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I Hate Filipino Culture -Society/Politics

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

To My Father

Starting at around 2 weeks before my father’s death, I started noticing changes in his behavior. It was initially very gradual. Unless you knew him well, you wouldn’t notice it right away. It started with the loss of his sense of time.  He became erratic. He would demand to be released from the hospital one day only to ask to be returned to the hospital the next day. He was in and out of confinement four or five times in less than a month. His liver was failing and it was having a detrimental effect on his brain. It got progressively worse to the point that nothing that he said made sense anymore. He was interchanging words. I had to write down some of the things he was saying so I could figure out which words meant what.

Up Until his last 2 weeks, he had a very sharp mind and he took great pride in it. He used to always say something along the lines of: I could lose my arms or my legs but if I lose my mind, that’s it” He often insinuated that he’d rather die than have a diminished mind. It was a painful thing to watch. The thing that he feared the most, next to death probably, was happening to him and he wasn’t even realizing it.

His warped sense of time was particularly stressful for me and my mother. Minutes became hours for him. He’d accuse me of prioritizing other things over him or not spending enough time at the hospital when almost 90% of my waking time was spent at the hospital. I started resenting it after a while because I was practically chained to the hospital room for more than a month and I had to suspend everything else. I’d leave for 40mins to have lunch and I’d get a text message asking me to come back because I’d been away for too long. That resentment was one of the things that I regretted after he passed away.

2 or 3 days before he passed away, he went into a coma. I remember having to leave the hospital because my car’s starter was starting to fail and I had to get it fixed. I was away for more than 2 hours and I didn’t get that text message that, just a few days prior, caused me so much stress. I remember thinking that at that moment, there was nothing that I wanted more than to get that message demanding that I go back to the hospital. The message never came. He never woke up from the coma. He finally succumbed to the cancer that he fought for years. That clich├ęd saying about spending as much quality time as you can with your loved ones especially in the twilight of their lives, it’s so obvious but it can also be easy to forget when you’re in the situation.

The last month and a half of my father’s life was an emotional rollercoaster for all of us in the family. There’s one particular memory that stands out for me. I think it was night time or early in the morning. I woke up to the sound of him calling out my name. I got up from my makeshift bed on the floor of the hospital room and walked towards him. He looked at me in the eye and, as if he was lucid for the first time in days, he said “My son”

Today’s your first death anniversary, papa. You had your doubts but I think you’d be happy to know that we’re doing fine.  Your business is doing fine.

You will always be missed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Deconstructing the most common Dutertian arguments

Have you ever posted something critical of the administration? Were you attacked by dozens of online trolls calling you a drug addict or a yellowtard? Did you scratch your head when you got asked questions like "Why don't you grieve for their victims instead?!!"Well then this list is for you. Here are some of the most popular arguments/questions that have been used in this drug war so far deconstructed

1.) It’s ok to kill drug users because they murder and rape: One problem with this argument is that unless you could prove that ALL drug users kill and rape, you’re saying that it’s ok to kill any member of a group because of the crime of some of its members. That’s like saying it’s ok to kill any Muslim because almost all terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims. Another mind altering substance, alcohol, is also responsible for a lot of crimes including murder, rape and a lot of car related deaths. In a lot of countries, alcohol related deaths actually outnumber drug related deaths but I don’t see anyone carrying banners saying “death to all lasengos”. What we do is we prosecute individuals for the specific crimes that they committed while under the influence of alcohol.

You’ll find plenty of documentation proving that users of hard drugs like shabu or meth can be rehabilitated (Robert Downey Jr would be an example) and not all of them commit rape and murder. We don’t prosecute people for the crimes members of their group have committed or crimes that we think they are LIKELY to commit. If a certain person was killed by a drug addict then that particular addict should be charged with murder. Other addicts should be given punishment that's proportional to the crimes that they have committed.

Furthermore are we saying that it’s ok to kill users of Hard drugs like shabu, or are we going to extend this to users of other drugs like cocaine, LSD, marijuana and ectasy. (even dealers of ecstasy have been targeted recently) Because if you’d look at the numbers, you’d be hardpressed to find a strong correlation between the use of recreational drugs and violence. Some of the brightest minds in history experimented with drugs. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Richard Feynman did LSD, Thomas Edison and Sigmund Freud did Cocaine and if I may quote Bob Marley, a strong proponent of the herb, “peace, love and hug all trees mawn” –Obviously a peace loving bloke, although I may be paraphrasing him on that

2.) Extrajudicial killings are justified because our crime rate has reached national crisis levels. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic example of fear mongering. Not so dissimilar from how bush justified his war on Iraq or how Hitler justified the actions of his Nazi party. You make the populace think that there’s a grave and imminent threat and you can justify extraordinary measures to counter that supposed threat.- Duterte’s chief legal adviser even said that the drug problem is now enough grounds to declare martial law. I’d like to think that we’re smart enough not to fall for that. I hope we are. The murder rate in the US is higher than in the Philippines. Rape cases are higher in the UK. In terms of drug use, we’re not even in the top 10 list.  We are being led to believe that we have an extraordinary situation but data will show that we’re nothing special.

3.) Why do you grieve for the criminals who are getting killed by the police and vigilantes? Why not grieve for their victims instead? Does it really have to be mutually exclusive? Can’t you denounce both? In the first place, you CAN'T even really say that victims of extrajudicial killings are criminals yet. They're only suspects and therefore innocent until their guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt in a criminal court. Innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. Even if you were successful in arguing that murderers and rapists deserve death, it doesn't justify the killing of suspects unless you could prove that they are indeed guilty of murder and rape. Also, violent crime perpetuated by individuals happens in every country. It's a sad fact but it's a given. Violent crime that is openly perpetuated/encouraged by the government against its own people is a lot worse and it happens in states like North Korea and certain African countries that civilization has left behind. 

4.) Unless youre a drug addict, you have nothing to fear. You can tell that to Roman Manaois, Roana Tiamson, Julius Rabina, Jefferson Bunuan and the thousands of SUSPECTS who got reduced to a statistic without getting to the chance to prove their innocence. As recent events have shown, “Top gear justice” aka trial by the mob is quite unreliable. Just because a lot of people think that a person is guilty doesn't mean that he is actually guilty.If we treat due process as something that can be skipped, anyone can be a drug addict or a pusher and anyone can be killed. The purpose of due process is to determine guilt through an objective evidence-based process, more or less. It can never be perfect but it will still be more reliable than a subjective process based on finger pointing and chismis mongering. 

5.) The US has no right to criticize the Philippines because they kill blacks. This argument was not made by a teenage girl but by Mr Duterte himself after he was asked by an American journalist a question regarding extrajudicial killings. It’s like that argument with your girlfriend or bf where you try to dig up every bad thing that you’ve done to each other in the past. It is true that there are plenty of cases of white officers killing unarmed black suspects. If Obama endorsed these killings like Duterte does, then we can say that these acts are state sponsored and we should condemn Obama. But Obama hasn’t praised any of these killings, has never endorsed them and has even condemned some of them. The most that you can claim is that there are a few bad seeds in the American police force (they exist in every country) and that they should be tried. A lot of these killer cops have been tried and convicted.

6 Human rights only protect drug coddlers not their victims:- Contrary to popular Dutertian belief, human rights were not invented by yellowtards or by drug coddlers. These rights predated yellowtards actually. The Universal declaration of human rights were agreed upon and ratified by most of the world’s democratic countries including the Philippines back in 1948 so each individual person can have a chance to stand against even the might of the state. A lot of the rights that you enjoy now are inspired by this declaration. It’s not the job of human rights organizations to investigate every crime that happens in a country. That is the government’s job. Now when governments trample on the rights of individuals, such as the right to due process, that’s when they step in. When duterte said that the UN had no right to criticize the country’s policy on extrajudicial killigs,he was a bit ill informed. Extrajudicial killings are crimes against humanity according to rules that we are a signatory to. Violators can be tried in

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Was Teddy Locsin Jr. right about the Filipino Language



When I first read Teddy Locsin Jr's tweets, I thought it was a fake account because it didn’t seem like it was written by a fully matured man whom I thought him to be, prior to reading the tweets. His twitter is like youtube’s comment section with such memorable quotes as “Tangina, anong gagawin ko sa Sabado. Syet. Kahit si Jesus patay, si kong kakausapin.


I ran this sentence through a Filipino-English translator and it came out as gibberish. Maybe part of the hate is due to the fact that he doesn’t know how to use the language properly yet

While i find his use of words questionable, i don't entirely disagree with him. In my younger years, I used to engage in a lot of debates online. It was good mental exercise. The preferred medium for the debates was always English. I noticed that whenever a debater used tagalog, the ideas didn’t flow as fluidly. I wasn’t quite sure if that was because of the debater or the language that he was using.

In a recent interview, Teddy Locsin defended his tweet by saying that Filipino is a flowery language and not as straight forward as English. I would disagree with his observation. I think that Filipino is actually a more straightforward language. There is less room for subtle nuances and wordplay. It’s easy to say a straightforward sentence like: “I don’t like this” in tagalalog. “ayaw ko ito”. But try saying  “I am somewhat fond of this” without using the world  “medyo” or “konti”

Tagalog is more than sufficient for everyday conversation but when engaging people in formal debates, sometimes you have to wield words with surgical precision or with ambiguity depending on the need. Where tagalog lacks is in denoting degree. There’s no word in between Ayaw and gusto. There are tagalog words that will denote gradation like: medyo, konti, halos. But most tagalog words tend to be in Black or white. Whereas in English, words can denote gradation without the assistance of additional words. Disapprove, dislike, hate, loathe, abhor -These words imply similar things but to different degrees. When combined with adverbs that denote degree, you can be more creative with your expression of disgust or you can express your disgust politely. For example: “I highly dislike your choice of words” “Sir, I slightly abhor your hairstyle”


A somewhat polite way of saying your hairstyle sucks

The lack of gradation in Filipino words probably explains why the word “medyo” tends to be overused in Filipino discourse. I myself am guilty of this. Gutom ka na? medyo. Pagod ka na? medyo. You wouldn’t realize how important it is until you take it away and you’re left scratching your head when asked simple questions.

“Gusto” and “ayaw”-there are no currently used alternative tagalog words that convey the same meaning as far as I know. Whereas the word “hate” has more than 40 synonyms. And that is one of the main reasons why Filipino can be less efficient than English in formal debates. English is a constantly evolving language that absorbs words from other languages and is used by more people. There are significantly more words in the English language than there are in Filipino. With more words, you have a richer palette to compose sentences with.

So did teddy locsin have a point? Maybe to a certain degree. But what’s more important than the language that you use is your mastery of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a language that has a richer vocabulary if you’re unfamiliar with most of its words. An experienced artist could paint a masterpiece with just 3 colors. A masterful writer or speaker should be able to express his ideas with whatever words that are at his disposal, whether those words be English or Filipino


He did raise one excellent point in his interview though. English is also a national language and there should be no shame nor treachery in using it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When the Lion shed its mane


As if pressing the fast forward button on the remote, one moment you’re in a doctor’s clinic for a check up, looking at other patients in the queue in more advanced stages of the disease and getting a glimpse the immediate future through them. The next moment, you’re there, in your own future, seeing what you saw then but this time from a more intimate perspective. The transition from the then to the now is so abrupt that the mind seems to have omitted the in-between stages. It almost feels like I had time traveled.

It's december 27th, just two days after christmas. I’ve been staring at this bed for a while now. It’s a standard hospital bed with a cream colored frame draped in white sheets. It’s an otherwise ordinary bed but it is of particular interest to me because there’s this question that’s been lingering in my head. Is this going to be the bed, the one that he will last lay down on? The “death bed as they call it.”

It was almost 4 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer. He was only given 6 months by his doctors. If you saw him a month ago, you’d think that he was openly mocking his death sentence. Apart from a fist–sized lump that was growing on his abdomen, he looked healthy. He was mobile, He went to the nearby mall regularly to buy his supplements. It almost seemed as if time was of abundance.

The decline of his health in the last few days was so sudden that I didn’t realize what was happening until it hit me in the face -It felt like being slapped out of a dream where cancer was nothing but an overgrown pimple that won't go away and waking up to reality, staring down cancer's unmasked face. Its grotesque features in plain view. His long period of good health has lulled us into a false state of security. It is like how you see it in the movies after all. I first realized that something was wrong when Christmas eve came and he wasn’t at the dinner table with us.  We always spent Christmas together having noche buena at the same table. We don't have a lot of traditions. This is one of the few and we never missed a single one. I didn't realize how bad it was until the day after Christmas. He was very weak. He wasn't eating, His face was gaunt, his muscles have wasted away. I'm not sure if he really lost that much weight in 2 days or i just didn't pay that much attention bef

Saturday, December 19, 2015

If Duterte were president...

There are those who argue that what we need is an iron-fisted leader or even a dictator, a Filipino Lee Kuan yew perhaps. Maybe it's true that a US-style democracy works against us because we’re a country of shallow people and therefore very much susceptible to the influence of demagogues , leaders who appeal to the emotions.  

For some, this iron-fisted leader is Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao who has often times admitted to being responsible for the extrajudicial execution of criminals. This is a fact that's not ignored or even contested by his supporters. For a lot of them it's actually his selling point. For a society that finds cursing and distributing condoms to those who can’t afford it morally reprehensible, it is a bit of an oddity that a politician who espouses extrajudicial killings would find popularity.

The right of every person to a fair trial is ingrained in every modern democracy. It is a globally recognized basic human right. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Duterte’s judgement is indeed impeccable. That he can tell with certainty who is guilty and who is not, rendering trials unnecessary. Surely, Duterte with his impeccable judgement wouldn’t have time to carry out the killing or judging of all of the country’s criminals all by himself. He will have to delegate. Would his delegates be gifted with the same omniscience and “purity of intention” as their boss? We don’t even trust our police force to handle the country’s traffic situation without extorting our motorists. People can’t even fly in this country without the fear of bullets mysteriously appearing in their luggage. Imagine our law enforcement officers operating in an environment where killing offenders of the law without trial is justified. Maybe the Duterte system sort of works within the confines of Davao’s borders but when taken to the national level, the potential for abuse will expand exponentially. It don’t think that one would have to be particularly pessimistic to see that. On the contrary i think one would have to be zealously optimistic not to see it.

The Davao death squad, which the mayor has admitted to having connections with, is not only responsible for the death of rapists and muderers. They've also allegedly executed people who have committed Petty crimes. Minors have allegedly been executed. Even some of the locals of Davao will admit that some people have been killed by mistake -and they're ok with this because they're happy with the peace and order situation in their city. Imagine the misfortune of those people who were killed by mistake -that their lives were sacrificed for the whims of people who demand peace and order at any price. Even if it was just one person killed without a fair trial and killed by mistake, that’s one person too many.

The mayor has a treasure trove of quotable quotes that would be funny if it was coming from a comedian, entertaining if it was coming from an action star but bone-chilling for someone who's running for president. If you really think about it, who really wants death squads roaming the streets of Metro Manila at night looking to deal swift and fatal justice to suspected criminals?

We can only make assumptions because no one has the clairvoyance to see what a Duterte presidency would be like. Maybe the naysayers are wrong. Maybe he will reform the country. Maybe he can straighten the police force. Maybe his "enforcers" will hit the right targets every time, maybe he won't ban algebra and trigonometry. Maybe this, maybe that. We will have to make assumptions about the other candidates too. The one constant though is that this is a person who is known for and has admitted to operating outside of the law to kill. That is a lot of power to give to one man. We’d be giving up a very basic human right in the assumption that we're surrendering that right to a person who has pure intentions and to a system that will not be abused. If we’re inaccurate in our judgement of his ethics, which we already know are already quite questionable to begin with, we're screwed. The legal system exists for a reason. If it is flawed, fix it. By circumventing it, you'd just be replacing a problem with an even bigger one.

If we're going to give up basic human rights for the greater good, why not go all the way? How about trying Eugenics? The use of selective breeding and sterilization to breed out criminality and breed in intelligence perhaps? Or maybe fashion a “democracy” where only a select few have the right to vote, perhaps the intellectual elite. All of these measures will sacrifice the rights and the quality of living of a few individuals for the greater good of the collective. I’m NOT saying that I’m in favor of any of these measures but If we’re going to throw universally accepted ethics down the trash bin, there are far less violent and probably more effective and long term ways of eradicating criminality, demagoguery and perhaps stupidity in the country.

Give up the rights of the few for the many. That's what's being suggested. Surely a few innocents will suffer but we’re at war with criminality and at war there are always casualties, right? You’d just have to pray to your chosen deity that that casualty will not be you or someone you know. In a world of progressing civility where rights are gradually being disseminated equally to every race, gender, age, this is several steps back.. The hierarchy of world governments doesn’t go from a full democracy, where the right of every citizen is equal and legally protected, to a system where the rights of the citizens are conditional and can be waived when one man or the Filipino mob demands it. There are plenty of steps in between.

Duterte's supporters might argue that it's only the rights of the criminals that he will be taking away but without the right to a fair trial, innocence is a very fragile, transitory thing. When the authorities, deem you a criminal, you are one and you have no say about it. As one country under one leadership, we're all in the same frying pan. You can't selectively "cook" certain people without getting others or yourself burned accidentally.

When laws are being violated or "circumvented" around me, I would like to think that it’s being done by deviant individuals, not by my own government. That there is an objective legal system that’s not based on one man’s word and that everyone is subject to it. No one should be above it, no one should operate outside of it, especially those in power.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Is Islam a religion of violence


A lot of people see Islam as a religion of violence. If interpreted literally, it can be. But the Bible is just as potent an instrument of hate if also interpreted literally. The punishment for homosexuality in the bible is death (Leviticus 18 and 20), The punishment for worshiping other gods is death, the punishment for blasphemy is stoning… to death. In the bible, a lot of crimes that we would consider petty are punishable by death. We look at acts done by muslim extremists as primitive because that’s exactly what those acts are. They’re following books written at a different time when the concept of civility was not as we know it now. But why is it that more acts of terrorism are committed under the name of Islam than in the name of the Abrahamic God when both religions promote similar punishments for the same crime?

The Roman Catholic church hasn’t always been peaceful and humane. It took its sweet time. Up until the 16th century, The Catholic church was burning people at the stake for heresy.  A lot of European conquest was partly fueled by the need of the church to convert as much of the world into Catholicism. A lot of people died in the process.

Muslims had a very prosperous civilization in the middle ages. But most muslim countries now are poor and have not been very progressive for a long time. Those that are rich became rich just recently. The hotbeds for terrorism are usually the poorest of these countries. Al qaeda in Afghanistan and ISIS in Iraq -theocracies that progress has barely touched, where life expectancy is short and death is a way of life

When people aren’t dying around you, the value of human life goes up. The death of one soldier in World War 2 doesn’t have the same impact as the death of one soldier today in peace time. We’re not used to death anymore. And when a person doesn’t worry about death happening within the immediate future, that person is free to think about other things that don’t necessarily have anything to do with survival, such as the rights of your fellow man as well as your own. And most especially, since death and killing become taboo, you don't think of killing your fellow man when his beliefs contradict yours.

A lot of the more violent aspects of Catholicism have been slowly rooted out by modernization in Europe -a process that is still continuing today in the free world. It wasn’t too long ago when racism was state imposed and slavery was legal (slavery was permitted in the bible). Look where progress has brought us now. State imposed racism and slavery have been practically eradicated and several states have legalized same sex marriage.

A lot of people claim that religion is the root of a person’s morals but in the modern world, it’s not. . Morality evolves as civilization progresses. As life becomes less of a privilege than it is a right, concepts such as equality gain a foothold in a society's collective consciousness. We no longer live our lives based on the morals of bearded men who lived at a time when human life was a disposable commodity. Morality evolves as society evolves. And we live in a world where morality has evolved to encompass everyone’s rights, including those who don’t belong to our group and those who don’t belong to our religion. Unless you live in Davao, death is no longer the only possible punishment for any given crime.

There are of course those that progress has left behind. Those who choose to hold on to archaic laws and morality. And I think therein lies the answer to the first question in this entry on why one group tends to produce more extremists than the other. One group has progressed more than the other. I think one lesson that we can learn from the Catholic church is that it doesn’t matter if your religion promotes violence and bigotry or not. One can go beyond it and still practice the same religion.

This is not a post against religion. It is a post for reason... For a morality that is carefully thought out and not based on doctrine or dogma. That’s more or less what we have right now in the free world. And it’s something that a lot of people who subscribe to Islamic extremism could use. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

On the INC demonstrations

Photoshopped, you’d say but is it really? Hard to tell exactly considering that plenty of the INC flock who participated in the demonstrations most likely had no idea what they were doing in the middle of edsa and being a bother to metro manila’s normally peace-loving motorists who were then probably quite irate. They managed to bring metro manila’s traffic on a Friday night which is usually at a standstill to a… standstill. I avoided edsa during the demonstrations but as someone who passes through edsa regularly, it’s hard for me to imagine how traffic could be worse on a Friday night at rush hour on a payday. If I tried really hard to imagine it, I’d probably see cars going at negative speed in my head… going back to the offices from which they came, in reverse.

Perhaps separation of church and state is a fool’s dream in a country that is so deeply religious. Artificial birth control, gay marriage, divorce: these are concepts that may never find general political acceptance in your lifetime. A religious group could order its flock to paralyze one of metro manila’s main arteries and they would unquestioningly do so –because the same laws that are applied to every man were applied to their leaders. They’d make democracy work against us if their church leaders also tell them who to vote for. I’m glad that never happens. What is democracy but an illusion in a country where individual thinking is controlled by an elite few who claim to be arbiters of morality and truth.

I am not a religious person and that may even be an understatement but I have no problems with people practicing their religion as long as it doesn’t impede on the rights of others, as long as they don’t force their values on people who don’t share the same views and as long as they don’t force their version of the truth on me.

Going back to that picture. At first glance it may not make sense but if you come to think of it, it’s completely logical -makakapunta ba sila sa kalsada kung di sila nagpunta doon? It only doesn’t make sense because you’re looking for rational thinking where it doesn’t exist. It was photoshopped but it might as well be real