule and exploitation, it was natural for the impoverished masses to hope that they could expect better justice from the new ruling oligarchy composed of their own countrymen. But they have been continually disenchanted as six administrations went by without meaningful reform that would give them the social justice denied them for centuries except to some extent in land reform which abolished peasant slavery in 1963 but even this has been inadequately implemented."

Well, like what Macapagal said, there are meaningful reforms that are inadequately impemented if not treated as a political gimmick. So much for its "pride" that obviously failed to feed, clothe, given shelter, dispense justice to its constituents. So much for reforms that end up as scraps of paper and intensifies popular protests. And for sure as discontent brews greater via comments in social media sites and commentaries in print, so are those whom again repeating the same whining on behalf of the system (or the "silent majority" as what they self-proclaim) against those whom are protesting, of pelting rotten eggs and enduring the water cannons being fired as they want to go straight from the barricades and riot policemen. 
Whether their words speaks of blatant reaction or counterreaction, of trying to accept the status quo (with all the illusions of development) or insist paper reforms (with all the illusions of change), for sure these can't appease those who felt rising costs of goods and services, lower purchasing power of their budgets, really existing landlordism, rampant corruption, and repression that brought fear and death especially to those whom trying to voice out their sentiment, after all, they have seen shit all the time as they encounter it in actual or in the TV.  Again, like what Macapagal said:

"Instead of reform and social justice, the people have seen monopoly and exploitation in continued ascendancy, vested interest expanding and becoming more strongly entrenched, government being used as a mechanism for worsening corruption instead of as an implement for true public service, national leaders joining the vested interests instead of helping to lift the masses from their bondage, and in this process of continued exploitation and oppression, popular rights and liberties were being steadily repressed in order to insure the continued despotism by the politico-economic autarchy over the populace who are helpless in the poverty. The pang of persistent exploitation has been aggravated by the painful circumstance that now the oppression is not so much from foreigners as from our own countrymen.

...The Old-style, U.S. inherited, profit-motive, laissez-faire capitalism that has been mindlessly worshipped by so many Filipinos has never worked to provide them with a decent standard of living, and it has zero chances of success now in these days of ferment and impatience...the people themselves must organise and fight for their rights..."

Sorry to use Macapagal as a reference, but, in today's era he could be deemed as subversive for speaking like no other activist in telling that the Filipino must organise and fight for their rights, that to revolt against the tradition of backwardness and corruption is to be justified. Why are the people, whether it is a farmer, a worker, a student, a professional, yet all suffering from crisis and widened gaps resorted to marches, throwing rotten eggs, stones, burning effigies, up to the taking of arms and declare armed struggle? The system that afforded to vent pride in the session hall has actually nothing serious to deal with centuries old issues besides those of its gimmicks, while apologists insist that there are major changes be it those of a rising economy, growing infrastructure, military modernisation, anything just to be bragged for chrissakes regardless of its actually existing defects and rising poverty rates. Righteous path is like any other tagline as Strong Republic, Angat Pinoy, Philippines 2000, or even the New Society that failed to curb landlordism, restoring integrity to a rotting bureaucracy, nor taking an independent course as a free and independent nation after being restored in 1946. 
Macapagal may had admitted that there are shortcomings and failures in his presidency, and for sure he regretted some of his policies that actually steered his nation backwards like his decontrol and other policies that is obviously, subservient to the interests of domestic and foreign oligarchs. But how about Aquino and his gang of opportinistic misfits who can't even punish their corrupted personages and taking pride in policies coming from their predecessors instead of theirs, if not old ways in new names? For sure one would rememeber how President Aquino once said he will end the Conditional Cash Transfer for it is Arroyo's, yet he still continue what his predecessor do under Dinky Soliman, hence GloriAquino, or even Neo-Arroyo! There are so many matters people would love to scruitinise in the name of seeking truth from facts, and remember: Macapagal was also a fellow Liberal like Aquino, and he can be as much Social Democratic as Abad and Hontiveros! Opportunistic misfits care to take pride in whatever project it may be, but to think that they benefit from its kickbacks, it negated its value no matter how "people benefited from its projects." The path that is righteous has been soiled and bloodied, regardless of what its paid hacks, its unpaid aologetics, and vast mass of counterreaction insist its relevance. 

And since few months from now and a new person comes in Malacañang's halls, whether it is yellow or orange, blue or green, sorry to say but these are both sides of the same coin being flipped. The ones on high, controlling every sphere the state has trying to protect, knew how corrupt those people behind those political colours the way the latter reaffirmed its agenda of keeping interests firm; time and again, from its media outlet to its paid hacks and unpaid apologetics would babble heaven and hell to everyone speaking on behalf of their inconveniences, that as if can bring an end in favour to the system's behalf with all of its desperate antics. 
But, it's up to the latter if they accept those illusions, or counter it the way they want to go beyond from enforced parameters in pursuit of a really meaningful change. Even those within those featured colours are willing to break away if time comes with enough sanity and idealism to keep in themelves. Just wait and see.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

"Half-Baked?" or "Wholly Rhetorical?"

"Half-baked?" or "Wholly Rhetorical?"

(Notes prior to the coming speech 
from the rostrum of "Batasang Pambansa")

By Kat Ulrike

source: Skyscrapercity

"...It is the consensus that Philippine problems seem to have aggravated and multiplied, which have been dramatised by student demonstrations with at least five student fatalities. To my mind, the explanation to this riddle lies in the crying need for change and reform in the government and in the society in order to make real and not merely on paper the rights, liberties, and well-being of the people. Philippine society has long been debilitated by the faulty structure of having too few who are too rich and too many who are too poor. Seventy percent of the people earn an income of less than php 2500 a year while one and a half percent earn an income of from php 10000 to millions. While the economy makes some growth, only one and a half percent of the people enjoy the national progress. As a result, the gap between the rich and the poor widens..."

- Diosdado Macapagal
Liberal Party member, 
Former President of the Philippines, 
 Professor, University of the East
(From the  preface of the thesis entitled: "The Welfare State")

There is no denying that the system's action is half baked or wholly rhetorical.

As newspaper headlines and social media posts urging people to question than accept the works of the present administration, it seems that those works are continuation of past administrations rather than realisation of a popular aspiration. Most of which are half-baked yet overspent, if not rhetorical just for the sake of shutting people up from clamoring. And worse, tainted by controversies that involved a trying hard good men and women treating social responsibilities as mere personal business.

Quite provoking to some, that in seeing various reports concerning mismanaged utilities and services, overspent projects, corrupt personages, a still crisis management fails to suffice problems knowing that they themselves on high failed to discipline and restore integrity the way they insist its subjects to get disciplined all for the sake of putting order a country. If they really did good as what their statements says, then how come most are left alone to the interest seeking fools? There may be a sort of developments such as those in Makati, Taguig, or even Pasig, but how about other towns and cities that really needs justice? Well, whatever they say, patronage politics and other related gimmicks is pretty much obvious in that path called righteous. 

And to think that as apologetics insist that the present administration did good, then how come these good "contributions" rather brings discontent for many? True that the intention may be beneficial, but given those behind are corrupted, if not really inclined into interest then of what are those attempts then if they failed to win the trust of many seeking for true justice? These people on high really want fare hikes in rail transport with all their press releases and various statements such as those from its apologetics, does it mean it guarantees improvement for man, or maybe a prerequisite for a budget enough for an oligarch to take over from the state? They even want socialised tuition schemes in case of state colleges and universities, does it mean it guarantees the right to be educated, or maybe a scheme enough for scrupulous profiteers in the education sector? And if they really want an end to landlordism in the countryside, will they give land directly to the tiller, or maybe requires a process that obviously undermines the tiller's need for a land to till and end in favour of the same old owner? Such proposals the system created doesn't mean development, not even progress for many; but rather limiting progress and development to the privileged elite that continues to keep firm in their interests. That somehow makes today's Neoliberalism actually aggravates the antiquated semifeudal - semicolonial status quo. 

by Frederico Boyd Suplas Dominguez
In a talk sponsored by Ibon databank, this person would say that the discussions conclude that the present administration is all but a neo-Arroyo tendency. There may be new terms, but same old intentions prevailed, so are the ringleaders whom happened to be once under Arroyo prior to her unpopularity. True that Arroyo did contributions the way Marcos did in the past, but to think that these were tainted by corruption, as well as subservient to oligarch and international interest, then was or is it obvious that the present administration, trying to be righteous and unique, is all but making rehash of the past in new names? Worse, entirely half-baked or wholly rhetorical for the sake of shutting people up? 
No wonder why protests, whether small or big, prevailed regardless of their statements.

Since the system afforded to take pride immense foreign direct investments, if not immense loans, did foreign direct investment converted to jobs? Nope,  in a nation that relies on seasonal employment, of remittances from the diaspora, 11.1 million are unemployed if not underemployed,  44 out of 100 are having non-regular jobs not enough for survival. Wages remained low (2-5%) regardless of rising productivity rates (26%), 66 million relied on 125 pesos per day, and 67.2 % admitted being poor regardless of the system afforded to say a growing economy and a developed society. 

Despite braggings on agrarian reform, 1.2 million farmers are still in tenancy agreements, while 1/3 landlords continues control 80% of land supposedly encompassed by CARPER if not PD 21 or even the Agrarian Reform Code of Macapagal. Aquino did 8,643 per month to distribute land to the tillers, but still not enough to end landlordism such as his Hacienda Luisita, worse, with the recent attempts for foreigner's right to own properties, would undermine the farmer's right to till in arable land. Come to think of this, since Lucio Tan and the Ayalas did afford to take over the once sugar estates, haven't people notice that despite all the developments like Eton and Nuvali they endanger food security simply because of developing arable land supposedly for the tillers of Laguna? So much for development that isn't sustainable. 

In the Education sector, 112,942 classrooms are having shortage as it implements K12, while 1,559 schools increased tuition and other fees in school year 2015-2016, and spending 100-200,000 Pesos for additional expenses in 2 years of senior high school (public, while in private schools would possibly  be doubled). The system did afford to say the "benefits" yet can't suffice basic issues like classroom buildings, materials, even salaries for instructors. Subjects like Filipino, History, and Humanities are still being discussed whether to be retained in college level if not be moved out for Senior High School all for the sake of K12 and its intentions. And despite issuing subsidy vouchers by the Education Department to the less fortunate yet deserving students, these vouchers will not cover up expenses for private schools offering senior high school especially those of miscellaneous fees. Private sectors, government supported non profit organisations, and even countries like the United States or the European Union had offered support "to improve K12 and Philippine Education" yet again these aid rather failed to suffice the issues ranging from rising tuition rates to lack of facilities important prior to the implementation. 

In the health sector, 68% is paid out pockets that showed how the state-owned PhilHealth Insurance failed to shoulder expenditures to the less fortunate contributors, 80,000 infants died annually from preventable diseases, 6 out of 10 Filipinos without seeing doctors, and 221 deaths from 1000 live births. Of what is health then if the department created deaths due to poverty and rising costs? Most, if not all government owned hospitals like Quezon Institute and the Philippine Orthopedic Centre are undergoing privatisation with Public-Private Partnerships as its alibi- with the elites like those of Pangilinan having big chunk on matters concerning health, at the expense of having it deemed as human right according to international declarations and agreements. 

Putting profits over welfare, it disregards those who lived and worked for decades, if not in dire need for sustainable development in really depressed areas, and that includes displacing 70.000 urban poor families for "development" sponsored by compradore capital. These families, mostly from Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, are affected by series of projects initiated by both government and private sector, without any just relocation nor even adequate assistance in easing their plight such as just livelihood. Worse, there are lands that are arable enough, and as said earlier, encompassed by the Agrarian Reform Program. 

There are other schemes and shit to say upon in this "hell of a kind" post, as well as the justifications behind in it. Of course the reason the system would assert is consists of same terms such as progress and development, going beyond the past as being asserted, but the reality turns out to be churning the people off their hard work to generate the corrupt with the latter trying to act as benefactors with all its half-baked solutions trying to temper almost meaningless rhetorics. One example would be "of what is democracy if it is not for the poor?" Yet in actual it failed to make democracy really for the poor as it benefits the scruplous rich and the unrepentantly corrupt. Good to see numerous projects, yet most are made overspent thanks to kickbacks; good to see numerous programs, yet most are made with anomalous contracts and passed by without any bidding; there is change, yet there are numerous deaths if not displacements; the so-called development is really tainted with corruption, that in turn obviously made a really existing sabotage affecting the welfare of the people, especially those whom they won for votes. 

Sounds quite inconvenient but absolutely true. The Philippines is abundant with minerals and labour power, of manganese and workers willing to man the machines of Bicutan's factories. But the lack of initiative on behalf of the state falls in the hands of the scrupulous whom also acted as the state with actions made as said earlier in this post. And people, although at first initially enjoyed its benefits like cakes, health care, and well-paved roads, eventually felt its effects contrary to their well being such as rising costs of goods and services if not fare hikes and mismanaged projects; worse, they eventually knew that everything is a terrible scheme, a gimmick than a commitment as enshrined in the constitution that "the state cares for the common good". 
If that's the case, is common good consists of privatisations, of government protecting private business interests (EO78, BOT law, proposed PPP act), and a corruption tainted projects? The system caters to greater globalisation regardless of its risks, worse, intensifies neoliberal frameworks by means of foreign takeover of domestic companies, right to property, and means in pursuit of accumulating foreign direct capital. And regardless of such statements, development remains reliant on outside aid such as OFW remittances. 

Thanks to those scrupulous people behind that state, and its attack dogs whose intention is to keep people in order with threats and fear emphasised. Underneath the veneer of liberal democracy, numerous incidents has put everyone, regardless of its backgrounds, at risk simply because of voicing out opinions and venting real grievances the system thinks as subversive, or even terroristic as it asserts the alternative to the present corrupt order. Many were killed (262 Extrajudicial killings, 293 frustrated EJKs), disappeared (26), or even imprisoned (527, 252 detained under Aquino) with trumped-up charges because of their dissenting beliefs. 
Even this writeup be deemed libelous just because the person commenting is seeking truth from facts and found really inconvenient ones those on high has trying to keep away from. Isn't it that hypocritical for an assuming democratic state to act far from being democratic such as openness and transparency? Aquino is both Marcosian and Neo-Arroyo in its actions, both reaction and counterreaction thanks to its apologetics and paid hacks.

And no wonder why despite all efforts to curb, be it by carrot or stick, still there are Jacobins taking it as an opportunity to turn the once pointing cannons back to its commanders and generals trying to keep the status quo firm. They know what they are doing, knowing that they are tired of letting themselves confined yet letting their grievances fell into deaf ears if not the essence of their message be diluted and become those of the system's to pride on. For in sum, the inconvenient realities people currently faced requires drastic, fundamental changes as necessary. 

Thus, Revolution, in other words, is inevitable. People may complain about the need for a Revolution if not limiting it to a mere self-initiative for the sake of "keeping the peace", but again, it is inevitable.

*source: Ibon databank (Birdtalk: Economic and Political Briefing, July 21, 2015)

Friday, 17 July 2015

Thoughts after watching "Gagay"

Thoughts after watching "Gagay"

(Or how this person revisited a familiar 90s-era movie)

It's been years passed since this writer had watched this kind of movie. Not because of being a part of that generation, most of its scenes somehow reflect what everyone once endured those times, tempered with humor, some romance, and a twist of engineering feat no matter how crudely made such as Gagay: Prinsesa ng Brownout.

This is a "Cinderella story" made for the brown-out plagued late 80s to mid 90s generation in the Philippines. As Ringga (played by Gelli de Belen), usually known by her nickname Gagay, and her impoverished family gathered wood which they made into charcoal for a living. Though they were poor and working for food, they have goals that somehow a typical poor family would like to achieve. 

But things really took a turn for the better when Gagay and her wacky brothers John, Paul, and George, invented a coal-powered generator known as the "Wonder Uling Generator" given the continuous brownouts and tired of kerosene lamps. Their actions almost cost their savings and even their house that made Aling Timang (played by Tessie Tomas), her mother, resort to take down the bamboo pole that also acted as its coin bank. But with the invention succeeded and its subsequent impovements, they became instant rich and Gagay was turned into a raving beauty with her once coal-stained fingernails given a makeover. 

However, money isn't enough for Gagay to make her happy. During her impoverished days, Raul (played by Rustom Padilla), her friend, fell in love with her. However his father, Don León (played by Leo Martinez), disagreed with the relationship knowing that Gagay was poor and ugly. Ironically, Don León was once a suitor of Aling Timang, and dumping him for another made he initially disagreed with the relationship. Raul used to run an establishment that sells generators, but with the popularity of the "Wonder Uling Generator" comes a reversal of fortune that even made Don León fell ill. Gagay, although reluctant in having a renewed relationship with Raul, agreed and even helped his father recover, thus winning the trust of the latter. 

There are several scenes that made that story well known in that generation, but come to think of this, despite being shown as a comedy, it smacks of the reality during that said period such as continuous brownouts. Those times somehow meant a need for a generator for light, ventilation, and even entertainment with their radio and television sets, but generators were quite expensive that only middle class and the rich afford to buy it. Gagay's action smacks of science fiction, given the idea of inventing a generator using charcoal for a fuel; quite strange and really different from the usual science fiction movies of the west, that even though poor, they afford to create given the situation the way one quote says "necessity is the mother of invention." Especially that since they afford to create charcoal, and inspired by existing generators of that period, they resort to create something that runs on what they create and sell. 

But as the movie was made for the Filipino audience, besides those of having perchance in comedy, it really involves Filipino sensibility. Stronger family ties, hard work, resilience, and love is emphasised much in every scene, that somehow made this writer think that the director and his creative team afforded to put some science fiction, Filipino sensibility, and social realism in a typical movie genre of the 90s era like Comedy. 

But this writer doesn't know if that movie does have a following of sorts, or those who able to watch and remember scenes in that movie. Maybe the 90s generation can able to recall those scenes the way they want to bring back good old comedy in the silver screen.

Screenshots from Youtube

Monday, 13 July 2015

Time-Tested products from "red" China

Time-Tested products from "red" China

At first, pardon this person for featuring this post given that these are made in "red" China. 

Given the almost "Cold War" paranoia due to the recent tensions involving the disputed isles and reefs in the South China Sea, it seems that this post would provoke some criticism: be it deemed as fake, cheap copies of foreign originals, if not defective given the nature of the product being mass produced without any quality control or all for the sake of profit.

The article, partly based from an existing work from Beijing Review, seemed quite interesting for this person to have it reposted and given additional information coming from other related sources about these products. Yes, these are time tested knowing that prior to the influx of foreign goods, China has to rely on its own creation, not because of its brand of socialism, but to show how the Chinese, like its neighbours, able to create products far from the usual description of Chinese goods as limited to porcelain, if not noodles, or any other product that completes the Chinese stereotype.

But come to think of this, how come these products be well-known to the extent of having it exported or even imitated as such? One would say that they copied familiar brands like Japan's Sony and Seiko, Germany's Nivea, Singer Sewing Machines, and even Nike; yet these products were eventually being exported, sold in friendship stores, if not given as gifts to dignitaries, that somehow signifies how a once backward country of Queues, Chow Mieng, and Porcelain had afforded to manufacture as such.

Pehchaolin Cream

The Pehchaolin (Hundred Sparrows) Cream was first produced in 1931, and it was based on a German formula (most likely from Beiersdorf's "Nivea" that was made several decades ago) and was considered the first generation of modern skin care in China. 

For decades, the cream was a must-buy for many Chinese families as well as a favorite among domestic movie stars and celebrities prior to the influx of foreign beauty products in the late 1990s (that includes Nivea). 

The metal box with silver foil covering the cream evokes nostalgia for many women.

Peony Radio

The brand logo was first introduced in November 1957 (during the period of industrialisation in China), since the peony flower in Chinese culture stands for good fortune and auspiciousness, it  used to be one of the state gifts to foreign guests between 1950s and 1960s, that somehow representing the country's most advanced electronic techniques as well as a showcase of Chinese "self-reliance" under socialism.

White Rabbit Creamy Candy

The brand originated at the Aipixi Candy Factory of Shanghai in 1943 when a merchant from Aipixi tried a milk candy from England and thought that its taste was not bad. After half a year of development, he then manufactured the factory's own brand of milk candies.

The first Aipixi milk candies were packaged using a red Mickey Mouse drawing on the label, and were named Aipixi Mickey Mouse Sweets. As its price was lower than imported ones, it became widely popular among the people, after the founding of the Peoples Republic and its nationalisation, Aipixi replaced Mikey Mouse with the logo that made Chinese and Foreigners recognize that candy. 

 In 1959, it was given as gifts for the 10th anniversary of the National Day celebration, and in 1972, then Premier Zhou Enlai used White Rabbit candies as a gift to American President Richard Nixon when the latter visited China (and its subsequent opening of diplomatic relations). 

White Rabbit sweets have been advertised with the slogan, “Seven White Rabbit candies is equivalent to one cup of milk“, and positioned as a nutritional product in addition to being a sweet. The candies hence accompanied the growth of a generation. Former students of the early Deng Xiaoping era in China (1978 to the early 1990s), have been reported to have taken this slogan literally and made ‘hot milk’ in their dormitory cooking rings by dissolving the candies in a pan of hot water.

Warrior Sneakers

Registered as the Warrior in 1935, they were the hottest shoes in China in the 1970s and remained a status symbol for Chinese teenagers until the 1980s. 

The sneakers somehow similar to those of Reebok and Nike Rubber shoes. Chinese back then would consider Warrior Sneakers as sport if not school or workplace shoes given its quality during that period. 

Butterfly Sewing Machine

Launched in 1966, the brand was created by the Xiechang Sewing Machine Factory, which was established in 1919. Annual output hit 1.4 million in the early 1990s, becoming one of the three most wanted home appliances for newlyweds along with the Forever Bicycle and the Shanghai Watch.

It may find it strange that it was manually operated compared to the electric machines made outside China during those times, if not electrically operated yet its appearance was similar to sewing machines made by Singer during the early 20th century. 1960s technology involves much simple appearance in its gadgets. 

Seagull Camera

Seagull, the oldest camera maker in China, has made 21 million cameras since it was founded in 1958.

Inspired by Soviet-made if not Western-made cameras like Kodak, Seagull may had been China's answer to imported cameras. 

Shanghai Watch

Founded in 1955, the brand is credited with developing and producing the first Chinese mechanical watch. Total output hit 100 million between the 1960s and 1980s, with the highest annual output reaching 7 million, accounting for 25 percent of the domestic market. The watch was a status symbol.

If one may ask, was this also the watch used by higher officials whom used to look for time checks? Socialist countries before often feature watches stressing the importance of time and productivity. 

Lucky Film

Set up in 1958, Lucky Film is now the largest photosensitive materials and magnetic recording media manufacturer in China.

Its appearance may mimic those of Fuji Film, Konica, if not Agfa or Kodak. 

Beijing Television

The Tianjin Radio Factory made China's first black-and-white Beijing-brand television, which successfully received a signal on March 17, 1958, opening a new chapter in the country's television manufacturing industry.

Prior to the introduction of the said Television, by 1952 the principal telecommunications network was centered on Beijing, and links to all large cities had finally been established, that also launched television broadcasts. The first national broadcasts began on May 1, 1958, several weeks after Tianjin manufactured its first batch of manufactured televisions.

Meihua Sports Gear

The Tianjin-based Meihua (Plum Blossom) brand was the first choice of Chinese athletes between the 1960s and 1980s. Marksman Xu Haifeng wore it during his medal ceremony at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, where he won the country's first Olympic gold medal.


Besides these, there are other familiar products which are made in China. Cigarettes like Great Wall or Chunghua has been exported to other countries, so was the Maotai millet liquor that has been served to dignitaries during state banquets. That somehow one would ask how come "red" China had afforded to create products as such? 

Anyways, today's China is all but Apple products and anything the west demanded from gadgets to comsumer goods (such as those from Unilever), if not continues to imitate, reverse engineer, or even adulterate that adds controversy than fame in some of its products. 

But personally? This person has once ate "red" China's well-known White Rabbit, and somehow it tastes good. Thankfully, there's no adulterations like Melanine!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Waiting to be scavenged? Or willing to be rubbled?

Waiting to be scavenged? 
Or willing to be rubbled?

It's been decades past to see those familiar edifices be end almost dismantled if not turned into rubble.

Once recognised in the districts of Metro Manila, these edifices withstood the wind and rain, wars and coup attempts, endured soot and grime, and eventually threatened, discreetly dismantled, or destroyed altogether by the wrecking ball in the name of development. 

That somehow made the worrisome really worried about this. Some of the old yet recognisable buildings fell under the wrecking ball in the name of development, there are those trying to keep and be given a new face, yet most fell under deaf ears that made efforts to conserve known structures, be it pre or post war, impossible to keep and meet the demands of today's time. Yes, it is really worrisome, knowing that in an age of unbridled consumerism and "careless moving", very few undestood the value of perserving, of renovating, of keeping age-old roots firm while enjoying the present. 

In this writeup, one well known building has been left deterioriated till being end demolished for another; while another building, made decades earlier as the former, has been almost left to the wrecking ball, or even discreetly removing every age-old pieces, only those whom are really concerned had afforded to stop with court orders; 
that somehow made this person would think that as time goes by, are these edifices waiting to be scavenged till enough to be destroyed? Or left in its agony, gone deteriorating till willing to be end as rubbles? 

It's been decades past since this edifice  has stood in the once grassy Ortigas Centre in Pasig City, known as the "Philippine Communications Centre", several government establishments, as well as radio stations had offices in its floors, and its architecture reflected the era wherein concrete being heavily used so was granite and ceramic tiles. 

However, as time goes by it shows getting wear and tear, compared to its really modern-day neighbours, or even those being built in that district same decade as this, it seems that it had waited to become a mere empty shell, and the fact that there were establishments stood there before, it was ill-maintained, making it further dilapidated and really out-of-date, or even ugly, in its subjective sense according to some of the commentators regarding its state. 

And given its dilapidation, the structure has been weakened by cracks according to some who had once worked in its rooms, it was burned years ago after an accident, and eventually considered as dangerous, condemned, yet few persons dared to enter just to encounter ghosts according to some urban legends prior to its demolition. It took years to be demolished from top to bottom, thus losing one of earliest structures in a once grassy field.

To some nostalgics, this means a loss to a contemporary heritage, and yet from others the edifice is deemed ugly and thus should be taken down in favour of a new one similar to its neighbours as Philinvest land (the developer) hath took over the entire lot from the government. There were earlier proposals that involves integration to a new edifice and be given a new makeover, yet given its sorry state it was sheved and forgotten. 
But given its contribution as one of the earlier buildings, if not for its sorry state and its eventual demolition, that once stood edifice should been considered as one of its monuments to the development of Ortigas centre, of both Mandaluyong and Pasig just like its factories near C5 and in the river. If given chance, those edifices of old (made in mid to late 20th century) should be retrofitted, given new concrete, granite, steel, anything just to give a modern feature so as to deal with the demands of present yet rooted in its 20th century heritage. 

But then, today's people are too obsessed with "state of the art" that also means disregarding heritage save what comes from their experiences during their childhood. Owners and developers demand money as much as possible, that somehow . Ortigas centre, has been full of buildings that showcases "development" in a still developing country, and like Makati, there are old buildings waiting to be demolished simply because they are old and hence dilapidating and being simply forgotten; yet being old does not mean ugly, it's just that developers are seeking for prime lots to create another than keeping it and be given a new feature just like the still standing Insular Life building. 

But lucky for that decades-old El Hogar, for it remained stood, withstanding the soot, grime, and time, yet still threatened, especially after concerned individuals has afforded to record how men, assuming to be trying to undertake their job coming from its "owners", whom are still stubborn, yearning to dismantle one of Manila's familiar buildings in the old financial district. 

Starting by forcibly evacuating its tenants, of removing its time capsule a year ago, then few days later with its decades-old steel grillwork that had end halted as of its latest report, it seems that the developers has trying to make their action "clean" knowing that there are cease and desist orders, if not really concerned individuals and organisations trying to block their obvious attempt. "things are moving too fast" as one of them may say, seeing men trying to remove anything prior to its stoppage by the authorities. 

It may sound strange to some that in removing those grillworks (or any other pieces possibly been removed) may meant "cleaning" it and be returned and fixed if that's the case, but on the other hand it may also meant just selling it for bucks since it was decades old and be fallen to collectors (if not plain and simple straight to the scrapyard); in times like these the stubbornness of those trying to dismantle heritage makes the other also stubborn to keep it and insist its importance, much more the idea of putting it in adaptive reuse to keep in touch with the times yet having the same old dignity as in the past. 

But since it end halted by an order, hope that there's enough time, especially in this uncertain fate over El Hogar to put an end to the "owner's" stubbornness,  especially after its developers removing one of its grillworks, or even last year's barricades being set up without any permit (and end removed by an order) and the removing of its time capsule (that luckily, end in the former owner's safe hands). The new owners may still insist that the property as theirs and having the right to take it down regardless of its significance, that also shows plain, simple, aloofness in heritage especially in the once well known district in Manila. 


Pardon this person for being nostalgic like the others, but to think that heritage is not limited to old churches and houses, so should be the edifices regardless of its architecture. Be it as Renaissance-like, neoclassical, or brutalist with anything that is made entirely of steel girders and concrete, yet recognisable fo generations. Quite dismaying though for some commentators, for they can't even understood the architecture of the contemporary past, and most of which are likely deemed "ugly" for being brutalist in case of the Philcomcen or Strata 200, compared to the usual glass and steel exteriors of the present like those of  Union Bank.

Whether it is as very old as El Hogar, as somewhat contemporary as Philcomcen, or any other edifice that is currently threatened or totally destroyed in the name of "progress and development", these buildings had somehow contributed to their district's development theough ages, that somehow inspires others to educate people on preserving it. Again, as said in earlier posts, it would take years, if not decades for people to be aware of heritage, with the idea of bridging the ideas of both past and present involved. There are edifices willing to end in rubble no matter how significant they were, but the more its agony should be a more of its concern, and that concern is more than just rhetorics. 

For sometimes, memories are destined to be forgotten the way pictures are often fade away. 

Photos from Tumblr, Skyscrapercity, Isidra Reyes, and Stephen John Pamoranda