Monday, 24 July 2017

For a better tomorrow amidst existing conflicts

For a better tomorrow amidst existing conflicts

Notes after President Rodrigo Duterte's 
State of the Nation Address
last July 24, 2015

To paraphrase Mr. Magaling's words, that it seems how everyone is living in a society that is beyond the possibilities of today's condition. Basically, with all the aspirations to carry forward, they are trying to live in the impossible; but, since those who carry are also limited to society's convention and its orders, then lies its limitations to its own possibilities.

If one is still trying to demand the impossible, especially in an order who thinks these aspirations hinders their continuity, then perhaps it is actually wishing to change what is possible by taking the impossible from the corner and making it possible: by any means even going beyond the parameters of legality.

And that is what currently happening nowadays in the Philippines.

With the recent events surrounding the present Duterte administration, it seems that the atmosphere of hope has becoming impossible both in statement and in action: that with Martial Law extending its duration and possibly extending all over the country, as well as other unjust policies favouring the interests of the few, it seems that change is becoming a mere word at all if not a counterreaction to an existing reaction.

For in spite of his populism, it is becoming more obvious that President Duterte continues to lay the foundations for authoritarian rule under US imperialist tutelage like his predecessors. Sorry for the thought but in spite of his promise for a non-aligned foreign policy or even his anti-American sentiment, everyone knows how the Military, being American-trained and armed will always cling to the thought that their Americanism prevails than those of their leader.

And to think that he, being completely intoxicated with authoritarian-like powers, Duterte is mistaken in thinking that he can suppress both the Filipino and Bangsamoro people in their resistance to the oppression and exploitation by the ruling oligarchy and their US imperialist masters. Be it contractualisation, growing debts brought about by demands for infrastructure, and martial law with its growing militarisation and aerial bombings against Filipinos, Moros, and Lumads alike.

For sure apologists would oppose this note, but the obviousness brought about by his actions meant that he is seriously adhering in maintaining the present order- but given his populism he has to accommodate the people, particularly the left with some piecemeal reforms and a semblance of willingness to adapt their views.
However, with the recent events such as Martial Law in Mindanao and its intensified militarisation, what more of low intensity actions against the left, then the so-called "leftist" president is succeeding only in stoking the broad masses of the Filipino and Bangsamoro people to unite, wage mass struggles and conduct acts of resistance. Be it from Marawi, Davao, to those of Metro Manila, the people who are facing crises are awakened and willing to take the idea of change in their hands.

And the concerned cannot blame these people who converged near Batasang Pambansa all for being radical in their assertions what more of their actions. With the incidents brought upon by a continuity of low-intensity conflict, it makes an atmosphere of peace and development be impossible especially in the countryside-that since the enemy fire first, do they have no right to resist? Of course not! They can't just sit down and do nothing  To think that the Lumad's settlements been militarised and nowadays subjected to martial rule, will they agree in his statement especially after letting them to "go home" instead of asserting their calls to end militarisation in their communities? Of generalising the Lumads as rebellious after being aligned to the revolutionaries and its view of justice against despotic landords, large-scale miners, and its attack dogs in uniform?

After all, these scenarios also shows that the temporary alliance between the Left and President Duterte has indeed reached its boiling, breaking point rather. When the latter, in his press conference recently, officially ended the peace negotiations between the government and the Left with awful repercussions. For all his anti-US posturing (particularly the desire for bringing back the Balangiga bells after decades as war booty during the Philippine-American war), Duterte has had no concrete steps to remove US military forces from the country. Instead, he now coyly seeks US support for martial law in the guise of fighting terrorism.

And besides the United States, Duterte had to deal with the Chinese. Stuffed with $24 billion of Chinese loans for infrastructure projects, he has practically surrendered the country’s rights. Not a whimper from him while China has transformed the Spratly islands into their military fortress.

And to think that his regime is trying to equate itself with development, his economic team rather continues its cherished neoliberal policies that keeps the economy dependent on foreign investments and loans, favor rich oligarchs, and hit the poor the hardest. Also contrary to his statements, that he has not junked contractualization, failed to freely distribute land to farmers, and now wishes to impose new and harsher taxes.

But on second thought, some of Duterte's statements during the address be like indeed trying to be as radical as possible as the Left like his appeals for industrialisation, utilisation of natural resources for domestic use, or even continuing the agrarian reform program under Mariano; but, to think that he is cornered by a camarilla of militarists and compradores alike, will his so-called "radical" ideas succeed? Remember: most of his projects are through high-interest loans that has to be paid for decades, what more that with the negotiations suspended, the agreement on Socio-Exonomic Reforms (that may also support most of Duterte's goals) be end just papers! So much for the neoliberal and militarist men that made this low intensity conflict made!

Anyway, despite all the bullshits, Duterte's desire for a better tomorrow should be realised, but to support his statement, the peoples message is simple: for a realisation of social and economic reforms, for a genuine just and lasting peace! Meanwhile, particular concessions like conditional free tuition for students of state universities and colleges giving free homes to homeless Kadamay members, among others, were achieved not because of the benevolence of Duterte but were the results of hard-won mass struggles by different sectors for their democratic rights.

He may babble against the "National Democratic" Left time and again, but if one may ask: isn't that these "National Democratic" left who seriously lead the demand what he actually wanted for? Of Peace, Land, Bread, Social Justice and Sovereignty?

Again, he needs not to depend on his neoliberal-militarist camarilla- there's the people concerned who are willing to help him.

Or is this person idealise that scenario?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

"Is 'Change' going further...or going backwards?"

"Is 'Change' going further...or going backwards?"

(Notes on the first year of the Duterte administration,
its confusing stances,
and increasing discontent)

At first, one would say that the present Duterte Administration hath becoming a confusing one. Given his numerous promises ranging from restoring peace and order to create an atmosphere wherein reforms be enacted, and most aren't been realised, it seems that people forgot that the "Sawali Caesar" whom they praised and adored still represents the order which he ought to uphold and defend; and at worse, that system he pledge to uphold is itself, centuries-old rotten.

With numerous populist-driven projects being undertaken on one hand and various neoliberal and blood-stained policies and actions on the other, it seems that the administration has becoming same as its predecessors, of "frijoles y fusiles" kind of nonsense that meant to appease both the common people (who most of them praised Duterte) and the present order (who, despite benefited from Duterte still opposes his statements).
Sorry for the thought, but as everyone knows about the numerous deaths under a gun-based 'justice system', of retaining neoliberal policies, of sudden changing of mind, and appointing former military officials and sidelining progressives, it seems that the Duterte everyone loved and his populism turns out to be as any other retention of interests. For sure no one likes to be an object of criticism, and Filipinos are no more than any other people to be criticized due to their actions. Sadly, fanatics be like their words are as empty as their souls as they insist the justness of their idol, that his brand of justice, no matter how swift and does not need due processes, seemed better than undergoing a slow procedure such as those from the courts; worse, when their idol is the target of criticism, they should not be expected always to agree with it.

However, as the concerned thinks that the Philippines hath becoming "nihilistic" the way it desires to create a "new Jerusalem" on earth "in its most desperate and delusional way" in order to overcome the limitations and errors of the its own pasts, that by "moving on" is as if reemphasising optimism; that in conforming to a myriad of policies, no matter how it is unjust, means uniting in spirit of so-called "national interest"; then is criticism, or rather say, freedom to dissent and offering an community-based "alternative change" be allowed in that setting such as a state-sponsored bloodshed?

After all, to these people, especially those apologists who also desiring for social change, they wanted that change to be in an instant- in case of Duterte's way of administering things, his brand of populism, in their minds be like the idea of "instant elimination" of injustice, an "instant transition" to order, an instant transformation from a backward setting to a much progressive one in spite of having modern buildings and technology; but, to think that some of his "supporters" are trying to consolidate their interests (like those from Lapanday to those of US-supported cliques in the Military) while parroting words like "change", will that "instant change" be realised? Perhaps most of these voters who actually sneered by the idea of instant change, transformation, renewal, or any other words made as a "counterreaction" to an existing reaction, hath mistaken for a revolutionary siezure of power and its subsequent indispensable political condition for the country's transformation; that in the end these so-called politicos, no matter how popular they are, rather reaffirm the status of the nation as a semicolonial-semifeudal entity with some token statement/action to appease the voter.
Sorry for these words but since Duterte and most of his men are at first reaffirming the status quo, of what is change in the first place? Even those from the left knew it and willing to turn against him as possible.

And to think that because of these bullshits that brought this person and others concerned into numerous, long, written expressions, is it quite clear that the so-called "democratic" and "republican" ideology of the so-called "Philippine republic" is incapable of defending, developing, empowering, uplifiting the people of the archipelago? That with all the policies that justifies a country's sellout to interests makes nationalism and social justice unnecessary? And that with interests stubbornly insisting ideas of multinational integration and subservience to a neoliberal entity, does it equate to nation building? No matter what these apologists say (be it in an apologetical or the usual heckling manner), it is important to comprehend that criticism especially regarding the president's braggish moves to those of his unclear policies; as well as the alternatives offered by the concerned to take it seriously and constructively on its own terms, knowing that criticism and offering just alternatives is also part of democratic processes, and not just dismiss it as inspired by a mere malice, jealousy, or ignorance. Sorry if these radicals afforded to burn effigies the way they chant radical slogans and assertions, knowing that in their burning and chanting meant obvious discontent to a person who, in spite of their "brand" of populism, still sworn to uphold a rotting order in the first place.

Or frankly speaking, whatever the system and its apologists insists, that the nation will remain backward in spite of its "modernity" all thanks to those unjust "policies"; that the Philippines cannot stand on it's own, nor even dynamic. As thousands chose to be guest workers abroad, and letting landlords and compradores aggravate feudo-capitalism with neoliberal policies, the country that has boasted much of its patriotism is nothing but a shell of what hath been desired was- if not an entity within a supranational organisation wherein big power blocs, alongside its domestic stooges, would play divide and conquer in its worst form.
And in it makes that 'change' under the present order nothing but a hollow phrase. True that there are those who supported him because of his willingness to make radical changes, such as this person who appreciated Duterte appointing Mariano for Agrarian Reform, Taguiwalo for Social Welfare, and Lopez for the Environment and Natural Resouces; but these three know that in spite of their serious intent (and people somehow satisfied what they did as secretaries in their respective departments), they also know that knowing how Duterte is at first, sworn to upheld the status quo, is also surrounded by those whose interests prevailed than those of the people be it the Neoliberalist Diokno and Dominguez to the Militarist Lorenzana and Esperon.

True that from the broad masses of workers, peasants, unemployed, students, teachers and other small professionals, initially voted for him, are increasingly disgruntled as they continue to suffer from bondage to the soil with all its feudal exploitations, rising costs of living, acute unemployment and job insecurity, low wages, natural and man-made disasters, widespread epidemics, and lack of affordable and quality social services. Millions of students continue to be burdened by tuition increases and rising costs of education in spite of promises for free education and increasing budget in state colleges and universities.
To the great dismay of workers, not only has Duterte failed to fulfill his promise to end contractualization, but instead he has even reinforced the policy by setting regulations for it. Workers’ wages remain extremely low and inefficient to meet increasing living standards. Workers continue to suffer from dangerous working conditions leading to fires and other workplace accidents. And contrary to the peasant clamor to stop land conversions, Duterte, who in spite of having Mariano, chose to sideline the former's serious assertion for agrarian reform as he rather push­­­­es for the conversion of thousands of hectares of land, particularly in Mindanao, to become oil palm plantations. He has given scant support to measures to distribute land at Hacienda Luisita and gave mere token support to the struggle of the Lapanday farmers to occupy their land. Declarations of support for free land distribution has served only as soundbytes and rhetorical pieces meant to be "appreciated" by his apologists. He has perpetuated the policy of rice importation to the detriment of local peasants and the general public in spirte of promises to impose food self-sufficiency and support for local peasantry.

Thus, with these inconvenient facts makes one ask: Is change going further? Or Going Backwards? 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

"Remnants of an almost forgotten spring"

"Remnants of an almost forgotten spring"

It's been few weeks ago when this person has gathered some of his poems from his social media account. Made months ago and almost forgotten, these works, as any other works he gathered and posted, invoked melancholy, love, sense of getting inspired, the yearness for freedom, the desire to reclaim lost hopes, and the pursuit to realise appealing aspirations.

"Memorare to a 'Sophia Incarnate'"

It is worth unforgettable especially when I first met you
And I even wonder why your grace captivate me though
But your friendliness seemed to be what I observe most
Makes one inspired and renewed one's confidence after days lost.
I felt your love unto me my sweet beloved one
To you I do come once alone, nothing, and weary leaving things undone
I may be nothing compared to others most care to see
But the flames of desire befell every hindrances as it be
O beloved, my Sophia incarnate
Despite not my petitions
But through you, in this lowly work, heed and reply to me.

"To a Cherished maiden"

How is it possible
To leave me mere alone
As I love you really
Hope believe me.
Be it rains come or shine
Be it night or day time
Your love worth enduring
worthy of mine

As the flowers now bloom
Springtime has conquered doom
Blossoms made I heartfelt
To recall you
If dreams and struggles same
Out of love quite so rich
And it is thus deathless
Hence, believe me!

And if the clarion played
Calling to fight again
Will you leave me still
Or join with me?
And if I feel the pain,
Hope through your womb I lie;
And if you true cherish me,
I would like to die.

"Without you there will be no springtime"

Without you there will be no springtime
For you brought the warmth in my heart
In spite of the truth that made me I
Not to pursue if not end apart
But in spite of all these still I care about you
No matter what the trials we both face
For the fact that I am ought to be true
Out of days brought to me amaze

Without you there will be no red roses
Blooming over my once barren heart
In spite of having a continuous race
Against time trying to finish from the start
And in spite of all these I carry the little of your love
Out of your wonders made me entice
To engage something as if from above
That is trying to realise

Without you there will be no moonlights
Casting over my everyday glooms
If not trying to break most thy sickening frights
Nightmares suddenly coming soon
And in spite of all these the chimneys bring smokes of hope
Out of the engines churning what we desire
A future of love, of wonder, in spite of bitterness to cope
For in the end one wanted that is to admire.

"A Song for Gia"
(Inspired from a song made by Oktoberklub)

It was a year ago when I first saw her
She is quite friendly and  she is nice
And be inspire and yet I'm shy to be together
That made me sad and think I don't know why
To think that I made a poem that turned to song
And draw her that perhaps it will last long
I think my heart conveys to her that make me end cry
She is part of me I don't know why?

Chorus I
For she inspires me what I'm going to be
For she gives me that something has meaning
For she makes my world moving come and going
That can become closer as you and me

Do she remember the day I gave her rememb'ring
After being requested last year's Christmas day
I know she like it and perhaps we both end happy
And yet I end sad for she was with man good looking
I do remember when I see her dancing
Her moves perhaps compels me worth writing
And yet still don't know why she has something and I am nothing
Perhaps we're in different worlds that is warring

Chorus II
For she inspires me what I'm going to be
For she gives meaning that keeps us moving
For she makes my world moving come and going
To revolution that is worth fighting

And this time this writer end up writing a story
Recalling the memories that end up fiction
Thinking before forgetting that her name forever lies
That in that tale perhaps end we in union
Perhaps if she recall me will ever she revisit
I don't think so perhaps yes perhaps no
And yet despite forgetting i still never lose her
For she is the one that made me worth inspire

Chorus III
Yet she inspires me what I'm going to be
Yet she gives me something has meaning
Come with me my cherished as the red star shining
To revolution that is worth fighting
To revolution that is worth fighting
To revolution that is worth fighting

"A Song for Karen"

://My Karen Mae, My Katleah Beloved
When will be the time that you'll come?//:

For I remember someone with a lovely smile
With her looks as if love comes almost a mile
Through her eyes casts hope that one cannot resist
With a heart that's to feel with all that she sees

For I remember the times that she sings all the songs
Putting love on the melodies and words that written on
Her voice is worth remembering as if hums to sleep
In the night where dreamtimes whose door opened and to keep

://My Karen Mae, My Katleah Beloved
When will be the time that you'll come?//:

For I remember the times that she dared to struggle
For her beauty is molded by the love of people
As if like a flower on the field that once fought
Where blood shed its soil and therein lies our hopes

For I remember the times the battles paved the way
The way lights lit the ramp where she once walked and played
Will succeed in controlling the foe and its steel
And her calls urged the rest to join for the final deal

://My Karen Mae, My Katleah Beloved
When will be the time that you'll come?://

I all remembered those times for she is a good friend.
Is it because of her beauty or her will to defend?
She's been loved by her colleagues as she kept her stand
What else I should recall those times before this song ends?

And now she have returned from the epics been made
Perhaps dreams been fulfilled and debts rightfully paid
My beloved, my comrade, my good friend?
With all those good times you are with me...

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Lion Brand: The story of M.Y San and its legacy

Lion Brand: The story of M.Y San and its legacy

It should be "Quality Biscuit",
 but since it is also a "Quality Product", why not?

For sure everyone enjoys a pack of cracker brought from a sari-sari store. Be it "SkyFlakes" or "Fita", M. Y. San Biscuits has a variety of products that cater to all income levels and age groups. Despite intense competition from other biscuit companies, there is no absolute distinction in these markets as practically all socioeconomic groups can afford, appreciate, and enjoy M.Y. San's various products.

Anytime, from the lowly sari-sari store to the supermarket, M.Y. San products are enjoyed by everyone, given its good taste and flavour.

However, behind those familiar products comes a legacy such as a family whose patriotism, perseverance, and filial piety had kept the company thriving for decades, until its eventual takeover by Monde Nissin in 2001. 

Here's its story, hope that everyone enjoys especially those who read whilst eating.

A patriot, his ice cream, and his crackers

According to its website, M.Y. San was started from a lowly Ice Cream Parlor in then bustling street of Escolta, Manila in 1935. And its founders, the Mar Family, had taken a tradition of creating delectably wholesome snack foods, especially those of biscuits.

However, another source stated that the company was established earlier than the commonwealth era, as Mar Yuck-San established Escolta Ice Cream Parlor in Manila with the help of his two younger brothers and a fellow kinsman by the name of Mar Chew who learned the craft of baking in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

A native of Xiangshan in Guangdong China, M.Y. San moved to the Philippines in 1900, and like any other compatriots seeking for greener pastures, M.Y. San engaged in business such as building an ice cream parlor. Back then Ice Cream was a rarity as few establishments set-up ice cream parlors (maybe because of lack of ice plants around Manila!) yet afforded by many both Filipinos and Americans alike.

And according to Lou Gopal's "Nostalgia Manila", he stated that M.Y. San's "The Escolta Ice Cream Parlor" was at #69 Escolta pictured above next to Alfredo Roensch and Co. around 1910. The parlor did thrive, however, that whole section in Escolta would later be demolished, as it replaced by the well-known Crystal Arcade of Andres Luna de San Pedro, which was known as one of the most modern buildings located along the country's then premier business district.

Souce: Nostalgia Manila
But behind that lowly ice cream parlor was a different treat. As M.Y. San, along with his two younger brothers and a fellow kinsman named Mar Chew, who learned the craft of baking in Honolulu, included the making of biscuits as part of their menu. And after initial difficulties, the ice cream parlor/bakery achieved success which enabled M.Y. San to expand into new markets.

However, like any other Chinese who worked abroad in order to "bring home their bacons", M.Y. San, being an ardent patriot and supporter of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's revolutionary cause, decided to move back to his homeland after the 1912 revolution (and even set up his biscuit factory at Hong Kong!), and left his business to his partner, Mar Chew, who continued managing and even moved the site to a corner, which was beside Luna's Crystal Arcade. And by 1920, the first ovens and machinery were installed at it's first family-owned factory at Calle Sales, whilst the restaurant also served as its selling area.

How a founder's wife kept the company going
(and introducing SkyFlakes)

Fifteen years later, in 1935, after M.Y. San left the Philippines for his homeland, Mar Chew continued running both the restaurant and the biscuit business; and it continued to be thrived with more new and loyal customers. But that same year, Mar Chew died whilst M.Y. San's brothers, who also happened to be co-owners, left for Hong Kong. However, his widow, Chung Chi, re-organized the establishment as M.Y. San Biscuits Inc. (earlier as M.Y. San & Co.) with its factory at San Juan Rizal, whose logo features "LION BRAND" in it as its trademark.

The rest, as all Filipinos know, has become history. The growth of the company over the next few years was unprecedented. Although the outbreak of the Second World War with its Japanese Occupation forced the company to virtually stop operations, people behind the company never ceased.
And like any other company, M.Y. San did recover from the ashes of war. It continued to serve its customers the usual biscuit, ice cream, and snacks from its stall at Escolta beside the ruined Crystal Arcade. It was a hard but successful uphill climb for Chung Chi, her children, as well as the workers who are loyal to the company; The San Juan factory was also moved to Cainta, Rizal with its facilities expanded further.

Besides maintaining its familar brands like "Lion Soda Crackers", "Butter Cookies", and "Graham Crackers", M.Y. San also created its brand of soda crackers named "SkyFlakes", that became a well-known product in the 1960s; it also made the company thrive not just economically, but leaving it with a cultural legacy as Filipinos, in recalling familiar brands, equate M.Y. San with its signature SkyFlakes and Fita crackers after being sold from the supermarket down to the sari sari store, a staple for school recesses to those of funerals. 

Source: Nostalgia Manila
However, their decades-old restaurant in Escolta, despite being known by many for its snacks (like ice cream of course!), eventually handed over to another as they focused their time and effort in the much-lucrative biscuitry business. While numerous ads (like those below) were shown how M.Y. San was described as the "most modern biscuit company" in the Philippines, producing biscuits of various brands, catering to both loyal and new customers.

And because of that perseverance, M.Y. San hath made greater efforts to maintain its timeless prestige not just in the local biscuit industry despite competition from other biscuit companies like La Pacita, Rebisco, and Fibisco; but also to meet outside demands aborad, whose Filipino diaspora wanting to take a bite of a local biscuit such as SkyFlakes.
Thus, to help bridge the distance with homesick Filipinos abroad, M.Y. San began by first exporting to Guam from its Cainta plant in the 1970s. Since then, it has exported its products to other continents as well; today, M.Y. San is available throughout the Philippines and in some parts of the East and West coasts of the United States, Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Australia, and in South East ASia.  Its high standards for quality and use of select ingredients, which put a premium on freshly-baked goodness, hath earned numerous awards for its brands as well as the distinction of being a consistent favorite amongst various international markets.

However, in 2001, after decades of ownership under the Mar family, M.Y. San Biscuits was acquired by Monde Nissin, a diversified food company as part of its expansion and became known as "Monde M.Y. San". Originally known as "Monde Denmark Nissin" and is known for its variety of biscuits and noodles, is owned also by a Filipino Chinese named Betty Ang, known as the 19th richest person in the Philippines, with a net worth of $905 million in 2014, according to Forbes.

Currently, from its Cainta and Laguna plants, M.Y. San continues to meet demands from its loyal customers by creating SkyFlakes and other well-known brands; on the other hand, a snack corner known as "Escolta Ice Cream and Snacks" continues to thrive on the same spot where M.Y. San's "Escolta Restaurant" stood by, sadly, it ain't under Mar Chew's descendants at all.

Perhaps, only its timeless, mouthwatering legacy remained inside that age old building, where once Mr. and Mrs. Mar Chew and family invested their lives, labours, and all.