Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I'm inundated with anti-Aquino propaganda from NP allies, cluttering my email, etc.

Thank you to all the other candidates and their allies who aren't sending me any.

Frozen Foreheads & Depression

As the Philippines head on the homestretch to the 10th of May elections, one can already see the rough outlines of the attack tactics and content of the leading parties. Against the presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party, the issues have been landgrabbing, stock manipulation, and use of government position to advance one’s private corporate interests. Against the presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, the issues have been land reform, involving the family hacienda (sugar plantation) and mental health.

The last was fueled by two fake medical reports alleging that the LP candidate suffered from depression during the Marcos Dictatorship, when his father was in jail. Hello! The whole country was depressed during the Marcos Dictatorship, for chrissakes! If you weren’t depressed, you were a crony. Period. This prejudiced, biased and discriminatory attitude toward mental health issues is just barbaric beyond belief – Abraham Lincoln was depressive but that didn’t stop him from being a transformational president.

Considering this low level of political discourse, I am surprised no one has said anything about certain candidates' botox-ed frozen foreheads as indicative of their massive vanity and swollen egos. Pfft!

There’s been little discussion even of survival issues: typhoons and flooding, over-population, food self-sufficiency, health care, education, women’s rights, unemployment and labor export, sub-contract work by multinational corporations, the balkanization of the archipelago with the sale of land, islands even, to foreign corporations, etcetera.

Instead what’s on full display is the Filipino’s genius for propaganda and myth-making, reducing the whole sheebang into a spectator-sport, much like boxing -- which probably explains the orgiastic hysteria. This is what democracy’s all about?

What could have been an opportunity for mass education on what it means to truly have control over one’s country has been lost. -- #

Friday, April 23, 2010

Last One Standing

One has to give it to Atty. Robert Swift who has pursued, for 25 years, the class action suit of the 10,000 incarcerated, tortured, killed, during the Marcos Dictatorship. He and his law office just got the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a Texas federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit for possession of 4,000 acres of land, said to be worth between $100-$150 million and said to be part of the Marcos Estate.

At roughly the same time, he won a $28 million claim in Singapore for the class action suit, which caused the Philippine government to ask for the list of names of the claimants. The court refused, saying the only purpose of this would be “retaliation by military and paramilitary groups who first abused these victims during the Marcos regime."

The case was filed way back in 1986 or nearly a quarter of a century ago. The legal principles established during this case, for which Atty. Swift won a judgment of $4 billion (with interest) has enabled other human rights abuse victims of other countries and other fascist governments to obtain cash judgments.

Unfortunately, not a cent has gone to the original Filipino claimants.

Everyone else seems to have made peace with the Marcos legacy. Me, I’d be happy to live on one acre… or maybe two.

Favorite Poem About the Earth

O sweet spontaneous

by e.e.cummings

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have

fingers of
purient philosophers pinched

,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty .how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest

them only with


For Earth Day 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gabâ From a Comedian

Visayan for come-uppance, whereby the thing we’re proudest of is destroyed, held up to the unbearable light of public ridicule. Manny Pacquiao, this time, since our noses went up a notch because of him, even though even a non-aficionada like me thought he was under-matched in the last two fights. This comedian not only dumped on him but, in true macho tradition, dumped on his people, especially “his” women – meaning the women of the Philippines, thus revealing the reality of how a large part of the world still looks upon us, despite Pacquiao.

Had Mr. Pacquiao responded with “I’ll give you three minutes in the ring with my legs shackled and my left hand tied behind my back,” I would have been edified. As it is, he merely forgave – FORGAVE!— the comedian who’s certainly NOT of the caliber of Stephen Colbert who nearly made me die of ecstasy with his comment that we have to fix Kyrgyzstan since it’s our top supplier of consonants. (FANNED!)

Mr. Pacquaio, listen up, I believe you have been under-matched in the ring and now over-matched with a low-brow comedian.

Meanwhile we all gear up to joust with said comedian. As we have done before, with a long list of quasi-, semi-, wannabe, celebs. I’ve done it myself, even threatening to picket the Oscars red carpet once, because I’m of the Philippines – meaning, nothing is worse than an insult, since we subscribe to the Schrodinger theory that nothing is what it is until it’s said to be what it is. Sex tours – maybe happens, maybe not, until someone points it out and then we shriek in fury.

I’m p---ed, people, because in the same week, some 300 Filipino teachers in Louisiana, aided by the American Federation of Teachers, sued a recruiting agency based in Los Angeles which, per the complaint, extorted thousands of dollars from this mostly female labor force. Horror of horrors, the agency owner is a kababayan, kalahi, katropa, ‘day, a compatriot, hija de… ONE OF US!

And there’s the rub, people. I wonder how many such material insult – outright exploitation – we’ve let pass, refusing to buckle on the armor of our righteousness, strap on the sword of our outrage because we accept that we can do unto one another what we expect the Other not to do to us.

We treat one another cavalierly, according to an internalized colonial value system; assume that work from a kababayan should be cheap, wages can be delayed, ideas stolen, help un-thanked, waste another’s time, and expect our own people to grovel before us…

A friend who’s a classical guitarist tells me he got a call from a woman wanting him to perform at her daughter’s 16th birthday party and who cruelly asks whether he could play Bahay Kubo, Leron-leron Sinta... I’m asked to edit something for free -- which was fine until I’m told that the favor-asker had hired a layout artist to set the text. To my face, WTF! It’s a class thing, you say, except the culprits aren’t even in my class. Nah, it’s colonial, feudal and imperialist. We’re cheap labor, simply because we're of the race.

Those who are not kalahi learn how to treat us by watching how we treat one another.

So raise the sword of outrage, get on the horse of righteousness and do battle on behalf of the 300… Fix the reality and the image will fix itself.

If not, we’ll get gabâ-ed over and over again, until we learn that respect should begin within our circle. -- #

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Joke For the Church

Just read this note admonishing priests to read Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere (Latin for Touch Me Not) which must have been taken from the (alleged) words of Jesus when he was newly risen. The note-writer translated it into Tagalog as 'Wag Mo Akong Hipuan or Grope Me Not...

Early Morning Big Laugh.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Love Those Bishops

Ang Ladlad, a party-list political party for Gays, Lesbians, Bi-sexuals & Transgenders, was finally given the go-signal by the Philippine Supreme Court to participate in the elections.

I believe it was co-founded by the erudite Danton Remoto.

In any case, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, chairman of the committe on public affairs of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said that the bishops would discourage people from voting for Ang Ladlad. He said, “We recognize them, respect them, but their situation is an abnormality. The person is approving and encouraging an abnormality, which is unnatural.”

Dear Bishop Iniguez, pedophilia, not homosexuality, is what's abnormal.


Monday, April 05, 2010


News reports say a Benedictine monk from the Philippines has been accused of abusing a boy or boys in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He's now with the Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat of San Beda.

Having grown up with stories of priestly shenanigans, I've often wondered how large a scandal would erupt once Filipinos/Filipinas get over their (ridiculous but absolute) fear of authority and decide to go for it...

In Queens, NYC, one Filipino priest was sued by a woman allegedly for taking advantage of her state of bereavement. A photo of him naked or half-naked was released and duly published by community newspapers.

I just adore our nastiness when we're aggrieved. #

Saturday, April 03, 2010

All Hail To the Goddess Ostara

Or Eastre – from which the words Easter and estrogen spring, and from whose rites –started sometime in 500 BC -- comes the egg, the ultimate fertility symbol.

Nanny used to wake me early Easter Sunday as the church bells rang and make me jump up and down on the bed so I’d grow really tall. I think she had dreams of raising a basketball star. Huge disappointment. I didn’t even get to tall.

Lent seems to grow bloodier and bloodier in the Philippines which spewed out gory images of flagellants shredding their backs to ribbons with thorny whips, of 25 people, including one woman, who had themselves crucified. Government issued an edict banning foreigners from crucifying themselves – and why not? – thus tacitly saying that only the local lower classes may do so.

STGdess, the idea that those who already suffer on a daily basis should corporeally punish themselves more and terribly one day of each year just does not compute to my mind. I don’t see the rich self-flagellating or nailing themselves to the cross, despite the admonition about the eye and the camel.

Unfortunately, this is the week as well when gory details of the sexual abuse of minors by priests and the resulting alleged Catholic Church cover-up or cavalier treatment of such are also spewing forth in global media, rendering the blood-sweat-tears religious passion of Filipinos almost a ridiculous contrapunta.

I can’t even be impressed by the 25 crucifixions nor by one woman letting herself be crucified – though that might make for apt symbolism as to how the Church treats women, what with the Bishops loudly demanding “off with its head” with regards to the condom, and “off with the vote” with regards to any candidate supporting the proposed Reproductive Health and Human Development bill before Philippine Congress. Six bishops have endorsed a "pro-life" candidate for president of the Philippines, that country of such ecological disaster and burgeoning population it's beginning to look like an early Delubio (The Deluge) over there.

And since I am nasty, I mutter that of course, they're all against repro health since their preferred partners can’t get pregnant. {cynical sneer}

With lawsuits, verbal attacks and defense over pedophile priests more strident each day, my one question is why those who knew about this evil did not report it to the police or some outside agency nor saw it as a criminal activity, and opted instead to leave the correction of the anomaly to the very organization to which the pedophiliac belonged. It took 14 years to defrock one such priest and he had access, it seems, to young people all that time.

Moral of the story: you leave one hierarchy to be prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner and all you get is injustice.

Which is why I’m going around saying “Praise be to Ostara!” -- #