Monday, April 11, 2005

Seeing through the Blindfold

I've been wandering around lately, both in search of myself and that game-changing Palanca Idea. I found myself paying more attention to conversations on the other table, the innocent laughter of children over the shallowest of things, or the drunken ramblings of otherwise tightlipped people. And I daydream and take note.

In times past, I imagine, I could have been that acolyte that quietly guarded a mysterious secret, or a dark ninja that listens in from his rooftop perch. I move from place to place taking to the shadows, silently taking in everything of note. No secret can be hidden from my sight, nor gossip from my ears. All are revealed under my scrutiny.

Here's a sample of what I found.

Palawan or Boracay?

After the Dos Palmas kidnapping incident a few years back, the island paradise of Boracay beefed up its security. Besides the local Coast Guard patrolling the area, part of the island's defense are its Navy regiment (2 ships), the PNP (2 ships) and a volunteer patrol boat from the Diver's Association.

Furthermore, because of the strategic location of Boracay, it is too far from any possible refueling stations that an Abu-Sayyaf-type of speedboat kidnapping would require and the nearest port, Aklan, is fairly secure.

Palawan on the other hand... is a big big area with lots of little islands that are perfect for Pirate bases.

Your choice.

Im going to the more exciting Palawan next week :)

To anyone looking out for a new gaming console, always bring your friendly neighborhood geekazoid when making a purchase.

Ive just uncovered the latest scam in greenhills. Some unscrupulous vendors are out there buying old Playstations and X-boxes, refurbishing them and selling them as brand new. Beware of these rip-offs.

I was able to talk with one of the more prominent anthropologists here in the country a couple of weekends ago.

I was curious as to what exactly is the tie that holds all Filipinos together. What primordial trait or virtue binds us all? If we werent colonized by Spain for all of 300 years what would we be like?

And so I asked him. What's the most common trait among ALL regions and sub-cultures in our country?

To my surprise, he was also of the impression that in each Filipino lies a tiny little devil of deviousness that makes us want to cut across corners, pull down would-be-achievers and just bend and twist every rule of law there is. This was apparently noted down even by the early spaniards who saw our ancestors as slick, cunning bastards that should never be trusted.

And this is what we see in our culture today. This is why there will never be a community of Pinoys that will make it big in any country. This is why only the most maverick and unconventional of our lot will succeed outside the Philippines. In our genes, or at least in one of our relatives, is a ticking timebomb of evil that will ultimately destroy us all.

That is the tie that binds all of us. Now, my next question is... Is this the same the tie that binds all humanity together as well?

Let's see.

How then does one get rid of that evil little monster inside of us all?

Davao's Mayor Duterte has a great idea: Put a bullet through its head once it starts to manifest.

Needless to say, Davao is one of the safest and most drug-free cities in the Philippines. Kudos to the Davao Death Squad and their unique solution of Vigilanteism in that area.

An alternative to this fiasco of a Democracy? Maybe.

I always thought that the Philippines was never really civilized when the Spaniards first settled in.

Why? Look at the Incans and the Mayans: even after their colonizers killed off their culture, a ton of relics still thrive in old temples and pyramids. Their gods and goddesses were forever etched into stone or gold, and that even at this time their structures still stand.

Look at Thailand and Cambodia and their rich culture of Golden Buddhas and ancient martial arts. Its so rich in culture they can actually live on tourism alone.

We on the other hand, have only the churches in the North and some ancient Spanish relics like Magellan's cross in the South. We dont even have a legitimate martial art that survived to this day, or even excellent metalwork that dated back to Lapu-lapu times... There was nothing pre-Colonial that ever lasted.

This notion was shattered after I talked with a visiting archeologist..

Apparently, stone wasnt the favorite medium of our forefathers. Bamboo was in vogue then, and most of our artifacts were made with Clay and Bamboo. We had our own code-of-laws, literature and language back then as well. And we were known shipbuilders even by the surrounding countries.

If the Spanish hadn't come, we'd be almost like Indonesia (thank god for our genes).

When the Spanish did get to conquer us (through infighting between local chieftains), they destroyed all evidence of culture (Duh, it was just pottery and bamboo) and replaced it with Christianity. Then they added in their own special twist to keep us dumb and docile for the next 300 years.

Did you know that there is a Islamic version of the Antichrist?

I searched through google and was amazed at what I found. (Devout Catholics, please dont read any further).

Apparently, Islam and Roman Catholicism have too many similar roots:
1. Both are monotheistic
2. Both have extremely heirarchical structures.
3. Both are heavily dependent on tradition for rituals (e.g. Muslims pray at 5pm, Catholics need to go to mass every sunday. Both have no idea why.)
4. Both religions power of influence heavily depends on undying obedience and thrive on the ignorance of their masses.
5. It is only in Catholic and Islamic States that they have issues on "Church vs State". I think it has something to do with their heirarchical structure and need for control of the masses.
6. Both have problems dealing with Democracy. I mean, has there ever been a Roman Catholic or Islamic country that succeeded as a Democracy? (I'm looking at Iraq. This will serve as a good case study)
7. Both will spam me later for posting this.


I was thisClose to going on a trip to Monaco.

Unfortunately for me, it didnt push through and yet again, hot European babes are denied the charms of my cute Filipino accent.


There are times when you get so used to everything going wrong that keeps going wrong at all the worst possible times that when something absolutely perfect comes along you're at a loss at what to do. And so you close your eyes and try to see through this devious ploy life just put you through, unsure if its your eyes or your mind thats doing the tricking.

Then you realize it just might be the blindfold.


transience said...

i was thisclose to believing you.

Redjeulle said...

See you in Palawan next week! But then again, it's a big, big area... :-)

John said...

Good choice. I'd take Palawan over Boracay any day too. In Boracay, you'll only see Makati-clubbing crowd that we're trying to get away from to begin with. ;)

wanggo said...

My opinion (not that you asked for it) is that Democracy only works if the people actually have the capacity to properly choose a leader for themselves.

We've proven, time and time again, that we are unfit to making a credible choice. Estrada was elected for God's sake! The Filipinos are not ready for a democracy.

Only a certain select group of people should lead and all the stupid people (and there are a lot in this country) just follow whatever is said and never question...

But that's just me. I've never been against a regimented, tyrannical regime if it works...

But, I reiterate, that's just me...

Celeste said...

“Ticking time bomb of evil” - Very well said and very scary too. But I hope we can go against the flow. This country cannot be that doomed…or I’m just really delusional.

ding_eab said...

"Then they added in their own special twist to keep us dumb and docile for the next 300 years."

I better butt in coz I wanna destroy this "under Spanish rule for 300 years myth."

Boholanos under Dagohoy - suppressed only in 1830
Moros under varied leadership with their last stand on sulu - stalemate in the 1870's
Cordillerans despite the occasional raids from the lowland Christian, were never subjugated
And the Tagalogs and Kapampangans who connived with and subsequently kicked out the enemy

solo flite said...

trans: :P

redjuelle: So where r ya staying?

John: hehe Exactly :D

Wanggo: yep. my point here is that countries that have highly structured religious heirarchies or just one overly dominant religion tend to have problems with Democracy ("Christian" countries tend to have a lot of separate churches).

...not that im saying there arent tons of stupid filipinos... :D

Celeste: at least thats how i see it. the theory is actually quite sound if you think about it...

Ding: Thanks for the clarification. Didnt pay attention to my gradeschool history classes :P

but the gist of this is that for the conquered areas, Spain replaced the culture, while for the areas that resisted, well.. the growth was stunted.

Redjeulle said...

uhmm, I will be in Coron and the surrounding areas. Exactly where, I don't know yet. We're doing the whole backpacker thing. :-)

ding_eab said...

"dumb and docile"..."Spain replaced the culture"

Damn I can't put this to rest. Sorry man, but didn't you ever think that we chose (well some groups) to absorb the culture of the Spaniard, as opposed to having the culture imposed on us? We have been absorbing cultures and languages for time immemorial from different peoples who came to the islands from faraway places, be it to trade, pillage, spread their culture and religion, pirate, ask for tribute, or even settle and live among us, from Indian, to Chinese, to Arabic, etc. etc. The Spaniards are no exception. We saw what the Spaniards are capable of so we chose to work with and for them and learn from them, just as we learned and absorbed the cultures of other peoples who came to this archipelago. In return they treated us more favorably than the rest and taught us some skills that enabled us to notch up our standard of living.

As for that dumb line, speak for yourself buddy. Regions III and IV statistically have the highest per capita income among the regions of the country, while CAR and ARMM are somewhere at the bottom. That's no fucking historical accident. That's a manifestation of the smarts of some people. (Or a manifestation of the dumb pointless blind courage of others).

Docile? Man, how could the people of these islands have been docile when some groups have been fighting alongside the Spaniards against local and foreign powers, while other groups have been fighting back the Spaniards and those groups that chose to side with them? That shit went on for 300 years. Nobody was being docile. If anything most of the people have been intrepid in their warring with each other which, by the way, has been happening even before the Spaniards came. Didn't "relative" peace only come after we "undocilely" kicked out the Spaniard?

The only dumb and docile people in this country are those who don't read and learn from history. School yourself man so you'd stop coming up with obviously incorrect and embarassing notions such as us "having no civilization" and us being "dumb and docile".

solo flite said...

ding -

Sigh. IF you did get to go through what i wanted to say, its that:
1. I did have an incorrect notion about us having "no civilization"

2. Spain replaced the culture. Did i even say we didnt want it?
Read the sub-post before this. Yeah the one about deviousness. That the spaniards didnt trust us was apparent from the beginning since they knew we were only using them.

Now, with regards to Dumb and Docile:

DUMB is the term i did intend to say. The special "twist" I would have expounded on is
a) keeping us in check with Catholicism. Our own version complete with local superstition that would make us obey the beck and call of the prayles
b) Making it extremely hard for the Filipino to access education that would promote free thinking.
c) Keeping bad blood between the regions and NOT making any country-wide common language. Yep, not even Spanish

Only 2-10% of our population during that time were real Spaniards (check out the ratios for other conquered colonies) Why? Because we were DOCILE. Not too many organized resistances on a nationwide scale (language/subculture issues). Regionally, there was, but at the end of the day, they'd just pit two regions against each other.

So if you're saying our country wasnt dumb, id probably agree for some regions, but I'd say they would have been better off without spain.

If you're our country wasn't docile, i'd probably agree, but again, for only some regions (that still arent docile today)

And as for your last point that im Dumb AND docile... now thats just stupid.

ding_eab said...

To the people reading this please NO MORE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS about Filipinos being dumb, stupid, submissive, (fill in your self-depracating adjective), coz it's simply not true and it's insulting to the history and sensibilities of some of us who historically upheld our pride and self-respect. The Philippines is an alliance of tribes, so if you're gonna say this or that is dumb or whatever, refer to your group and don't generalize.

Debbie said...

hi aids, re davao death squad (DDS): It's not as "cool" as it sounds you know. Vigilante killings may solve some problems (i.e. drug pushers and users would be scared) but it can also lead to more problems. The DDS modus operandi is easy to copy - just ride a motorbike, carry a small gun, then shoot target. The hired killers may abuse what they do and kill whoever they like. Those who want to kill someone may just adopt the DDS method and everyone will think it's the DDS who did it. It opens up to a lot of scary possibilities.

the showroom manager said...

whoah. history is one of my favorite subjects (the geek in me says so). anyhoo, here's my two cents:

we should be grateful to what spain contributed to us to become a nation. not only did they bring a religion to these islands, but they also brought the technology (paper, plow, etc.) and other important things that kept us at pace with our neighbors. we were more civilized than before. imagine if these things didn't happen?

for hundreds of years, our asian neighbors have rich civilizations but it didn't reach our shores to fully "asianize" us. bakit kaya? if we were influenced by the chinese through our "extensive" trade relations, we should have learned the technology of ship building or the teachings of confucius or their cooking earlier on before the spaniards came in.

but only the spaniards would open the doors and introduce us to the world.

i'd like to borrow what i've read from a great filipino historian. he said that,
"Before 1521, we could have been anything but Filipino. But after 1521, we could be nothing but Filipino."

from there, i've learned not to look at our spanish heritage with an axe to grind.

rache_hell said...

whoa, bigat convo natin ah.

There are times when you get so used to everything going wrong that keeps going wrong at all the worst possible times that when something absolutely perfect comes along you're at a loss at what to do. And so you close your eyes and try to see through this devious ploy life just put you through, unsure if its your eyes or your mind thats doing the tricking.

Then you realize it just might be the blindfold.


solo flite said...

ding: now, that was pretty stupid to the point of insulting if that wasnt a sweeping statement, i dunno what is :P

Calling us a bunch of tribes is pretty demeaning too if you're still anally technical about it.

Debs: Yeah, i guess its a double edged sword... but at the end of the day, i think Davaoenos can tell if theyre better off with DDS or not.

bryan: Yep. Agree with that. Our Spanish history is both a boon AND a bane. I mean Japan would still be in the Dark Ages if europe didnt walk in and try to conquer them... same thing with China. At the end of the day, laissez faire and modern technology will rule us all. Doesnt matter which particular country.

oh yeah... from what i read, we DID have a strong shipbuilding foundation. Not sure what chinese was passed to us in the 1400s, but there was a lot of indian and muslim influence (daw.)

Rache: Sakto ;)

Anonymous said...

You Filipinos are some of the dumbest people I have ever met. Dumb flip is a term that Filipinos were commonly known by. You are a strange looking people not one thing or the other. The Filipino accent is one of the most annoying in the world, however it serves a purpose. It announces to the world that a dumb ass is speaking.

I have never met a culture so devoid of substance. How stupid is it making tools from bamboo rather than stone?

You should probably be thankful to the Spanish. Imagine how much more of a shit hole the Philippines would be if they hadn't conquered you.

Your country is a third world shit hole. You have beautiful beaches but you can hardly take credit for that. Luckily other countries took pity on your pathetic asses and let some of you move there.