Sunday, 24 July 2016

From the sea, table, to the computer screen

From the sea, table, to the computer screen

Notes after "passionate" social media commentators 
dealing with the disputes
between the Philippines (as well as Vietnam) and China

After a United Nations-backed ruling favouring the Philippines over the disputed isles with China, tensions continued as the country known as the "sleeping dragon" continues to assert its expansionist stance, or as according to its leaders from Beijing: "won't stop construction over sea work."

Quite stubborn so to speak since China unveiled its expansionist stance over the disputed islands, specifically against both Philippines and Vietnam over Spratlys, Parcels, and Scarborough Shoal, what more of constructing facilities to justify further its expansionist goals within the "9-dash line" that also encompasses Vietnamese, Philippine, and Malaysian seas.

For as according to Sun Jianguo, admiral and deputy chief of staff of China's Central Military Commission, he stated that freedom of navigation patrols carried out by foreign navies within China's "9-dash line" would end in disaster, as well as warned the United States after last week's action.

Quite justifiable for the Chinese, but such expansionism and its threats over the disputed isles, shoals, rocks lies less peace towards its neighbours in southeast Asia, be it in actual or in social media as statements from various social media sites smacks of saber rattling.

However, in case of Filipinos who are greatly affected by China's stubbornly action, it seemed to say that 51% have little trust in what they describe as a "communist country" all due to the latter's saber rattling as well as stubbornness not to obey the decision favouring the claimant. Furthermore, some Filipinos also called for help, particularly from its former coloniser and still its benefactor, the United States for additional security, that also perhaps create further ire from the "sleeping dragon."

As observed, such events brought about by China over those seas, isles, shoals, and rocks, would say that the matter has to be treated rather with realpolitik. But as for the Philippines, Filipinos in social media sites rather treat the said issue against China with a variety of topics such as "Cold War-era" sentiment such as making China synonymous with "communism" (or even "terrorism") to those of crimes such as fake goods and illegal drug syndicates known for smuggling and manufacturing narcotics such as "Shabu" (Methampetamine); and Chinese businessmen, known for its shrewdness by most people, are often targets due to citizenship, tax evasion, as well as wide-scale exploitation of natural resources in case of mining companies that brought disaster such as those in Mindanao or in other parts of Luzon.
So are the Chinese, also does its share of angst against the Filipinos. In a report from China Central Television, it had destroyed 40 tons of Bananas which is mainly imported from the Philippines itself,(although China clarified that the bananas were substandard). There were also reports about a commentator telling the viewers that the Philippines as an "integral part" of China (accidentally, but quite provoking in some circles), if not seeing some establishments that bans Vietnamese, Filipinos, and even Japanese (also due to the dispute over Diaoyu/Senkaku islands).

Such events brought about by social media sites and online news websites, seemed natural though to express reactions especially those out of patriotism, or in case of Filipinos with all its "Cold War-era" sentiment: a forefront of the "free world" against Chinese "communism." There are also individuals or groups that even unjustly accused the left as being "pro-Chinese" simply because of being "communist" (not even knowing that the 'leftists' themselves also opposed Chinese intrusion besides those of American intervention in Philippine affairs); what more of calls for "pogroms" that is, pointing against the Chinese community, glorifying murderers such as those of disgraced Policeman Rolando Mendoza as an "anti-Chinese hero" due to an incident involving an hijacked bus (by Mendoza himself) that was full of Chinese tourists last 2010.
The past administration did not even issue an official apology for that matter, despite few individuals afforded to issue some statements expressing regret on that fiasco.

With all the reactions expressed, one would say that these may all sound strange if not trying to be as "passionate" in expressing some patriotism especially after seeing all their various posts and comments regarding the disputed islands, but speaking of those "red scare" or "anti drug"-laced Sinophobic sentiment that has been overheard in every social media site, does it also question Filipinos of Chinese descent or even Chinese who rather chose to become Filipinos themselves? And if so, then how about the lives of well-known personages with Chinese blood such as Jose Rizal, San Lorenzo Ruiz, or even full blooded ones like Jose Ignacio Paua who's known for cutting his pigtail after Philippine independence in 1898? 

Again, the recent events over Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal may still end dealt rather "realpolitikally" than those of the passions brought about by so-called "passionate" commentators in social media sites. The dispute is also nothing to do much with ideology, contrary to those whose views be still those of pre-1989 with all its "capitalism vs. communism" claptraps babbled throughout, and to think that fellow claimant Vietnam is also a "communist" country same as China's, should it be treated also with hate simply because it is a "communist"? Remember, while U.S. Bases stayed at Philippines' own Clarkfield and in Subic until 1991, it is the same "communist" Vietnam that brought China 62,000 casualties, including 26,000 deaths in 1979! May as well the Maoist-oriented Communist Party of the Philippines also expressed support for Filipino claims over Spratlys and Scarborough the way it assails its Chinese counterpart as "revisionist" and even "capitalist"!

Anyway, since social media has influenced alot of people especially in regards to the dispute, it also becomes a weapon of mass disinformation if not an hysteria-provoking arm with all the posts and reactions brought about by those affected. Obviously for a western-oriented country it would say that it is "naturally" difficult to adapt a non-aligned, self-reliant stance for it had relied every support from the United States since 1946 (or even 1935 as a commonwealth), that somehow affects both external and internal policies be it those of defence, economy, education, and in foreign affairs.
And yes, it is "difficult" for a neocolony to be self determined, but on behalf of those who truly concerned, why not give it a try then to stand up on its own? Countries like Japan and Korea had been self reliant for years, and perhaps willing to break away from the U.S. sphere of influence if not for their systems, so should be the country who has to stand up and flex its muscle all for the good of its nation, with or without external support such as those of a so-called "big white brother."

And to end this writeup short, particularly to those who are truly concerned about one's country would say that with those events, and with those reactions and assertions brought about by that tension, it is true that the Philippines as well as Vietnam will rather assert further what is rightfully part of one's territory within that China's "9-dash" line: be it from the table, from the sea itself, or even through the computer screen.